Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lord have mercy on me, a sinner

I love my church.

Today our church was so bright and beautiful. We just put down this beautiful warm toned tile on the altar area and because it was Reformation Sunday, our liturgical color was red which always looks so warm to me. Those things along with the candles and the way the choir sounded with the new acoustics (thanks to the tile) just made the whole thing beautiful and peaceful and reverent. We sang "A Mighty Fortress is our God" and heard about what things were like in the church in Martin Luther's day and most importantly we heard about how the bible teaches us that we  justified by Christ alone for our sins, which is something I need to hear all the time, because without it, I would teeter between thinking I was a pretty good person and then realizing that my best works are really just filthy rags.

In church, I was looking at my beautifully well dressed, well behaving children and I had such wonderful thoughts about them. I thought about how wonderful it is that I am able to stay home with them and homeschool them. I thought about ways I would show my love to them this week. *I* would slow down. *I* would spend less time on the computer. *I* would keep the tv off and read more books. We would have tea together and play games together and *I* would be more patient during our classroom time. *I* would be great!

How vain. I am none of those things without Christ. I am especially not patient. And I am prone to turning on the tv in order to get some peace. And playing games? I usually do not want to because it takes more brain power than I have after parenting 5 kids all day. And I hate the mess that having 7 people living in a small house brings. I often feel swallowed by it while trying to keep on top of things. There is no physical rest.

To be sure, there is nothing wrong with those things that I aspire to do and we do enjoy those things together occasionally.  It is not easy for me though. I didn't take that into account when I was planning my own awesomeness this morning. How I need Christ.

Almost as soon as we got home, the chaos started. Barry had a gig today across town, and so he left and I was on my own. The children were not fighting or being unkind to each other, but it can be just sort of naturally loud in a home with 5 children, ages 9 and under and I am not a big fan of loud at all. It doesn't naturally bring out in me all of those qualities I was smugly planning on having while sitting in the peace and beauty of my church this morning. It's quite the opposite actually.

And for this, I have Christ who forgives me and strengthens me and helps me keep going and doing good things when it is hard.

I want to put in a disclaimer that I love my job and I love motherhood. To me it is beautiful and sacred. I would do nothing different, and I would even welcome more children into our family. I believe truly that it is very good to do things that interfere with our self centeredness. These are the things that help us to grow. And nothing gives me more joy than being home with my children all day. I feel that I am truly blessed to be able to do so.  I am just not very awesome and could not do it on my own strength.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Story of the Rats

Rat hunting on a Saturday morning. That's normal, right?
If you are on my facebook, you have seen many posts about our new furry little guests. This has been by far one of the hardest few weeks of my life anxiety wise, and I thought I'd share the story.

We had heard that the city we live in was having a problem with rats, and that we needed to take the proper precautions. We bought new steel trash cans with good lids and made sure to keep Richards "bathroom" clean. (Richard is our dog). Over the summer, there were a handful of times that I would see a rat in my yard on garbage night, and while I thought it really creepy, I never imagined that they would actually get in our house. Still, we probably should have taken more precautions then, especially making sure that we had no holes in our roof or chimney, but we didn't. Our mistake.

Another mistake we made was to have a wood porch, but we just didn't think of it. Eventually we had planned to pour a new cement porch, but then we thought about moving and decided that it wasn't worth the expense, and so we didn't. We probably should have. Wood porches and decks attract rats.

So anyways, fast forward to about 3 weeks ago. Barry and I were laying down to go to bed. The house was quiet and all of a sudden we heard a rhythmic scratching sound in our bedroom. Richard has a paw that he likes to lick rhythmically and if he does it at the right spot in the house, it makes a scratching sound. I had heard this scratching sound a few other times that week and always assumed it was Richard and when I said "Richard stop" the sound stopped. This night however, when I said "Richard stop!", Richard came trotting into the bedroom from the living room. Barry said outloud "That wasn't Richard."

He immediately got up and went downstairs. I heard him from the basement say something, that isn't particularly nice, followed by "there's a rat down here!" He instructed me to go outside. He was going to try to scare the rat out of the basement and wanted to make sure he got out. The rat was standing in a spot by where the electrical wire for the airconditioning unit was coming in and the hole was just the size of a quarter-all they need to get in. (if you live in Warren or St. Clair Shores, check your houses). Instead of scaring the rat out, I heard Barry shout and then Barry came upstairs telling me that the rat bolted somewhere in the basement and he couldn't see where he was.

