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

Monday, March 31, 2008

obnoxious kids

These guys think they're so funny. They are asking me if I'm pregnant. I ignored them, so they said that a delayed reply is a sign...I had to high-tail it out to pick 4 of them up from soccer tonight. Paul had taken them, and I was here with big plans....I am having some company over tomorrow, so I wanted to clean up a few things....I had just gotten Camille in the swing, kitchen cleanup was underway....the phone rang....I was busy, and groaned loudly. M. said not to answer it. I said it was probably somebody with a flat tire. Sure enough, Abigail was 25 miles away, with a flat tire. So Paul was 10 miles away with the kids, and his phone was sitting here by the got Camille out of the swing, and we went to get Paul....he drove up to change Abigail's tire, and I stayed while the kids had soccer practice....

And here I sit. Today I put away the boots, so if we get a huge snowstorm, it's entirely my fault. I also cleaned out some outgrown shoes, and weeded through the coats. We just have this small tile entry right in our kitchen, with 10 hooks on the wall....anyway, when I was done it looked a lot better, then I realized that 13 people weren't home, with their coats, shoes, and backpacks....

Paul is working nights this week, he is a computer guy, and his company is working with their branch in Hong Kong, and obviously they are awake during our night...So Paul is working nights and sleeping a bit during the day....this morning Jon looked out the window and saw daddy's truck. He said, "I know why daddy's home. Because it's raining out, and he doesn't have an umbrella!"

Well, I had wanted to clean up for my company tomorrow. There's still a huge pile of clean clothes on the couch. Everytime I clean it up and put it away, I swear no more clothes on the couch.....but when the 4 little girls get home from school, they take off their school clothes, and where do they put them??I like to check and see if they have to be hamperized or not.....sometimes skirts can be worn again. to day functioning is this: a constant accumulation of work....dishes, clothes...I can never say, phew, I am done....perpetual-that's the word I'm looking for. And here I sit. There's not much that can make me get busy at this time of night, not when I've been up for 15 hours, and haven't had a nap in a few weeks...I have an appointment in the morning, and I have to bring the 3 little ones. I can just see me trying to clean up as I try to get ready....I have a real problem with going randomly from one thing to another, in circles. I'll be cleaning the counters, then start cleaning out the microwave, then see some crumbs, and start sweeping, then I'll be in the living room sweeping up, (we have carpet, and my older kids mock me terribly for doing this), then I'll change a stinky diaper, and totally forget I was cleaning the counters....I'll be going to get clean clothes for someone, and start picking things up along the way, and the poor child is waiting for me. Then Jon will be sitting in the bathroom waiting to be wiped, and I'm like, "Just a minute....let me finish this.." This attention disorder is directly related to having so many kids. I have become an expert at blocking things out to read the paper....sometimes when they ask me a question, it takes me a while to "come to the surface"....I can't pay attention to everyone at the same time. It is actually quiet in here right now, just Paul, myself, and M., and the kitty playing on the kitchen tile with a hair elastic....but all good things must end. I have to get up and get out school clothes for tomorrow. The mornings go smoother when I have their clothes out. Just the younger four school girls, the older six in school get out their own stuff. I get the girls up at 7:30, they get dressed, I give them breakfast at the coffee table, and they watch some of Arthur, and Curious George while they eat and I do their hair...then, teeth brushed, shoes coats and backpacks, and out to the bus by 8:35.....then tomorrow I have to get the 3 little ones ready after that.....I better get to bed sooner rather than later......

Sunday, March 30, 2008

kathryn's birthday again

Kathryn turned 10 a few weeks ago, and we celebrated it quietly (ha) here at home. She wanted to have a few friends to do something special with, so today we did it on the fly, our best mode of operation. She had two girls over, and they played on the trampoline and painted their toenails. I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in lieu of a birthday cake. I made up some quick prizebags with the after-easter clearance candy from my bedroom closet, in little purses that were 75% off at Target....the only thing is that she wanted her two cousins over, and they were busy today. So, we promised her she could have them over some other time, and her big sister would make a cake. 3 birthdays for Kap....

