summer 2011

summer 2011

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Monday, May 23, 2016

today is the first day of the rest of your life...

This lovely horizontal rainbow graced the sky over our backyard yesterday, as Paul and the younger kids planted seeds in the garden.

Camille so nicely just informed me that I am "five decades old". Thanks, Cam.

These little ones of mine are getting too smart.

We all know that kids grow up. They grow up fast. Everyone told us it would go by fast. It didn't seem like it when the older ones were all little, when I was in the very thick of the diapers and the clutter and the chaos and the sleepless nights. Then those older ones grew up and went on to college and Ben got joined the Army and got married...and I still had little kids...but this was different: I KNEW these ones would grow up fast. I KNEW the days would fly, and their childhood here at home was temporary. They were slipping right through my fingers, and coming out as adults. Ten of my kids are 18 and over now. The ones at home are 25, 18, 16, 15, 14, 12, 10, and 8. It's still chaotic sometimes (6 of them ARE girls, ha).

But things are different now. I cherish each and every day of their quickly fleeting days as kids who still run barefoot and sings silly songs on the swings, climb trees and pick bouquets of dandelions. My favorite times are the mornings, when I sit in my comfy chair with Char on one side, Cam on the other, perched on the armrests, all covered up by a big blankie...they still tell me their long rambling dreams, or get excited about the endless stretch of summer and all of it's possibilities. They haven't realized yet that we won't do half the things on our summer bucket list, ha.

Mr. Jon The Sarcastic notices these things now. He is still sweet and small, but I know he will be going through that inevitable growth spurt one of these days, he'll go to bed as a little boy and wake up taller than me with hairy legs. He'll be suddenly much smarter than his mother, and will be just too cool for school. But I've been through this before too. I know that his soft kind heart will still be in that tough teenage body, and that he won't really mean it when he answers me back and gives me a hard time. I don't want him to grow up and grow away from these idyllic days, but it will happen. I know that now.

The sun is shining, our trees have birthed their leaves that still sport that brand new spring look. The sky is clear and blue, and the birds are singing. Jonathan is outside with Davian, we haven't started school yet for the day. Camille is playing SIMS (That's educational, right?), because she...hurt her ankle...on the trampoline. Oh dear, yes she did. I am pretty sure it's not broken, but haven't called the dr. yet, it's swollen but not as bad as when she broke the other one in December. Oh never a dull moment, and yes, the trampoline again. But this time they were playing with the hose on it, which is obviously not a good idea.

So she's icing and elevating, and I am dreading making the phone call...

Both of our minivans have to be inspected and have oil changes this week, one of them is leaking coolant. There is a church conference this weekend, and then a picnic on Monday, and guess who is planning and buying the food for that? Kathryn informed me last night that she volunteered me.

I have to catch up on laundry, and we are overdue for a trip to the library. There is less than a half gallon of milk in the refrigerator, and only four slices of bread left. The apples and oranges are gone, and most of the yogurt. We had a nice salad last night and used up the last of the fresh produce.

So I should say that while there's never a dull moment, there are certainly tedious moments, ha. A house doesn't clean itself, nor does it stay clean for any length of time.

But these days of ours are numbered, and whether the tasks are mundane or glorious things like planning our time at the cabin in the woods...I am determined to make the moments count, and not to waste time wishing things were different. I want to savor the minutes of the day like the first mouthful of wine...roll it around in my mouth and delight in each one.

Ha, this sounds all lovely, but when Duke crossed the living room, headed straight for me, then opened his mouth and barfed on the rug near my feet, I wasn't basking in the beauty of THOSE minutes. Or yesterday when I went to blend my coffee (with coconut oil), and the seal from the blender was sprayed in a three to five foot radius, including all over the shirt I didn't want to stain.

Anyway. I am thankful for my days. I am thankful for my husband, and you know, that isn't always just a natural thing. But it is wisdom to overlook a matter, and I have to just overlook things yesterday, he made a big pot of bone broth. It's very healthy. He gets these big beef bones, and boils them with black beans and cabbage and other veggies, to get vitamins in the broth. It simmers on the stove all the live long day, making the house smell like the entrance to a big old apartment building with no ventilation. It's so healthy, he says.

I love him anyway. If you're married, and not totally in love with your spouse, then you need to pray about it, ask yourself what you can do to change that, and work like crazy on making it better. You were in love when you got married, why waste time not enjoying each other? You don't have to agree on everything, but you do have to practice forgiving and forgetting. While we were in France, we really talked about things...marriage is work, especially after so many years.

Anyway...I have a million things to do....

