During April 2018 I will be blogging about my memories as MOM OF 6 from A to Z . These challenge posts will also be found at Creation and Compassion http://marcyhowes.blogspot.com/

Thursday, April 19, 2018


This Mom of Six was at one time a regular customer at the local Credit Union when it came to Quarters and one dollar bills.  As soon as the kids were old enough to understand the concept of money and that it could buy them things they wanted, it was time to institute some sort of allowance.   At one time we lived next door to a little convenience store, so the kids liked being able to purchase their own candy and bubble gum and baseball cards.   I don't remember what the original allowance amount was, I do know that it involved quarters, and it seems that Mom or Dad would pay it out on a weekly basis, probably on Saturday morning.  Usually we would also offer a very small sum of extra money for completing extra chores.   We have always taught our children to set aside ten percent of what they earn as tithing to be paid to the Bishop or ecclesiastical leader of our local congregation, so often times the allowance would also include nickles and dimes or even pennies to make it easier for the children to pay their tithing. 

One year for Christmas DS1 and DS2 each received a very cool little coin sorter bank in the shape of a safe where they could keep their allowance and chore money.  There were two little drawers for folded bills or other treasures.  I have often wished that I could have gifted similar banks to the dear daughters, but never could find the same item again.  Several of the girls did receive piggy banks or other banks to store their money in, but often times an old jar or can or just a purse or wallet had to suffice. 

As the children grew older and began school, they also at times needed lunch money or milk money.   We have usually offered them the choice of taking their own lunch to school or purchasing school lunch, and most of the schools have published a monthly menu of the school lunch offerings, so that they could make informed decisions about which type of lunch they would prefer.  They also had the option to just buy a carton of milk to drink with their lunch from home, so many quarters were sent to school in the lunch bag to be used for milk money.  In elementary school we could usually pre-pay for lunches a week or a month at a time, so I would usually pay a set amount by check and send it to school with the child, but by Jr High or High School, Mom would usually give them the amount their lunch would cost at the beginning of the week, and they were on their own.  Some still chose to pack their own lunch instead, and that was fine too.   It was always necessary for Mom to have a nice stash of cash and quarters to send to school!  (I was just now curious as to the current price for school lunch and found in our local school district the price is $1.50 per lunch for elementary school children.  I could not find the price for secondary school lunches, but remember that they usually cost a bit more.)

Once the kids left home, they quickly found a new need for quarters:  doing laundry.   Since most of them did not own cars during their early college years, a trip to the bank or credit union was sometimes a bit of a walk or a bus ride, and many of the laundry facilities in the dorms and apartments did not have change machines like many large laundromats do.   A roll of quarters as a gift from Mom or Dad or in a Christmas Stocking was usually very much appreciated!

Now most of the kids no longer need quarters on a regular basis, and many laundry facilities take credit or debit cards, so it has been a while since I've asked the bank teller for a roll of quarters.

Do you still use quarters and/or cash?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


With six kids, playtime is essential and frequent!  Of course there are many times when a busy Mom must get some work done and the kids need to entertain themselves and each other, but Mom is close by to help out, referee when needed, and sometimes even document with photos.  This Mom of six cherishes the years she was able to spend playing with kids:

 Balls in a bowl were fun for all of the babies.

As was this cute hand puppet.

 This portable "jungle gym" of toys was very useful.

Beach balls and playground balls are always popular with kids of all ages.

This pink rocking horse was very well loved.

Bright colored crib toys can entertain baby when she wakes up.

Or Baby can play on and roll around on a blanket or the floor.

And soon baby can sit up and play. Keys and nesting toys are always fun!

Couch cushions can be fun to play with too and make a fun kid sandwich!

Johnny Jump Up hangs in the doorway on a spring and lets baby jump and play while Mom works nearby.

A wind up swing was an essential for a busy Mom of six.  Siblings can help entertain baby too!


and more trikes

and more trikes.  We have had many vehicles of all colors for many kids

And don't forget the bikes!

Wooden building blocks are another essential

And Legos, of course.

Every little girl needs a favorite dolly .

And Doctor's Kits are fun toys too!

