Not the quiet life

Mabel plus Yarn -1435

Life is very good these days, but there is never a quiet moment.  All my life I have craved quiet, craved time alone.  When I was a little girl, I had younger sisters always wanting to be with me, talk to me.  Oftentimes, I wanted to be alone.  My sister Abby remembers crying outside my bedroom door because I wouldn’t let her come sleep with me.  That breaks my heart to think of now, but at the time, I am sure I just needed a little space.  Clearly “a little space” or peace and quiet is not what I need most, because it’s not what I’ve been given.  Most every move I make I am followed by an entourage who I love dearly, who also have an incredible amount to say.  I do my best to listen, but it’s such hard work sometimes.  If I’m nursing the baby and she’s a little fussy, I can’t really do anything else, even carry on a conversation with a seven year old.  I am able to physically multi-task really well, but mentally, not so much.  If I am listening and paying attention, I can’t really be doing anything else.  And it’s such hard work!  Sometimes I just want to scream, “Please no more talking!”  For five minutes?  Two minutes?  I keep hearing Jack Nicholson in my head saying, “It’s exhausting talking like this.”  But listening to them, whether they are sharing their hearts or just talking non-stop about nothing in particular is one of the most important gifts we can give our children.  I’m building up my conversation endurance.  However, right now I am locked in my room with a sleeping baby so I can write here without anyone talking to me.  I wonder how many knocks there will be?

Last week and over the weekend I spent all the time I could dyeing yarn.  (There will be a shop update on Saturday, July 30 at 11 a.m. EST).  I’ve also been making herbal moth repellant sachets-well those I have been working on for months.  Cutting the fabric bit by bit, sewing, dehydrating herbs, stuffing, sewing them closed by hand.  It’s a process, but one that I planned for the last weeks of pregnancy, and early postpartum time, when I needed something to slowly work on.  This work is therapeutic for me, and also necessary.  Last week, we finally closed on the purchase of some land next door that we have been in process to buy for over two years.  We pursued this knowing that we couldn’t afford it, but not wanting to see a neighborhood go in all around our home, on land that our children have been roaming on all their lives.  (This is our second land purchase of this nature in the past couple years.)

Larkspur spent the past two weeks planning an art party for Silas.  She was inspired by a party in Naturally Fun Parties for Kids, and planned out every aspect including gift bags, activities, and party food.  She did all this knowing that I might not even be up for having guests come to the party beyond the little girl next door.  We ended up having a couple of Silas’ friends come, and Larkspur did an amazing job entertaining, feeding, and executing all her careful party plans.  I was pretty impressed with her party planning skills.  She did NOT inherit them from me.

As newborns do, Mabel is growing and changing far too quickly.  She’s five weeks old today.  Her legs have filled out, and she is smiling and beginning to coo and goo at us.  My four youngest children are especially in love with her.  Silas calls her “Mabel-icious.”  And do you see those pictures of him holding her on the bed?  His little hand is just pat, pat, patting her on the back, just the way he sees me doing it.  So precious.  Beatrix talks to her so much telling her how happy she is to finally have her very own baby sister.  Job clearly loves her, but he has also embarked on a very naughty streak.  The second I am pinned down under a nursing baby, he’s hiding behind a chair eating bottom cream.  Good thing my friends make all natural products!  He eats everything–everyone’s leftover oatmeal, sticks of butter, art supplies, and yeah, diaper rash cream.  He’s nearly as big as Silas now.

Anyway, the knocks are coming frequently and Mabel is starting to wake up, so I better go rejoin the family.

But first, thank you, thank you, thank you for all your support of my shawl raffle for Amy.  She is so grateful for your donations and the kind notes and messages you have left for her.  I just can’t thank you enough for giving her this gift.  You can still enter the raffle, if you haven’t yet!  She is just shy of being $10,000 from the goal to totally fund her radiation treatments!


