August 03, 2017

The Freebirth of Beckham

January 20, 2017
I was 41 weeks pregnant for my 7th baby.
A wise woman once told me that babies are easiest to care for when they're on the inside- and my experience with half a dozen of them confirms! So after several days without sufficient rest, I didn't feel up to giving birth. (Due date, schmoo date!)
I wondered how well it would go over if I just said "No, not today uterus" if contractions began.
I'd had random contractions, usually at night...which explained my tiredness.
As far as I was concerned, I could just stay pregnant for another week or two.

But this night would lead to something (and someone) special.

Three of my children were staying at my parents overnight (as per our weekly routine) and we knew if I went into labor, my mom would come over and need to bring Marlena, who was still little and in diapers.
That evening, I experienced some random contractions- which I told a friend "While it would be nice for these to pick up, I'd take a good night's sleep!"
I laid in bed and attempted to get some sleep, but it didn't come.

Saturday, January 21, 2017 (41+1 weeks)
2:32 AM-
"My contractions are coming every 8-10 minutes for the past hour, but I'm not calling it labor" (I texted my friend)
This wasn't much different than other contractions I'd had off and on for weeks, but knowing my husband would be leaving for work soon, AND knowing that I often don't know it's really labor until I'm getting close to birthing, I needed to decide whether to ask him to stay home or not.
I prayed for discernment regarding this decision.

4:01 AM-
I began having my usual pre-labor symptoms that often start within 12 hours of giving birth (puking, going to the bathroom a lot) and the first "bloody show".

Contractions were spaced out and super random.

Every 10-35 minutes I would get a wonky rush, but I figured this would lead into active labor.. eventually.
I told my husband to stay home and he began to fill the birth pool so we could add hot water when I needed to get in it.
I began to pray during contractions:
"Lord, thank you for this incredible blessed opportunity to bring forth life. Jesus, I ask that you grant me a quick, smooth, easy labor and birth"
It was a slow starting labor and I still didn't feel confident it was really "it".

5:00 AM-
I felt tired and figured since my contractions were nearly non-existent I would try to get some rest.
I popped in my head phones and turned on some relaxation music.
Knowing that I would be giving birth soon was working against my efforts to sleep.
The odd contraction pattern made me feel like I was kind-of-sort-of sleeping for a few minutes, but not really.
At one point I felt a rush coming on and I got on my hands and knees in my bed.

5:50 AM-
That's when it happened. My water broke.
Except I didn't know it right away.
I felt a little kick or punch, very similar to how my water broke in pre-labor with Marlena, but I didn't feel any liquid, so I brushed it off and laid back down.
About 10 minutes later, I got up to go use the bathroom and that's when I figured it out, water splashed on the chux pads as I stood up.
"Did I pee myself?"
No. I don't have to go that bad.
I took a few steps and the water ran down my legs.

"Uhm, my water broke"

The next hour was filled with more bloody show, more amniotic fluid leaking, and more non-existent contractions.

7:30 AM-
My mom had arrived with Marlena and the other children began to awake for the day.
I attempted to take a shower, hoping that the water would help me relax and allow labor to pick up and it worked.

For the whole 15 minutes I was in the shower, I had contractions every 2 minutes!

But once I got out of the shower,and things stopped again. There was so much pressure and it was feeling like things were progressing, despite there only being random contractions.

8:30 AM-
I went to my room and the children kept coming in to see me, halting any glimmer of contractions.
Even hearing their voices out in the other room would take me out of primal mode and into tension.

"Call my brother and ask him if he can take the kids, or this baby is never coming out!", I begged my husband.

I didn't want actual food, so I kept eating dried dates for quick energy.
I drank lots of water and kept using the bathroom.
"Just waiting on you, baby"

Baby remained very active, kicking and squirming during the entire morning.

9:30 AM-
My brother agreed to come pick up the four children (the other two were still with my dad) and I felt like I was holding back a freight train, waiting for someone to clear the tracks!
I messaged my friend "This is not going as smoothly as I'd like.I wanted a night labor and birth!"

Apparently I manage having children around except when I'm in labor.

I decided to try the shower again after some much needed aromatherapy.
During the few contractions I experienced, I praised Jesus for the chance to give birth. I was ready. Beyond ready.

