Saturday, November 5, 2011

Digest 23

Melissa said...

I have been reading your blog for over a year but don't usually comment. I currently have plenty of time and would love to help you input recipes! Email me at #### and we can work something out =)
October 31, 2011 4:20 PM

Melissa you are a doll for offering.  Thank you so much.  When I get my act together I will email you.  I found out two days ago that the deadline for Christmas was a few weeks back-- so I am sort of unmotivated right now.  If we wait until end of January there is great discount coupon that will apply-- and with it only being November, I feel like we have a little bit of time.  Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the digests--I enjoy seeing how you respond to and interact with your readers.
I just have a quick question--back in Sept.(I believe)--you started to have an individual post about one of the kids---So that we could get to know them a little better. Anyway I think you did about 7 or so of them and then there hasn't been anymore. --I was wondering if you are planning on doing a post on each of the others?
October 31, 2011 8:56 PM

Debra, thanks for the reminder.  I completely forgot. :)  I will work on doing a post for the rest of the kids.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I didn't know you were doing another one of these! If I had, I would have asked this question sooner: Caleb and Rachel are basically the same age, correct? I'm curious why you seem far more concerned about his relationship with the girl from church than Rachel's relationship with Sasha. You emphasize how important it is for Caleb to take things slow (which is true for any 15-year-old), but you seem content and even happy with Rachel's intention to marry Sasha.
Please don't take this the wrong way, I'm just curious what the difference is. If there are things about Caleb's situation that you don't want to share on the blog, that's totally understandable. I apologize in advance for asking about things that are none of my business.
November 3, 2011 12:35 PM

I didn't take this the wrong way.  In fact, when I read this, I thought that perhaps if you felt this way then others must too-- so I am happy to clarify.  For starters you are right in that I am a bit more concerned with Caleb's relationship than with Rachel's simply because an ocean separates Rachel and Sasha but not Caleb and his girlfriend.  I don't have much to be concerned with if their only contact is by email--- which Rachel often invites me to read.  Secondly, Rachel is older.  Thirdly, Caleb and his girlfriend have already had their very first kiss-- so you better believe I am encouraging them to go more slowly!

Tiger & Kar said...

Hi Christine! I've followed your blog since Dennis joined your family but it's been a loooong time since I've commented. I'm curious about the curriculum from your charter school. I'd love to know how you're able to get the materials they discard. I, too, am considering homeschooling my 4 y.o. son (adopted from Russia!), and would love to hear more about this.
thanks and hugs!
November 4, 2011 10:06 AM

The curriculum that they discard is in a giveaway pile that I sort through every week.  By the way the pile continues to grow with the same stuff there week after week, I think I am one of just a very few that take advantage of this.  If you have specific questions, feel free to ask.

Wendy said...

Next time, get a big bag of candy to use as bets, then everyone gets to eat what they win and nobody loses anything really important! (that's what we used to do!)
November 4, 2011 8:02 PM

Wendy-- when the girls read this-- they loved the idea!  Thanks!

Hevel said...

Funny thing with movie violence: we read the Bible, that has genocide, rape, incest, horroristic visions... yet we censor movies. I wonder why we work like that.
November 5, 2011 3:17 AM

Hevel, reading something where you can only visual things to a certain extent verses seeing a movie that allows you to see something acted out in its entirety is a big difference.  I know this because before I ever saw The Passion of the Christ I had never fully envisioned the excruciating torture that Christ endured just by reading the Bible.  I truly didn't get the suffering He endured on our behalf until I watched the movie and even then I had to stop watching before the movie finished because it was too much.  Yet-- I could read all of the Four Gospels and be okay.  I work the way I work... parent the way I parent, as a direct result of my own life experiences.  

Katya said...

