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

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

what??! no photos??!!

I really need to start snapping more pictures. Yesterday, for example, was a wonderful day, and now I'll just have to describe it.

The kids were busy and didn't want to get ready to leave the house. The girls were playing in their kinetic sand. So of course we had to look up DIY recipes to make our own, which is now on our To Do list. Charlotte Claire was in and out of the house, rain doesn't bother her, she was practicing her back handspring. Jonathan is reading a good book, and was training Sunny and cooking breakfast. It was just the sort of day to just LIVE.

Anyway, they all showered and ate, and out the door we went...first to the thrift store. I found a nice little cooler, a small-ish one, that seems like it will be very handy in the summer. The kids found a Jeopardy! board game, and the game of Life, both in excellent condition, for just a few dollars each. They could not wait to get home and play. (Evelyn played a game of Jeopardy! with them after the youth meeting last night. Then she said, "Do you want to know a secret? I took a huge nap after school today!" Camille said, "No wonder you're so happy!")

They also found a few nice gymnastics leotards, and a pair of nice shorts.

Then a coffee for me, and a few donut holes for them, they knew they each got three and one was left over, and I did not want one (yes I did! yes I did! but I said NO, thank you, like a good girl!), but the girl gave two extra, and let's just say it does not take much to make them happy. Four each. It was a good day. They ate two, and saved the others for after gymnastics.

Then the dollar store...there were huge bags of stuffing for a dollar, and huge bags of croutons, and huge bags of mini marshmallows, and huge bags of chocolate rice crispy cereal, and some good Easter candy, and some nice bowls from Target, and a few useful things like onion powder and new salt and pepper shakers. (We plan to make the chocolate rice krispy treats for Easter, Sam will be home!)

And...gymnastics class...then, grocery store for dog chow, milk,cheese, broccoli, bananas, chicken, corn, oats (I don't eat them anymore, but the kids do occasionally).

While we were in the grocery store, Jonathan was online on my phone putting in a pizza order. The three homeschool kids get their monthly free pan pizzas through the reading program, and when you order online, the large two topping pan pizzas are $7.99. So Jon ordered two large, and the three personals, and we picked them up on the way home.

Now this is a fine plan for a ticket out of making dinner for the family. And it's a good way to make your kids totally and completely love you. They see those pizza boxes, and YAY! Although I think Jonathan may have leaked the info via snapchat.

The problem is, I am not going to just eat pizza right now. So I had to keep my eyes off the boxes, and make some eggs for dinner for myself. A lot of good it did though, I ate pretzels later while they were playing Jeopardy! dang it. But not too many, and I had a decent day, calorie wise. is a new day, one that started at 5:58 a.m., thank you Duke. I did go back to bed, although I shouldn't have wasted the time, for all the sleep I didn't manage to get, but my bed is warm and cozy, so I couldn't resist.

Now I am up, the sky is clear and blue, and it is cold, 38 degrees (3.33 c). I don't want to clean the house, AGAIN, but I want it to be clean, so I suppose I will take a whack at it. My laundry hampers are pretty empty, it's like after all these years, the laundry is caught up. Even the little girls know how to do their own laundry, although I help them a bit. Jonathan is a champ, he is learning how to hang it all up and fold his home clothes and put it all away. Now there were years, kids, I find myself saying, when there was a laundry mountain in the doorway of the laundry room. An actual mountain that one would walk up one side of and down the other, in order to get into that laundry room. The room itself housed all the clothes for all the kids, until they got old enough to decide they wanted their own things in their own rooms. I just found it easier to pick out school clothes for 9 kids all from one room, and when we all went somewhere, I would just pick out everything at once, making sure it all went together nicely, ha. I hung almost everything up, there are racks on all the walls. It got messy, oh boy did it ever. I would clean it and say that it would stay that way forever, but life was so busy. I would do laundry day in, day out, and never get to the bottom, because day in, day out, the kids were wearing clothes and the bedding pile would be added to even as I tried to get in at least one load of it daily. I remember standing in that room looking at every single hamper, all sorted...the whites hamper, the lights hamper, the darks hamper, the towels hamper, and then the mountain of bedding...and when there was a newborn, a small bin of baby clothes, because I didn't wash those with the other clothes yet...I would stand there trying to decide which hamper needed to be washed the most urgently. They all seemed to be screaming PICK ME! And more than once I wished I had more than one washer, more than one dryer.

