Large Family – Small Bathroom

Having a large family, it seems like someone is always needing access to the potty in a bathroom. Our large family, small bathroom scenario at home is very manageable even if it is inconvenient.  But the fact that some one always needs to use the bathroom means that I am very well acquainted with the bathrooms around town.  I know which ones are generally clean, how many stalls they have, the proximity of their location in the building of an establishment to the area I want to shop in.  I will even not go into stores or restaurants solely based upon the fact that I don’t like their bathroom facilities.

Being heavy on girls, and light on boys makes a difference in our public bathroom habits too.  I prefer the men’s restroom to have one hole, that way I can send only my son in to the men’s room, and know he is alone in there and safe from any would be predators.  On the other hand, where my girls are concerned, the more stalls the better.  There are a lot of us, and it can take a very long time for everyone to have their turn.

Today,  we went to the big city for Strawberry’s ophthalmologist appointment.  Following the appointment and a trip to the zoo, we searched out a restaurant to grab some grub.  As I don’t reside there and infrequently dine in the restaurants of this city, I was unaware of potty facilities in the eating establishments nearby.   I was completely disappointed when we got there to realize there was only 1 mens and 1 women’s, and we had to go outside to utilize those.  So, what’s a family to do while they wait, and wait, and wait for the bathroom to free up?  We took pictures. A lot of pictures.  I will share just a few. Enjoy.

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Do you have ideas for ways to pass the time while you are waiting for everyone to have their turn in public restrooms?

Articles to mull over

Here are a few links to articles that I have found interesting and have been mulling over in my mind these last few weeks.  Hopefully you will enjoy them too.

*There are a few affiliate links in this post.

On Health

I have become fascinated with magnesium and the role that it plays in bodily processes. This article highlights some of the hormonal symptoms that result in magnesium deficiencies are outlined in this post.  As I have researched magnesium I have found it linked to ADHD, cholesterol issues, fibromyalgia, migraines, restless legs syndrome, irritability, insomnia, to name a few off the top of my head.  To help get our magnesium in we eat leafy greens, take a magnesium supplement, take our baths with epsom salt, spray magnesium oil on body, and on stressful days will drink Natural Calm.  

I was fascinated with this article about how the acne on your face is a road map to what systems are struggling internally.   Interestingly enough, the areas that my face keeps breaking out in does correspond to health issues that I am currently aware of and working on trying to find a remedy.

The impression that I got in my education was that the human race is so much smarter now than they were thousands of years ago.  I found myself questioning that as a kid, but as I asked questions the answers received always confirmed that thought process, because my teachers were all coming from an evolution based mindset.  But as I started teaching my children from a creation based perspective, I was amazed at all the resources that pointed out this line of thought obviously was not the case.  I have become even more fascinated with this concept as I have started studying more aspects of natural remedies, health foods, and traditional diets.  I am amazed as more and more studies are going back and finding out some of these natural remedies do in fact work.  This article was thrilling to me, as I read about how they are finding evidence that an onion and garlic remedy that is at least 1,000 years ago is proving to have great potential in fighting the MRSA.

On Education

In homeschooling, conversation is a vital part of your children’s education.  I talk to my kids all the time, but I need to amp up the quality, non-rushed conversations that happen in the home between my children and me.

Thought provoking article on how we educate our children at home from a veteran homeschool mom.  Have homeschoolers slipped too far back into the model of what public schools are doing because we are struggling under someone else’s idea of what a “proper” education is? 

On Parenting

As of late, a frequent discussion among some of my friends has been along the lines of doing things that will mess our children up or cause them to walk from the faith.  This was a great post about the most important thing that one family did in encouraging their children to continue to walk with the Lord into adulthood.

On purpose

I loved this article about how to find your “thing.” 

My Best Parenting Advice

The three littles are outside playing.  The older three are strung out on the floor listening to Shakespeare flowing fort from my mouth as I read to them excerpts of his poetry.  My phone rings.  Instinctively, I look down, to my phone and see my friend’s name come up on the screen.  My first response is that I will just let voicemail pick it up, but reconsider that knowing that she doesn’t call for nothing, and I need to pick up the phone.  I apologize to the kids for interrupting their lesson, but tell them I really need to answer this.

I say hello, and hear the crack in her voice as she answers back with, “Hey, do you have a minute.  If you don’t its okay.”

And I know that at this moment my ministry needs to be to my friend.  The kids are happy for a break anyhow. They move on to books of their liking, block building, and bouncing on an inflatable house.

She asks me questions about how to parent in different situations. Hard places. She tells me of the struggles that her and kids are walking through.  What is the best way to train? What is the best way to discipline?  What is the best way to teach them in this place?  And how do you teach them when the sin that they are struggling with is the one that seems to entangle the parent so often?

I share that I understand the plight.  We’ve seen some of the same things in our home.  I share ideas of what worked with some of my kids.  I tell her it could be so many things.  There could be so many answers.

And then I share my best parenting advice.

Pray.  You need to pray. Only through the Holy Spirit will you have the insight needed.  He can show you if the heart of the issue is the child’s sin, a health issue, a diet issue, bad influences the kid has come in contact with, or even if it is an issue with your parenting.  He can show you the root and the solution.

My next piece of advice for parents would be, have faithful friends you can call.  Friends who know what it is like to be in the trenches of parenting life and are not afraid to share openly their own struggles.  Find friends who will pray for you and with you.

Parenting Lessons in the Potty Room

Downsizing in bathrooms, I decided we had to get creative in creating privacy while still making our home as functional as possible.  We installed a curtain in front of our toilet, to allow for the toilet to be used, while someone else has access to the master closet, shower, or the bathroom sinks.

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I was behind the curtain finishing up my business, when the curtain flies up, and a sweet curly head emerges, and grabs my neck to engulf me in a hug.  I was in mid-wipe position, and could tell my balance would quickly be lost.  “Stop.  Wait till I’m done to hug me. ” Dewberry crumbles to the floor and dissolves into tears.  These are not fit tears, or disobedient tears, but crushing hurt tears. I try explaining to her that I love her so much and I appreciate her hugs, but it is inappropriate to come up and hug and kiss someone while they are using the potty.

But ohh…I stop.  

Oops.  

Momma misstepped.

I realized what I did.

Somewhere along the road of parenting a larger than average family, I picked up this piece of advice.  I’m not sure if it came from Michelle Duggar or Kelly Crawford of Generation Cedar.  Perhaps it was another large family momma, but somewhere I read to carve out special time with the kids in the routine, including bathroom and diaper time.  This mom made the point that you have to change the little’s diapers or wipe their bottoms anyways. So while doing these things, speak truth and love into their little hearts.  Tell them that you love them.  Let them know reasons you find they are special.  Express gratefulness that they are a part of your family.

I took this to heart and for the last several years, I have tried to make a point to speak kind uplifting words to them, especially in those times that I have most not wanted to be wiping a bottom.  Often times when I finish wiping their bottoms and get their panties pulled back up, I will give them a big hug and a kiss on their face.

Dewberry was offended because she felt rejected.  She was just offering up to her momma the same kind of affection that she’s been getting from her momma.  But Momma was less than pleased.  And she didn’t understand.

Momma had to apologize to her.

This incidence was a reminder to me: our children are watching us and learning how life works, even when we are unaware.

What are some of the unusual times that you look to speak love into your kids’ hearts?