I don't remember exactly how we got back to sleep that night, but it was the first night of many with interrupted sleep. The next night, we had our niece's pellet gun in tow.

And the next night.

And the next night.


But the little rat is a very good hider. Several times we heard scratching below our bed, only to go downstairs and look everywhere only to find nothing.

We set up trap after trap after trap. Most of them were ignored, but the glue traps we set up got visibly moved out of their way, or they were very smart and loaded them up with insulation so that the trap wouldn't be a threat to them. Seriously, I had no idea rats were so smart. Every morning we woke up feeling defeated and every night we lost sleep. I finally just took to sleeping on the couch so that i couldn't hear him. They hadn't tried to come on the main level of the house.  I am assuming because of Richard. But maybe not. It doesn't really matter. it just matters that he hadn't, and we wanted to make sure that  he didn't.

We were fed up. We decided to take away any hiding spots the rat might have, so we emptied the entire contents of our basement out and put it in our garage and did some major cleaning up. Also that day, while I was away at my moms house, Barry pulled apart the front porch and made sport of rat hunting. He saw that they had burrowed under there and he took the hose and collapsed their little underground network, causing seven of them to rise up out of the muck. Barry shot them all with a pellet gun (very rewarding, btw)

We had hoped that that would be the end of it, but that night, the scratching was worse than ever. You can imagine how defeating that feels.

So. We decided to bring in Orkin. We weren't entirely sure what Orkin would do that we hadn't done, but we hoped maybe he would poison them somehow that we hadn't thought of. We had put out poison pellets, but the rats weren't interested in adding that to their diets. I heard there was a powder that rats breathe in that kills them. (there is, but it turns out that they never use it around kids or dogs because it is that deadly that you need to wear a respirator around it or you could end up dead)

The Orkin man walked around the property and found a few holes that he though were big enough to get in, and he set traps up all over the basement where we had heard him. He set up traditional traps and glue traps. Pretty much the same stuff we set up, only he set up a LOT more of them. He said it might take a a couple weeks to be able to trap them, as rats will not eat off of trap unless they are starving and have no other food source, and given the fact that he has ignored all of traps and poisons thus far, he must have another food source somewhere. A rats food source can even be dog poop, and while we religiously every single day clean up after Richard, we have neighbors that have a couple of dogs, and we can't speak for how often they clean up.

He did say, that he didn't think they were actually nesting in our house, because he didn't see any of the normal signs. That was relieving.

Anyhow, long story short, it appears that they are gone. We did hear scratching for a couple nights, and I saw one outside in the backyard 2 nights ago, but we haven't heard anything in 3 nights, after we patched one last hole that we found near our chimney. I think they are finally gone and I will be able to sleep easy once more.  It may take a while as every sound you hear at night suddenly becomes suspect. I wonder how long that will last.

Anyhow, the rats are gone! We can get back to our regularly scheduled basement finishing. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Family Pizza Night

My husband makes great pizza. I don't know how he does it. Mine never comes out as good as his. It is good in it's own right of course, but it tastes like homemade pizza. My husband can make his taste like it came from a pizza place.  I can use the exact same dough recipe as him (high gluten flour and everything) and it will still not be as good as his.

That's okay, because it gives me a night off of coordinating dinner and I enjoy relaxing. I'll help him out by chopping up veggies for toppings and setting the table up, but my duties don't go much past that. I enjoy some time playing with the kids or holding the baby while my husband works his polka-star magic on the pizza. We like to call his pizza "Uncle Barry's Pizza" and the dream is that someday he will have his own place. In the meantime, he is perfecting his recipe and we as a family are reaping all the benefits.

Everyone loves Uncle Barry's Pizza nights.

We had so much fun tonight, and every night when we have pizza night. The only problem with pizza night is that my kitchen looks like this afterwards.

