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
family

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

costco!

Oh what a fun day!!!! The three youngest wanted these giant bears, please Mama! Char said she would get rid of her bed and sleep on it.

We went thrift store shopping before the dentist. I found another Little Tikes table and chair set, for $6.99. We didn't really need the table, but the chairs are so nice to have. We found pictures for the walls of the little girls' room, a Gap spring jacket for Charlotte Claire for two bucks, and jeans and four shirts for Jon, for less than ten dollars total. Camille found a new Barbie, still in the box, for $4.99. She is getting it for Christmas. And, Jonathan found a light saber for $1.99! He is simply thrilled.

The dentist, oh blah. Camille climbed up so bravely into that dentist chair, blissfully unaware that this would be so different from a regular cleaning. She did fine though. One little filling. Then Char had her turn, then Jonathan, poor Jon. He was in to have the last filling done, and lo and behold, there were two new cavities! They weren't noticeable even last week! The dentist was puzzled. They were right on the surface of the molars, he said they were definitely not a hygiene issue. I said I didn't think so, Jon has been super diligent about brushing and flossing, especially in the last few weeks. He seemed to think it was more like a congenital thing, where the enamel didn't develop properly. I suspect it's because Jon was born just a bit over ten months after baby Robert. But I am not going to dwell on it. We have some special toothpaste from the dentist, and hopefully it will help.

So Mirielle and Emily went to Costco with us. It was my first time there! Emily lived on the west coast for a while a few years back, when she worked in the kitchen of the church conference center in Oregon. She remembers the chocolate cake and the fresh roasted coffee beans...and guess what? This east coast Costco does not have those fresh roasted coffee beans. They had the cake though, it looked almost evil in it's yummy $16.99 goodness. We did not buy one. We did buy a pumpkin pie though, don't ask me why when I can bake my own. Probably because we were so hungry. I also actually bought some beef...it has been SO expensive, but I finally caved and paid $3.99 a pound. It's a ten pound piece, so I should get at least two meals out of it. I am thinking beef stew...

Anyway, Costco is okay. It's not much different than BJ's, a lot of things are more expensive there. There were different toys, and I am a toy nerd...Camille almost talked me into a new doll pram for her birthday, there is a cute one there. But she doesn't need another one of those, no matter how cute! Or does she....

And now I am home all alone. Absolutely alone, except for the two kitties and the two dogs. There are clothes in the washer and in the dryer, and a sink full of dishes, which I was appalled to come home to. No way should I wash them, the school kids used them this afternoon, and are now gone to a church activity club party. Charlotte Claire dressed as a Ninja, and Cam like Mulan, in a sweet little kimono. Jon was some sort of Jedi. What fun. And having the whole house to myself, yay!

I told myself I should use the time wisely, to clean up. I could mop the floors with no one to come along and fall a$$ over teacup, as Stephen King would say. I could bake some cookies for Sam, or organize the pantry. I could simply walk around and pick up stray socks and straighten the bookshelves. But no way no how, I am going to sit here and enjoy some interruption-free time. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids. I get a huge kick out of them. (Today we were trying to find Costco...and Char suggested that we follow the lady in the car next to us. "She looks like she's going there.", Char said.)


But I choose to sit here for a bit in my comfy chair with this comfy kitty on me. (This is right now)


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

in which she puts her feetsies up and listens to the rain...

It is pouring out. I am sitting here in my chair, thinking about things. I finished five valances for the kitchen windows and door today, I made that phone call about getting the oil changed on the truck, I did some laundry and made multiplication tables with the kids. I swept and washed the top of the stove, and the tiles behind it.

We never went on our adventure. I got into sewing, and Suze took them out to ride their bikes in the road...they are not allowed in the road at all unless someone big watches for cars, shouts to warn them, and they pull to the side. It's a country road, but the cars go speeding fast when they do go by. Anyway.

The kids were perfectly content to just play here in the yard.

Sometimes I just get tired of running here and there and everywhere.

So tomorrow, after our dentist appointments, we will go to the store. The list is getting longer, too...

Anyway. Sometimes when I am tempted to complain about the relentlessness of the messes around here, I think that at least I can move and walk and actually physically do what I need to do. I imagine myself twenty or thirty years down the road, perhaps in a wheelchair, looking back with fondness at days like today, when I could actually DO things.