But, as much as I couldn't imagine it happening, those days passed into memories.

Having babies and toddlers and school kids and teenagers and appointments and meals to make and papers to sign and and and, for all those years...even when I sat to put my feet up, I had a baby or two or three sitting with me. I do not regret a minute of it, but it explains why I still cannot believe it when I have times where there is nothing URGENT to take care of! Yes, I am still busy, and there are things to do...but the intensity of those years has softened into a lull of slow busyness. And I am still the mom of 16 kids..butmost of them are independent. When Evelyn Joy turns 18 this summer, that will be eleven of our kids, 18 and over, leaving only 5 under 18. Miss Charlotte Claire will be 10 in May, and she has only Camille younger than her, heck when Benjamin was 10, he had EIGHT younger siblings.

Yes, life has changed. Now I have more time, but I want to use it in a good way. Today, I may take the kids to the pool, maybe for a long walk to check out if anything is blooming in the woods yet. There were things sprouting during the last warm up, and the grass here is surprisingly green. We need this sunshine to dry up the mud, thus keeping 12 paws cleaner, ha.

And that is the end of today's ramble.:)

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

cloudy and gloomy?

Central New York state weather forecast...and I don't mind a bit. I don't like the muddy soggy yard, but the gloom is rather delicious. It's a hunker down and make soup sort of day. Jonathan just got back from a walk with Sunny, which I should have gone on, but I caved to the temptation of quiet, alone, morning time. A big steaming cup of coffee, the fake fireplace humming, and I'm good.

But staying home is not on the agenda today. It's gymnastics class day, and Charlotte Claire is very excited because she has been working on her back handspring, her aerial, and her front tuck (sumi). They do these things on the trampoline, and I can't even watch, ha.

But gymnastics isn't the only thing on the agenda...I have a bill to pay, license plates to turn in to the DMV, and the list for things we need at the store is chow, again, toothpaste, half and half, milk, fresh fruits and veggies.

I do not mind going out and about, in fact I really like it, but I also like to stay at home.

Here's something I have been thinking about. I know someone who used to be the most beautiful girl I ever saw. She was breathtakingly beautiful, and only a few years older than me, so I hated her, naturally. Not really HATED, but she was the type of girl who didn't even need make up. Some of us tried hard to be pretty, and she just existed and was gorgeous. We weren't close, and I haven't been in touch with her much over the years, but the great invention called Facebook keeps me updated of these friends. So. She has cancer, and I saw pictures of her the other day....and let's not get mean, because that is NOT my intention. I am trying to make a point that beauty is a fleeting thing, she is still lovely and sweet, but I was rather shocked at how she looked. And now of course she just needs to heal, and get well, and live! Who cares how she looks! And it just hit me how stupid we can be, to care so much about outward things, things that pass away.

I hope my teenage daughters can figure this out while they are still young. The young people these days are so prone to comparing themselves, and the instagram filters don't help. One of them was telling me about a girl from school who looked so good in her pictures, but in person was...well, different. I don't use those filters at all, they seem deceitful to me, but whatever. Anyway, the girls these days have so much social media to contend with, where they don't see the bad and the ugly, only the sides of people they want to present.

Girls want to fit in, they want to feel good about themselves, I get that. But to let those feelings of not being pretty enough, or thin enough, or popular, steal their joy! Steal what could be a happy youth time!

And you know, I have body image issues as well, I hate being fat! I say I don't care how I look, I just want to feel good, but I don't like the muffin top, and I don't like being limited in what I feel comfortable wearing, and I don't like to jiggle, ha.

So it's a work for me too, to see these things for what they are...the spirit of vanity is a thief.

Young people don't realize how quickly time actually flies. One day, you wake up, and look in the mirror to see an old lady there, with wrinkles and crinkles and those wiry grays sticking up out of the part.

