4 Moms Q&A: Christmas in the Coghlan house, etc.

4moms35kids 4 Moms give food as gifts {linky}

Q&A is here again.  I wish every week could be Q&A, because on those weeks I can pick the questions that I actually have an answer for.  I can also skip the ones that make me cringe in a “oooh, that’s convicting” sort of way.  Just kidding.  Sort of.

But honestly, if I don’t answer your question it’s probably not because I don’t like you or don’t think you have a good question.  There are only a few people in the world that I truly dislike, so the chances are very slim that you’re on my list.  If I don’t answer your question, it’s more likely because I didn’t make it through the whole list or I just don’t have a good answer for you.  Either I struggle with the issue myself and haven’t figured out how to solve it yet, or I have never faced the problem at all and have never even wondered how to solve it.  Either way, I don’t want to waste your time and mine.  Well, unless I do.  Like in the very first question below.

1. Sarah asked,  Have you had to deal with food allergies/sensitivities with any of your kids?

Sarah, I’m thankful to say no.  Well, not really, although Lydia seemed to be sensitive to milk when she was little.  We removed major sources of milk from her diet,  and she outgrew the symptoms by the time she was 4 or 5 and has been happily guzzling ever since.  Becca also has some signs of allergies though we haven’t pinpointed the source.

Since we’re on the subject, does anyone think we should suspect allergies in the case of a 4yo who has multiple accidents each day?  It seems like simple immaturity and she can help it if she really tries, but I can’t help wondering if there might be a physical cause.

2. Kristi asked,  Do you do the “Santa” thing in any form at your house?

Kristi, we don’t do it seriously but it is a bit of a running joke in our family.  One year a friend of ours showed up at our door in a Santa suit, and we didn’t tell the kids who it was – though they knew there wasn’t really an eternal Santa who snuck down chimneys bringing gifts to children.  Somehow they learned who it was, but the next year a friend-of-a-friend did the same thing.   This time were able to assure them it was not Mr. Smitty, and they were left to wonder.

We do enjoy teaching our children about the real Saint Nicholas and his doings.  Sometimes truth is just as entertaining as fiction.  🙂

3. Shelby asked,  How much do you usually spend on each child at Christmas? What types of gifts will you buy this yr?

Shelby, our budget is never set in stone – or even in mud.  It depends on many factors, but we don’t limit ourselves to the same fixed number for each child.  In fact, our older girls started a fun tradition of pooling their funds to splurge on one person each year while buying more traditional gifts for the remaining members of the family.

Often, Perry and I choose to buy one big gift that all of the kids can share and enjoy, knowing that they will each receive several gifts from siblings, friends, grandparents, etc.  One year it was a trampoline; another year, we bought a Wii and television.

We haven’t really talked about Christmas gifts this year yet, but we have already contributed toward a large gift from one set of grandparents so our additional gifts to the kids will be modest.  In light of all the new blessings in our lives right now, I think everyone in the house is happy with the idea of a smaller, simpler Christmas celebration this year.

4. Lindsey asked,  How do you handle Christmas gifts in a large family? Do you set a limit on number per person? Do you draw names? Etc. What are some of your family’s Christmas traditions?

Lindsey, in our own household Perry and I nearly always buy individual or group gifts for our children.  Our children have drawn names for each other in the past, but generally prefer to buy gifts either for individuals or a group gift.  The older girls like to pool their funds and buy one nicer gift for each family member.

In the extended family, we tend to alternate between giving a gift to each family, having just the children draw for cousins, and having everyone draw a name.  When we draw names, we divide into age groups: little children, older children, adults (if participating).

Traditions?  One sister and her husband have hosted a tamale party/gift exchange for the extended family for many years.  Our church goes Christmas carolling in members’ neighborhoods each year.  We usually get our Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving, and always start listening to Christmas music on that day.  We do Advent readings, though we don’t always make it through all 25 days.  Oh, and Perry wears a Santa hat on his commute to work every day, and requires the same of all his passengers.  He’s crazy that way.

5. Dede asked, What suggestions do you have for an 8 yr old boy? Gift wise.  Also, winter exercises? (For kids, not me, LOL).

