Diary of a mama with the crud

7:30 AM- 4 year old crawls into my bed. I try not to wake up, because if I wake up, I’ll notice how bad my throat hurts and have to go do something about it. And I do NOT want to get up.

7:45 AM — 11 year old boys are thundering around like elephants in the bedroom we foolishly built for them directly above our heads. I cover my head with a pillow and try not to get mad at them. Because then I’ll be awake and I don’t WANT to be awake yet.

7:58 AM — They are still thundering. I’m awake. And cranky. HOW can they be so energetic, and WHAT can they be doing? And WHY do they NOT remember the other 27 times I have growled at them for being rowdy in the morning?

8:07 AM- The stomping is still going on. I decide that their energy must be harnessed for good and not evil- – especially given the fact that mom hasn’t even had her coffee.  I go upstairs and tell the boys to dress and go pick me 100 ears of corn.

8:15 — I turn on the coffee pot, and snuggle on the couch with my 4 year old who is also awake. 7 year old comes out and cuddles with me a bit too.  Eldest son is eating breakfast and getting ready to leave for work. We talk for a few minutes about his work, and then I read my Bible and check email.

8:45-9:15– 13 year old and I spread bacon on two cookie sheets to bake (20 min, 425 degrees) and be served with scrambled eggs for breakfast. I’m planning on saving a few slices of bacon to use later (crumbled into a recipe for scones) so I make 2 lbs of bacon. Plus 22 eggs and a loaf of whole wheat bread, and a half a gallon of OJ. The little girls help set the breakfast table. 11 year old daughter hangs out the first of 3 loads of laundry for the day.

9:20 — Breakfast is almost ready. I hear a report that the 11 year old boys have opted to husk the corn out by the corral, so as to more easily toss the husks to the cows. Shuddering at the e. coli possibilities, I go out and sternly tell them to move the corn-husking operation onto the back patio where I can supervise.  The rest will have to be done after breakfast, though, because food is ready.

9:30-10:00 — We eat, and then have devotions. Today we read and talk about trials and faith, pride and humility 1 Peter 4-5. My cold is making me feel cranky and wiped out, so the reminder about trials being a normal part of life is a good one for me. Also for the kids who have to live with me today. (Sigh)

10:00-12:00 — One of the kids does breakfast dishes. Erika is off in her room packing– she’s moving into on-campus housing on Friday. The 17 year old is at work. My 15 year old retreats to his room to finish his geometry–the book has been challenging for him, so he’s worked on it through the summer. Not usual for our homeschool, but necessary this year.

My 11 and 13 year old girls pick, wash and puree nearly half a bushel of tomatoes, which I cook down, put in jars and run through the canner. 7 quarts, plus enough leftover for sauce for spaghetti for dinner, I think. The boys get their corn husked– they picked about 100 ears– and the kids get it blanched, chopped, bagged and into the freezer as I finish tomatoes. About 15 sandwich sized ziplocks. The two youngest girls helped with corn husking, but were sent off to play with legos for the rest of the work time.

This is the time of year — right at the peak of the garden’s productivity– when I wonder if all this work is really worth the hassle. Granted, I am feeling like crud today,  and I just want to go lie down. But even when I am feeling well, the amount of work we do in August and September is overwhelming, even WITH all the kids helping out. They’re pretty good sports about doing the work– and they’ll be eating the fruit of their work all year long. Still…..I am sighing inside as we work.

12:00-1:00  Yesterday I picked the last of our beets.  Today I boil, peel and chop them– maybe 6 cups or so. I will probably put them in soup a different day.  I save the beet tops for lunch, to sautee in broth with olive oil and lentils. At one point I ask one of the kids to pour the broth into the greens after they’ve steamed down. He doesn’t see the measuring cup of broth on the counter and instead pours my saved spaghetti sauce into the pot of greens.

I growl.  Now I’ll have to pick more tomatoes if I want spaghetti for dinner.  Sigh….grrr.  I pull myself together. Ah well- it was just inattention, and it’s done now. The lentils end up soaking up all the spaghetti sauce and all the broth, and make a tasty lunch, along with corn on the cob and one of the 7 cantaloupes that we picked the other day. (Never have we had so many cantaloupes!)