Charlotte Claire is a brat. She just said "cookie", so Molly went and gave her a piece of cookie. She obviously didn't want just a piece of cookie, because she went straight over and threw it in the trash, and squealed for the rest of the cookie. She is 22 months old, and is saying more and more each day. It's a riot when she remembers an event. She gets this look on her face....

Camille is in bed for the night. Charlotte Claire is still up. She is trying on Sonja's new shoes.

Movie review: I liked "Dan In Real Life". Steve Carell is helpless, hopeless, foolish, likeable, pitiful, and only slightly obnoxious. It was a typical romantic comedy, but enjoyable. We love watching "The Office", but only on DVD...we rent one and watch several episodes in a row.....this way, we don't watch commercials....

Goodnight, Charlotte Claire! She just approached Emily and started saying night-night, over and over again. She had the bottle that I had ready for her, and was all set to go! She actually likes going to bed.

Well, just Paul and I, and 4 of the older kids are up....pretty quiet. Ben is at work, he got a job delivering pizzas in a small city 12 miles away. He's supposed to be working 37 hours a week, going to school full time, and working at the college 7-10 hrs. a week. Hmmm.

I'm trying to get Paul interested in going away for a weekend soon. Last time we went away was a year ago January. Time alone together is rare. A good marriage takes work, even if you love each other. I still like him, and have fun with him. There has to be somewhat of a battle in the thoughts, not to blame each other for things. I overlook some things that bug me, and I know he puts up with alot from me, too.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

sunny saturday

Well, so far I've done laundry, swept and mopped the kitchen/dining room, vacuumed cobwebs and corners, picked up the livingroom and hall, cleaned up various messes, including a 6 child playdough fest and some chocolate bunny eating....and prompted the boys to clean up the utility room. We have a brand-new hottub that I bought in the fall, thinking it would really help get us through a rough, cold winter. It sits there happily on its nice little deck, unfilled and not wired up. I told the boys I'd try to get their uncle to help us (he will, he's great), but they have to get that room clean. See, you have to walk through that room to reach the back door, and the bunny is in there, and the woodburning stove, complete with wood, and dust and dirt, it's the room where Champ the stinky dog sleeps, too.

On a day like today, everyone is here (except Sam, 12, he's fishing with some friends), so they help with Charlotte and and Jon, and I'm freer to get things done. The thing I hate: I barely get the kitchen shined and they're coming in for lunch. If I don't organize lunch, they'll be eating in groups all day. What about a few of the big kids who slept 'til noon? Their lunch will be at 4:00, and 4:15....I guess what I'm saying is: when you have 16 kids, the kitchen is open all day long. Of course, I still have some control over Camille, since she only nurses....And Charlotte, who's only allowed to eat in the highchair...the kids are only supposed to eat at the table, but sometimes I let them eat at the floor at the coffee table, like the four little girls on school mornings, watching Curious George....But absolutely NO eating on the furniture for anyone. And no drinks out of the kitchen, except for Paul and I, and water for the older ones. And no shoes on in the house.

It's interesting to find a balance between being too strict about things, and just letting things go. I can't maintain a house that looks like a furniture showroom, FAR from it. But I also don't like sticky, or dirty, or crumby floors....and I also like to have fun, not just clean house.

Thankfulness chases alot of evil away. So many things that want to drag me down are powerless when I start counting my blessings. The house is too small, the carpet looks awful, there's no room for the pans in the cupboard...I have a nice cozy house, with a bunch of funny sweet kids.
I adore my husband. I have two great kitty cats. I don't have to work, I get to stay here and enjoy these guys. I have excellent friends. I have brothers and a sister who are always there for me. I have a 15 passenger van that fits most of us, and I can take the kids on adventures. And right now I have a sweet, plump, smiling and drooling little bundle of joy. She just woke up from her nap, and wants me. That in itself is beyond joy: nursing and cuddling little Camille.

