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

Friday, October 24, 2014

day off from school!

Today is too lazy. Not that it started out that way...Charlotte Claire opened my bedroom door this morning to report that the kitten pooped in her room. ugh. I got up, showered, took my sweet time getting to that inevitable clean up job....and believe me, it was not the kitten who did it. No way no how. I cleaned it up, all happily and singing songs. ha. I had to have the girls hold the kitten while I did it, she thought it was time to play attack the scrubbing paper towels and the crinkly Walmart bag they paper towels were going in to.

Anyway, I guess there was a trail of it downstairs too, oh the joy of having pets. I said I really don't mind cleaning it up, but it hurts to lean over that long, and my knees are shot, so.....if anyone else would be so kind....Kathryn won the prize. She cleaned it all up, every bit, with no complaint. I told her I was going to give her some money, I am so happy she did it. Suri ate a bit of food this morning, but she seems off. I think she has been eating too many pears from the pear tree perhaps.

I hope that's it.

We do lock the dogs in the living room at night, but they are masters at moving the board across the hallway.

Anyway. After sweeping the floors and cleaning counters and puttering around putting things away, I got some coffee and some breakfast and sat down here in my comfy chair. Sonja took the kids outside to clean up the yard and play in the leaves. Evelyn washed the pizza pans from last night, and now wants to go to the library. The librarian called this morning, they have a chemistry book for Kap, it may not be the same one, but they found it in the basement with the donations and we can have it.

There are ten of us home here this fine morning, and it hasn't been boring, let me tell you.

Oh, I made new valances for the living room yesterday, after going to the dentist, Marshalls so that Marg could look for something, the grocery store (Margaret needed facewash and a few other things), BJ's for butter and a huge box of cereal, and the dollar store for a few random things...I started sewing after we put the groceries away. First a dress for Cam's doll. Then one for Charlotte Claire's doll. Then, the valances.

They are finished and hanging, I don't love them, but they are better than the old ones, and they really go with the room.

Now I want to start on the kitchen ones....

Oh, if you happen to stop in? Yeah, I know the sewing machine is still on the kitchen table. I am not finished sewing yet.

Cam is cutting out paper dolls, Char is playing dollhouse, Jon is whistling and playing Star Wars Commander on his tablet, and Sonja has my phone.

Evelyn is getting ready to go to the library, Joseph is probably painting, and I have yet to see Miss Margaret this morning. Kap is probably playing games with Suze.

oh, my exciting life. Paul is leaving for France again tomorrow, for a week this time.

The little kids are going on an adventure tonight with their big sister Emily....the Haunted Pumpkin Walk, which isn't it's real name. It's in a county park, and hundreds of pumpkins are carved and lit up along paths in the woods. It is really really fun and nice to get out and walk in the dark...I wish I were going:)

And Ev will be checking up on me soon to see if I am indeed getting ready like I said I I had better start:)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

up too late, and other equally random facts...

1. I bought fabric for new curtains yesterday, and now I want to sew!

2. It is past midnight, and I am tired, but the quiet is too nice.

3. We had turkey for dinner...but it wasn't the dinner I had envisioned. Six of the kids went to the youth meeting before the turkey was done cooking, oops, so they ate a little when they came home.

4. I made butternut squash and peas for dinner too, and had mine with a small bit of ShockTop Pumpkin Ale. yum.

5. Tomorrow morning, Emily is picking up the three youngest kids at nine a.m., to go on an adventure. They are to wear rainboots and jackets, she has umbrellas. They are beyond excited, and full of speculation.

6. I am in a painting mood, too. Not portraits or masterpieces, just the walls.

7. My walk did not happen today. boo. Tomorrow, for sure.

8. Paul leaves for France AGAIN this Saturday. blah.

9. Today my sister-in-law Kim came over with her two youngest kids (one of her older girls was already here, since Saturday in fact:)). They played hide and seek and office and dress up, house, and dolls.

