Friday, January 30, 2009

You wanted to know...

As promised, here is my first Q&A. Questions are listed in no particular order. I tried to list previously unanswered questions, but I'm sure I missed a lot of them. If you are still waiting for an answer, you can leave me another comment.

What's your current daily routine if you have one and how do you fit in homeschooling. I'm asking this because if I were to want to homeschool I have NO IDEA how I would fit that in there!!

Get up about 90 mins before I expect the kids to get up (usually around 5:30 to 6:30, depending on when I went to bed).

Get ready and dressed, read the Bible, start on housework (laundry, empty dishes)

Feed and dress kids as they wake up.

Once kids are all fed and ready, read Bible to them all, then do core subjects such as English, spelling, math, phonics, writing, reading. They work independently while I take turns helping them and keeping the housework going.

Run errands if we have any, or take the kids to the park.


Clean lunch mess, reboot laundry, start dishwasher.

Little ones take a nap while the older ones do history, science, art etc.

Play/cook/do chores/run more errands until dinner.


Get kids ready for bed, read to kids, lights out between 8 and 9.

"Pick up" and sweep house, do laundry and dishes.

Lay out kids' school work for next day and write what they need to do on the chalk board.

Sit down and RELAX (i.e. blog).

I usually end up doing school only 3 or 4 days per week, because the kids work ahead and get done sooner. We use the spare time for weekly field trips, going to the library or the park, or just for projects around the house.

As far as fitting in homeschooling, I find that it takes much less time than some think, but it DOES take time. And thought and planning (= mental drain). Since we only ever homeschooled, I had a chance to "grow" into it. I can imagine that if you were to start homeschooling all your kids at once, it would be an adjustment. But then again, if you are currently driving them to and from school and helping with homework, you are probably already spending more time on that than I am on teaching.

Did you always wear skirts and why?

No, I started about 7 years ago. I believe God is against unisex clothing and wants us to dress gender specific.

Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

I am also intruiged by the whole 'girls can only wear skirts' idea: I understand wanting to be modest and not expose oneself in skimpy outfits, but why not pants? Again, just wondering.

Please see previous question.

Can you explain being against short hair?

I am not against short hair, I am just against short hair on women. :)
1Co 11:5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. 1Co 11:6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. This covering is NOT talking about a veil, but rather hair, as the verses just below prove: 1Co 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 1Co 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

You don't own a TV then?

No, we don't. We never watch any TV.

Why on earth are you eating ham for Christmas Dinner? If you follow all of God's words and His rules for living why do you choose not follow this one: Deuteronomy 14.8 Also the swine is unclean for you ..... you shall not eat their flesh

The dietary rules applied only to the nation of Israel, and were done away with in the New Testament, Jesus having fulfilled the law.

Acts 11:5-9 (5) I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me: (6) Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. (7) And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat. (8) But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth. (9) But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

Although we are totally different types of parents, from different sides of the world, I was just wondering regarding your comment about your girls getting up early for their own families ..would you be supportive of your girls should they decide one day to become independant career woman instead of staying home to raise a family??? prehaps deciding not to have children at all??

No, I wouldn't be, but the choice would ultimately be theirs. I am not worried about them choosing such a lifestyle, though, as I will be teaching them that being a mother is the highest calling in life. Why would they want to settle for less? Why eat at McDonald's when you can have Filet Mignon?

Just wanted to thank you and Steven for providing such wonderful learning and encouragement for us over the net. Thank you for your latest post on rising early. I would love to hear more specifics of how you ménage your day with your children and homeschooling. Our eldest is 9 and youngest 9months with three in between. I am so eager to learn more as we also are homeschooling.

Thank you so much, I love comments like this one!

My question relates to the use of the King James version of the Bible. You seem quite adamant that this is the only correct version of the Bible, could you tell me a little more about that? This is not meant as a criticism or anything, I am genuinely interested as this is the first time I have heard this.

You can find more information on this issue here.

Did you want kids or a big family before you converted?

I have always wanted both.

Where do you store 23 boxes of Kleenex? LOL Sounds like a kindergarten classroom supply! haha

That's easy: in my laundry room, right next to the 3 cartons of laundry soap and warehouse size packages of paper towels and toilet paper. I am actually also drowning in the latter because I have been getting 4-packs of Cottonelle for free for months, thanks to the sales and coupons.

(I realize this last one wasn't intended as a serious question)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Why I hate church nurseries

The subject of whether or not church nurseries are scriptural and whether or not I think they should exist is one of my favorite hobby horses. Please bear with me as I go off on it for a while in this post.

For those readers who think nurseries are a must, and without them church would be a circus, this post will do little to convince them otherwise because they are willingly ignorant, and inconsiderate of the fact that children are the most important audience.

Rather, my post is intended to embolden parents who are currently struggling with this issue to take a stand against nurseries, and prove that yes, you can and should have your children in church right alongside with you.

My husband devoted a large part of his most recent Sunday night sermon, "How to win children to Christ", to preach on this very subject, and I have embedded the video of it below. While the entire sermon is great, the part pertaining to nurseries starts at 36:14. For some reason the camera was not focused properly, but the sound quality is obviously unaffected by that.

I am not going to repeat the points from the sermon here, but would like to add the following:

Keeping children out of the service and leaving them in a nursery is not only detrimental to their spiritual growth, but also their physical health. Nurseries are like leper colonies, and any and all sickness will be passed around as toys (and the accompanying body fluids) are freely shared. In a small church, there may only be one nursery, in which case older kids could hurt younger children by throwing toys, biting/hitting them, or accidentally stepping on the little ones - I have seen all of these. A baby might accidentally be given the bottle of another child, something that even with labeled bottles happens all the time.

