Thursday, February 17, 2011

They Say A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

These have got to be worth even more. They show what happens when a Mommy takes a much needed and deserved bath while the Daddy is left in charge. My little girl likes to refer to herself as "Princess Toddler" but she looks kind of like The Joker here!

The mascara was waterproof, so I really had to scrub to get it off.  Ah, the joys of parenthood!

It Happened At Wendy's In Lawrenceburg, KY

A mom picked up her daughter from dance class. They had about an hour's drive to their home and decided to get a bite to eat. They stopped in at Wendy's in Lawrenceburg, KY. Both mom and daughter ordered the same thing: chili, small fries, and a frosty. The frosties were put on the tray first. Then, the cashier (who incidentally had sores on her arms) dished up the chili and reached over the frosties to set them down. Her arm brushed the tops of the frosties. She apologized and said she didn't know which one she got. The mom said she could see the marks in both frosties. The cashier got mad and angrily grabbed both frosties. She came back moments later. It seemed kind of quick and the mother thought the frosties looked kind of funny. She had seen enough of those TV shows were restaurant employees got angry and spit in their customer's food. She carried the tray to a table, wondering what to do. Looking more at the frosties, she realized they definitely were the same ones, that the tops had just been scraped off.

What would you do? Would you think it was safe to eat and to just let it go? After a minute or two of comtemplation, she carried the frosties to the manager and asked to see the ones that had been thrown away. The cashier looked a bit shaken, but another worker stepped right up and said he had already carried the garbage out. The manager assured the woman that he had been the one to throw them away. The woman said she would still like to see them. The manager went to the back of the store and returned to the front carrying another garbage bag saying it wasn't in that one, but he did see the ones that were thrown away. It wasn't till later the woman realized the change in his story.

She decided not to make a scene, at least not then. She took the frosties back to the table and she and her daughter picked at them but just couldn't bring themselves to finish them.

You can bet Wendy's main office and the local health department will be hearing about this... In the mean time, this woman sure is hoping those sores weren't scabies!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Don't get me wrong. I love my kids, and I love spending time with them. But I've put almost 28 years into parenthood and still have at least 15 to go. I homeschool my children, so I spend a lot of time with them. When evening roles around, I am worn out and in much need of some quiet time. It takes me a couple hours to unwind enough before I can go to bed.

Ideally, I like to start getting the children ready for bed around 8:30 or 9:00. However, many nights it is at least an hour later. After the kids get ready for bed, we start our wind-down of the day with singing some silly songs, including The Alphabet Song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Baa Baa Black Sheep, This Old Man, and 10 Little Aliens. Yes, I said Aliens. I don't think Allie understands what an Indian is; to her they are just people like the rest of us, so why would we be singing a song about them? Aliens, however, seem to make more sense.

We progress from silly songs to more serious songs that teach the kids about Jesus and to worship Him. Jesus Loves Me, Jesus Loves The Little Children, Jesus Loves The Little Ones Like Me, This Little Gospel Light of Mine, and any other songs the children can think of to prolong the inevitable. My older kids are probably outgrowing some of these songs, but they enjoy the routine.

After singing, we pray. We say two different versions of Now I Lay Me. I am so thankful Allie has not realized there are even more variations! After that, we pray for family members and whatever else happens to be on our minds. Then, Daddy and I bless the children, kiss them, and tell them goodnight. The boys are sent to bed, though more often than not they end up together on their floor. Allie gets a little extra snuggle time, giving the boys the opportunity to be quiet before she actually lays down. Susanna is allowed to practice her dancing or get on the computer for a while.

It is a strict rule in our house that once someone has gone to bed, they are not allowed out until the sun is up, unless there is a fire. Every night, without fail, the boys get up anyway, to get a drink of water. I ask if there is a fire, and they give me gigantic grins and explain there isn't but they are thiiiirrrsssty. Finally, they settle down, and then I get Allie into bed. Susanna makes relatively noise and is usually up for an hour or so more. At last, there is peace.

And Baby Makes Seven

My first three babies were born in the hospital. Their births were relatively easy, though many years later I realized that they should have been even easier. A laboring Mom needs to be able to get up and move around, not be attached to monitors and unable to move much. Laying flat on your back? Come on now; who thought that one up? It goes against the law of gravity. I should have been able to walk, to roll over, to squat, and to even turn over and get up on all fours. They call it natural childbirth, but really, there is nothing natural about it. My third child had shoulder dystocia. Many years later I realized that if I had been allowed to get into a different position, she would have moved and emerged much sooner.