10:03 AM-
I was standing in the bathroom, feeling the sensation of late active labor, but not having the contractions to prove it!
My husband knocked on the door and informed me that my brother had picked up the kids.

"Now that's what I'm talking about", I thought.

I go lean over my bed.
I kneel next to the bed because it feels good.
Contraction. Another one and another!

"Honey, you seem close. Do you want to get in the pool?"

I didn't care. Here, there. I felt like the flood gates were opening!
My husband added hot water to the pool and got me some water to drink.

10:30 AM-
One way I know that I'm close to giving birth before I start to, well, give birth?
Don't. Leave. The. Room.
My contractions were coming back to back and I needed counter pressure and hip squeezes.
My husband and I agreed that if I was going to have a waterbirth, I needed to get myself in the pool.
The following 10 minutes went like this:
Contraction/counter pressure
Husband leaves room
"Get back here!"
Contraction/counter pressure
"Ooh, mm" (motions to push on my back)
Then I started shaking. My teeth were nearly chattering.
My contractions were piggybacking. No break. One would end, another started right away.
I'm close!
Transition always makes me begin to doubt myself, but I know better than to let it drag me under.

"I'm doing this. My body is doing this!"

I felt like giving little pushes. I needed something to focus on, despite there being no big urge to push.
Little pushes during every contraction.

10:44 AM-
I'm was in an upright kneeling squat with my arms resting on the side of the pool.
I felt baby rotate and move down and I  put a little more effort into pushing.
I know that full feeling of a baby entering the birth canal...I know it very well.

"Baby's coming" I groaned.

My husband called my mom to come into the room, when she entered, I didn't notice, but I know she did.
I pushed again and this time baby's head was crowning. I panted instinctively to slow the process and allow for baby to slowly ease out.
I touched the baby's head as the next contraction helped to birth the head partway and abruptly the rush ended!
My hand on my baby's head, I said "uh uh" and I pushed baby's head out fully, along with the shoulders!
In doing this, I don't think I gave the shoulders time to rotate before pushing baby out. This caused it to be more intense than it needed to be. Oops.
I needed to lift myself up a bit as baby's body emerged from mine.

10:46 AM-
Thick, goopy vernix was the first thing I noticed when I touched my baby under the water.
As I brought my baby to me, I paused ever so briefly to see my baby's face before lifting this sweet one out of the water and to my chest.

My baby cried and reached up to touch my face.

Healthy lungs! What a lively, strong baby you are!
I gasped out, "We did it!"
Looking down, I discovered that I had myself a baby boy!

"It's a boy!"

We agreed that his cry was husky and at first I said "He looks just like Bella" (they all look like the others at some point!).
More hot water was added to the pool and I nursed my fresh newborn baby boy.
We hadn't decided on a name yet.

11:30 AM-
I started to feel chilled and cramps informed me that the placenta was ready be be birthed, so I got out of the birth pool and hovered over the roasting pan.

"Here comes the cute part" I laughed, allowing the placenta to slip out.

We tied and cut the cord and baby pooped everywhere before we got a diaper on him.
I was bleeding pretty good, but I felt okay.
My husband weighed baby boy (later I measured him, he was 20 inches) while I cleaned up.

He was 8 lbs 11 oz

We got snuggled up in bed and I realized baby had blonde hair like Payton, one of our older boys.
I took some AfterEase and Motrin (after birth pains are usually awful for me!) and we rested a short while.
I decided later that Beckham Charles was a good fit for this special little baby boy.

His birth still makes my head spin.
Only 40 minutes of active labor!
Hey, I prayed for a short, easy birth and I got it!

June 09, 2015

The FreeBirth of Arabella

February 13th 2015-

Subzero temperature day.The ground coated in a white,fluffy blanket of fresh snow.
Not the kind of day I would wish to leave my house,especially not heavily pregnant.
I am far past the day which most women assume their baby would arrive,but having gone to 41+1 with my previous baby,I wasn't really in uncharted territory.
I felt good,I felt ready.I felt capable,peaceful,intuitive.
Babies come when babies are ready,and my baby decided that approximately 41+4 was the right time.

I awaken to a contraction.
Knowing that it could very well just be a random contraction,I wait for it to go away and I try to rest in bed a bit longer before my children can't possibly wait any longer for breakfast.
I continue to have contractions every 10-15 minutes through the next two hours...really short contractions,but also very real contractions.