There is a prevailing notion that young children get sick a lot and that that's just the way it is. According to statistics, preschool age children get about 9 colds per year. This number is absolutely ridiculous, but sadly true. When our kids used to go to the nursery during church services, they would get sick at least once per month, but more often it was twice per month. Today I know that almost all of this sickness was completely self-inflicted. Now, the kids get sick maybe once or twice per year at the most. The children in the nursery share germs with each other. They are also exposed to the germs of their respective older siblings, of which they may be a carrier without showing any symptoms of illness yet. They can get sick from a nursery worker who either does not know that she is spreading a virus that she is carrying, or who knew she was sick but didn't want to miss out on holding the babies in the nursery.

While children are exposed to germs out in public all day long, it is not as aggressive of an onslaught as in a nursery. A child that is exposed to a few germs at the store or in the church auditorium will most often shake it off before it develops into an illness. Such is not the case when their system is overloaded with the amount of germs that they are exposed to in a closed environment such as a nursery with other sick children.

I could go on for hours on this point alone. In short, our kids used to get sick all the time. Since we took them out of the nursery (which was well-maintained and cleaned regularly) they hardly ever get sick any more. Best of all, they are not passing sickness on to my husband, as they had before, which would mean substantial financial losses because of him being too sick to work.

Then there is the question of safety. Churches draw freaks like moths are drawn to light. People are trusting, courteous, and easy targets. How can anyone know that the sweet nursery worker that they just handed their child off to is not a predator? I get so tired of hearing about background checks. They are 100% worthless. All a background check says it that someone has never been convicted of a crime. Maybe they just have never committed one yet? Maybe they just didn't get caught? Every child molester had a clean record at one time - do you want your child to be the first victim? I am not saying that you should go around suspecting everyone, I am saying you should not go around blindly trusting anyone just because they happen to go to your church. Would you trust that same person at church with all your personal banking information, your wallet, the keys to your house and car, and all your money in cash, to do with it as they saw fit? Hardly. To me, my children are worth so much more than all that together.

Learning to sit still in church will also be a valuable lesson for younger children, rather than picking up every bad behavior from other kids in the nursery. No child is perfect, my own included, which is why they shouldn't just all be cooped up together to learn each others worst habits.

According to the Bible, it is wrong to tell people who come to church where to sit:

James 2:3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:

According to the Bible, Jesus was angry when the disciples tried to keep the children away from him:

Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

Luke 18:16 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

According to the Bible, it is wrong for the pastor to rule over and command another man's wife by forcing her to use the nursery.

Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

1Peter 5:3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

Yet, there is not one single verse in the entire Bible that says that children should be pushed aside into a nursery while the adults attend the service.

Do yourself and your children a huge favor and get out from under the footstool that pastors have confined the next generation to because they are so ill-prepared for their sermon that any little peep from the audience will make them lose their train of thought.

To read previous post on this subject, click here, here, and here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Is it wrong to blog?

Whaaaat??? Yes, you read the title right.

No, I do not think it is wrong to blog (evidently). But this is a notion that I have come across more commonly in recent months, and just felt like I would give my two cents on it.

I am NOT talking about ladies who started a blog but then closed it because they found it took away too much of their time. On the contrary, I commend those ladies for making such a decision.

Personally, blogging to me is a hobby, a creative outlet like crafts or gardening might be to someone else (me + plants = disaster). Everyone needs to have something that they can relax with sometime. Nobody only works, sleeps, eats, and serves God, in spite of what they may claim. I get up very early every morning, work hard all day with practically no breaks at all, and when the kids are in bed, after a quick cleaning of the house, I think I have every right to sit down and take it easy. To read what other adults have to say (since calling them at 10 PM might not be such a good idea). To share what I learned with others in a situation similar to mine.

Now if someone told me that they think women should NEVER publish a book, speak publicly, teach a class at church, or otherwise voice themselves, I would very much disagree with them, but at least that would be consistent. However, the only people that I have heard say that blogging is wrong would not find it wrong for a lady to write a hand-written letter to another person. They have ladies at their church who teach Sunday School, and find nothing wrong with that. They read and/or recommend books written by other Christian ladies. They would not think it wrong for ladies to talk about Bible questions with other ladies.

I do think it is wrong for women to stand up in church and teach the Bible, even if it is to women only. But that does not mean that women cannot talk about spiritual matters. I also think that older women are commanded to teach younger women "to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands." Notice that these are all things that are taught by example and life itself, not in a classroom.

I would like to think that I am not an "older woman", but I am older than some. I have also had 5 children, which has taught me many spiritual lessons. Consequently, I do know some things that a young wife or mother, or someone with fewer children, does not yet know, and that she might benefit from learning. Obviously, we don't have to know everything in order to be able to help another lady, or else nobody would be qualified.

I think the real reason why some people are against blogs is the same reason why people in the past were burned at the stake for inventing the printing press and printing books, most notably the Bible. Blogs give people a voice who would otherwise only have a very limited circle of influence. Blogs are effective tools of mass communication. This opens up the floodgates for spiritual discourse and the spread of true biblical teaching vs. man-made traditions and doctrines.

So yes, much to the dismay of many, I will continue to blog, and do so with a clear conscience. My house is clean, my work is done, the kids are in bed, I read the Bible to them, taught them, fed them, cleaned them, and cared for them and the household in every other conceivable way today, and there is nothing wrong with sitting down and taking a break. What was good enough for Jesus is good enough for me.

A website I like

This is a website I came across a few years ago, and found it both very educational and encouraging. I hadn't been back to it in at least a year or so, but did so yesterday.

I loved what I read because this lady

a) is saved
b) knows the Bible
c) does NOT believe in the pre-trip rapture
d) promotes home birth
e) homeschools

and many other reasons that I do not have time to list here.

When I added her to my blog roll (-----> see right hand column), I realized that her website does not have a blog feed, i.e. she will not appear at the top of the list when she posts something new. Hence this post to let everyone know to check out her site.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Grocery Game update

To read previous posts on this subject, please click here.

