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March 10, 2015

Spring is Springing!

Spring is finally springing!!!! It's been a LONG cold winter and so we are quite excited about this! The weather was still very cold last week and then in a BANG spring weather was here! But we are Canadian enough to know that in this season of the year we could very well still have some more cold weather....and yes, even snow. In fact we would probably be quite surprised if spring actually decided to stay! So for now we will enjoy these melting days and soak up all the warm sunshine we can!

Today I went for a walk and was pleasantly surprised to see how much snow has already melted! I was so excited to see dirt!!! There is still a lot of snow on the yard so it's hard to tell how much it's actually melting until you go down our lane out into the open. Here is a picture I took on my walk today. I am hoping that the weather will stay half decently warm so I can say good-bye to the treadmill and have my daily walk outdoors. It is so much more enjoyable and I feel so refreshed afterwards. Nothing can compare to fresh air and sunshine!!!

Just down the road from our farm

And because spring is springing so quickly, this means our ice hockey season ended abruptly because our rink is quickly melting. This is always a happy/sad time of year as the daily fun of ice hockey will be missed! But already the gap has been filled by bringing hockey into the machine shop! As I write most everyone is out there playing a good ol' game of floor hockey. Not the same, but something to fill the time. It will be quite awhile before our yard is void of muck and mud and we will be able to play soccer, football, baseball and other sports outside. So for now this will do just fine!

This past Sunday we celebrated the life of our sweet little Elijah! It's hard to believe that it is already 3 yrs. since he joined our family. And we are so happy he did. Life would not be the same without our Eli!!! He is a little talker so it's a good thing he always has plenty of people to talk to. He is very opinionated and keeps us on our toes with his verbal freedoms in check. He likes to play with tractors and trains in particular. He doesn't like to be left out so when his older siblings are playing a game that he is too young for, his nose gets easily pushed out of joint. We are working on that! Eli loves to be outside (even when it is really cold!) and I expect that we will hardly see him once the yard is dry. Plus he is itching to go with his daddy in the tractor already! Another little farm boy :)

On Eli's birthday we had to bring Mark's parents into the city to catch a flight so we took him along and stayed in a hotel overnight (because their flight was early a.m.) It was very different to have just one child along. This rarely happens! Funny thing is....we were staying right beside the hotel we stayed in after we left the hospital the night Eli was born. We didn't want to stay in the hospital overnight, but it was too late to drive the 2 hours home (after being up all night and day!) so we opted to stay in a hotel. We told Eli this story but I don't think he understood :)

A funny story. We were checking out of our room and waiting for the elevator to go down to the lobby. One opened up and we told the other 4 people who were waiting that we were sure we could all fit in. The woman said, "Are you sure, we have a lot of stuff!"We assured them that we would be fine and piled in. On the way down she said, "Good thing our oldest son isn't here or we for sure wouldn't have fit!" She then proceeded to tell us what a lot of work it was to pack for all 5 of them when their oldest son came too!!! Mark and I gave each other an amused look as we listened to her go on! We decided against giving her the shock of telling her that if we brought all of 11 of our children living at home we surely would have never fit in the elevator! And packing for our family....well that's a whole different story!!!! This time we decided to just give each other "the look" and let her go on thinking that 3 children was a huge family :) It's times like this that we realize how different our life is than other families....and how much we like it that way!!!

Elijah Hudson
(1 day old)

Elijah on his 3rd birthday

We are still working strong on the school books but everyone is counting down the days until we are DONE!!! This year we did something a little different. We divided the years school work (for the oldest 5) into quarters. There was a goal incentive at the end of every quarter. If you got your work done, you received the reward, if not...you didn't :) I am happy to say that so far everyone has earned their quarterly reward. Some by the skin of their teeth...but they made it none the less!! We did this mostly to motivate some who were having trouble believing they could get a certain amount of work done. Our 4th quarter ends the 30th of March so everyone is seeing the end and some are putting it into an even higher gear and have gotten some subjects done already! We are all excited to have the bookwork part of school done for the year!

Josiah is our newest student. And what an eager learner he is! He really, really, REALLY likes math and is often found writing numbers or adding things in his head (out loud:). He is also having a lot of fun learning to read. I don't think we have ever had one catch on quite so quick! It's a very nice treat!