Fast forward. My tubes were cut, tied, and burned after child number three. After almost 13 years, my husband told me he wished we could have more children. I had always wanted at least one more, so I immediately began looking for a doctor. I was fortunate to find whom I believe is the best doctor in the state I live in. Many people not only come from out of state, but out of the country to go to him. I was told I had an 85% chance of conceiving. I had my reversal in January of 1999. I became pregnant six days after my surgery. (For more info, visit

During my infertile years I became aware of people having their babies at home. Both my husband and I decided that if we were ever blessed with more children, that they too would be born at home. When I became pregnant, I set out to learn all I could about pregnancy, labor, and birth. I've written about those births, so I won't go into it here other than to say I will be forever grateful to God for allowing and enabling me to birth that way.

After the birth of my youngest son, in May 2003, I assumed I was finished having children. I was going on 41 and being the mom of little ones was not nearly as easy as it had been in my 20's. I knew I could still have them, but I really didn't think it would actually happen. In October of 2007, after several months of showing no signs of fertility, I noticed my hot flashes had stopped... and I was feeling pretty queasy almost all the time. I took a pregnancy test, and it was positive. I had mixed emotions. I was 45 and felt like I was just too old to be having another baby. My three kids that I still had at home kept me on my toes and I couldn't imagine adding another to the mix. My husband and I weren't getting along too well at the time, either. Just what was God thinking?

I felt awful through the first trimester. I started to feel better during my second trimester, but it didn't last long. I had pre-hypertension for the past several years and by month five of my pregnancy it began to skyrocket. I knew there was no way I could have this baby unassisted so I hired a midwife. I saw her a total of two times. Before the third time she was supposed to have come out, I got very sick. My husband says my skin was a pasty gray. I think we both thought the end was very near if I didn't get to the hospital. I called my midwife and she agreed that I needed to get to ER. My baby wasn't due for 6 weeks, but I knew that once I checked myself into the hospital I wouldn't be coming home until the baby was born but I wasn't prepared emotionally to take that step. I also knew that if I went to the local hospital they would end up transferring me to a particular hospital I did not want to go to. So I stayed up much of the night, praying and packing, before heading off in the morning to the hospital of my choosing.

Midwifery is illegal in this state, so I refused to tell anyone at the hospital who my midwife was. None of what I was going through was her fault; besides, I had hired her late in my pregnancy. I know I was looked at as being very irresponsible, but if I had been going to a doctor, there wouldn't have been any difference. I had done my homework. I know most births are relatively easy and could be handled by the average 8 year-old. I also had the foresight to get help when I realized I needed it. I was admitted almost instantly and hooked up to a Magnesium-Sulfate IV. It brought my blood pressure down to a not so dangerous level and the next day they took me off of it. Unfortunately, my blood pressure went right back up. Within a couple days it became obvious that my baby needed to be delivered, or we both could die.
Much of my memories of my time in the hospital are somewhat distorted. The mag/sulf drip, though benefiting my blood pressure really messed with my mind. I saw bugs that weren't there. I heard voices and I had strange dreams. I thought that I was being held hostage and that I would never be allowed to leave. My husband stayed with me for a huge chunk of the time, but when he would leave (usually to get our other children to visit me) I was in a state of panic. Time seemed to drag while he was gone and I was so afraid he wouldn't be allowed back in.

When the decision was made to have my surgery, I had to wait what seemed like an eternity. I was not allowed any food or drink and I remember being very thirsty. There were a couple more urgent C-sections that kept bumping me back, but each time they thought I would be next. It was very frustrating. Finally, it was time to go to the operating room. I don't think I was ever so frightened in my life. The room felt so cold. It seemed so dirty and I remember wondering if abortions were also performed there. (I am sure they weren't; it was a Christian hospital. I am also sure the room wasn't dirty.) I was relieved to see the anesthesiologist had gray hair, and remember telling him so. Everyone else seemed so much younger than I was, and it was a strange feeling to put my life in their hands. I felt like I was turning myself over to a bunch of kids.