  1. Your quest for quiet resonates with me, Ginny. That and your realization that a not-so-quiet life isn’t what the Lord’s plan for you is. 🙂 xo

  2. Oh Job! Little L just now started his naughty phase with having a new baby in the house. I thought we would skip it, but nope. He waited a good 5 months to let it show though. Now to remember how to deal with it again 😀

  3. These words and thoughts resonate with so many mamas! I think we’ve all been there. Thanks for your encouragement, and lovely photos!

    I love the wooden bird clip… soon-to-be-12-year-old daughter has been asking for a wooden pin clip for her lovely brown hair. May I ask where you got this?

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Ginny, I do admire you so! I have only 2 children, both a little younger than your Silas and Job. They are the best… but they make so much noise it’s unbelievable. My husband and I often look at each other, just not sure what to say amidst the chaos. I’d love to have more babies, but sometimes I wonder how I will cope with all the noise they make and the attention they need. Even now, very late at night (europe), my youngest is very loudly singing and chattering in her bed. And in a few short hours she’ll be wide awake again and ready for action. I am very introverted and love quietness more than anything else. In these moments I think of you and that helps :).

  5. I crave quiet and alone time too and sometimes when there is a lot of noise for a long period of time, it feels like my brain starts shutting off. That’s exciting about the land purchase! Those sachets are beautiful. I love that picture of Mabel smiling, it is precious!!

  6. I hope and pray that the land turns out to be a blessing! I too crave quiet and alone time. But I also love my friends and family and the craziness that is having a toddler. I think it is just the introvert in me that day dreams about quiet, uninterrupted writing sessions or a good book and cup of coffee! I love the pictures of Mabel. So sweet. 🙂 My daughter just brought me a book from her room–so now we are off to read. Blessings!

  7. you might not have a quiet life but you have a full beautiful blessed noisy life 🙂 All beautiful, and you know that one day it will settle down a bit and one day the kids will be growing up and becoming their own beings independent of you. Love when you share where you are in your thinking and your feelings. I think all mothers have been there one way or another.

  8. Beautiful photographs. Much love is shown for sweet Mabel xx

  9. praying for you Ginny!!! It is wonderful to have a big family, but I can imagine wanting quiet sometimes! I am impressed that you are guarding Mae’s feeding time, that is very wise, had not thought of that need, but important time and bonding being built! as well as making sure she is fed of course! 🙂 God bless you and your family! they are all so important to God and to the world; teens are sometimes made to feel that they are somehow overlooked, but I know that your sons are not and I see how much you respect them on these pages, if that makes sense, how much you love them. Your younger ones are much loved as well; it’s amazing how a Mother’s love just keeps expanding to include more to love and it does not diminish the love for the older ones! I can see this a little in that I am a godmother of 2 (+1 Munchkin Mr Husband has) and soon to add godson # 3 and the love just grows! each child is so unique!!!

  10. I use to say I could be disturbed when—and only when—the fire had reached the second floor.

  11. You have a beautiful family. All are happy children.
    Marion and family

  12. Melissa says:

    Beautiful Ginny! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE reading your blog! Also, I could have written this post. Sooooooooo relatable for me. I adore my extroverted children but sometimes I start thinking about whipping out the duct tape! 😘

  13. Your photos are so beautiful and speak such volumes of the blessings of family and children. Love love love.
    As my mother told me, the days are so long but the years are so short. Nothing wrong with mamas craving some down time!

  14. We did an hour of quiet time every afternoon when our kids were growing up or I might not have survived! One day the silence will be so huge at times………and you will hear all those voices like in a dream in the empty house. Tears too sometimes for those voices.

