homeschooling, large family

SNOW SQUALLS

This is a post for all my readers/followers (thank you …) that do not live in a crazy place like Ontario, Canada. I thought you might like a glimpse of our lives and weather here. We live about 45 minutes North of Toronto , Canada near a large lake that creates what is called “Snow Squalls”. When snow squalls are in the forecast the people who don’t appreciate snow (Myself) groan and all the children leap for joy. If you are a public school kid then school is cancelled and if you are a homeschooler then school is cancelled. Its only fair…they gotta have some fun too 🙂

The skies can go from clear to grey in seconds, without warning, and the snow can dump inches to feet within hours. All wreaking havoc on the roads, sometimes power failures and many people just struggle in general to get around the road closures and some can’t even get home because a road closure means a police officer is blocking all access to your road home.

My kids just love it, and  so they race to get on the loads of winter gear they need and mom slathers a salve on their face to avoid frostbite. They go first to the animals .Our cute little outdoor rabbit is snug in his cage and waiting for treats and play time. Next its the hens, who always demand attention by squawking and crowing. They are really good at telling us how much they love their treats and attention. After everyone is cared for its play time!! They get out the sleds, crazy carpets, gt’s and just go nuts having a great time pulling each other around and sliding down the hill my hubby makes with a snow blower. When they come in they ask for hot chocolate with marshmallows and cookies. Ofcourse I oblige. I love them and I want them to always remember the good times together.

Life this far north can get super complicated sometimes. Cars won’t start, backs hurt from shovelling, playdates and get togethers get cancelled, mittens and hats get lost, winter gear is often needed part way through the season as they grow and it’s really costly. The only solace I have in it all is that my kids can have tons of fun and not notice that they cant even see the house across the street sometimes when they are in the thick of it.

homeschooling, Large Family Meals

Large Family Meals

Meal times are very special around here, especially dinner time. We love to sit around the table with each other and feast on good food and good words. My children range from 27 years old (on his own now) down to 2 and I have used the same approach with all of them. Buy real food, make great recipes, insist they taste everything. For the most part everyone’s palette has become very broad, but there is always a small exception in the vegetable department where one child or another may have a veggie that really grosses them out. So I make it a mission to prepare them differently to try to find a way they may like to eat them . For example, some children will eat cooked peas and some won’t but everyone will eat them raw, so we mostly eat them raw. I myself find cooked peas repulsive, along with cooked beets, but I can eat them both raw any day and without trepidation. Above are some photos of some of the food we ate this evening. Baked sole, roasted cauliflower and potatoes, Brussel sprouts (yup,they eat ’em) and a salad full of raw veggies. The good words will come from a devotion book that will be read aloud to all (tonight it was “what does the Bible have to say about that?) and a few times a week we will also include some time in the Bible and a good novel that is appropriate for all ages.

This year was the first time we had 5 children in skating programs that started at 5 p.m  5 to 6 times a week for about 3 months. It totally ruined our supper hour and made way for a hectic and unrelaxing snacky kind of dinner while mostly standing at the rink. This is not a healthy lifestyle and there is no time for meaningful conversation with your loved ones at this pace. Also because I always had to feed my small army on the go there was extra preparation in advance while school was being done that made the day all the more crazy.  Some families live like this all the time!! I could not continue like this forever. I guard my time with my family and really believe that the hours we spend on character training and relationship building are more important than any extra curricular program out there. That is not to say they won’t ever do sports or music but we will not prioritize them over family time.

We are blessed to have a lot of variety in our meals . I bulk up my meals to make 2 or 3 of everything, several days per week so that we can eat something once and put the other 1 or 2 in the freezer for later. This helps me to have lighter days when there isn’t much time to throw together a killer lasagna or sloppy joes. It also helps us to have a large monthly menu so that we don’t get tired of eating the same thing all the time or eat the same meal for days on end. I have never been that kind of girl but am thankful for a husband that doesn’t care if he eats the same thing every day. He loves our leftovers. He also loves coming home to a hot and tasty meal after a hard days work, and need I say ….I love preparing it for him:)

