What are you searching for?

Our blog has never brought in an impressive amount of search engine traffic (can anybody tell me why?) but the search terms that do bring visitors are always good for a few chuckles.

Here are a few that caught my eye when I reviewed my stats just now while working on another project:

How to fit a family of 7 in 2000 square feet – Really?  Maybe that was a typo: How to find a family of 7 in 2000 square feet, because I’m telling ya: we would be lost in that much space!

How to fit 6 people in a 3 bedroom house – I read this aloud and my kids stared blankly at me.  “Um…2 in each room? Someone really needed Google to tell them that?”

monthly grocery list for 300 – And I thought shopping once a month was a big job back when there were only 9 of us…

llama, llama red pajama activities – I’d really like to know what Google was thinking.  I’m reasonably sure I have never owned or blogged about red pajamas or llamas or any combination thereof or activities therein.

entertaining guests in small homes space – Well, acrobatics are out, but tap dancing or a mime act works well in a small space.

whyred ina shoe – whuuu?

quizno coupons – Me?  I rank for Quiznos coupons???   Thanks, Google!  click here! click here! (I get paid if you do.  How much?  Here’s a clue: if 8 or 10 of you print coupons, I’m off to Quiznos!)

labeling shelves in panrty – For starters I recommend avoiding typos, because that would drive me nuts on a label every time I lookd at it.  Also, I have to assume that I spelled pantry that way at least once since Google saw fit to send the searcher my way.

how to take out a toilet tank – would you believe that post sends me more search engine traffic than any other single post on my whole blog?  I’m in the top 10 on Google for how to remove your toilet tank, or nearly any other way of asking the question.

swelling during pregnancy indicates boy – Really?  Because my belly *always* swells.  I thought swelling during pregnancy indicated pregnancy.

swollten ankles pregnant boy or girl? – So far, every person I’ve met who experienced swollen ankles during pregnancy was a girl.

And all that was just in the last 2 days.  Who thinks I should do this more often?  What brings visitors to your blog?

Why I want to be a loser

As a mom of many and a homeschooler, I have learned that people will automatically feel judged by our decisions, and it’s perfectly logical.  When we decide to do things one way, we are demonstrating by our actions that we feel this way is better than that way – at least for ourselves, in our situation.

What our actions and decisions may not make clear is our reasoning and motivation.  Consequently, onlookers often feel the need to fill in the blanks.

Last week, a reader suggested that my own resolution to lose weight was unkind or even hateful toward overweight women.  I found it a little hurtful and I feel she is guilty of judging me just as harshly as she assumes I am judging her, but I also realize that it’s very important to clarify my reasoning and motivation so that others don’t misunderstand as she has.

Why lose weight when I have so little to lose?

I am exercising and eating less because I want to be a good steward of the body and resources God has given me.  When my level of physical fitness declines because I am eating more than I need to, or because I am being lazy, that is poor stewardship.  My weight or body-fat percentage does not measure my holiness or true beauty, but they can be outward indicators of some character flaws in my own life.  I was guilty of gluttony, and I know this because I was consistently eating even when I wasn’t hungry.  I was wasting food by consuming what I didn’t need and couldn’t even properly appreciate.

The weight that crept on over the years was not sinful; it was just confirmation of sin within me.

Do I believe that everyone who is overweight is in sin?

No.  That doesn’t mean that everyone who is overweight or heavier than I am is guilty of gluttony or laziness.  I know plenty of people who eat less than I do, exercise more, constantly fight hunger, and weigh more than I do.  A trim body does not equal holiness or righteousness.  But God has given me a body that can maintain a trim shape with only a reasonable amount of activity and self-control, and so I think it may be sin for me to be overweight.

I am not judging the personal habits or hearts of the people around me; I am judging my own.

Does fat disgust me?

On myself, excess fat does bother me, because it is a visible, tangible sign of my own laziness and lack of self-control.  I don’t look at somebody else’s squishy tummy and think, “Ew!”  because her squishy tummy doesn’t hold the same meaning that mine does for me.  On others, it’s not my business or my concern.  I don’t know their circumstances, their diet, or their health unless they choose to discuss it with me.  If they choose to join me in setting and sharing goals, I think we can all benefit from the accountability and encouragement.

I have friends who are heavier or slimmer than I am, and I value each of them.  I don’t judge them based on their weight and body type or what I saw them eat last time we were together, and I hope they don’t judge me based on anything so shallow.

Am I teaching my daughters to hate their bodies?