My husband calls on his break and I inform him that my contractions have not picked up,but seem to have spaced out since the kids got up,so IF I were to have a baby that day labor likely would not pick up again until later in the day.
I called my mom to inform her as well,since she would probably be helping with the kids if I happened to start laboring down during the day.

I decide to cut my oldest boys hair,as he has been asking for a few weeks,and what better way to help pass the time.
I begin to put on my apron,when a huge contraction comes crashing in.I grasp my door knob,amazed at the strength of the rush.
"Caleb,mommy can't cut your hair right now...please keep an eye on your siblings for a few moments"
I lose all sense of calm for just a brief few seconds and text my husband:
"I think maybe you should come home...I'm serious"
A shower was what I needed,so I took a hot shower...The hot water pounding on my back felt incredible.

My husband arrived home and took over most of the childcare duties while I rested.

Go figure,my contractions had spaced out again and were much more tolerable.
I felt whipped.I had no energy,so upon the suggestion from my fellow freebirthers,I had a snack of protein,fruit,and dates for energy.
It was a special moment:I sat with my (still) youngest,my daughter,eating dates and having the occasional contraction.

My contractions are picking back up a bit.I'm still not ready to call it (labor),but I am hibernating in my bedroom as if it is really my time.
I read a few affirmations and go into my primal mindset.
I am ready.My room is my safe haven.I don't need much to birth a baby,but I have all I need.
I tell my baby:
"I am ready to meet you baby"

I call it.

"This is it"

It's not going away until my baby is in my arms.
It's Friday,so that means two of my children are to stay the night with my parents and I don't want my husband to leave,so I call my mom to come get the boys.
We start to fill the birth pool.

My mother arrives and at this point,I am needing to really focus during my contractions.
I feel like my baby could be born very soon,so I ask her to take the boys back to her house and then come to help with our younger three so Matt can attend to me if I need him.
I lean in the doorway between my bedroom and the bathroom,staring at the door frame through each contraction.
"This is my baby being born"

I am not aware of the rest of the world or even much of the happenings in my own house.
The birth hormones are making me so very sleepy between contractions,yet so aware of my body and baby.
I get in the birth pool and allow the water to cradle me as I rest my head on the inflated edge,dreaming of my baby,watching the visuals in my head of life coming forth.
I nod off,dozing in and out between contractions.

I decide to take a hot shower,as my instincts are to be more upright.

After a soothing shower,I go back to my bedroom.
Matt has put Marlena in bed and I hear the faint sounds of my mom reading to Payton and Jacobi in the living room.
I start to feel like counter pressure is helpful,so Matt begins tending to my need during contractions.
As with my last labor,I lean over/into the birth ball while I stand next to my bed.
I start repeating an affirmation in my head during every contraction as I breathe:

"In peace,out tension"

It helped,so it ended up being my main affirmation during the entire labor.

I tell Matt that I think he should put the boys to bed.
While he is getting them tucked in,I have several contractions and I have to brace my hands on the wall or in the doorway.I breathe deeply,slowly,with great intent.Consciously sending oxygen to my baby and my body.
I pray and ask God to help me continue to have such a peaceful labor and birth.

Matt comes in my room and says that the boys are in bed.

Upon hearing that,my body kicked into gear.Contractions became much more regular and intensified.
I felt tired between contractions-even dozed off through many of them.
A contraction would start to wake me,and I had to move as swiftly as a pregnant woman can,standing up and leaning over something while Matt would press on my back and hips.
A few times,I took too long to fully wake up and I just couldn't stand up once the contraction was coming on.Matt would hold my hand and we would acknowledge "Waited too long"
Matt brought me a piece of cheese to help energize my body.I fell asleep eating it!

Matt seems tired from doing counter pressure,and I want to save his energy in case I need it later on in labor.
I decide to take another hot shower to manage my contractions.
I would turn the water super hot for the length of the rush,then fairly cool between contractions so my body could cool down.
My water hadn't broken and there was no visible bloody show.
I experienced a blissful contraction,one that must have been chuck full of oxytocin.
I felt so good being upright,standing and bracing against the shower wall.