  15. I think it’s good for children to sometimes tell them you need some quiet time. I think it helps them on the path to become less selfish and self-centered. Sometimes I tell my kids that I need to think out something and I’ll talk to them as soon as I’m finished. They start cluing in that Mama is a human being like they are! My kids talk to me pretty freely when I’m using the computer, but sometimes I tell them I have to concentrate on typing this one important email and to wait until I’m finished. Setting a timer is a good think because it gives the kids something concrete to watch and limits yourself. When I was really tired and just needed a 20 minute nap or just to lie down. I’d tell everyone that I was going to lie down and no one should knock on the door unless it was a real emergency (this was, of course, when I had older kids who were responsible for the younger ones). My nursing days are long over, but when I went into my bedroom to nurse the baby and try to get him/her to sleep, the kids knew they were not allowed to come in and they had to be generally quiet. It was the baby’s and my quiet time. I do have a good number of introverts among my kids, so they get the need for down time. The extroverts don’t quite get it, but their learning.

    • I love the idea of setting a timer! I bet that would make all the difference for my younger kids when I have asked them to give me some quiet time! And I agree, it is important for them learn to respect mom’s need for time, to nurse the baby–write that email, etc. on their path to being less selfish… 🙂 And I am the same about nursing the baby–I am not supposed to be disturbed during that time! I really guard it.

      • Oh yeah, when we first started quiet time (I have only one but she’s a talker. Nonstop!) we used a timer. It helped a lot. Now she can tell time and, for the most part, is pretty good. I’ve gotten more lenient during the years but basically, she can do whatever she wants during quiet time as long as there is no talking to me (ha!) and not too loud. She’s not too mischevious so it works pretty well:)

  16. Such beautiful photos! Just viewing the interaction of your older children with baby Mabel shows us what great parents they will be someday. I think I would trust them babysitting more than most teenagers!

    After reading such awful headlines in the news these days, it’s so wonderful and refreshing, to see the purity of love reflected on the faces of your family.

    Marilyn (in Dallas)

  17. Mabel is adorable!

    I understand about needing the craft time – the slow projects. As we get closer to our fourth baby’s arrival (August 18th) I’ve started to pull out the blanket I’m knitting for him. I’m also pulling out felt to piece together a sweet mobile to hang somewhere in our room. These slow projects are what I crave since moving about isn’t easy anymore.

    I hope you find those few moments of quiet soon. Perhaps a gentle walk alone with the baby? If your crew (which is larger than mine) is like mine though – you may have some more tagalongs. 😉 It is so hard to mentally multitask. I get so overloaded when my three are all coming at me at the same time. 😜

    Blessings to you and your beautiful family.

  18. Richard (in Charlotte, NC) says:

    Bless your heart; I hope you are able to get a little more peace and quiet when you find it necessary. Ah, Mabel-icious, the words that come out of babes ( don’t know if you remember the Art Linkletter show) , is a very good sign that Mabel has been accepted in the fold for sure. Your photos are beautiful as usual and it is comforting to know that you and Jonny have acquired that extra acreage now. My grandparent’s 12-acre estate was 150 miles away from my parents’ home and I loved it and always thought of it as an oasis away from my semi-city home. I hope this insulates your family from urban sprawl for a good while to come. Don’t forget the chamomile tea when you feel a little stressed out with your familial duties.

  19. I just love this post and all the pictures of sibling love for precious little Mabel, but the look on Jonny’s face just made me laugh out loud! I think that look says it all!

  20. The older I get, the more I need this quiet time. As a child I was definitely, totally an extrovert. I think losing my hearing sort of helped me along the path of introversion. 🙂 I still love being with people and talking, but more and more I need time to just….recharge and revamp. It takes a lot of brain power to follow multi-person conversations these days!
    I love Mabel-icious. That’s so precious. She is such a pretty baby!

  21. Identified so much about your musings about needing quiet time and tuning talkers out. I am the same way, and have learned that I get crabby if I don’t have any quiet time every once in-awhile. I just want to scream and stop the world for awhile. Often if the house is silent for a few minutes and I am making dinner or involved in some other chore I am thinking in my mind about all sorts of things or just relishing the silence. Then my husband of few words will wander into a room and just launch into a sentence or two and then wonder why I missed part of it. “Aren’t you listening?” he’ll say, like I am supposed to be just always listening and waiting for a few words. He doesn’t seem to understand I was somewhere else. Life is funny.