Yeah, I do have an imagination.

But it's true! I don't want to complain my life away! Each and every day is a gift!

Okay, I have some teenage girls. (I have five teenagers at the moment - Samuel 19, Margaret 17, Kathryn 16, Evelyn 15, Suzanne 13, and Sonja K. is 12 and a half...)One of the girls has an attitude sometimes, and can be difficult at church things. I talked to her this evening, and imagine how I was jumping up and down inside when she simply told me, "I want to be good." Isn't that all we really want? For them to WANT to be good?

I try not to micromanage my kids. They can choose their own styles, and yeah, I do make them change if their skirt is too short, ect. But modesty aside, I let them wear what they want. I let them choose music, and they watch scary movies, and television shows on Netflix. Ultimately, they have to choose their own paths in life. My job is to encourage, strengthen, and help them find their path. Of course my deepest hope is that that path is one that leads them to live a God fearing life, but I love them no matter what they choose, and pray for them continuously.

And when they decide to be good, to be faithful, I just jump up and down inside!

Anyway. I hope to get more sleep tonight than I did last night. I am tired, but staying up in the quiet with the rain pounding down is just lovely.

Dinner tonight: I cooked two pounds of bacon, steamed some broccoli, made some fried eggs, some scrambled eggs, and had frozen raspberries for dessert. Broccoli and eggs go well together, made me forget about toast.

I miss Paul. He calls me every afternoon, from France. We have been married for 30 years, and I still get that funny feeling inside, that spring time I'm In Love feeling. I can't explain it, but it is an actual physical sensation in my chest when I think about him. Sorry to any of my kids who read this, but I simply cannot wait 'til he gets home. I am extremely thankful for him. He said there was an empty seat on the trans-Atlantic flight, which never happens. I said that maybe his wife was supposed to be there.

Ah well. Tomorrow, the dentist. All three of the younger ones have to have fillings, Cam just one small one, and the other two at least two each. They brush their teeth nicely, with lots of nagging and reminders from yours truly, but Jon's teeth are just not great. I wonder if it's because he was born less than 11 months after I had Robert, and didn't get enough nutrients in his teeth. I don't know, but of course that Mom Guilt comes on when they get cavities. I am not proud to admit that I did tell them, "This is why I keep reminding you!!!", about brushing their teeth three times a day and after anything sweet.

Cam has never had a filling, and oh my goodness, I would rather have one myself that have that child in the dentist's chair. She is my sensitive one, she doesn't even like her hair brushed because it hurts, she says. Jon and Char are all brave, but I see their legs shake a little while they open wide, and I hate it. They like me in the room with them, and I stand there and listen to the drill, and want to faint. blah. The joys of motherhood.

Perhaps after this, they will be more scrupulous with the brushing and flossing, and there will never be any more cavities.

And...I think perhaps I am tired enough for bed now....

lazy bums....

That's how I feel, just like that. Like lying down on the couch and snoring.

I tried to go to bed at a decent time last night. I read only until 11:30. Then at midnight, I woke up to barking. Duke was outside. I have no idea who let him out and left him there, and I wasn't about to go knocking on bedroom doors and ask, only to be answered with the inevitable Not Me. And besides, it didn't matter. I was awake. My heart was pounding from waking up so suddenly, when I got back into bed I thought perhaps This Was It. My pulse was only sixty something, so I was fine, I just felt so wide awake and could NOT fall back to sleep. I finally turned the light back on and read for a while...

Cam and Char slept in my big comfy bed with me last night, Paul is in France again. I love having our little sleepovers, the girls are cuddly and cute. Cam woke me up talking a mile a minute in her sleep, I loved just patting her arm and telling her it was okay.

Anyway. I am foggy-brained today.

It is a nice day, and we are going to take the bikes and put them in the back of the truck and go to a park or something.

I want a nap.

Tomorrow we have a dentist appointment, then the kids have an activity club party. They can dress up if they want to, and the want to. Star Wars nerds, I call them. How does one dress as Asoka? Can't they just be princesses?