Dede, I’ve never had an 8yo boy.  I’m still trying to think of gifts for a 6yo boy, but I suspect if a 6yo or 8yo can get hurt or get dirty using it, he’ll like it.    Also, if it makes you want to yell, “Be quiet!” or “Don’t ever do that to your sister again!” it’s likely to be a hit.  Rubber band gun?  Potato gun?  Slingshot?  Crossbow?  Are you sensing a theme here?  We’ve had all of these in our home, and while they may not help your sanity, I do have to confess that they were huge hits!

As for exercise, I constantly threaten to send my homebody kids outside if they don’t sit still and find something quiet to do.  It either works, or I make good on the threat and they get some exercise.  🙂

Honestly, they are all fairly active and can’t stand to sit still too long.  If they don’t find a constructive way to burn energy (i.e. exercise) or take one of my suggestions (play basketball, play on the outdoor playset, play with the dog, play tag, etc.) I give them work to do and they get that sort of exercise.  It all works out in the end.

 6. Brittany asked,  How do you respond to those (family and strangers) that don’t agree with your choice of having so many children? or make comment when you are expecting…again? Thanks!!

Brittany, we’ve been blessed to have very supportive family on both sides so we never had to deal with that problem.  However, I did see my parents deal with disapproving family members back when I was a kid and they were expecting their 5th, 6th, 7th child, etc.  It was discouraging to them, especially when the criticism came during tough times.  They were careful to remind all of us kids why they chose to have a large family and what blessings children were, while they minimized time with those who criticized their convictions.  In time, friends drifted away and family members came around, and I don’t remember this being a problem at all by the time I was a teen and our household population had reached double digits.

As for comments, I don’t let them bother me – though I have never received an openly critical comment.  They are usually more like, “I could never do it!” or “Better you than me!”  It’s not hard to come up with a witty or thoughtful reply to these, especially when you tend to hear the same 3 or 4 comments all the time!

7.  Donna asked,  how do you balance taking care of yourself and your kids when life also needs you to care for others?

Donna, this is a huge question for us right now.  Calvin arrived during a very busy time of year for all of us, and I simply don’t have the help I’m accustomed to.  When I was in my 20’s and had 6 little ones with no bigger helpers, days were hectic but I was able to keep up.  I had more energy and less people in the house.  Now when I’m flying solo with a bunch of little ones I still have to cook, clean and do laundry for 12 – with the energy level of a postpartum 40yo instead of a 20-something.

I freely admit I’m struggling, both in practical matters and in attitude.  It’s so hard to find the right balance between meeting present needs and taking care of myself so I can continue to meet needs tomorrow and next month.  It’s easy to make my health a priority just because I want to feel better, instead of so that I can serve God and others better.  There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel strong and healthy, of course, but it’s vital to keep the true goal in sight.  What glorifies God and furthers His kingdom in the long run?

I think I’m rambling and probably not even answering your question, but you touched a sore spot for me.  It’s one where I would love to hear from other moms, especially older ones.

8.  Anna asked,  Not sure whether you’ve covered it already, but suggestions for going from two littles to three. Does it work out OK having three children but only two arms? 🙂:) Also, any bed/rooming suggestions for when you have three littles? (we’ll have three girlies with the oldest 2 1/2 in Feb. so probably two in toddler beds and one in a crib once the baby hits 6 months or so, hopefully in the same room).

Anna, although I often worried about it ahead of time, I generally found that by the time a new baby arrived the child two spaces up the line was reasonably well trained.  Ours were just over 18 months apart, so the child in question was always at least 3yo, able to follow simple commands.  It was invariably easier than I expected, even though I asked myself the same question about having more children than arms.  🙂

Rooming together has always worked well for our children.  After an initial adjustment period, they quickly learn to sleep through disruptions or go right back to sleep if awakened, and I think it makes for better sleep habits overall.  One word of advice: you might find life easier if you don’t insist your children go right to sleep when you send them to bed.  We have always allowed them to talk softly as long as they stay in bed.  Of course many parents will see it differently, but I love that my children enjoy each other’s company and I don’t want to discourage quiet conversation in the last moments of their day.

