4 Moms 35 Kids: we go live!

Last updated: 9:45 PM. Links to other participants have been fixed.

Scroll to the bottom for most recent updates.

I’ve live-blogged 2 labors in the past 3.5 years (The Boy and Bethany, and another due in 10 weeks), but never a “regular” day.  I’ll freely admit that I’m very curious how this day will go.  If it goes perfectly according to our schedule which I shared last week, that would be beautiful – but also undeniably boring.  I’m not concerned, though.  How often do you think that really happens?

I also can’t help but think it would be really fun if things went horribly, hilariously wrong.  Not just badly, but bad enough in such expected ways that we (and spectators) can’t help but wonder, “What next?”   That’s always when I start blogging in my head.  It’s very therapeutic, and both my husband and my children have learned to recognize the glassy-eyed grin.

It might happen.  There’s a reason for the tagline in our blog: methods and madness.

So here it begins: a live-blogged day, right here in the Shoe.  Look below for updates as often as we can muster, and feel free to comment. We want to know if it looks anything like your family’s brand of madness, or are we alone in our world?

Don’t forget to drop in on the other 3 moms and 25 remaining children to see how their day is shaping up:

  • Headmistress (The Common Room)
  • Connie (Smockity Frocks)
  • Kimberly (Raising Olives)
  • Thanks to The Happy Housewife for calling us all crazy linking to the 4 of us today.

    10:50 PM, Wednesday night: I set up this post and schedule for bright and early Thursday morning, since I might not be up before you.  See?  You’re winning the Good Mom contest already.

    6:45 AM – Dad, Mom and the big children rise.  He decides to take Deanna (16), Megan (11) and The Boy (3) to work with him today, so we get The Boy out of bed too.  He is thrilled.  So are those who will stay home, since this means a quiet day.  It may mean a boring day, but they’re not thinking of this at the moment.

    The big girls work on preparing breakfast and packing lunch for those who are leaving.  Dad and Mom shower, and Dad flirts shamelessly with Mom after they are dressed.  The kids carefully ignore them.  Mom wonders if she should blog the entire day in the third person.  That could get old and awkward since she’s not at all used to doing so.

    7:30 AM – I take the workbound crew to the park & ride to meet Uncle Justin so that I can use the van later today for a midwife appointment.  While I linger at the park & ride to read my Bible in the quiet, empty van, those left at home exercise and read their Bibles over a cup of tea or cocoa.  Ahem.  Don’t they?

    8:40 AM – I arrive home to find one industrious child and two freshly showered sloths.  The rest are still sleeping.  I think that probably leaves 3, since 3 went to work with hubby, but it’s early and I haven’t had my coffee yet.  Wait, I don’t drink coffee.

    Chores commence in earnest while I update our blog and peek at the other moms to see if their children are better than mine.  Breakfast will be served when chores are done.  Is that clear? And it is not your turn to be sick today!

    9:15 AM – The house begins to look neater and a pleasant hum emerges as children really wake up and begin to move about.  The 5yo is still asleep.  The 8yo is in bed, reading to the baby.  I’m ok with this because she’s the child who tells me she doesn’t like to read, and who can resist a snuggly baby first thing in the morning?

    Usually when older children are at work with their dad I divide their chores among the other children.  Today, because I know the world is watching, I do them myself.  I’m easily motivated that way.

    Breakfast still hasn’t happened in a formal way, but it’s becoming apparent that most of us have already eaten at some point this morning.

    9:35 – The little ones are eating (gasp!) Raisin Bran.  10yo Natalie reads Martha Washington (Childhood of Famous Americans) as she eats.  I realize that I am going to spend way too much time reading the updates of the other 3 moms today.  Kaitlyn is having a photo shoot with huge, gorgeous moth she rescued from the chickens.

    In a typical homeschooler moment, we all abandon what we were doing to identify it: a polyphemus moth.  We look up some more info.  This one is a male, judging by the bushy antennae, and has vestigial mouth parts: he doesn’t eat as an adult and has an adult lifespan of less than one week.

