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

Sunday, November 29, 2015

chiseling out some quiet time...

No matter what, Camille loves me.:)

Miss Lydia came to visit us last evening...Kathryn and Sonja enjoyed her immensely...Suzanne and the little girls did too. And of course Grammy here was in heaven.

What is this? Well, this is Evelyn Joy having fun with her favorite friend, Miss Suri.

This is from our walk along the canal the other day...Paul with Suri, the girls on their bikes...

Today is a relatively blank slate. We are out of dog food, oops, the pups had small servings supplemented with a few dog biscuits this fine morning. I have ideas for gifts and crafts and need a few supplies. The older girls have things they need to be at this afternoon, choir practice and party planning committees, ect., and need rides. The younger girls might go wreath selling with some of the girls, but that isn't for certain yet. So as per usual, Mom can't just wake up and decide what to do with her day:)

Time is flying too fast. Christmas seemed so far away for so long, and the stores were decorating and advertising way too early. Now it seems like the autumn just sped by and all of the sudden, it's Christmas. This wouldn't be a problem for those who plan ahead, but for people like me, with a million good ideas swirling around in my head, and not enough time to do them all, blah. This Saturday we have a table at a craft bazaar, and do I have one single thing completed? Oh, I have ideas and plans!

But as for right now...right this moment, life is good. Suri is snoring on the couch, Char is watching something on her tablet, Paul is out hunting, and the other kids are still all in bed. I took inventory of my gift closet this morning and it was dismal. I came out here to get my Christmas list out first, and of course the dogs acted like they hadn't seem my in a week, and I had to take them outside, then feed them, and lo and behold one of them had thrown up on the living room floor, and nah, I simply couldn't just skip down into my room with the Christmas list and leave that there. Dang. And of course I wonder if it was Duke, who has been so limpy and hobbly lately. He had better not go and die on us right before Christmas.

Last evening, I ordered pizza for the kids from the place in town. It's yummy stuff. I was tired from working my shift at the football game, and didn't make an alternate meal for I cut a thin strip of a piece, which was added to by another thin strip...until I had probably half a slice...and they are huge slices. Oh well. Real life happens. Miss Lydia was here, and we were enjoying her, I had been on my feet, didn't feel like making healthy food. Oh yes, I have the whole plethora of excuses.

Eating white flour, sugar, and simple carbs gives me heartburn, and headaches. But that knowledge seems far off when that cardboard box is opened and the aroma of pepperoni and of that amazing crust wafts out...

Today is another day. I will be smarter today. :)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

teenagers, Christmas, and poor me syndrome, and travel plans

Suzanne took this pic on Thanksgiving...the day we didn't have our celebration, the glorious day we went to the park. It wasn't just the beautiful weather, it was my beautiful girls. They were all on board, and if you have ever had a teenage daughter, you know what I mean. When one girl has the attitude, it can taint the whole day. We had the park to ourselves, and it felt good to be silly and run around and swing as high as we could go. This is how little kids feel all the time, impervious to what others think...

Evelyn and I did venture out to do a little bit of Black Friday shopping on Thursday evening, since we had our turkey dinner on Wednesday this year. Walmart was madness, and people were annoyed and frustrated, but there were a few cheerful faces. We got the one thing we went in there for, and three extra things on the way out the door. We had some good laughs at about a lady in the parking lot cursing the drivers and saying how They Ain't Got No Business Tryin' To Run Us Over When All We Want Is To Get Us Some Deals. Proud to be an American.

So yesterday I didn't go shopping, for the first time in Black Friday history. Paul and I went to the canal with the two little girls and their bikes, and Suri. Suri was so good...she got to off-leash it for most of the time...she doesn't go too far, then she turns and trots back to us, she kept between the girls ahead, and us. We walked over two miles.

At home, it was time to decorate for Christmas. Joseph and Jonathan took a trip to Washington D.C. to be with Samuel this weekend, along with some of their friends. Some of the girls went someplace with Emily, so it was only the two little girls, Sonja, and me left to pack away the autumn stuff and get out some Christmas stuff. Camille and Char were really in to it. They put lights up in the kitchen all by themselves, then got pretty princess dresses on, turned out all the regular lights, and danced to Christmas music in the lovely light of those twinkling little Christmas bulbs. I got out my phone to take some pics, and Char hid, so I told her just to dance and I would put it away. :)