When Children Are Grown

Barreling towards me is the day when laundry and toys will no longer be littered about the house.  Shoes will not walk off, or be loved on as toys.  The days are coming when evenings will be absent of shouts, laughing, giggles, and silly stories.  Five minutes to write, will truly be five minutes to write; curly-headed girls will not be opening door, peering in with attempts of capturing mommy’s attention.  When fingerprints are no longer smeared all over every door and cupboard: evidence of precious hands exploring their world.  Coming soon to my days, the load will be much lighter, there will be less mouths at the table to daily feed.  When that day comes, will I look back and rejoice in the time I took to kiss the tears away, speak truth to the child, smile encouragement into their soul?  Or when that day comes, will I look on the past with regret, wistfully yearning for it to return?

5 minutes are up.

“Dr. Geikie’s book, entitled ‘Life,’ opens with these words: ‘Some things God gives often:  some he gives only once.  The seasons return again and again, and the flowers change with the months-but youth comes twice to none.’  Childhood comes but once with its opportunities.  Whatever is done to stamp it with beauty, must be done quickly!”   – J.R. Miller – The Christian Family: Home-Making (affiliate link)

*There is an affiliate link on this page.  By clicking and purchasing on this link I will earn a small percentage at no extra expense to you.

I am linking up with other bloggers at 5 Minute Friday, where we blog for 5 minutes straight unedited.

Trust God

My 8 year old, Blueberry, came home from AWANAS the other night and excitedly disclosed to me that the teacher was surprised by her definition to trust God. So I questioned her as to what definition she gave. She proclaimed,

G“Trusting God is putting your life in God’s hands, letting go, and sitting back.”

AMEN!

I pray that her faith and trust will continue to grow in Jesus.

Poured Out

You mommas out there, you know what I am talking about.  Being poured out.   It’s tiring; more adequately described as exhausting, bone weary, muscle aching. It’s painful.   And its constant.

Poured out in the little ways.   Wiping little bottoms.   Getting drinks. Helping to wash hands.  Finding the lost pencil, toy, or shoe.   Trying to listen and give attention to every little voice….all day long.   Trying to be a “Yes” Momma.  Reminding kids that we should use indoor voices.   Training.   Searching for areas to give them praise.  Cooking.  Helping with chores.   Pushing on the swing.   Nursing a baby.  Wiping more bottoms.   Finding lost underwear.  Reading books.  Looking for “lost” kittens.  Teaching.  Helping with school work.   Sweeping. Changing the laundry.   Answering questions.  Listening to them tell about their dreams.   Reminding them to “consider others more important than themselves.”   Training.  Blanket time.  Nursing – again.

Constantly in  a place where what “I want to do” is trumped by the present need.

I am in a season right now that makes me feel so squeezed.   That leaves me drained.   I have the thought often that this person that I am is dying.  I worry that there will not be any of “me” left when I’m done with all this child raising.   I’ve heard countless times from so many sources that one “should never ‘loose themselves.'” In all honesty, I start to resent that I am in fact “loosing myself” and “dying.”

But then these thoughts flash through my mind.

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. (Mark 8:35)

and

God brings beauty for ashes

And I find myself many times throughout the day saying,

“Lord, I can’t do this on my own.  I am so desperate for You.”

“Lord, I am so tired.  But Your Word says You will be my strength.”

“Lord I need help.  The Bible promises me that “You are my help.”

“Jesus, I need wisdom here….what should I do? ”

“What’s the best thing for me to be doing right now?  There are so many needs…so many things that need to be done.  Lord, what is it that You need me to do right now?”

So, as I think about my day as it comes to an end.  And I think about my season that I’m in, I realize that yes, I am in fact loosing my life slowly slowly.   And it’s painful.   I am pouring out my life, sometimes in gushes, but often times just in drips.   I  don’t always do it well.   Like I said, sometimes I resent it.  At times, I even find myself starting to resent those that are the cause of this pouring out of me.   But when I put my thoughts on the Lord.  When I put myself under His Authority.  When I put on right thinking.   Then I realize, that it’s God’s way of sanctifying me.   Slowly, slowly He is sanctifying me.   As He does this, more and more of my sin – especially in the way of selfishness is revealed to me.

Which leaves me longing for eternity.