And a shelf of teddy bears and other stuffed animals.

 And don't forget trips to the playground with the merry go round . . . 

the swings . . . 

and the monkey bars.  

 A wading pool is essential for the hot summer days . . . 

And the beach is fun to visit even when it's not that hot!

Don't forget to spend some time just playing on the grass!

Or climbing trees

Or in the mud!!

Lots and lots of paper and crayons are essentials for a family of kids.  Dad of six brought this big roll of yellow paper home from work one day, and we used it for many projects over many years.  

 The chalkboard and easel are always fun too.

An abundance of board games are helpful for rainy days and Sundays.

As are puzzles of all sizes.

What are your favorite playtime memories??

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

OBGYN (Obstetrician)

We had five different doctors deliver our six kids, mainly because our children were born in four different cities.   Choosing an Obstetrician or OBGYN  is a pretty serious decision, and I almost always asked relatives or friends for recommendations as to doctors.  My brother and  sister-in-law recommended us to our first OBGYN,  as he had delivered both of their children.   He was a kind, personable doctor, and guided us successfully through pregnancy.  Unfortunately another one of his patients was giving birth the exact same day that I was, and so Doctor Number 1, who was on call at the hospital that day, actually delivered DS1.   

We moved across the country before DS2 was born, and received another recommendation from church friends for the new doctor.  This was actually a group practice of three or four doctors, and I believe that we met each of the doctors at least once before our due date, so all would be familiar with our situation.   The doctor that I did see most often was not available on the day that DS2 decided to make his appearance, but all went well with his birth and delivery, as supervised by Doctor Number 2.   The original doctor, Doctor Number 3 was available the next time around and delivered DD1.  We were only in the hospital for several innings of the world series final game before she made her presence know. 

We moved again before DD2 and DD3 were born, and they were both delivered by Doctor Number 4, who happened to be the closest practicing OBGYN to where we were living.   We (along with the doctor) decided to have DD2 induced for several reasons:  I have had a history of going at least 2 weeks over my due date,  DD1 had arrived very quickly after we reached the hospital,  we only had one car, were fairly new to the area, and DH had at least a 30 minute commute  from his office to our home, and the hospital was another 20 to 30 minutes away in the opposite direction.  It was not my favorite delivery experience, but we were happy to have DD2 arrive healthy and safely.   With DD3 we made it to the hospital in plenty of time, and then discovered that the umbilical cord was positioned between her head and the birth canal, so again with our consent, Doctor Number 4 elected to perform a Cesarian Section.  As DD3 was our largest baby, this was a blessing in more than one way, in spite of the extra long recovery time, and we were grateful for Doctor Number 4's knowledge and skills. 

And of course, we had another two moves before DD4 joined our family, so again we were searching for a new doctor.   I think that this time around we called on the insurance company for recommendations, and chose the doctor with the practice closest to our home.  I was happy with this decision, and I believe that I felt more comfortable with Doctor Number 5 than with any of my previous OBGYN doctors, but unfortunately he retired a year or two after DD4's birth, so I again was searching for a new doctor!!   And have visited several different doctors in the years since then.

So, what is my general opinion of my OBGYN doctors?  The have all been fine men and good doctors, and I have been grateful for their skills and devotion to their work.  But, if you want to know the truth, it was actually the nurses who made all the difference during my labors and deliveries, and unfortunately, we never get to choose who our labor and delivery nurse is going to be!!  I know many women who choose to have a midwife assist with the delivery of their children, and if I were to do it over again, I would probably more seriously consider having a midwife over the OBGYN, but I am also very grateful that I did deliver my kids in the hospital with many skilled professionals and equipment available to care for both me and my new babies. 