Josiah doing one of his favourite school things...
math drills

Over the years I have learned that in order to keep my sanity teaching school while having toddlers/pre-schoolers under foot, it is in my best interest to have a schedule of activities for them too. I have made up a 5 day schedule with 1/2 hr. time slots of activities for them. If they are playing well and still quite entertained by the time the 1/2 hr. is done, I will keep them at it a little longer. Some of our activities are lego, building blocks, play do, coloring, magnetic books, cars/car mat, playmobile, puzzles and looking at books, just to name a few. This has been a great help in teaching them to focus on one activity for more than a few minutes, to play together and also to clean up after themselves. There are moments when I feel that it is maybe more work than help, but in the end it keeps order in our day while teaching them some great character qualities!

 Building Blocks


And of course with the soon arrival of spring comes something we have been looking forward to for months. Baby time!!!! Time is flying by and it won't be long before we will meet our sweet little one face to face. Things are continuing to go well in this pregnancy and I am hoping, because everything is looking good, that my Dr. will let me go at least until my due date. And hopefully I will go into labor on my own!!! 

5 weeks until due date!
Baby's growing!!!

And that is a quick update of what's going on around here! 

February 9, 2015


I had to actually look to see when the last time was that I posted! Sad to say it was a few months ago! A lot has happened in the last few months. The most exciting news to share is that we are expecting a new little blessing in April!!! (You may have read this on our daughter, Jennnifer's blog but I never really made it official here:) After our 2 recent miscarriages we kept the news to ourselves until November. It almost seemed to good to be true! I think we had all resigned ourselves to thinking that Eli was going to be our last. But God had other plans....and we are thrilled! And now after being out of baby mode for so long (long to us anyway!) we are preparing our hearts and our home to meet this precious little one! For the first time ever we found out the gender of our baby on a routine ultra sound back in November. Our children know what the gender is so we will see if they can keep it a secret until baby is born! We revealed it to them through the color of Josiah's birthday cake in January. He is our baby lover and is super excited about having a new baby around and comes often to hug my growing belly and caress it :) It's so fun to see the excitement of all the kiddos, big and little, while eagerly awaiting the arrival of their new brother/sister.

And so now it's on to picking out a name!!! Oy....this gets harder and harder the more children and grandchildren we have! It makes it a little easier knowing the gender, but still :) I think we have nailed one down, but that could all change once we see this precious little face!

I have had a pretty easy pregnancy so far except for high blood pressure issues which I am now on medication for. I have always been border line with my blood pressure readings during my pregnancies and have suffered with the "white coat syndrome" ever since our first. But now my Dr. thinks because of my age, it has been pushed into the "higher" range. Usually when I would take my readings at home they would be very normal...but not this time. We are just thankful it doesn't seem to be pre-eclampsia. My numbers have been very stable since I have been on the meds. And as much as I hate being on this medication, the other option was way to dangerous for me and the baby. I am still praying that after baby is born I can get off the meds. I am so thankful for my Dr. She is the best and is willing to work together with my midwife through this pregnancy and delivery. God has been so good to direct us to her!

I am now at the stage of my pregnancy where I am getting a little energy back. I think sometimes.....or always....my family grimaces when I get to this stage because the cleaning bug hits me. I don't know what happens exactly, except I see dirt in place that I never saw it before!!! My current project so far it washing all the white (or should be white) blinds in our house. And after that is done who knows where this cleaning bug will bring me! As long as I don't start painting we should be fine!!!

Many people make the comment that I must love being pregnant to have so many children. To this I smile and say.....I love to be in the will of God. And this is His will for us right now. To read more about our beliefs about embracing the all the children God will give us, you can read a blog post I wrote a few years ago when I was expecting child #11.

So for now I enjoy the wiggles and kicks within. I will dream about what this baby bumpkin will look like. I will take advantage of my cleaning bug :) I will look forward to the birth day of this baby and the sweet newborn cuddles I will have.  I will rejoice at the miracle that is living inside of me!

September 18, 2014

What Really Matters?

I wrote this last school year and it got stuck in my drafts. But since a new school year is upon us I thought it might be a fitting time to finally post this.