"I could have this baby right here in the shower,standing up"

It sounded like a wonderful plan.I felt very flexible in regards to how I would give birth.

There was a lot of pressure.
I talked to baby a lot:
"Baby come out,come on baby"

I decided to get out of the shower and use the potty-and finally I had some bloody show/mucous plug.I think I actually squealed.

Matt comes in the steamy bathroom where I am leaning over our changing table.
I feel a ton of pressure and a hallowing feeling in my cervix.

"I could have this baby right here" I think to myself.

Matt asks if I want to get in the birth pool,as it seems like one or both of us must have thought baby was coming very soon.
I tossed the idea around in my head and decided that maybe I did want a waterbirth.
Matt added more hot water to the pool and I sank into a deep kneel,leaning my upper body against the side of the pool.
My contractions were coming about two minutes apart,and after one of them I said "There shouldn't be more than maybe 20 more.I can do that" (I don't know where that thought came from,but I had to say it out loud)

After a few contractions and Matt applying counter pressure,I felt a fullness in my birth canal.

"Hmm,maybe a few little pushes" I thought.

I pushed a little bit and I felt the "baby" coming down.
I pushed a little more,a little more and....

My water bag.
It was my water bag-the amniotic sac.

"My water just broke" I declared.

I started to feel shaky all over like I always do during transition.
I knew I would be birthing my baby any minute.How exciting.How powerful!
The rushes were coming one after another and I felt so much pressure.

I decided to give in to the feeling to push.

After a couple little nudges from my own pushing,my uterus moved baby down.

Baby was coming fast!

"I'm pushing,baby is coming" I said to Matt,while groaning.

"Ma,she's pushing!" Matt said,loud enough for my mom to hear from the living room.

I push a little more-one push,two pushes,three crowns.

I am still in a deep squatted kneel,and I feel my baby crowning.

I put my hand down and feel my baby-

Soft,wrinkly,vernix-coated hair.

"Are you OK?What are you doing?" Matt asks.

(He later tells me: "I was pressing on your back,watching behind you for a baby to come out!")


I feel baby's head touch the bottom of the pool,so I lift myself up a bit to give enough room for baby's body to be born.
I pant as baby's head and shoulders are born,never taking my hand off of my baby's smooth,cheesy head.
It's incredible.

I am catching my baby!!

Baby glides out of my body and I grasp baby and bring baby up to my chest.
"Wow,you are so tiny" I think to myself.
I lean back into the side of the pool,cradling this tiny,cheesy baby.
I'm in awe.I did it.I just gave birth.
It had gone so quickly once things got intense.

Baby starts gurgling and pinking up right away,looking right into my eyes.

"Is it a boy or a girl" asks Matt
I feel around.I even look.

"I can't tell!" I say in confusion.
Matt moves baby's legs and looks:

"It's a girl!We have another little girl!"

I gasp in disbelief that I actually have a second daughter.

She starts to cry that hardy,newborn cry and starts rooting for the breast.
We start nursing right away.Perfect latch.
Matt brings a towel as I look baby over,processing this amazing thing that just occurred.

"Do you have a name picked out for her?" my mom asks.

"Arabella..we don't know her middle name yet"

My mom and Matt make a few phone calls and I sit with baby.

"She is beautiful" I think to myself.

I notice some bleeding is happening,that I feel cold,and baby is not happy either.
I also notice that I have some good cramping and pressure occurring,indicating that the placenta is ready to be birthed.
My mom leaves after congratulating me and informing me that I did a wonderful job.

Matt helps me out of the birth pool and sets my good ol' roasting pan on the floor next to the birth pool.
I squat down and proclaim sarcastically:

"This is gonna be attractive"

After I birth the placenta,we lay baby down and see that the cord is flat and white and since cord cutting was our choice of action,we tied it off with the special braided embroidery string I had made in preparation.
Matt weighs Arabella:

"She's 8 lbs 6oz"

I had guessed she might be smaller than my last two babies who were 8 lbs 8 oz at birth.

I chose to hold off on measuring her length and head circumference,as I was both tired and hungry!

"I am starving!Please make me some food!"

Matt makes me "Egg on a bagel" and I devour it immediately!

"Another please!" I beg.

As I wait for more food,I open the towel we are wrapped in...Meconium!

"She pooped!"