I am still faithfully doing the "Grocery Game" every week at Fry's (part of the Kroger group). Last fall, I added a second store, Albertsons, but quickly learned that they have much fewer items on sale, and that the deals are not nearly as good. There have been a few exceptions here and there, but by and large, I would not find the hassle of clipping and organizing coupons and matching them with the sales worth my time if it were only for Albertsons. In my area, a list for Whole Foods is also available, and while the sales are not that great it would still be worth if for someone who can afford to buy all organic foods.

Because I have been doing this for so long, my cupboards and fridges are loaded with food. I think I could easily feed our family for a full month if I had to just with what I have at home (except milk and produce). Of course, I would only do that in an emergency, i.e. if we had no money to buy any food. The stockpiles are part of the plan of saving money - when an item goes on sale, and I have coupons to make it even cheaper, I buy as many as I can. Hopefully, that will then last until I get another great sale months down the road, before my stockpile of that particular item runs out completely. Last year, I got a bunch of Nestle chocolate chips for free, and some more for 50 cents per bag, so I bought enough to last me until Christmas, at which time I was able to get a similar deal right around the time I was running out of them. Also last month, I was able to buy 5 lb bags of C+H sugar for 50 cents each, so I bought 10 bags which will last us for about one year. I store the food in our second fridge to keep the critters out (a very real danger in our warm climate).

This system has almost completely eliminated the need for making a weekly shopping list. I simply print the items I am interested in buying from the Grocery Game website. It is very rare that I have to add an item or two to my list that I will have to buy at regular price, because I have my own little well-stocked grocery store in my pantry.

The only foods I buy at regular price are meat and milk (which I buy at Sam's Club) and produce (which I buy at a local health food store). Again, there are exceptions to this, as I often get "salad kits" for free after buying them on sale and using a matching coupon. There are also often coupons for cheese and other dairy products. If I don't have any, I buy those at Sam's as well.

Some products regularly end up being free after sale and coupon, some of which include: toothpaste, deodorant, toilet paper, softsoap, shampoo, condiments, and canned goods (beans, tomato sauce, etc.). Because I get coupons from friends of mine who don't use them, I can stock up on these items and practically never have to buy them.

Here is a summary of today's shopping trip:

Because it is hard to tell from the picture how much stuff there is, here is the exact list:

4 lbs strawberries
4 jars of salsa
1 bottle of Juicy Juice 100% juice
6 cartons of Tropicana orange juice
3 boxes of Orville Reddenbacher all-natural microwave popcorn
1 bag of Lay's BBQ potato chips
1 bag of goldfish crackers
2 boxes of Fiber One bars (5 each)
4 lbs of Kraft shredded cheese
4 packages of Nestle ready-to-bake cookies
6 Suave deodorant sticks
3 bottles French's mustard
8 cans of Hormel chili
3 cans of Rotel diced tomatoes w/ green chiles
23 boxes of Kleenex with lotion tissues (2 of which were free, the rest 40 cents each)
3 packs of gum (NOT on my list, the kids totally talked me into this very convincingly - ugh)

(Items in green were FREE after sale + coupon)

Total shelf price for all this would have been: $ 224.52

Without coupons, just the store sales, this would have been: $ 124.87

I paid (after coupons and sales): $ 53.27

That is a savings of over 76%. By clipping coupons, I saved an additional $ 71.60 as opposed to just buying items on sale. This week's figure is not unusual, I always range between 60-90% off. Again, I do buy meat, milk, and most produce at regular price (i.e. only on sale, but no coupon), so my overall grocery savings are "only" around 50%.

The Kleenex boxes prove my point from earlier: I now have enough to last us for several months (we do go through a lot because we have 5 kids and I have serious allergies this time of year). Hopefully, by the time I run out, I will be able to get another great sale on them rather than having to buy them at full price.

Best of all, this really is like a game, because it IS fun. If you have a store near you that is part of the Kroger group, and you have friends who can pass on their coupons, you may want to look into this.

Edited to add: Because several readers have asked about this, I wanted to mention that if you do sign up for the Grocery Game, and if you are so inclined, I would much appreciate you listing my e-mail address for the Grocery Game referral. Please note that this is still under my old e-mail address,, not my new e-mail address. Putting my address down will add free weeks to my subscription, but that is not why I blogged about it - I just wanted to let everyone know how much money it saves.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Solomon's first time skiing

My husband and Solomon went skiing in Show Low, Arizona a couple of weeks ago. Solomon just turned 7 and had never been skiing before. I was not completely in favor of them going, because (knowing my husband would be bored by the "bunny slopes") I had a feeling he would take Solomon down the steepest slope. They assured me they would be using the bunny slopes and "green circle" (easy) slopes only.

Of course, on the way home they called gloating that Solomon was such a natural at skiing, they had gone on all different slopes, including "blue square" (intermediate) and "black diamond" (expert). How typical! They had lots of fun, and as long as they always come home in one piece, I don't care what happens while they are gone. At least, I try to not care.

Here is a video my husband made of the day:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

One Step too Far

We have five children. Our house is not childproofed at all. No outlet plugs, cabinet locks, toilet-seat-holding-down-thingies, safety gates - nothing. Nada. Zilch. I would put the medicines in a cupboard out of the kids reach, but we don't have any in the house. Well, maybe an almost empty bottle of children's tylenol in the back of my kitchen cabinet. I do keep most cleaners in the cupboards above the washer and dryer, too high up for the little ones, but I would be lying if I said there's none under the kitchen counter (nothing harsh - just dishsoap and such).

I am not at all saying that I am against babyproofing, in fact, we did that when we only had one child. But with five, it's just not possible. Instead, we "houseproof" the children - i.e. we teach them not to stick things in outlets, touch cleaning supplies, etc. It's always worked fine.

