*In a Nut Shell

Mothering Fog Horn

Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my touch with my children. Like, we live together, we eat together, we face life together, but there seems to be a disconnect.

Do you ever open your mouth and words come out, like a simple phrase, comment, or request/reminder to get something accomplished, but it flows from your mouth like a silent breath because nobody so much as blinks in acknowledgement?

Now I know that words do manage to make their way out at least occasionally because I have seen response to things like “Let’s have smores!” “Who wants a popsicle?” “The barbecue is hot, you’re gonna get bur…”

I’m sure you’re thinking I could combine the two. “Let’s have s’mores … as soon as we finish our chores!” “Who wants a popsicle? Great, let’s clean our rooms first!” But, as soon as work gets thrown in, all motivation is gone and nothing productive or fun happens as a result.

My mom and little sister were here for a few days last week. They can attest to the drama that happens when the words “Time to clean the bedrooms” are uttered. Or there was the week before when two of my nieces stayed with us and were exasperated that it was always time to do chores again. I pointed out that it was because I said “do your chores” two thousand times over 2 hours before they were finally finished. We had another meal, so it was time to do it again.

My kids just lack any motivation to contribute to the household functioning for our large family. Plus, we live such a boring life there isn’t much to take away, and adding to the chore task only makes steam pour from my ears due to frustration in the zero cooperation.

This has made summer long and painful. Then, I had my wisdom teeth removed and have felt in a fog since then which has only added to the ease of these chore protesters and my mounting frustrations. (To be honest, it’s probably hormones and a small case of PPD in addition to the surgery, but I am not worrying about that yet because I’m still taking care of me first.)

But! Today I had a break through! After lunch, I set a timer for 12 minute and told them to hurry up and get ‘er done. (Clear table and counter then wipe; unload dishes and load 10 pieces from sink; pick up all the floors)

After 12 minutes 3/5 hadn’t completed their job. Two of them were nearly done, though, so almost got off with a warning. However, I stopped myself and enforced a new punishment to all the slackers because those close to not-slacking slackers have been warned before.

I took away their pillows and blankets.

They’ve already begun peppering me with how long I plan to keep my new bedding, and to be honest? I don’t know. I told them I will give them a chance to redeem a blanket, of my choice, by doing after dinner chores perfectly, respectfully, and quickly.

I feel so empowered! Hopefully this works to my advantage and I can only get more creative from here. I decided it is my fog horn in this recent mom brain fog.

Discipline sucks. I hate it. But, it is necessary. I wish they could see the correlation between the peacefulness that comes with cooperation and the dismay that accompanies uncooperation. Or simply just recognize how much more time they have to do whatever it is they always seem to want to do instead. They feel good, I feel good, it’s all good! Or, it’s all just a big fat, humid rain cloud that thunders at us all all day.

Today it is humid, but the thundering has stopped!

I promise to let you know how well this sticks and if we have a final meeting of minds that allows us all to get back on same page of knocking out our chores quickly and without complaint.

*In a Nut Shell

Updates and Vents

Today marks the 23rd day of summer for our clan.

So far, we have done a lot of purging of closets, had lots of sleep overs aka late nights, binge watched some t.v. shows, reestablished a chore schedule complete with new chores and expectations, and have spent any free time hosting out of town friend or being hosted by friends in town for BBQ and good, wholesome fun.

We have 45 days left to get school supplies and a few uniform items in order and everybody has some mando-reading to do. That kicks off this week. We have most of the books already on hand, but as these kids would have it, they all want to read the titles we don’t have first. I am actually going to make a library trip rather than just write it on my daily to-do list.

One of our neighbors has generously opened his pool to our family so we’ve been going most days at least for an hour. As I told one of my friends on Instagram, he is a saint and a hero! It has been pretty warm and we tend to get at each other’s throats by lunch time if we aren’t busy enough.

I won a Fitbit knockoff on an Amazon daily giveaway. It is an alright band. I have learned by it’s step tracking that I walk around 12,000 steps a day, which converts to about 5 1/2 miles, just by being a mom! I walk a 1,000 more on the day’s I walk the kids to the pool.

Boyd just turned 3 mos old. He has been quite a happier soul the last few days. He was a grumpster in the beginning, but I put him on probiotics and fish oil, started taking him to the chiropractor, and got his tongue tie fixed. All his dark hair is falling out and he looks so funny! Phillip had dark hair that fell out and grew back light and curly, so I am curious if that’s what will happen to Boyd. Miss K and A didnt lose the dark hair they were born with, it just grew out with blonde roots. His eyes were so crispy blue for a good month, however now they are looking a little darker, but not quite brown…yet.

Anastasia is miss chatty. Her vocabulary is so pronounced and her confidence is the greatest of all our kids at this age. She has such a wonderful personality and witty sense of humor. She is painfully shy, though, so it takes a lot to see her true colors if you aren’t one of the 8 people she is most used to.

Karolina has been working hard at her annunciation of Ks/hard C’s, putting Gs and Ds in their proper sounding places, and those Rs and Ls need work, but I am trying to just focus on one sound at a time and working without making it a negative exercise. She and Phillip have rekindled their relationship back to a level of more love than hate in their love-hate relationship. She has a best friend, Natalie, and loves to do stuff with her. The two girls especially love to take care of Natalie’s little brother which brings all the praise and doting from adults.