9.  Sara asked, What do you do about a 9 year old telling you no and throwing horrible tantrums when Dad is at work?

Sara, this is an easy one for us.  If a child is unrepentant and rebellious to me, Dad comes home.  He considers this sort of situation a family emergency.  It has only happened a couple of times, because our children understand just how seriously he and I take that sort of rebellion.  He came home when he was over an hour away even though it meant losing vacation time or personal time and burning up $15-20 in gas going back and forth for a 3 or 4 hour lunch break.

Your turn.  Agree or disagree?  What did I miss?  How would you answer these questions?  

See what the other moms say:


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  1. In your first response about dealing with allergies you mentioned your 4 year old.
    My friend’s two year old was not walking and had a lot of allergies and skin problems. She took her to Bioenergetic Intolerance Elimination. And things cleared up. She said the proof is in the pudding. I tried it last week. I haven’t had gluten in 4 years and have been enjoying bread this past week. I also can’t even have salt and now it doesn’t bother me.
    Maybe there’s a practitioner in your area. Its worth a try.

  2. Thanks for your honest answer to my question. I have one six year old daughter whom I homeschool. I also have a mom who we believe has beginning stages of dementia, a 95 year old grandmother who doesn’t ask for much other than a visit occasionally, a sister who is high maintenance and pregnant with her first and due in January and she broke her foot last week. I find myself feeling I want to and need to care for my sister and my mother, but I worry about neglecting my daughter and my husband. In addition to that I know I neglect myself. I know this is a season and I won’t regret the time spent with any of the women in my family, but it’s hard to balance life. Looking for any tips/tricks anyone may know.

  3. Kim, just wanted to let you know that you have been on my mind and that I am praying for you. I know that this is a very busy season for your family. Praying that you have strength for each day…

  4. Christina says:

    Citrus even in a non allergic child can cause pain and accidents as some children are more susceptable, back many many years ago I thought oldest accident’s where behavoir but it turns out her bowels were the cause the fuller the bowels the bladder gets more of an urgent urge to use the bathroom, hers was easily fixed when we relized driking milk (not all dairy but for her milk) would back her up just enough to cause the symptoms to come back.

  5. (nursing at keyboard) but wanted to respond to your question about accidents during the day with your 4yo. I’ve just started reading a book called “It’s No Accident” by Dr. Steve Hodges and it is very interesting, easy to read and brings up many physical reasons for wetting that I’d never thought of. It’s well worth the read in my opinion, especially if you can get it from your local library.

  6. Dear Kim,

    I have been in your “over 40” situation with all sorts of little ones, and bigger ones moving on, for some time now! One thing that really helped me to get over the hump was to realize that I needed to go backwards and re-train the ones I had at home just as I did the older ones when everyone was little. It really is a different mindset, especially when you find yourself realizing that you haven’t arrived at the end yet! For a number of years, everything went like clock-work, the olders would even train the youngers in the flow of our home, but when they were gone, we all had to readjust over and over–new “olders” emerged, and then there were the times of getting everyone up-to-speed. 4 of our children are married now, 2 others are out, and we went through this transition each time one left, so I am getting pretty used to the transitioning now! Often I was in the midst of pregnancy an postpartum, which made everything very interesting. You are also going through the transition of new digs–all the ways you used to do things are completely new, which adds to your “cranium pressure”. I suppose for smaller families the changes are not as pronounced, but when you rely on systems being in place to get things done, such as making sure everyone actually brushes their teeth, and then your whole environment changes, Mom has to re-work the whole machine, and living on no sleep doesn’t help at all. My advice; don’t be afraid to expect more out of the younger children–they will step up and rise to the occasion, and don’t forget to put in place all of those things you learned when all of your children were younger–it’s like riding a bike–you will remember how! In just a short time things will begin to smooth out. “keep doing your best, pray that it’s bless, and let Jesus take care of the rest!” Praying for you!

