Category Archives: Kiddos

The birth of Benjamin

After working on this for a few days, it’s done.  The details are fuzzy in some places because it was so intense – it’s harder for me to remember some things than it was when I had Erik.  Still, I thought I’d better document it before too much time went by – I just love having these stories for each of my kids.

Benjamin Joshua was born on May 21st, 2010 at 12:01 am. He snuck his way into Friday even though we were certain he would be born on Thursday. We were also fairly certain he would be a girl – but he got us there, too. The one thing we weren’t surprised at was his size – everyone was predicting a big baby and he felt huge when I was carrying him. He still wasn’t as big as Jenny was (9 lb 6 oz), but he was longer than any of our other kids at 21 inches and he weighed 8 lb 14 oz – just eight ounces under Jenny’s birth weight. He was also very late – according to my longer cycle, he was eleven days late, and according to the due date my doctor gave me, fifteen days late. Unfortunately, he refused to come on his own and I was induced on Thursday morning (May 20th).

I went in Wednesday night to possibly be induced and was told that they had too much going on in the maternity ward at the time(five women walked in to deliver babies within a twenty minute period that afternoon). They did a non-stress test on me to make sure baby was doing well – I had a non-stress test on Tuesday night as well so this felt a little redundant. They quickly deduced that he was an active baby but almost too active – so they sent me home to walk for an hour and put him to sleep. We went back to the hospital a little after ten and I was put back on the monitor. He did what they wanted – slept – but they left me on until midnight. I kept thinking about the fact that I had to be back in the morning at seven thirty – and that I wasn’t sleeping well as it was. We went home and went to bed (the kids were already at Mike’s parents’ for the night) and went back in Thursday morning.

Around eight o’clock on May 20th, the first induction gel was administered by my doctor, who then had six hours in town before needing to leave – I hoped to quickly go into labour and have the baby before then. That didn’t happen. We were told to come back if my contractions got bad or if my water broke, but otherwise to come back at two o’clock to have a second, larger dose of gel administered by another doctor. I had contractions but nothing too crazy and managed to have a short nap before we went back in. When I was induced with Jenny, a first gel was given on Tuesday night, then a second Wednesday morning and Jenny was born four and a half hours later. I fully expected things to work the same way this time; they would give me the gel and I would go into labour so fast they wouldn’t bother sending me home again (something I was getting pretty sick of). We went in, the second gel was given, I stayed on the monitor for half an hour and we left again. We came home to eat and watch a movie and around five or five thirty I started having stronger contractions that were bad enough to breathe through. I took a bath and decided around six thirty that we should go back in. I was scheduled for a third gel at seven, so we figured it wouldn’t hurt to go early and see if the contractions were working.

We got checked in and put into a delivery room right away – a good sign since it generally means they won’t send you home again. The nurse told me later that based on the pain I appeared to be in, she expected I would be dilated to a six or so when she checked. No such luck – I was only one centimetre dilated. It was about quarter to seven and I couldn’t imagine going through that kind of pain for much longer. After a shift change, the new nurse suggested I try the shower – something that hadn’t really worked when I was in labour with Erik. I thought I’d give it a try anyway and it turned out to be a good idea. The shower I had used with Erik didn’t have good heat control and would go cold frequently and also didn’t have a handheld shower head like the one this time. I was able to sit and keep the water on my belly or back during contractions while Mike sat on an exercise ball in the little shower room. He was roasting (or steaming, I suppose) but he stuck it out with me. I figured that even with how bad things were, if I could just stay in the shower, I could make it through.