    10:00 – I brush the little girls’ hair and send them off to get dressed.  Kait edits her moth photos in Photoshop and the others start school, beginning with Bible since they didn’t do that first thing this morning.  I wonder if I should have somebody grind wheat so I can start bread this morning; we’re down to 1/2 loaf.  I begin to think about dinner, too, since Deanna is gone today – she requested the daily chore of making dinner, but today I have to take her place.  Yes, my life is full of drudgery.  😉

    10:30 – I work on Frugal Hacks (behind the scenes and a new post based on an email from H&R Block).  The little ones watch The Letter Factory while the big ones continue their school.  Becca can’t find her math book.

    11:10 – Bread dough is rising in the mixer.  I had Becca grind the wheat for me.  We always end up with a bit of extra whole wheat flour, which I surreptitiously stir into the 25lb. bag of white flour.  Do you have any idea how hard that word is to spell?  My spell checker was no help at all. 5yo Rachael usually helps me with bread, but today she is watching  The Letter Factorywith Bethany.  Wait, what am I saying?  She got all the ingredients out of the much-too-low cabinets for me. I check my kefir, but it’s not quite done.  I’ll try to remember to put it in the fridge later today.

    Becca still can’t find her math book.  I walk into the library and spot it immediately. In her defense, it’s not in its proper place, although it is in plain sight.

    I sit down to update this post, and before I know it the clock says 11:30.  How did that happen?!

    11:30 – The girls celebrate the end of math by using a magnifying glass to set fire to their completed and corrected lessons.  I make a mini-book for Rachael at her request.  She writes in it, asking how to spell words.  Instead of telling her how to spell each word, I encourage her to sound out the easy ones.  We call this phonics the cheapskate way.  We enjoy a cantaloupe snack, although we really should be preparing lunch.

    Oh, and dinner – what’s for dinner?  I have beans soaking, but they won’t be ready in time for dinner.  Tonight is potluck, so we should do something big and good.  We take turns hosting, but this week is my parents’ turn so we don’t have to worry about having the house “company clean.”

    Bread dough is peeking out of the top of the mixer bowl.  That’s my cue to shape the loaves.

    12:30 – Lunch is served and nearly finished: leftovers for all!  The baby will be ready for her nap soon.  When The Boy is here they both nap at 2, but without him to keep things interesting she is ready for a nap much sooner.

    The older girls joined me as we shaped the bread into 3 loaves, and we had a casual conversation about why they might have a pain in their lower left or right abdomen at certain times of the month exactly opposite to other times of the month.  Teachable moments, these.

    The younger girls made mini-books of a sheet of paper and are now exercising, doing the new routine that hubby laid out for the family earlier this week.

    Ground beef is defrosting on the kitchen counter for taco salad tonight.  We’re excited about this, as it always goes over well.  And today I have avocados to go on it!

    1:20 – Bread just came out of the oven, and it’s beautiful.  We just finished a bucket of hard red wheat and started a bucket of hard white wheat.  White makes a much higher, softer, lighter loaf!  We’re so thrilled with the results, 3 of us take pictures.

    Kaitlyn is drawing and Lydia is loafing, but both will back on school shortly;  Natalie and Becca have some chores to finish and then they will do some quiet reading.  The baby and Rachael will lie down and I might do the same in a few minutes, though I have to leave for my prenatal appointment in about an hour.

    Right now I am looking at the wedding registry for my brother and his wife-to-be.  After my appointment I need to get them a gift for the bridal shower this Saturday, and for the wedding on the following Saturday.  I’m hoping to discuss the choice with hubby before I go shopping – or I might just meet up with him on his way home and we can shop together.

    2:00 – The little ones are falling asleep in my bed as I type.  This is the part of the day where I would go read to them, give a brief reading lesson, practice catechism…but instead I’m here typing an update.

    I’m also putting on makeup and giving instructions before I leave for town.  I still have a few minutes but this part always takes longer than I expect.

    Kaitlyn: Dinner.  Taco salad, with homemade catalina dressing combined with salsa.  Layer it prettily on the big platter.  This is relatively easy but she also takes care of general supervision, since she has been an adult since the age of 3.

    Lydia: Rip 12 CDs and convert to MP3 format for Dad, as directed.  Backup copies are essential in our house, where the expected lifespan of a CD or DVD is about 3 uses.  Keep the laundry running.