    • Thank you, Sherry. This is just what I needed to hear! I appreciate the great advice from a mom who has been there, done that – and please keep praying for us as we continue to adjust.
      Love hearing from you. 🙂

  7. A couple answers, for questions 1 & 7:

    #1 — One of my children had difficulty getting to the bathroom on time when she drank carbonated beverages. She’s 11 now and it’s not an issue (although we don’t often have soft drinks on hand), but it did affect her the few times she had soda when she was younger, ages 4 or 5 or so. Rootbeer seemed to be the worst offender.

    #7 — My youngest child was born when I was 45 (she and I are now 5 & 50), and parenting at this age is a very different game than it was in my 20’s and 30’s. I am more tired now, and do sometimes struggle with working through the fatigue and meeting my family’s needs.

    I don’t remember where I got this idea, but recently I read about and implemented a plan where I wrote on separate index cards the most important things to get done in a day (besides meal preparation). It has helped me focus on making small steps, rather than seeing each day as having an overwhelming number of things to do, which wears me out just thinking about it! I number the cards in order of priority (I have 10 of them) and make it my goal to take one card at a time, starting with the highest priority (alone time in the Word), and proceeding from there as I am able (Bible/devotions with the kids; fulfilling hubby’s requests for the day; fresh air/exercise for the family; laundry; one-on-one time with each of the children at home (four that have not reached adulthood yet); and dishes done before hubby comes home at night (he works 2nd shift, so is not home with us for the evening meal on weeknights).

    If it’s a rough day, I give myself permission to feel okay about not having gotten through all the cards. If I could only get through three cards, it will have meant I and my children had time with the Lord, and we served my husband, also. With my highest relationship priorities taken care of for the day (God, husband, children), I don’t have to worry that maybe we didn’t get any laundry done today, or maybe I didn’t get one-on-one time with the children, but we did get some group time in, and the children had each other, also, even if mom wasn’t functioning at her highest. There’s a new day tomorrow, and the Lord’s mercies are new every morning.

    Hope that helps. 🙂

  8. I just have to ask more about #7 because I am a bit depressed by your answer :/ I will turn thirty in a couple of weeks and we have five young children (2mo. – 6yrs)… and I am EXHAUSTED! We are homeschooling(barely!) our oldest now and I have told my husband I don’t know how to get everything done in a day to keep the family running smoothly. Thus the thought of it being worse as my kids get older is sad news for this momma. I figured that by the time my kids hit their double-digit years they would be able to help quite a bit around the house with laundry, cooking, tidying etc. but your description of “flying solo” now has me baffled. How old does a child have to be before they are a “bigger helper”? Thanks 🙂

    • I have found this woman such a major influence in how I look at my days and parenting. She has a blog called Like Mother Like Daughter. Go there and read her wise words. KimC is a FOUNT of wisdom. Kim and Leila have encouraged me beyond what I could ever express. Read the Moore’s book on Home Built Discipline, Homemade Health, etc. etc. to get some practical views on homeschooling. Kim’s blog has given me such laughs when I felt so inept. Read Leila’s experience at Like Mother Like Daughter and you will be so fortified! God bless these ladies! Kim, have another chocolate-thank you so much!

    • Hello Jen,
      I hear you! Loud and clear…we have 4 littles, between 2 and 8 years old…and while currently not pregnant, are also open to more…but I too wonder about how to cover it all…and homeschool our 2 oldest. (by the way, my father’s world is a good curriculum set for larger families!)…And while my 2 oldest help a lot, if I don’t keep on them with delegating, they tend to wander off and play…and make messes…I hate to say it, but we keep up the best when we ALL go from room to room, task to task and I attempt to divide the work into separate jobs that we each do part of. Makes for an interesting bathroom cleaning session (in like 16 square feet!), but jobs are done pretty fast and we move on quickly. Also, there is less crabbiness when my kids are doing productive things.(also, I’ve noticed that kids LOVE to clean things that are REALLY filthy–for example I gave my oldest an old scrubbing tooth brush and told him to scrub out the dust that collected in the front of the computer tower over the vent and he had a ball scrubbing out the dust fluffs! and could SEE a difference as opposed to wiping the hardly dusty windowsills). Where do you live?? As a mother of all boys, I’d like to get into the country someday, so they can learn to do more outdoorsy things-split wood, cut hay, keep chickens, hunt/fish and so on…but we are waiting for the Lord to sell our house…take it one day at a time…