I was in the shower for more than an hour the first time before the nurse had me come out so she could check my dilation. I was pretty hopeful because things were getting worse, but she said I was only two, maybe three centimetres dilated. This was at least an hour and a half after she had checked me the first time and I was starting to feel incredibly worn out. I got back into the shower and about twenty minutes later, the nurse came back and said that the doctor wanted me to consider an epidural, just because I was progressing so slowly but was in so much pain. I mulled it over, thinking that if I got out again in another hour and still hadn’t gone anywhere, I might consider it. I’ve always been very anti-epidural, and because my labours are generally really quick, never imagined getting to the point of needing one to begin with. But after six hours of sleep the night before, a very long day and a trying labour so far, I knew that if I wasn’t progressing, I was going to need some sort of help. The next time the nurse checked me she said I was four or five centimetres – this sealed the deal that I wouldn’t be getting an epidural, but I still felt frustrated at going so slow. The strange thing was that at this point, she also started saying she expected me to deliver any time. Ben’s head was still high but she said she had seen women go from this point to pushing in fifteen minutes before. She suggested fentanyl for the pain, but said she would have to start an IV for that. Then she said maybe I’d like to try the gas – something I had used with Jenny but not found particularly helpful. I took one breath through my nose in the mask and didn’t think I could do it – it just smelled so awful. The next contraction came and she said I should just try to use it once. I tried putting the mask just over my mouth instead of my nose and it worked. I don’t remember what time it was then, but around eleven o’clock, she checked me again and said I was eight – this was probably the one time I really felt happy throughout the whole labour (up until the point that Ben was born, anyway). Five minutes later, though, she said I was a six or seven. Still, she rushed around, calling the doctor and getting the room ready for delivery. The gas was still helping – before I started using it I was nearly screaming with pain (something I generally don’t do in labour), but now I was able to just breathe deep through contractions. From there, my memory of it is mostly just a contraction coming on, putting the mask to my mouth, breathing through the contraction and collapsing when it was over. I felt funny but the gas wasn’t staying in my system for too long so I would just about be over the weird feeling when I’d have another contraction.

As soon as I was confirmed to be seven or eight centimetres, I started feeling the urge to push. The nurse kept checking me and telling me to wait – plus they were waiting on the doctor to come. When he came, he checked me, said I was good to go and I started pushing. Mike says it was either eleven twenty-five or eleven thirty-five when I started pushing. The doctor broke my water then, and they found that it had a bit of meconium in it, but wasn’t very dark (which just meant that Ben probably wouldn’t be affected by it yet). Jenny took me forty-five minutes of pushing, but the boys took only eight and ten minutes, so I was sure that this baby would be born by midnight. Maybe because of his size, he took longer. It was nearly midnight when he crowned and his head was born, but his umbilical cord was wrapped twice around his shoulders so essentially, he got stuck. The doctor cut his cord while he was still at that point, just to make the rest of it easier. They were coaching me, telling me not to push (which, for anyone who has never done it before, seems completely impossible) and finally right at midnight I was able to push again. I asked later and the nurses agreed that Ben was fully born at one minute after midnight. If he had been born at midnight, they might have said he was born at eleven fifty-nine and fifty-nine seconds, just so his birthday could be the 20th and not the 21st, but that one minute meant that the 21st would go on the birth certificate. While the labour was hard and the delivery took longer than my last two babies, I feel more or less the same as I did after the other boys – probably due to having no need for stitches. With Ben’s shoulders getting stuck, I’m actually quite surprised that I avoided tearing or having an episiotomy.

They took Ben to the little table to suction him well since he had pooped before he was born but found pretty quickly that he was healthy. They laid him on my chest skin to skin and we had a good snuggle before he started eating. He ate for about an hour and didn’t want to quit but we figured it was a good idea to get everything cleaned up and get to bed – it was nearly two o’clock in the morning by then. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to breastfeed all my babies right away after birth, and especially Ben and Erik who responded really well to it in the first hour or so after birth. Ben and I got to our room after he was weighed and measured and Mike went home a little after two. I only stayed in the hospital that night and the next night and left on the morning of the 22nd – I was feeling good enough that I didn’t see any reason to stay longer.

Other than some latching issues with breastfeeding – Ben has a small mouth, a big appetite and NO patience – things have been going very well. Jenny wasn’t disappointed by another brother even though she was rooting for a sister. We’re getting into the swing of things with a new baby in the house – making sure everyone is gentle and no one tries to pick Ben up and move him (something that Jenny and Erik have already tried). Mike had the weekend off and since it was a holiday, Monday as well. He took Tuesday off of work and went back yesterday (the 26th). I’m napping whenever I find the time – sometimes sleeping while sitting in the rocker after nursing Ben. The great thing about the older kids is that they play quite well together and aren’t incredibly needy, which means I can focus on Ben most of the time and do things with them when he’s sleeping. I’m still a little stunned to be the mother of four – and especially that three of those four are boys! I never imagined myself having three boys at this point, although I have always hoped that we would end up with three of each. No telling if we’ll end up with any more girls at this point, though! I’m rather smitten with my newest little boy and can’t wait to see his personality form over the next years.