Matt holds Arabella as I go to clean up a bit and put on a postpartum pad.
I feel great.
I have an Oxytocin high so big,I smile and contently soak up all the good feelings.

Knowing that I will likely experience intense postpartum after pains,I take a couple of Motrin and a good amount of AfterEase tincture.
I snuggle up with this tiny new being.

I breathe her in,smelling her fresh little head.
She still has vernix in her crevices and it's caked in her hair and ears.

Birth is incredible.
It's intoxicating.Life altering.

It's about connection.Believing in that which you cannot see.
It's about faith and love.

It's pure,raw,primal.

It can hurt.It can be sweaty.Intense full body work.

It's the beginning of such a beautiful blessing of the relationship of mother and child.

I thank God for birth....for which it has changed me and impacted my mothering,my life,and how I feel about all things.

June 12, 2014

A special announcement

This family of seven can hardly wait!
In early 2015,we'll be a family of EIGHT!!

February 12, 2014

How do You Afford Them?

"I want another baby,but......"

*If I could get a nickle for every time I have had someone ask me "How do you afford so many children?" or "We would love to have a large family,but we just can't afford it"  I would be able to raise two families*

The economy isn't at it's best,but it has historically been worse.
I find it sad that people are so heavily burdened financially that they feel having more children is unattainable.
There is a chance that with some financial modifications,it wouldn't seem so daunting to have another child to provide for

I have already addressed some of the financial aspects in two previous posts which you can find here and here....this time,I will dig a little deeper into where money goes/how we save and how the children have very little to do with it.

Keep in mind that I am still learning-some tricks I learned long ago from growing up in a frugal household,yet other things I have just discovered in the past few months.
Remember,some of these things may not apply to you or you don't find doable for your family...this is just what has worked for our family.
We have made our share of mistakes and received our share of ups and downs,but we keep learning-we are human-there is always room for improvement!

*Above all of these tips and tricks,I have faith in God to provide and sustain,so that impacts my outlook substantially.


I wrote more specifically about groceries in  "What's in my kitchen that feeds a family of 6 for $450 a month" (I still only spend roughly $500 or less during an average month-it's rough to estimate when buying bulk foods that last a long time!)

Bulk Foods
I shop at Sam's Club and buy what I can in bulk-keeping in mind that larger volumes of food may not get eaten immediately,so I am careful about buying perishable foods from Sam's.
Things like canned goods,frozen foods,boxed goods are best purchased in larger quantities because they will withstand longer shelf life.

I try to purchase IN season fruits and vegetables as much as possible since they are cheaper during those times...Apples/Oranges/Potatoes are generally cheaper September-February,whereas Strawberries/Melons/Asparagus tend to be lower cost during the spring and summer months.
I do my best to only buy what we will eat and make it priority to consume it all quickly as to not waste any!

Keeping it around
I can and freeze many fruits and veggies in different forms in order to keep costs down.
We freeze corn/blueberries/strawberries and can green beans/tomatoes/spaghetti sauce/kosher pickles/apple sauce.

This year I hope to learn how to freeze peppers/onions/squashes for stir-fries in the winter months.
It's a bit of work,but really worth it in the end for home preserved food.

Making it stretch
Don't buy more than you will use.Freeze leftovers if they might not get eaten.Only make what will be consumed.Buy what will get you the most for your dollar....Sorry,Cheetos don't make the list of getting the most volume for your pennies.
Keep that in mind.

Household items:

Cleaning products
I make my own!!
I use vinegar,baking soda,occasional hydrogen peroxide,water,and essential oils-in various mixtures to create cheap and SAFE household cleaners.
I have ditched all chemical cleaners and air fresheners-no more toxins-and I don't need to buy them anymore!
*I haven't yet made the laundry detergent,but I'm working on it!

Pet supplies
This can get tricky since we have a horse for a dog.No,we don't have a horse,just a dog the SIZE of a horse!
I buy his dog food at Sam's club,so I save over what I would pay for a smaller amount at a regular supermarket and he gets a few of the leftovers with his food.
*I am interested in a raw meat diet for our dog (he's a rottweiler) so if anyone is knowledgeable,comment telling me more!