There is a catalog that I receive in the mail called "One Step Ahead". I think they should be called "One Step too Far" or "One Step off the Deep End". My guess is that their clientèle mostly consists of older parents who have one or at the most two children. Nobody with lots of kids could afford to be so obsessive-compulsive. I wouldn't say that all of their products are worthless, but most of them are pretty ridiculous. Their catalog always makes for great comic relief.

Walking Wings

Are you one of these parents?

Shame on you!

Add-a-size Garment Extenders

You know, instead of spending $10.95 on new onesies, you can now keep using those old, stained, and worn-out looking ones that your child has outgrown. Not just for grunge moms!

The tight fit allover also gives your child that healthy, plump "I-am-busting-at-the-seams" look that strangers find so irresistible that they just have to pinch your baby.

Wee Block

The name says it all. For those of us with sons, this is intended to make diaper changing time a little less... unpredictable, shall we say?

Pacifier Rinser

I used pacifiers with two of our kids for the first few months. Inevitably, the thing always would get dropped at the wrong time in the wrong spot. Until now (psst... this is just between you and me...) I would pick the stupid thing up, blow off any visible dirt, and then sanitize it by (hold on now) sticking it in my own mouth. Gross, no doubt, but hey - the kid doesn't know that yet. I would tell you that if it's really dirty, you could always have one of the older siblings "clean" it for you, but that would be to weird too say publicly.

Anywho, this is now a mute point because all moms will want to start toting one of these around in their purse, car, diaper bag, back pocket, first aid kit, glove compartment, stroller, and wherever else necessary to always have one within arm's reach. You can't afford to be caught without it any longer.


Ah, I could go on all night long with that catalog alone. But, time is short, and I'd hate to not mention some perfectly useless baby products from other companies that I find hard to believe anyone would buy:

Zaky - a pillow shaped like a fake hand that "imitates the look, feel, weight, scent, and warmth of the parents’ hand and forearm." At the bargain price of $49.95, you can't go wrong buying this thing! In fact, I am thinking about ordering one for each of my sons - I could lay this hand across their mouths at night when they keep talking after I have tucked them into bed.

Is it just me, or does that giant blue hand look kinda spooky - like surgical gloves on some abnormally huge intruder tying to snatch the helpless, sleeping baby away?

Thudguard - Baby's 1st Head Gear

I tell ya, you gotta start 'em young on that head gear stuff. Otherwise they'll grow up and ride their motorcycle without a helmet, too.

After all, you want to "make the learning how to walk experience fun for the whole family." As opposed to what... only the adults having fun when junior bonks his head?!? What do they mean by that statement??


A home test for alcohol in breast milk - yeah mama! Booze it up!

Cleanoz - a battery-operated nasal aspirator

I wish I could think of something funny or clever to say but [shudder] imagine [shudder] someone stuck such a thing up your nose [shudder]. I rest my case.

And, last but not least, my favorite:

WhyCry Baby Crying Analyzer

"How Do You Use the WhyCry?

Turn ON the Why-Cry device

Press the reset button

Put the Why Cry at the distance indicated in the distance table, following baby’s weight

Check the green led indicator turn to a clicking indication. [sic]

Wait for 20 seconds to collect crying sounds. A prognostic led will turn ON.

Review the body language in case of doubts to have a more accurate interpretation of the prognosis

Babies do not always cry the same, so the WhyCry device provides a guide to learn how to recognize different patterns."


No similar device like it [You can say that again!]


Reduces all crying parameters to five categories


Clinically tested and verified [Sigh of relief... it MUST work, then!]


WhyCry has been clinically tested (obtaining a pass certificate) and tried out in nursery schools with completely satisfactory results. [That's because nursery schools are satisfied regardless of whether or not the baby is crying or why. And by the way, they DID just mention the clinical testing part in the point above.]


Has been clinically tested, obtaining a success ratio of 95% [Didn't they already mention that in BOTH previous points?]

bulletA survey carried out among first-time parents showed 98% reliability [I thought these parents bought the WhyCry because they didn't know what baby's cries meant - how can they tell if it's reliable?]

Here's a new idea: instead of putting this next to the screaming baby and waiting for him/her to work themselves into a frenzy, just pick up the baby and comfort him/her.

My only question is - how did parents manage before the advent of modern electronic gadgets?


No point to this post whatsoever. other than to make other moms laugh after a long day of parenting in the real world. If you did, please leave me a comment!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Questions and comments

I receive a lot of questions from readers, and I apologize that I just cannot answer all of them as fast or extensively as I would like to.

While I really don't think it's that important what I think or have to say, I do feel bad about ignoring or postponing these friendly inquiries.

My idea is to compile regular Q&A posts, which I'm hoping would reduce people asking a question that I have already answered in the "Comments" section before.

So if you have a burning question, you can either e-mail it (see my complete profile) or leave it as a comment, and I will answer them periodically.

Update on our homeschooling

In spite of my dire prediction yesterday, today was another productive day with no catastrophes. Well, aside from an entire load of light laundry being ruined in the dryer by a red and a green crayon that were left in one of the kid's pockets. Two bottles of spray'n wash and several washes later, I was able to save about half of the load - for some reason, the crayons washed completely out of some garments, and not others. Sadly, the nice new shirt I got my husband for Christmas is still ruined. Any tips on how I might be able to get crayon stains out are greatly appreciated, but I have already made peace with the idea of having to toss that shirt, as well as one of my favorite skirts and Miriam's really cute blouse. Plus several other pieces - ah well.

Today, I wanted to give an update on our homeschooling. We are more than half-way through this year's curriculum, and things are going well.