  22. These photos of the children with the new baby have just made me cry. They are so poignant. Thank you for sharing them with us , love Gill from Wales, UK

  23. Amen to so much of this, Ginny. I have three talkers that have been talking so much lately I’m not sure how any of them haven’t gone hoarse! I find myself tuning out a lot even though I don’t meant to do so…your words are thus very encouraging! Thank you for this post. And congrats on the land purchase! Piecing together a parcel bit by bit makes it all the more special, but I completely understand the very real predicament of being stretched to almost a breaking point. A fantastic shop update will hopefully give you a moral boost. 🙂

  24. Ha, ha…this post just made me laugh. This is so much like my life. Never a quiet moment, always busy with kids, nothing ever gets finished….But it’s real. It’s life. And I love the “realness” of your post. 🙂

  25. Thank you for the words in your first paragraph; they were full of encouragement for me. I often feel those cravings for “space” and “quiet” as well, but seeking those elusive things with my days usually leaves me feeling spent and empty. I suspect that true peace is not as quiet as I would prefer, but I don’t think I have learned that lesson yet.

  26. “He’s hiding behind a chair eating bottom cream,” ha, that made me laugh! I can’t imagine how busy your household must be. You’re awesome, Ginny. I also love that you guys were able to purchase a nearby plot of land. Gosh, how crazy would it be to have houses go up all around you? I can’t even picture it. At least you don’t have to worry about that now. It might be stressful (I saw your reply to another commenter) but I think it’s worth it in the long run :).

    I love all the pictures in this posts…the ones with Beatrix and Mabel and Silas and Mabel are especially adorable. Oh, and the one of Beatrix carrying Job! 🙂

  27. I long for a little space too, just a little thinking time. And I only have one little one! You’re amazing, Ginny xx

  28. Thank you for being honest about all aspects of motherhood Ginny – I have learned so much from your posts.

  29. Clearly “a little space” or peace and quiet is not what I need most, because it’s not what I’ve been given.

    This struck a cord with me. I’m completely overwhelmed with my baby and toddler right now. I’ve started yelling at him so much and hate myself for it. And I’ve told him to shut up and stop talking. It’s horrible. I just want some time alone and yet I hate myself for not being able to be present for them as they deserve.

    I see you surrounded with love and family and I’m jealous. Just so jealous. My mom says I don’t need help. I have no friends. And my husband just wants to go to bed because I won’t have sex and he’s “tired” from working. I wish my family could be like yours, beautiful and full of love, unlike mine. So, I wonder, why have I been given this?

    Your daughter is beautiful. I love babies so much. I think this is your fourth I’ll “know” since birth. So amazing to see Beatrix carrying Job now. Lots of love to your beautiful family.

    • Oh Kathy! I understand! I was in a similar place when my first two were little. We moved hundreds of miles from family and I didn’t have any friends. Jonny was gone at work all day with a long commute, and I was so isolated. And I was not the most peaceful mom…
      This is the first time I have ever had family help after the birth of one of my babies. But I sure could have used it before! Your mom is wrong. You DO need help! It’s so hard to have two young children. And also–my family isn’t perfect and full of love–we’re just like any other, sometimes I think we are worse. My kids fight like crazy, I just don’t blog about that because it wouldn’t be fair to them. I don’t think my boys would mind if I told you though that Keats gave Seth a black eye last night! Hang in there. I’ll pray that things get better for you!

    • Dear Kathy,
      I pray for you, too!
      I have a link – perhaps there’s something good for you…
      Love, Lydia 🙂

    • Kathy-

      I was the same way after my first two. They came just 19 months apart. My husband and my relationship was struggling because neither of us really knew how much parenting required of us. How much sacrifice was involved.