Anyway. I have a list of things I want to accomplish this spring...some things we "need".

A new firepit for the deck, the old one served us well until it rusted through.
A new kitchen sink faucet, it's literally falling off. An nice one though, one of the classy tall ones. We seem to get the twenty dollar ones, and wonder why they are so junky.
New faucets for the bathroom sinks, they are so old and crudded up with hard water...
New toilet seats. We just need them.
A new screen door for the deck door. One of the dogs, combined with the snow/harsh temps of winter, has made a nice crack in it, and along with the mud from one bad dog jumping on it when she wants to come in, it looks pretty grungy.
Two more Adirondack chairs for the deck. We have other chairs, that aren't as comfy, and we play musical chairs with the two we have. Notice I only say two, we actually could use like six, but we're keeping it real here, ha.
We also need to replace the rest of our windows, we only did half of them last year.

I try to keep in mind with home improvements that it can be that same spirit of vanity, but it's still nice to have things comfortable. The firepit is a good investment because of the fun we can have out there, marshmallows and all. I also like to make the house inviting, so it can be a place people feel comfortable. If they don't like dogs, they are rather out of luck though:)

I do know that there is this lust to have more....a lust that never is fulfilled. The more we have, the more we want, type of thing. More, bigger, newer, the latest. It's like filling up a colander with liquid, it will never fill up and be satisfied. It's like getting a new phone, and loving it, until the day you start hating it, ha. But we can't take this stuff with us, and if my heart is just in it all, wound up in it, then I am not seeing things clearly, not working on the important things enough.

Sometimes when I see really nice houses, I wonder if the families that live there are happy. I think, "If I lived there, I would be happy.", I mean, how can you have any problems or trials if you lived in a really nice house? :)

Yesterday, I swept and mopped, and Jonathan vacuumed. The girls and cousin Dani were outside a lot, making a new fort out by the creek, and learning new tricks on the trampoline. Camille came in to get something and her feet were covered in mud. She just needed to run and get it quick, jeepers Mom. I made her dip her feet in a bowl of water and wipe them off. Yes, they were bare feet out there in the 55 degree weather, Central New Yorkers after a long winter. The dogs needed baths after keeping them company out there, too. (And you should see the lovely shanty out there by the creek...they scavenge and find these things...and I gave them a tin bucket to add to it...but they had so much fun...)

My coffee cup is sad and empty. The washer and dryer are humming and chugging, Jonathan is doing his own laundry. I need to get moving too.

Monday, March 27, 2017

the real honest truth....

This is what the living room looks like some mornings, when Puppy has been ripping things up. Ripping things up is her favorite. Shopping bags, cereal boxes, stuffed animals, she's not picky. She was looking for something under that rug, too, I guess. The truth about puppies, besides being irresistibly cute, is:
1. They are slobs.
2. They are pooping/peeing machines. Sunny gets confused when it's snowy on the deck, and thinks it's a great place to poop. The snow is now melting, and voila, five piles of poop on my deck! It's not MY favorite to clean it up, but that's what I had to do this fine morning. (housebreaking them is no picnic! Sunny is fine during the day now, she has learned to whine or bark at the door, but sometimes she still leaves a present near the door during the night, what a thing to have to face in the morning!) But she is getting better and better.
3. They have too much energy. They crash and smash, knock things over, and romp around the house.
4. They like to steal things and run away. When we were matching socks, Sunny had great fun with this. (Thankfully,she's learning to Drop It, with the help of lots of treats and rewards...)
5. They get really really muddy on rainy spring days. Romping through the drainage ditches is also Sunny's favorite.
6. They grow up too fast, ha.
7. They sometimes bring yucky stuff into the house. At exactly 5:03 a.m. on Sunday morning, Little Miss Sunshine brought in a huge bird was hanging out of her mouth, she dropped it when commanded, got her treat, then I had the privilege of disposing of had a huge beak, and one eye looking at me.

So the real honest truth about puppies is they seem to take more patience than we can possibly possess, to the through those first crazy months, then all of the sudden one day you realize that you have a pretty nice dog.

And, the real truth about me...