Solomon (age 7, 3rd grade) has learned so much this year in Math and English. I like both publishers I use for these subjects, and intend to use the same next year. His cursive writing is getting nicer, but he could still improve a lot if only he liked doing it. I'm not too hung up about it because I figure he's a boy and "pretty stuff" is not his thing. He loves writing stories, and comes up with some pretty hilarious stuff. His spelling is near perfect, better than most adults'. He also reads perfectly, in fact, he read the New Testament through on his own in 2008 and is working on reading through the Old Testament this year. He has an exceptional talent for music, and I am really hoping to find the right piano teacher for him. For now, he teaches himself songs and also learns from my husband. He also loves to read non-fiction children's books on all sorts of subjects, especially biographies of past presidents and anything to do with space and the solar system. He knows more about our planets than I think I ever will. He never forgets anything he reads, including names, places, and dates.

Isaac (age 5, 1st grade) is doing very well in school. His reading has just recently taken off, and with very little help he can read pretty much anything. It is nice to listen to him read to Miriam and Rebecca. He asked me to buy him his own Bible, and he started reading in the book of Genesis. He is also getting very good at Math, something he struggled with a little at the beginning of the year, but now has a very good concept of. His fine motor skills are very good, so he colors and writes very neatly, much more so than Solomon did at his age (I make a point not to compare the kids to each other in front of them). His favorite subject is history. He loves dressing up and acting out what he learns. He is very imaginative and creative, and comes up with some hilarious stuff. He also loves art projects and science experiments. Isaac is a very easygoing, happy student, and loves the one-on-one attention he gets from me while I teach him.
John (age 4, kindergarten) is our little genius. Not that his older brothers aren't exceptionally sharp, too, but this one is just plain scary sometimes. It's hard to explain, but he understands very abstract, complicated concepts. He has always been like that. He started speaking in complete sentences around the time he was 18 months old. It seems as if he has always talked - I think he started using individual words around 5 months of age. Once when he was still tiny, much younger than 2, he wanted to do something that was not safe for him. He started crying and asked "Kids don't do that? Only adults do that?" and I was shocked that he grasped the concept of adult vs. child. He would also cry anytime I put my hair in a pony tail, telling me "Girls don't do that!" because to him it looked like short hair on a woman, something my husband had preached against. This year, I started him in a kindergarten curriculum for 4-year olds when he was still 3 1/2 years old. He has totally finished all that by now, and started on the 5-year old kindergarten a few weeks ago. I'm guessing he will be done with it by the summer and start 1st grade in August, at age 4 1/2. To be honest, I am really not very excited about this prospect. Working with a gifted child is a lot more demanding and time consuming, because they are never satisfied. They always want to learn more. There are no quick answers you can give them - one answer just leads to another complicated, related question. Of course, it is also very easy to teach him. If I tell him something once, such as the sound of a letter, he will remember it. He is starting to read simple words, and if he has mastered basic reading by the summer there is really no justification for me wanting to hold him back when he is bursting at the seams trying to learn. His writing skills are exceptional, and he can form letters almost perfectly.

Miriam (almost 2 years old) is still a baby in my mind. She understands everything, and is very smart, but never talks. I am starting to think she does it just to tease us. She used to talk a lot, but stopped completely when she started walking a year ago. I often joke that if our kids were vaccinated (which they are not), we could have sued the government for compensation for an adverse vaccine reaction. It really was a day-and-night change. She does vocalize somewhat, but not in words - except when she yells "NO!" at her big brothers. She usually scribbles a picture or plays with John while the older kids are doing their schoolwork. She likes to say the sounds of the letters with John and will imitate him reading beginning blends. Right now, I can't see her starting any kind of kindergarten program anytime soon, which will give me a nice break after John being so demanding.

Rebecca (3 months old) is just my sweet little appendage while I work with the older kids. She has a budding sense of humor and finds the kids' antics amusing. She is starting to be a real chatterbox, always making loud baby noises and squeals. Maybe she will inspire Miriam to start talking again.

I love homeschooling. This post is not intended as a bragging session about how smart my kids are (even though that's true). It's just a glimpse into my life. Knowing that I am 100% responsible for whatever education our children receive can be a scary thought or an inspiration to excel. A lot has to do with the fact that our kids have never watched TV and their minds are like little sponges, soaking up whatever information we feed them.

I am currently working on two related blog posts, one on teaching children how to read and one on why I am against "unschooling" - please check back for those sometime soon.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Time flies when you're having fun...

It's hard to believe that January is already more than half over. Rebecca is 3 months old this Tuesday. Words cannot express how much joy she has brought to all of our lives since her arrival. I cannot imagine not having her, and am excited about the prospect of many more children in the future as God sees fit to bless us. Rebecca is like a happy little ray of sunshine. Her latest gigs include laughing loudly, squealing, and sitting up in her Bumbo seat. Happy and sweet are the two most fitting words to describe her. Unfortunately, there are not that many photos of the little sweetheart because I am always so smitten by her that I don't want to put her down long enough to go grab my camera.

Here she is sleeping in her little "nest" in our bed. There is nothing sweeter than to fall into bed at night tired from working hard all day long and getting to cuddle up with this sweet little bundle.

Here she is playing in her jungle gym:

My camera cable that I use to download pictures to the computer was lost for a couple of weeks, so following are some "catch-up"photos of the rest of the family.

I already wrote about our Christmas, but did not upload all the pictures to go with it.

Our ham dinner

Solomon with a board game he got for Christmas - so far, he has beat me/us every single time!

Isaac in his new knight costume

Miriam trying to wear/carry as many gifts as she can at once

In early January, we took a trip to Legoland in Carlsbad, California. The weather was magnificent as always, and because it was a Monday, the park was very quiet and there were no lines. One of the endless benefits of homeschooling.

Miriam and Rebecca fell asleep side by side in the stroller

I really don't like the following family picture, but aside from me, everyone looks cute so I thought it would be a shame not to post it.

This is how much I like to have my picture taken:

This trip was the first time that we had to get two hotel rooms to accommodate our family. Until now, we would get one room with two double beds - the boys would share one (they were small enough to fit), and we would share the other with Miriam.