I often have friends ask how I got my kids to eat fish. Well I lied…..Just kidding that was my mother (she lied to my half- sister till she was 15 that those were really “CHICKEN” nuggets…lol) I simply started out with baked sole as above ( non smelly fish with a very subtle and light flavor) and did the following:

Baked Sole Recipe:

As many fresh or frozen fillets desired

Squeeze lemon liberally all over

Sprinkle salt and dill all over

Sprinkle Italian bread crumbs all over

Drizzle olive oil on top

Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-45 minutes (depends on thickness of fillets; look very easy flakiness)

Don’t expect kids to eat it all the first time either. Sometmes it take a few tries before they get used to it just like with other foods!!

homeschooling, large family, Large Family Birthdays

Large Family Birthdays

Sometimes Birthdays can seem so complicated. The good news is they don’t need to be.

I kinda flip flop when it comes to birthday parties. Certain years seem more fitting than most, like birthday number 5, then number 10, and even 12 just because it’s the last year before they are in the teen years. Sometimes I just wanna have a party and other times I  pressure myself into it. This year though, I it would be fun to have my eldest daughters best friends family over for dinner and games but it just didn’t work out that way . We received a text as they were on their way our house, to tell us one of their little ones was throwing up, and being the amazing friends that they are they understood that we would want to back out as our vacation time is nearing and we don’t want to spend our vacation being sick if we can help it at all. So the party consisted of “just us” (still a fair number of people) , but it was still MUCHO fun!!

We all had a lot of food to eat, then we played charades, and danced while listening to some tunes from pa’s fiddle. Yep, my kids know how to clog hard…lol. We had cake and finished off the night with a movie at the request of the birthday girl. While friends would have been amazing it was still so nice to just be US and love each other and teach a sweet 4-year-old how to play charades which is really not easy. We laughed and came out of our shells a bit and thankfully worked off some calories too. I love being around on every child’s special day ,every year as they are growing so quickly.

Here are a few things we do to make birthdays special even if it’s just us celebrating.

-We decorate . This is most important for a December birthday because we are always stuck inside and it helps to differentiate from Christmas and brighten up a usually gray day.

-We all start the day acknowledging the Birthday kid with hugs and cheers.

-The birthday kid gets the day off school. They totally love this.

-They get the day off from all chores. This is understood by all and everyone is happy to cover the extra chores.

-We give the birthday kid extra one on one ,however they want it . Some want to hang out ,play games, work on a project, play outside,etc.

-Birthday kid gets to dictate all of our meals that day. Some only request one special meal or a special cake . I have some leeway when it comes to a party because I am not making homemade beef stew  for 20 plus people.

That’s it in a nutshell. I hope this helps to alleviate any pressure that some parents have about insisting they should have a party every year with friends and the whole shebang. You can really have a lot of fun with just yourselves and really pouring yourselves into making sure your child is just having a fun loving happy day with their best friends on earth.

 

 

 

 

 

adoption, large family, miscarriage, Uncategorized

The Adoption Call

IMG_8536 (3)Its been many years since we felt the call to adopt and finished our training so you may wonder why we don’t have any adopted children yet? Well that’s a complex question for me to answer in a way, because I don’t want really think that everyone may understand MY convictions in this very personal matter in my life.

Before I felt the call to adopt I felt the call to trust the Lord with my family size. Doesn’t that sound a little backwards in our society today? Yes, trust someone other than myself or my husband, our doctor, O.B, our moms, the stranger in the checkout line or even some dear friends and a local Pastor. You see lots of people had Something to say about this decision even though they weren’t us and had never walked a day in our shoes.

Why would we want to have MORE? ugh….

Well the truth is that I flat out believed what  the Bible said about children being a blessing. That’s a plural there folks. CHILDREN. So my sweet hubby (also trusting) and I embarked on a journey of blessing and sorrow that most people cannot fathom. In the course of 11 years we were expecting 16 times, ended up with 6 children under 9 and 10 teeny babies in Heaven. There are days where I imagine what my house looks like in Heaven and I pray that those babies are in there waiting for my arrival party.