    • Jenn,
      I’m sorry if my answer made it sound like my double-digit kids aren’t helpers. Blame my sleep-deprived whininess. I think kids become much more helpful once they reach about 5yo. By that point, most can dress themselves, entertain a fussy baby, pick up their own toys, get a drink or a simple snack, etc.
      When I said I was flying solo, I meant I had very little help at home because my older ones are now so old they’re constantly going in different directions. I have depended on them for years, and now it’s becoming apparent that I need to invest more time in training my middle and young children to fill in. They have been flying under the radar because I had so much help. 🙂
      Take heart, Jenn. It *does* get easier.

  9. I have 2 boys right now. They’ll be 4 and 2 in January, and they are getting used to sharing a room. So I thought I’d share a little from the trenches for the mom who’s in a similar situation.

    First off, I’ve kept both boys in the crib in my room until they were too distracted by having me around to stay asleep, so that meant until about 18 months with #2. I’d love your thoughts, Kim, on whether it’s easier to introduce a child to sharing a room with siblings when they’re an infant or a toddler 🙂

    The other thing is that my older boy is a climber, so our adjustment period includes teaching the boys not to feed off of the other’s energy. It has also included getting rid of EVERYTHING that was previously stored in their bedroom closet other than the clothes they are currently using. Otherwise, it winds up scattered across their bedroom floor at 2 am. And, yes, they are quiet enough to do that without our noticing. Obviously, we respond swiftly and sternly when that sort of thing happens, and we are seeing progress, but it has also taken us time to find discipline that discourages that kind of behavior and to learn what kind of cues to listen for.

    Let me be the horrible warning. As you help your daughters adjust to sharing a room, try to anticipate what will be a temptation for play and remove that from the environment preemptively. I wish I had.

    • Blessed Mama says:

      My 5yo & 3yo feed off each other as well… We are still struggling with that! But last week, I just did not have the energy to deal with it, so the 5yo was sent to my room! They both fell asleep much faster and I wasn’t as stressed. So, I’ve done it every night since! My husband simply picks him(5yo) up & carries him back to his own bed after they are both asleep 😀 I know this isn’t the long term solution, but for now, it’s what works best for the two of them…

  10. About the milk allergies: That’s exactly what we are expecting. (And we are hoping she grows out of them! It turns out her grandfather had milk allergies as a little one) I take it from your answer that you didn’t change how you cooked for the family to avoid her getting cheese, etc? Or how did that look for you?

    • My son seemed to have milk allergies, but the symptoms cleared up as soon as we switched from low fat to whole milk. I also found that I stopped having as many problems with heartburn and it was better for my blood sugar. According to my doctor, the fat content dilutes the sugars and proteins in milk that can cause problems–sometimes below the threshold of causing a problem.

      My son is 4 now. He still has symptoms when he has low fat milk, but he has never had a problem with whole.

      • Rachel, that is really interesting. My daughter had problems with milk making her tummy hurt when she was little, but it seemed to be only the milk at daycare (lowfat). We thought perhaps the difference was because we used organic milk at home, but it was also whole-fat.

  11. We do the same thing regarding rebellious or unrepentant behavior. My husband comes home. Plain and simple. Takes Family Care Leave for an hour and deals with it. I do consider it a blessing that we are able to do that, and it has only had to happen one or twice. It drove home the point.

  12. I’m cracking up about the comments you probably get. (#6) We only have three kids, but I get similar comments regarding homeschooling three active boys (two of them teenagers).

    The whole “I could never do that!” or “Better you than me.” tends to provoke me to a solemn nod, and a sympathetic, “You’re absolutely right.”

    Julie ;D

  13. My 4 year old just overcame (mostly!) her leaky troubles.
    I (perhaps wrongly?) have put it down to the UTI’s she had as a bubba. I knew a few women who were struggling with a little girl who didn’t seem to always make it, and they all had had a UTI when little. We concluded that maybe that had affected them quite a lot? Particularly because UTI’s in little one’s tend to be advanced when you catch them, as they can’t tell you of symptoms and you only notice once there’s a fever.

