Christmas 2017

Just when we thought that 2016 could not be out done, 2017 happened.

Abbigail turned 1 in May and we celebrated her birthday on the same day that her big sister Livia graduated high school. We were blown away with how many visitors we had at our house that afternoon to help us celebrate. She is one incredibly loved little girl. Abbi has developed a ‘little’ attitude over the course of the year. She already has her own ideas about how things should be done and isn’t afraid to tell you about it. She adores her older siblings and loves to be “one of the big kids”. Her daddy is still her favorite person over anyone and they are two of a kind. Abbigail loves to play outside no matter what the temperature is and she is OBSESSED with cows. Abbifall 2017

We welcomed Chad into our family at the end of the 2017 summer. Who knew that adding a boy to the mix would change things so much?! Chad is a sophomore this year. He played football this fall and learned a lot and enjoyed himself even though he had never really played football before. He suffered a broken ankle during the football playoff game and was very worried about what that would mean for his favorite sport: basketball. Much to everyone’s relief, the ankle healed and just in time to be cleared the day before basketball practice started. Basketball is currently keeping him plenty busy, but he plans to run track and play high school baseball in the spring and also play summer baseball. He also works for my dad, Paul, in his very few spare hours. He keeps Ray and I very busy, but we are extremely proud of the way that he has maintained his grades and also helps around the house as much as he can. He and Abbi have also developed a  special friendship. He is a great big brother to her!

Chad football

Another beautiful addition to our family this year came to us in a small package of dynamite that we like to call, Tasha. I specifically remember thinking that after Livia graduated that I would have 18 years before having another senior. I was so wrong! As a senior, Tasha has participated in football cheerleading, Science Club, Key Club, Art Club,  choir, was nominated to Homecoming Royalty, and earned a trip to All State Chorus.  Not too bad for moving to a new school as a senior! She also has two part time jobs and plans to have another one this summer as she saves for her college fund. When she isn’t working or tending to her other responsibilities, she is “chillin” with her good friend Marcus. As of right now, she is leaning towards University of South Dakota in Vermillion, but she does not have a major in mind yet. Tasha has also been my right hand gal this year as I have taken on extra responsibilities. She is my comedic relief and I feel very lucky to have her in my family.


Our girl Livia is killin it at college! She is a freshman at University of South Dakota in Vermillion. One of her first goals this fall was to be invited to a sorority. She experienced rush and she is now part of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. Livia persevered through a tough schedule and some tough classes her first semester out of the gate. I mean, who takes 8:00 AM Chemistry their first semester of college!?! She also worked as many hours as she possibly could at the DQ in Vermillion. Between classes, work and the library she passed all of her classes! She is currently majoring in dental hygiene. At the end of the semester she was able to job shadow for a few hours. “Oh my gosh, mom! That was so much fun and I have no doubt about what I want to do now!”– that was possibly the most relieving phone call! I never had a single doubt about how well she would do this year, but I appreciate so much how hard she has worked. She has so much to be proud of already!


Ray and I have spent 2016 in a whirlwind of emotions, events, and blessings. Ray has stayed busy working for a local rancher while also picking up other part time jobs to help support our rapidly growing family. He has also spent plenty of time taking kiddos to and from places and accompanying me to as many of the kids’ events as possible. Ray also stays busy as our live-in mechanic with five vehicles and teenage drivers. He is a great dad and I am lucky to have a partner that doesn’t mind sharing all of the parenting jobs, even the stinky ones on occasion. 🙂 I am in my second year as a Batesland Eagle teaching second grade. I LOVE my students and I feel very accomplished so far this year. I also agreed to coach cheerleading in Bennett County last spring (before I knew I would be taking on two more teenagers and a pregnancy). It has been a challenging schedule addition at times, but I have a really great and dedicated group of young ladies that I enjoy working with. Early June 2016 Ray and I discovered that we would be blessed with another little Big Crow. She is due to arrive in just four short weeks from now. So, 2018 is already set to start off with a life changing event! We can’t wait!