My sister stops by to pick up my 15 year old who is babysitting her kids this afternoon.  As I try to make small talk, I feel like I’m in a fog…I’ve got to go lie down soon.

1:30–3:00  Two kids are doing lunch dishes– bless their hearts– it’s not their turn and they’ve been in the kitchen most of the morning.  But the lunch kitchen person just drove off to babysit, and their mother is lying on the couch not looking good.  The two kids who don’t have to be in the kitchen decide to make brownies for their friend’s birthday.  The little girls go off to play legos.  I half heartedly try to work a bit on the computer, but realize my head hurts too much.  I put a pillow over my head and go to sleep for an hour instead.

3-ish  I’m awakened by kids who’ve answered the door and tell me a man is there.  I run fingers through my hair and stagger to the door with sleep marks on my cheek.  There is a man on the porch, and beyond him I see a picture of cow on the side of his truck.  I take one look and tell him we don’t need any meat.  He interrupts, intent on getting a spiel out.   I point to the pasture and tell him we have two cows.  We don’t need meat.   He says that’s fine, they also sell ‘all the sides’, and tries to begin telling me of the wonders inside the cow truck.  All I can think of is the rows and rows of ‘sides’ I still have to can, and how I’d really rather be napping than arguing when I know danged well I’m not buying a penny’s worth of his offerings.  “Sorry, no,” I interrupt, herding kids back inside, and shutting the door in his face.

After I collapse back on the couch, I think maybe I shouldn’t have been so rude. The guy’s probably trying to support a family after all.  But I’m too tired to get much guilt on over it.

4:15=5:30 From the couch, I coach kids thru the scone recipe for which I saved the bacon.  We make it with less bacon, and use cream cheese instead of cheddar, and make our own buttermilk with vinegar and milk, but other than that it kind of resembles the original.   Despite my fear that the kids would over-handle the dough and make it tough, the scones turn out yummy.

I decide it barely saves any effort to coach from the couch versus getting up and making the recipe myself.  Except my whole body feels like a wet noodle.  An aching one in need of a case of Kleenex.

After the scones get into the oven, 6 kids all play bit parts in getting a sweet and sour stirfry made, to go with the scones for dinner.   By now I am feeling serious guilt, because among them all, they have put in some major hours in the kitchen today.  But they are oddly, thankfully cheery.  And I comfort myself with the thought that they will be pros in the kitchen when they are adults.

6:30- 8:00 After dinner most of the kids run off to play outside for a bit.  Finally.  I get a bit of school planning done.  Finally.  My heads feels a little better than earlier today, and soon the hubby will be home.  Maybe I’ll survive after all.

8:30 PM- The 4 year old brushes my hair as dad reads bedtime stories to everyone on the living room floor. I take her energetic ministrations wincingly but with little protest.  She lights up when someone lets her play beautician, and I’ve been so spacy today that I haven’t focused on her a lot, so the penance feels reasonable.   She combs happily til John gets done reading.   I hug kids goodnight and go sit with her and the 7 year old in their room til they doze off to sleep.

9:30-10:30 – Back out in the living room –here I am, pounding away, telling you about my day.  I realize I must be feeling better.  And now, almost bedtime.  Tomorrow is another day.  Hopefully a better one.


  1. I hope you are feeling much better this morning.

  2. Oh Mary — may your day tomorrow go better and with more energy tomorrow! BTW I sent my friend Katie your way yesterday. She’s a mama of 5 with #6 on the way and was looking for some serious insights — you were one of the first two to pop to mind! I’m looking forward to talking to her Sunday and finding out how she’s doing. Thank you for being so encouraging in your “realness”.