How did you choose the health care professional who helped with the birth of your children?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Night Time

Night time with six kids.  Where do we start?  Dinner time has always been a bit varied, depending on different schedules and all, but we have always tried to eat together most evenings sometime between six and seven pm.  Hopefully the kids all clear their own places and load the dishes into the dishwasher.  Sometimes someone is assigned to help clean up the food and put that away.  There may be evening activities or meetings at church or school or extended family.  Hopefully most of the homework has already been done, and the water is running in the bathtub for a quick scrub and a splash.  By about 8 or 9 pm we can gather for family scripture reading and prayers.  We have always tried to read a chapter of scripture together as a family every evening, followed by kneeling together for a family prayer, each family member taking their turn to read and/or pray.   If kids aren't in pajamas by now, they'd better do that pretty darn quick.  If a snack is needed, do that quickly too . . . maybe milk and cookies or crackers, possibly ice cream or cake, depending on what Mom happens to have around.    Brush those teeth now.  Make sure to get the ones in back and all around. 

Finally it's story time.  Mom usually lets each child choose one story, maybe two depending on how many kids are involved.  Possibly a chapter or two from The Box Car Children for the older kids.  Yes, Mom has many of the favorite picture books memorized; the kids probably do too.  No, let's not read that one tonight, it's a bit too long, and right now it's too late.  Let's find a shorter one instead!  Yes, Mom of six has actually been known to nod off while reading bed time stories to the kids, and end up talking/reading in her sleep, much to the hilarity of the kids!

Once the stories are done, each child says their own individual prayers, then climbs into bed.  Gather the dollies and the teddy bears.  A hug and a kiss. Pull up the covers and turn out the lights.  We might sing a song or two, and maybe if needed Mom will lie down next to someone for a minute, and hopefully the kids will fall asleep before she does. 

Of course this routine varies depending on the ages of the children.  Older children and teenagers may be up much later doing homework or dating or attending school activities.  Older kids might be allowed to stay up later reading in bed.   Some new babies are definitely night owls, and the minute the siblings and Dad fall asleep, Baby Dear is wide awake and ready for fun!  Or teething or down with the sniffles and unable to sleep.   There may be a scary dream or a nightmare, or heaven forbid, an upset stomach.   Some nights are very long for Mom.  But one thing is certain, there are very few nights when Mom has trouble falling asleep once in her own bed with her head on the pillow.   

Nite Nite, Sleep Tight!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Thoughts for a Sunday: What is my mission?

Today in our Sunday School class we were discussing the prophet Moses and the important role that he played in leading the Children of Israel out of Egypt and back to their promised birthright land in Canaan.  Raised as a prince of Egypt by the Pharoh's daughter, Moses was aware of his Israelite heritage, and after killing an Egyptian to defend a fellow Israelite, fled Egypt for the land of Midian.  In Exodus Chapter 3 we can read that it was while living in the land of Midian and working as a shepherd for his father-in-law Jethro that Moses received his calling and learned of his mission to lead the Children of Israel out of their Egyptian bondage and back to Canaan.  The voice of the Lord called to Moses from the burning bush, and explained that He, the Lord needed Moses to deliver his people from the Land of Egypt.  As you might imagine, Moses felt totally inadequate to the task.  He of all people surely knew what a huge, nearly impossible task this would be, but the Lord reassured him and promised that he would be with him every step of the way.

That's the very very shortened and condensed version of the account of Moses and his calling and mission.  Please feel free to click on the link to Exodus above to read more if you choose.  Right now I want you to think about what your mission in life is.  What have you been called to do?   What does the Lord want you to accomplish during your lifetime?  Do you know?

Most of us will not hear the voice of the Lord or see a burning bush, but it is possible, and in my opinion essential that we each find out for ourselves what our mission or purpose in life is.  The best way to do this is through prayer, humbly speaking to and asking the Lord for his guidance in our lives. 

I believe that I know what my mission is, at least part of it.  My life isn't over yet, and there are probably still things that the Lord needs and wants me to do and accomplish, but I do feel that among the most important things I have been meant to do during my life are being a mother, a wife, a daughter, a teacher, and a friend.  I know that I have failed in many ways to do what I could have or should have done, but I just keep praying every day and trying to do a bit better to do good.

What do you feel is your mission in life?  How have you discovered your mission in life?