Various linens
I buy washcloths/dish towels/bath towels all brand new,but on sale-and I save the old ones for rags.
When possible,I buy bedding at the second hand store.
*The children use waterproof mattress covers and a pillow and blanket-this way their bed is protected and soft,yet if they have accidents we aren't stuck washing a full load of bedding.

Paper products
We rarely use any paper products outside of toilet paper-and a few Kleenex during cold season.
I cloth diaper 95% of the time and we just switched to cloth wipes for baby!
The disposable diapers I keep around are purchased at Sam's club or store brand.
We don't use paper towels very often,just rags (old dish towels etc) or a wash cloth.
I get the trash bags at Sam's club and we try to repurpose boxes/dog food bags to put our garbage in.
*This year I hope to put in our own vegetable garden and begin composting.

Cash Flow aka BILL$:

We pay a mortgage.
And for the size of house we are living in,the mortgage isn't much more than most people pay for a house half the size.
It's well insulated and has dual furnaces-one upstairs and one in the basement which heats the main floor as well.
*My father was raised in a family of 7 children+ mom&dad in a dinky little house,less than 1500 sq feet.

Honestly,most people have to pay this whether they have none or a dozen children.
We have well water-so other than the pump running,no water bill.
We have electric...I try to do lots of cooking/baking at once to cut back on electricity going to oven use.We try to live in the dark-but because electric is outrageous and it has little to do with the children.
We have gas heat-and we wear warm clothes and do our best to keep the heat around 70-71 degrees.
*Our hope is to switch to an outdoor wood burner stove and do away with gas heat all together.

Again,something most people decide on with or without children.
My husband prefers to have basic television so he can watch the news and holiday programs-as well as occasional sports.
We have a basic Internet/cable package (I mean B A S I C) through Comcast-and we have Netflix.
We did away with our home phone service due to continued increase in monthly bills and opted for cell phones-one for hubby and one for me to have.
Our cell phones are NO contract and through Metro PCS.
*We have heard of very low cost home phone service-I will update as I know more,OR feel free to comment if you've heard of it!

Yes.We have debt
Even outside of our mortgage we have debt.
A car payment
BAD IDEA. (to which I will follow up on with a blog post in the near future)
Credit cards
It started with the idea that we needed to have an established credit score to buy a home.
So we each signed up for a credit card.
Then we *needed* a dryer,so we got another credit card.
Then a few offers came for credit cards,so we tried "just to see if we'd get approved"....and we did.
Then an injury/surgery/time off work.Those credit cards were used for groceries.
I'm not going to hide from the bad choices we have made-like many Americans who are in debt,it starts with a small snowflake and rolls into a giant bolder of snow and before you know it,"Kirsplosh!" You find yourself in the middle of the ocean of debt as a giant Iceberg.
DISCLAIMER: Our children didn't make our debt.Our bad decisions made our debts.

Personal care:

I have a blog post about this HERE.
We buy mostly used/gently used clothes or clearance clothing."Buy Used,Save the Difference"
And we are NOT ashamed...I think it's rather clever.
Clothing is rated as one of the top costs to having kids-next to housing and food,but it's really unnecessary to pay outrageous prices to clothe your family.I save any clothes that make it through each baby/child for the next child to wear.
Thankfully,I didn't grow up feeling pressure to dress a certain way or in name brand clothing.With my children being homeschooled,I doubt they will care either.
*And if they do,they are free to earn money to put towards more expensive clothing if they deem it necessary for them to have it.

The children and hubby receive haircuts at home by me...over the years I have gotten fairly good at it and they don't complain about how it appears.
I am blessed to have a good friend who is a talented hairstylist,so we get together about 3-4 times each year and she puts some highlights in and trims my hair.
*the money we save by doing haircuts at home MORE than pays for my hairstylist visits

Birthing babies-
That happens at home!
*And  really doesn't cost anything.

Feeding babies-
I exclusively breastfeed,followed by babyled weaning-which is generally when they just eat whatever we are eating,so no expensive baby foods!

Reusable products-
I use washable cloth diapers,nursing pads,and wipes.I also use mama cloth/feminine cup.

Health care-
We pay for health insurance through hubby's work,but have been fortunate to not really need to see a doctor.
We try to take good care of ourselves and treat/prevent at home.