But after an hour and a half or so of hard work, it eventually looks like this again....
No empty sink. With 5 kids who stay home all day long everyday, my sink is almost never completely empty for more than 5 minutes..:)

Friday, June 22, 2012

I am still here

I am not a good blogger. I want to be. I think of all these wonderful topics when I am away from my computer, but when I sit down to write my thoughts, I just draw a blank. The words don't come in any sort of way that makes sense.

It has been a long time since my last blog post, so I thought I might post a little about what we have been up to lately.

We are still doing school and will continue to do so throughout the entire summer. I will probably take about a 2 week long break in September, when everyone else is going back. I believe I did that last year as well and it was actually kind of nice.  We are mostly done with the literature and readings portion of school and now are just going to spend the rest of the summer finishing up our book work. It makes for nice, short
days.  We tend to spend time outside in the mornings and evenings and head inside for chores and school during the middle of the day, when its so hot that its better to be inside anyways.

I want to change some things up as far as curriculum goes next year, though I will still be using Rod and Staff for language arts and I definitely plan on keeping with Math U See. It has been the only math curriculum that I have really really liked. I especially like that it teaches me. I have not really ever been good with math and while for the younger grades it is not a problem, I will certainly need a refresher when we get into more difficult math and so I like that this curriculum will teach me as I teach them. For literature, copywork and history, we used the book-list recommendations from and that has served us pretty well, but I did find some of the literature a bit difficult for me, and I consider myself to be pretty good at reading, so I am not entirely sure that the literature is accessible for my young children.  When reading up on the concept of Charlotte Mason, I discovered that they really thought that reading difficult literature and having them do narrarations on that literature is completely possible for young children, but not if the literature has to compete with the television, and well, my kids watch their share of television and I can see where it makes it difficult. Lately since the weather is nice, I have been a lot better keeping the tube put away, but in the winter it is a struggle. My kids seem to be able to understand some of the stories, but certainly they struggle with some of it, especially Shakespeare. I received many groans this year whenever I pulled out the mint green Shakespeare book-which was written FOR children!! I could barely understand it myself, but then, I have not ever really been a fan of Shakespeare unless it has been turned into a major motion picture. (and just what does that say about my ability to teach Shakespeare? Not much) And since I don't know too many adults dependent on knowing the works of William Shakespeare, I think I am okay with pulling that from our curriculum unless they get their own interest in it.
Next year, we also may do some kind of Unit Studies to make things interesting for them. I will be researching that idea very soon.

I am enjoying the summer, spending my time in the mornings on my swing sipping coffee, reading, thinking, and just listening to the birds before all the children wake up. I have found that my days go much better if I have that quiet time in the morning. If my children end up being my alarm clock, the day just doesn't go as well. It's not always easy waking up that early though.

I am also enjoying these days of hanging clothes on the line. I just love seeing representations of my whole family hanging up there. It's beautiful to me, and if I can get them up early while I am sitting drinking my coffee on my swing, then it's even better. It's the small joys that I love so much.

Simon is getting bigger and cuter. He smiles and babbles and giggles and is just at that perfect quintessential cute baby stage. Soon he will most likely be crawling. I love that stage. I love all the baby stages really. The other day I had him sitting in our bay window watching the big kids play in the sprinkler. I wonder what he was thinking about. I bet he is making plans for when he gets to be a big kid too.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Holy Week Traditions

I love Holy Week.

Growing up (Catholic), we kept Lent (minorly-I didn't really understand it. I bet my kids don't really understand it yet either) and I knew we went to church a lot in between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, but I really did not understand what what was going on. I am sad to say that I really didn't understand much of what was going on period. I didn't know about the church year, or liturgy, or the special feast days. I was vaguely aware that some of these things were going on around me, but I didn't know that they were cyclical....well, except Advent. I always loved Advent Wreaths and counting down the weeks until Christmas.

I do think it is safe to say that I liked church as a child though. I recognized that something important was happening, even if I was a little bored. I made a bathroom trip part of regular liturgy, if you know what I mean. I am very thankful that my dad made me go week after week though. I definitely think it makes a difference in my life now.

Anyhow, I do so love Holy Week. I love that we essentially go through that whole week as He did those two thousand years ago, beginning with Palm Sunday, when Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem.

