“I Love Having a Large Family Because…” {you fill in the blank!}

"I Love Having a Large Family Because..." {you finish the sentence!} | RaisingArrows.net

A Raising Arrows reader asked if I would ask all of you to list why you love having a larger-than-average family.  I did a Top 10 Reasons to Have a Large Family a while back for the fun of it, but how about a post that is a little more serious? One that offers tons of pro-family encouragement for moms out there who need a little pick-me-up today.

So, how would you finish this sentence…

“I love having a large family because…”

Leave your response in the comments section!

And don’t forget to snag your copy of Large Family Homeschooling:

Large Family Homeschooling - releases April 1! and 33 Family Dinner Games (free for subscribers!)

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The Large Family Homeschooling eBook is Here!

The Large Family Homeschooling eBooks is Here! | RaisingArrows.net

Are you homeschooling a growing family?  Are you looking for ways to get it all done without losing your mind (and your joy)?  Do you need ideas for putting together all the pieces that make up your homeschooling day?

This is the ebook for you!

Only $7.99

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Large Family Homeschooling eBook | by Amy Roberts of RaisingArrows.netThis 170 page ebook includes :

*How to homeschool the hearts of your children.
*How to have enough of you to go around.
*How to keep your home clean and your homeschool organized.
*The best methods for homeschooling your growing family.
*Ideas for planning and record keeping.
*How to afford the large family homeschool.
*How to organize the large family homeschool
*How to handle babies and toddlers during school hours.
*How to homeschool through morning sickness and other difficult circumstances.
*How to tweak homeschooling methods to make them work for large families.

And MUCH MORE!

This ebook will give you tons of ideas and practical advice you can start implementing immediately!

It will give you the encouragement and confidence to homeschool your family with joy and gentleness!

Plus, within the pages of this ebook are some wonderful surprises just for you!

Freebies & Exclusive Coupon Codes from:

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Finding Joy in Depression by Amanda Pelser

Simplified Dinners and Paperless Home Organization by Mystie Winckler

Circle Time by Kendra Fletcher

The Homemaker’s Guide to Creating the Perfect Schedule by Amy Roberts

Scholaric Easy Online Homeschool Planning

Total Transcript Solution

Large Family Homeschool eBook Resources | Amy Roberts - RaisingArrows.net

 $7.99

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My Birthing Journey – Part 2

5 years ago, I wrote about my birthing journey.  That was shortly after Baby #6 was born…via C-section…again.

Micah

My first child was a C-section.  After that, I had 4 successful vaginal births after cesarean (VBAC).  When Micah entered this world via C-section in 2009, I was pretty sure my VBAC days were over.

That is, until I got pregnant again.

I wasn’t content to have a c-section again unless it was absolutely necessary.  I couldn’t deny the feelings of wanting to VBAC again.

My old OB had quit obstetrics, so I had to find another doctor.  Finding another VBAC-friendly doctor is no small task, let alone finding one that is VBA2C-friendly.  The doctor I ended up with quickly proved to be less-than VBAC-friendly, and halfway through my pregnancy, I left her practice to take a chance on a doctor a friend suggested.

I was 20-some weeks when I walked into that OB’s office, scared I had made a terrible decision to even attempt another VBAC, let alone switch doctors in the middle of a pregnancy.  What I found was a doctor who was actually EXCITED to have me there!  She was convinced women could VBAC after 2 C-sections, and she was more than willing to let me try.

However, she refused to induce me.  This was something I was going to have to do on my own.  (The reason she would not induce me is because inductions tend to lead to c-sections, and she did not want to put that unnecessary obstacle in my way.)

40 weeks came and went.  Then 41 weeks came and went.  As we neared 42 weeks, I was miserable.  I wasn’t sleeping, I was huge, baby was huge, and my body just would not kick into gear.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that fear was holding me back.

I was afraid that a VBA2C was not a good idea.  My first VBAC had been nearly 3 years after my c-section.  This VBA2C was in half that time.  And then there was the question of my body being worn out by all these babies.  I had started to labor several times, but each time the contractions fizzled out, and I found myself believing I couldn’t actually go into labor on my own.

So, I scheduled a c-section.

I didn’t want a c-section, but I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore either.  The pregnancy had not been pleasant, and I could see no other way to handle this situation.  I found myself being blasted from both sides by well-intentioned friends.  Some said I had waited too long, and should have had a c-section ages ago.  Others said I should just keep waiting, and felt I was being “forced” into the c-section.  No one knew how agonizing it was to be where I was mentally, physically, and emotionally.  No one knew I was already suffering from depression that would end up extending for months past the pregnancy.  No one knew how I was being plagued by sleepless nights, hemorrhoids, and Restless Leg Syndrome.

The day before the c-section, I got a call from a friend who told me she was praying for me and wanted to offer one little piece of information, just in case I needed it.  Now, I am going to reveal something here that is rather controversial in many circles.  What she told me was a precise formula for taking castor oil to get my labor started and keep it going.  No matter what you think of this method, I will tell you that I am forever grateful for that information.  What followed was an amazing birth of an 11 pound baby boy via VBA2C on the very morning I was scheduled to have my c-section.

Daddy Mommy Garin

After the birth, my OB decided to check the scar from the inside.  What she said to me that day relieved every fear I had about VBA2C.  She said had I not told her and had she not known, there would be no way for her to tell I had ever had a c-section!  The scar was nonexistent!  The fears that had kept me from laboring were completely unfounded.

Now, please note, I am NOT a medical expert.  I cannot attest to other people’s c-section scars being completely healed or this even being the norm.  But, it is enough of a norm that the ACOG has deemed it safe to VBA2C.  This determination was announced the month before I gave birth.  My doctor was thrilled to be able to document my birth as a success.

The reason I chose to update my birthing journey was because when I last told my story, I was not sure what would happen next.  People have read that story not realizing I have gone on to have 2 more children.  I felt it was important to tell “the rest of the story,” if you will.  This post has gotten quite long enough, so I will continue with Part 3 another day.

A Birthday & Two Super Exclusive Discount Codes!

Blake and Megan

Today, is my first born’s 16th birthday!  Wow!  Where did the time go?  He is an amazing young man and we are so very proud of him.  Happy Birthday, Blake!

Remember how I told you a few weeks ago about my new household binder system that was entirely paperless?  Well, I have an awesome discount code for the ebook that taught me how to set it up (it was a HUGE lifesaver during the move!).

Paperless 125Not only can you get Paperless Home Organization for 40%, this code will work for ANY and ALL of Mystie Winckler’s products!

CODE:  raisingarrows
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And I have another code from another company near and dear to our hearts – DrinkBands!  They are celebrating a milestone just like my son -whose DrinkBands color happens to be blue!

The Miller family has owned the company a whole year now and they are celebrating by offering Raising Arrows readers a super exclusive discount code!

CODE:  rafirstyear
gives you: 20% off
your entire DrinkBand order!
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Christian Healthcare Ministries as an Alternative to Traditional Insurance

Christian Healthcare Ministries

Referral # 112373

A few years ago I wrote briefly about Christian Healthcare Ministries and how much we appreciated all they had done for us during Emily’s illness and subsequent death.

Today, I want to tell you a little more about how this Christian Cost-Share ministry works.  Please note, this information is specific to Christian Healthcare Ministries.  I have no experience with any other cost-share program.  We have been with CHM since 2006.  They have seen us through major medical bills and the death of our daughter, 4 live births (including a c-section) and 2 miscarriages, as well as ER visits, blood tests, and a heart echo.  While I do not claim to be an expert, I do feel like I can speak to how we personally handle using this kind of program.  Any specific questions you have will need to be asked of the helpful people at Christian Healthcare Ministries

CHMLogo600x131

 Referral # 112373

No matter how many people are in your family, you never pay for more than 3 UNITS of coverage.  Each unit has a specific level – bronze, silver, gold.  You can mix and match these.  I am on gold because I am still of child-bearing age and we birth in a hospital.  Everyone else is on silver.  We pay $320 a month for coverage for all 9 of us.  (There is catastrophic coverage available through a program called Brother’s Keeper.)

Every month we pay in to an account that is then divided up amongst the needs of others in the program.  We have the opportunity to pray for others and give more than our allotted amount.

When we have medical bills of our own, here is how we handle them:

1.  We tell the hospital/doctor that we are self-pay.   Christian Healthcare Ministries is NOT insurance.  We are the ones responsible for our bills.  You do not want to tell hospitals/doctors that this is insurance because it cannot be filed as such.

2.  You try to work to reduce your bills.  We ask for discounts for being self-pay (many offices have significant discounts available).  If we can get a significant discount for paying some up front, we will do that.  CHM will also work with you to get your payment quickly if you need to make a lump sum payment to get a large discount.  Any discount you get goes toward your “personal responsibility”.  More often than not, you reach this amount without ever paying a cent.

One thing to remember here is that medical markup is HUGE.  Sometimes hospitals mark up services/supplies as much as 700%!  You are NOT asking for anything that the insurance companies are not already receiving.  You CAN negotiate as an individual!

3.  Set up payments if need be.  Some offices will put your bill on hold knowing you will be paying within a few months, but others will need to have a payment plan in place.  We always ask to pay the least amount possible just to keep everyone happy until the shared amount comes from CHM, and then we pay the entire bill off.

4.  Keep a file for each incident with careful records.  I have an envelope for each medical incident we incur.  I label them and then put every bill, notification, etc in that envelope.  I’ll explain more about how we notate these bills here in a moment…

5.  Submit bills to CHM for sharing.  For every incident, you will need to fill out some general information for CHM to start processing bills.  Those papers can be found here.  As soon as you have an itemized billing from the incident, you should make a copy and submit it for sharing.  You DO NOT have to wait until you have every bill from the incident in hand before submitting the incident.  As you receive bills, simply send them in as Add-Ons.

6.  Make notes and file.  Every bill that comes, I make notes on.  I write Submit to CHM if I am needing to copy and send.  Once a bill is sent, I put a checkmark beside that notation and mark the date sent.  I write any payment plans on the bill, I make note of the names of people I’ve spoken with about the bill and the date I spoke with them.  I also note any discounts received.

7.  When payment is received, pay off bills as needed.  Checks from CHM are made out to you.  If you have already paid the bill in full, then you simply pay yourself back.  If you have an outstanding bill, you deposit the check and pay off the bill from your own account.  Keep track as you go with your file of bills.

When we first joined Christian Healthcare Ministries 7 years ago, payment took about 7 months.  There are so many people with CHM now that payment is most often received within 3 months!

We tell everyone about CHM because it has been such a great way to handle medical costs without paying into a system that encourages sickness and immoral decisions.  This type of program may not be for everyone, but if you think it might be for you, I’d encourage you to get a Free Information Packet.  And if you choose to go with Christian Healthcare Ministries, I’d be grateful if you would use our referral number

112373

If someone we refer joins CHM, after 3 months, we receive a free month!

And in case you were curious, CHM does qualify as an eligible option under the Affordable Care Act.  I really do hope you will take a serious look at cost-shares as a way to handle your healthcare if you find yourself wanting or needing something besides traditional insurance.

A Large Family Christmas

Large Family Christmas {tips and tricks for keep the peace and focus amidst the chaos} | RaisingArrows.netIt was Christmas that made me want to have children.

And it was Christmas that made me want to have a lot of children.

OK, so it wasn’t totally Christmas all by itself that put these ideas in my heart and mind, but isn’t it grand how God changed my world using the celebration of an event that changed the whole world?!

The Christmas after Ty and I were married, we visited Ty’s cousin on Christmas Eve as he and his wife were wrapping presents for their 3 sleeping girls and readying themselves for the Christmas Day festivities.  Ty’s cousin’s enthusiasm was contagious.  He was talking excitedly about Christ’s birth and his precious children, and I could not help but want to recreate that in my own home with my own wonderful husband.

Years later, we would meet a family whose Christmas celebrations with their 5 children made me long for the clamor and excitement and fellowship of a large family Christmas.  I was convinced large families had more fun (and frankly, I still think that is true!).

So, here we are today with the Christmas season being my most favorite time of year and my family being such a wonderful part of our celebrating of Christ’s birth.  I truly enjoy this time of year and feel a sense of peace surrounding the entire month of December.    But, I know not all of you feel this way.  Many of you are stressed beyond belief and really do not enjoy Christmas.  So, while this post is aimed at cutting the chaos for a large family, even a small family can benefit from the tips I’m about to share.  Time to put on the Christmas music, grab a mug of my festive hot punch, and let an attitude of peace wash over you as I share with you SIMPLE and SPECIAL ways to truly enjoy your large family Christmas celebrations.
{affiliate links included}

Simple Activities
When it comes to large families, LESS is always MORE.  The more children you have and the older they get, the greater the potential to keep cramming your schedule fuller and fuller of activities during the holidays.  Do your very best to limit the number of actual activities you HAVE to go to and allow yourself the luxury of saying NO, even if you have to do so last minute.

And keep the activities themselves simple.  Sure, you can fill your Christmas Pinterest board full of fun crafts and expeditions for the season, but don’t go overboard!  Don’t pick out elaborate crafts you are never actually going to complete or that will totally stress you out as you do them.  Simple crafts are just as fun and a drive around the neighborhood looking at lights is just as exciting as the fancier projects and events.

Special Activities
Do choose a few special activities you really want to do with your family.  Ask for your children’s input.  You might be surprised by the things that really stand out in their minds as important.

Ideas:
Jesse Tree devotions
A themed night based on a special movie
Candy-making (and giving some away)
Cookie-making (and giving some away)
Visiting a nursing home
Buying a family gift from Compassion International
Taking a trip to a Christmas Tree farm
Attending a Christmas concert
Simple Christmas crafts (<–ebook full of ideas from another large family mom!)

Easy Christmas Crafts ebook

Simple Shopping
Almost all of my Christmas shopping is done online these days.  We have Amazon Prime so I know I can shop in snippets and have it here in 2 days with free shipping.  While avoiding lines and chaos has proven to be a tremendous sanity saver, I want to spend more time talking about the actual gifts themselves.

When you have a large family, it doesn’t take much to overrun a house with too much stuff.  Let’s be honest, you can suggest and try to persuade extended family members to not buy a lot of stuff for your children, but ultimately, you cannot control what they do.  However, you can control how you handle gifts for your children, so keep it simple!

There are several methods for keeping it simple including setting a limit on how many gifts you will buy, a price limit on what you will spend per child, or even choosing one big family gift and only one individual gift.  Every family will need a different method to avoid the clutter and craziness, but whatever method you choose, be sure to make it as easy as you can on yourself.

This time of year is NOT about the presents, but the more time you spend stressing over gifts, the more your children will begin to believe it IS about presents.  Do not let gift-giving steal your joy.  It is representative of the gift of Jesus and the gifts brought to Jesus by the wise men.  So, with that in mind…

Special Shopping
We do not set gift limits or price limits.  We are not looking to make things “fair” and we are not planning to make their every wish come true.  We choose to use this opportunity to truly bless our children.  We give things that are specific to each child and their uniqueness, but still promote family unity.  For instance, we combine many gifts between children (like these wooden blocks for my little guys), we look for gifts that will help to further individual aspirations while benefiting the family (like this digital camera lens for my photographer daughter), and we tend toward family gifts (like this projector for Family Movie Night).

When you purchase gifts for your children keep in mind WHY we give gifts at Christmas.  Honor the one true GIFT with your purchases.

manger-69225_640

Simple Rules
Sometimes the chaos of a large family Christmas happens when there aren’t any rules to regulate the chaos.  Where are your trouble areas?  Where does craziness reign supreme?  Those are the places that need rules.  But always keep the rules simple so everyone can remember them.

Maybe you need a rule for WHEN the children are allowed to get up (I once heard of a family who required the children to wait until the digital clock looked like a “snowman” – 8 o’clock – before they were allowed to come down from their rooms.)

Perhaps you need a rule for the opening of presents.  (We hand out one gift at a time and open that one gift before handing out the next one.  And only Mommy gets to hand out gifts while Daddy is in charge of helping with any unwrapping needs.)

You might even need a rule for clean-up.  (Many large families find it helpful to require a quick tidy and trash run before breakfast is served.)

Special Rules
Sometimes we need to make special rules based on special needs within the family.  Rules are great, but they should never replace common sense and attentiveness to the needs of others.  It is difficult for little ones to wait, so you might need to consider letting them open presents first.  Children with sensory issues may need a break in opening of gifts, so consider having a mid-gift breakfast.  One large family “rule” that has come about for our family in the last several years is needing to stay home for Christmas morning.  It is just too much for all the children and for myself to be somewhere else on Christmas morning.

Simple Gatherings
Throughout the season and especially as we draw near to Christmas Day itself, keep your gatherings as simple as possible.  If you must do a meal, gather for dessert or soup or finger foods.  If you have a busy week, don’t hesitate to pick up something pre-made from your local grocery store.  Use paper products to make clean up simpler.  Utilize your crock pot.  Get your children in on the action too with planning, cleaning and cooking!

We’ve also gone to streamlining our gift-wrapping by only having two kinds of wrapping paper (we buy quality paper from Hobby Lobby!) and raffia as ribbon.  And rather than tags, I use a gold paint pen to write the names on the packages.

Special Gatherings
I’d encourage you to do one simple thing that makes each gathering special.  Perhaps you have the children create unique place cards, or you put together a bag of goodies in a brown paper sack with ribbon to secure it, or you simply light yummy candles and turn the lights down, or sing Christmas hymns on your way to the gathering.  Even just talking about what you are doing in a way that is positive and peaceful can make an event feel special.

Simple {and Special} Hearts
As we go into the final stretch of the Christmas season, now is the time to focus your hearts on Christ and the culmination of this blessed Christmas Day in simple and special ways.

Every Christmas Eve our family celebrates with a Candlelight Christmas Eve Service I put together several years ago.  I offer that service free to subscribers of Raising Arrows, so if you would like to print a copy for yourself to share the Christmas story in Scripture and song, all you need to do is sign up here:

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Be blessed and be a blessing this Christmas. Don’t let chaos take over, but rather let peace reign.  You never know who might be watching you and how God might use your family and your Christmas celebrations to prick the hearts of others!