I certainly don't blame you for not letting your kids watch The Color Purple. While it certainly has an impact, I don't think it is necessary for younger children. It is also an excellent book, but again, probably not appropriate for young kids.
I don't know of many movies, as an Australian, African American history is not my strong point. There are many points of reference with Aboriginal Australian history, for which I would recommend "Rabbit Proof Fence". That movie is shown in many classrooms here in Australia, usually to children around 12. It is not in any way overly explicit or violent, but it is fairly honest.
Have you or any of your children read Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson? I read it to Oksana and while I did have to explain a few things, she managed quite well. (She's almost 10)
On the oatmeal issue, I agree with your reaction, if the others were clearly waiting, however, perhaps like most young children she didn't pay attention and didn't join the dots? I'm still prone to doing that somethimes, despite my best efforts. Regardless I think you did a great job of reinforcing good behaviour (consideration of others).
November 5, 2011 6:37 AM

Thank you for the suggestions.  As to the oatmeal incident, all of my girls are teens (Galina will be next week) not young children like Alex, Dennis, or even Paul.  It is routine to heat our water for instant oatmeal or hot cocoa in the kettle.  This helps maintain order in the kitchen so that everyone isn't fighting over the microwaves.  Thanks for the positive comment on the oatmeal incident-- you are one of the very few.

teamgile said...

Try Amazing Grace! Absolutely fantastic movie. It is about the slave trade in England. Not exactly USA, but shows a lot about what whites and blacks were thinking, the fight to stop it, and some great God moments. SOOOO good! All my kids have seen it.
November 5, 2011 6:59 AM

We have that movie and yes it is great!  I was just hoping to find another movie to watch.

Anonymous said...

Juat curious at why you coudn't share with them that you had read a review that deemed it inappropriate for the family..i was jumping out of my seat when you. said you were going to let the kids watch it..i thought "wow that's suprising" I have never seen the whole thing. but know it is full of all sorts of awful inappropriate stuff that is not good to watch on the screen let alone be told about until certain ages.
My kids are super young, but they know if a G movie is on and I see or hear anything I will shut it off.My six yr old usually beats me to it yelling "inappropriate"..There was a pop up add for a diet pill and a lady was in a bikini and he sceamed "inappropriate..naked lady" I freiked thinking he got onto a site by accident...but it was just something that in out family would be considered "imodest"
November 5, 2011 7:14 AM

I guess I didn't clarify in my original post-- I did explain to them that after reading numerous reviews I felt it was inappropriate for them to watch.  After watching "Courageous" tonight I can clearly see that not all PG-13 movies are alike and as parents we really bear the responsibility of pre-screening or doing our homework on all movies that our kids are going to watch.

Reggie said...

I don't understand what you found so offensive and wrong with one of your children using the microwave to prepare a snack.
If thd child in question had grabbed the kettle off the stove, or jumped the line or began to whine, then i can certainly see a problem.
However, your child saw that people were standing about, she was hungry. She saw that the microwave was free and so she used it to make her own snack.
Frankly, it shows initiative,intelligence and creativity.
It's not lack of patience or rudeness. She never pushed or denied anyone. She didn't cut a line or complain. She saw that she could make her snack. She did.
It's strange that you would feel it necessary for her to stand about and "wait" when she found a way to prepare her snack.
The others decided to stand about. They decided not to use both the microwave and the kettle.
If everyone had been using the microwave, and she grabbed the would be the same.
Would you get angry at that too?
She didn't "wait" because their was a way for her to make her meal. She saw that opportunity and took it.
The fact that your other children didn't think to use the microwave too is not her fault.
She shouldn't be taken to task because she saw a way to have her food. That the others didn't think of the same thing. They got mad because they didn't think of it. She shouldn't be punished because your other children didn't think of the same thing.
You overreacted.
Perhaps she didn't see everyone waiting. Perhaps she did. That doesn't matter. Lying about it? That does matter...but i find it odd that you think you are always right.
November 5, 2011 11:52 AM