The worst of it all was that as I was jeered at, snarled at, told I didn’t have to do this, and endured the question “don’t ya know what causes that S*#!?” ,  I silently suffered behind closed doors and grieved like a Momma that’s lost 11 babies (total) to miscarriage. While I was being told I was crazy for whatever baby I was carrying at the time, I  was also trying not to think about all the others  I also carried and loved and made name lists for. Sometimes along the way there would be a gap between babies born, sometimes even a few years,and people who knew my convictions would come over with a little gloaty look on their face, chat me up with small talk and a little catch up on my kids ages and then the question ” Are you going to have any more?”

Do you know hard it is to swallow a question like that and respond with grace when you know they are expecting you to say you went for a snip rather than you are willing to look like a fool for Jesus and go for broke?

It was very hard.

It was also  hard to face the question why not just adopt? Quit what you are doing and just adopt?

Like adoption is supposed to be E-Z!!!

We wanted to fulfill our first conviction and see how many more times we could open up our hearts and trust God even through the losses that there might be one more here on earth before we could move on to build our family further through adoption. So here we are.

We have had many miscarriages over the last 2 years and I am now closer to 50 than 40 and we have decided its time to trust the Lord again, but this time in adoption. We are praying and talking and researching and hoping that there are a couple of little siblings out there that are meant for the Morrison tribe so we can sleep at night knowing that we have fulfilled another calling and have filled up a little more space in our hearts that we know is there for them.

There aren’t a lot of options for a large family like ours but we are going to choose one and pray and hope that God will fulfill this desire that we have to  make a difference in the children that he chooses for us. There have already been many questions . Why more? Isn’t your family so full already? Why international adoption? Well The bible says that He places the lonely in families and I know that this is also true because look where I am.

adoption, large family, miscarriage

7-Eleven (Not What You Think)

Every once in a while I get the comment that being a Momma to 7 must be hard. This always causes me to  feel a little unsure of what to say because there is something that comes a little undone in me and makes me feel like bawling and crying out in reply “Don’t you know that I want more?” (just like I do with God all the time in my prayers)

I have always loved children. Even when I wasn’t a Christian at 18 years old and found out that I was 4 months pregnant (while on birth control). I was in complete awe of the gift of life growing inside me. Fast forward:

I intentionally am expecting another baby a  few months later and I give birth to a beautiful son at 19. Then as divorce takes hold of my marriage and I become a single working mom I squelch the desire for Mommyhood as I am absolutely never going to do that again unless its with a husband that is going to be mine forever.

About a decade and a half will go by and my husband to be and Jesus will enter my life and I become a new person. As I read the bible on the couch one day I question my hubby. If the bible says ” children are a Blessing…..a reward…..like arrows in the hands of a warrior” then why are we avoiding having them? 

You see my soul was searching and I had to make a decision.

Was the word of God true?

So as we talked it out and we decided to just go ahead and not use any birth control of any sort and see what happened and guess what? We experienced JOY and BLESSING over and over and our love just expanded and took over,  yet in time we also experienced pain and confusion and near despair. You see I was a willing and eager vessel but I wasn’t going to get what I wanted. I was going to have a second miscarriage and be utterly floored that this could happen to me after having 3 more children in 3 years. The Lord was going to let my boat get rocked and see if I was still willing.  After my 5th child was born I had 4 more miscarriages in a row. All near the 3 month mark. I would be so excited every time that another baby was growing inside and then without warning the bleeding would start and the sorrow would set in and the life would slip away. Many people mean well but just don’t understand what that feels like unless they have been there. The only comfort I had was given by  2 women who confronted me at church with tears in their eyes and their own stories of loss and their decisions to stop trying after 4 m/c or lose their ever-loving minds. I could relate so well to these women but didn’t know any one else who would press on , and so I walked through my grief feeling ultimately lonely and turning to God every time with the question “Why?”

I don’t know why God allows it but He does. Some will say that there was something wrong with the baby’s chromasones but that’s not necessarily true as I had one baby tested in my search for answers. The pain and the grief was raw and real and every time I was faced with the decision to trust again…to have HOPE…to be willing. Did I want to put myself throught this again? I can write about this for a very long time but I won’t . I will try and shorten things up a little.

