Benefits of a large family

Benefit #42 – The lasagna assembly line.

How else can you efficiently cook three homemade gourmet meals for six?  With Rylee on meat sauce, Caleb on the noodles, and Kyler on the cheese – the Strovas clan was hard at work preparing a few delicious meals.  One will be cooked up tonight and the other two will be frozen for another day.  One of the things that we care about is giving our kids the opportunity to help out as much as they can around the house.  Now that the kids are getting a bit older, they are actually quite helpful.  Earlier today Rylee pulled a chair over to the sink and started to do dishes, just because.  Here they are in action:

Rylee scooping out the meat sauce
Rylee scooping out the meat sauce
Caleb gladly added the layers of noodles
Caleb gladly added the layers of noodles
Kyler thought the cheese layer was fun!
Kyler thought the cheese layer was fun!


Fireman Kyler


Kyler always finds something to do while we are playing a game or doing a puzzle that is a bit old/boring for him-usually it involves dropping a half a dozen eggs on the kitchen floor, pouring a bottle of nail polish into the silverware drawer, drawing with permanent sharpie marker on the family room wall, stealing all Rylee’s gum from her room and eating it all at once, opening a whole box of bandaids, sticking crayons in the wall heater, filling up the bathroom sink to overflowing, trying to cut carpet with a pizza cutter, unrolling a whole spool of thread, cutting the sheets on my bed with sewing shears or putting on my lipstick

Occasionally, it is something that doesn’t get him in trouble, like taking off his clothes and/or putting on our fire truck get up-like this morning above 🙂



This is it.  Pure bliss.  Every mother’s dream.  All four kids, caught on film napping at the very same time.  How wonderful.  Yes, Rylee and Caleb are sleeping in Rylee’s bed.  They often pretend/try to nap together but it never works out.  I sarcasically said they could try today, knowing in 3 minutes I’d be splitting them up (Caleb doesn’t nap) but lo and behold, I found them like this.

Four kids at Costco (when it was more crowded than I had EVER seen it) however, is not pure bliss.  Far from it.  We went late because Kyler threw up all his vitamins all over the light tan couch this morning in a coughing fit and it took a while to clean up-like lunch time-and scraped up enough samples to make it through but with all four in the cart and all our groceries, this being our last Costco trip for quite some time I’m sure, by the end my kids were opening all sorts of things in the cart to satisfy their hunger and I had shaky legs from pushing the enormous weight of the cart around the store.  Wow, run on sentence I know.  You should have been there.

And what am I doing with my kid free moment?  Blogging and dishes and laundry and cooking of course.

A new year and a “new day”

Six months ago I wrote about a new season, I had NO idea how much new this past year would bring for us.  I thought a new baby, new relationships, new perspectives and a new breath of life in our marriage was what I was talking about.   But new things have just kept popping up all year.  I’ve decided now that such is life.  I go through times where I hold my breath and wait for things to calm down, for ‘easy’ to come, for a break….for something.  I think now, for the first time, I understand that though that may happen, I can’t wait for it.  I just have to figure out how to live my life in the moment I am given.  And not just survive but really live.

Survival has marked a good deal of the last 6 years for us.  A sick first baby.  A super challenging second baby.  Rylee’s kidney surgery.  Major changes at Chris’ work.  Broken friendships.  Audrey’s kidney issues.  Painful choices of others that deeply impacted our life.  The list goes on.

If all my new year aspirations can be summed up into one, it is simply to embrace each day that is set before me, to choose joy and thankfulness above all else.

Last night we rang in the new year in the only way we could.  Folding about 8 loads of clean laundry while sharing a bottle of champagne as our precious little babes slept soundly in their beds.  It would be easy to see the lameness in that but instead I can be thankful for clothes to wear, for a husband that was sweet enough to fold with me until 1 AM, for a warm house, for the four little people God’s given us and for the new dreams we are sharing in.

We listened to one of our favorite songs last night, it rings so true for life I think.  The day might not look beautiful but we can choose to take what we have and delight in it anyway.  And in the end when all is said and done, maybe it was more beautiful than we’d thought to begin with.  Here are the lyrics for you.

Happy New Year!


Robbie Seay Band – New Day

If you’re like me
You need hope, coffee, and melody
So sit back down
Let the world keep spinning ‘round
For yesterday’s gone and today is waiting on you to show your face

It might not be
The prettiest thing that you’ll ever see
But it’s a new day, oh baby, it’s a new day
And it might not look like
A beautiful sunrise
But it’s a new day, oh baby, it’s a new day

I’m a pilgrim soul
I’ve traveled far and come back home
This land is hard and cold
For those who long to love
And I know it might seem
That the world is crumbling
But it’s me and you dancing in the kitchen at 2 am
And we’re still alive

It’s the calm of the storm that comes blowing in
It’s the springtime saying I’m back again
The clouds that roll by
Crossing moonlight
Me and you love – everything’s alright
Standing in the rain with nowhere to go
Laughing and we’re spinning and I hope that you
Remember this day
For the rest of your life
Me and you love – everything’s gonna be alright

And it just might be
The prettiest thing that you’ll ever see
It’s a new day
Oh baby, it’s a new day
If you look outside
To see a beautiful sunrise
It’s a new day