Then on Maundy Thursday, we go through the Last Supper that Jesus had with his disciples, and the institution of the sacrament. The service ends with the altar being  ceremonially stripped of all decor. I don't remember this from growing up, and the first time I saw this, 4 years ago now, it sent shivers down my spine. I did not realize that this was in preparation for Good Friday.

On Good Friday this year, our church had a Tenebrae service, in which we focused on the seven last words Jesus spoke on the cross.

  1. "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do"
  2. "Today you shall be with me in Paradise" 
  3. "Woman, behold your son! Behold your mother!"
  4. "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
  5. "I thirst"
  6. "It is finished"
  7. "Father, in Your hands, I commend My Spirit"
 The liturgical color is black. My Pastor wears a black  cassock and stole, and many of the elders and lay people also wear black. On the otherwise bare altar were 7 lit candles, and as each of the "7 words" were spoken (along with a verse of a  hymn and a very short sermon on each "word") one candle was extinguished until all of the candles were out. After all of the sections were complete and all of the candles were extinguished, my Pastor walked over to the lecturn and slammed the book shut which made a very loud BOOM...A very powerful non-verbal statement of "It is finished". At that same moment, all the lights in the church were turned off  and we sat in the darkness, with only one lonesome little candle lit in the front of the church lit. In the dim light, from the choir loft in the back of the church, the spiritual song "Were you there?" was sung by a woman with a very strong voice. The way her voice echoed in the darkness and nothing else was going on really caused us to focus on the words of the song. When the song was completed, my Pastor took the lonesome candle and walked to the back of the church. From the back of the church, in almost total darkness he recited First Corinthians 15:51-57

"Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed---in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on the incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality; so when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in Victory.' O Death, where is your sing? O grave, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the Law. But thanks be to God, Who gives us the Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Then a final benediction was read and everyone left the church in complete reverent silence.

I only had my sons with me last night, as the service is long and very serious and quiet, and we did not think we could handle it with Simon. Barry attended Maundy Thursday with the three older kids, and I attended Good Friday with my two older sons. They loved the service because of its uniqueness, and the "scary part" at the end (scary is the wrong word here, but it certainly would stun almost anyone to silence). I love that there is a special service that recognizes the graveness and seriousness of the crucifixion.

When we return to church on Easter morning, the contrast after leaving so quietly in the dark on Good Friday will be very obvious. The altar will be decked out with lilies and white. We will have a processional. Everything in there will be bright and joyous, and we will sing special songs focusing on the resurrection. We will bring back the special songs that we have stopped singing during Lent and we will go to the altar for the Lord's Supper. It is beautiful, it is happy. It is wonderful.

I really love Holy Week and am so happy to be back in a christian tradition that keeps it. Traditions of course in no way have any saving power, but they can be a powerful teaching tool and can be very good for helping us to focus on specific parts of what we believe.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Our Paczki Aventure

Our spot in line at the New Martha Washington Bakery 

Last Fat Tuesday, my cousin Paul jealousized me with a picture  a buttercream frosting filled paczki from the New Martha Washington Bakery in Hamtramck. I had never gone to Hamtramck for a *real* paczki before, and after eating my sad little paczki that came from an italian bakery in St. Clair Shores, and then reading about his BUTTERCREAM paczki that came right from Detroit's little polish town, I decided that the kids and I would make the trek to Hamtramck the following year. Today was Fat Tuesday, and so after listening to my Polka Star husband on the Paul W. Smith show on WJR, the kids and I got geared up and ready to go.

The kids were pretty excited at first, but then when we arrived and they saw how long the line was, they were a little less excited.

Don't they just look thrilled?

Well, it started off well. They weren't thrilled, but they weren't whining either. A couple of guys in line joked with me about how we were fighting the elements for our paczki, and then when Rebecca started to cry, I said that I suddenly felt like a bad mom, and they started saying things like "we could pile it on thicker for you, like point out how you didn't even bring any toys or anything." LOL. The line moved along and I really thought that we were going to make it, but then Rebecca started to cry uncontrollably, saying "I can't handle this. I can't handle this" and then suddenly I felt REALLY bad. She was complaining that her toes were completely frozen and she needed to get inside somewhere warm, so despite the fact that we had already waited 30 minutes and were near to the front door, we got out of line. I didn't think it was *that cold* but Rebecca wasn't exactly properly attired either, as when we were getting ready to leave home this morning, she couldn't find her boots, so I believed her when she said her toes were frozen.