10. Kim and I visited, drank too much coffee, and solved the worlds' problems.

11. I finished a whole library book already...from yesterday.

12. This morning, we learned about ancient Egypt. The kids were fascinated that cats were sometimes mummified after death....

13. Taking care of two big stupid Labrador Retrievers on a rainy day is hard work. They come in all wet and muddy several-everal times, and have to be toweled off, and kept off the furniture until they dry.

14. I drank too much coffee today and got jittery. oops. Then, after behaving all day, I ate four caramels, and felt really jittery. I am not used to that much sugar, and believe me, I didn't like how I felt, which is a good thing.

15. Tomorrow is Wednesday, half off at the thrift store. I also have a dentist appointment...a crown fell off one of my molars, and I have been carrying it in a baggy in my purse. It was expensive so I am glad I didn't swallow it, and hope it will go right back on.

16. I hate going to the dentist. Simply hate it. I would rather give birth with no pain meds than sit in that chair.

17. And believe me, I have given birth with no pain meds! It was all the rage back when I had the first few....even when I was induced with a few of them, pitocin, and no demerol.

18. Okay, I am too tired for this...goodnight!

Monday, October 20, 2014

lazy sort of day....

It has been a good day so far. My friend Martha stopped by. I have known Martha from the Bloggy World for years now. I met her In Real Life a while back, and went to her house. Today, she came here. It was a very pleasant visit, just ask Jonny, who is a People Person, and thought that Martha came just to see him:) I had put pumpkin muffins in the oven to warm it a bit in here, and dang it, I forgot to offer one to Martha....she will just have to come over again.

We are heading to the library. It is essential for home school, to stock up on those books. During our school days, when they finish their work, if they're looking for something to do, my first response is Go Read A Book. Cam usually answers that she has already read all of hers. The older girls do a lot of their work from library borrowed text books. And I just plain love getting a new stack of books for myself.

A stop at the store is in order too, we are out of butter, need a gallon of milk, and perhaps some fresh produce. I love apple season, we have an abundance of those, and a pile of squashes too. Oh, for dinner last night, I finally tried spaghetti squash. I made a big pot of meat sauce with peppers and onions, and a pan of pasta (spaghetti) for the kids, plus some green beans...anyway, I loved the squash! It was SO easy to make. I just quartered it, took out the guts, and microwaved it. Paul and I each ate a quarter, it came out of the rind like spaghetti, like magic, and it tasted so good with the sauce.

Too bad I had to go and eat two pumpkin muffins for breakfast. Blah. Oh well, I can behave for the rest of the day. I can't help it I am such a good baker.

It is cold and overcast, and I wish I had a fireplace in my living room. I think we will get a space heater in here for our homeschooling days, so it is at least warm and cuddly.

The dogs are snoring on the couch, the girls are cleaning their rooms, Jon is hooking something up in his room, the older girls are doing some work. They came out of their room to make bacon and eggs...

The fact of the matter is that I could just go crawl into my comfy bed and take a nap today. I stayed up too late last night, and didn't sleep well. I just kept waking up. When it was time to get up this morning, I would close my eyes again and be dreaming again, it was so hard to get up. When it's dark and chilly, a nap sounds so nice. I don't really take naps anymore, but I do remember them fondly. They were my main goal in life back when I had baby after baby, and sleep was a rarity.

Ah well, time to get moving again...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

saturday morning in our crazy house.....

Sometimes I just take in the moment, and say to myself, "right now, I am happy. Right this very minute." This morning, I did not want to go out in the rain. No way, no how. But I know myself, and how quick I am with the excuses, so I just didn't listen, and went out anyway. The neighbor lady stopped her car and commented to me about walking in the rain, and I thought she must think I'm nuts. As I got more wet, and my sneakers started sloshing, I wondered if everyone on the street thinks I'm crazy. Even without the walks, they probably do. But guess what? I don't really care.