This time, we got one room with a queen bed that I shared with the two girls, and one room with two double beds that my husband and the boys shared. It was really nice because I got to stay up late reading one night and then sleep in the next morning.

Here is a picture of the girls at bedtime:

The following week, my husband took all the kids except the baby on another trip to California with him. I had been saying that I wanted to take a vacation all by myself, with just the baby (since she is exclusively breastfed), and my husband was always all in favor of that. I was reluctant to go, though, because I didn't want to come home from a vacation only to find the house had been turned into a pig pen in my absence.

Instead, I had this idea that they all should go somewhere and give me some quiet time at home. My husband, nice as he always is, agreed and left on Wednesday night after the evening service. They drove half-way to California that night, stayed at a hotel, and drove the rest of the way in the morning. They spent two days going around to all sorts of fun places before coming back home. My husband made another movie with them, and I can't wait for him to edit it all so I can post it on here. The kids all had a great time, and no doubt made some wonderful memories.

I had envisioned cleaning the entire house while they were gone, and actually having it all clean at one time. Instead, I became lazy the minute they left, and didn't even start cleaning until they were almost home. What's the point, I figured, it all gets dirty again anyway. Instead, I spent my time cuddling Rebecca, smelling her baby scent, and visiting with friends without having to constantly make sure the kids were getting into something. I stayed up way too late every night, because I didn't have to get up early the next morning. I didn't even cook for myself. It was wonderful, but I was also very glad when they all got back.

The next morning, I told the kids to clean the van thoroughly before I even considered taking a look at the inside of it. After a couple of hours of them cleaning it out, I finally had the fortitude to face the mess myself.

Do you know what is worse than finding a box of crickets in your vehicle?

Finding an empty box of crickets... Apparently, this was one of the props in their low-budget movie.

We filled not one, but two of these big garbage bags.

This doesn't look so bad, does it? That's because you can't smell the picture. This is where Isaac threw up all over the seat, cabin, and himself after eating too much junk food and washing it all down with sodas. (My husband will dispute that it was caused by that, but I know it was.) Hahahahahahaha - I am SO GLAD I didn't have to clean it all up for once!!!!! I do still have to shampoo the upholstery, but it's not that bad.

Change of subject: Last Sunday, Solomon tied his tie for the the very first time on his own - I think it came out great! I didn't even show him how to do it, he just picked it up.

Today was a very productive day for me. I was able to get a lot of laundry washed (although it is still not put away), clipped and organized this week's coupons and went grocery shopping at two different stores, and helped the kids clean up the toy room. All in addition to cooking, changing diapers, nursing the baby, teaching the older kids, etc. Days like this are rare. On most days, we usually get interrupted by some sort of emergency or have a lot more errands to run.

Since things had gone so nicely all day and the kids were showered and ready for bed in a semi-tidy/clean house early, we did a fun little science project. Then we read several chapters of the Bible, as well as from a chapter book I have been reading to them at bedtime.

Whenever I have a day like this I try to enjoy it as much as I can because I know that tomorrow is bound to be one catastrophe after the other.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

On judging, hating, and name calling

There are many people who read this blog in spite of the fact that they hate me and/or my husband. As one of them recently put it:

"I have been drawn to your blog many times. Not because it makes me want to have a stronger relationship with God (far from it) but because it's like watching a train can't turn away."

While I doubt that this reader has ever seen a real train wreck, my guess is he's saying that morbid curiosity is getting the best of him.

Of course, it doesn't stop at them just looking at my blog, though. People like to voice their disagreements, and they are welcome to do so - just not on my blog! :) There are lots of other websites, books, and people out there who believe different from me, and that's their prerogative. So most dissenting comments are rejected because they are either offensive, restate something that has already been repeated ad nauseam, they are boring, or just because I don't feel compelled at all to have a debate. I believe what I believe for a reason, and debating is a waste of time.

Obviously, atheists would not agree with me on just about anything because their authority is not the Bible. But I do think there are some real Christians out there reading my blog who find it offensive, and this post is for them. For what it's worth (I just have some extra time on my hands today), I will explain my stand on the following three topics that I get most "hate mail" about: judging, hating, and name calling.

1) Judging

The phrase "judge not" occurs 7 times in the entire Bible. Two of those are the often quoted "Judge not, that ye be not judged." in the books of Matthew and Luke. The other five instances all speak favorably of judging, in fact, God is upset because of the fast that people do NOT carry out judgment.

2Ch 19:6 And said to the judges, Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man, but for the LORD, who is with you in the judgment.

Isa 1:23 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.

Jer 5:28 They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.

1Co 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.

The word "judge" occurs a total of 191 times in the Bible, so I'm guessing it's a word God likes to use.

God is not saying that we should never judge. He is saying that we should not judge a matter unless we are willing to have someone else judge us on that same matter. For instance, I can say that murder is wrong, which is a judgmental statement. Any time they like, people are welcome to tell me that I am wrong if I commit murder. They can mete me by the same measure that I set forth, and be justified in doing so.

Matthew 7:2 - For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

God, in fact, commands us to judge all throughout the Bible, such as in this verse:

Joh 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

An entire book of the Bible is called judges. God instituted a government based on judges. I would like to ask all those who write to me and say that judging is always wrong if they think we should get rid of all the judges in this country, as well as the judicial branch altogether. Obviously, that would be utter foolishness.

Furthermore, we are not limited to only judging those areas of life that we are blameless in. For example, I have taught our children that telling a lie is wrong, in spite of the fact that I have lied many times. But if they called me on it, I would have to admit that, yes, I am a liar like everyone else, and yes, I am wrong for that.