My sweet little Ben

A very proud big sister


Filed under Kiddos, Nine Months

It’s a……

BOY!  There was a tiny moment of surprise at seeing the evidence that I now had three sons, but I couldn’t be happier.  Benjamin Joshua was born at 12:01 am on Friday, May 21st.  He is a big baby – 8 lb 14 oz and 21 inches long.  The labour was tough but I feel great now and Ben is healthy – that’s obviously the most important part.  I’ll give the full story later, but for now, here’s a few pictures. 


Filed under Happiness, Kiddos, Life, in general


Yes, today is my due date.  Well, according to my long cycle, anyway.  My doctor’s little wheel says that I was due on the sixth, but they apply that to everyone, regardless of that fact that we are all different. 

I spent the weekend quite busy and uncomfortable for a good deal of it.  So uncomfortable that I was sure I was in labour more than once.  My contractions were bad enough Saturday night to invade my dreams and wake me up.  Bad enough Sunday morning during church to send me to a rocking chair in the nursery because the pew felt so hard and I thought I might moan with how much pain I was in.  No, they were like real labour – or at least not like real, active labour.  But they were strong enough to make me think I was in the early part of labour.  Which apparently I wasn’t. 

The good news is that when they got this bad with the boys (I never had contractions at all with Jenny until I was induced), they were born within a few days.  At this point, this kid has to be born within a few days – or within ten at least.  My induction has been set for the 20th of the month – I was hoping to push all the way to the 24th but my doctor gave me two weeks from her due date for me, rather than mine.  This is, of course, after letting me believe my whole pregnancy that we could go two weeks from my dates.  I like my doctor, but she still has to follow the rules..and those say that you can’t give a woman more than ten days with a big baby.  Or something like that.

I’ve been feeling good today – too good.  I wish I was still having contractions.  At least then I could figure on having the baby really soon.  Or maybe this will be like it was with Elias – nothing but tiny cramps all morning on the day he was born and when I went in to the hospital with something weird going on (something falling out of me that wasn’t baby), I was six centimetres dilated.  I hadn’t even felt any of that! 

My sister-in-law came over this morning with her boys – we stayed in the backyard for more than three hours and the kids had a good time.  It’s nice having a backyard and children who don’t mind playing in it – it means I don’t have to pack them up to go to the park unless I’m up for it.  The downside to this morning is that it got hot, I changed into shorts, and ended up with a sunburn on my thighs.  Not a nasty one, but I’m sure it will bug me a bit for the next few days.  My arms may have actually gotten a bit tanned, though.  The kids don’t show any sign of being out there, amazingly enough.

Here are the boys looking through the fence at the neighbour’s dogs.  We found out after I took these pictures that Erik can fit all the way through the fence.  Guess we’ll have to train him out of that!  Or build a better fence.

Auntie put all the kids (except the youngest) into the wagon and took them on a few laps around the yard – they loved it and she said it was a good workout. 🙂

I’m going to say optimistically that I won’t be writing until the baby is born.  We’ll just pretend I didn’t say that if it takes another week.

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Filed under Kiddos, Life, in general, Nine Months

A peaceful morning

I was having a snuggle with Erik this morning before we got up and was thinking about things changing soon when the baby is in bed with me instead of Erik.  It’s truly bittersweet.  I love my times with him in the morning while he has his cup of milk and a cuddle.  It made me think about the special relationship I have with each of my kids.  Then it dawned on me – I have that to look forward to very soon – another unique relationship with this child.  My relationship with each of them is different and as they grow it continues to change.  Erik doesn’t talk much yet so ours is more physical – hugs and kisses and lots of mommy taking care of his basic needs.  Elias and Jenny never stop talking and understand deeper concepts than Erik does – obviously.  I can have a conversation with Jenny and if she’s in the right mood (as in, not off in her own world), she understands and responds – albeit in the way a child under five would.  Elias is harder to actually converse with but does listen and respond as well.  Elias tends to react the most lately to my being gone – he will cry on and off for the few hours I’m gone by myself, while Jenny and Erik don’t ever do that.  I’m not sure if it’s his age or the thought of another baby soon coming to take up more of my time, but he’s rather heart melting right now.