1. I also am a slob. I like clean, but I also like to drape sweaters on chairs and create stacks of things to go through later.
2. I seriously wish I had a house cleaner. I don't mind cleaning the house every once in a while, but ever single day gets old.
3. Weight loss...ugh. More like the creep...the dreaded creep. But I am not giving up, never ever.
4. Writing is my favorite. Besides snacking, but we know I can't just do THAT.
5. I cannot wear high heels. My feet are wide, perhaps from all the pregnancies, because they were a nice 7 1/2 narrow when I was a teenager. 8 1/2 wide, ugh. It's hard to find comfy shoes, thus I am a Brikenstock girl. From flat comfy Ugg-type boots in the winter, to sandals in the spring, occasionally Birkenstock clogs.
6. I love to bake. That's a dangerous love.
7. Babies...oh, I held my niece's little one the other day, and instant love.

And, the truth about our weekend in the kitchen...last week, I spent lots of time on a huge church gathering we had on Saturday. Wednesday night, shopping for dessert items...Thursday night making white cakes, seven sheet-sized cakes (the huge full sheet pans, the kind that don't fit in regular ovens). That endeavor was a huge crying FAIL. They rose up beautifully, then sunk down, way down, and took forever to bake all the way through...they were nicely golden brown on the outsides, then soupy in the middle, so I had to turn the convection oven down really low and wait for them to bake through. We served them anyway, I hoped that berries and whipped cream would cover a multitude of sins, and they did. Some people actually loved the "cake", it was like a thick brownie-like cookie thing. I mean, they were made withall those pounds of butter, and 48 cups of sugar, so how bad could they be?

The rice krispie treats turned out marvelous though! They had seven packages of Oreo cookies in them, which Char and Cam crunched up for me. They were drizzled with melted chocolate chips, then cut and individually wrapped, 240 of them.

We somehow managed to make that meal for almost six hundred people...300 pounds of ham. I made the glaze with 18 pounds of brown sugar (and honey and orange juice), it was pretty good. Paul and Kim sliced that ham, we glazed it and baked it a bit...we trimmed, wrapped, poked, and baked 600 potatoes. And the green beans...boiled, run under cold water, chilled, then tossed on the griddle with bacon grease, chopped onions, lemon juice, and a bit of crushed red pepper, served with lots of bacon pieces...and rolls...600 rolls, heated in the warmers. The plating crews did a fabulous job of serving it all up with butter and salt and pepper, and sour cream. It was a busy day in the kitchen, but the meal came out wonderful. Emily was the manager, and she kept it together, and we had great fun.

Last night, we had ribs. They cooked on low in the oven for four hours, then slathered in barbecue sauce, for another hour on high. We also had fresh strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries with real whipped cream (no sugar!), served as parfaits (some of the kids had strawberry yogurt with theirs)(and confectioner's sugar sprinkled on the whipped cream). We sort of celebrated Kathryn's birthday, and she wanted fruit instead of a cake.

Here's a really good story:
My oldest daughter Emily is a lovely girl, she loves reading good books, writing stories (she has a few health themed short stories published in, "The Healing Muse"). She is also a hard worker. She has been a registered nurse for years now, but in addition to working full time, she has gotten her Bachelor's degree, and now is working on her Master's. It takes a long time to fit those classes in while working, plus all the other things Em does, like catering and doing trips and activities with the kids. So...she is considering cutting back her work hours at the promptings of her sisters Abigail and Mirielle, who are also her housemates. They have offered to help her financially and in any other way they can, so she can be a full time student, still working her nursing job at the hospital, but with less hours, so that she can finish her college in one year instead of dragging it out! That means in just one year, she will be a Nurse Practitioner! I think Abby and Mirielle are wonderful sisters. It just makes my heart full.

So anyway...the truth about my mornings...when I get up at the butt-crack of dawn, as my girls like to say, with Duke barking, and there is NO present near the door, it's a good day. When there ARE messes to clean up, it's not necessarily a BAD day, but.