I made the yummiest chili for dinner last night. Ground beef and hot sausage, and tomatoes from the garden. A can of diced tomatoes with lime and garlic from Aldi, and one small can of sauce. Lots of spices and seasoning, one can of black beans. It is ALL gone. Aaron came for a visit last evening and had the last of it.

Guess what? I have no idea what we are having for dinner tonight. I actually have to go to the store again soon. We are out of popcorn kernels, and hot sauce. The milk is getting low and there are only a few eggs.

One of these days I will get more organized. I will make weekly meal plans. I will organize the cupboards and not search through five shelves every time I need a can of diced tomatoes. I won't procrastinate anymore, either. If I have to call to make an appointment to get the truck inspected, I will just do it! I won't wait until the last minute to write up the kids' school reports, and maybe I'll even clean the laundry room.

But not today. Today, we are going on an adventure. We are going to enjoy the sunshine and get some exercise.

Monday, October 27, 2014

and off we go!

Last night after I got home from fundraising at the concession...Suri was absolutely thrilled to see me. She probably thought I smelled yummy, like nachos and hot dogs and popcorn.

My oldest daughter Emily worked at the Dome too....

Kathryn and Joe worked too....

And Margaret went too...

I should have gone straight to bed when I got home. I was certainly tired enough. But I snuggled with Suri, who fell asleep with her head on my lap, and started snoring. How could I get up?

When I finally got in bed, I read my book...it was three a.m. when I turned off the light. oops.

Anyway...today we are finished with our schoolwork and are heading...to the pool!!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

sunday morning....

After reading my last post, I wondered why anyone even likes me, the way I brag incessantly about my kids. So realize this, please: I can't exactly write about the things I'm NOT proud of! Two of my girls room together, and they get along like peas and carrots. For about 5% of the time. The rest of the time? I will not even go there. I think they sometimes do it recreationally. For fun. Just get all up in each other's grilles. And I can't exactly illuminate you about the worry I have over one of my sons. And one of my girls gets SO touchy about everything.

I do not ever try to misrepresent anything when I write this blog. But out of respect for my kids, I can't exactly describe each and every struggle they have, or that I have with them. Samuel still gripes about the post I wrote a few years back about when his pants were falling down in McDonalds and I realized he needed a new belt, so I got him one at the dollar store. He was a teenager, and this was horrifying for him. Now he uses it as a hilarious story.

I have the Make The House Nicer bug. It's nice when it comes along, I try to go with it, because goodness knows it isn't going to last. I made new valances for the living room, bought a few nice little rugs, and am trying to make the End Of The Living Room nicer. The end where the kids play. I have fabric for new kitchen valances, and can't wait to get started on them. I also want to repaint, but the stove still makes things black, which is very healthy, I'm sure. It's a really nice stove, so I don't want a new one, I want it fixed. Paul knows a guy, but he didn't get a chance to call him before he went back to France again....blah. Maybe I should just repaint, and refuse to use the oven until he gets it fixed.

Today, I have to go to the Dome at the college and work at a concession stand for the marching band competition. I sign in at 2:30, it lasts until 10:00 or so. Emily, Margaret, and Kathryn are working all day. I don't mind working at all (it's a fundraiser for church), but it's a concrete floor, and my knees will be hurting. I like when it's really busy, then I can't hear my knees grumbling as much. And, I love seeing my friends!

One little girl wet the bed today, lots of bedding to wash.

Ha, they are turning on the WII, and kitty likes to try to attack the game.

Evelyn is reading a good book, she can't tear herself away from it.

I started a new book after I got in bed way too late last night, and read a few hundred pages. No wonder I am wishing for a nap already.

One little girl wrapped in a towel, fresh from the shower, is cuddling with me right now.

And, off I go....

in which she writes in the quiet....

This is how my day started...a nice walk down our country road...

Aren't they just too cute? They think I bought this rug just for them to sleep on. Suri is actually quite clean, since she just had another bath, since she rolled in something yuck. again.

I did ask, as I swept up a glass Camille had dropped, if there were any other messes I would have to clean up.

I brought Paul to the airport today, all by myself. After saying goodbye, I stopped for coffee, then went to Aldi for spaghetti squash. I also got 14 pumpkin yogurts, some pumpkin tortilla chips, fresh spinach, frozen broccoli, burger, and some chocolate.