The kids are out playing in the rain now. It is only sprinkling, but it is very wet out there.

They woke me up about a million times this morning, slamming doors and laughing and running down the hall. Jon has a friend here, and somehow even one extra kid makes them crazier. When I finally got out of bed and came out here, the dogs had already been out, back in, and fed and watered. The kids were playing Nerf, thus the screeching and slamming. I asked them to please do something quieter for a bit, some of us don't get many days to sleep in. So they played Mario Cart, which wasn't much quieter...

Anyway. It is a good day. Suzanne went to the dump with Paul. Abigail is coming over to borrow our pick up truck to return 5 cent cans and bottles, with Jon and his friend, for a fundraiser for church.

I don't know yet what I shall do.

Our kitchen table is covered with boxes and paint. It all started yesterday when Cam and I walked into Walmart to get a new bulb for the van's headlight and discovered two carts full of paint samples for ten cents each. Regular wall paint. Oh, fun! I let Camille pick out eleven bottles. I actually told her ten, but she found an eleventh. Anyway, that made her want to paint something. So when we went to BJ's, we got some boxes...

We taped brown wrapping paper, the kind for sending packages, on the table, and let them paint. They are making dollhouses, of course.

Not at this very moment, but they aren't finished yet, so the table looks lovely.

One of the things I have struggled with through the years is to balance letting the kids do lots of fun stuff with keeping the house from falling down. I don't let them eat in their rooms or anything, but then again I pretend not to notice when Kap and Suze head down the hall with plates balanced on cups and chip bags in their hands.

This IS their house too, but they also need to respect things, and learn to clean up after themselves. I don't like sticky, or crumbs, or dirty. No shoes in the house, wash your hands before and after you eat, don't lick your fingers then put your hand back in the bag. Emily recently thanked me for teaching them table manners. She said, "Mom, you wouldn't believe some of the adults who don't know how to eat properly. Smacking, licking their fingers, talking with food in their mouths..." Sometimes I think I have created intolerant brats, they way my kids get so grossed out so easily by slurping and smacking.

Seriously, though, eating at the table together as a family is good for more than just hearing about each other's days.

Is it evident through my scrambled writing that there is a lot going on around here today? Abigail is here, spurring the littler ones to beg to spend the night at her house.

Anyway, I am done writing for now....

Thursday, October 16, 2014

homeschool fun fun

Ice cream! Last one of the season, I said. Suze said I have said that like ten times this year, but she exaggerates. Sonja saw the pics and said that I promised her ice cream, so I guess I'll have to go at least one more time.

The place in town has pumpkin soft serve.

Today went out and about after we finished our work....Pizza Hut was first. I was able to get Book-It rewards for the younger three, so they got free pan pizzas.

We stopped into the pet store, and these girls just BEGGED for a new puppy. Um, no. They promised to take care of it. Um, do you know how much these puppies cost?

Jon found a comfy chair in this store...

Too much fun, is what we had today.

Who else but me buys a whole cart full of stuff at the dollar store?

And, goodnight. Little girls are asking to be tucked in, and big girls are fighting about girls stuff....


I made myself take that morning walk. Oh I like it well enough, once I get out there. But day after day, I don't want to leave the house. This fine morning, for example, I swept the floors first. I wiped off a few counters, and started in on the dishes. But, no, I told myself, I have to go for my walk before the kids get up.