The parable that Jesus uses in that favorite passage is about someone having a mote in their eye. Jesus doesn't say not to pull the mote out (= judge them), but rather to remove the beam from our own eye first and then help the other person (=judge them). To go back to my example, I have never put a post up here saying how wretched and disgusting it is to even tell a single lie, because I, like all other human beings, have lied.

But I have never killed my children by way of abortion, IVF, or any other processes that end the life of a child after conception. I have never murdered anyone else, either. I have never dropped my kids off in daycare to pursue a career. I have never been, nor ever will be, a sodomite. So if I speak out against any of these issues, I am willing to be judged by those exact same standards.

My final remark on this point is that a statement such as "You are a judgmental, bigoted [expletive]", some variation of which I receive daily, is judgmental. Only a judgmental person can accuse me of being judgmental, after judging me to be so. Hence, they are also a hypocrite, because they think it is ok for them to do something that they are telling me is wrong to do.

Judging is NOT wrong, and I challenge anyone to send me a Bible verse proving me wrong - excluding the ones above that I just disproved.

2) Hating

Many people think it is always wrong to hate anything or anyone for any reason. Others like to parrot the phrase "hate the sin but love the sinner", which yes, to a point, is true. But there comes a point when God hates certain people after they have rejected him time and again, and then we are commanded not to love them.

God said in Hosea 9:15: All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.

In Malachi 1:3, God said: And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.

Psa 139:21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?

Psa 139:22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

2Ch 19:2 And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD.

Rom 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

If hating people is wrong, God must have been wrong in hating all these people listed above, which is not a conclusive list by far.

I hate sodomites because God hates them. Romans 1 makes it clear that they became like that AFTER "God gave them up" and "God gave them over" because they rejected him time and again and would not believe on Him. It is a lie that they were born that way. It is a lie that anyone can become one. Once a person is saved, they are incapable of sinking to the level of a filthy animal because God is not rejecting them. God places the death penalty on sodomy, so apparently He thinks it's time for them to go to hell.

Lev 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Of course, it is no surprise that God lists bestiality just a couple of verses further down. Sodomites are sick predators who don't just stop at relations with someone of the same gender. They are also capable of committing bestiality and pedophilia.

Sodomy, bestiality, pedophilia etc. are NOT natural sins. Any human being has a sin nature that makes them want to lie, steal, or commit other sins. A man might look at a provocative picture of a woman and automatically be inclined to lust after her in his heart, but no man naturally would lust after another man that he sees in a similar pose. That is "against nature", as the Bible puts it. Only a reprobate is capable of sinking to those depths, and only after they have reached a point of no return with God.

Yes, there was a time when any person on this earth could have been saved, and God did not want for them to go to hell, but eventually there comes a point where God draws the line. There are people in hell right now, and will be there for eternity, whom God allowed to die before they believed on Him and got saved. His Spirit will not always strive with man.

And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. [that's AIDS]

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

[Here God starts the roll call of listing the attributes of sodomites:]

Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,

Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. - Romans 1:27-32

3) Name calling

When I say that homos are filthy animals, I think of these verses:

2Pe 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

Jude 1:10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.

When I call them queers, this verse comes to mind (as "queer" means "strange"):

Jude 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

When I call them fags, it is to make a point of how much I hate them. Kind of like God was trying to make a point of being crass in these verses:

2Ki 18:27 But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?

Isa 36:12 But Rabshakeh said, Hath my master sent me to thy master and to thee to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men that sit upon the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?

Mal 2:3 Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.

Don't bother leaving me a dissenting comment, it will neither be read nor get published. Start your own blog and write whatever you want on there. Or better yet, crack open the Bible and read it, rather than getting your world views from the television. You might find that God is not Santa Claus.

Worse than I thought

I am totally against putting children in daycare, as you may recall from this post. It is detrimental to their health, their mental wellbeing, their behavior, and their safety. Still, I was shocked to read the following article on the local news:

Police: Toddler was smothered to death during nap time

A daycare worker in Chandler accused of smothering a 2½-year-old more than two months ago was still working at the preschool up until Tuesday when she was arrested on second-degree murder charges at her home.

Candelaria Bradford, who children and parents knew as "Candy," is accused of pressing Selenia Moreno's head and body into a mat as she cried during naptime at Colorful Kids Preschool on Nov. 5.

Bradford had already finished her shift for the day when other daycare workers found the child not breathing 45 minutes later. Bradford told police she didn't intentionally or accidentally hurt the child.

Bradford was arrested Tuesday afternoon at her Tempe home and accused of suffocating the toddler.

The child had a purple bruise on her forehead, a red mark on her hand and her skin was discolored purple, consistent with smothering, according to police reports.

The article goes into further detail than I copied here.

Then, I searched the website of the Arizona Department of Health Services - Division of Licensing Services for any records of reports against childcare facilities in the state of Arizona. A total of 184 PAGES of providers popped up (2752 different childcare centers) that had all failed inspection or had a charge against them!!! Each of these centers had several incidents listed against them, and the farthest back I found on my very brief search was from 2006.

It's just sickening. I feel so bad for these children.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Recipe for Lángos

Tereza, this post is just for you. And for me to vicariously enjoy the thought of getting to eat these. Note for my non-Hungarian readers: this is kind of like Indian fry bread.

The recipe was taken from Culinaria Hungary, which is worth every cent and vital if you ever feel homesick for Hungary. Amazon carries a paperback version that costs less, but I love the hardcover edition and use it often. Every food I have ever eaten in Hungary in my life can be found in this book. It even has a recipe for making túró!