This morning, we have our last college football game to work, then we're picking Lydia up. Mali works nights now at the hospital, 7 to 7. She runs on fumes, but we are happy when we get to watch Lydia.'s a story...the electricity in our living room stopped working several months ago, except for a few outlets. So we ran electrical cords to a few lamps in the evenings, then I picked up the cords and rolled them up in the mornings. We had asked a friend to come fix it for us, and he didn't get to we asked again, and he would get to it, yes. Months went by. I thought it would be like that forever. I know, I know, we should have just called an electrician, but anyway. The story...I was talking to my oldest son Ben the other day, and he was incredulous that we were not getting it fixed. He is in an apprenticeship for HVAC (heating, ventilation, air condition repair/installation). He said it was probably a simple fix, and that for my Christmas present, he was calling an electrician. He did. The guy called us yesterday, was in the area, and came over to take a look. Long story short, it was a simple fix. And now it's fixed. The guy was super nice, and was floored when he asked if all the kids milling around were ours and I pointed to a family picture. He was simply floored. He genuinely liked the kids here, talked to them, told them to be nice to their mother.

Now our house was clean, we just had thanksgiving, and we had cleaned. But our getting a bit run down. There are things that need the big spot of where the hallway gate had been...where the paint rubbed off...and we never did put the molding down in the living room along the bottom of the walls, after getting new 6 years ago. And then there's the kitchen window with no trim around it, the one Paul replaced himself. And so on. It's not a mansion, but it's our home, and it's mostly clean. But.

Ben had made arrangements with the electrician to send him the bill, because it was my Christmas gift. But Ben texted me and had me guess how much the guy charged. Nothing. Not a penny. He told Ben that once in a while he likes to bless people, and our family "seemed like we needed it". I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry. But I decided to just be thankful, and not take it as an insult:)

And the travel plans: Emily and I are taking the two youngest girls of the Norway in March! Suzanne 14 and Sonja 13!!! We bought the plane tickets!!! We are going to a sisters conference, and to visit Abigail and Margaret! And, we have an 8 hour layover in London on the way home and are hoping to see the city. Sonja Kathleen is ecstatic, she has to get a passport!!!! She is going on a plane! Sonja is the youngest of those five girls in a row, and she is the sunshine of the group. She is loud and silly and funny and she appreciates things. She's called, "Ginger", but she insists her hair isn't red, just a little orange-y. Suzanne just went to Israel,so she is a seasoned traveler. But she's never been to Norway, and is quite excited. She's more quiet and reserved, but when she does get chatty and animated, it makes you feel good. And to make her all happy about something is so worth it.

Anyway. Life is good.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

happy thanksgiving!!!

We had our dinner yesterday, so today...we went to the park when Paul went out hunting. Here are the seven youngest...:)

A visit to Robert's grave was a sad little detour in our fun little outing. (Robert was stillborn back in 2003). Paul's dad's grave is there too, and we shared some memories of him.

Sweet baby Lydia.

Aaron and Kathryn...

So we had our dinner yesterday...and today enjoyed the gloriously day at the park. We packed travel mugs of hot tea and cocoa, and some turkey...but the wind was brisk, and we agreed to head home to eat after swinging and playing on the playground.

Redbox for a movie (BigHero6), and a lunch of turkey in gravy over potatoes and squash and green beans...the seven kids are all watching while I sit here on my computer. (Joseph is in his room).

Anyway...the movie is good, rather distracting, and I want to connect more with these's fun to all be watching the same thing. It doesn't seem like Thanksgiving, but it's a good day. :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

pie...and more pie...

Today is Thanksgiving for our family. We are celebrating a day early because Emily can make it, and Aaron, and Mali. Poor Mirielle though, she is working every day until Saturday. Nurses have the worst schedules because patients in hospitals still need care on holidays.

So the turkey is going in the oven soon, and the onions and celery need to be cut for the stuffing, the potatoes peeled and the squash prepared. There is still cleaning to be done, too. I spent yesterday making pies. Blueberry, Key lime, chocolate, pumpkin, and a keto pumpkin cheesecake....for me. (less than a half cup of honey to sweeten the whole thing, cream cheese, just butter and a little coconut flour for a crust...)

Emily is coming over early to help, and I am really excited for today. Benjamin won't be here from Washington state, Samuel won't be here from Washington D.C., and Abigail and Margaret won't make it from Norway. And then Mirielle will be working. But the rest will be here, plus a few friends, making 16 at the table.

Maybe some pictures later:)

Monday, November 23, 2015

hello, winter!

I hurried the kids out the play in it, of course! It's going to be sunny and warm (55F, 12C) by Thursday, and this snow will be just a memory. It's well below freezing right now, but even today it will warm up to the middle thirties, and the melting will begin. It's seriously like a winter wonderland right now though....