The epidural was extremely painful. I can't even describe how bad it felt. I remember leaning into a woman, I don't know if she was a nurse or doctor, and holding onto her tightly, trying not to fall or pass out. She was covered in tattoos and definitely not the sort of person I would seek out for support. I don't remember what she said, but I do remember that she was very kind.

After the epidural was administered, my husband was allowed in. I was draped with a sheet, while he stood beside me. I think he was holding my hand, but I am not totally sure. I felt like I was laying on an incline, with my head down and my feet elevated. It was a very strange feeling. Then the doctor came in. I remember her talking to my husband but I don't remember anything specific. I do know he was watching as she made the incision. She cut me horizontally, but the baby was breech so she had to make another, vertical, incision. She pulled the baby out and announced that it was a girl. That part came as no surprise. The moment I knew I was pregnant, I knew it was a girl and what her name would be.

At 4:02 am on May 30, 2008, Abigail Luthera Lillie was born. She was 17 inches long and weighed 4 pound and 7 ounces. She spent the first week of her life in NICU. I was too weak to visit her much the first day or so. I was retaining a lot of water and could barely stand because my legs were so puffy and numb. My husband was the one to go to her and feed her. This was very difficult for me; I did not want my baby on a bottle.

When the mag/sulf cleared out of my system, I started to function better. The swelling in my legs went down and the feeling in them returned. I started walking to the nursery whenever I could. I couldn't always hold my baby, because she was in an incubator. At feeding time though, I could take her out. I began to breastfeed her. When I wasn't with her, I was pumping, so that she could still be given my milk. She only took such tiny amounts from my breast or the bottle so most of the milk was administered through a tube that ran down her nose.

I was told that we needed to rotate breastmilk and formula. I disagreed but knew I had to obey while she was still in the hospital. She came home when she was one week old. I quit giving her formula but I continued to pump, since she still wasn't taking in a whole lot at a time. I would feed her by both breast and bottle. The bottle was so much easier for her. Finally, when she was a couple months old, I weaned her from the bottle.

I have been amazed at how my little princess has grown. She is still small for her age, but smart as a whip. Surprisingly, I never once thought about the things that could have been wrong with her because of my age. My husband did, but it never crossed my mind until after she was here. I did expect her to be slow since she was forced to be born so early, but she has either been right on time or way ahead of what is considered normal.

She is almost three now and I still feel so blessed that she is in our lives. It was a rough and rocky start; something I would never want to go through again, but I am so thankful to God for blessing our family with this precious child.

Abigail: Beloved of the Father
Luthera: Mighty Warrior (her great-grandmother's name)
Lillie: Life (her grandmother's name)
But we just call her Allie, which incidentally, means of nobility.

Allie shortly after birth.
Allie today.

My Third (And Final) Unassisted Homebirth

Announcing the birth
Rizia Ezekiel Moses
8# 10 oz. 22 in.
May 4, 2003 6:34am

Never in my wildest imaginations would I have thought that I would pray to go past my EDD. However, with a couple weeks of being up most of the night with sick children, my prayer was that this baby would not be born until the contagious part had passed. As I was approaching going past 2 weeks being overdue I had to repeatedly remind myself to trust in the LORD and to not worry about what anyone's statistics say. Even before the due date arrived, I had decided it was best to pull back from people and focus on what the Holy Spirit was saying to me, without any chance of confusion from input from those who care about me but weren't walking in my shoes.

I seriously did think about going to a hospital this time. It was my cousin who talked sense into me; although I think she was really trying to reaffirm that it was ok to go to the hospital. She reminded me to listen to what the Holy Spirit was saying, and if He was saying go to the hospital, then I should. I then had to admit that it was only fear telling me to go. I wasn't promised that it would be easy, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I would give birth to a healthy baby.

My first two homebirths were wonderful, but there were parts I didn't really share. I didn't talk much about the fear. With Susanna I kept hearing this voice telling me I was going to die, and so would the baby. I kept crying out to Jesus and came through just fine. With Josiah, I encountered anger. Gary was doing all he could for me but he was driving me nuts. The afterbirth getting hung up both times was also nerve-wracking. This time, I had no fear, but I was concerned over how Gary and I would relate to each other during my labor. In the middle of a strong contraction it is next to impossible to explain what I want or need, leaving Gary feeling helpless. So my prayer was that I could go through the first part of labor with no one knowing. I also prayed that the baby would be born either right after the little ones went down to bed or first thing in the morning.

