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

Saturday, December 29, 2007

a day at the mall

Yeah, I pretty much hate the mall. I don't mean I hate a bargain, just the mall. The kids needed to get out today, and I can't really do the pool yet with the baby and all, and Chinese buffet just sounded so decadent and to the mall we went. I personally would rather go deal-hunting at Target...but, the mall it was. I took two nieces so there were 13 of us in the van. I hate clearance racks with 50% off the regular price. When something is 20 or 30 bucks, half off is way too expensive. I did find some nice skirts in a nice store for myself, however, which is rare. I usually go home with pretty much nothing for me. And I got Charlotte Claire a matching striped brown and pink and white shirt and tights. Very cute, and cheap. The kids were getting hungry in the mall, and I couldn't bear the thought of the overpriced food court. And it was too late in the day for Chinese (dinner prices), and Pizza Hut-I have no coupons, didn't know their specials, and didn't want to wait so long. So Molly got out her paper and pen, and we asked each one which two dollar menu items they would like from McD's.....then sent Molly in with her two cousins to order. We would have eaten in there, but Charlotte Claire fell asleep in her carseat....For dessert, I drove over to Rite-Aid across the street and got some half price Christmas sour patch kids, swedish fish, and Hershey kisses....what a sweet ride home. We live pretty far out, so the van rides can be quite fun, depending the kids' tiredness, or just general grumpiness. Or full of singing fun, fooling around. So our lunch-dinner was served in the van, and we had popcorn at home this evening, which turned into pretzels too, and a few cookies, and some stocking candy. It was a fun day. The best part was bring my classy baby carriage to the mall. Lots of ladies hated me, 'cause it's so nice. It's a Silver Cross basinette with a Jane frame. Actually, not too many people care about strollers and carriages: for me, it is an obsession. Well, my little Camille is fussing for me, the evenings are busy - she can't decide if she's hungry, or if her tummy hurts, so back and forth we go.....yes, she's lucky she's so cute.

Friday, December 28, 2007

sweet day at home

Well, the Christmas tree is looking sick. The garland and strands of beads are sagging down toward the floor, thanks to Charlotte Claire. There are no ornaments on the bottom third of the tree, they are in pile on the floor underneath, thanks to Charlotte Claire, and other lazy bums who throw things under the tree and knock a few more ornaments down...The boxes of candy are basically empty, just a few maple creams with bites, the chex mix is gone, one piece of pie left, a few cookies in the big huge containers....wrappers on the floor from the yummy stockings. But it isn't over yet, I say. Please, not already. I just love having everybody around. Ben is home from college, and Em has had the last few days off, and Paul (daddy) has had the whole week off work. We still haven't managed a family picture, though. It is a miracle in itself to actually have all eighteen people in the house together, much less an extra to take the picture. I almost thought we had it made a little while ago, but Joe went to play Friday night basketball. Margaret and Kathryn got a karaoke set for Christmas, and are setting it up in the living room. Charlotte Claire has the microphone, and is singing some funny nonsense. Good luck getting it away from her, guys. Camille is not happy right now, so I'll sign off. I have to decide what to do tomorrow-daddy and Joe are going to the House of Guitars, just to look (?)....I have the rest of the kids....what should we do? Museums will be crowded, the zoo too. Chinese restaurant? Recreational eating just seems so wrong, but a table full of kids with hot tea and unlimited sugar packets sure is fun....and the mounds of orange peels....we DO get our money's worth.....

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas day

I never capitalize the titles, but Christmas has to be! What fun was had today. We surprised Joe and Sam with an xbox360, and Sam said, "holy crap, holy crap!", language which is definitely NOT encouraged around here.....but he was SO excited. Jon just loved opening his garbage truck, and steering wheel, and trains and batman umbrella, and penguin underwear....he is pretty busy today. Everything is out of package, and being played with. Charlotte appreciated her dolly in a car seat the most. In fact, she didn't even open all her things yet. Emily, Abigail, Mariel, and Molly got digital cameras. Em hasn't opened hers yet though, because she just arrived home from work (nurse in on the trauma floor of a very big hostpital).....we wanted to wait to open things, but 4:30 in the afternoon is just torture for Em has gifts for them, and we'll have a second Christmas celebration soon....I got a nice watch from Paul, and an unbreakable thermos. (Kids have broken two previously)......well, time for second Christmas.......

Sunday, December 23, 2007

december 23

Tomorrow is Christmas eve. The kids have been tucked in, and won't probably fall asleep for hours....they are so wound up..Today we had our Christmas feast at church. We number about 100, with 40 or so youth, 35 children, and the rest adults. So this year, the youth kids picked children's names and each youth got a child a gift. When it was present time, the youth went out into the hall, then paraded back in singing, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"...they lined up in the front of the meeting hall, and called out the kids names one at a time and presented their was quite touching. We had a nice turkey dinner, prepared by Emily, and some of the other younger ones, and my older brother. Dessert was a sampler plate: pie (apple or pumpkin), chocolate torte, cheesecake with strawberries, and a peanut butter cookie, made the day before by Emily.