Anyway, all that to say that it was a good bit of reflection and looking forward that I did this morning.  I will have a relationship with this child that will be shaped by many factors – by whether it is a boy or a girl, his or her birth order (if this turns out to be our last – you never know – or not), relationships with the other kids and with Mike.

It would be great if I could keep my mind busy all the time with looking forward to the baby’s birth (among other things), rather than frustration that it isn’t here yet.  Because goodness knows I’m feeling that an awful lot.  I can only keep my hands busy with cleaning, cooking or crafting for so much of the day before my energy just plain runs out on me.

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Filed under Kiddos, Nine Months

Thirty-seven weeks…but hey, who’s counting?

Oh, right, I’m counting!  Three weeks until my due date…twenty-one days.  I’m not going to go into hours or minutes – that would be overkill.

Full term is nice, but a baby in my arms would be nicer.  🙂  I’m getting quite impatient and there is only one way to combat that – stay busy!  Forced nesting, novel reading, movie watching, solitaire playing – whatever works.  I came up with an idea last week that I hope will work for me – I’m going to give myself two options each day on a weekly to-do list.  My options for today are installing the baby carseat or finishing up on our bedroom.  Both need to be done before baby gets here and if I have the energy, I’ll actually do both today.  I was going to just have one thing to do each day, but then I realized it would be all too easy to feel too tired or overwhelmed by one task and skip it, leaving the whole day wide open.  Installing the seat today would be quick and I could do it while the boys sleep this afternoon.  It would take a good deal less effort than cleaning my bedroom but is also something that Mike could do, while the bedroom is definitely my job (only because I want it a certain way and it’s mostly my mess, not his – sheepish grin).  I got about halfway done last week while Mike was gone (more on that later) and it won’t take too much time but I want to do it thoroughly and not just rush through it.  It’s hard to say what I’ll decide on today, but I will have to make up my mind in the next half hour.

So, yes, Mike was gone from Wednesday morning until Friday night.  We survived, but just barely.  Wednesday offered a bit of time alone while my mother-in-law watched the kids, and then lunch with her and my sister-in-law (and all the kids).  That night was smooth and Thursday morning went just fine, too.  It all went downhill halfway through naptime on Thursday.  The boys woke up and Erik was having a hard time breathing.  We’d all had colds for some time so it wasn’t a big surprise, but still a pain.  I put the kids down at seven that night and watched a movie to unwind after a rough afternoon.  I should have gone to bed.  I had just fallen asleep around eleven when Erik woke up for the first time.  What followed was a very long night.  I was up once an hour with one of the kids – Jenny ended up sleeping with me half the night and throwing up twice in my bed – thankfully she’s old enough to wait for the garbage can to be strategically placed before puking.  Elias was only up once to go to the bathroom but then realized that Jenny wasn’t in bed and freaked out.  Meanwhile, I developed pain in my head and nose that felt like a sinus infection, which really didn’t help.  Erik and Jenny both had their inhalers twice overnight and by morning I felt ready to crawl under my bed and hide until Friday night.  We struggled through the day and when Mike pulled in around nine-thirty, I was practically euphoric.  The good news is that we got better over the weekend.  We stayed busy enough but had a nap both days.  We still all have runny noses and I’m still getting a sinus headache now and then, but we are better.  The best news is that Erik never had to go into the hospital.  I’ve gotten used to taking him in nearly every time he has any sort of cough or cold because his breathing gets so laboured.  We just went through that a few weeks ago and I was really not looking forward to it again so soon.

Anyway, now the boys are in bed and I’m fairly certain I’m going to go with carseat installation today.  There is also laundry to be done and I’ve had to turn Jenny down for three days in a row when she’s asked to help me fold laundry.  If she’ll keep up the colouring long enough for me to get the carseat in, I suppose we’ll probably take the laundry into my room and get that done.  It is never ending and there’s no point in letting it pile up for too long – it gets easier to leave it and harder to do when I don’t fold every load or two.

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Filed under Illness and Injury, Kiddos, Nine Months, The H Word

Why I do what I do

Even when it’s hard, it comes down to this – these three beautiful children God has blessed me with.  In all their goofiness, with their strengths (they are incredibly caring and loving children) and weaknesses (they are also very strong-willed – all three of them), they are such a blessing to me.  And being blessed with a strong godly husband certainly doesn’t hurt 😉

Jenny and Elias hanging out in a box, making their own fun.

Erik being goofy – not sure what he’s going for here but he sure is cute!!


Filed under All things mommy and daddy related, Kiddos, Mi familia

Antics of childhood

Overheard in our house this morning:

“What are you guys eating?” I asked my daughter.

“It’s just the most final thing in the whole world,” says Jenny.

“You mean raspberries?”

“Yes, raspberries.”

Apparently raspberries are the most final thing in the world..whatever that means.

This afternoon:

Hearing scuffling and arguing, I told the kids to stop fighting.

“We’re not fighting,” Jenny says.

“Yes, we are fighting!!” yells Elias.

“No, we’re not!!”

“Yes, we are!!”


You get the picture.  Elias is such a boy.

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Filed under Kiddos

Where to start?

I miss the old days – when words just floated through my fingers into the keyboard and extreme fatigue or nausea didn’t place a block in my head.  But I have to re-start somewhere as I’m not about to give up.  I’m getting a netbook soon and I’m planning great things with it – like spending one evening a week catching up on my writing – so I’m not going to quit blogging just yet.

Anyway, here is a recap of this past week (post-birthday entry).

Jenny got over her infection quickly, thank heavens, but all the kids are still a bit runny nosed.  Erik was in the ER on Friday night because his breathing was so wheezy and I didn’t really feel like leaving it alone was in his best interest.  He just now finished up a four day course of prednisone.  He’s still coughing up a storm and I’m a little bit concerned that he might need antibiotics to get rid of it.

Friday after the hospital, I went to watch Mike play hockey with his dad.  I don’t know who won.  I spent the majority of the time taking Elias to the bathroom.  I’m seriously thinking that he likes the bathrooms in the new arena so much that he’s peeing his pants just so we have to go there.  The third time I took him, we stayed there for nearly fifteen minutes, drying his pants and underwear under the automatic dryers.  Jenny kept saying she had to go again while we were there – I think this is because she really likes the sink and wanted an excuse to wash her hands one more time .  My kids are so weird sometimes.  The big perk to Friday night and that ER visit is that Mike set it up for the kids to spend the night at his parents’ house, since he was playing hockey and we didn’t know whether I would be going home or not.  They left the game a bit early and I just had Erik for the rest of the night.

We had a lazy start on Saturday, mostly because of our late night on Friday and the fact that this was the first Saturday that Mike has had off for about a month.  I honestly cannot remember much about the day, except that it was fairly surreal having only one child to deal with.  We headed over to Mike’s parents’ house around eleven and played games and napped for most of the afternoon (read: Mike played games, I napped).  We had a nice Mennonite meal for supper – corn, Farmer’s Sausage (don’t ask – I have no idea what to compare it to because I’ve never eaten it…it smells good cooking, anyway), homemade noodles and tilapia.  Okay, so the tilapia was mostly for me and not really Mennonite at all.  In fact, being blackened cajun tilapia, it was pretty much the total opposite of Mennonite food.  Mike had yet another game on Saturday night, this time with his rec. team and I decided to go because we were already out anyway.  Once again, I don’t know who won.  I spent most of that game telling my children not to play with the caution tape strung all over the arena and feeling frustrated that one woman there was letting her grandson do whatever he wanted with it.  And also, talking to my sister-in-law and her sister-in-law.  I haven’t had much time to talk to Marcy lately and it was a real treat.  She has the baby bug pretty bad so she’s enjoying our kids and my pregnancy and hoping to have a few more next year.

Sunday came too early as we had decided to go to the early service.  We did this because our Thanksgiving meal was set for 3:30 that afternoon.  Second service gets out after noon most weeks, which would give us about forty-five minutes to go shopping for salad fixings (since that was my offering to the meal), have lunch and get the kids home and to bed for a nap.  We decided that although we would inevitably be very tired in the morning, we would force ourselves to get up and get to church by 9:15.  Church was over by 10:30 and we headed out to get everything done.  The great thing is that the kids were down, I had the salad more or less ready to go and we were able to have a nap, too. 