Then...since I was all by my lonesome and it sounded fun and there was no one with me to protest, I went to Kmart. This is the very same Kmart my mother worked part time in when I was in elementary school. I love/hate Kmart, but part of me just wishes them well. They haven't stood up to Walmart well, and their days seem numbered. Sears/Kmart....boring, old, stuffy, dusty...the merchandise doesn't change and turn over like Target stuff. Today, though, the clearance toys were 50% off. I won't say what I got, just in case my little kids read this, but I got some Christmas presents, and a few birthday presents for Camille, who turns seven on November 7th. I also perused the $2 racks. Yes, two dollars. I found myself two shirts and a skirt, and a cute shirt for both Char and Cam. Camille got new sneakers, too...$4.99. I got the new rug, and a few new potholders. I meandered and dawdled, and had a nice time, all by meself.

Home...ah, home. The little girls had made themselves a fort in the living room, complete with furniture rearranging. I bought a few gray baskets for the dvds, the lime green ones were getting frayed, and I didn't like the color anymore. So I sorted through the movies, and got rid of most of the VHS tapes. It was hard, I don't like to throw perfectly good stuff away, but seriously? We haven't watched these movies in years, with dvds now, and Netflix.

Mali stopped over to show us her new car, and to return the car we had bought a few years back for the college students....Mirielle, Aaron, Mali....they are done with it now, and have brought it back. They all have their own cars. Of course there are over a hundred thousand miles on it now.

I had hardly gotten the place in order, and Emily texted and invited us over for dinner. Her house was hopping. Abigail and Mirielle were with her, Aaron stopped over, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Char, Camille, me...plus a few cousins (3), and one of the other girls who lives there...were all there at different times. We had Em's homemade chili, Mirielle's yummy tossed salad, and some kettle corn.

Benjamin called me when I was driving to Emily's, so I called him back when I got there. The kids got out and went in the house, I stayed in the van and talked to Ben for a bit. He is almost out of the Army! He is staying in Washington state for a while, he is apprenticing in the HVAC program (heating and ventilation, air conditioning). He has been diagnosed with mild post traumatic stress disorder. Fireworks will probably never be much fun for him, and sudden loud noises are no picnic either. He survived his "tour" in Afghanistan, but living in stressful, challenging, and frightening conditions for months on end definitely have an effect. (it's called "tour", as if it's a sightseeing event.) He is doing well though.

Jonathan called Samuel while we were at Em's, to tell him about playing Airsoft. Several of us got a chance to talk to him, talking to him for a few hours. He doesn't have much to do on weekends sometimes, and chooses not to go out partying with the other soldiers. He is a good boy, and it isn't easy for him to say no to things that appeal to a young man, but he has a good heart, and wants to keep himself pure.

Home again. The house is finally quiet.

Tomorrow, I have to work at the Dome for the field band competition.

It has been a busy day.

Here are the things I am thankful for:

My older kids.

Emily is taking Margaret to Norway in March for a sisters' conference.

Abigail is taking Jon with her tomorrow to babysit for my nieces' twins, so my niece can work at the Dome.

Mirielle is taking Kathryn and Evelyn to Norway next summer for a conference.

I am thankful for Benjamin and Samuel, I am proud of them for their Army service, and for staying humble and true to who they are, and remembering where they came from.

I am thankful for Aaron and Mali, my 21 and 20 year old nurses. They are both all grown up, moved out, have their own cars and their own health insurance.:) When they stop in to see me, my heart is just happy.

Joseph....oh, the things he creates! He is amazing.

And the younger ones...they bring me joy, and of course some frustration, as they can be stubborn and silly and they do this thing where they slap each other recreationally. The other day in the store, I realized they were doing that, and making quite a spectacle of themselves, laughing and slapping and smacking and being loud and crazy.

I am thankful for Paul, and that I miss him so much when he leaves. I mean, wouldn't it be a tragedy if I was jumping up and down happy when he left?

Sometimes reading the news about Ebola and ISIS(why do they hate us so much?!) and school lunches and random clown sightings and drive by shootings, I really wonder about this world.

My thoughts are really jumbling, I need to get some sleep....

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 would....so I had better start:)