Reggie, to be honest at first I was defensive when I read your comment, but then I realized that you just don't understand the way we parent.  As a large family we have our own ways to ensure that life runs smoothly and that our kids learn to be patient, kind, other oriented, helpful, and respectful of rules.  That includes kitchen rules which all of my "teen" girls are aware of.  You may use a microwave to heat up water in your home, but when ten or more kids are trying to do that-- it just doesn't work so hot water is heated in a big kettle on the stove.  This ensures that no one pushes to get their cup in first, and that everyone can enjoy their cup of hot cocoa or bowl of oatmeal around the same time-- thus encouraging family togetherness.  That is a priority for us-- more so than allowing a child to be rude or inconsiderate just in the name of hunger-- which by the way none of my kids have ever truly felt since being in our family.  I don't expect you to get it, and I share what I share half expecting to be berated by people like you-- but I do it in hopes that someone might be encouraged by my sharing.  As to showing initiative, I encourage that by suggesting that before they start eating they take the initiative to see that everyone has a napkin, or that everyone has something to drink.  As to showing intelligence-- I can think of so many other ways to show that quality off!  As to showing creativity-- I think it is sad to chalk up an incident like finding a way to get around a family rule as creative.  Creative is stirring peanut butter into your oatmeal, or choosing to eat it with chop sticks, or drinking it in a mug.  Now that's creative!

P.S.  Sorry to the rest of you who didn't even get their mean ol' rude comments published.  


  1. I just wanted to let you know how much i enjoy reading your blog. I especially like the digests. It's a nice break from my med school books :) I honestly get excited when i see you have updated.

    I also didn't understand your rationale behind the oatmeal incident at first but it makes a lot of sense when you explain it.

  2. Lovely to once again read your thoughts! I'm hoping to buy Courageous as soon as it comes out over here!
    Have a wonderful week

  3. Hi Christine! Thank you so much for allowing us a peek into your wonderful family. I am Belgian, not very religious and have only two boys, our lives are SO different and yet I feel we handle quite a few every day situations in the same way. I discovered your blog thanks to the top 25 large family blogs and have spent these past few weeks reading your whole blog! I love all of your kids, Dennis reminds me so much of my youngest who just turned five. They even look alike! I've been thinking about the orphans in Ukraine a lot and will definately see what I can do to help you in the future. Thanks again for opening my eyes to a whole different way of living. I wish you and your wonderful family all the best. Kind regards from Brussels, Annelies.

  4. It just amazes me the things people say to you!! You are full of grace to bear the words so well. I think I would have handled the oatmeal incident the same way. People don't get the way things have to dealt with in this house either, but they don't even detect the control games being played by certain little distrustful souls either, so I can't help that.

  5. Christine,
    "You're da bomb, yo!"

  6. I had to laugh! I can just hear a little boy yelling, "I appropriate...naked lady!" in an appalled, Rain Man voice and see him jumping back from the computer!

  7. I love that no one here can ever disagree with you without being labeled mean or rude. You have said over and over that Sasha would make a great son in law and that is just plain nuts. Those kids are 15 or 16 and you have spent maybe a month total with this boy and yet he is the one?

  8. Sorry I missed the oatmeal post. And, I am also surprised no science nerds weighed in on this. It is incredibly unsafe to boil or heat water up to near boiling temperature in the microwave. Unless there is something in the liquid (like a spoon) to disrupt the surface tension, the hot liquid will explode at a certain temperature. This is why you often see soup or liquid spatters all over a microwave. So, I do not allow my children to heat liquids in the microwave without direct supervision. You are exactly right to make individuals wait for boiled water and not to use the microwave for this reason.

  9. Hmm. I've read both the scientific and the emotional views of the oatmeal incident, and the original post. I paused to wonder whather I have rules that are absolute. I also paused to wonder about that little guide book that says to not sweat the small stuff and wondered what big stuff should cause me to sweat. I wondered about life's trials and whether I should let my children try things on their own and suffer the consequences of a bad decision. I wondered if controlling my children's young years would allow them to be able to grow up to be adults who can make independent decisions. I also thought about my days-months-years of working with mentally challenged adults and of when we were told that it was bad to medicate the more difficult people to make our jobs of working with many easier at the expense of the one. I also had to pause to consider my current job working in public middle school with early and pre-teens in classes of usually 25-ish students at one time and whether I can be in control of large groups of individuals and what form that control must take - absolute, socialistic, democratic. I've also thought about my days as a student of psychology and of being taught that reinforcement works better to model behavior than punishment or negative reinforcement. So, all in all, I've found reading these posts to be a wonder-ful experience.