Duke. His days are numbered and since I have already covered this topic too many times, I am not going to go there, but I can't take it. Being a dog owner isn't all sunshine and rainbows when they get old and decisions have to be made. I would rather he just pass away in his sleep, but he's just so feeble. One day he was standing in front of the fake fireplace barking. Just barking at it. And he gets a bit growly and snappy sometimes because he can't hear, and can't see so well either.

Oh, and here's a truth: Our sweet kitty Kettler is going to have ANOTHER batch of kittens! Yes, I know, irresponsible pet owners, who don't spay their cat. But there's a method to their madness, my kids' madness. Suzanne owns the Kettler, she is Suzanne's kitty. She has the responsibility of getting her spayed. I will pay for it, but Suze has to look into some of the low-payment options out there, and she has. But after the last kittens were all given away with us not keeping one, which considered a wonderful thing, as we need another cat like we need an elephant. But the kids do not see it that way. Three dogs, two cats...they NEED a kitten. They are all on the same page on this. After this litter, the cat will get "fixed", they promise. But we need to keep one. NEED. Who am I to argue against this? I don't want to be the really bad guy, and I also like kittens, having a kitten with Labs is adorable. They are so gentle with cats, even Sunny. Oh dear, am I crazy?

Anyway. Yesterday I took these nice girls to the mall...Sonja, my niece Grace, and Evelyn.

Sonja wanted a new jean skirt, which she found. Then we went to Forever21, which had a sale on clearance, buy one get one free. I found these sweet little white lacy dresses for the little girls and cousin Dani...$7.99, but but with the buy one get one, they were four dollars! (Sonja also got a four dollar skirt) After just H&M and Forever 21, we were done. I don't much like malls with their high prices and bright lights and people looking so lost. I mean, it's like, "Let's go to the mall and buy clothes to wear to the mall!" I would rather shop thrift stores, or maybe just cruise the clearance racks. Yesterday I rather wanted to get home, I had ribs in the oven...and older kids coming over to visit.

I took the girls for milkshakes at McDonalds, which turned into some chicken nuggets too, and you have to have some fries! Not me though, I had a few nuggets and an iced coffee.

I have truly enjoyed the comments, the stories, the introductions. :) Any more?

Friday, March 24, 2017

greener grass and rose colored glasses...

Um, don't tell the school district, but today has been a homeschooler's dream. The teacher was up partying all night, also known as baking cakes for like 400 - 600 people, which turned, awful, but that's a whole 'nother story. So the teacher stayed up too late, and ate too many cake scraps, which made sleep just out of reach. Teacher got to bed around one, knowing she had to get up at 6:30 to get sweet daughter Evelyn Joy to school for a science field trip. The knowledge that one has to get up early somehow inhibits the elusive sleep from washing over me. Then...when I blissfully nod, Duke decides to declare himself to the world, just a few intermittent barks of loneliness, spaced apart almost scientifically to when I nod back off again. I actually imagine myself sighting him in, on just an airsoft rifle, of course! Just give him a little BE QUIET zonk.

Evelyn arrives in my room, MOM, YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DRIVE ME TO SCHOOL! WE HAVE TO LEAVE IN FIVE MINUTES! This is not my favorite way to start the day.

I drank coffee on the way there, and regaled her with my woeful cake tales. Um yeah. They rose up nicely, then fell flat...baked up lovely on the outsides, and the insides were still jiggly...we turned the oven way down, and waited ever so impatiently as the night got older and the cakes seemed just weird. They tasted fine, I mean, we HAD to trim the edges where they over-rose. But they are going to be more like blonde brownies than white cake...but served with berries and whipped cream...

Anyway, teacher did something teacher never does: went back to bed. The night was unbelievably short, and it's a cold and dreary day, windy and overcast, a day for sleeping a little bit. Jonathan agreed to get up and stay out here with the puppies, so they didn't bark in utter loneliness...and I took a one hour nap.

(Duke can't sleep in our room. It's like taking a nap with a toddler who has eaten too much sugar. He's antsy and keeps me awake)(and I think he likes being with the other dogs)

Anyway. Teacher spent too much time with two small children on the arms of her chair, looking at houses for sale. We like to critique ever aspect, and especially like to look at the really expensive ones. We found one we can really fit into, and we want it, but unfortunately, it ain't gonna happen, ha. Those kitchens though!