Friday, March 28, 2008

2 hour delay

This is the view from our deck this morning, a snowy barn across the street.
This is Suzanne Eleanor jumping on the bouncer in the living room. She makes it look fun!
Yeah, the kids have a two hour delay this morning. I sure wish they had come in and told me before I hauled out of bed...once I got up and dressed, and came out here, I thought about how hard it was to get up, and decided not to go through that again this morning. So, here we are.
I had a really bad dream last night. Probably in part due to the writing of one Mr. Stephen King, which I recently indulged in....Anyway, I dreamt(is that word right?) that I was being hounded by demon-things, and protected myself by repeatedly speaking the name of Jesus, which kept them back. Then I saw a door with a light coming from underneath, and headed toward it. I opened it and screamed like heck, for there was a HUGE demon-thing reaching for me. I simultaneously stabbed it with a plastic fork, while yelling for it to be gone in the name of Jesus. It laughed and said that that wouldn't work with it.....I was terrified for a few seconds, then realized it was LYING! At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow. I wasn't afraid anymore, then woke up. can any trial be too difficult?
Last night I did a really stupid thing. I looked at the Duggar Family web site. I certainly wish them no ill will, but boy did I find the big green monster in me!!! Oh man, that house is huge! I think it would be funny to put a picture of my laundry room next to one of theirs....4 washers and 4 dryers....2 ovens, a commercial kitchen a drink machine, an indoor climbing wall? Wow. If I lived there, I couldn't imagine having any trials at all!! Not true, I know,, anyway. One thing I would like here is more room for the kids to run around in the winter. I did buy them a mini-trampoline, that was labeled, NOT FOR USE BY CHILDREN. I also let them dance wildly to that awful High School Musical music....and Jon and Charlotte Claire go back and forth across the kitchen floor on their ride-ons....which is really LOUD. Lately, they have been going out to jump on the big trampoline, with weather in the high 40's, they're all set. Now we have snow again. They are currently bugging me to stay home today. I think not.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

thursday night

Camille is screaming in her bed. She has been so fussy this evening, and usually when I put her to bed, she finds her thumb and goes to sleep. Wait, I think she's quiet. I really shouldn't be sitting here, I have to get clothes out for the 4 elementary girls, and ect. I have laundry to throw in the dryer, too. Aaron, 15, is doing the dishwasher for me. No matter how much effort I put into this place, I'm a day late and a dollar short. We have a childrens' book that every mom should read. It's called , "A Cow In The House", in which the wife starts fussing and complaining that the house is just too small, as she rolls out her husband consults a "wiseman" who tells him to bring his animals into the house, one by one, and the little house gets more and more crowded. The wife realizes things could alway get worse. The husband is advised to start removing the animals, one by one. The house got bigger and bigger. Finally, the husband took the cow out of the house. The house was just the right size with all those animals out of the way! The wife can't remember why she fussed in the first place.....I find myself like that wife sometimes, and I really have to fight not to give into that spirit of discontent. Our house is just not big enough for us, and all of our stuff. Add the fact that with all my good intentions, I am not very organized, to say the least. I don't like clutter, but....I DO like clean floors, so I work on that daily. Anyway, I have to remember that I got through all these years without going crazy about these things, why go bonkers now?

Joesph is okay. It seems he suffers from migraines. The dr. checked him out, and questioned him thoroughly, and that was the diagnosis. I'm glad it was that and not something horrible. I was thinking brain tumor. I have two nieces, cousins, not sisters, who had childhood cancers, and both recovered and are doing well. I don't even want to write about this, much less think about it.

I did have a very enjoyable day with Joe today. He is the fifth child of 16, and kind of on the quiet side. He has always been gentle and creative. He draws and plays the guitar, and the piano. He doesn't like school. He and I just read the same book, Duma Key, by S.King, and are enjoying talking about it. After the dr. appt., we went to the store, then for some chinese takeout, then a stop at the Blockbuster. It was just him and I, with Camille. I love getting that one on one time with my kids.

My daughter, whose name is withheld because she'll kill me, has a tip for anyone who cooks out on the grill: put a towel on your head like you just came out of the shower, and your hair won't smell like smoke. She grilled burgers for us tonight, and boy those kids liked them! We cooked 7 lbs of burger, nice 90% stuff, and yum. We made 18 big burgers.....needless to say, no leftovers!

Paul took some kids to the library tonight, and some of the others went to the Youth meeting, and took Charlotte Claire. I was actually here alone with Camille (except for Aaron doing homework), and it went by too fast. Quiet for an hour!

We are enjoying some of the March Madness. I have no preference who wins, but some of the games are so close, it's exciting. We like to watch with the volume down....