Eating out-
A few times a month we do get pizza or take out for the kids,but we've experienced periods in our life where we looked back at where the money went and realized "Fast food" SIGH.
It's not good for you,let alone even $20 per meal adds up!

Date night-
Hubby and I make it a priority to have at LEAST two nights a month to just relax and spend time together.Usually we try to go out for dinner,but sometimes we stay in and have take out.We are blessed to have a close friend who babysits for a small fee-but I highly recommend if this isn't an option that you trade babysitting with another family!

Kids really don't need much to be happy....too many toys and they just get overwhelmed or the toys get ignored.
Our children probably have too many and I find myself sorting through them on a regular basis to "thin them down"
The quality of toys has become very disappointing,so we are settled on the "less is more,quality is better than quantity" mentality.

Again,quality has become a concern when we spend our money on something that only lasts a few months.
Is an iPad really necessary?A new cell phone when the old one works just fine?
I believe we all have wants and desires for "nice" things,but happiness isn't in *things*
We have gone through our share of electronics-most haven't lasted-and I feel that we won't be investing our money in much-other than maybe a nice camera down the road (though the one I currently have does the job)

All baby gear rolls downhill.
Cribs,car seats (provided they aren't expired and haven't been involved in accidents),swings,bathtubs-all get reused.

We are learning to do our own-hubby is fairly skilled at plumbing and auto repairs,and we do all of our own home repairs that are within our skill level.
We ask for help and advice from friends and family who are experienced in areas that we need to learn in-education doesn't have to be bought or even sought in a formal setting-it can be learned through those that are willing to share their knowledge,and often through trial and error.

To sum it all up....

Kids really aren't the expensive part of raising a family
Lifestyle choices are.

  • You don't need a car that entails a monthly payment-you CHOOSE it.
  • You don't need high end brand new clothing-you CHOOSE it.
  • You don't need an ultimate satellite package-you CHOOSE it.
  • You don't need that speaker system in your car-you CHOOSE it.
  • You don't need pre-packaged pre-made meals-you CHOOSE them.
  • You don't need a new TV-you CHOOSE to buy it.
  • You don't need credit cards,data service on your cell phone,to eat out every make those choices...

And those are your choices to make-just like we've made ours.

It was our choice to have credit cards.
It was our choice to have a car payment,to eat out 3 times last week,to buy that thing that we didn't need.

Money.We need some to live,but I think it's unfortunate that we choose to need *things* to live.

I hear all the time,other women pouring their hearts out about how they have a deep desire to have another child,but they *can't afford it*

We all make decisions,and I can tell you that in many cases MONEY isn't what stops people from having more children.Unrealistic ideals or just plain preferences is what stops people from adding to their family.

Better choices about money goes a LONG way towards providing security for your family.
Every little bit counts.

It's about deciding what you really want.

I am willing to learn to be more self sufficient,more frugally minded.
I trust God to guide me towards making the best choices and providing for our family.

*Final note:
I am not an accountant and I am well aware that not all financial situations are equal.
I have been at the bottom of the bank and barely afloat at times in my general,most people do with more than they need-and that is their choice.If adding to their family is what they would love to do,there are ways to do it.
And sometimes,you're just done having's not my place to question what you feel is best for your family.


Also,check out Youtube for videos!

Frugal living

Grocery budget

Budget printables

DIY natural cleaners

Cloth diapers


Again,check YouTube for many tutorials and DIY tricks!

Clothing a Large Family on a Budget

People have this misconception that it costs a lot to clothe children-and depending on your resources and what you have access to,it really doesn't need to be that expensive.

Between hand me downs from siblings or friends,buying bulk lots off of sites like Ebay/Craigslist/local groups on Facebook,shopping clearance racks,and buying second hand,you can make your money go a LONG way.

My shopping tips:

I always buy these new-but,I buy them when they are on sale,even if it's a size ahead-and I buy several packages.
With lots of busy children,socks get worn out,socks go missing,and the ones that last through one child can be passed to the next!

I never buy new winter boots-unless I happen to catch them on *super* clearance.
Winter boots start at $24 a pair brand new-but my mother and I both keep our eyes out at the second hand stores for gently used winter boots-WHERE we get them for less than $7 per pair.

As for shoes/sandals,I try to get them on clearance,but am not opposed to buying used in good condition.My boys have always gone through shoes really quickly,so a barely worn pair will get as much use as a brand new pair!