I don’t think so.  We laugh about the stretch marks on my belly and I call them battle scars.  My girls understand what I explain above – that I’m trying to hold myself to a high standard not because it’s the only way to be beautiful, but because God gave me strong muscles and it’s lazy to let them go to waste.  We know curves are beautiful, and they know that their dad likes my jiggly parts.  They know that some men like more jiggle than others, and that a good man loves his own wife’s shape and size.  They understand that a healthy woman has some fat on her body, and none of them aspires to look like a runway model.

Can fat people be fit and healthy?

A slim person can certainly be healthier than a fat person, and we all know it’s possible to be too thin.  However, there are undeniable connections between excessive weight and certain conditions like heart disease and diabetes, and not many are worried about an epidemic of skinniness in America.  In a nation fraught with health problems it’s not a bad idea to exercise more and eat better – and for most of us, eating better also means eating less. The undeniable pattern is that for most of us, an active lifestyle and a healthy diet will lead to a trimmer and leaner shape than we currently sport.

Do I think you should lose weight?

Wrong question.  Do you think you should lose weight?  Why?

Monday video

I had hoped and planned to share a new video every Monday, but alas! My plans were foiled by 3 long days in town and some busy days at home.
Instead, I have some old-tyme fun to share here.

Perry IV’s Army Crawl – The first time my uncle saw him do this, he chuckled uncomfortably, paused, and finally asked, “Hey, uh…is there something wrong with him?”

Bethany’s Hilarious Crawl – Of all my crazy crawlers, she is the undisputed winner. Years later, I still can’t watch the video without laughing.

Perry IV’s First Haircut – This was as much fun to edit as it was in real life, maybe more. The soundtrack was a special touch by Perry III, and I think it makes the video!  Parker’s first haircut is long overdue, so look for a video of him soon.

Prince Kisses Frog – We couldn’t believe he really did it.  Now we know more about boys, of course.

Next week, I hope to get back to posting interviews with the kids, followed by interviews with other persons of interest.

Which of today’s videos was your favorite?  Would you rather see more informal family videos like these, or interviews, or a combination?

Saturday linkage

Just popping in to share some highlights from the blogs I read so you can enjoy them and I can find them again someday.

Have I mentioned that I do nearly 100% of my blog reading on my phone now?  I [heart] my phone!  I use the computer to type blog posts and lengthy emails, and to tag people or share links on Facebook; nearly everything else happens on the phone these days.

A few months ago I had zero interest in a smart phone.  A few days ago, I thought I had left my purse in a shopping cart and was hyperventilating over the thought of losing…my phone.  I guess you could say my perspective has shifted.  I think Megan would understand.

Best blog posts I read this week:


What’s the best and brightest of your regular reads this week?

The loss of a friend

Posted by Megan (13yo)

I recently lost a dear friend of mine.  I hadn’t known this friend very long but in the all too brief time we were together, we had become inseparable. When I found out about the accident, I felt a gaping hole in the middle of my heart. The washing machine, that devourer, had killed my friend. This friend was named Ipod Nano the Sixth.
” Ipod,” I sobbed.  I cradled his broken body in my hand, lifting his face to my cheek.  ” Say something to me! Anything! Even Kathy Matthea!” But no. It was not to be. My friend was gone. We held a private funeral, during which scarce an eye was dry, and laid him to rest.
I remained inconsolable for several weeks, then decided that it was time to move on. I would find another Ipod, another companion to fill the dark hours of loneliness as we drove an hour to church, or the grocery store. I found a new Ipod, but as I did, I realized no other Ipod could take the place of my dear deceased friend. I don’t dislike this Ipod. I haven’t even taken it out of the case, but having him around was just too painful.
I sincerely hope he will find a good home, among people who will understand him, instead of someone who will be constantly saying “If only…”.
If you feel that this Ipod would be a good match for your family, please contact me.  He is fluent in Jonathan Park and can recite the complete audio library from memory.  I am asking $150 to help cover the cost of adoption fees for the new Kindle that will (I hope) be joining me on my journeys to church, the grocery store, etc.
For those of you that already have friends in Ipods, please, remember, their time is limited. Try to appreciate them while they’re here. Also, try not to put them through the wash.

For sale: One sixth generation Ipod Nano. Brand new, and fully loaded with Jonathan Park.

Retail Price $199.  My Price $150.

Free online pre-reading games

This one’s a little weird, but my little ones are loving it and maybe yours will too:

When I say weird, I mean the 13yo thinks the cute lil monster-characters are creepy, but everyone younger than her thinks they are adorable, and 7yo Rachael is hooked on the fact that she can make her own avatar.

In spite of the term reading games, Kabongo games don’t actually teach reading.  Instead, they focus on the skills necessary for learning to read later: following fun instructions, sorting and categorizing objects by size, performing sequential operations, noticing details, etc.

The kids really enjoy the quirky colorful characters and settings, and I love that there are no dating ads for them to accidentally click like on so many other free game sites.