And last night, Miss Lydia came to visit!
Here's my baby Camille with Mali's baby Lydia...and me, Grammy:)

The heater is humming, and the house is filled with that special lighting that only a snow filled yard can provide. It feels like Christmas, and makes me want to do Christmas-y things, instead of attacking the sink full of dishes. I need to make a turkey dinner list because we are having our Thanksgiving celebration on Wednesday. I should be baking pies today, but I'll do it tomorrow. I am leaving everything 'til tomorrow, ha.

Emily and I were looking up tickets to fly to Norway in March for a sisters' conference at church. I know, ha, Norway in March. We had wanted to go to England first, but it's too pricey, plus we want to figure out if we can take a few of my other girls, but shh, I don't want them to know about it until I figure out if we can manage it. Traveling with Em is always an adventure. She's good at navigating, but also very chill if things don't go according to plan.

Samuel is back in Washington D.C. after a week of training at Fort Benning in Georgia at a leadership/squad leader training thing. I am very proud of Sam:)

And let's see...if you read this blog and think my life is just are partly right. Because I firmly believe that God causes all things to work together for the good for those who love Him. But that doesn't mean there isn't a suffering involved. During the 8 years I have written this blog, things have happened in my life that I have losing baby Robert, and a few miscarriages...the loss of my brother's suicide... and things that I haven't been able to share because those stories are not MY stories to tell....a few of my kids have gone through hard times...SERIOUSLY hard times. There have been times that I have known the sun was behind the clouds, but it didn't feel like it.

When I choose not to share certain things, it isn't because I want to give the illusion that my life is picture perfect. But no matter what lifestyle my kids grow up and choose, I still love them. I hope and pray, of course, that they choose to seek God in all they do. Because I love them. I want them to be happy. So I pray for them, and seek with all my heart to personally live a life that is well-pleasing to God, to be a good example, to bless and serve when I don't feel like it, to forgive and forget, to be a doer of what I know is right, and not a preacher.

And yeah, there is no shortage of work to do here today...I need to start with my list and make sure I have all I need to start baking those pies. The 23 pound turkey is thawing...I need to buy squash...ours didn't grow well in the garden this year...

Sunday, November 22, 2015

sunday afternoon....

This is how I feel today too...

The cold has moved in, the sun is setting, and the house is quiet for a bit. Paul and Jonny are out hunting, the princesses are playing in their room, and the rest of the teenagers, and Joseph, are in their rooms. We had a big lunch of leftover chicken heated up in olive oil and pepper, and stirred into a ginger teriyaki sauce, with basmati rice and steamed broccoli.

It's snowing out now, brr.

Christmas excitement is creeping in....I put in a Target order today. Phew, that takes care of a few of the kids. The little girls went to the craft store with me today. I spent too much and had too much fun. We came home with some wreaths, which I decorated and put on the doors. is here, and I have things to do...

Friday, November 20, 2015

and friday rolls around again...

I would like to say we are staying home today, but alas, we are going bye-bye...just for two specific things: a huge turkey, and something for the crafts I am making for the bazaar this year. I bought a turkey yesterday but it's only 18 pounds, and am hoping to get a bigger one. It's only 48 cents a pound, and we'll use the smaller one maybe for Christmas, or for just a random Sunday meal.

Oh how spoiled we are. I watched a video from Operation Christmas Child...a huge roomful of school kids somewhere in Africa, I am guessing, opening their shoeboxes full of gifts, and shrieking with joy. One boy was waving a box of markers like it was a million dollars. I had my three youngest watch it with me this morning, then we went to the site and read personal stories of kids receiving their boxes, and how having their own toothbrush instead of sharing with others at the orphanage was the best thing, but most of all, these kids felt the love of a stranger. The kids and I agreed that we need to fill a box or two, and found there are drop off locations around here.

Jonathan is making eggs for Camille for breakfast. Miss Char is taking a shower. Duke is lying at my feet, and Suri is napping on the couch, snoring.

It's chilly and sunny here, the wind has died down, it's a good day for playing outside. Yesterday rain was forecast, so when the kids woke up, I told them to go out and jump on the trampoline quickly before the rain comes through.

Yesterday's calling hours/service for our friend's mom was very touching, very sad. I am so thankful that we attended. Paul was able to leave work for a while and go, it was nice to see him there too. I didn't know his mom well, she came here once years ago, but that's not always the point. Steve needed his friends in his time of sorrow.

It's time to get moving here again.