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Music and Math


We're rather fond of music in our family.   All kinds of music.  DH has a large collection of vinyl records and music CD's and is slowly converting it all to digital media.   Our kids grew up listening to all types of music, classical, 70's classics, jazz, country, and their own favorites from the 80's.  We like to sing.  We sang almost every day in Joy School, most of us have sung in the choir at church, DH sang with a community choir for many years, and many of the kids sang in the school choirs too. 

We bought a small electronic keyboard shortly after we were married, and later were able to purchase an old second hand piano from some neighbors who were moving.   I had taken piano lessons for about ten years while growing up, so even though I'm not an accomplished musician, I was able to teach our kids the basics, and encouraged them to practice each day when they could.

We did leave this piano behind with another family when we moved across the country, but soon inherited a full sized keyboard from my sister's family, so the children could continue to practice.  Several of the kids took piano lessons for a year or two from a neighbor who plays better than I, and the others have practiced enough on their own that they can all do fairly well with hymns or other simple pieces.  I certainly have not been a very good enforcer of daily practice for my kids, but I am happy that they have all had an interest and a drive to learn as much as they have.  Participating in music can be a source of joy throughout your life.  Just a few years ago I inherited my parent's piano, the one that I had learned to play on.  It is one of my most prized possessions, even though it now needs a major over-hall to get it back in proper playing condition. 

We have also encouraged the kids to learn another instrument in addition to the piano and to join the band or orchestra at their schools.  We have two who play the violin, one the viola, one learned flute, one clarinet, and one trumpet.   Some played for more years than others, and most of them have also participated in the school choirs.   Some years we were able to enjoy three or four Christmas concerts during the holiday season, and others in the fall and in the spring.  I miss the days of attending school


Our family also has more of a fondness for Math than most.  I did fairly well in Math when I was in school, but it was never my favorite subject.  On the other hand, both DH and DS1 have a great love for math.   As a mother it was exciting to see my son grasp the concepts of numbers and addition and multiplication before he was old enough to begin school and it has been exciting to see his progress and work throughout his school years.  All of our children have done well in their math classes, and their rather extensive study of  math has been beneficial for each one of them.  

Have you ever done a google search on music and math?   The results will give you enough reading and listening material for days!  For starters you can check out these articles:  

I'm definitely not an expert, but I do know that there are many very interesting mathematical concepts basic to music, and I am firmly convinced that the early study of music lends to a greater understanding of math and many other academic subjects too!  It saddens me to see the time and funding set aside for music education in the public schools as one of the first subjects to be cut.   For me one of the daily joys of my life is listening to our local public classical radio stations, and I'm grateful that it is still sending the joy out over the airways every single day. 

How have music and math enriched your life?

Friday, April 13, 2018

Laundry, Legos, and Library

This handmade gift from DS1 has been hanging in our laundry room for many years:
"Mom's Laundry   10 cents / load"


As you might imagine, a family that includes six kids generates quite a lot of laundry.    When we started out, we did have our own electric washing machine that we hooked up to the kitchen sink, and the landlords had a laundry room in the rental house next door where we could dry our clothes.  Sometimes we did make a trip to the local laundry mat just because it was faster to do several loads of laundry at once time once every week or two. 

We purchased our own clothes dryer soon after DS1 was born, and have moved our own washers and dryers around the country when we moved.  Of course we have worn out several pairs of washers and dryers, completely out, have replaced many dryer parts, and have experienced various time periods when we still needed to dry clothes on the line or visit the laundry mat.

In most houses our laundry machines resided in unfinished basement laundry rooms.  We did have one house where the laundry closet was located in the kitchen.  My dream laundry room would be large and full of sunlight, and feature a large closet for hanging clothes, counters for folding, and cupboards for storage.  Our current laundry room (still unfinished) is again in the basement.  It is actually a fairly large room and could reasonably be quite functional, but for some reason it has never been finished and tends to be one of the storage spaces for seasonal items and many other things that should probably be gifted to others or thrown away.   At one time we had several different recepticals for sorting dirty laundry (whites, colors, darks, jeans etc).  There was also a portable hanging rod  or closet at one end of the room but if I remember correctly it became overloaded/overworked and collapsed.   Since then I have been hanging clean laundry in the open doorway, and that works as long as we quickly move the clean clothes to the appropriate bedroom closets.   I always try to hang or fold clothes immediately after taking them out of the dryer.  Matching up socks and sorting out underwear may not have always been done immediately.