We might be going shopping again tomorrow. There's a great grocery store 35 minutes from here, and we get the most good stuff for our money there. We also get 10cents off per gallon for every 50 bucks we spend. And we've had several free fill-ups, if that's any clue to how much we spend there....3 shopping trips this week....I need to be a better planner!

thursday morning

I haven't written in a few days, because nothing new has happened. But life has gone on....Charlotte Claire has been pooping during nap or in the morning, then taking her diaper off....nice welcome when I go in to get her up....I tell her no, not nice, but then she gets a nice yesterday morning, I went in to get her, full of dread, and she had her diaper on!! I praised her to the skies, and told her how nice that was....then nap time.....oh well!

On Tuesday, I went shopping. Abigail has vacation from college, so I had help. We went to Real Deals, Big Lots, where I like to buy snacks. Real Deals is a dollar store, and often has some great deals....and Big Lots has a 50% off table...and is cheap to begin with....then we went to Wal-Mart. I got matching shirts for Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, and Charlotte Claire for $2.00! I price-matched some chicken, but ran out of steam and didn't bother with any other price-matching. By the time we were leaving the store, Jon was melting down. I had got some popcorn chicken, and he wanted to carry it. I may as well rip up my money and throw it in the wind...I didn't tell him that, I just gently told him no, he could have it in the van....he whined louder and louder. Then when the cashier was scanning it, he reached for it. She asked me if he could have it, and I said I would take it. Boy, he lost it. He was just so upset. All the old people were concerned, asking him what was wrong as we left the store.....but sometimes, kids just can't have their own way. I just have to be patient at times like that, and not give in either, because that just confused him. He does get tired, too, after all that shopping. I try to make it good for the kids when I drag them around like that. An orange juice from the dollar store, a mini-bag of fritos from Big's hard not to spoil them, to try to bribe them to be good. Well, off for now. Joe needs to go to the dr. this morning, he had some problems with losing vision in one I'll get these four girls on the bus, and wake up Camille, and Ab will stay with Jon and Charlotte Claire...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Monday

Charlotte Claire likes candy. Camille Anaya likes playing with Baby Binks...isn't she so cute? She is just such a sweetie. She's started this thing where she fusses at bed-time, and I just go lay her in her carriage, she puts her thumb in her mouth, and sleeps all night. I take absolutely no credit for this: I am very thankful for her sleeping habits. I have had all different babies, some were monsters about going to sleep/waking in the night. I have thoroughly loved them all anyway!!! But it sure is nice to have some rest. I am 42 years old, and I get a bit more worn out than with those babies of my twenties!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday

Well, Charlotte Claire is okay. She fell yesterday and hit her head on the dresser, and was bleeding....heads do tend to bleed alot. I usually feel like the bottom of my stomach has fallen out when someone gets hurt...but we cleaned her up, and put on a bandage, it stopped pretty quickly.

The Easter baskets were thankfully received. I filled 15 this year, as Camille is way too little for candy! The older ones were thankful for personal chocolate supplies. And of course, the little ones just delight in it. Sonja opened her chocolate bunny right away, and ate the candy eye off, and Suzanne opened hers and nibbled on the ears. Charlotte Claire put so much candy in her mouth at once that she gagged and yuck, she threw up all over the living room carpet....she didn't mind. I was just glad we didn't get our new carpet yet. And also glad she missed the kids' baskets....

I miss my parents, especially on holidays. I used to call their house every day, no news was too mundane to share with them. I even called after I got home from the store, they, especially "Gramma"like to hear about what bargains I got....they are gone, their phone disconnected, their house for sale....I just can't believe it still. My little Suzanne, 7, wears Gramma's nightgown all the time. I just love when the kids remember her, how she used to come over and read them she thought going to the Chinese buffet was just the greatest...the time she lost a lense for her glasses, and didn't notice...she said, "I don't know what's wrong, I can't see out of my right eye.." Well, Gramma, maybe because your lense is missing...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

we had fun yesterday

I am a cheapskate. I love bargains. My kids do, too. Two of the little girls have birthday money, and didn't spend it on sandals because they were too expensive. The 10 year old said she would wait until they get marked down. My other daughter came to me in Target with 3 shirts from the 75% off rack, and when I looked at them I noticed one was only marked %50 off, and almost said to put it back....then I looked at her sweet face, and thought, "What is wrong with me?" ....I think there could probably be no such thing as a rich, wealthy mother with 16 kids. Because she would spend all her money, gladly, on her kids. I don't like to say no, and even when things are dirt cheap, it all adds up.... I saw some nice sweaters in Old Navy a few months ago, regular $24.50, on sale for $11.99.....tempted, vaguely, but way too expensive. Yesterday, I got one for Suzanne, Sonja, and Charlotte Claire for $4.49, and $3.49....

If you want to have some fun, take 6 or 8 little girls to Target (or Wal-Mart, Sears, K-Mart, or even Pay-less if you are really up for some fun), to the shoe department. I guarantee at least 2 of them will start saying their shoes are too small, and 2 more will say they need new sneakers for gym, and a few more will say that I promised them new shoes....which I of course don't remember....but no matter what, their shoes will start flying off, and they will be all talking at once, and asking if I think they fit, even Jon had his boots off, trying on sandals. Okay, lets start with him, as I have a fussy baby on my shoulder (Ab was off with Marg, and Aaron, Molly and Sam were looking at MP3 players) I was with all the little ones...and Jon wanted sandals. He didn't want the ones for $8.99, but I thought they fit will, and would be comfortable. He liked some $13 ones...I told him they would hurt his feet. He insisted on trying them on, and grabbed a pair 4 sizes too small. So I let him try them on. He conceded that I was right....and contentedly carried away ..charlotte jus t felll

Friday, March 21, 2008


Sonja wasn't too thrilled with the highest falls east of the Mississippi, Aaron looks like he was throwing her over, but he was just showing her the view, and she didn't want to see. The guy in the black is Sam, and Molly with Charlotte Claire.
Suzanne, Jon, and Sonja near the falls overlook.

We went to a wonderful mall, it ends in a Target, which is like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow....and Jonathan was a lucky boy: they were climbing on the cute little ride-ons that mommy never puts money in, and he found 50cents in the train. He was so excited, and knew just what to do: put it in the Bob the builder thing, Scoop. He was thrilled. Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, and Kathryn were excited about it too.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

wednesday night

One hand typing here again...Camille in arms..I could put her to bed, but she's so snuggly and warm....

I am taking the kids on an adventure tommorrow. To a city an hour away, where they've never been, to a hotel fot the night. We're leaving a bit after noon, and planning to swim before dinner. This hotel offers complimentary dinner AND free breakfast in the morning! We had to get 2 rooms:Aaron, Sam, Kathryn, Suzane, Jonathan, Camille, and I in one, and in the other-Abigail(21), Molly, Margaret, Evelyn, Sonja, and Charlotte Claire. I'm pretty sure we have too many, but I tried to ask, and the girl said they charge by the room....each room has 2 queen beds, a small living room w/a pullout couch, and a kitchenette for our micro. popcorn...Emily the nurse has to work, and three of the others have other things going. And Daddy has to work on Friday...So, besides 21 year old Abby, my next oldest is Aaron, 15, then Molly, 14.....

See, the younger ones haven't travelled or stayed in a hotel, and a trip to Disney isn't even on our "to do" list....and with all the gray, muddy, snowy, cold and windy weather we've had, it will be refreshing to have a change of scene. I'll remember to: put myself in their shoes, and enjoy the little patient!.... listen to them...try not to be too picky about how they're dressed...not to flip out every time they wake Camille up....and have lots of fun!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

three words that describe, the mom

The question posted on the larger families board: What 3 qualities do you want to describe you as a mother, how do you want to be know, or remembered.....

Sometimes when people find out how many kids I have, they assume I am :organized, and patient. I am by nature neither. Sure, I would like to be organized, in fact I give it a try almost daily. I can't quite figure out how I go wrong. I think it's always being rushed, so I just put things where they don't exactly go, thinking I'll sort it out later... The next attribute is much more important, patience. It is basically the foundation of motherhood. From the moment they're born, we need patience. Ever try to get a newborn tucked in bed so you can take a shower or just go pee? Then the stage where you know they understand you, but just aren't programmed to be anywhere near the listening to you stage? When they discover that cereal boxes turned upside-down are really fun, and yummy too? Wipes and tissues are to be emptied, bookshelves too. Coffee tables cleared, shoes stomped around in and lost....Then comes potty-training.....and when they want to put their OWN shoes, clothes, coats on, and the baby is screaming, and you're already late, again...well, you get the idea. Patience is a necessity, and I pray daily for more.... wow, Charlotte Claire, 22 months old, just took off all of her clothes and peed on the floor.....I think teenagers require quite a bit of patience, too.

So I want to be a patient mom. And non-judgemental. I have many friends with many kids, and we all do things different. Some have messier houses, and some cleaner...I need to give others freedom, and my children can learn from that example. So, patient and non-judgemental. And loving, of course. Sometimes I wish just loving them so much could make their problems disapear. I hug them and squeeze them, and feel so helpless. I'd like to keep them right here with me, warm and safe. I guess I don't have to work on that one. And fun, that isn't a problem here. I really don't feel I have ever grown up, so I love to have fun. When they set up dollhouse stuff all over the living room, I just want to play too....I was raised by a mother who never got bored, her motto was not to do what you like, but to like what you do. So driving the van, going to appointments, shopping, whatever errand I do with the kids, I enjoy. Or should I say I make myself enjoy it, try to get them to appreciate each moment, not just get through the afternoon.

So, a patient, non-judgmental, loving, fun mom. A mom who can stop and smell the roses, even if it means being late....

Honestly, the responsibility that comes with this job is overwhelming sometimes. But in the end, it won't matter how clean I kept things, or if we ate off unmatching dishes at unmatching tables (one is oval, and one rectangular, stuck together, with mismatching chairs), or if they grew up being excited about matching socks. The hardest reality is that it isn't what I say, or what I would like to be, but what I do and what I am that they see. I certainly don't have to be perfect, but fair, just, forgiving, patient and merciful. THAT is quite a responsibility, because I am not those things by nature. So each day, I pray. And each day, God answers.

tuesday, again

The sameness of the mornings can lull me into a complacency, a sense that life will go on forever for me. I don't want to take things for granted! I want to enjoy my kids, not just plow through the tasks, always thinking of what load of laundry goes in next......, or whether its more important to sweep first, or vacuum. I only have a limited time to accomplish ( ha, accomplish) things around here, in between changing diapers, feeding and washing kids, and nursing the incredible nursing baby. But so what? It has been more or less the same way for over 20 years for me. I don't want to feed my little,"suck a little-look a little" sweetie-pie with irritation because the sink full of dishes is calling me....It is a conscious work to be content where I am sometimes....that is why God made children so wonderfully appealing, though. So we will give them the love and attention they need.

Yeah, the tooth fairy forgot again last night...she should be fired! Sweet little Suzanne, 7, lost a tooth at dinner time last night, which for her is a huge deal. Of course. She put it in a cup on the kitchen window sill, and it is still there this morning. I told her maybe the toothfairy would come today when she is at school, but she said no, only at night. Please, someone remind me tonight!

I'm supposed to go to physical therapy for my knee. Ha ha. When? We live in a rural area, but there happen to be a place in the town 4 miles away, so that's not too bad. I guess my knee bones sort of grind together, and the muscles in the thigh are too tight, and blah blah blah....I am procrastinating, hoping it heals and I won't need to go. I am partly afraid of the pain. When the dr. was moving my leg around, man it hurt. I also own only skirts. How can I do physical therapy in a skirt? My kids think it's funny to imagine, my 15 year old son suggested spandex pants, and they all laughed at me. I am more than a little chubby, and spandex would be pretty bad. My teenagers tease me way too much. But they did say they would babysit if I go.

Well, Charlotte Claire's appointment went well yesterday. Apparently if you have to break your ankle, it's in your favor to be less than 2 years old. She is all healed up! She is such a little Person! It was sunny and dry yesterday, although only 32degrees. So she got to walk down the sidewalk, and she kept saying, "Walk!"....Then, she said that in Walgreens-have you ever tried to sit an unwilling toddler down in the front of a shopping cart? Well, I can't have her walking in the store yet, she has at least 8 grabby arms. Our third stop yesterday was the Blockbuster. I put her in the stroller, and she still managed to knock a metal shelf down, with a whole pile of Nancy Drew movies, tumbling to the floor....the worker-lady was very nice about it, she has a 3 year old herself. So Charlotte kept trying to do it again. I told her the second time is NOT funny. We got our movies quickly.