Friday, May 20, 2016

life is just sunshine and puppy dogs....

Duke and Suri...enjoying the new little rug I bought for the deck. Yes, it's just for them.

Summer weather here, finally! We had a fire, and they had s'mores...the puppies were hoping Jonathan would drop a crumb...

Today, I bought a few new chairs for the deck...Adirondack chairs. And the little rug, just for the dogs.

Camille and her marshmallow...

At the store with Miss Camille...oh how life has changed...a few years ago, I had a baby in the car seat, one in the back, and a few...or ten, or 14, walking...

But today, I went with just Suzanne and Camille...

The little girls and I had some fun making lanterns with solar lights and mason jars...they are excited to make the deck a little nicer.

The day went by too fast...we had a fire in the evening, and roasted hot dogs. Miss Cam really wanted to toast a marshmallow for me, but I wasn't going to have one...I am behaving myself these days.

And tomorrow is Saturday...and the forecast: sunny.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

hither, tither, and nigh...

Here and there and everywhere. I had to drive Kathryn to day two of a big test...and I was all by my lonesome, kids safe at home with Joseph and I stopped in at the grocery store, AGAIN, because I needed more avocados...I want to try a recipe my mother-in-law cut from the paper...mousse, from avocado. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Of course I am not the type of girl who just grabs the one thing and exits the store, I had to buy five boxes of cereal because there were coupons on the boxes, and a save $5 if you buy 5 special...the kids love Cinnamon Life. And I decided to buy some steak to put on the grill tomorrow, because yay, Paul is planning to take a few days off from work! He's hardly been home in SO long.

Anyway...I bought a loaf of freshly baked bread, and some more lettuces for salads.

Three of my girls are going on a fun excursion, to a cabin in the woods of West Virginia. They are taking one of our minivans, so I was nice, and took it to the carwash place and vacuumed it, then stopped and filled it up with gas. Then, since Wednesday is half price day at the thrift store...and I was all alone, I stopped...I bought a nice hard covered book, WWII in pictures, for Sam. I bought pink jeans for Char, black shorts for Suze, a nice top for Ev, a white vase form Pier One for two bucks, glass globes for the living room ceiling fan! I was planning on buying some, and yay, 79 cents each! I also got a nice new pillow for the couch, which will be taking a ride in the washing machine. A gray bowl from Target, and a brand new looking pair of winter boots for Miss Char for next year, a pair of swim trunks for Jon, plus a book for me...23 dollars.

Then...home, ah home.

Evelyn didn't go to school because she's going with Emily to buy the food for the cabin. The school nurse called when I was gone, Jon answered the phone, and said that Evelyn isn't feeling well. I was floored that she listened to a 12 year old, but Jon can sound older, he has good phone manners...and Ev did have a headache today...but I would have just told her the truth. I found it hilarious that Jon did that though.

The school has been patient with us and all of our trips...

But life, it's short! It's to be enjoyed and explored and lived to the fullest!

Tonight, Paul and I and some of our older kids are going to a training seminar for a new venue our church fundraising group is taking on this summer...instead of working at the baseball stadium, we are working concerts! Keith Urban, Def Leopard, Snoop Dog, Journey...lots of big names. Because we don't have enough to do, ha.

My mother-in-law is home from Florida for the summer, and is doing well...but her brother passed away last week. She is the last of the five siblings, all four of her brothers have died. I can't imagine. He went in his sleep though, and he was very old...93 I think.

Anyway...we are getting our school year wrapped up here, and are looking forward to summer. I teased Paul that he has to get the garden started, get the pool started, and fix that hot tub...:)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

love love love my kids

Miss Char and Miss Cam went on the after dinner walk with me last evening...I didn't get a word in edgewise.

Today, Davian is coming over to play. I have to take Kathryn to part one of her big test, we're leaving in a few minutes. Our new coffee maker is wonderful, does coffee really taste better made in a better coffee pot? It seems so.

I ordered the end-of-the-year tests for the homeschooled kids. The year is winding down, yay, summer!

Emily and Evelyn and Sonja are going to a cabin in the woods of West Virginia with four other girls, this week...a nice cabin, with a hot tub and four bathrooms. They have hikes and adventures planned, and on the rainy day...they are staying inside and reading, and watching movies, and playing video games, and drinking coffee. (Emily is a good big sister.)

I need to help Cam wash her hair, she is taking her own showers these days...a far cry from when the kids actually lined after the other...

Monday, May 16, 2016

back in new york....

The airport...was as close as I got to Paris...