    Natalie and Becca: Finish afternoon chores; do your non-fiction reading and write a brief summary of the chapter.  Do your work before you play.

    All: Update the blog if anything noteworthy happens, like empty laundry bins or the dog giving birth.  Hitch a ride to Grandpa and Grandma’s house to start potluck festivities without us if Dad and I aren’t back by 6.  You know we won’t be.

    3:55 – Just got out of the midwife’s office and called the kids for an update.  It went something like this:

    Me: Hi.  I’m done at the midwife.  Are you all doing the things I told you to do before I left?

    Child: No.

    Me: (Nice show of honesty there.  Work ethic needs improvement.)  Well…get on it!  I love you.  Let me talk to someone else…

    Repeat 3 times.  I ended with an admonition to update this post by telling what everyone is doing or has done over the last half hour.  Mental note to self: check blog in 30 minutes.

    Called hubby and left a message to tell him that the appointment went well.  Baby is currently breech, but no worries.  This uterus has plenty of room for a baby to turn.  There’s probably room for a 5yo to turn around.  Amazingly, people are telling me I look small for 30 weeks.  Maybe because baby is camped out in my diaphragm rather than where she belongs?

    Yes, she.  I’m assuming “she” until I learn otherwise.  So far, no crazy Asian ladies have grabbed my belly in WalMart and declared breathlessly that I’m carrying a boy.  Apparently that only happens when I’m carrying a boy.  Yes, this really happened to me.  Virtual hug and a high-five to the reader who can dig up that post for me, because I can’t find it.

    a-ha.  Now I feel like a dork, because I have to give myself a high five and a hug in public.  I found the crazy Asian lady post: Differences in Pregnancy

    4:20 (posted by Kaitlyn) – Hi, I’m Dory. uh, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a fish…

    Right now we’re all cleaning the house to some loud lively music. Since there are so many people missing we’re just puttering around, no one is taking care of any particular room (especially not me I’m on the computer!).

    Lydia hasn’t ripped all those CD’s yet because the computer won’t recognize them. I tried to help her and even with all my budding nerdyness (yes I know it’s not a word but I’m so budding-ly nerdy that I make up my own words. 🙂 ) I couldn’t help her.

    Now  I need to go crack a whip over the heads of all my little slaves (shhh!).

    Over and out!


    Dinner is  almost ready, but I need a recipe for Catalina salad dressing… MOM!!?  Natalie  and Becca have short-term memory loss  so they are both just starting  there writing but they have the motivation of going to Grandma’s house so that should go quick.   Rachael is getting ready:  brushing her hair and making a style (aka.  getting dressed ).

    5:55: Natalie is done writing and getting Bessie ready now that she’s awake from her nap. Lydia and I are getting ready.

    6:45 – Met up with hubby and the 3 children who went to work with him today.  Bought a gift, and we’re now heading in a homeward direction.  Depending on whether the other children finished what they needed to do and hit up Grandma for a ride, we may just head straight over the hill to their house.  If that’s the case, blogging is done for most of the evening since there will be very little going on in our house.  Do you really want to hear that the dog scratched herself, or the cat gave her dirty looks for doing so?

    9:45 – Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.  Potluck was fun, crowded and loud, with about 45 people in and about the premises.   We’re home now and the kids are doing some exercises.  We’re all very ready for bed, though we don’t usually go to bed until 11 or later.

    Let me be more specific: everyone but the baby is ready for bed.  She’s in her bed throwing an uncharacteristic tantrum.  She was clingy and out of sorts at Grandpa’s house tonight, either intimidated by the noise level or coming down with a bug.  Anyone care to wager a guess?

    10:13- Deanna speaking. Today I went to work and packaged CDs. It was pretty boring, but potluck made up for it. All of the people who don’t usually come were there all at the same time! Pretty awesome. In that time, I switched hats with my Uncle William, threw pebbles at people for no apparent reason, fought a poke war, and had to use sheer force to batter open the front door so I could get to dessert. I jumped on the trampoline with my best friend/dear auntie Briana, ate a huge fajita for dinner, and when we got home I had to do exercise >:P, and as soon as I wash dishes I shall go to bed.  G’nite!