If you try it, let us know what you think!

We’ll receive a small compensation if you or your kids play Kabongo.



A correction from the pulpit is worth a hundred from the pew

Just in case you’ve been laboring under the laughable assumption that we are the Mary Poppins family (practically perfect in every way), let me set you straight.

We normally sit in the back row at church.  I know many families find that the front row works better, but we have our reasons.

Reasons to sit in the back row at church:

  1. It’s nearest the exit.
  2. It’s nearest the bathroom.
  3. It’s the easiest place to insert 12 people who are often late with minimal disruption to others and embarrassment to us.
  4. It’s the least intrusive place for us to whisper corrections and threats, and play musical chairs as we rearrange and divide bad influences from one another.

Last Sunday we were a few minutes late.  Believe it or not, we were late for legitimate, unforeseeable reasons of church business.  Doubt me if you dare.  Even the pastor would probably agree we had a pass.  However, because we were late, our usual seats were occupied and we had to sit near the front.

Reasons to sit in the front row:

  1. The pastor will see fidgeting, bickering children and correct them by name from the pulpit.

I am reasonably confident we will never have to warn those particular children again – at least, not if we sit near the front where they know the pastor can see them.  I don’t know if that’s enough to entice us back to the front of the church, but it does change my outlook a little.

By the way, lest you think less of him, I am exceedingly grateful our pastor has the frank, outspoken personality that brought him to do this.  Perry was not sitting with us, and I was rightfully embarrassed that I missed the behavior that was happening under my nose.  Our children were rightfully embarrassed by being called out.  The pastor spoke with us afterward to make sure we weren’t hurt or offended (we weren’t) and to make sure we understood what the problem had been (we did).

Are you wondering which children were corrected?  They’ve suffered enough for their crimes.  I’ll never tell – unless it happens again.  Then all bets are off!

4 Moms: Large Family Logistics linky (appendices)

4 Moms 35 Kids answer questions about big families

Welcome, welcome.  If you’ve stuck with us for the past few weeks, you are probably already sold on this book.  If you still have doubts about whether it can help you, maybe this week’s post will clear them up.

I don’t always read the appendix in a book, but this time I’m glad I did.  These are helpful and meaty, but short enough that you can read both appendices when the kids start their naps, and they will probably still be awake when you finish.

The 2 appendices in Large Family Logistics are actually a good place to start if you are feeling overwhelmed or beyond help.  Fixing a broken system may seem hard when you’re barely keeping your head above water, but it can get easier right away – there’s no need for it to get harder before it gets easier.  If your daily life is in such a mess that you lack motivation to try to improve it, have a quick look at Appendix A: Coping While Exhausted and Overwhelmed.  It’s just 4 pages of encouragement and instruction on feeling better and starting on the road to improvement, with specific tips on how and where to start.

If  you just don’t know where or how to start, flip to Appendix B: Moving Beyond Survival Mode and use the checklist to get started in 12 easy steps.  This is basically a summary and condensation of all the material covered in the book – an overview to give you the big picture view so you know where you’ll be heading and how you’ll get there.  You can do this, and your family will thank you!

If you have your own copy of Large Family Logistics you are invited to blog about it and join us with the linky below!

Please remember the linky rules:

  1. You must link to a specific relevant post on your blog.
  2. Your post must include a link to at least one of the 4 Moms.
  3. The post to which you link must be completely family friendly.

If your link is deleted, you probably didn’t follow one of the rules above. Please feel free to add your link again once you have fixed the problem. If you don’t know why your link was deleted, please ask.

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Visit the other 3 4 Moms to see what they have to say about the second part of Large Family Logistics.

Upcoming topics for 4 Moms:

  • September 1 – Keeping your patience in the midst of chaos
  • September 8 – Lunches for hubby
  • Recent topics:

    About 4 Moms, including a complete list of all past topics

    We are “uninsured,” and we like it that way

    Last summer when Perry started jogging and doing an insanely rigorous exercise program at the same time, he also started having persistent chest pains.  He doesn’t like going to the doctor but after some equally persistent encouragement from me, he finally assented.  After 5 appointments, 2 months, and $1,100, we learned that his heart was fine but he has diabetes.

    We are uninsured, but medical expenses are not a problem for us.

    When I say we are uninsured, I’m not saying we have no way of paying for medical expenses – even major ones.  I’m saying we don’t have or want traditional health insurance, because we believe we have something far better.

    We have been members of Samaritan Ministries for about 6 years, and unlike our previous 12 years of “real” health insurance, I have enjoyed writing the check every month.  That’s because now our checks go directly to real people with real names, Christian brothers and sisters for whom we pray when we write the check.  I think I have even written a couple of checks to blog readers!