Well, time to get moving.

Monday, March 17, 2008

doctor day for Charlotte Claire

She needs her ankle checked, since the cast has been off for 2 weeks now. She is adjusting slowly, and still sort of drags her leg sometimes. I don't look forward to the orthapaedic visit: takes way too long. The waiting room, then waiting in the office. And trying to park the big ol' 15 passenger van in the parking garage. I hate paying to park. But after a bit of grumbling, I AM glad we have access to good care, and I'm thankful for insurance... It is hard to get someone from here to come along to help with Camille during the appointment. Mariel agreed to come after viewing the Walgreens ad, and realizing how many good coupons she had for the sale items...I quickly capitalized on this by assuring her that of course I need to go to Walgreens today. I've only been there twice before, this past Christmas and the one before...So today I ordered pictures online to pick up in the pics, the ones I posted. Technology: amazing, I just don't get it. When I was a girl, a Kodak 110 w/built-in flash was the camera to have...I don't think we even have an old one in the toy box anymore..and rotary-dial kids even know what they are?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

what a day!

i'm typing with one hand, camille's sleeping in my arms. we were all home for dinner tonight, and decided to take some pictures. it was fun. i think a video of the picture taking process would be hilarious.

i had a busy day. i went to price-chopper with molly,evelyn, sonja, jon, charlotte, and camille. jon was excited to go bye-bye...we were driving down a hilly back road, and he was saying," Isn't this fun? Don't you like this road, Mommy? I think this is so fun!" It snapped me out of my grown-up morose thinking, and made me decide to be more like Jon, and have fun. How can I not be having fun, with all these kids going to the grocery store? Jon, of course needs a car-car cart....and now Charlotte has caught on, and wants to ride with him. Great fun. But more fun is the dollar store, where we stock up on socks and breakable toys......heartbreak toys, I call them.

Well, this is hard with a baby in my arms.....and, I'm tired.

more pics

11 girls, all the kids(emily, abigail,benjamin,mariel,joseph,aaron,mollyrose,samuel, then from right to left on couch in same pic:margaret,kathryn holding charlotte claire,evelyn,suzanne holding camille,sonja, and jonathan.
next pic: our boys, joe,16, ben 19 holding jon,3, aaron 15, and sam, 12 years old...

beautiful children

most of the crew for dinner

snowy day last week from the deck

Thursday, March 13, 2008

doctor day

A trip to the doctor. I've never been to this dr. before. I've only been to the ob for the last few years...the last "regular" dr. I went to, I just didn't hit it off with. I told him I wanted to get into better shape, but wanted a physical first to be sure everything was okay...I had 10 or 12 kids then. He couldn't for the life of him figure out why I was open for having more! So, my knee hurts, and I'm going to see a new dr. Things are different now, I have 16 kids and am open for more.....I don't care if he understands or not, as long as he can help with my knee! I am not stubborn, or going against dr.s' advice: I haven't had any problems with my pregnancies, so I haven't been told, "no more"....If I had health problems, I would reconsider...

Now, going to the dr. is more complicated than it sounds. Camille Anaya is only 4 months old, and exclusively breastfed. ( I gave her a little taste of milk the other day, and she really screamed that night) . So, someone has to come with me to hold her in the waiting room. And someone else has to stay here and hold down the fort. The oldest three are in college classes this afternoon, so I'll bring #4, Mariel. My #5 is a boy, as is #6, and #7 is 14 year old Molly. Between the 3 of them, they can watch 12 year old Sam, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jon, and Charlotte Claire. My nice sweet husband is bringing home something for dinner. I ran the dishwasher, washed the counters, swept and mopped the floor, and did a few loads of laundry today. I'm glad I didn't have to pre-prepare dinner, too. My knee is sore, and I still have to go take a shower, and get Camille up, nursed and dressed before the bus comes, less than an hour from now.... We don't watch much tv here, but at 2:00 when Calliou comes on, yeah! Followed by Bob The Builder.....Jon loves those shows. It's a nice "down" time for a kid who hasn't napped since he was 2 years old...