  3. Oooh Mary – hope you feel better today! You did GREAT to say you felt that bad, Praise God for your joyful children 🙂

  4. That was a busy day for a sick momma! Hope you’re better today.

    btw, we have a downstairs bedroom too, but at least a living room is atop ours. So, we have a rule…no going into the living room until Mommy and Daddy are awake! lol

  5. Uh – I feel your pain. I don’t know what it is about summer colds that seem so much worse than other times. Or why they always seem to hit me when I’m busiest. I can’t imagine looking after multiple kids with a cold; just one is already wiping me out and it’s not even 8am yet.

    Hope you are feeling much better today!

  6. If you’re not feeling better see a doctor.

    I always think I should be doing what you’re doing—saving money, etc. But I’m 56 and I know I could NOT do it! But the guilt doesn’t go away.

  7. Feel better soon! Wow, you have really amazing & wonderful kids. I’m in awe.

  8. Oh, hope you’re feeling better today! Your children are such a blessing through this, being so self-sufficient and helpful. 🙂 You’ve taught them so well!

  9. feel better!

  10. You did it, Mama! One day at a time. I hope you’re feeling better this morning.

  11. When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy…..James 1:2…..hard to think so when you’re struck down with the crud! I am a phone call away with my ginger honey lemon tea! 🙂 Get better my friend!

  12. I am wondering how many comments you’ll get about overworking those “poor kids”. Haha! I think it is wonderful how they helped out so nicely. My kids are the same way. I only wish I had had a better attitude about it when I was young.

    Hope you are feeling better soon. You must not have gotten the memo. You know. The one that said, “Moms are not allowed to get sick. Ever.”

  13. Wishing you a better day today.

    I will say for having the crud, you still seem to have accomplished alot. Give those kiddos a pat on the back, they are great help.

  14. Sue from Buffalo says:

    Hope you’re feeling better this morning. Amazing what you got done even when when sick.

  15. I hope you’re feeling better!

    I enjoyed reading about your day. More posts like that one please, just minus the illness for you 😉

  16. oh dear, i so hope your day goes much better. it’s so awful to be sick and still have to function as mommy!

  17. Inspirational as always.

  18. I feel like I should take a nap myself, even just reading about your day. Feel Better Soon!

    Your younguns are learning well about teamwork and kitchen needs. 100 ears of corn! my goodness!!

    And a Cheer for your sweet husband, after working at the paycheck job all day, coming home and getting everybody settled for bed reading stories.

    Great Post! I’m so glad you are here, with little daily details.
    So many of the other blogs have gone to the “Follow Me on Twitter” route….

  19. Hope you are feeling better today! I know what you mean about wondering if all the produce canning is worth it but just think what it will all taste like in January when it is a blizzard outside and you have fresh tomato juice from those sweet vine ripe tomatoes to make a warm pot of spicy chili! YUMMY! That’s how I got through school starting and 25 gallon of pears to can, 20+ gallon of ripe tomatoes, and all the rest of the garden goodies to cook and eat (ie patty pan squash pizza for dinner last night) this week! What was I thinking when I planted 10 patty pan squash plants? LOL!

    Wishing you a speedy recovery!

  20. Hoping you are feeling better today – I can’t imagine how you do it all on a ‘healthy’ day – let alone a ‘sick’ day!

  21. you guys are so productive.

    Hope you feel better, can you expain to me the process of freezing corn on the cob?

  22. Oh my goodness, I don’t get that much done when I am feeling WELL. Our garden, grapes, and pears are all coming in at the same time and it is quite overwhelming. I can’t even imagine being sick right now. It sounds like you need a good days rest and sleep time. Can the older kids babysit and take over for a day so you could just stay in bed and try to get well?

  23. I’ve been there…oh, how I have been there. I empathize!
    Hope you feel great soon!

  24. What a day! Everyone has them, and I worry with just 2 kids, you do it with 7 or so. I love the fact theyw ere able to make the scones and the stir fry, yes they will all be fab adults in the kitchen and will appreciate all that you have taught them. Get some rest

  25. Busy day for someone who doesn’t feel well.
    Hope you’re feeling better today.

  26. Thanks for sharing. I love hearing about the routines of good moms. How great that your kids were there to help and support. I always feel like a good mom when I see my kids cooperating. Wow on your huge garden!