    When we have medical expenses of our own,  we don’t have to battle a faceless system to get the cost covered, hoping they read the rules the way we do.  We fill out a short form detailing our needs and bills, and receive checks from real Christian brothers and sisters – again, sometimes from people we know!

    Our share is the same every month, and it’s far less than the cost of traditional health insurance (currently $315 for our family of 12).  We have had 4 babies and a few other smaller medical expenses, and every penny has been paid by the members of Samaritan Ministries.  We personally know people who have had much, much larger needs that were paid as well, with never a problem. Regular members may submit needs of up to $250,000, but if you are a member of the modestly priced add-on Save To Share program (we are!) there is no dollar limit on needs that you may submit.

    If you’re skeptical, take a look at the new series on the Samaritan Ministries blog, Health Care Sharing Myths.  It answers many concerns that others might have about this way of paying for healthcare, and promises to answer even more.  Subjects so far:

    If you decide to join, tell them I sent you (Kim Coghlan).  We get a credit toward our own membership, because the more members Samaritan Ministries has, the better the system works!

    Questions? I’m happy to share my own experience, but the people at Samaritan are friendly and knowledgeable, so I encourage you to give them a call (888-268-4377) or email if you want to talk about whether it’s a good fit for you and/or your family.

    Are you already a member of Samaritan Ministries, or do you know others who are?

    I want to be a loser: 7 weeks later

    145, baby!Is anyone still with me?

    It’s been 7 weeks since my last drink – no, wait.  That’s not right.  It’s been 7 weeks since my last ice cream, except for last night.  I had 2 scoops, with toasted pecans.  It was sooo worth it!


    My weight seems to have plateaued, but I think I’m ok with that.  I wake up nearly every morning at about 11 or 12 lbs. below where I used to wake up, and just a few pounds heavier than where I woke up as a 17yo, so I’m happy for now.


    I’m still working hard to eat only when hungry, or at least to keep my “gas tank” on 1/4 instead of 3/4.  Perry thinks I’m weird, but I think it makes everything taste better!  Doesn’t food taste better when you are hungry?  So if you’re always hungry when you eat, everything tastes better, right?  What’s to dispute?


    I’m working hard on eating moderately, but I’m working even harder on exercising.  Perry and I have a running joke that we are each doing this for each other, and neither of us really wants to be doing it at all.  The truth is he wants both of us to do it, and I want only him to do it.  Just kidding.  I may hate exercise while I do it, but I love it when it’s done.  I love a little muscle soreness to remind me that I really accomplished something, and I love that I can already see real results – and so can the rest of the family.

    I have new muscle definition in my legs, where I haven’t seen definition for many moons.  I feel more energetic – except right after a workout, at which point I feel like a zombie, but in a good way.  At least I keep telling myself that, in the hope that I’ll believe it someday.  Can zombies feel anything at all?  I don’t know.  I’ll let you know.


    I do have a new theory about my body fat and muscles.  After measuring my lovely daughters with my body fat caliper, I was very surprised to find that the measurements on my flabby ole’ bod put my body fat level on a par with my fit young children, even when adjusted for age.

    Here’s my theory.  Feel free to shoot it down if you think my head sounds fatter than the rest of my body.

    When I was young, I worked hard and exercised hard and developed a lot of muscle.  I know this much is true.

    When I got older and lazier, I thought the muscle wasted away and was replaced by fat.  It looked like that was happening.  I lost much of my tone, gained some weight, and gave up on all my old clothes.

    Now I think that most of the muscle is still hiding in there, masquerading as fat.  It’s limp and quiet and lazy muscle.  It’s been doing a good job hiding all these years, but the caliper has revealed it.  Except the muscles responsible for situps.  I think they walked off the job and were never seen again.  They’re probably hiding somewhere in Gov. Arnold’s arms.  I wonder if they do situp-muscle transplants yet, and how would a person get on the waiting list?

    But all the rest of my flab might just be lazy, untoned muscles.  Well, most of it.  There’s still some flabby fat consorting with the flabby muscles.

    What does this mean?  If I’m right, it might mean I’m not crazy when I think I see new muscle definition after just 2 weeks and a total of 9 workouts (I missed 3 workouts).  Does that seem possible?

    Well, I have plenty of time to think it over.  We’re only 2 weeks into 90 days of torture hour long daily workouts, though I do admit to enjoying some days, just a little.  The yoga on Thursday is fun, and the Kenpo on Saturday is exhilarating.  And the Arms & Shoulders workout on Wednesdays isn’t bad at all.  And I did much better on Chest & Back last Monday.

    Now I really do sound crazy.

    How is your weight loss/exercise going?