Thursday, December 12, 2019


Life is a series of moments. A conglomeration of hundreds of little things all shoved together to define itself as one day in my life. And all those days stacked end-to-end will be the whole of my life. How many years will I have to live? How long will that life be? What will I do with my time here?

And even more importantly, what will I do with all those little moments shoved together to make that life I am calling my own? 

So many things I do that don't seem that important. Ballet buns. Making lunch. Organizing closets. Sorting laundry. New shoes. Lost stuffed animals. Defrosting dinner. Making the bed. A movie as a family. Farm chores. Cleaning. Disciplining. Listening. Loving.A quick kiss. A hug. A reprimand. 

On and on the moments go ...

I am not sure when life started just flying by. It seems to me that it took forever for me to become an adult, and now that I am one, it feels like it is going by way too fast. I yearned for children for a decade. And now I have four of them and they are nearly half-way raised. 

I know all this. And yet I find myself frustrated so often ... Why can I not savor the moments better than I do? Why do I get so frustrated by the lost winter gloves and disorganized schoolwork and messy rooms? How do I lose my cool so easily? Why can't I see the big picture clearly? How does it so quickly get sucked out of my perspective? I want so much for my children to look back and say: "My mom, she was present in the moments." 

And while I am for some of them, for so many, I feel like I forget the big picture. The point of those little moments. 

To feel love. To give love. To share Christ's love. 

In our entire life.

In all the moments. 

Writing these words so that I can try to remember, 


I continue to strive in my life to simplify. To live simply. To live freely. STUFF doesn't always allow that. Having children has been so hard as they have their own STUFF to add to the STUFF John and I already have. The more organized you are, the more free time you can have to do the STUFF that really matters.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

We Bought a Farm: What my life is like right now

It's been awhile since I just flat-out wrote about my life on this-here Blog. 

So this post, is about my life.

I thought I would share what my life looks like right now.

  • I farm.I am dirty. A lot. I'm a dirty farmer. Some farmers stay clean a lot. I am constantly dirty. Poop. Mud. Whatever. It's on me. Right now we have guinea fowl, sheep, ducks, geese, and chickens. The winter is always a lot slower with daily chores but we fill it with things that we have put off for awhile. 
  • I homeschool. I really like homeschooling with the 9 children together. It works really well for me. I like teaching the older kids. Some days are easy. Some are harder. Kids have a lot of moods. And so do I.
  • I clean. I have a housekeeper. She comes once a week. She is my friend Jennifer. She rocks my world. I couldn't do what I do without her. But despite the fact that she does the hard stuff once a week, I am doing the day-to-day stuff everyday that keeps us from ending up with too many junk drawers.
  • I delegate. I give my kids whatever I can for them to do. The girls and boys rotate emptying the dishwasher. (Girls one time. Boys the next.) The boys do their own laundry. The girls are getting close to it. The kids keep their own rooms clean. Anytime the house starts feeling cluttery, I call an audible and ask everyone to join me in the living room for 5-15 minutes of help getting us back to the starting line. The boys each have an animal they are in charge of. The girls help with the dogs. We talk often about how we are a team here on the farm. I do understand why old-time farmers had a lot of kids. They are very helpful. :)
  • I manage. I am the farm manager. I don't want to be but I am. This means that I am communicating between grandparents and husband and Jacob and Anni and the Kotynskis and other farm volunteers to keep the farm moving in the right direction. It's my main job. Everyone has what they are good at here. That's what I'm good at.
  • I communicate. So much of my day is communicating. To sell eggs and meat and coordinate deliveries and what-not, I have to be available and connect with people. I wish I could simplify this part of my life, but I don't really see how I can. 
  • I try to limit my technology. I am constantly working on simplifying my need for an online presence. I have removed the Facebook app. for my phone. I have stopped texting lengthy discussions/conversations with people and try instead to call them or MarcoPolo with them. I do play Scrabble everyday with 4 family/friends, and I really enjoy that. It's the only game I keep on my phone. I work to not be on my phone in public as much as I can. I want to set an example for my kids that we don't need gadgets to fill dead time. 
  • I read. I read some sort of book (usually historical fiction) everyday before I go to sleep. I like to read it during the day too if I get me time. I try to bring my book with me wherever I go and read during down times. 
  • I nap. I still nap but a lot less than I used to. I am lucky if I get a nap once a week. It's still one of my favorite things to do for ME. 
  • I pray. I want to spend more time with God than I do. I try to keep a constant ebb and flow of prayer in my day-to-day life. Reading the word, scriptures, prayer ... as much as I can. But I do NOT get daily time at a certain time in a certain chair everyday. I take what I can get. I would love to be more diligent about this, but I am not sure how to do it with the type of life I live. 
  • I chauffeur. I keep the kids going with their activities which include:
    • Ballet (Abigail -- 2 classes a week and Hannah 1 class a week) plus usually 2 rehearsals a week for the play Pollyanna which will be presented at the end of January.
    • The boys Karate (1 class a week)
    • All four kids gymnastics (1 class a week)
    • Speech (Sidge and Abigail 1 time a week)
    • (Tennis is done for the winter)

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

We Bought a Farm: Our Country Kitchen

At long last, our kitchen is finally .... complete. We never got our backsplash finished during our renovation. I love that my husband grew up with a contractor for a dad who taught him all of this handy stuff. 

A day later — our backsplash is complete. I absolutely love it. My forever kitchen — well done hubby of mine!!

Tuesday Truth

Monday, December 09, 2019

Blokus for half price!

Folks, we LOVE this game in our house! And right now it is 50% off at Amazon! And even better, if you click on the image below, Because of Isaac will get between 5-8% of the purchase price! This is a great Christmas present. A wonderfully family game for the WHOLE family. All ages can play together. Check it out!

Sunday, December 08, 2019

We Bought a Farm: Some Farm Pics from Joni

While Joni was here she did her usual awesome photography, and I got some fun pics that I wanted to share. First up, Isaac wants Joni to have an opportunity to feel the softest duck head ever on one of our crested ducks. So, he caught the duck as illustrated in the photos below: 

Next up, a photo series showing our guinea fowl steal food from all the other animals on the farm: 

Next up, an attempt at getting some pics of the girls in their Tuesday homeschool gymnastics class:

Saturday, December 07, 2019

We Bought a Farm: A date night

John and I drove to Lexington, Virginia (about 4 hours away) to pick up a new ram. We have a farm there that we love that we buy a ram from every year or two. We ended up buying two “little” guys. 

Even better: we got an evening away. We went last night, had a lovely dinner while we watched a local Christmas parade, stayed at a hotel, and woke up this morning to get the rams and head back to the farm in time for a wedding we are attending later this evening. 

It cracks me up a bit that our date includes buying rams 


Thursday, December 05, 2019

Homeschooling Silence

It is often that silence ensues in my home. Today I was homeschooling eight. (My friend Erin’s two daughters joined us for the day.) My cousin Hannah was homeschooling the three “Littles” upstairs. I had given the eight kiddos in my charge an essay topic related to James Herriot’s novel. They had ten minutes to write an essay they had to read out loud. 

Silence ensued! 

I may do an essay everyday. :)

We Bought a Farm: "Free" Meat

There is nothing "free" on a farm. I've realized that even shooting a deer means an entire day of working to take that deer and turn it into meat that you can eat. You have to skin it, and break the meat down. And then in our case, ground the meat.

Yesterday JB saw two deer right near our house. Jacob had gotten one last week. And yesterday, JB got two. All in all, these three deer put over 100 pounds of meat in our freezer! John shot them early in the morning, and it was near dinner time that he and Jacob finished the entire break-down process of the meat.

We like to eat deer meat mostly ground around here. We mix it with our lamb and it makes amazing burgers. Mixed with turkey or lamb, we can throw it in spaghetti, lasagna, enchiladas ... everything!

I simply can't put into words how exciting it is to see your freezer fill with meat nearly magically. :) (It feels all the more magical because I was schooling and didn't help much with the process at all.)

(Also, it turned into a pretty cool science lesson for our kids as they watched and saw the different parts of the body -- heart and lungs, etc.)