The night before Rizia's birth, I put Susanna and Josiah down to sleep. Sarah, Jacob, and Rachel were skating and Gary was still working. I had been having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions throughout the day, but not really any worse than before. Part of me wondered if this might be the night though. I got out my Bible and had a time of private devotions, reading and praying. When Gary came in, I decided not to tell him that I thought this might be the night our baby would be born. We talked for a while and then I went to bed. As soon as I lay down, the baby started to move. There was more activity going on in there than there had been in the entire 9 months preceding that night. (I later realized he was moving out of the posterior position he had been in for weeks.) I quickly went to sleep.

I was awakened several times by Susanna and Josiah, who were having coughing fits. Each time I got up with Josiah and lifted him, I knew I was having contractions. Too tired to time them, I would just crawl back into bed as soon as I got Josiah settled down. At 3:45am, there was no going back to bed. I paced the kitchen floor for about an hour. I then decided a warm bath would feel nice. I was able to soak for half an hour before both Susanna and Josiah started coughing. Gary got up with them but they both wanted Mommy. I got out of the tub and told Gary what was going on. After we got the children quiet, but unfortunately too wound up to go back to sleep, he got the older children up. He told Sarah to take care of the little ones and Jacob and Rachel that he was going to need them to run the store. I paced the house a little bit and decided to email a couple friends to ask them to be praying for me. After 20 minutes of trying to get online, with contractions coming every two minutes, I gave up. I went back to our bedroom where Gary fixed a pallet on the floor.

He made the pallet in front of the bed and put the pillow down. I was too uncomfortable to tell him the pillow was on the wrong side and lay down anyway. After one contraction, I knew I really needed to be lying on my other side. At this point, there was no resting between the contractions and my water soon broke, leaving it too wet to move. I did manage to holler to Gary to take my underwear off because the baby was coming. (Words I am sure he would like to hear in a different context! ;) ) He helped me to a better position, squatting and holding on to the bed. Being as short as I am, the bed was really too high for me, but we made do. Gary saw the scripture cards and picked them up to start reading them to me. We also had the same praise music going that we had when Susanna and Josiah were born. I could tell he was feeling a bunch of emotions as he read. I just felt this overwhelming sense of peace coupled with power. I am not sure how many of the scripture cards Gary got through before I told him to put the cards down, the baby was coming.
Gary got behind me and I started pushing. The baby's head came out and Gary told me the cord was wrapped around his neck. I quit pushing and told him to put his finger between the cord and the neck. I no longer had the urge to push, but I knew the baby had to come out, so I gave it all I had. Within moments, Rizia had made his entrance into the world. The cord had a false knot that came loose, so it hadn't been the problem it might have been. However, Rizia was quiet and Gary was concerned that he wasn't breathing, so he gave the little guy his first spanking. The other children soon came in to meet their little brother.

Gary and Sarah cut the cord together. It was a difficult moment for me. My little guy, who had relied on me, was taking his first step of independence. When it was time for the placenta to come out I prayed, as I had been doing throughout the entire pregnancy, that it would completely release this time. It was a few minutes before I was able to get into a position to check, but this time, we had victory.

The meaning behind his name:
Gary and I really hadn't discussed names except for one time, months before, when we had considered naming him after my grandfather, whose name has died out. For some reason, it just didnt seem to fit. Gary liked a name that I didn't want, and I really wanted to go with something that started with an R, to complete our pattern. I had never told Gary what I wanted to name him and when I asked him if it was ok if I gave the baby his name, he said yes. I think he was expecting Andrew John and when I came out with this long name, he looked pretty surprised. But, I put a lot of thought into this name.

Rizia - delight
Ezekiel - God strengthens
Moses - drawn out

With coming into a houseful of children, I want my little guy to know that he is a delight even though many have come before him. I know that not only will he need God to strengthen him in his childhood, but also in his adulthood. Like all my children, I want him to be drawn out and separate from the world, to be in it but not of it. Moses was also chosen because Susanna began praying for a Baby Moses the day that Rizia was conceived.

