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, February 29, 2008

friday again!

Okay, the first comment I usually hear when people find out how many children we have is: "I bet the older ones help out." That came to mind this morning when the four elementary girls were getting ready for school. I do their hair nicely each day, so it looks like somebody loves them, which happens to be true. Of course the three younger ones need their morning attention, especially this week because they are sick. Jon has a cough and fever,
Charlotte is still sick, and Camille has a slight fever, cough, and stuffy nose. The younger ones aren't always all up in the morning, but today they were. And the older ones were all gone, living their lives at work, college, high school, middle school.

The last three days have been more stressful than usual because they are sick. I love them dearly, but yesterday and the day before, the phrase, "This day is from hell!" kept going through my head. I obviously don't agree with that, I know God is near, and He weighs and balances each trial. But I have been sorely tempted and surely pushed to my limits.

So, when I am asked, "How do you do it?" ......I really don't have an answer except, that it is by the grace of God that I manage. But that isn't right, I really don't manage. See, God isn't interested in whether I get the socks matched. No, it is an inner battle that is waged. He gives grace to the humble. I am in constant need of patience and goodness. Anyone can have alot of kids, but I personally couldn't get through day after day, week after week, without getting saved in this. Without getting victory over anger. Without getting free from sin, and it's power. Without getting free from anxiety.... One thing about that, anxiety: This year, Ben drives 14 miles south of here for class every day, Abigail about 26 miles north, and Emily 25-30 miles east, for work. And we live in the snow belt! I just have to pray, and fight to be at rest about this. I think this thing alone could drive me crazy without God's help.

Paul and I are going out to dinner tomorrow night with his boss and co-workers. We plan to leave Camille here with the others. What a first for me! She's not 4 months old yet. But she goes through this nightly fussiness, complete with intermittent screaming, just not restaurant behavior....Last night as I was holding her and eating dinner with my left hand, I assured Paul that I would use a fork for my salad on Saturday....I just hope I remember to eat slowly! I am trained to hurry, because someone is waiting for me to take her back.....

Today, Charlotte Claire is the biggest monkey wrench in the monkey wrench pile. She keeps stopping Camille's swing, to cover her up or wipe her nose. A nice little helper, but boy!! And she's emptying the video cabinet, and getting up to the table...Charlotte is feeling a little better, and don't tell anyone, but I kind of like her better when she's sick!

Suzanne is home today, sounding hoarse, probably getting what these guys have. She is being the dr., and feeding Jonathan medicine syringes full of water, and making him comfy. Now he is going to be the dr.....can I be the next patient? I'm tired of being the mom.....

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

another school day

Yeah, they're almost out the door....I find they do better if I'm not over there micromanaging...besides, I have a few minutes with my arms free!

A new day stretches before me. I want to: above all, be patient and good. Get the house clean. Snuggle with Camille. Get some hugs and smiles from Charlotte Claire. Some hugs and cuddles from Jon, along with some killer conversation about trains, cars, tractors....I want some decent time with my teenagers: Ben, Mariel, Joe, Aaron, and Molly....we can laugh! The other day, I was nagging about people leaving water in their cups on the counter (I counted 6 cups with water in them), and of course no one here does that...and Mariel, 18, and Aaron, 15, confessed they talk about how easy it would be to drive Mom absolutely nuts. Go ahead and try, I said. I'll drive you nuts too. I have to laugh at myself, seeing me through their eyes. Anyway, I want: some good time with Sam, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, and my kindergartener, Sonja. I DO have some fun with these younger four girls in the morning before school, especially days like today when Jon, Charlotte Claire, and Camille sleep in... And I want: a little time with my oldest two, Emily and Abigail, no longer teenagers. They are adults now (23 and 21), and we can have some good fellowship. I know they won't be here forever, so I treasure the time spent together. And last but obviously not least: I want some alone time with Paul. We still have that spark, and I am crazy about him. Around here, we can barely volley two sentances without interuption. He gives up too easily. I can talk for hours, being interupted every two minutes, he just gives up. So we need some time.....Honestly, I can't get mad at him. We rub elbows, and he does things that just drive me insane, but when I look into his eyes, whoa! He still has me.

Anyway...we are going camping this year. Adirondacks. Our neighboring campers will either love us or hate us. I am trying to get into better shape so I won't be too miserable walking everywhere, and on the beach....I just have so much extra time and energy to excercise....

Camille is crying, so my time for myself is over for now. I bet I appreciate peace and quiet ten times more than the average mom......since I hardly recognize it..but I did stay up 'til midnight reading......

Friday, February 22, 2008

museum day

What a day we had yesterday! My friend A. and I have been trying forever to get together on a museum trip, then yesterday I found out she was going, sort of spur of the moment. So, with half the kids still in bed and the other half in their jammies starting a game of Monoply, I decided to go for it. It is like 60 miles away, but the sun was shining, and thanks to internet weather at my fingertips, a good forecast for a day trip.

So, Molly made PBJs, Kathryn baggied (I love verbing nouns, it drives my smarter-than-me teenagers crazy) up some chips, while I got out clothes, made bottles, took a shower, nursed Camille, and gave orders for everything else. One thing I hate: arriving somewhere to discover someone has a raggy coat on, or two left boots in different sizes. And: if 4 little girls have matching suede boots, (cheap, of course:$4.24 at Target) shouldn't they wear them? But no, two of them want shoes, and one sneakers....

Anyway, we got on the road: Molly, Sam, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and I. Also, a friend, P., and my nieces, E. , A., and sweet little G. So the 15 passenger van was full. Em was at work, Ab had class, Ben had homework, Joe had to play guitar, Mariel and Aaron just opted to stay home....

I think every mom thinks she has the cutest, funniest kids. My Charlotte Claire is just so adorable, so sweet. She will turn 2 in May. She generally doesn't talk. She knows words, but she likes to scream and point, and gesture to get her point across. She understands what we say, but that doesn't mean she listens....anyway, it was more fun than I can put into words, seeing my kids enjoy themselves at the museum. Charlotte Claire liked seeing the other kids. She liked the train table, too. And the little grocery store. But her favorite was the troll bridge. Just going up five little stairs, walking across the bridge, and going back down. The stairs here are off limits to her, because she is hard enough to keep track of on one floor....the fact that she was hobbling around with one leg in a pink cast up to her thigh only added to her adorable-ness.

This museum is a toy museum, a play place. I haven't grown up yet, so I love it. It's one of the few places that offers a family membership, so it's a bargain for us: $80 for a year, and we've gone 4 times in the past year....

Is this boring? I'll tell you what I have to do today: grocery shop. Today is Mariel's 18th birthday, and she is my coupon cutter and bargain shopper buddy. Tomorrow is Suzanne's 7th birthday, and we are having a Hawaiian party! 6 little girls are coming over, and we're having fajitas, Suzanne's favorite. It is cold and snowy here in the great Northeast, and kids have been indoors alot. These kids will be excited and full of energy, so I better start praying for extra patience any time now... Anyway, we need some supplies. but it is snowing like crazy and a 15 passenger van is wonderful for fitting all the kids, but not so wonderful in the snow....maybe I'll wait til dear daddy gets home, and take the truck....we go through food at amazing speeds here....we are always out of something because: just because I have alot of kids doesn't mean: I am organized. I am not. I am in little segments: I always have lots of clean spit up blankets, and I know where they are. But to plan meals ahead, and keep track of how much toilet paper or bunny food we have, forget it. No specific shopping day, just where it fits in.......

Camille Anaya is awake now, and looking pretty cuddly. In her pink fleecy jammies. And she's hungry. And Jon just got up, in his nice new camo-jammies, soaking wet, no doubt. So, my time to write must end. I do enjoy this. My little living-for-myself thing, I guess.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

shopping for carpet day

Well what goes with a new vacuum cleaner better than new carpet? We want a wood floor for the living room, but when will we install it? Our carpet is 16 years old. We vacuum every day, but it is looking pretty loved.....I went looking at new stuff today. Of course, I like blue. A really dark indigo-y blue....and of course I like the real expensive stuff, nice and expensive I'm not sure we'll go for it at this time.

I have to go, Camille is crying like crazy. Kathryn, Sonja, Suzanne and Charlotte Claire are also going crazy. Wild Indians. With the background music of Camille, it's enough to make ME crazy, so I better go.

Friday, February 15, 2008

wishful thinking day

My dear sister-in-law, K, is going away for a few days with her family! She has 12 kids, and is going with 10 of them....2 days at a waterpark hotel. Our family is just bigger enough that it would be so costly....Not that all 18 of us would go. Emily has work, Ab is in college, and so is Ben. That is still 13 kids. And two parents....that is 3 rooms. At $250 a room, for 2 nights, that's $1,500 dollars....just for the hotel. If breakfast is included, that means just a few more meals to buy, but I can't imagine spending that much for 2 days. That is one tough thing about having such a huge family. I was looking out at the snow the other day, dreaming about taking the whole family to Florida. I got to the plane tickets part, and sighed...Mariel and Molly are there now, with Gramma and Grampa. Hey, if we go away when they're there, that's two less kids! Still, 13 of us, we wouldn't fit in 2 rooms.....or would we??Does Camille count as a person yet?

I went to Target last night and bought a dyson vacuum cleaner!!! It was pretty exciting. I didn't realize how much I love vacuum cleaners until recently. They were sort of a necessary thing;;;we burned out the motors, and bought another... I have had: Eurekas, Hoovers, Dirt Devils, an old Electrolux, Sears brand, ect.... Mostly belt troubles.. the Oreck I inherited from my dad is still working great, but it has no attachments for corners and cobwebs. I absolutely love vacuuming cobwebs. I like vacumming the furniture, too. So anyway, I go look at the vacuum cleaners last night, and this dyson is half-price!! Of course, that's obvious, or I wouldn't have bought one. It's pretty sweet so far, the hose stretches to 17 feet. I can vacuum the stairs without moving the cleaner.

Anyway, I am enjoying this typing without Camille on my lap. She is taking a huge nap. I have to wake her up soon. She is just getting cuter and cuter. She is totally fascinated by her hands....fists, I should say. Then she punches herself in the face....duh, what was that?

My extra nice older brother stopped by with some treats, and he stayed and visited for a while. He was at BigLots, and there was a half price bin....He brought us Craisins, M&M's ($1 a bag!), and some crackers. He is a good brother, he built this house for us. He's the kind of guy who's always there when you need him. He knows where to get the best price on everything.

I am thinking stir-fry for dinner. I would like to hire a housecleaner, and a maid, and a cook. No, just someone to clean up the mess while I cook. And someone to hold Camille while I cook. And someone to take the clothes out of the dryer while I cook. And someone to break up all the fights while I cook. And of course someone to clean up afterward. Wait, I have kids!!! Just have to get them to turn off the Simpsons, and I'll be all set!

Emily and Ab are going to the sisters' conference this weekend, for young sisters that is. So tonight there isn't any activity club for the kids, which is kind of nice. I like the cuddly Friday night feeling that comes with staying home....and it's mid-winter break!!!No school for 9 days!!! I really love having the kids around. I am praying for patience, though. I really want to be good to them and listen to them...I have learned to make use of the quiet times, to prepare for the crazy...

Saturday, February 9, 2008

saturday again

Feeling kind of lousy today, but not terrible. Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, and Charlotte had the flu with fevers and coughs....Jon 3 1/2, hasn't had it yet. Neither have the older kids. I've been laying low here, but I did vacuum and give the kids lunch, and make a few cakes for after dinner. Is this boring? I like to just sit here and write about life as it is....

Molly and Mariel going to Fla. next week to visit their Gramma and Grampa W. Lucky, lucky girls. I sure would like 75 degrees and a dip in the pool right about now. It is pretty cuddly to be inside today. It's like 35 degrees, and snowy, rainy, drippy, grey, brown, soggy...but cuddly in here. It smells like birthday, because of the cakes....and the kids went outside, decided pretty quickly it was yucky out there, and are having a sleepover party here in the living rom. Lots of comfy pillows and quilts..
Evelyn and I had some fun together today. We sneaked into the bathroom and put some peel-off mask on our faces. It was hilarious when we came out with green slimy faces. Molly came to ask me a question, and was like, "What's wrong with your face?" Of course, I played dumb....then when I started peeling it off, I told Jon with alarm, "My face is coming off, help!" The other kids played along, and suggested I go to the hospital....his face was priceless. I told him pretty quickly that it was okay, just some stuff to make me pretty...

That's one thing I can't resist: teasing them a little. Aaron, 15, woke up at 1:15 this afternoon, actually, I woke him up. When he came upstairs at 1:45, Paul told him his friends had already left for snowboarding. And I joined in....then 'fessed up, just kidding! Can't help it. Well, Molly just came upstairs with a shoebox full of dirty socks from volleyball season. Don't get mad she says....Who, me? I am thrilled!!! It helps dispel the notion that socks disapear into thin air. How can there possibly be no clean socks and no dirty ones either??

I am cooking pork chops for dinner: 3 packages of 4 chops, and a big huge pack too. We're having a few more kids over....So, I have to get crackin' if they're gonna be done for dinner.....


Friday, February 8, 2008

a new day

It is morning, and the kids went off on the bus, 9 of them. Kathryn got up, dressed, fed and brushed, and couldn't find her shoes when the bus came. Emily the nurse has the day off, and Kathryn really wants to go to school, but I don't want Em woken up yet. Jon just woke up and has his camoflage sweatsuit on, and that fresh look that kids have in the morning, even when their pull-up smells like pee. Charlotte Claire is still in bed, as is Camille.

See, we stayed up too late last night. Ben, Emily,Mariel, Molly, and Aaron. And Abigail. We talked about the tradgedy of divorce (why do movie stars even bother to get married??), how I think it's unfair for one child to cook a personal snack, and have all the other kids smell it and not get any, and how it's okay to wear cover-up over pimples (their opinion), but not a whole ton of make-up, that's trashy. The girls are going to a Valentines party, all girl, and supposed to dress as famous couples. Mariel suggested Grace Kelly and P. of Monaco, and I told Molly to get her mustache ready....then Mariel suggested Heath Ledger (ghost in white sheet) and Michelle whatever....but she said her cousins wouldn't like it, they liked him so much they thought they could get him converted someday.

So yesterday I tried my darndest to make the house as peaceful as possible, and clean and uncluttered, to appease the teenagers who complain about the chaos. But guess what? They didn't help at all!! The thing is, they vent once in a while, and I feel terrible, because I want everyone to be happy, and guilt is my best friend. But over all, they are good kids. We eat dinner together every single night, and they all more or less help with clean up. They absolutely adore Charlotte Claire, but her high-pitched screams annoy the best of us....Jon is everyone's buddy. He is so enthusiastic about what he likes, it is hard not to appreciate him. Camille is a sweetheart, Aaron actually said we need to have at least one more.....

Nights like last night are fun because we can laugh and talk without interruption. My kids don't realize what beautiful people they are turning out to be. A lot of this is growing up in such a big family. They learn thoughtfulness, forgiveness, and mercy without even knowing it. Don't get me wrong, the older ones always get to do what they want, I don't make them stay home and help. They are quite busy with their youth meetings, snow-boarding, band weekends, ect. And when they're home, they aren't always helping. And lest I forget to give honor and praise where it is due: God has blessed us tremendously, more than can be written. I cannot stand on my own, I need His wisdom and guidance continuously....

Thursday, February 7, 2008

trying my patience day

okay, i do not like typing like this, but camille is comfy in my arms....having older kids and younger ones is conflicting...i had alot more energy when the big kids were young. now the big kids complain about the noise, toys, fighting....i cannot please everyone, that is why i am so hurt when the older ones aren't happy with our home...not that it is always like that they do love the kids......

Sunday, February 3, 2008

mall day for 11 of us

Camille in her carseat, Sonja K. in her carseat, Jonathan after a wonderful carousel ride,
Molly Rose and Charlotte Claire

Charlotte Claire's first day in a big cast (it goes up to her upper thigh)

We went to the big mall in the big city with the big merry-go-round today. Charlotte Claire really enjoyed getting out, and she looked adorable in her little pink cast.

Friday, February 1, 2008

snow day!

It should've been called and ice day. Rain and ice. I was so, so glad to stay in bed a little extra this morning. Boy, Charlotte Claire is a BRAT. An absolutely adorable brat, but she is getting so spoiled with this cast on her leg. The kids think she is just so cute. She screams and screams loud when she wants something. We will just have to somehow debratify her when the cast comes off. It is so funny to watch her, though. She crawls, and when she gets tired, she drops right down and does the soldier under the fence crawl. Sometimes she gets up and walks few steps, and that is even cuter. I know she is my own child and everyone thinks their own kid is cute, but she really is squeezable.
Paul is at a brothers conference, Emily is at work, Ben went to a friend's house, Abigail and Mariel are at the brothers' conference serving coffee...It's funny that it seems sort of empty, and there are 13 of us here. We were having semi-homemade pizza for dinner, and the dough was starting to ferment, so I had to throw it out, very sad. I had the cheese, olives, onions, peppers, pepperoni and olive oil all out on the table. Rats!! What would dinner be? Evelyn thought of fajitas!! We took flour tortillas, and made little pizza things out of them...a little bit of olive oil, and they baked up crunchy and yummy. Served with some canned peaches and fruit cocktail, and an easy dinner for the twelve of us. (Camille doesn't eat dinner, at least not directly)
Sonja is still sick, her temperature was 103.something today....I hate giving medicine, but tylenol only took her down to 102, so I gave a half dose of ibuprofen. She perked up for a while, but is on the couch again now. She must have the flu....Charlotte, Suzanne, and Evelyn have had it now. So Jon's turn is coming.....I would never choose to have a sick child, of course, but anyone who has kids knows that they are very sweet and lovable when they feel lousy. Must be some grace from God to help us be extra patient with them.
I hope my girls get home safe tonight, and Paul too. I don't like to worry so much, but I do. I'm starting to know how my parents had it...Uh-oh, Jon just said he's sick.....