For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted. —Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

We truly understand how blessed we are as a family and we pray every day for God to continue to provide guidance to go along with our blessings. It is the closest thing that we will ever have to an owner’s manual for this life! One lesson is sure to have come from 2017: All in God’s time.


 Thank you to all of our loved ones who played a part, big or small,  in making 2017 the best year yet!


Is there such a thing as “Has Like 100 Kids” Anonymous?

I love to write, but not always to publish.  If I am not writing, I am thinking about things that I want to write about. Often times, a specific topic will cross my mind several times and I just sit on it and wait for the right motivation to do something about it. My motivation is coming to me in two ways tonight. One being that I am so exhausted that I can not even move from the dining room table and I am really avoiding the cakes and goodies that I need to make for tomorrow, so I might as well do something while I channel my avoidance. The other one came in form of a Christmas card today.

Not long ago my best friend Christina jokingly suggested that I have “like 100 kids”. That seriously cracked me up, because most days it really feels that way. One at college, a senior, a sophomore, a toddler and a baby on the way, on top of my own teaching and coaching obligations… Most days I need to be in AT LEAST two places at once, which try as I might, I just can’t do it.

I am swallowing a great deal of pride on this statement, so be gentle with your judgements, but… things are hard in this house sometimes. “Duh. What did you expect?”

I wish I would have been keeping track of all of the “I don’t know how you do it.” or “I know I couldn’t do what you are doing.” or “That must be so hard.”  statements. At first, I would always think or say, “You would do this too if the opportunity came into your life.” But, as I get through more days doing this, I realize that no, not anyone and everyone would make the same decisions.  This is in NO WAY saying that we would choose differently, but I have definitely learned a lot of things in the last 20 months. First of all, kids are expensive. I know… I am a discoverer of all things new! ha! This isn’t a complaint, but rather an explanation because some people tend to believe that there is some kind of money to be made from “the system”.  Because of the nature of the situation for our oldest children, we chose the quickest, easiest, and safest route for them to be a part of our family. This meant that we chose to take them on with zero assistance. Again, we would make that choice a million times over because we know without a doubt that was the best choice for them in the short and long run. We have had to make sacrifices and stretch pennies into some interesting places, but our kiddos haven’t had to go without much. Even more than expenses, I am always in constant debt with TIME. Oh how I wish I could spend ample amounts of one on one with each of them. I know that I am doing the best that I can, but I always wish I could do more. The third strand is that our oldest three are also our newest three. Imagine trying to weave three young adults, who despite being siblings, have had very different traumatic experiences, into your very young family. It is a damn rollercoaster. The neat part about getting to raise children from babies is that you get a nice 12 year runway to the teenage years. We didn’t get a runway! But despite a batched take off, these kids are amazing. They have dreams and determination and they are so much fun! I love being their mom, even if most days I feel like I am doing a crappy job.

The mom guilt eats me alive some days. Ray and I prayed for a child for three years. In those years, I met a lot of women who had or have the same struggle. I am currently keeping three near and dear women in constant prayer in hopes that they will soon get the blessing that they so deserve. I know what it is like to be on the other side and  I feel like a real butt for even muttering an annoyance. For this reason, I am always wrestling with “What makes me deserve five children in 2 years?”  It can be exhausting in my head some days.

The second part of this saga is that we received a very special Christmas card this evening. It is actually the first card that we have gotten this year and I was just pumped to be getting something cool besides the usual mailbox residents. Looking at the return address, I was a little surprised because I am not sure how they got our address, but I was flattered that they thought to add us to their Christmas mailing list. The thing is though, this was an actual very personal card. The words that were written inside touched my soul. I think Ray thought there was bad news because I immediatly started crying. This beautiful couple not only gifted us monetarily, but they acknowledged our hard work and lifted us up with support. It was an amazing and generous gesture that I know I will never be able to repay.  However, we will be paying it forward at our local angel tree. Please, if you are the praying type, lift these wonderful human beings up with prayers of gratitude with me.

Chad and I in our glitter wreath/sombreros! Feliz Navidad!