I just turned 47 and at this point I  have 7 wonderful children on earth and 11 who have gone straight home to Jesus. My last miscariage was this summer and ended with extreme blood loss ,an ambulance ride ,and an operation something like a D&C. We have since decided that the calling we felt several years ago when we did our adoption training is a priority for us and that we need to pursue it. I feel very blessed that in my mid 30’s I was re-married and able to have a second chance at becoming a Momma to 6 more children ( and way into my 40’s for that matter!!) So here we are once again trusting God and having HOPE that we may continue to expand our family through adoption. Some may say we are to old but not true!! Had I not miscarried my baby would be due in April and I have heard many stories of Families receiving their  blessings even later into life than our present ages. Will you please pray for us as we once again head down a journey of unknowns?

Photo by JeepersMedia on Foter.com / CC BY

 

homeschooling, Recipes

Still Giving Thanks

Even though our Canadian Thanksgiving is gone and we are on track to one of the most celebrated  times of year, I can’t help but be so thankful for all of the Lords blessings in our lives. We are still seeing the fruits of our labor from our small organic garden as we have slowly have been making our way through our sugar pumpkin crop. Our children help with this project from beginning to frost and are delighted to see that long after the warm days are gone, we are still benefitting from our efforts. Today we decided to use some of our pumpkins which we had previously cooked and pureed, to make our favorite pumpkin loaf recipe.

I consider this a lesson in home economics for my little ones. Yes, sometimes it is harder to include them in the kitchen but they are always so excited to be given a chance to enter my “zone” and touch the usually” forbidden” things, that I just gotta let them in. In case you are wondering what the “forbiddens” are , I am talking about the mixer, the spray hose next to my sink, the spatula and my kitchen sponge. I need to really be on my game when they are helping because my kitchen can turn into a disaster zone yet they learn so much in these moments, like hygiene, teamwork , counting, measuring, pouring, following direction, washing dishes in the sink, and they also learn how to clean up because the job isn’t done until the tools are put away. When I pull these loaves out of the oven they are so excited to taste what they have made. I want all future mother-in-laws to know I have done my best with these boys. Here are some photos to show you what this looked like: ( Recipe Below)

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PUMPKIN LOAF:

(Makes One Delicious Loaf….I double this ALWAYS!!)

1 cup flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter

1 egg

1 cup homemade pumpkin puree

Directions: mix your dry stuff . In a separate bowl mix all the rest except for pumpkin. Now add pumpkin to the moist stuff and add in the dry stuff. Use electric mixer to mix it all until its light and fluffy. Pour into buttered and floured loaf pan ( I use glass) an bake for approx. 65 -75 minutes @ 325 degrees. Enjoy!!

homeschooling, Large Family Christmas

Large Family Christmas

One of the more polite responses I have received from strangers when they find out that the kids with me at Wal-Mart are not daycare kids is “Wow, Christmas must be fun at your house”. To which I reply “Oh yes,…. yes it is indeed”.

We do love Christmas around here and what isn’t there to love? Jesus’ Birthday, presents, candy canes, tobogganing, no school!!!  Did I say no school? sigh…yes it’s  lovely time of year.

My kids eyes just light up with eager anticipation and wonder at the lights going up on houses. They grin with glee as the boxes with untold gifts are being delivered at our door (seemingly) daily. They are just bursting with joy at the thought of hanging our advent calendar ,receiving their chocolate calendars, driving to get the tree and pulling out the Christmas decoration boxes.

We are so blessed. Some years are very lean for us financially speaking (self employment) and others are a little more plentiful but the kids never notice and we never feel like we have gone without.

We have some dear friends that offer us a tree right from their own property every year for the last several years. Its been a great tradition when we can get there (one year we couldn’t due to weather and sickness) and we look forward to it as it gives us a chance to hang out, drink hot chocolate and let the kids play/toboggan when the weather allows it.

Another tradition we follow is that we always buy a couple of large gingerbread houses for decorating with candies but this year was a little different. We found out that the church we have been attending was going to host gingerbread house decorating so we headed there to join in the fun with some friends! I would love to hear from others about their own family traditions!!

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