    1. Serafina says:

      I think Amanda is on to something….I wondered when reading that the baby was just then waking–that could have something to do with evening crankiness and not wanting to go to bed…?

    2. I enjoyed this, too, and I would be interested in any more tips you (or your mom) would have for regular multi-generational large family gatherings. I’m sure you learn with practice to keep things simple enough so that everyone can enjoy being together often, but then I start to wonder how to celebrate birthdays and holidays when there are so many precious people to include.

    3. Ok, am I misreading this or did Bethany take a FOUR HOUR NAP???!?!??!! If so, I am insanely jealous and please tell me the secret!! 😀

      Sounds like a good day to me! Nice. 🙂

    4. Thanks for sharing your day! We have 7 (ages 1 – 12) – and I’m still trying to figure out what a “normal” day is around here! 🙂

    5. I think it sounds like a very full, good day. Well done. 🙂

    6. I love the live blogging of your day! Thank you so much for this peek into your lives. It makes me feel so much better to know we are not the only household that has kids that are still asleep at 9am on a school day. My public schoolers are up and out and then my little homeschooler does her work much better in the evening so I let her stay up and do schoolwork and then sleep in in the morning. Thanks!

    7. I enjoyed reading about your day. It’s so nice that your children are able to go to work with their dad. My husband needs security clearance for many of the places that he has to go during the day and he spends much of the day in the car traveling from one customer to another. He is hoping to start to include Matthew (our oldest boy) when he has a day that will accommodate that.

      I’m with Karen on the sick vote, but then again maybe I just have sick on the brain since we’ve been fighting it.

    8. When I read about the tantrum my first thought was getting sick. Hope she’s not but that is my wager.

      I loved reading about your day. Sounds a bit like some of mine. . .especially if I have appointments and such.

      It’s been fun reading and laughing along with you.

    9. plautustheplatypus says:

      Does Lydia need some help ripping? Are your CDs scratched or dirty?

      I use Windows operating systems, so I use Windows Media Player to rip. I have some experience (because we have lots of little children too and our CDs get scratched very easily), so let me know if you need some help.

      • plautustheplatypus,
        Thank you. As it turns out, the CD drive stopped responding for some reason. Once they rebooted the computer, all was well.

    10. This is so fascinating! I was wondering what a day in your life would be like! Thanks for posting.

    11. I’m requesting my husband read your blog on Thursdays because your days sound like our days and it will help me explain why the martinis aren’t always ready at 4:00!

    12. Melissa,
      Thank you for letting me know. I fixed the links so they go to the other moms’ current posts.

      Leigh and Tammy,
      The potluck started out with just family (and a dear family friend) but has grown to include several other families. It’s usually 25-40 people in total, and we do it every week.
      Hosting usually rotates between our house, my parents’ house, and my sister’s house, but sister has morning sickness so she’s out of the rotation for the time being.
      Leigh, we did used to have a big pizza night nearly every Friday but potluck has overtaken that and pizza became a quiet family night.

    13. I too want to know more about your pot luck dinners. What a nice way to keep up with family/friends. Didnt you used to post about a friday pizza get together.

    14. Is the potluck with your parents/siblings? Sounds like you do it weekly? What a great idea!

    15. Re: Becca’s math, I don’t blame her 😉
      There’s a reason they’re called *problems*.

    16. Looking forward to reading the rest of your updates. By the way, two of your three links to the other moms’ blogs go directly to their LAST week’s posts.

    17. Glad to hear I’m not the only homeschool mom with girls who try to sleep in! Since they’re older (13 and 15), we parents often turn in at night before they do. Although we did set a “10:00 bedtime” which just means they need to be ready for bed and in their rooms by 10 so they don’t keep us up. I’m not sure what time their lights are out, though…everytime I threaten to have a “lights out time” there is an uproar of “but if we can’t sleep we read!” And I know one for sure likes to read her Bible at night and writes verses on 3×5 cards to memorize; that’s a pretty good reason to be up! Oh well, I guess as homeschoolers we can do what works for us and not worry so much what others might think. That’s part of the beauty of it, isn’t it. 🙂

    18. Morning! I’m “tuned in” to the show!


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