Rizia pronounced Riz-eye-uh

The question I hate but I know many will ask - Will we have more?
When the decision was made to have my reversal, we also decided we were leaving the matter of having children up to the LORD. I know the signs of my body and can follow them, but ultimately, the Author of Life can over-rule that. If He wants to bless us with more children, we would never say no. Nor are we actively seeking to get pregnant. Instead, we are leaving it entirely in His hands.

My Second Unassisted Homebirth

Announcing the Arrival of

Josiah Samuel
September 29, 2001 ~ 2:24 am
8 lbs. 4 oz. ~ 20 in.

Our fifth labor, one we expected to go quickly, ended up to be the longest. Wendy was in and out of prelabor for several days, before the real thing hit. Labor began around 3 am on September 28. Contractions were strong and regular all through the morning. As the day went on, they continued in intensity, but fluctuated in timing. They'd be just five minutes apart and then get as far as twelve minutes apart. By evening, Wendy was beginning to wonder how many days this would continue, and decided to go to bed. Gary was too excited to get any sleep.

All through this pregnancy, Gary and Wendy were both strongly led to pray that the baby would be in the proper position and that there would be no cord problems. Before Wendy laid down, she realized the baby was posterior, with his back against her back, and was probably why labor up to this point had been so unproductive. She knew the baby needed to turn and thought about doing things to make him turn, but decided she was leaving this in the LORD's hands. She figured the best coarse of action was prayer and rest.

Around midnight, Wendy got up, put on the same praise music she had playing at Susanna's birth, and laid on the couch. When the contractions started to get more intense, Gary began reading scripture to give Wendy something positive to focus on. This helped immensely. Wendy had previously chosen verses that applied to labor, birth, and trusting in the LORD. After awhile, Wendy asked Gary to fill the birthing pool. After much thought, both had decided Wendy should labor in the pool, but get out of it for the actual delivery. The warm water was soothing to the contractions, which by now were very regular and getting closer and closer. It was comforting to her to have Gary behind the pool, offering both emotional and physical support.

Over the next hour, the contractions got stronger. Wendy got out of the pool to use the bathroom and decided to lay on the couch for awhile. Gary read scripture again, giving Wendy the comfort she needed. Wendy decided to get back into the pool. She wasn't in there too long, before the contractions started to come one right on top of the other. Thinking there was still going to be hours of this (as there had been no signs of labor other than contractions) Wendy prayed that the LORD would give her just a few minutes of rest. That wasn't to happen though.

Around 2:00, Wendy asked Gary to help her out of the pool and to the bathroom again. When she sat down on the toilet, it felt like the baby's head had moved down and she decided she better go back to the family room. She hobbled to the family room, through the kitchen, with Gary's firm support, and sat down on the couch. Not knowing how long this was going to take, whether or not she should get back in the pool, or just lay on the couch, she decided to have Gary make a pallet on the floor. As Gary was fixing the covers, Wendy felt the baby's head move lower yet, along with a gush of water. She dropped to the floor, before Gary had gotten a chance to lay the disposable sheet on top of the comforter. (At least this time we have wood floors!) Wendy could feel her body pushing the baby down and pushed along with it. Gary realized what happened and told her she needed to turn, to allow the baby enough room to be born. He kept yelling at her to turn and she kept yelling back that she couldn't. Finally, Gary grabbed the edges of the comforter and turned her.

Sarah heard the commotion and came downstairs. She was going to turn the computer on, to be watching the clock on it, so she'd know exactly what time the baby was born. She realized it was probably going to take too long to boot up, so she went into the kitchen. After she got into the kitchen, she could see into the family room and happened to look just as her newest sibling was making his entrance into the world.

Gary said the baby had crowned and almost instantly, his little head popped out. Wendy heard Gary gasp, and not knowing why, thought she better push again, right away. Another push, and out came his body, with the rest of the water. He got a little choked, but was fine within moments. It wasn't until Gary called him "Josiah" that we knew what his name was going to be - which was actually what Gary had intended to be his middle name.

After the cord quit pulsating, Gary clamped and cut it. Once again, the afterbirth got hung up on its way out. After prayer, we decided to wait till daylight to see what was going to happen. Rachel came down to meet her little brother and both she and Sarah took him upstairs to meet his big brother, Jacob. After they brought him back to Wendy, they decided to call it a night. Gary went to lay down but Wendy thought it would be more comfortable for her on the couch. Josiah nursed contentedly and slept in her arms.