    I will pray for you re: number 7!

    And as for Anna’s question, having just gone to three myself (8 months ago now), (VERY easy transition, also a very quiet baby), I will pass on bits of advice I was given that stood me in good stead: Have a good baby sling (I use a woven wrap) so you can hold two little hands when you go out, and also so you can be more involved with them around the house. Play with them for at least 10 minutes as soon as baby’s head hits the pillow, every time. Don’t be tempted to clean first etc. And always be willing to interrupt breastfeeding to correct children. I also make sure the older two are pretty much always with me. Two children out of sight get into so much mischief!

    • Thanks so much for the advice Lauren! I had forgotten about using a sling. I did a lot with my first but not so much with my second. And Id forgotten about stopping breastfeeding to discipline which I had to do after my second too. I love your 10 minute play advice! I can totally see how I’d be inclined to get cleaning but how important time with the kids can be. 🙂

  14. I love your response to #6 on responding to people’s comments. I have only one child, but I was 38 when he was born, so I get the assumptions that I’m his grandma. “As for comments, I don’t let them bother me” So true!! We get to choose (most times) what offends us. I just choose not to be offended when people think I’m his grandma. I’m just thankful that I have him.

  15. Sheila in Missouri says:

    I always love it when you blog about Christmas stuff at your house. It helps get me in the mood and is so encouraging, or sometimes its just nice to hear that someone else gets stressed about the expectations or has ideas about how to handle them. When it comes to mind, or you’re just having a good day with the kids post about it through December! A Christmas funny? Something Merry? Blog it girl. You’re totally my hero.

  16. Thanks for answering my question Kim! 🙂

    Having two under two was pretty good I thought at least(we did work on training the oldest a lot before her sister was born and are working with both of them now), so I’m hoping three under three won’t be that bad either, but I guess as I enter third trimester land, want to take a nap a lot, and start to get more comments, it gets me wondering. Thanks so much for the reassurance!!! 🙂

    And as always, thanks so much for the other answers as well and for taking the time to blog. I learn a lot from your answers. 🙂

  17. Thank you for your blog posts, they are a big blessing for me. Lord bless you and your family.

  18. Responding about the 4 year old accidents… I totally believe it could be an allergy issue. My 4 year old ends up having 6+ accidents a day if she gets chocolate! My friend’s 4 year old has trouble similarly when she gets yellow food coloring. My husband’s nephew had similar issues with bananas. So yes. I totally believe it could be an allergy/sensitivity issue! Keeping a food journal is the best way to track the culprit for any allergic symptom. 🙂

  19. I think it is just awesome that your husband came home right away to deal with issues with the kids. I know that isn’t always a possibility with all jobs.

    • My husband came home once from work to deal with a child’s behavior. And I have driven my children to where my husband works twice. We all dropped everything and went to father when I knew he couldn’t come home. I don’t EVER want my children to think that their father can not be reached! And especially for the boys as they get older. We drove to my husband’s place of work twice. He is headmaster at a school. I knocked on his classroom door and walked in and interrupted the lesson to ask to speak with him. (Of course, minding my manners and not “interrupting”). Anyway, he said he’d be right there, told the class he’d be right back, and stepped out into the hall. My children couldn’t believe I was doing this and my husband was also a bit surprised and my 14yr old son who had precipitated all this was getting more and more concerned. I only had to do this one other time. With the same child at fault. And that was when my husband worked at a bank and the children and I sat in the lobby waiting for my husband to be available. But lesson learned, I only said a few times afterward, “I’d be happy to take you to your father and you can explain it all to him?” to settle issues. They all knew I would do it. And to have father come home was not fun. I think the rare job would not allow this and it wouldn’t take too many times. It’s an interruption for all. Not convenient. And can be a pretty impressive situation. To the offender and their siblings. No one wanted to be that child.
      Our Heavenly Father is never out of our reach for us. As a Comforter or a Discipliner. And as our earthly fathers are a representation of our Heavenly Father, we need to strive to show our children this. It can be very inconvenient and expensive and not fun. It also shows, in a family, how nothing else gets done and forward progress grinds to a halt, when sin rears its ugly head. Consequences in which everyone partakes to some degree and we all suffer because of one person’s sin of selfishness, rebellion, arrogance, etc..