Thanksgiving dinner went very well and we celebrated my birthday afterward.  Again, I can’t remember much except that my sister-in-law is making me a nice crocheted toque (a hat, Americans :)) and Mike’s parents gave me a nice bit of money to add to my computer fund.  We left in time to get home and put the kids to bed in a hurry before Mike went to yet another hockey game – this time a church game.  Three hockey games with three different teams in three days – yes, that’s my life.  This time I stayed home (obviously, since I didn’t feel that leaving the kids home alone was a good idea) and was determined to be productive.  I sat at the computer for at least forty-five minutes and suddenly started feeling sick to my stomach.  It got worse over the next hour and I wondered whether I should stick to the plan or avoid any work.  I finally decided that I would feel sick whether I folded laundry or swept the floor or laid on the couch reading.  I swept under the table (I think my kids think we have a dog – they leave plenty to eat for him under there…come to think of it, having a dog would make my job easier at times).  I noticed while I was sweeping that the walls were coloured on, spilled on, and scuffed up and decided that while I was at it, I should wash them.  So, totally against my nature, I grabbed a bucket and some towels and started scrubbing.  With the aid of a Magic Eraser (I love those things!), I got it looking much better.  They are still in sore need of a coat of paint, but at least now if I feel like painting, the walls will be clean.

I finished up the evening by folding about four loads of laundry and getting another two or three going.  In between the cleaning, I threw up a few times.  It never did make me feel better.

On Monday we managed to sleep in until nine and then Mike got up with the kids and fed them and entertained them until after eleven, when I finally got up.  The strangest thing is that with how sick I was on Sunday night, I expected to feel bad when I woke up.  I felt totally normal on Monday morning – go figure!  When we finally were up and dressed and fed, we went back to Mike’s parents’.  My sister-in-law from out of town had wanted to play a particular game all weekend and Mike and his dad finally played it with her that afternoon, just before she and her husband had to head home.  I played another game with my mother-in-law and brother-in-law while the kids napped (or rather, while they messed around and got into trouble about six times for not napping).

After more food, more dessert and a few more games, we went home and had supper.  I talked to my brother after not talking to him for a few months and Mike slept a bit while the kids were watching a movie.  This was also when Elias decided to somehow get the disk drive stuck open.  We really can’t figure it out and will probably be taking it somewhere to get it fixed.  Mike rented a movie that we didn’t like very much and we stayed up later than we should have.  Nothing new there, anyway.

This morning at around seven, I woke up to hear Jenny yelling, “Oh, my! Oh, my!  Oh, my!”  I ran in and she said something about her “breathe” and that she was going to throw up.  I rushed her into the bathroom and..nothing.  I figured taking her back to my room would be smarter than sending her back to bed, just in case the puking really did happen at some point.  It turned out to be a very good decision – although my sheets are now in the wash and my garbage can has vomit in it.  After throwing up, we both went back to sleep and slept until after nine when the boys woke up.  I’m now assuming that whatever was wrong with me on Sunday night is what was wrong with Jenny this morning, as she seems just fine now.  I guess it’s just a really short-lived bug.

Anyway, I should probably be having a nap right now, but like I said, you have to start somewhere and now seemed like a good time for it.  And anyway, I can always go to bed early tonight.  Oh, right, Mike has another hockey game.  Sigh.

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Filed under Holidays, Illness and Injury, Kiddos, Life, in general, Mi familia

Making the most of what we have

I am currently working my way through A Sane Woman’s Guide to Raising a Large Family by Mary Ostyn.  It is fantastic so far.  The author is the mother of ten – four biological children and six adopted – and she advocates attachment parenting and co-sleeping andis a Christian to boot.  She also has a very relaxed attitude about her large family.  She obviously takes it seriously, but isn’t uptight about it.  My favourite part so far was when she admitted that she doesn’t make her bed every day.  Ahhh, how nice.  A little reality when it comes to housework.  She talks about the perceptions people have of the mothers of large families – that they are either insane or incredibly organized – and how she is neither. 

Anyway, I’ll probably get around to a more detailed book report when I finish the book, but I realized that what I wanted to write about today tied into what I learned reading this book.

One of the things that Mrs. Ostyn advocates is room-sharing between children.  Obviously this is necessary in a family with ten children unless you are millionaires and can afford a house with eleven rooms.  She also encourages readers to change their current space rather than assume they need something bigger when they add to their family. 