Em has to work a twelve hour shift tomorrow, but nurses can't always be choosers. The rest of us are going to my brother's house. He has ten kids, but 4 are married, and the youngest is 13 now. My other brother and his 12 kids will be there, and my sister with her seven daughters, two of whom are married....and one other brother with one son, and another brother with two kids might be there, and my dear brother who took care of my parents, who is single....I have no idea how many that adds up to, but it WILL be crowded and hot, and crazy and fun.

My baby is so precious today. She wore an adorable dress, and just was kissable. I'll post a picture of her sometime. My camera got lost, so my nice husband bought me another one. Just like the old one so I don't have to figure out how to use it. I am no genious when is comes to these things. Cell phones still scare me. I am never sure which button to answer it....and I always forget to turn it on when I go someplace. Then I forget to turn it off, then forget to charge it, then when I DO charge it, I forget to bring it with me again.....

Monday, December 17, 2007

power's back on

Yeah, the power went out a bit before 8 last night. The sudden pitch blackness was a shocker for the little ones, so they screamed. The more they screamed, the more they screamed, and the more the bigger kids yelled at them to shut up, and daddy told everyone just to be quiet, and I sat here holding the baby, telling the kids to find their way to the couch and be quiet, while explaining to Aaron that a flashlight is on my dresser. I may not be the queen of organization, but I always know where one flashlight is. So the candles were lit, and Charlotte Claire thought it was one big party: she sang happy birthday over and over again, which is followed with blowing out the candles....we found batteries for some sound machines, as our kids are addicted to sleeping with fans on...(we find they sleep better when sounds are drowned out)... Eight of the older kids were sitting around the kitchen table talking and playing in candle wax, and dad was falling asleep on the couch...the little kids actually went to bed very nicely, I think because it was so dark they were afraid to get out of bed. The power came back on after I fell asleep, so daddy got up and turned off the tree lights, ect...This morning the kids were saying how much they like it when the power goes out!!! Real fun, guys.

Oh yeah, and today is a snow day to boot. It is very cold and windy, with lake effect from Ontario tapering down, but snow blowing on the already slippery roads. This is a rural school district, with many miles of bus routes. So we are cancelled most frequently of any other school around....Well, they want to go out to play (I know, crazy) so off I go.....

Saturday, December 15, 2007

a storm is coming

When you live in a house of eighteen people, the clutter piles up continually. When you hate clutter, and are busy with a newborn, frustration abounds....when you have a 3 year old son who likes all 5 of his "ride-ons" out so he can cruise across the kitchen on whichever one he wants, and a nineteen month old who just plain likes everything out, frustration abounds. When you have several musically inclined individuals, guitar music, piano, saxaphone, and rock and roll music are a continual background. When you have no mudroom and winter arrives, boots and coats spill into the kitchen. When you have 5 little girls who like to color, pencils and markers always fall into the hands of the nineteen month old. When your nineteen month old screams to comunicate, the frustration increases.
I guess there are are many reasons why people out there don't have sixteen kids. Watching three kids take turns going down the new Little Tikes slide, coming home from girls'club with prizes and excitement, watching 5 year old Sonja lose her first two teeth, hearing their elementary chorus songs, having lively dinner table conversations, watching them bound through the snow, and how can I describe the sweetness of their hugs ? They are SO excited about Christmas. I wrap a few more presents every day, so the pile under the tree is screaming to be shaken and peeked at. How can I describe how much fun it is on Christmas morning?

Friday, December 14, 2007

a night at home

It is a cold winter night, and cozy in here. Our tree is lit up, and lights in the windows, and the lamps are off, so it is lit in here by one tv with video games (Sam), this laptop, the other computer, and the lights in the music area of the living room. See Joe, 16, in the photo below playing the piano. He and Paul (the dad of the house) are playing some Christmas music on their guitars...the little girls are playing here and there, and in their room. Kathryn (9) is at a sleepover, Emily, Abigail, Mariel, and Molly are at a girls Christmas party. Ben went out with his friends. So its just Daddy, Joe, Aaron, Sam, Margaret, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and me. Believe it or not, it is kind of quiet. I included the trampoline picture because: warm weather was just here. Fall was beautiful. Molly, Margaret, and Kathryn are beautiful. The kids got so much excercise on that trampoline....Now they have to run around in circles, and jump off chairs into piles of blankets to get their energy out. Going outside is great too, but sometimes it is too dark or cold and windy...I have to go and help the girls find and wrap their class presents, and Camille just spit up all over Evelyn....

another day at home

Wait, not another day at home, the kindergarten singalong is this afternoon...Last year when Jon was 2 1/2, he called it the "dingalong", so that's what it will always be called, in our house. Our kitties are at the vet getting "fixed" today. Evelyn, 8 yrs old, asked what it meant. I told her it was so Kitten Force (female) won't have kittens. But what about the boy kitty, she wanted to know. I told her it was so he wouldn't be a daddy. She thought that was so funny, "What it he DID get married?", she asked....I lost the vouchers from NY state to spay/neuter for $20.....we're gonna have to pay big bucks for this....I feel like crying.