      • Great stories! My husband, too, is available to deal with children who think they have something on Mom! He always makes that entrance a surprise, and boy do they look surprised! He’s always made it well worth the effort of coming home, though, so it hasn’t had to happen too many times. 🙂

        One of the jobs I can think of where Dad may truly not be available is military service. My husband has recently entered the reserves, and my biggest concern about the possibility of deployment is how to deal with teenaged sons. My children do not defy me, but I’ve yet to deal with my husband being away for any length of time. We have already spoken with some trusted men from our assembly of believers who would be willing to take on a male leadership roll where the boys are concerned. It has opened my eyes to the enormity of the sacrifice our military makes to ensure our continued freedom.

      • This sounds like an effective solution but I’m curious why a mother wouldn’t discipline the child herself at that moment, using the same disciplinary approach the father would end up using when he arrived. I’m encountering some of these ideas for the first time and am genuinely curious, especially since it sounds like your method works very well. I began reading your (excellent) blog not too long ago so my apologies if this is explained elsewhere. Blessings to you and your family!

  20. In response to Dede regarding winter exercise (I live in Indiana, so sending kids outside is not always a reasonable option), I often start an impromptu game of Simon Says when the kids are squirrelly. It’s especially good if I’m busy cooking, feeding the baby, etc. I just yell “Simon Says do 10 jumping jacks!” or whatever. This shifts the mood from crabbiness/fighting to something silly. If one of the kids is resisiting, I’ll let them think of instructions for the other kids. In addition to jumping jacks, running in place, bear walk, crab walk, etc., I have them act like animals (fish, snake, elephant, monkey, etc.), airplanes, pretend to ride a bike, pretend to swim, etc. It can get as active as you need it to.

  21. Kim, just wanted to tell you I just came out on the other end of the balancing stuggle, and you will get there! I always seem to have to drop everything but the loving and the neceasary, and try to add small ways of inproving my health throughout the day. Then one day I wake up(ahem, 6 months later….), and I realize I’m not in a fog anymore and God has given me a new pattern to live by yet again.
    As for question number 8, after three kids you don’ t worry about how many arms you have, because you’ ll have many helpers if you have trained them. By now, I can visualize exactly what I would do with juat one more. I laugh at myself sometimes thinking of grocery trips. Get a wrap or front pack though, they are the gift of a third arm!

  22. Congratulations on the new baby! I just had number 10 in September. I thought I would just throw out some info on the 4 year old having accidents. I was having that problem with my three year old and about ready to lose my mind- I just prayed to the Lord about it and she(Thankfully!) stopped. But, I had read an artical in the Beeyoutiful catalog that said sugar might be the culprit and causing a “leaky” gut. This may be more for bedwetting than just accidents during the day, but could be connected. I don’t know if they have info about it online, but I was about to start elimating sugar when she stopped having accidents. Maybe you could email them or something for some dietary or supplement information. Anyway, just a thought.

    • I never thought on it, but it makes sense. Our soccer coach won’t allow the girls to have gaterade or powerade during practice or games because it always makes them run to the bathroom within 10-20 minutes. A lot of people think those drinks are just high on salt, but they are also high on sugar.

  23. Kim, just to let you know, I am struggling during this season of our life, too (and I have fewer children!). I’m just muddling along trying to meet everyone’s needs (not necessarily wants) and it is difficult, particularly with my extremely mobile (walking since she was 8 months old) 16 month old. I feel like I used to juggle so much better, even when I didn’t have older helpers (who are nowadays absent more often due to their own commitments). I put it down to age and also the age range. When they were all little, there was a lot of physical work, but now there is so much mental work added to that.

    Oh well. :o) For all of the difficulties, I can’t imagine a more rewarding job.

    In Him


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