As we walked back to the car, different bakeries were running through my head. We had to get something since we had taken the time to drive out there and stand in the cold, and I actually even called my mom to see if she would be willing to watch the kids while I stood in line again, and she was willing (Thank you mom) but in the end, I decided to forgo it. Simon had slept in his stroller wonderfully during the first wait, but I didn't really have any hopes of him doing it a second time, and it would really be a shame to have waited in that line twice, only to have nothing to show for it, so we headed to the butternut bakery, about 5 minutes drive from my house.

I have driven past this bakery many, many, many times while living in our house for the past 11 years, but I have never once been in it. Otherwise, I may have noticed that it was a cash only business.

I got all 5 kids out of the car and into the bakery, where I snapped this picture of happy kids who were getting their paczki's.

Then, when I went to hand her my debit card, I saw the CASH ONLY sign on the cash register. Oy. I got all 5 kids piled back up in the van and we went across to the street to our bank, got our money out, and headed back to bakery, where I again, got all 5 kids out of the van and we went inside to pay for our goods.

At last, we had our paczki's. And I must say, they were very good. Probably not as good as the fresh ones from the New Martha Washington bakery though, but that's okay. We're pretty happy with how everything turned out.

At last!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Lent and the Liturgical Year

Pastor Rutter teaches the children about the season of Epiphany

I don't know how I grew up Catholic without learning about the liturgical year, but I did. I remember as a child seeing on my father's church bulletin something about "5th Sunday in ordinary time" or something like that, but I never knew what ordinary time was. I was right in that I figured it wasn't Advent or Christmas or Lent, but beyond that, I didn't know what was meant by it. I am sure that it was probably covered at some point during my elementary school years because I attended a Catholic school, but as a child with attention deficit disorder, I didn't remember any of it-though I have a very clear memory of being taught about the order of Mass.

Anyhow, the liturgical year is awesome. It was one of the things I was very excited about returning to and learning about when we were becoming Lutheran. I am very excited about teaching my children about the liturgical year as well. It is something good for even protestants and other types of christians to learn about because certain aspects of it come into play for them as well.

Anyhow, these seasons occur over the period of a year.

  • Advent
  • Nativity (or Christmas)
  • Epiphany
  • Ash Wednesday
  • Lent
  • Easter
  • Ascension
  • Pentecost
  • Assumption 
  • Ordinary time

There are actually many little special days that occur within that framework, but those are essentially the seasons.

The traditional mainline churches follow something called a lectionary, in which each week, certain scriptures are read. There is a 1 year and a 3 year lectionary and different churches use either one of these lectionaries. By using this, we get through a good bulk of the bible each year, and the readings line up with whichever liturgical season we are in. So for instance, during Advent, the scripture readings are taken from the books that talk about the coming Christ, both in preparation for Christmas, and also for the second coming. During the Nativity season, all the scriptures pertain to, well... Christmas. During Easter, all of the scriptures pertain to the resurrection. And so on and so forth. It is a wonderful educational experience. I am learning so much more about Christ and who He is and what He did through this format. It is rhythm that you go each year and it blends so well with the life of Christ. From Advent (waiting) to Nativity (He is born) to His circumcision to His baptism to His ministry and all through His life all the way to His last Supper, crucifixion, resurrection, and assumption. Each year cycles, and just as Christmas and Easter are special parts of the year for almost all Christians, there are other parts of the liturgical year and the traditions that come with that and are held dear to us.

Each season has a special color, and there is a feeling of great joy when our family walks into the sanctuary and sees the candles lit and the color has changed, especially on Christmas when the color is white or on Easter when the color is Gold. It is very exciting, and to know that Christians have done this and kept these traditions for hundreds and hundreds of years.  The traditions of course have no saving power or anything like that, and we don't believe that Christians *have* to follow these traditions, but one thing about traditions, is that they can help set our hearts towards a certain thing. Like Christmas lights and a nativity scene can help us to think about Christ's birth, the gold color when we walk into the sanctuary on Easter morning can help us to remember that He is alive! It is a wonderfully joyous thing.