For some reason, Miss Cam is having milk and a chocolate cupcake, and Char is mauling poor Sunny, who looks tolerant, but not thrilled.

We are going to do some more intense school, in a bit. It's just one of those days...and we have stacks and stacks of new library books! Yesterday in the library, the girls were exclaiming, "I just love books!", nodding in agreement with each other, and jumping up and down. That makes this homeschooling thing worth it.

We also went to the dreaded Target yesterday, to get a few gifts for Kathryn. I bought her some sandals, which she thought were going to be pretty useless in Norway, ha. We also brought lunch up to her, she is staying in Oswego this week. It was only McDonalds, but hey, a side salad with a few nuggets...they all got $2 chocolate shakes too, oh how I longed, but didn't dare...she took her lunch hour when we got there, but then had to get back to work.

Lately I have been googling things like airline tickets to California, and Seattle, then more reasonable, hotel prices for just maybe a long weekend in July, maybe in Cape Cod. Paul and I need a little get-away again, don't you think?

The story unfolding in London is horrific. Local news isn't much better, here an investigator in the DA's office allegedly hit an 18 year old boy while driving, and didn't even stop. The boy was taken off life support after family and friends said their goodbyes, and now this former investigator, (he has been fired), is in big trouble. He knows the law, but couldn't apply it to himself, he was probably pretty drunk. Sad and tragic on all sides.

Sunny is in her perch on the back of the couch in front of the window. I don't like that she picked that spot, but she really likes it, and it's cute, and oh well, she wins. Sometimes you have to just pick your battles. Having eleven daughters has taught me that. I would say it's like this with the girls: 90% of the time, keep your mouth shut. No matter if you are right and they are wronger than the day is long. When you, as the mom, feel the most like straightening them out and using your God-given Mom Power, as in BECAUSE I SAID SO, it's usually not the right time. The right time is pretty much when things are calm and good, and you can talk in a peaceful way, after all the anger and the right-ness and the impatience has burned off, ha. There are exceptions to every rule of course, especially where Momming is concerned, but usually the first reaction is a wrong reaction. There is a time and place for putting the foot down, and I am still learning how to fine-tune this skill, my poor older kids! Oh, to get a Re-Do of life!

I do go on and on sometimes, hampered from getting up from this comfy chair by the knowledge that letting sleeping dogs lie is better than putting my foot rest down and waking them all up, letting them out, then wiping off 12 muddy paws...and the coffee is particularly yummy this chilly morning.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

happy birthday to kathryn, and dollhouse people go to jail....

My Kathryn Grace is 19 today! Kap is our tenth child, the second of the five-girls-in-a-row-in-five-years. (those girls are now 20, 19, 17, 16, 14 -almost 15)(Margaret was 5 years 5 months when Sonja was it was Margaret 5, Kathryn 4, Evelyn 2, Suzanne 14 months...when Sonja was born) (I had too much fun with these girls!)

Anyway, Miss Kathryn is staying at Margaret's place this week, Margaret is in California training for a new job. Kathryn is working full time, and saving up money for her plane ticket to Norway, she is staying there for a year.

We are heading to the library today, then to visit Kathryn up in that small city by Lake Ontario.

But first, some pictures from our fun day yesterday with the twins...

Mr. Sebastian playing with Sunny.

Miss Linnea playing dollhouse...I feel bad that I didn't get a cuter pic of her, she is a darling. She gives bear hugs! They both do:)

These dollhouse people were in jail...

These were their visitors.

I think a successful playing day is when the whole house is involved, ha, when their imaginations just take over. They also played a huge game of hide and seek, and then colored pictures. Char and Cam were teaching the twins how to write their names.

This is not a good morning for blogging. I have had texts from Kathryn, Paul, Mali, and Eleanor...all good things, but. We are going to look after Lydia this evening...well, Paul and some of the kids are. I am going to be baking cakes for 400+ people, and making rice krispie treats with Oreos for 200. Evelyn and I went shopping for the ingredients last night. Math skills come in handy when you're multiplying recipes by 20! (and figuring out how many pounds of flour you need)

The little girls are supposed to be showering and getting something to eat, so I can help them pick out something nice to wear out and about. They are in reality dragging their cute little feet, they say it's cold and they don't want to get moving. Jonathan has been up since dawn, he likes his free time before "school" starts in the morning.