Yesterday my second oldest turned 21. Icy roads, she stayed home and we watched Failure To Launch, very stupid but very funny.

I love my baby. She is cute and sweet and cuddly. Chubby and smiley. I love the weight of her sleeping head on my shoulder. I love to snuggle up with her and hear her little snores. I even like changing her diaper and seeing how chunky her little thunder thighs are getting., it's hard to be so hurried in everything I do, because she always needs holding.I want to make cut-out cookies, and wrap presents, and straighten the curtains (no one else can see some of these things that drive me nuts)...I really am working on being thankful for life the way it is, and not giving in to that nagging impatience because I want to accomplish so much.....I haven't even scheduled my six week check-up appt., and Camille is 5 weeks old...but you know what? I'll be okay. Life goes on, and what doesn't get done doesn't get done. I can only do so much, and being depressed is no help for anyone. No matter how much I manage to do, it is never enough, and it is not apparent to the others around here how much time and energy go into the raising of a newborn. Oh well. God has given her to us, and He knows what we need. So what if there are no clean socks.

I have to somehow get pretty for the singalong. Not me, but Camille, Charlotte Claire, and Jon. I have no idea if I was supposed to send in cookies for this....I'll hold my head up high, and pretend like I did....

Monday, December 10, 2007

my daughter's sick day

My high school daughter is sick today. She hates her name to be used, so I'll call her, "Sweetie", which doesn't describe her accurately most of the time. She has the stomach bug, and is freezing cold, half sleeping all day on the couch, but sometimes awake and talking. I have enjoyed having her home. I have noticed this through the years: children are nicer when they are sick. Maybe so Mommy's love and compassion can be stirred up for them a bit more. Charlote Claire choked on the top of an ornament today, and threw up on the kitchen floor. She then hurried over to the drawer for a wash-cloth to help clean it up. She kept standing on the presents near the tree today, and when I would put Camille down to go get her off them, she would squeal by me, and try to get to Camille. I would then pick up baby as fast as I could, and she would run back to the presents...I had to give her a little spank to put an end the game. It hurts me more than it hurts you, honey. I am my mother.
Camille has gone through three outfits today. I moved her up a diaper size, and she still pees through. Too much nursing, I guess. I have to go shopping: four little girls need class presents. 4 or 5 of the older kids need "big" gifts...we are getting gramma and grampa one of those digital picture frames. I miss my mother and father so much. Gramma loved Christmas. She always got the kids presents, even when she was so sick. Well, I'm going to miss my opportunity to take a little nap, if I don't get off this darned computer...Evelyn has Camille, I have to take her in with me for a nap. Too dangerous out here for a baby without me. Ride-ons are being ridden, snacks being eaten, can the rest of them survive without me? Joe and Aaron are here..It is Aaron's 15th birthday today. I made him some fudge instead of a cake today, between changing and feeding Charlotte Claire and Jon, and feeding and changing and rocking Camille over and over again..I also did a few loads of laundry, swept the kitchen/dining room, mopped it a bit, cleaned up the counters, read the paper from yesterday, read the paper from today (hey, I have my priorities...)...anyway, gotta go.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Another snowy day

Camille at almost 4 weeks, Aaron with newborn Camille, and Jon with Sam in the snow.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

bazaar day

Today we had a table at the school craft bazaar. Mostly my sister and I, and my sister-in-law, sold stuff for our church girls' group. Most people are just too busy to help, so the three of us did what we could. Fudge, rice krispy treats, hand-painted wood sleds that didn't sell last year, mugs full of lots of candy....we did okay, but more importantly: we had fun. Being at the school, in a small community, seeing all the teachers, neighbors, friends: it was nice.

It is freezing here in the Northeast, high of 23 degrees today. Windy, bitter cold. Seems like I was just complaining about the heat, now this. The thing I hate about winter, besides driving in the snow, is having my grown children drive in the snow. I get pretty scared about that. And with Emily being a nurse in a hospital in a city 40 minutes away, she has to drive daily. So I just pray, and nag at her to be careful. I also don't like walking on ice (who does?)....