Anyhow, Lent is beginning this Wednesday. Lent is a season of penitence and self-denial (that is why we "give things up" for Lent)  Lent lasts 40 days (because Christ spent 40 days in the wilderness being tempted) and begins on Ash Wednesday.  It is different for different churches, but in general, in the Lutheran church, we give up something (such as facebook) and replace it with something that will bring us closer to God. (I plan on reading more scripture, praying, and doing more devotional time with the kids). It is true that this should take place all throughout the year, but Lent is a special time where the church does it all together. And it has great meaning for those who keep it.  Some churches give up meat and dairy and other things during Lent, but Lutherans typically don't, although almsgiving is something to consider, where you eat less, and then give what you would have normally given to the poor.

This year during Lent, I plan on spending considerably less time on the internet, giving up my facebook addiction completely, which will be so hard, but so good for me. In years past, we have also given up tv as a family, though we will not be doing that this year. This year, my kids will choose what they want to give up (if anything-though it will be encouraged). Traditionally, the lenten fast breaks on Sundays, but Sunday's are our family day and I don't get on the internet much on Sunday's anyhow, so I may break the fast on Saturday's instead in order to check email and update my blog or livejournal, so I should still be here in a very limited way. It will be so good for me though. I have seriously been lacking in my daily reading and prayer life.

And with that, I end this entry. Tomorrow is paczki day, and we plan on going to Hamtramck for the real deal!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


A couple of days ago, I did something a little crazy. I took all 5 of my children rollerskating. NONE of them had ever gone before. I have happy memories of rollerskating as a child and I picked up on it rather quickly, so I figured that maybe my kids would as well. I don't remember anybody actually teaching me to skate. I learned just by putting the skates on. I knew it was going to be a little challenging because I was taking all 4 plus a baby by myself, but I knew a couple of other homeschoolers who would be attending and so I figured that they would help me a little by watching the baby while I helped my kids out. Its not usually too much of a problem to get somebody to hang out with Simon for a little while. He is rather sweet.

Anyhow, it was a bit of a catastrophe. I don't think any of them really skated. They more or less kept falling and then getting up again. At first, the baby was screaming as well, and I started to write the whole thing off as a waste of time. This picture pretty much sums up our time there.

Here is Matthew, Rebecca, and Sophie all falling. This happened over and over and over for the entire hour and a half we were there. None of them wanted to give up though. None of them wanted to leave. I was so proud of them for sticking with it even though I would have definitely given up.

Ahh.. finally, the baby fell asleep. I took him over to my friend Melissa who was just sitting and chatting with some of the other moms. She had offered to keep an eye on him while I helped my other kids out.

I got my skates on and was surprised that I had to learn how to skate all over again, and let me tell you, it was much more difficult as an adult than it ever was as a kid. I managed to not fall flat on my face, but I came close on several occasions.

The kids didn't really get much better while we were there, but they made me so pleased by their unwillingness to give up. As we piled into the van to go home, Matthew and Andrew both proclaimed that they can't wait until the next homeschool skate. Maybe when this comes around again, I can get Barry to come with me. It might have been just a little too crazy to do all by myself.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lots of babies

I really really love my children and I really really love babies, especially MY babies. There is just nothing else like having a new baby.

Matthew was my first baby, and upon coming home from the hospital with him, Barry declared that that was the most awesome experience he had ever had and he wanted to do it again right away. I was right there with him! I had an amazing pregnancy (even if I was sick) and I was completely taken with little Matthew. He was so tiny and sweet and perfect. How could I not want TEN of these precious ones? In fact, I have always told my babies and still say it with little Simon"I love you so much, I want TEN of you." So, needless to say, we really didn't try to avoid getting pregnant with another baby.

Andrew was born 20 months after Matthew. A second born child is in some ways even more exciting than a firstborn because the new baby changes your own firstborns role from "the baby" to "the big brother" and you are walking through that with them. I had another excellent pregnancy, and while everything wasn't as new and exciting as it was with my first pregnancy, it was a very comfortable pregnancy and I enjoyed it very much. Andrew was a beautiful baby and I was thoroughly enjoying life with my two boys.

At some point in my early adult life, I assumed that we would only have 2 children, and I thought that they would be boys. I remember looking them over and thinking.."This is it.. we have arrived. This is where normal people would stop." I wondered if this would be where we would stop. My heart longed for a baby girl though, so I hoped we would have another baby.