I love the Life Stories, please send more! I am going out on a limb here, my friends, asking for these! It's like having a party and hoping the people you invited show up! It's so interesting!

Well, my day is turning out to be a busy one...library...Paul ordered a book he wants, we have books due back, and we really need a new supply. Then we need another bag of puppy chow, and I want to run into the dreaded Target because they have those solar lights on sale, and I love them...the girls like to make light/jar/DIY projects with them for summertime. And I want to get a gift for Kathryn.

The clock is ticking, Miss Lydia will be here in the afternoon so we have to get going so we can get home...

Here are some other random things going on here...

The three high school girls are doing well, getting good grades. Evelyn Joy, my 11th grader, is going on a science field trip tomorrow and has to be at the school earlier than the bus would get her, so I will be getting up and driving her. She has a driver's license, but the school requires lots of paperwork for a kid to be allowed to drive to school. Suzanne is in 10th grade, and seems to be doing okay even with some of her "friends" not speaking to her anymore. Sonja K. is in 9th grade, and is working hard to offset the week she took off to accompany us to Florida.

Homeschooling is going well. Yesterday the kids each had to teach the others about a book they read. So they learned about and discussed earthquakes and shifting plates (we don't like that Aaron lives in San Fran, :)),the Titanic (Jon's cruise is over, so it's okay now, ha), and simple science. It makes learning fun, and when we google any questions that come up, we learn a lot.

Weight loss...I am, as always, re-committing. I spent a good hour the other night reading Paleo diet success stories from Mark's Daily Apple. These people suffered from their grain heavy diets, and feel better as well as had excellent weight loss results from eating more meat, veggies, healthy fats, and reducing fruits, starches, and eliminating sugars and processed foods. I have to make more of an effort to eat clean each day, and it's getting better again. Tortilla chips: no. Rice: just a spoonful. Popcorn: um...this SHOULD be a no, but me loves it. So it's: way less often. Ice cream: I don't eat it unless it's the homemade stuff from a farm-to-dairy place, which is almost never, but I do plan to go to one this spring. Bread: no. Occasionally Ezekial bread, which is from sprouted grains. I am trying to concentrate on what I CAN eat. The other night I had a huge bowl of spinach, with green beans, then some chicken and just a tablespoon of rice sprinkled on top. When I was losing weight nicely, I ate a lot of spinach.

Anyway. It's always a challenge, but I feel better when I eat cleanly, and I feel more in control, and ha, in my life, with all these teenagers, not much is in my control...which is okay, especially because I know that God has it, but still.

Here I sit when I have places to go and birthday presents to buy. stories!!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

your life's story....

No one wants to hear a stranger's life story. Except for me, I want to hear it. I'm one of those ladies who gets in these conversations with people at the store, and my kids just raise their eyebrows. Maybe I don't know how to gently extract myself from their tales, maybe I'm actually interested, maybe a little of both.

People are just lonely sometimes. When you're old or infirm, or even a bit poor, it can take tons of effort to just get out the door and out into the world, and if it only happens occasionally, it's a big deal. These people need socializing. I know a little bit about this, being a not really stay-at-home-mom. You do talk to your kids, but I did crave talking to actual adults sometimes.

Anyway, every single person has a story. Not all of them are earth shattering, but all are interesting in their own way. I sit here every morning, blabbing on and on about minor details of a normal life here in central New York favorite things to yap about are:
1. Traveling
2. Coffee
3. Trying to lose weight
4. The kids
5. Bargains
6. Adventures
7. Home decorating ideas or projects
8. The Labradors
9. The marriage
10. Memories of growing up

I get comments sometimes from readers, reminding me that people actually do read this, and I love it!

But here's the thing: I want to hear YOUR story. If you have a blog, let me know! If you don't, tell me about yourself! I want to hear YOUR story.

Here's my story for today...

