she wasn’t always patient


a while back, i was thinking of my mom. as i was reviewing how awesome she was in my mind, i remembered potentially the best ami quote yet!

“collect your thoughts and get back to me”

now you know my mom wasn’t perfect, just in case you had the impression she was.

she would say this to us often. her time was precious, she had six mouths to feed, six dirty shirts every day, six heads to count at all times. and you know how children are, they call for your attention only to hmmm and ummmm their way through what could be a very short question.

i know i did this a fair amount of times, but i remember my brother adam being the worst. he would take so much time to ask a simple question.

so, in all her wisdom, she would look him in the face and say gently:

“collect your thoughts and get back to me, adam.”

he’d either spit it out right then and there, or he’d really have to collect his thoughts.

it worked like a charm.

she stayed at home


my mom always wanted to be a mom. seriously.

she wasn’t even planning on going to college until someone told her that she wouldn’t find a husband if she didn’t go to college. her high school counselor told her she would never get into the university of illinois considering her low a.c.t. scores. how cute is that?  she got in though, she majored in elementary education and graduated college in 1982. she did meet my dad in college, thank goodness she found herself a husband!

starting in 1985, my mom had 6 kids in about 10 years. her dream of being a wife and mom became reality.  

one of the biggest and most important decisions she ever made was to be not just a mom but a stay-at-home-mom.

it wasn’t a difficult choice for her, but it’s a difficult choice for many women to make. but i do believe there are compelling reasons for staying at home.

let’s take a look at the financial benefits to staying at home. i looked up current childcare costs in iowa today. childcare for 6 kids each from ages 1-5 (assuming public school starts at age 5 and not accounting for after school babysitting/programs) would be anywhere from $190,020.00-$234,816.00 which averages to be about $12,668.00-$15,654.40 annually.
now, the median elementary school teacher salary is currently $43,614.00 according to i’m going to assume around 30% income tax, which is probably low because the second income would likely raise the income bracket. that puts us at $30,529.80 in annual income after taxes best case scenario. half of that would go to childcare.
now, if my mom would have chosen to work, there are a whole other slew of expenses that come with that. things like professional attire, two working and reliable vehicles, convenience groceries and items, more eating out, extra fuel, etc. etc. honestly, i wouldn’t be surprised if in the end, they would have broken even. these are tough numbers to see, but i’m convinced that it just wouldn’t be the wisest financial decision for my mom to have worked.

but it was so much more than a financial decision. my parents wanted us to be raised and nurtured by them as much as possible. they decided that the best way to do that would be to allow my mom to stay at home with us. they both wanted us all to know and love the Lord. they wanted to teach us Biblical principles and truths as much as possible. the investment of time, love, teaching, and rearing my mom deposited into us is priceless.

i could not be more grateful for the sacrifice my mom made by staying at home all these years. my little sister (the youngest) is 16 and my mom has just started to work again in the past couple of years. the investment, the love, the care, and the being there was and is the best gift she could ever give to me. i’m so thankful for my dad and his willingness and hard work to provide for 8 people. it wasn’t easy, and we didn’t have much.

after talking to my mom more about this, i learned that we lived in a two bedroom apartment until my little brother adam was born. adam is the fifth child. yep, you read that right. luke, levi and i all shared a room and mark slept in the walk-in closet connected to my parents bedroom as an infant. they bought their first house and we moved in 10 days after adam was born in 1992. how amazing is that?!

i honestly can’t thank my parents enough for making this incredibly huge and sacrificial decision. it was worth it! the values that they instilled in me are life-lasting. i credit my mom and dad greatly for my dream to be a stay-at-home mom.

and you know what is the most encouraging thing about all of this? my mom had fun! she loved her job as our mom and being the keeper of the home. she made life into a game by challenging her grocery budget. she relied on God to provide even the littlest things, like a baseball glove for my brother. and He always came through! she had fun watching God do sweet things showing Himself strong on her family’s behalf.

i think this is my last what would ami do? post. this summer i’m going to be writing about bryan and i’s financial journey over the last 2+ years. our financial goals and plans have a lot to do with our desire for me to stay at home with our kids when the time comes. you’ll be hearing more soon!

i’ll leave you with a two encouraging videos about motherhood. the first is the first 3 minutes of a q&a with mark and grace driscoll. the second is a mother’s day message from veritas by mark arant.

she didn’t vaccinate


okay, readers. before you read this post, i just want to say that i’m not really a research kind-of gal. and i’m not having kids of my own right now, so i don’t really have any reason to research vaccination. if you are looking for a post full of venn diagrams and pro and con lists, please look further. : ) because this is a “what would ami do?” and it’s simply about what ami did. and she did not have any of her six children vaccinated.