Phillip and George are a busy duo, always cooking up something to do…or eat. For instance, tonight, they are smoking a ham and potatoes as well as baking some gluten free biscuits. They love to wrestle, they love basketball and football and bike riding, and they are so helpful when it comes to yard work. They can mow and weed whack with the best of ’em!

Felicity and Faith have reached the age of being at odds more often than not. It is painfully annoying, but I am doing my best to let them have at it while still encouraging a loving relationship. Felicity has a powerful tongue and Faith still feels everything in the depth of her soul. Faith is still naive about many things, mostly due to the fact that she still makes use of her very vivid imagination. Felicity absolutely cannot stand Faith’s inability to hang tough so takes total advantage. Faith is at the border of little kid and tween though. She loves the perks but detests the responsibility that is required to maintain the perks. Felicity has begun voicing wanting to do more separate from Faith, expressing her desire for basically having her own identity. I can understand that. They’ve done almost everything together since the beginning. They’re going to make a great babysitting team in another year or two though. Felicity is very attentive to little babies needs and Faith still handles toddlers best. They can learn a lot from each other. That is, so long as they don’t kill each other first!

I am looking ahead to what I pray God’s plan for us. A move closer to school and a kick-ass job for Lowell. St. Joseph still hasn’t called, but I have been getting pretty aggressive with my serious wants and needs of that call. Lowell got laid off from his job last week. The company he was with is downsizing and cutting costs. It came as a bit of a surprise, but we weren’t disappointed either. We totally understand having to do what you have to do! It is basically one of the mottos of our life together. He has been able to piece together some work to keep us afloat, but now would be an incredible time for St. Joseph to hear the pleas of a family who trusts the Lord and is only interested in doing His will, so uh, how ’bout it??

All things considered, my life plate is full. I feel like we have faced constant chaos of some kind since 2013. From jobs that weren’t all they were promised to be, to the never ending medical bills and debt keeping yours truly alive. The medical stuff has followed us since we were engaged, it just gets progressively worse. I am so concerned Lowell is going to die from the stress and anxiety before he is 40. Society is against the middle class working man who wants to do well by his family. To have a decent job, complete with decent health insurance.

I feel the warmth of the light at the end of the tunnel though. I can’t tell how close or far it is, but I think we are close to the next chapter. I know God sees Lowell’s dedication, his frustrated patience, and his desire to just live his vocation a step above where we’ve been. Life on Earth will never be easy, it was never meant to be, but I know God has a plan to ease the burden as we continue our journey toward our Heavenly Award with Him for eternity.

And, that my friends is a wrap! Hope your summer has been grand thus far and that you have exciting plans awaiting you in what’s left of it. Ive been on a decent Instagram posting frenzy, but I hope to get some pics up here sometime soon!

Happy Sunday!

*In a Nut Shell

Saturday afternoon musings

You know what the hardest job is?



Well, mostly because of social media. We are constantly comparing our parenting styles to the photoshopped and cropped pictures floating in our various feeds.

But, what really makes it hard is the sleepless nights, early mornings, late-to-beds, the meal planning and prepping, the status of referee, and the constant dying to self.

The old self though…

You know what job is the most rewarding and important?



Because of the sleepless nights, early mornings, late-to-beds, the meal planning and prepping, the status of referee, and the constant dying to self.

There are so many, millions of times!, where my mind turns to God in these monumentally small things each day.

I am happy to die to my old self. I want to be anew. Anew in Christ. I don’t want to be the old Joanna. I mean, I will always have my quiet tendencies and whatnot. But to be the best version of myself, and in order to accomplish that, I need to be completely selfless. Being a mom enforces and pushes through to perfection all the selflessness that begins in your marriage as it blossoms in motherhood.

So, as I die to self in the sacrifice of those 30 extra minutes of sleep, or not getting to shave my legs in the shower, my mind is lifted to God. It might not include a prayer per se, but the simple act of turning my mind to God fills my soul with the graces I need to push on in my vocation. It ties together beautifully this grand package of “To God, Love Joanna” in all the big little ways of my ordinary life.

Why I do it ❤️
One Month
Newborns Don’t Keep
*In a Nut Shell



On Monday, Boyd was taken off all his oxygen support and the doctor told me that we would see how did over the next 48 hours and plan his going home on those results.

No more tubes!

This morning, I was with George getting him casted for a broken arm he got last week jumping his bike on the curb. The doctor called and said Boyd was just turning all sorts of corners and there was nothing being done in NICU that couldn’t be done at home.

I cried!

He asked if we wanted to room in over night in case I had questions, but I told him I was confident in bringing him home unless the nurses felt it would be beneficial that we do room in.

We went straight to Boyd after George got his cast. The nurses said they all told the doctor I knew what I was doing and that they felt Boyd was good to go home.

So before I knew it, I was finally loading up my sweet boy and was driving him home.

I surprised everyone when I walked in the door with him, but nobody was more thrilled than Anastasia!

This has been a most heart wrenching, challenging, and growing experience for me. God has truly blessed us in so many ways throughout time with countless hands of help and prayer.

Lowell and I were just talking on Sunday how it felt like we have been walking dead center of a tornado, craziness all around us, but we’ve had a sense of peace every step of the way and we know it is the prayers being said for us.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! for all you’ve done for us spiritually. Please know I will continue to keep you all in my prayers as my thanks.

Now… Back to my big baby Boyd! 💞