This morning I was folding laundry and praying for wisdom on how to deal with one of our children who needed some correction for a wrong decision he had made. As I looked at the time I wondered if we would get any book work (schooling) done this day. For this was already the 3rd child that had needed correction and it was only 9:00!! It definitely was seeming to be 'one of those days!'

And then God reminded me of something He had taught me years ago. Something that I seem to forget from time to time especially when I get caught up in the moment! Something that keeps me reminded of the reason we homeschool. DISCIPLING AND TRAINING OUR CHILDREN TO OBEY GOD AND HIS WORD IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANY EDUCATION WE COULD EVER GIVE THEM! AND IT IS NEVER A WASTE OF TIME!!!

I'm not sure why I lose focus so quickly. I know what God has first called me to do as a mother....To train up our children to love, obey and honor God. Yet too many times I let "education" take over and push aside the things that are really important.

As I was sitting here looking at pinterest this evening God once again reminded me of this calling by showing me this blog post and I realized that He was confirming what He had spoken to me this morning.
"Because what will the math really matter if they are bitter?
 If the house is immaculate — but my attitude a mess? 
If they can count — but they don’t know how to count all things as joy? 
If we get the lists done, but have lost happiness in Him?
How can any grammar skill outweigh the fact they don’t know the language of grace and thanks? 
What good will it be if they can recite all the major British battles 
— but they don’t know to see beauty? 
What am I teaching our children if I’m not living simply, quietly this:
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy
—think about such things” (Phil. 4:8).

Focusing on what is beautiful, good, true –isn’t this the truest education?"

I pray that this truth will stay foremost in all my days as a mother. For I know that when I stand before God one day to give account for all I have done, He will not ask me if we finished a certain math program or if my children were perfect in grammar. Rather He will ask me if I taught my children to love Him with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength. If I taught them to love their neighbor as themselves. If I trained them up in the way they should go so that they would never fall away from Him.

This is true education and is more valuable than any bookwork our children could complete. And I pray that tomorrow when I go through my day and character training issues come up, that I will be able to see these as valuable opportunities to lead our children one step closer to the heart of God and know in my heart what really matters!

September 17, 2014

Camping Adventures Summer 2014

Here is a story/update for you. 
Most of the facts are, well, facts....some of my story is, well, fiction :)

A few weeks ago Mikaya gave me this look.....
Now this look can mean many things.
So as a mom, I had to determine a few things.
Did it mean...Mom, I need to ask you a question?
Did it mean...Mom why is Jennifer taking my picture?
Or did it mean....Mom, don't you think it's about time we go camping?

And after consulting Kerri....she smiled, so we figured that must mean it was about time to take our first camping trip of the summer!!!

So in true Pauls family fashion we:
decided to go camping
check over this big boy
packed up this big boy
gave instructions to the ones at home left to do chores (thanks Becca:)
washed our faces and feet
all within a few short hours

Now let me interrupt this story to give you one word of what life is like 
when we achieve a feat like this....

But once we were on the road all the craziness was soon forgotten 
and we set out to enjoy our family time together.

As soon as we got there Caleb tried his hand at putting up the tent.

Of course Jaden was there to give moral support.

And Elijah was practicing the act of walking on his hands!
A much needed skill while camping!

But after awhile the boys got tired of the slow pace and left Caleb all by himself.

So he pounded in pegs with....a log????

Oh look, here's Zach! He's come to the rescue!! 
And of course Jaden came back to inspect. 
I think he was thinking, "They are doing it all wrong!"

Many hands makes a tent pole stay up!

Of course, having your big sister on the sidelines bossing you around  
cheering you on, always helps!


Almost there boys!

Next on the list was sweeping off the picnic table...
cause that's how we do things?

It wasn't long before we tried out fishing. 
I used to fish a lot when I was little but haven't in years so it felt like we were both learning!
Don't we look pretty professional though? (this is where you nod your head!)

Cast away!

And what's fishing without some sweet kiddos sitting on the sidelines encouraging us on!

On a side note....we are pretty sure we can physically see him growing!
He will soon be the tallest member of our family!

Joey is good at observing and learning.
Here he is practicing that skill!

Obviously we don't have enough fishing rods for everyone.
This was a "have patience" moment!

You fish on this side, I'll fish on the other side!


Hey! I caught something....

Oh here's a fish!!! 
Isn't he just the cutest little thing?

Sadly he was too little so we threw him back.

1 minnow, 2 minnow, 3 minnow, 4.....
Soon the ones without rods were kept busy catching minnows.

Even though we didn't catch much the boys loved their fishing time. 
They spent every spare moment they had out there.

Campfires....must be one of the best family bonding times.
Silly stories told, even sillier songs sung!
Not to mention yummy food eaten!

I think he is thinking about how yummy that smore is going to taste!

And then there was this girl that wore pink!
Who loved to wear pink actually.

And then there was a boy with a bug in a blue cup.
He was pretty proud of it and it entertained him for quite some time!

And there was this girl who spends the most of her days 
singing, listening to music, playing piano, or singing :)
Everyone needs one of these folk in their home.
When I got married my mom was so sad that I was leaving 
because she was losing her "canary" as she fondly called me. 
I didn't understand then...now I do. 

What a joy and peace fills your heart when you hear music all day long
as long as it's not too loud....
right Kerri???

And then the little boy decided, "As long as I have wheels under me, I am happy. 
And so he rode his bike all day long.

Of course now the tent was all put up so all advice was given, 
so now it was time to ask questions. 
And this is what he does all day long! 
Usually followed by a thoughtful "ohhhhh" when you give him the answer!

And the man and wife....
the team....
cooked up the chicken....
because the tummies were hungry.

And this little boy thought that was just fine.

While this little boy watch on in silence and learned how to wait patiently
 when you are very, very hungry.

Since the days were cool and they couldn't go in the water, 
the family enjoyed some more time fishing, soaking up the sun and catching minnows. 
They were hoping to catch some fish for their supper....
but nothing like that happened :(

So they made the best of it and played with the little minnows in the pail. 

This little guy figured between wheels and swings, he had it made!

And then it was time to play some catch. 

Interesting technique!

I got you ball...you are not going to get away on me!

The sweep.

Of course big boys can't just swing...
they have to jump and stuff 
and threaten to break bones!

Look mom...I can fly!

This family can never do a camping trip without doing lots and lots of hiking.
There's something so peaceful about 
the trails, the singing birds....
the kids saying they are tired,
the mosquitoes buzzing in your ear :)

This hike led them to a new fishing spot!
They thought surely they would catch their supper here!

So they fished...
And they caught minnows...
And they played in the water...

And they sat and avoided falling off the "cliff"!

When they caught no fish there, 
they decided to walk to the dam.

And tried again...
And again...
And again.

And even though, once again, no fish were caught,
they took in the beauty that was all around them.

And spent some time cuddling.

While papa was determined to catch some supper.

While others got "just their feet wet" :)

And some watched the waterfall 
thinking how fun it would be to go under it 
but knowing that it would be difficult to get only "feet wet" 
so he decided otherwise!

Then the family returned back to the campsite with empty hands...
but full hearts!!
So to get rid of the fishing blues they sang some more!

And stared into the campfire...
Dreaming of the fish they would catch tomorrow!

And sang more silly songs!

And took upside down pictures of people's nose hairs.

And smiled....a goofy type smile.

And even though no fish were caught, 
there was still lots of food to be eaten.

So they ate.

And ate.

And fed the ground squirrels.
This particular one was kind of picky....
he only wanted macaroni!

So he too had his fill.

"Please, feed me more," he said.
"I am wasting away here in the wild."

The three musketeers enjoying some dinner conversation.
Cute little toes :)

And even more adorable faces!

And this brings us to the end of the photos of our camping adventure.
Again, great memories made.
And even though we never caught a fish we could put on the fire...
It was still a success.
Family times like this are greatly treasured.
We will never have these moments back again.
Life goes by so fast.
So we must take the time to enjoy each other while we have the chance.
And treat each day as a gift.

NOTE: The reason one of our family members isn't in any of the pictures...
AKA Jennifer...
Is because she sacrificed her whole time behind the camera 
so we could capture these wonderful memories. 
Thanks Jen!