i did interview my mom, so i guess that counts as research. here’s what i asked her:

lg: what were your main influences in your decision not to vaccinate us?
ami: my main influence was Dr. Robert Mendelsohn’s book How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of your Doctor. Dr. Mendelsohn was a pediatrician for several decades and he became convinced that vaccinations were causing more harm than good.

lg: what was the primary reason you decided not to vaccinate us?
ami: it just didn’t make sense to me to inject disease among other things into a vulnerable newborn’s bloodstream, especially when most of the diseases were pretty benign like mumps and measles, etc.
also, Dr. Mendelsohn had a theory that auto immune diseases were going to increase because we were overriding our natural immune responses with forced immune responses thus compromising our immune systems.

lg: did you have any fears about that decision?
ami: yes. even after all my research i had to carry all the “what-if’s” through to their end and trust God with the results. the scariest for me were polio and tetanus but in the end i felt you were better off without them. your dad and i were always in agreement with these major decisions.

those were my burning questions for my mom and they encouraged me. i hope they encouraged you.

i know there are so many ways of thinking about this topic. i know there are so many factors, so many fears, so much research involved, so many opinions to listen to. i know it’s not an easy decision either way.

but it is a choice, and i know that it’s not often presented as such. if your doctor tells you to do it, you do it. that’s the way it works oftentimes. my encouragement is to at least do your research. understand what is in the vaccination shots. understand that there will be consequences to both choices. and ultimately, trust God. He loves you and your children [or future children in my case] and He will take care of you as you need! He is good, all the time.

all six of us duvick kids were really healthy children and are really healthy adults. to this day, i’ve never had a vaccination.

a while ago, i wrote this post. if you read it, if hope you know that every mom i know is an awesome mom. i don’t personally know any mom that wouldn’t do everything in their power to keep their child happy, healthy and safe. so be encouraged!

she homebirthed


so, homebirth.

sounds a little weird, right?  maybe you’re thinking at this point that my mom really is crazy with her onion juice in our ears and obsession with water and sleep.

as i said before, my mom was never dead set on homebirth from the beginning.

my aunt, my mom’s older sister invited her to her third child’s birth. at home. my mom was there and supportive. she thought, that’s cool, but i won’t do that.

when she was pregnant with my oldest brother, she started reading. she read about 10 different books on the subject of birthing and she became convinced that birthing at home was the best choice for her. when i was talking to her about it, one thing she said stuck out to me. she said that she felt that birth wasn’t a disease to be managed  but a natural thing that women were made to do. a pediatrician and author, dr. mendelson was one of her main influences. he wrote a book called how to raise a healthy child in spite of your doctor which was also an influence in deciding not to vaccinate her children.

it was after she researched and found a great midwife that she fully decided on having a homebirth. my mom would say that getting connected with the midwife, claudia that delivered most of us was a total God-thing. her sister’s midwife did her training with claudia and connected her to my mom. this really solidified her decision.

another reason her decision was solidified was an unpleasant experience with a doctor during a check-up. my mom’s midwife had encouraged her to see a doctor in case of an emergency during the birth, it’s always good to have a back-up plan. so my mom saw a doctor after making the decision to homebirth. unfortunately, the doctor she saw was not at all understanding or helpful. she had simple requests in the case of a hospital birth, like getting to hold her baby right after it was born instead of having it taken away right away. he just said, i don’t know where you’re getting your information, but you’re wrong and that’s not how things work.

so, my mom had six successful homebirths, some better than others. i know my little brother adam gave her the hardest time and she was on bedrest for several weeks after he was born. alyssa, who was coincidentally the biggest child at 11lbs. 4oz., was her shortest labor-she was born in just a little over an hour!

i remember sleeping on top of my dad on the couch after alyssa was born. it was so cool to see my baby sister in my parents room the morning after she was born.

i know it’s very counter-cultural to think about having a child at home and not in a “safe” environment like a hospital. but my mom really considered her options and decided that home would be the safest option for her. she was able to labor as she desired and progress naturally and she had great help and support from her midwife, my dad, my grandma and others! she never felt scared or regretted her decision to birth at home.

and i just want to say, that she’s amazing because she gave birth to six enormous children. i was the smallest at 9lb. 8oz!

homebirth is definitely not for everyone and i in no way want you to read this blog and think i’m saying that this in the only right way to have a baby. but it’s often not even considered an option. i do think that this is not something that was just done in the eighties when my mom was having kids and it is a safe option to be considered.