We did. Rebecca was born 21 months after Andrew was born. I was SO excited to get my baby girl. At the ultrasound appointment, when my tech told me she was a girl, tears immediately welled up in my eyes without me even realizing it. It was such wonderful news. I spent the second half of my pregnancy on cloud nine waiting for her arrival. I bought pink clothes and got to get a girl nursery ready, which was something I didn't have to do with Andrew, since he just went in Matthew's bedroom which was already a nursery. Having Rebecca was just such a dream come true right down to her name. I have written down girl names on paper ever since I was a little girl, and Rebecca was always one of them. Her name is music to my ears and she is even more delightful than I imagined having a little girl would be. The first 8 months of her life were spent living away from our home near Detroit. We lived in Mid-Michigan in a little duplex and it was such a sweet peaceful time in my life. I loved having 3 little ones.

After Rebecca, I think we thought for a while that maybe we were done, but it wasn't long before baby fever struck again and shortly after, we found out that we were expecting again.

Sophie was born 20 months after Rebecca was born. We didn't find out the gender of our baby when I was pregnant with Sophie. I was hoping that it was another little girl because I wanted Rebecca to have a sister close to her age. When the time came and they presented Sophie to me and Barry said "We have another little girl", I was so happy. Two boys and two girls. Each of them 20-21 months apart from the next sibling down. Amazing. Symmetrical. Beautiful.

Emily: Are we done now?
Barry: Yes. I think so

So we get to the business of raising our 4 children. Soon our littlest is one and we were not expecting another. Then she turned 18 months and we were still not expecting another. I started to get the baby itch.

Emily:Do you want another one?
Barry:Do you?
Emily:Sort of. Maybe. Yes.

More time goes by, and life happens. Some joyous things. Some sad.

Around the time that Sophie is 2 and a half, we found out that we were expecting again. It was not exactly planned, but it was not exactly a surprise either. Barry and I had a reserved joy during that pregnancy. It was taxing for a couple of reasons and both Barry and I are sure that we don't want to do this again. Number 5 will be the last. For sure. Period. End of story. We talk about taking steps to make sure this is the case.

Then our little Simon Barry was born. Matthew was 8, Andrew was 6, Rebecca had *just* turned 5, and Sophie was nearly 3.5. It had been a while since we had a newborn baby. He was so tiny and beautiful and angelic. True to myself, I hold him and tell him over and over that I want ten of him. I just love him so much.

While we were still in the hospital, Barry told me as he was holding his newborn son....."I could do this again."

I smiled and thought to myself...."Me too."

Will there be more?

Time will tell.

Here are my babies

                                                              Matthew 2003

                                                              Andrew 2004

                                                                   Rebecca 2006

                                                                      Sophie 2008

                                                                    Simon 2011

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Big brother Matthew ADORES baby brother Simon. After changing Simon's diaper on my bed, I left for a moment and when I came back in, I found Matthew tickling him and making him smile and laugh. He does this everyday. Matthew has a soft spot for babies and I think he will make an excellent daddy one day. Anytime I need somebody to keep the baby busy for a minute or two, he is my first volunteer, although all the kids love to help. Now if only he would change diapers.

Anyhow, precious moments shared between siblings is definitely one of the reasons why we homeschool. I want my children to be best friends.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Starting my blog

I'm Lutheran. I homeschool. I couldn't think of a catchy name for my blog so I just went with "A Lutheran Homeschooler" for practical purposes. I tend to be a pretty practical person as a general rule, so there you have it.

This picture of my family was taken a few months ago at the baptism of our youngest son who was only 11 days old at the time. Allow me to introduce my family to you. From left to right we have Rebecca (5), me, Sophie(3), Andrew(7), Matthew(8), my husband Barry who is holding baby Simon. Also pictured here is Pastor David Rutter of St. Paul's Lutheran church.

I am starting this blog because I think it will be a very good way to scrapbook these years as my children are growing up. I am definitely getting a late start as Matthew and Andrew are half grown already, but I have kept a journal dating back to when they were babies, so I will once in a while post something from that journal here so that it will get documented and printed out.