I had to choose where to go on our only free afternoon/evening together...and it wasn't sightseeing in Paris...although as we headed toward it, I rather wished I was going to at least get a closeup glimpse of the Eiffel tower.

But I had made my choice...

And it was so moving. I knew it would be sad, but the sheer volume of graves...ten thousand men.

All that free time I had last week was, I'm home...with lots of kids. The two year old is here with us today, and the homeschoolers are having spelling tests and doing some math, the school kids are home. There is coffee brewing, and the dinner is in the crockpot, pulled pork.

We went to Target today, because our coffee maker was malfunctioning. It would turn off after one minute...we would unplug it and plug it back in, and sometimes it worked, sometimes it turned off after one minute of brewing. We are big babies when it comes to our coffee, so I just went and bought a new coffee maker. I also had to get a few birthday gifts for Joseph, he turned 25 today.

We weren't gone long, Miss Annika isn't feeling well today, and I didn't want to tire her out.

Laundry, sweeping, making meals...oh I didn't miss my time off! But I DID miss my kids.

Our poor truck is totaled, poor Paul. By the time we get what it's worth now, and pay it off, we'll never be able to replace it.

And so on. But life is good, and I have much to be thankful for, and if this post is generic and basic, it's because the kids are all here, and there is much going on. :)

Friday, May 13, 2016

happy friday, and goodbye to this nice hotel in france....

We are checking out of what has become my home for the last five days. Paul has to go in to work for a while, so I will be exploring a different small town for a few hours. When he gets out of work, we'll head to the American cemetery and museum at Normandy, Utah Beach.

I'm not exactly positive why I chose to visit there instead of going in to Paris. After all, who doesn't want to see the Eiffel tower, and visit the museums? If we had more free time here, I'm sure we would fit it in. The sad thing about leaving here is that I'll probably never come back.

My last solitary breakfast at the hotel...I enjoyed this tremendously, just sitting and people watching, eating that luscious apricot jam. At home, I avoid sugar like the plague, but here I have been more free with it, I hope I didn't gain 20 pounds.

Yes, we went to a nice French restaurant and ordered...burgers and fries. Neither of us ate the buns, and both left more than half the fries...when you get used to eating less, you can't just stuff it in anymore, which is a good thing. I couldn't even think about dessert. After dinner we walked around the town a bit, it was so lovely. The sun doesn't set here until almost ten p.m..

So today we are going sightseeing, then to our hotel near the airport, near Paris...then tomorrow morning, we head back to New York.

I can't wait to see the kids! I never did find Miss Char a birthday present except for some chocolate...oh well.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

a fairytale....

It's not getting old, being in France. We are really enjoying the time we have together.

We drove to Domfront last evening and explored the castle ruins...built in 1100.

The village across the way is like a fairytale setting.

We got our dinner from the grocery store again, we would rather explore the surrounding villages than sit in restaurants, so we had an on-the-road picnic again. Fresh baked bread, salami, cheese, lettuces, and Coke Zero...though we don't normally eat bread,'s bakery bread in France.

Maybe some people travel all the time, and maybe I'm making too big a deal out of simply being here. But I don't care. I am absolutely and thoroughly enjoying it.

This fine morning, it's sprinkly and foggy and overcast. I set out with a purpose: to find that toy store! I searched for it yesterday on walk #3, and didn't find it. I did find a nice big store, and bought chocolate for home. And a little gift for Katie's baby (Davian is going to have a baby sister!!!!). But no toy store. So I checked google maps and found it this morning...and it was closed. Everything here is closed in the afternoons, and if they open again, they close by 7 p.m. But it was 9:30 in the morning! I walked back to town, turned around and checked again at 10:00, and it was still closed. Whatever. I went to the boulangerie...and yeah, there were a few pastries I wanted to try...I didn't get the eclairs though...ugh. They looked so good.

Anyway. I walked over seven miles average, each day for the last few days. And then today, my phone glitched and didn't record my steps! And, I couldn't take any pictures! I walked a different way and saw new cool things, too.

This is our last night here in this town. Tomorrow we head to our hotel in Paris. He will get out of work early, and we'll have the afternoon to explore. We were considering taking the train into the city, of Paris, but neither of us really like cities, and yes, I would like to say that I saw the Eiffel tower, but other than that? I don't know. We are leaning towards going to the cemetery, the American cemetery at Normandy. I think of all those soldiers buried there, and their mamas never got to come visit their graves, it's the least I can do, is go there and say a little thank you to them.

In a few days, I'll be back home, back in New York state, back to eating no bread, back to sweeping the floors every morning...I can't wait to see the kids, but...wah.