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

My husband is a doctor. A family-medicine-turned-emergency-room-doctor, specifically. I love this fact. I love that he knows so much about all the injuries I face as a mother of four young children.
In the eleven years we have parented together, our kids have had stitches from making unplanned contact with tile floor, asphalt, a coffee table, a dining room table, the handlebars of a scooter, a brick wall, and a Thomas the Train windmill (possibly thrown at one child by another, but I won’t get into that right now.) We have also had two broken wrists from separate decisions to ride a bike down a steep driveway and a grassy hill, respectively.
Seriously, how do all you moms do it without a doctor in the house? Despite having my husband there, we’ve still had to make multiple trips to the ER for things that have happened while he was away. Kids have so many little things go wrong. Rashes. Cuts. Bruises. Coughs. Sore throats. Allergies.
It’s crazy.
But last week, it was a much simpler problem. My ten-year-old son Elijah (who goes by the nickname “Sidge”) had something small pop off his braces. Being as I really wanted to avoid a one-hour round trip to the orthodontist for a thirty-second repair, I asked my husband to try to fix it.
He had Sidge stand up against a wall in our bathroom, I shined a flashlight in Sidge’s mouth, and John got to work on repairing the broken brace using some little medical tools he had on hand.
Just a few minutes in, I found myself nearly in tears. Sidge had passed out. Too long with his knees locked and his neck cocked back had resulted in him doing a faceplant onto the bathroom floor.
Again, I was glad to have my husband with me as Sidge started making seizure-like movements. John informed me this was completely normal when someone has passed out and is coming back around.
As my husband finished fixing Sidge’s braces with our son now lying on his back so he wouldn’t accidentally lock his knees, John turned to me and said, “Isn’t God cool?”
I LOVE getting to write for The Glorious Table. Here is another place I had the honor of writing for them. To read the piece in its entirety, jump over to THE GLORIOUS TABLE.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Piano Recital Night

Tonight was our annual Christmas piano recital. The kids did great! Joni was here for it as were JB's parents. The Kotysnki family participated this year. A wonderful evening!

Hannah had Daddy go on stage with her -- feeling a little shy.
Our once shy little girl didn't bat an eye before playing. Abigail really seems to have a gift for the arts as well.
Super proud of Sidge. Piano isn't easy for him, but he works so hard and diligently!

Isaac did a great job! He was the grand finale of the performance with the "Hallelujah Chorus." I am continually amazed with the ease and confidence Isaac displays on the piano. He makes very few errors, he doesn't get nervous. He adds a bit of his dry humor to his approach and retreat from the piano. He's got a gift, and it's so fun to watch him in his element. The piano has gotten a lot harder for him recently. He's left the "easy stuff" and is onto really studying hard pieces. But he nailed both of his pieces this evening. 
Joni helping with the cake!
Grampa and Grama drove in from visiting Elizabeth in South Carolina JUST in time for the recital!
A great pic with the grandparents! 
Oh the ways in which we try to get Isaac to smile ....

Silly Joni
Silly Hannah

The Kotynksis are taking piano with us this year. In fact, our piano teacher comes on Thursdays and does TEN lessons in a row! 
I had to blow up this picture of my Hannah. I just loved it.

We Bought a Farm: Hammer Time

Anni spent one of her traditional Sundays with us here on the farm. She and Hannah braved the winds to plant some trees. Here's some cute pics Joni got of the kids working on the trees. I love all the outdoor things my kids are always getting to do here at the farm.

Monday, December 02, 2019

We Bought a Farm: Opening up the Chickens 101

Every morning it is the job of our our ten-year-old Son Elijah (aka "Sidge") to let our approximately 150 chickens out to free-range for the day. He feeds them, gives them water, and let's them off to their bug-eating, grass-scratching, hawk-dodging life.

When dusk come, they'll wander back up the ramp and into their roosting spots for the evening, safe from predators of the night. A grown-up will shut the chicken door and let them sleep sweetly until Sidge returns the next morning bright and early.

Seeing all the chickens fly out for the day never ceases to cause me happiness. I love that our birds have such a great life. It does mean that sometimes we lose one to a hawk, but getting to live outside in the fresh air and sunshine and eat bugs as intended, brings me joy.