Zsírban sült lángos

150 g soft-cooking potatoes
30 g fresh yeast (or use 1 1/2 tsp. dried yeast)
400 ml milk
3 tbsp powdered sugar
400 g flour
50 ml oil
oil for frying

Cook potatoes with skin. Dissolve yeast in 100 ml lukewarm, sweetened milk and let rest in a warm spot for 10 minutes. Peel potatoes and mash while warm. Sift flour into a large bowl, pour in milk and yeast. Add potatoes, oil, remaining milk and some salt and knead into a smooth dough. Sprinkle with flour, cover with a kitchen towel, and let rest for approx. 1 hour in a warm spot (until doubled in size). Fill a pan with approx. 6 cm of oil and heat. Tear off a piece of dough, make a patty approx. 2 cm thick, and lay it in the hot oil. Fry until golden, turn carefully, and fry other side. Sprinkle with salt and enjoy hot.

Just be careful not to let the oil get too hot.

I apologize, that was in totally poor taste. I feel terrible for whoever suffered this fire, honestly. I just couldn't resist.

Lángos taste great plain, but can also be eaten with any of these toppings: garlic, sour cream, ham, shredded Swiss cheese, feta, dill, káposzta, or pretty much anything else that strikes your fancy.

Please click here if you need to work up an appetite.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Getting up early

Lately, I have been encouraged by post like these and this to get into a habit of consistently getting up early. This is certainly a concept that is found throughout the book of proverbs as well as the entire Bible, but the most famous verse is probably the one in the description of the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31, verse 15:

She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

I think getting up early really is a question of self-discipline. It is very tempting to want to stay up late at night to get some quiet time without the kids running around, even if it is just to clean or get caught up on stuff around the house. I am not at all against staying up after the kids are in bed, but let's face it - most moms will be way too tired at this point to really get much housework done.

Personally, we do not have a TV, but families who do may be tempted to just sit in front of it and "veg". Even if they enjoy more wholesome fun such as a craft of board game, they will inevitably be too tired the next day to want to get up early.

Getting up at the same time as your children (or after them) is detrimental for various reasons, some of which are:

- You will be very busy the second you roll out of bed with feeding and dressing the kids. This leaves no time for you to pray and read the Bible by yourself first, get groomed and dressed, have something to eat, and just generally get some alone time to give you the strength needed to make it through a long day of hard work.

- Getting started on dinner preparations will also go out the window, which will have you working that much harder later in the day. It's much easier and faster to throw a meal in the crock pot or get bread dough going when you are working without any little ones around. The time it saves could be used to make a special treat with the kids later in the day.

- Your kids will probably wake each other up, which means that you will have to care for all of them at once rather than one by one as they wake up one after the other. By getting up before them, you could have some one-on-one time with the child who rises first as a reward. In our house, our kids are always very creative at carving out time that they have either me or my husband all to themselves.

- In general, you will get a much later start on your day, and you will be struggling all day long to get even the basics done.

- You are setting a poor example for your son(s), who will one day have to rise early and work hard all day to provide for their own families, and your daughter(s) who will have to work hard at raising a family just like we do every day.

I think that not getting a chance to quietly read and meditate on the Word of God, your spiritual food, is by far the worst of all these disadvantages. It will put your attitude on the wrong path all day long, and you will not be the wife and mother that you should be. A dirty house is one thing, but a grouchy mom that is stretched to her limits and ready to snap at any moment is far worse. I have been guilty of this myself many times, but it's just not a good way to go through life.

Looking at the above verse, it says that the virtuous woman rises "while it is yet night", which in the Bible is technically anytime before 6 AM. Others may interpret it to mean anytime before the sun comes up. I don't think there is a "set" time that God had in mind when he wrote that verse, and I think it is different for every lady.

In my case, our kids usually go to bed around 8 PM, later on church nights. After they are down, I like to "pick up" the house. Then I run the dishes, laundry, and sweep/mop the floors. These are activities that I would not want to do early in the morning because they are loud, and our kids are light sleepers in the morning and would wake up, which would defeat the whole point of me getting up early. At night, however, nothing wakes them up. Also, I like to wake up to a house that looks neat and tidy, even if it is not totally clean, rather than a complete mess that I know I have to get done before the kids wake up.

There are other activities that I do not like doing at night, because I am usually too tired. Some of these are cleaning the bathrooms or folding and putting away laundry. So in my case, I want some alone time at night as well as in the morning. On average, when I am not pregnant, I function well on 6-7 hours of sleep. I have also noticed that if I go to bed early, I will need less sleep and often wake up of my own after 6 hours or less.

My plan the last couple of weeks has been to be in bed by 11 PM and get up between 5 and 5:30. Many times, I wake up on my own before the alarm goes off. I sit in the school room and listen to the Bible on CD while folding laundry. Since this is very monotonous work that doesn't take much thought, it does not distract me from what I am listening to. When I am done with the laundry, I start cleaning, so I switch to my Bible memory index cards because I would be too distracted to keep listening, or just pray while I clean.

As summer draws closer and the days get longer, I want to start getting up a half hour earlier because by 6 AM, it is bright day here, and the kids get up around that time.

The results have really paid off. I have been able to keep up with our daily laundry load (3-4 loads per day, more on Mondays), and I have a much easier time getting a lot of Bible reading done then when I would get up early hit-and-miss. When we went on a trip to California earlier this week, I got up early the first day (after driving half the night and only sleeping 4 hours) so I could go to the store and buy our food for the day rather than getting unhealthy and expensive food at Legoland. The next day was the first day that I have gotten up late recently - I was woken up by my husband at 9 AM after sleeping 12 hours! Him and the boys were in one hotel room, and me and the girls were in another room next door. It was really nice, and because we were not home, there was no housework that got neglected by my sleeping in.

This has been a good goal to work towards, and I would encourage every lady to give it a try.

I will say, though, that I would not be getting up this early if I were pregnant. When I am pregnant, I need 10-12 hours of sleep in any 24 hour period, especially during the first few months. If I get less, or get up early, I get violently ill, which I hate. There are different seasons in every mom's life, and right now I am bursting with energy because I just had a baby. I am sure that once I get pregnant again in a year or so things will slow down for 9 months, and that's good, too.