so, i’m sure you’re all wondering, will i have homebirths? well, maybe. i’m not pregnant and i have no idea how i’ll feel about being pregnant and birthing a child when i am. so, i’m not expecting any such commitment from myself about these matters. and that’s the great thing about my mom, she’ll be there cheering me on either way!

and also, here comes the shameless plug…my mom is a doula now and loves it! she’s so great at helping others have natural childbirths. if you’re looking for a great doula in the central iowa area, you can email her at:
greatbeginnings123 @ [remove spaces]

she researched


i’m running out of “what would ami do?” posts, i believe this series will be finished by june. however, stay with me, because in may i’ll be tackling possibly the three biggest decisions my mom made regarding motherhood:

choosing not to vaccinate
staying at home

but in preparation, i’ll tell you something i admire most about my mom. she can read boring research books like it’s her job.

the older i get, the more i realize that i am my mother. i think all women go through this. we turn into our mothers because, hey, we turned out okay, right?

and though i did take to reading at a very young age, this is one quality of my mom that i don’t possess. i hate reading anything but fiction. ugh, i dread the thought of it. i have to fight to finish anything that is non-fiction, unless it’s a novel written about a true story or something.

i’m just hoping that when i become a mom, i will naturally become awesome at this. i envy those of you who have this quality. (ahem, paige)

my mom didn’t just make her unconventional decisions off the fly or because she was a rebel without a cause, she read and read and read and read some more. and the more she read, the more she leaned towards these decisions. both home-birth and choosing not to vaccinate were not her original plans, but her resources and research led her to those decisions.

i greatly admire how much she cared about us to spend so much time and energy poring over books and researching. thanks mom!

stay tuned for next week!

she ran to God


it’s time for another “ami quote.” and this one is important. my mom said this to me many times as i came to her in tears or in loneliness or in stress. half the time it would frustrate me, because i just wanted to vent, or a physical voice, but she persisted. she would say, all the time:

run to God

she always encouraged me to pour my heart out to my savior and allow him to bear my burdens. like i said, sometimes it was frustrating to get that from my mother. but most often, when i felt the need to cry out to my mom, i came to her with problems that she couldn’t do anything about. they were issues of the heart and deep spiritual needs that only the Lord could fill. somehow, she knew that, and she encouraged me to go to directly to the source.

in hindsight, i now realize how amazing that actually was. 

mothers naturally want to feel needed and as though their kids want to talk to them. just as a woman, i feel this need. for my mom to basically say no to that naturally desire to comfort me and give me such truth is truly amazing to me. i admire her greatly for this. and it has undoubtedly shaped my relationship with God.

i would like to point out, though, that those three words would not have been at all effective if my mother didn’t lock herself in her room to have her time with the Lord. and that’s what she did. she would literally tell us not to interrupt her unless we were bleeding so she could have her precious time with God. she journaled, she cried out to God, and she poured over the word. her time in the word was her lifeline, and i never doubted that. 

she was an awesome example of what a real relationship with God looked like. i have so much to live up to and work on! 

a short while ago, dawn asked this question about my mom:
“wondering how your mom held such strong and unpopular convictions, yet managed to be so full of grace toward others who didn’t share her convictions.”

well, in short, i’m pretty sure this is why she was and is able to have such grace toward all women who come to her for advice. she runs to God first, and with His strength she is able to love without judgment. [she’s certainly not perfect, but i know God uses her greatly in this way!]

homeschooling 103


part three-the other stuff about homeschooling!


aside from our daily worksheets and periodic test in our regular subjects, we also went to “enrichment class” once a week, where we had physical education of sorts and art. let me tell you that all of us homeschoolers in one school gym was, as you would imagine, a funny sight to see. [i only say this in hindsight, as i am guilty of thinking i was actually cool]

however much of a nerdfest it was, enrichment class was a great way for us to interact with other kids, as well as play oregon trail on the computer, run around like crazy in the gym, make art projects, weave baskets, have valentines day parties, and even be involved in a little local theatre!

we were only homeschooled in elementary school and i really enjoyed both be homeschooled at a young age and going to public school. entering the public school system in middle school worked well, because at the time, there were nine elementary schools funneling into the junior high school, so none of us were really considered the “new kid.” i would say we’re all pretty normal socially, half of us at least are considered “cool.” [i’m talking about levi, adam and alyssa, of course, i don’t know if i’ll ever make cool status]

i’m not going to lie, sometimes we would con my mom into letting us have a day off by telling her we’d clean the entire house [pretty good deal, right?] and she’d cave. sometimes, she would also let us have a “where in the usa is carmen san diego?” game day. and every once in a while, she’d even break out the box of cards and we’d play a little texas canasta. again, she was pretty relaxed.