One large family with many children suggested storing the clean clothes for young children near the laundry room to help with bedroom clutter, so we do have two large dressers in the hallway right outside the laundry room.  Dirty pajamas and  clothing could be put right into the laundry room hamper at the same time  the young child was changing into clean clothing.  At one time most of our kids socks, T-shirts, jeans, pajamas, and underwear were stored in these dresser drawers.  If the children wanted their clothing stored in their bedrooms, it was their job to move the clean clothing to their own closets and drawers.   Cleaning out those laundry room dressers is another project on the current to do list.  Hmm  . . I wonder what is stored there right now?

I know many families require their children to do their own laundry at a fairly young age, but I have never found that very practical for our large family.  Can you imagine eight people fighting over the use of one washer and one dryer?   Doing a load of laundry has always been one of the rotating jobs on the chore chart, and our kids learned to sort and load the washer at a very young age, and hopefully to hang or fold the clothes.   I would rather wash all of the whites separate from other loads of colorful clothing items or heavy jeans or towels.  If a child had a specific need for a certain clothing item to be washed right away, it was their responsibility to do so, but it was expected that they would also wash any like items in the same load. 

These days DH takes many of his clothes to the cleaners each week, so I mostly just need to wash my own laundry and the towels and linens.   I still do several loads of laundry each week, but nowhere near the two or three loads each day, six days a week from years ago.  Back then I coined a song borrowed from Sherrie Lewis and her Lamb chop crew, based on "The Song That Never Ends":

This is the job that never ends,
It goes on and on my friends,
Somebody started doing it not knowing what it was,
And now we're doing it forever, just because . . . 
This is the job that never ends . . . 

How does your family handle the laundry chore?

I just can't write about raising six kids without mentioning Legos and Duplos.  Of course I never had Legos while I was growing up, but my brother had a set of red plastic bricks that I thought were very cool.  He may have even let me play with them a few times.  Personally I think that Legos are one of the greatest children's toys ever invented in our time, in spite of the pain they can cause to poor unsuspecting bare feet when left lying around on the floor.    Our home has been home to numerous sets throughout the years, and we have a nice large storage bin full of them just waiting for children or adults to come and play.  There is a nice collection of duplos too for the younger set.  Pirates, Star Wars, Technic, Ninjas, cars, trains, trucks, aircrafts . . . you name it and there is a set to suit just about any interest.  Legos spark creativity and imagination, teach following directions and problem solving, and basically can keep kids entertained for hours on end.   There have been days when the living room or family room have evolved into huge communities or worlds built mostly of Legos . . . with the wooden building blocks used for backup materials.  My greatest complaint about Legos is that there have been so few sets geared towards girls throughout the years, but my girls have also enjoyed many hours building and playing with Legos along with their brothers.  For those who may be wondering what to do with all of those leftover Legos, I did recently run across a blog post that featured 25 Lego Crafts.

Are you a Lego fan?


Last, but not least by any means for the letter L is the Library.  What would a mother do without the library?  Granted, we do have many many books of our own and nearly every single room of our house has multiple bookshelves.  But even so, the public library is invaluable for a mother of children.   Preschool story times are a place to not only meet new books and songs and games and puzzles, but new friends and other mothers.  One of our local libraries now has a huge play area with many blocks and educational toys and a special children's technology section with about eight or ten tablets for children to use at the library.

Now days most school children have access to many research resources at home through the internet, but the library usually has more computers available that the average home, right?  When our kids were growing up, we usually only had one computer for them to share, but the library had more, in addition to books!!   Many a school report or science project started with a trip to the local library.  Today there are also numerous movies and music CD's and other fun things to check out.  But of course the most important reason to go to the library is to find books to take home to read for fun, not just for the kids but for Mom too.   Moms deserve their own recreation and relaxation too, am I not right?

Do you still visit the public library on a regular basis?   What is on your reading stack right now?