When Gary got up, less than two hours later, the decision to call the midwife was made. He let Wendy choose which midwife to call, and she felt the LORD wanted them to call the one who had acted as an assistant to the midwife after Susanna's birth. Gary got her pager, and she called back quickly. She was in the middle of supporting a woman who was undergoing a c-section, but said she'd come out just as quickly as she could. Once again, we felt the LORD's hands strongly upon us. The midwife arrived in record time. She not only took care of the afterbirth situation, but explained everything as she was doing it. She was very thorough, yet gentle, a true blessing to women in a state whose regulations are so against women choosing to birth the way they feel is best for themselves and their children.

My First Unassisted Homebirth

Susanna was born Tuesday October 19, 1999, at 11:58 pm. She was 8lbs. 10 oz. - 20in. What made her birth more special than many others is that Susanna is a tubal reversal baby, and if that wasn't enough, she was born at home, into her Daddy's hands!

On January 18, 1999 Wendy had a tubal reversal. Although the doctor was probably the best surgeon in the world, the glory goes to the Great Physician, Who is really the one who enabled a total healing in her body. Six days after surgery, Susanna was conceived. The pregnancy did not start out very well. There was the healing from the surgery and Wendy was exposed to a horrible case of the flu. Once she was over that, morning sickness started - something she had never experienced to such extent in her past pregnancies (back in the old days!) Maybe old age has something to do with it! Or more likely, a lesson in humility. Before the morning sickness ended, came another bout with some virus.

The second trimester was wonderful. No sickness, no swelling or water retention. Plenty of energy - well, as much as could be expected for someone who hadn't been pregnant in 13 years! The third trimester brought exhaustion and the threat of preterm labor. A couple weeks were spent in bed, until we knew it would be safe for the baby to be born. We expected it to happen early, but God's timing is always perfect.

Labor started at midnight on a Monday morning. Contractions were every 3 to 5 minutes for 12 hours. From that point on, it slowed down. Tuesday evening it picked back up. By about 8:30 pm we were pretty sure that was going to be the night. At 9, contractions became regular. Wendy took warm baths to get more comfortable but didn't want to have the baby in the water. She got out of the tub while Gary set things up in the living room. At this point, the contractions were coming one right on top of the other and she had a hard time making it to the living room. She stopped twice and Gary coaxed her to continue on. She finally made it and dropped down by the couch. On her knees, she faced the couch and rested into the cushions. (If you can call it rest.)

We aren't exactly sure of the time, but hard labor didn't last all that long. Gary coached Wendy on amidst prayers being lifted up by both. Praise music was playing in the background. At one point, Wendy asked Gary what he said and he replied, rather huffily!, that he was praying. Shortly after that, Gary said the baby had crowned. He went to Wendy's side to offer her encouragement. She told him he better get back because the baby was coming. Gary moved to his place. Out came the baby's head, and the rest of her along with it, in one push. It was an awesome moment. The baby screamed as soon as she hit her Daddy's hands, at which point Daddy named her. The world must have heard the praising that was going on. Daddy handed Susanna to Mommy and whooped and hollered some more, while Sarah, Jacob, and Rachel came to meet their new little sister.

While waiting for the cord to quit pulsating, Gary went outside to enjoy a well deserved cigarette (well, a bubblegum cigar would have been better, but...) that was moistened with tears of joy. After the cord was cut, we waited for the rest of the placenta to be delivered. We later realized that all of the placenta was out; it was just the membrane that was left. But not knowing for sure, Gary decided to have a midwife come check things out. So, by Tuesday around 3:00 pm, that was finally dealt with.

The midwife was wonderful. We were truly blessed to have her, as our state is not midwife friendly, and she was really going out on a limb coming here without even knowing us. She is truly a credit to her profession.

As someone who does not generally go to doctors, Wendy felt so tremendously blessed by the health care professionals the LORD led her to. God was fully in control of this pregnancy and at our house through it all. Yet, there are no words to describe how strongly we felt His presence during those moments He was bringing Susanna into the world. To Him belongs all the glory.

"Farmer Zan" at age 2

Schoolin' In Our Jammies - A Typical Day In Our Homeschool

It's a cold, lazy morning and I don't feel like getting out of bed. The two early risers get up and either turn on the TV or X-Box or Wii. I finally drag myself out of bed to change and feed the youngest. Sometimes I go back to bed and take her with me to snuggle. Sometimes I get up and check my email. Another child will wake up and the noise level in the house starts to increase. The oldest will sleep through much of it. She dances three nights a week and takes a while to unwind, and usually stays up quite late.

Around 10 or 11, often still in our pj's, we will start our school day. The boys will sit down to do their work, some of it at the kitchen table and some on the living room couch. The almost 3 year-old gets in the middle of whatever they are doing, demanding to do her school work too. I work with the boys individually, with countless interruptions from the toddler for a drink, a snack, a diaper change, or help with her own “school work.” To anyone who doesn't homeschool, this would look like mass confusion, but for us, it is a typical day.

Finally, the 11 year-old will wake up and emerge from her room. She usually heads straight to the computer. She will work and play on it awhile; or maybe it is play and then work. Then she will get up for a bite to eat and either go back to the computer or practice dancing.

We will have a late lunch. If it is a dance day for our daughter, this is our main meal of the day. After lunch, the kids are pretty much free to do what they want. The boys will build with Lincoln Logs or Legos, or play more video games. My oldest daughter will practice dancing some more, work on some crafts, or go back to the computer. If the toddler is cranky, I will make her lay down for awhile, though she is really about ready to give up her naps.

There is lots of laughter, lots of noise, and often times an argument to be dealt with. I've been doing this for 22 years. The thought of another 15 can sometimes be overwhelming. The cost of giving up my freedom has been great. All my dreams and goals were put on the back-burner so that I could raise my children in what I believe is the best way possible. I wouldn't trade it for the world. I saw each one of my children's first steps. I heard them read their first words. I've watched them struggle and grow. I get hugs and kisses throughout the day and the satisfaction of seeing siblings work together for common goals. Playing, working, and loving... Life couldn't get much better than this.

Who Is Dr. Wendy?

Before I start submitting my articles, I thought it would be nice to give my readers the chance to get to know a little bit about me. First and foremost, I am Mom to seven wonderful children. My first three children are married and have children of their own. (So far, I have 12 grandchildren, with number 13 on the way!)
When my first three children were small, I decided to homeschool them. We lived on a farm, so in addition to traditional book work, there were many learning opportunities. My children learned how to plant and care for crops as well as how to take care of various animals. We had cows, horses, goats, chickens, rabbits, ducks, geese, and quail. It was during this time that I became interested in alternative health. We were already eating better than most people, rarely buying any food from a store. We milked cows and goats. We made butter and yogurt. The meat we ate was from animals we raised, free from antibiotics, growth hormones, and steroids. We ground our grain and made our bread. We were about as close to self sufficient as you can get in this day and age.

It wasn't long before I began to get interested in herbs. I started growing some, which progressed to making my own herbal capsules and tinctures. It was at this point that I decided I wanted to know more about alternative health. I began taking classes and quickly earned my BS in Natural Health. I immediately started work on my Master's Degree. Soon after starting it, my husband and I decided we wanted more children. I had had my tubes tied after my third child was born, and always regretted it, and now my husband admitted he wanted more kids. I was ecstatic. I had a tubal reversal and six days later, I conceived. I had three children relatively quickly, and I was still committed to homeschooling. My own studies got shoved to the back burner. When I realized I was pregnant with my 4th reversal child, I was in a state of shock, as my body had given me signs that I wasn't fertile anymore. But unplanned does not mean unwanted, and my surprise child has been as much a blessing as my other children. When she became less demanding, I decided it was time to get back to work on my MS. I had done a lot of reading throughout the years, so it wasn't too difficult to finish up. Even before finishing though, I began working on my Doctor of Naturopathy at another school. I finished it shortly after obtaining my Master's. Currently, I am working on my PhD in Natural Medicine.

I have learned a lot, both from studying, and from raising 7 children and caring for hundreds of animals. I will be using this blog as a place to share some of my knowledge. I will be writing about various aspects of alternative health, including nutrition, special diets, fasting, homeopathy, aromatherapy, and herbology. It is my hope to pass on the things I learned to as many people as possible.

One word of caution. I am not a Medical Doctor. Nothing I write is to be construed as medical advice. My writings are based solely on my opinions formed from my personal research and experience. If you have any questions pertaining to your health, please seek the advice of your health care provider.