      I crave quiet and solitude, but it comes rarely. I yelled so much early in my parenting journey. I cried often from feeling overwhelmed. Your mom is so very wrong! We all need help! It took me so long to ask for it. Seek out friends (hard for introverts! But it can lighten your load. Facebook usually has local groups. Try joining one. I just did after three years of not having friends and have met some wonderful women. Sometimes I have to fight myself to drive the bit to gatherings, but I’m always grateful I did it.) Never be afraid to ask someone -even your husband – for some help. I always felt bad asking mine because he commuted so far. You are on this journey together.

      Also – I say this because it was a bigger problem for me than I expected – have your vitamin levels checked. Pregnancy and nursing take a lot out of us momma’s. I had iron, vitamin d, and magnesium issues after my second that wasn’t caught till my third baby. Once I started taking supplements for awhile, I started to notice a huge difference in my mood. If it isn’t your problem you may need to speak to someone about postpartum depression. It manifests in different ways for different people. Some people feel sad – others have anger – some just feel detached.

      I hope this helps. Remember – none of us are perfect. Our families are not made up of stepford children. Children bicker and fight. We lose our tempers and need to apologize more than we’d like. All we can do is continue to try and to seek out our versions of peace, happiness, and calm. A lot of times that is what these gorgeously photographed blogs are – refuge from the daily chaos. Moments to show that beauty is mixed into the everyday mess. The mess is there though for life is in those messy moments too.

      • Thank you so much, Ginny, for your honesty.

        B12, too! I always know I need to up my B12 and take my tincture when I am more exhausted than normal. I usually start to feel a bit better after a few days of taking B12 and Vit D.

  30. Beautiful Mabel! She is growing and changing so fast! And Tilly is growing nicely also. Too funny about the diaper rash cream (although I’m sure it wasn’t so funny right then.) Hope you get a few quiet moments here and there.

  31. Job is no longer the baby. Of course he’s hitting a naughty streak. Little Man was a rotten little booger until Stormageddon was about 4 months old. He still has moments when he feels like I’m paying more attention to his baby brother than him. Also, he talks…constantly. A lot of the time, it’s just babble, which is funny because he’s almost six years old. He just needs to make the noise, I think. I don’t get it.

  32. Mabel!!!! Her legs! Her smile! Everything about her—she is so Mabel-icious! I was looking at the pictures of course before I read the text, and thinking she is getting so perfectly plump 🙂 I love a baby at this age—solid in your arms but not too heavy yet—and still newbornish. Pretty much this age to 6 months—and then after that it’s fun too-but different—6 to 12 months they are starting to move and roll and then crawl and then walk… enjoy enjoy enjoy your baby in arms! I’m so glad I got to see her little and that I get to see her little again in a few months! And all the other children—I love my nieces and nephews! 🙂 They are each so unique and so special….and yes, I understand loud and talkative. Andrew was just talking to me while I was trying to do some work on my laptop, and I totally didn’t listen and then I responded like I did…that’s so wrong. Thank you for convicting me of that. ***smile***

  33. So pleased you’ve been able to buy the land around you. How many acres does this give you now? How thrilling it must be 🙂

    • 12 acres, but I have to be honest and say that right now it feels more stressful than thrilling! A lot changed (interest rates went up!) in the 2.5 years between us making the down payment and our county finishing up with all the surveying and such that had to be done for us to finally close the deal. Ultimately, it’s all good. Just feeling awfully stretched right now!!

      • Oh hugs Ginny {{}} I do understand all the inital stress related with this, praying you get to the settled part within yourselves sooner than later.
        Does this mean you have three titles, as in can build three houses? just imagining one day maybe your children might chose to build around you 🙂 xx

  34. Kimberly Nickerson says:

    Stunning photos for your dear little one and siblings. So enjoyed reading this post tonight. Thank-you.

  35. Amy Marie says:

    I love this post. 🙂 Just the beautiful reality and chaos of a big family. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos! 🙂

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