I have wanted to share with you a little inside glimpse into what our life is REALLY like!

When I get the “I don’t know how you do it all” comment Two thoughts enter my mind-

1) It is only by God’s grace, power, and provision I have the energy to keep up with all we have going on… and enjoying the children in the midst is my biggest focus as far as family is concerned.

2) I DON’T do it all on my own!(God has provided help)

           That’s right, I have help! This is really crazy for me to be sharing here, because as I was taking the photos of all those who help us out regularly… I realized what a large operation we have going over here.

I know I am blessed beyond belief to be able to have these amazing people in our life and I am so grateful to them for what they do for our family so I had to post this in honor of them.

Here is the “Extended Tolpin Team”:

Harriet, our devoted and steadfast helper.  Harriet has worked for us for about six years off and on. There have been seasons where she came once a month to do all the deep cleaning and other seasons like now, when she comes once a week (twice a month to deep clean downstairs, and twice a month to clean both down and upstairs).  She has provided the kids and I one day to focus on school and things other than cleaning the stove, mopping the floors and cleaning the sinks. This day is for us a day of really getting a lot of extra things done, because we have Harriet’s help in the morning with the house.  It enables me to focus on heart issues and other projects I would normally overlook or put on a list for later.

I know what some of you are thinking, your kids can do that, but I have to tell you… they do… we have over 4300 sq. ft and three and a half acres, which is a lot for six little kids under eleven, but we spend much time “cleaning” and taking care of responsibilities.  Having Harriet come is a good one week motivation for us to have to “get everything” ready for our cleaning lady!  We have to have everything off the floor, all the dishes done and out of the sink, of the counter, everything ready for her to wipe it down!  I love having Harriet in our home, she is such a blessing to our family… plus I grew up going to church with her when I was a little girl… 🙂

Then we have our Beloved Keziah!

Keziah came to help us about two years ago when I was just getting off bed-rest while pregnant with Ethan, and she has fit our family like a glove!  She is my right hand girl throughout the year!  She fulfills everything a “mother’s helper” fulfills and more to say the least.  Sometimes she spends 5 hours a week with us, other weeks she is here around 30 hours. It all depends on the circumstances of our crazy life.  She house sits for us, takes care of our animals and gardens while we are away on trips, she nanny’s for us when Isaac and I have business trips, or when I have to take kids to the doctor, dentist, or when I have health appointments. Keziah runs errands for me so I can stay at home and stay focused with the kids on school work and during the school year keeps the household going with laundry and such on days when I take kids to swimming lessons. I could write a whole blog post alone on “What Keziah does”!

Kirsten, Kirsten, Kirsten…

How does one explain Kirsten in a paragraph, oh my word! Kirsten has been a part of our family for almost half her life! She started out babysitting for us before Megan was born (about 8 years ago). Kirsten is like a little sister to me, but in a lot of ways like a big sister to my children. She has grown up with us over the years; and how it has been over the years. Like Keziah, she wears many hats; everything from helping around the house, going on field trips with the children and I, baby-sitting for date nights, and running errands.

Since she is going to college at Whitworth University we only get the blessing of having her spend time with us in the summers and on breaks, but what a fun time it is. Kirsten is the life of the party- always!  Her joy has taught me so much over the years and I am a better mother because of her influence on me.  She is so optimistic and joy-filled… we are blessed by her presence for sure!

****Both Kirsten and Keziah are equally a blessing to both the kids and I.  They bring completely different qualities to our home… while completely different they are equally appreciated and valued!  They have walked through many seasons with us over the years, everything from taking care of me and the kids while I am on bed-rest to being there to welcome another addition to our family.  The girls each filled a huge need in our lives, Kirsten was at my last birth with us and the older three kids while Keziah stayed at home with the littlest two. Together they took care of the kids until I was ready to come home from the birth center and when I came home after having a post-partum hemorrhage, they both did what they could to help when Isaac had to work. I am SUPER blessed to have these wonderful godly young women in my life who love my children and are in alignment with our family vision and so supportive. ****

Our Vineyard Managers

Taking care of three and a half acres and a small hobby vineyard is no easy task either as you can imagine.  So we have a Vineyard Mentor, Jeremy, who guides us and teaches us our next steps (about three phone conversations a year) and we have Juan who helps us out about twice a month helping us with fertilizing, and pruning, weeds, etc… Even at that we have PLENTY to do! But I am thankful for their guidance and the wisdom and help they give us!  Our Vineyard might be dead today if it weren’t for these two men.

Join me tomorrow so I can introduce you to the rest of the Tolpin Team!

God Bless,