Haines Home Companion: On Learning

The beauty of having your children close together is that their play is so close. These brothers are 14 months apart, and I promise they can go for hours without realizing the rest of the world is in existence. I have to force them to drink liquids.

One thing, however, that I do not have to force is food. On Sunday I bought a large bag of apples, a large bag of oranges, many bananas and pears. As of Thursday night, we have 3 pears and 2 apples left. How in the gracious world are we going to feed 4 growing boys?

Last night, I said a prayer that when this baby is born, my milk supply will last an entire year without waning, and then I ordered Mary Ostyn‘s book (on sale) Family Feasts for $75 a Week.

Isaac has lost three teeth, and I can tell his brain is clicking in new ways every day. He’ll finish out Kindergarten this Summer, and then he’ll go to public first grade. Homeschool for us right now is wonderful. Since I plan to stretch it through Summer, we’re doing school 3 days a week for 2 hours a day. He’s doing so well, and I have to say that the secret to teaching Kindergarten is to be as goofy as possible. I’ve changed so much in my thinking.

Having Isaac home this year has changed our lives together, the closeness. We’ve been able to sort through another year of conversation throughout the day about Jesus and Africa and making babies – you name it.

Every year they can be at home is a gift. We’re confident that next year at public school is right for our entire family, especially since I’m due at the beginning of August and need to do some major pre-school work with Ian and Jude.

Isaac is whizzing through everything I teach him, and the two younger ones have been a bit left in the dust, though their imaginations are soaring.

Sometimes I wonder how they even know their alphabet, but I guess they’re hearing more than I know.

Jude came to me yesterday morning and said, “Look Mama. Africa!”

It was a very happy moment for me.

Still. I want to have a home full of learning all day long, and some days I feel like we’re in full regression.

But yesterday I heard my boys in conversation about how big God is.

“Is God Big enough to …”

Isaac told Jude that God is big enough to crush the world, but He can be small enough to walk on the tiniest piece of grass without breaking it.

They make me Woe, and they make Whoa.

About me


Reply May 6, 2011

"Isaac told Jude that God is big enough to crush the world, but He can be small enough to walk on the tiniest piece of grass without breaking it."

Love this. So proud of all my boys. :)

Reply May 6, 2011

Amber, I loved this post! Loved it so much it almost made me want to have 4 kids...I said almost.

You have some pretty amazing (and adorable) boys!

Shannnon @nwaMotherlode
Reply May 6, 2011


The first part of this post made me think of the Very Hungry Caterpillar! :)))) But he was STILL hungry! Tell me how you like the Family Feasts book. I need to cut our grocery bill off at the knees. It's been kinda bad, but I'm working on spending less and less each month. Problem is, when you stop eating out so much, your grocery bill goes up. I've got to figure out a balance. Maybe we can all talk here sometime about how much we spend on groceries every month and ways we're making that number lower? I'd also like to hear about your couponing. I'm just wading into those waters.


Shannnon @nwaMotherlode
Reply May 6, 2011

P.S. -- Have you heard of this organization? http://www.m2m.org/

Reply May 6, 2011

So with you on the way your boys make you Woe and Whoa...mine too...you (your words), however, make me rest...and I'm so grateful for that.

REALLY interested in what you think of that book! I could use a major recharge when it comes to cutting the grocery bill!

Reply May 6, 2011

I love your blog! I nursed a big hungry baby for over a year, through a homeschool year and a hot summer when I stood outside by the pool every day, without supplementing and I will tell you my secret! Water. Water water water, more water. If you feel like baby needs more milk, drink more water. Drink every ounce you need to make, plus what your body needs to function. During the summer, when she was so big and it was so hot, I just stood by the sink and drank and drank and drank. When baby gets fussy because she got bigger and needs more you drink more, nurse more frequently and for a longer time at each nursing. I am convinced that most moms don't realize how much you really have to drink to make enough milk for a big hungry baby all the way to one year old.

Reply May 7, 2011

I really like that book! I haven't tried a recipe that wasn't a keeper! It's so nice to hear how good of friends your boys are! Our's are 20 months apart, but they love each other so much already, with the tiny one at only 7 months. How fun!
We love you guys!
Carrie & all

Jolyn @Budgets are the New Black
Reply May 7, 2011

My 8yo daughter was "very impressed" with your son's imagery. "He should be a rabbi!" Ha! We've been reading Story of the World (by Susan Wise Bauer -- highly recommend for elementary read-a-loud, whether you homeschool or not) so I think that's why she had that on her brain.

I have to plug my friend Erin Chase the "$5 Dinner Mom" -- she's published two cookbooks so far and is working on a third. Her three boys are quite young now, but she carries a calculator around in her head and uses coupons and cooking from scratch to make her own frugal recipes, and she talks about it all in her book intros. She grew up rather affluent, but was then called to the Dominican Republic as a missionary/teacher where she met her husband and they became, of all things, house parents to a gaggle of boys, and she had to come up with fish to feed five thousand, so to speak, three times a day. (They live in Ohio now.) Obviously, I can't say enough about her. :)

Reply May 8, 2011

the big enough, small enough took my breath away and made me smile all at once!

Reply May 8, 2011

I am due with my 4th boy (5th child) at the beginning of August too. I do have a daughter that will be smack dab in the middle. When we found out it was another boy my husband was looking at the positive he only has one wedding to pay for....but then this week when my two oldest boys basically each ate a whole pizza (minus 1 piece) we realized that All these boys are gonna cost us the same or more in food. Haha. It's fun though. I have a Jude too. My second son he is 7.

PS I've nursed my last three kids to between 15-18 months. I hold off solids to between 8-10 months. Nurse often is key. And like the other gal said drink a lot of water. Congrats on the new one to come.

Kelly Sauer
Reply May 11, 2011

Sigh... I like these pieces of you and your home. You guys are a really special family.

Reply August 29, 2011

Your kind it very intelligent.. They are aware on how big God is, only few child ask about God.. Your a lucky Mom!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *