Small Things-5-2
Over the past couple of weeks I have started following a new morning routine.  After I wake up, I throw on a pair of jeans and head outside as quickly as I can.  I take care of my goats, then my chicks.  I walk around my garden, and most days tend a couple of beds there.  Only then do I head inside to shower and check-in online.

This is the skeleton of my routine, but there are aspects that can change day-to-day, seven kids and all.  Sometimes I start breakfast first, and on three to four days each week I ask my older boys to help out with garden tasks.  Oftentimes I have little ones tagging along to “help” tend the animals.  The most important part of my new routine is staying off the computer until I have spent some time working outdoors.  On days when I let my inbox suck me in first thing, I find myself far more distracted for the rest of the day.  On days when I stick to my morning routine, I get so much more done.  And it’s not that I ignore the internet, I just keep it in its place.

I do not possess a tremendous amount of self-discipline, and I find that I need external pressure to keep me on track.  (It’s no wonder I’ve been given seven children.)  As much as I love my garden, I don’t think that it alone would get me outside first thing each morning.  My goats though, they call to me loudly, and now there are 38 peeping chicks that need fresh water and food each morning as well.  I guess what I’m saying is that I’m so inherently lazy, that to keep myself on track, I need not only a large family, but some farm animals as well.  At least I’m self aware.

When Jonny brought up a weekend camping trip, I was hesitant to commit myself.  (This has nothing to do with the fact that I have never been camping, I promise.  It sounds like great fun. Really.)  I like my little farm mornings, and I am not quite ready to leave our animals in someone else’s care.  So when he left town Friday night with our five middle children, Seth (not interested in camping unless forced), Job, and I stayed home.  My big Fourth of July plan was to make pickles.  I also needed to catch up on laundry, though I didn’t really want to say so out loud.  I managed to do both and we ended the day by going to vigil Mass.  It was a very good day.

On Sunday, I took Seth fossil hunting.  Job found his first shark’s tooth, played in the water, and napped in my arms (so heavy).  We walked the beach for nearly four hours, and when we arrived back home, I found it hard to walk at all.  (Insert story involving me calling friends and freaking out because Jonny was supposed to be home late Sunday afternoon and wasn’t, and also wasn’t answering the cell phone.)  Jonny didn’t get in until after midnight and Monday was spent in trip recovery mode.  But even so, I started my day hauling hay out of the barn loft, washing and filling the chick waterers, and checking on my cucumber plants.  I like this routine, I really do.

p.s.  I followed the “Quickest Kosher Dills” recipe from Canning for a New Generation.  Great book!


  1. I love your routine! That is exactly how I am, needing outside pressures to persuade me to not be lazy. It works. Your pickles look so vibrant! I would love to try making these.

  2. That sounds like such a beautiful routine and life. I really need to wake up earlier to take care of my chickies every day. Maybe this will motivate me.

  3. I’m crying.

    I’m the frazzled mother of four boys, ages 19, 6, 3, and 14 months. I’ve been struggling with the idea of having more children – I’m already 41 and, lately, I feel like all I do is yell. Your words have been with me for the last few days:

    “I do not possess a tremendous amount of self-discipline, and I find that I need external pressure to keep me on track. (It’s no wonder I’ve been given seven children.) …. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m so inherently lazy, that to keep myself on track, I need not only a large family, but some farm animals as well. At least I’m self aware.”

    I struggle with being lazy, selfish, unmotivated, and lacking self-discipline. I had been saying to myself, “God knows my faults; why would he give me these children when I am not worthy?” Suddenly, after reading your words, I understand that God KNOWS MY FAULTS, and he gave me these children TO MAKE ME WORTHY. I am so happy. I can continue to try to be a better mother, knowing that there are times that I will fail miserably and that it is okay, as long as I continue to try.

    I’m crying. My heart is lighter. My faith is stronger. Thank you.

    Thank you.

  4. Melissa says:

    Fossil hunting can be so much fun. The photos look a bit like Calvert Cliffs in Maryland. We like Flag Ponds just a bit north. Not as many shark’s teeth but the beach is wider and the facilities nicer.

  5. mandi@herbanhomestead says:

    Oh how I can relate to this. I too am inherently lazy! But I’m also very stubborn, and once I set my mind to goals or routine, look out! So here’s to growth and overcoming! Also? I preserved pickles yesterday using the honey sweetened pickles recipe in the same book! I can’t wait to try them! I’m probably doing the dill recipe today. Hope your day is great!

  6. This summer a few mornings a week I am committed to getting a couple small tasks done before I start work each day. What a difference it makes…to have a load of laundry going, mail sorted out, cards and or bills handled, or a quick walk before my husband leaves for his day….it is so motivating to get small accomplishments under my belt early vs struggling at night when my energy and focus is limited.

  7. There’s nothing like goats to get your day rolling! When we were milking goats every morning, they were quite vocal, and I would hop out of bed to get the goats milked before breakfast or anything else happened. Our neighbors I’m sure appreciated it when I milked them promptly so they quieted down a bit. 🙂

  8. A most lovely day! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Christy says:

    Sounds like you had a great weekend, for sure.
    Love the pics of you and your children on the trailer.

  10. I think we have some things in common! I have a tiny garden and make juice, instead of farm animals – but it works. And not getting sucked in online in the morning is huge~ great pics.

  11. i don’t like camping either. I joke it mimics my real life too much. The pull to online. Such a balance. Smart routine!

  12. I have to work from my home office 15-20 hours a week, plus manage our farm animals, homeschool 5 kids, and do all the normal routine of laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. I always felt like I was drowning and running circles trying to keep up with it all. After years of trying just about every possible routine I finally found what works for me. I set myself office hours and when I stick to these my day is so much better. I work from 6am – 7am and then again from 1pm – 3pm during the week and then catch up Saturday mornings. My kids have learned that these are my hours, so they leave me alone (ha -ha, that’s the plan anyway) and use this time to occupy themselves. I have found that I thrive on routine and am an absolute mess when I get off mine. Thank you for all the pictures and your honesty about your daily struggles, it has truly blessed me.

  13. Beautiful Photos. I always enjoying watching them when stopping by. God bless you all. Liuba x

  14. I think I would let my family go camping without me. I am so with my mother on this. Sleeping outside? No running water or indoor plumbing? Cooking over a fire? She grew up in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation, so she says, “I lived that way in the war. Why would I want to repeat that experience?” I’ve been camping twice and it was miserable – trying to get comfortable in a sleeping bag while nursing a baby, listening to a crying toddler scared of the dark, trying to find some dignified way of using the non-facilities. I hope to make it to old age never camping again (unless I’m unfortunate enough to become a refugee). Maybe camping is for city folks who don’t get to enjoy nature or a first world past time. I know my boys would like to go native for awhile to get away from female civilization (and regular baths). I’m letting them sleep outside in their tent all summer, so maybe that will get it out of their system.

  15. You are a creative visionary person who sees the potential in everyone and everything around you! You are NOT lazy!!

  16. I agree with an early morning routine helping! I need to stick to mine too. Love your pics and will check out the canning book. The pickles look yummy!

  17. Yes, oh, yes. Thank you, once again, for putting into eloquent words something that I struggle to do. I have a hard time explaining to people that I wasn’t blessed with a large family out of my worthiness or industriousness or self-discipline or selflessness, but out of my need to learn lessons in those very virtues. What a wonderful tool the internet can be when used properly. It’s a struggle to remember that from time to time.

  18. Добрый день, Ginny . Мне очень нравится ваш блог. Я плохо читаю по английски, но фотографии хорошо все рассказывают. У Вас чудесная семья. Вы живете простой натуральной жизнью. Такая красивая природа. Желаю Вам и всей семье здоровья и счастья.
    Good morning, Ginny . I really like your blog. I don’t read so good in English, but the pictures well tell all. You have a beautiful family. You live a simple natural life. Such beautiful nature. I wish You and the whole family health and happiness.

  19. Your photos are so fun and beautiful. I love your canning jars with the glass lids. I’ve long loved the look of home canned jars and the lids on these make them even lovelier.

    I relate to the motivation of people, things or tasks to keep me moving at times. I’ve also noticed over the last few years, how my routine changes with different seasons, stages and ages of life. This is a good thing for me, really, because I enjoy trying something new or trying things for a while and then get ready for something else.

    Your beach time sounds wonderful. We traveled to Hatteras in May and we had the best time. I get a little homesick when I look at our pictures. It’s not exactly a hop, skip, and a jump from Kansas! 🙂

    Blessings on your day!

  20. I get this. I believe that God has arranged certain circumstances in my life that I would not have chosen, but have been to my benefit. Being a tad on the poorish side, for example (by Western standards) has forced us to be creative and resourceful and to even to eat healthier. And some days it is only the needs of others that gets me out of bed.

    Those photos are so nice – the ones of Seth and Job walking hand in hand and the one of Job asleep on your shoulder are my favorites. I love that you got to spend special time with your oldest and youngest.

  21. I like this. I definitely need more self discipline. I find my days are much more productive when I force myself to hit the ground running. I thought about that this morning, but my eyes were so foggy… OK. Time to log off and give it a try!

  22. Love those morning routines. I too, have been up early. I start the water for tea, do my yoga and meditate. Then I check my bullet journal to see what the day should hold and if it’s nice I head outside to watch the morning life abound as I sip my lovely tea. Then the boys wake and its hugs and kisses and the day begins!

  23. Lovely reminder. When I am at our cabin I love my walk to the river morning routine, if only for the lack of internet involved. Quick question – what is the magenta flower? This sprung up in my garden for the first time this year. Stunning flowers. I was just about to key it out.

    • That is zebrina hollyhock. (I think I am writing that correctly.) I planted it, blooms first year. It may be perennial, can’t remember??

  24. Gwendolyn says:

    Ginny, that’s a great reminder for all about the internet. I will pass along to my daughter who is having a hard time focusing and being productive for the day. I love the pictures of your pickles. They look so beautiful in those jars. Is that your canner in the background? Love the picture with Job sleeping on you. You can’t have too many pictures of those special moments, even if he was heavy. It made me smile when you said that.

  25. Beautiful photos. I love the floral shirt. Where did you get it? Is this Westmoreland State Park? It’s beautiful. Tomorrow I will delay the internet. Good reminder!

  26. I like that morning routine! I go running every other day (also outside), and when I do, I feel more grounded and focused the rest of the day, too.

    I love these pictures, and I love your stories, and I’m glad that Jonny and the kids got home safe and sound :).

  27. Routine is good. I can understand that starting the day with the internet isn’t the best way.

  28. I, too, have found that if I avoid my computer right away in the morning, I get more done. My morning routine goes something like this: get up and shower, eat breakfast, check in on Ravelry, and usually by then Stormageddon is awake.

    If I don’t get my shower in before he’s awake, I won’t get one until his nap, which could start anywhere from 11:30am-3pm….and if I haven’t showered by 3pm, I probably won’t. ::sigh::

    Translation: I’m trying to get up earlier.

  29. This is so inspiring. On the days when I start my chores/hobbies straight away I find the momentum keeps me going. If I start the day at the computer it takes huge will power to get into real life stuff. You are making me long for summer with your photos. Wet winter here in NZ

  30. I can so relate to the inherently lazy thing and have found it true that many children help that- but I’m not quite ready for farm animals! I have developed a thing for houseplants though- more living things that need nurturing 🙂 The pickles look wonderful!

  31. Sounds like a splendid morning routine and a splendid weekend. I think it is hilarious that you called yourself lazy! I find that the busier I am, the more productive I become as well. What may look overwhelming to some, just means if I had too much down time, I would sit on my rear and watch television. Instead, having things for us all to do together instead of television means more family time. Thanks for sharing, and by the way, the pickles look amazing!

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