  10. I saw one point of your response to the oatmeal incident right away--a piece of it is also attachment. This is how we do it in this family; you are in this family; there's enough for everyone and you will be looked after because we do that for each other. With my son, I am still working on the "me first and only" thing, but it is coming along very well and he is doing much better at seeing beyond his own instant need.

    I would also put in a plug for "Rabbit Proof Fence." While it is about a specifically Australian situation, it speaks to another big piece of North American racism--the actions that have been taken against First Nations people in Canada and the US. It's a very powerful movie and I don't remember anything that I would be uncomfortable having a child of about 11 and up watch. It is certainly a story of tremendous resilience.

  11. Hi Christine, I just wanted to say that I think it's silly that people thought you handled the oatmeal incident incorrectly, I'm only 16 but I read it and thought "That makes a lot of sense" and I agree with what you did :)

  12. where the heck have i been. I think last i checked in you were going for number 11. your family is beautiful.

  13. Sheesh...I love how people post anonymously, but yet post a nasty comment to you. Talk about being a coward! If those people feel that strong in judging you, then they should feel confident enough to post their names. I have three children and I have the same rule. They all wait for each other, do FOR each other and there is no shortcuts. To me, she wasnt being creative, she was being insensitive to her siblings who were waiting for each other...they were practicing consideration. Consideration will get them further in life than pushing and shoving and not always physically, if you know what I mean.
    I also must comment that Dennis is looking WONDERFUL! He was beautiful before the last surgery, but you can see how it has also made a difference to him as well. He will be one of the most beautiful children to me always, inside and out.
    Now...the teen boyfriend/girlfriend issues. I agree with you to be more worried about one than the other. For Rachel, Sasha is further and IF they choose to pursue a relationship when they are older and closer geographically, it will be a different sort of relationship built off of communication rather than the moony eyes teens tend to make at each other LOL. Plus, with Caleb, I hate to say it but girls mature faster than boys.

  14. I understood completely the first time why you handled the oatmeal situation the way you did. We don't have as large a family as you, yet we do it the same way. We also parent children who are suffering the consequences from choices their parents made and do things differently then many families. Blessings to you!

  15. Christine,
    I am always impressed by how you handle people's comments and queries. You inspire me to stop myself from being reactionary and instead choose to be intentional when responding to people and their often unsolicited comments. You are a blessing to your family, and to all your readers as well. Thank you for having the courage to share your life ministry with us.
    BTW, I think children find comfort in a principled, consistent method of parenting, versus an anything goes model, so long as you can explain yourself.
    I know I did as a kid.

    You're doing a great job!

  16. Good for you answering the nasty comments. I simply hit delete and never post them. I do have to wonder why some people take the time to read your blog if they disagree with the way you parent. I surely don't have time to waste, and would much rather spend my time reading things that I can learn from and that encourage me. And if I do come across something I disagree with then I use the rule, "If you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all."

    You are a great mom and it is obvious to me why God chose you to be the mom of many.


  17. I so enjoy reading your blog although I hardly ever comment. A young girl whom I know, Joy Caroline (blogs privately), told me about your blog a month or two ago. I'm a homeschool mom of five, three adopted.

    I am wondering approximately how many hits your blog has? I'm sure it must be an unfathomable number.

  18. I don't understand how someone who disagrees with how Christine parents, and voices their opinion, is somehow a rude, awful bully.

    If we all went through life with only people who agreed with everything we said....we would have only ourselves for company.


I find your comments so inspiring! Thanks for visiting our family blog, and sharing your thoughts.