Coats/winter wear
Again,I buy nice used condition.
The local Salvation Army has great deals if you pick through-and if brand names are a concern,they often get those in too!
I can buy a nice used winter coat for less than $9,whereas a new coat in the store is upwards of $35 or more.
Hats and gloves are plentiful at second hand stores-a 99 cent hat vs a $6 hat?
My children don't mind...they are always excited to get a new winter hat and they are aware that there is nothing wrong with gently used goods.

For the most part I buy these in *barely worn* condition at places like Goodwill,Salvation Army,and-my new favorite store-Once Upon a Child.
I buy the lower cost things in the best condition...I tend to buy boys clothing in plentiful amounts because I know that between our four boys SOMEONE will wear it!

My extra tips:

Buy used,Save the difference
I love finding really good deals.I primarily buy the kids' clothes and most of mine at second hand stores,and several of my husbands shirts too.

Fill in the gaps by shopping new/sale when possible
I buy hubby's jeans brand new,but only because men's pants are harder to find in specific sizes,and I often purchase a few items for the kids and I that I maybe couldn't track down in the gently used stores.

Buy ahead on sale
I buy the clearance items and guesstimate what sizes the kids will be in for the next season,again considering that a pair of jean 75% off is worth it knowing that someone will eventually wear it!
I try to wait on cute items that I *can't live without* until they have a 40% off sale at least,that way I still get it in season,but don't pay full price! (Kmart is known for 40% off sales on In-season clothing)

Buy layer-able clothes
This works really well with my baby girl,but it could with boys too.
Tee-shirts for boys can work in cooler months layered over a long sleeve shirt or under a sweatshirt jacket.
I can still put shorter sleeved/sleeveless dresses on Marlena if I have a few *neutral* long sleeve onesies or shirts...I buy in white/grey/black/pink/purple and those will usually match dresses or little short sleeve shirts on cooler days,so she gets more wear out of her wardrobe.
I also buy more skirts and dresses for her,so leggings work well under those to keep her legs warm,as well as BabyLegs and tights.

Hair accessories
Nobody warned me how fun it is to accessorize little I wasn't prepared for oohing and ahhing over 1000's of styles.
I have found that making my own is cheapest,as well as buying bulk lots of headbands/flowers off of Ebay or Amazon.

Hand me downs
When one child outgrows it,if it's still wearable,save it for the next child!
Even if it's not in pristine condition,it can still be play-wear!
I store all the clothing in storage totes separated by size.I have SO many baby clothes newborn-3T and most in really great condition still!
Look for deals online
Stores like Kmart,Walmart,Target and other retailers have sales too,as well as free shipping if you spend a certain amount.

Craigslist is where other mothers go to sell off the clothes that their kids have outgrown.
Ebay is also a good place to score a large lot of clothing.I bought four cute dresses for less than $10 with shipping.
There are often local groups on Facebook where parents list their kids outgrown clothes.

Comfy lounge clothes can count as pajamas
My children don't mind wearing either the clothes they wore that day (provided they didn't get too soiled!) or just comfy parts of their wardrobe-like sweat pants-as pajamas.
I don't complain since it saves on laundry *laugh*

My cheap hauls comparisons (in like-new condition) to normal retail prices:

Carters infant 2 piece PJ's 
Used $4.42 for two pairs vs RV $18 (on sale!) for two pairs

Disney Pixar Cars shoes size 10
Used $2.50 vs RV $16.99+

Infant girls size 12 month holiday dress
Used $4.00 vs RV $24.99+

Baseball cap (youth)
Used 99 cents vs RV $9.99

Boys dress shoes
Used $3.00 vs RV $12.99

I spent a little more on Marlena's clothes at first...because I've never had a girl!
Now I buy gently used (you usually can't even tell they were worn) and she has a beautiful wardrobe
 for a fraction of what normal retail would have cost!

*A thought about buying used clothing: Some people aren't comfortable buying used...and that's their prerogative.However,if you consider that the first time you wear and wash something,it's USED.
If you buy from a retailer,chances are what you buy has been TRIED ON.

Again,it's personal preference,but I think buying used is a smart and thrifty thing to do!

And that is how we dress without it costing a fortune!