overall, i believe we will homeschool our future red-headed children, at least in early elementary school. homeschooling in my family taught me that every child is different. my mom had 6 very different children. she had me, who taught myself how to read, and my brother, who seemed to learn everything kicking and screaming. we all made it through school and we all got decent grades if we tried.

so far, no one has had any questions, so i’ll leave it at that! but if you do have questions, let me know. i’d be happy to post a q&a blog!

homeschooling 102


part two-the details of homeschooling


our school day started around 8 in the morning, sometimes earlier if we i wanted to get a head-start [like some nerdy child] and it would usually end around noon if we had completed all of our schoolwork.

we sat at our kitchen table together while my mom was usually close by in case we needed help. every time we would ask for help, she would ask, “what do the directions say?” we would proceed to read the directions out loud to her. often, upon answering her simple question, a light bulb would magically go off and we would understand what we had to do. if we still didn’t understand, she would then proceed to explain it to us.

we got very good at reading directions and guiding ourselves through our homework.

we had workbooks and reading books. our workbooks included a school-years worth of double-sided worksheets, so we completed one every day. sometimes, it was really fun to get done with three or four math worksheets so you wouldn’t have to do any for a while. [can you tell i was a nerd?]

our subjects included:
language arts

am i forgetting any, mom?

my mom would correct our worksheets every day, and we would have to redo what we got wrong.

sometimes we would have history and science tests, as we just read a section of those every day. we’d also have spelling test every week over twenty some words, we’d usually give those to each other.

it usually took us the morning to complete all of our work and the rest of the day we were free to imagine, run around, play with the homeschooled neighbors, or light each other on fire [as my two older brothers were fond of doing]

to be continued…

homeschooling 101


part one-the basics of homeschooling in my house


do you want to know how i learned to read?

well, i followed my mom around the house when i was 3 and begged her to teach me. despite my persistence, she only managed to sit down and complete the first few pages of the abeka reader with me, which mostly taught me how to sound out vowels. i guess i can’t blame her, she did have a toddler and my two older brothers who were actually supposed to be homeschooling.

however, those first few pages were all i needed to be on the fast-track to reading everything i could get my hands on. it kept me busy until i was supposed to start school a year or two later.

that’s how i learned to read, i basically taught myself.

and that’s pretty much how we homeschooled in my family. we taught ourselves using the materials we were given. my mom was a very relaxed homeschooler compared to moms who teach their kids latin and stuff nowadays. don’t get me wrong, i think that’s amazing, but if we do homeschool our children [which we probably will for a time], i’ll probably do things more like my mom.

hopefully you don’t get the wrong idea, i truly feel all 6 of us duvick kids got a pretty stellar elementary education and we all started public middle school with ease. my mom just didn’t stress about teaching us creative lessons or worry about how to explain things just right. she just made sure we knew what we were doing at the end of the day.

to be continued…

please comment if you have any questions about how we homeschooled, i have two more short posts written for the next two weeks, but i’d love to answer any specific questions you may have about how my mom homeschooled six kids through elementary school!

[photo credit]

when in doubt, sack out.


i was planning on tackling “homeschooling, ami style” this week, but it’s taking me longer to say everything i want to say about it.

so in an effort to produce high-quality blogs, i’m going to work on it another week. this week, i’ll explain yet another ami quote. [check out the new ami quote tab at the top!]

blog 011
“when in doubt, sack out.”

my mom chose not to vaccinate us [another post to save for later], and we never had anything like that hateful tylenol stuff in our house. that would be an abomination! [catch the sarcasm, please] instead, my mom put onion juice in our ears for ear infections, and lathered us up in melaleuca oil when necessary. essentially, my mom was into homeopathy, though i never recall that word being used.

but mostly, and more specifically, my mom’s mantra was that sleep could heal almost everything, and that sickness was your body’s way of telling you to slow down. it seemed to work well for our family.

“mom, i don’t feel very good.”
“take a nap.”

“mom, i have a fever.”
“go to bed with extra blankets.”

“mom, my stomach hurts.”
“drink some water and take a nap.”

get the idea? oh yeah, my mom’s second favorite thing is water.

water and sleep, they can cure the world.

so the next time you’re feeling ill, just remember, when in doubt, sack out.

[photo credit]