I would not be considered the mother of a large family – yet.  I intend to be in that category eventually, but with only three children, I’m not quite “crazy” yet, especially living here, where it is very common to have a minimum of four children per family.  Knowing that I at least hope for more children makes me want to think of myself this way even now and prepare our family for more children even before we are expecting them (yeah, that answers that question – I am not pregnant again…yet). 

We currently live in a two bedroom, one bathroom home with no basement and only about 800 square feet of living space.  We have a shed for storage, but no attic and no garage.  We have three children sharing one room that contains a bunk bed, a toddler bed, a playpen, bookcase, toy box and Little Tikes vanity.  We have a total of two closets in our home.  Yes, two.  No pantry and a minimal amount of kitchen cabinet space.  We currently have over the door hooks or organizers in every room, just for extra space for toys, towels and clothes.  There was a time not too long ago that I looked around this house in despair and wondered how we would manage if we could not move before another baby was born.  I have talked to God about this and asked that He not give us another child until we can move, but now I think He may have other plans for us.  Fifty years ago, families lived in houses the size of ours with four kids – and often more.  They did not have huge television sets, computers or an abundance of modern appliances taking up space.  Their children did not have every new Playskool toy from the Sears Wish Book (was there a Wish Book back then?) and did not need what our children seem to “need” now. 

I will admit that we have too much stuff.  We have more clothing than we need, my children have more toys than they need and we have managed to fill much of our space with other things that we very seldom use. 

While getting rid of at least some of this stuff will help our space issues immensely, adding better storage solutions will help with the things we can’t go without.  One issue I have is running out of places to store food.  It is a huge money saver to buy in bulk and limit your grocery shopping trips as much as possible.  The problem I have is that when I do stock up like this, I end up with food all over my counter tops and even on the floor in my kitchen because there is no cabinet space left for it.  Yesterday while putting something up on the wall in my hallway, I realized that if we put shelves up at the top of the walls in the hallway, they would not be seen by most people (as the hallway is mostly hidden from view when in the living room) and they would hold some of the gadgets I don’t use often, or the bulk foods I don’t have room for in the kitchen.  The size of our house comes in handy here, as the hallway is right outside the kitchen and I wouldn’t have to walk far to get to what I needed.  Yes, it may make our house look a bit cluttered to have shelves all over the walls, but it is a space solution that is relatively cheap and does not require any actual construction. 

I have determined that we could easily sleep four kids in the second bedroom, although the space will get tight when it comes to clothing and toys/books.  Under bed storage will be used under every bed (including the play pen when possible) and whatever isn’t needed in the house will go to the shed.  I am also considering buying a second, smaller shed to go just off the back deck so that the kids’ clothing could be stored there when not being used (i.e. larger and smaller sizes that are being saved for other kids).  In the winter, it is a pain in the neck to have to walk all the way across the back yard to get to the shed for kids and maternity clothes when needed, but there is simply no space in the house for the dozens of bins required to hold all that clothing. 

My hope is that by using our space more efficiently, we will be able to stay in this house much longer than we assumed we would be able to.  We paid $126,000 for this house four years ago and our payments with property taxes are under $900 a month – you cannot beat that without living in a trailer or renting.  Currently, we would have to pay upwards of $250,000 for the size of house we would want to move into – something with a minimum of three bedrooms and a basement.  Staying here a little longer will enable us to save money and build up the equity in our home.  It will also help us down the road to know how to live in somewhat cramped circumstances and know that we can manage it without any trouble (or without much trouble, anyway).

Stay tuned for more on the book in a few days (I’m almost done!).  And if you don’t want to wait, buy the book – or do like I did and check it out at your local library.


Filed under Home Sweet Home, Kiddos, Life, in general, Money, Reading

Recycling with children

My blog has felt a bit like a downer lately, so here’s something I found pretty funny this last week.


A list of non-recyclable things recently found in our bins on a trip to the recycling depot:

  • A soother (pacifier)
  • A doll comb
  • A light blue baby t-shirt
  • Two training wheels

These items were presumably stashed by Erik, who was more than likely hording them so that he could have something to play with in case his older siblings ran off with all the other toys.  I’m not sure what he planned to do with the training wheels…perhaps a miniature bicycle for himself?

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Filed under Happiness, Kiddos