Kathryn bought me a new laptop/Chromebook. It's shiny and new, and the screen doesn't turn black at the slightest jolt. There are no missing keys,and when you plug it in to charge it, it just charges without having to hold the charger just the right way. I absolutely love it.

Here's a fun thing: Kohl's has had 30% off online orders, free shipping, and a $10 off coupon for $40 more of kids' clothes. The clothes are on sale already (good thing because their regular prices are way too high). Anyway, I ordered Char, Cam, and their best buddy cousin Dani, these pretty princessy dresses. This was very exciting!

Isn't it pretty? But nice dresses don't come free! Yesterday, we cleaned out the laundry room! Our laundry room ain't what it used to be, with the mountain of bedding in the doorway, me never ever being able to get to the bottom of it...our old washing machine was a nightmare, it rarely spun out without me giving it a spin by hand, and loads had to go through several times before they spun enough water out to be able to go in the dryer, it took all day to do a load sometimes, and when there were lots of small children and lots of bedding to wash, and of course the clothes and towels...and socks.

This isn't even the white ones, ha.

Anyway, I enlisted the kids to help me get this done yesterday...sorting and straightening, rooting through and bagging up clothes too small, ect.

Today we were going to go to the science museum, but it's so cold out! 16 degrees this fine snowy spring morning! So the twins are coming over to play later. We have school to do first. Tomorrow, library trip.

Kids are up and busy and I need to get moving again...

Monday, March 20, 2017

strange happenings....and mysteries...

When you want to go to see "Beauty and The Beast", and all the firetrucks are at the theater...Miss Charlotte Claire. We didn't miss it though, we simply drove to the other side of town to the mall theater, with Mirielle, Camille, and cousin Dani.

I skipped dinner so I could have some popcorn...we got the refill size, and when I finally got the nerve to tiptoe out of the movie to get it refilled, there was no one there at the counter! Dang it! We didn't really need anymore, but still...there WERE five of us, and it WAS dinner, ha.

The movie was really enjoyable. I liked it. I know there was some controversy, but I don't care about that. We liked it.

Anyway, on the way home from the movie, there were all the same firetrucks and rescue vehicles parked on the highway, traffic diverted onto a back road, lots of rescue vehicles, ect...I hope it wasn't a bad accident.

As for the mysteries...Miss Cam is all into solving mysteries lately. She has this little handbag with a notebook and a magnifying glass, and she asks questions and looks for clues. She asked me last night if I had lost anything she could help me find...I told her my phone charger has been missing for a few months, but I doubted she would find it. Well. She found it! Within like five minutes! Then she asked Paul, with her little notebook out, pencil poised...he said yes, his knife. Well. She found that too, right away. She asked a few questions, started searching, and voila!

So when I went to the little grocery store in town, I bought her some ice cream bars as payment. (I went specifically for half and half, we are too spoiled to drink milk in the coffee...then I went out to breakfast this morning with my older brother and my sister, and the place only had Coffee-Mate, which is sugary and fake, so we had our coffee...)(but it was a really nice time!)

Then today, I found some mysteries to solve online, kids' stories with clues, ect.

Today was a good school day. Jonathan aced his mid-year exam, Char finished half of hers and did really well, and today Camille finished hers, and also did really well. We discovered she didn't know how to multiply fractions, so we had some lessons, and she picked it up in no time, as well as the concept of converting mixed numbers to improper fractions and back again. It was really fun, I enjoy being in on the true joy of learning with them.

Tomorrow is gymnastics class, which we missed last week because of the storm.

Danielle is spending the night, because by the time the movie was over, it was late...they are still awake in there, having a good old time.

We were thinking of going to the pool today, but I got caught up in planning for a big upcoming church feast...six hundred people, 300 pounds of spiral sliced ham. I ordered it from Wegmans, the meat department guy is a gem, so pleasant and helpful. This Saturday, and guess where I will be? Uh-huh, in the kitchen. Kim and I are thinking of making cupcakes for dessert...600+ cupcakes...will we go crazy after like 200? We'll bake them in the church kitchen, the convection oven is faster and has six racks. But still, it will be...interesting.

Life sure is interesting...