It was lovely, my walk. It was misty and overcast. This morning, I thought about Ebola. Jonathan says that if that's how God wants to end the world, it's His business, and we can't worry about it. And, he says, can we please not talk about it in front of him, he'll have bad dreams. Charlotte Claire says that God knows what we need, and that we can't be afraid. Now, I have read Stephen King's, "The Stand", a few times. The newscasters were telling America how fine everything was, at gunpoint, courtesy of the U.S. Army. Now as the mother of sixteen children, of course I worry. Four of my kids are nurses. I am not losing sleep because of intense fear, but believe me, it does cross my mind to be concerned for their safety because of how contagious Ebola is. I don't know how events will unfold, but it seems to me that this disease is underestimated. That Americans feel insulated and safe and far away from it. But anyway, I feel so so bad for the nurses and healthcare workers in Dallas. No one in their right mind can blame them. Can you imagine how many people show up in a busy emergency room each and every day with flu symptoms, fevers, not feeling well? It is not their fault if someone who later was tested positive for Ebola was overlooked, or not quarantined. If we have a Center For Disease Control, and they are doing their jobs, getting paid....they should have been educating nurses and health care workers for months now about how to keep themselves safe/treat patients/ect. There should be protocol in place!

That's my little rant. Being a mom sometimes though, I just can't stand it. I know in my heart that God is watching over my kids, and that He sends what's for their best. But I can't help loving them so, and sometimes I wish I simply didn't just love them so much. A little bit of indifference, you know, so I wouldn't ache just thinking of one of them suffering. It makes us human and vulnerable to love so deeply, but it also makes life scary.

This morning, we are working on our school work. Division and measurements and book reports. The two older girls mostly work on their own, with me just helping by buying them text books and taking them to the library.

And well, one of my little girls is having a little fit about something, so off I go....

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

rainy cozy autumn day....

Paul and I worked at the college basketball stadium last night. There was an exhibition game between the NY Knicks and the Sixers, NBA. We were busy, and it was fun....but. This morning, I decided not to go on my walk. My feet are killing me, my knees ached all night. Working at the Dome standing/walking on a concrete floor for hours, and ouch.

Anyway, I am not going to be totally lazy though, we are leaving to go to the rec center pool in a half an hour, gym class!

Jon is still working on his school work this morning, the girls have finished theirs. They are cleaning up their toys, in anticipation of Camille's birthday, which they are talking about and planning. We are going to make a pinata, art class! They want a tea party, and to dress all their dolls up, and play house, and and and....her birthday is on November 7th, but we are celebrating it early because Paul and I are going on a little trip the weekend of her birthday...but that is another story.

The story is this...we are going to Washington, D.C., to see Samuel, with Mirielle, Margaret, and Evelyn. I feel like a Bad Mom that I accepted the invite to go on this trip with total happiness, and didn't even realize it was Cam's birthday. And believe me, I feel like even a Badder Mom that I didn't bow out when I did realize it. We are just going to celebrate the week before. And yeah, I still feel a bit guilty. But she will be fine! The older kids will all be around (Emily, Abigail, Joseph, Aaron, Mali), so I am going to arrange for one of those guys to take her out for pizza on her actual birthday. She will be in good hands here at home...

Anyway. It is raining out, a perfect fall day. The trees in the yard are changing to bright yellows and oranges, with a few red leaves mixed in.

My little granddaughter Anya Jade turned one year old yesterday. I sent her birthday packages out in the mail yesterday, she isn't old enough to know that Grandma was late. I love her and miss her and hate that she is so far away. The United States is a huge country. 2,754 miles from here to where they live. 41 hours to drive it. Hundreds of dollars to fly there. It's simply too far away for a Grandma. I should be able to cuddle that little girl, to read her stories, to see her take those little first steps, and to spoil her. I want her to know me. I want to see her face light up when she sees her Grammy. I want her to know her Grammy's house, to feel at home here. Before she was born, I didn't know about that grandchild bond. I guessed I would love my grandkids, but didn't perceive the depth of love I would feel immediately. I didn't know my heart would ache seeing pictures of her, and the emptiness I would feel not really being a part of her life. I am glad for facebook and for all the pictures her mom posts of her, she is a little doll.

with Benjamin....

Well, my own little princesses are ready to go to the pool. They have picked out towels and have their suits on under their clothes. Have I mentioned how much I am enjoying homeschooling?