Just typing the word nap....yum! I love naps. I also love an afternoon coffee, story books, kids, and cookies, all at the same time. I am extremely lucky, blessed, and happy. Being a stay at home mom for 23 years has been the best....I DO realize how good I have it, and am not bragging, I am just thankful with all my heart that I am able to do this.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

instilling faith in my children

On the larger families board, the question was, "What one quality would you instill in your children?"....

I can't decide. I would like to choose faith. True, living trust that God weighs and measures each trial, and faith that never is anything more than they can bear.

But honesty is also essential. To be able to admit how they are before God, to be trustworthy.

Compassion is something they can't help but absorb growing up here in a house full of kids. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.." That is something they can't help but experience.

Strength: the strength to stand up for your beliefs, to say NO to sin, to endure in temptation....

Patience, and of course humility, since God is opposed to the proud and gives grace to the humble....

See, it is hard to choose just one. I can be a loving, encouraging, and patient mom to 16 often wild, messy, loud children ONLY through the grace of God. I would have run out of steam long ago........there are alot of opinions and theories to help raise children, but patience and goodness have to be the foundation....

wednesday morning

I wrote a long, interesting post yesterday, and somehow deleted it. I DID go shopping on Monday, it was sunny and cold, without wind and snow. Molly really needed a new winter coat, and we all know it's the best time of year to buy one, if any can be found. So Mariel, 18, knowing the importance of our mission, really blessed me: she offered to stay home and baby-sit AND make dinner! So off we went, Molly, 14, Margaret, 11, Camille, 4 months, and me, the young and beautiful mom. Kohls, clearance racks. Some $200 later, we were finished. 4 winter coats, 2 shirts for Kathryn, 2 for Evelyn, 2 for Molly, 3 for Margaret, 2 for Charlotte Claire, 3 for Jon, 3 outfits for Camille....and a Barbie as the Island Princess bride/Ken-groom set for Sonja K.'s birthday. Not too bad, but still, a lot of money.....but I must admit-it was fun!!! We went to Wegmans afterward for groceries.....Just one cart-full, $150.......Eggs, bread, and juice have gone up so much. And milk. I stay away from processed food, unless really cheap, and just occasionally. I buy alot of chicken, healthy and cheap. I also bought a ham, on sale for Easter. I try to keep fresh fruit and veges in the house, bananas, apples, baby carrots, at least. Not easy, as they eat them up.....

I am going to see a dr. about my knee tomorrow. It is so depressing to be in such bad shape. I was hopeful of the future, we are buying and eliptical, etc. But this knee thing: it hurts, I can barely walk. I hurt it doing excercises, leg feels like the bones don't line up right. I'm like, "Okay God, you have to help me here, I have to take care of these kids and this house, I need to be able to walk...." So I hobble around, stepping over toys and trying not to scream...I just hope it's something treatable.

Dinner: tonight, chicken breast, asparagus, potatoes. Table: doesn't quite fit us all. When we are all here, there are 16 at the table, one in the high chair, and one in my arms. The little girls fight over who sits in the one bar stool at the counter. But dinner is a very special time. We have some interesting conversations, and lots of fun. It is extremely important, we think, to stay in touch with each other, and practically speaking, it helps us teach manners. No elbows on the table, don't talk with food in your mouth, don't reach, say please, use a napkin, not your sleeve.....etc....stay in your seat until your excused, and it you're little enough, until you're washed...I always say that just because there are alot of kids, doesn't mean they have to be slobs. I am proud of my kids because I can bring them places, and they know how to be neat and polite. One thing I hate: kids taking too much food and wasting it. I encourage them to just take a little, and eat it all. Then, if they want more, go ahead. If they get full, or don't like something, no big deal. I encourage them to eat it, but dinner time is a GOOD time, not a time for battles. I don't like everything, neither do they.

blah, blah, blah, that's what my dad used to say.

Monday, March 10, 2008

sunny winter day

Well, I do love the time change. The baby who slept in 'til 9:00, wow, slept in 'til 10:00! Charlotte Claire, being a typical girl, although not yet 2 years old, likes to change her clothes. Right now she's naked, and trying on one of her 5 year old sister's shirts....

Jon just finished Bob the Builder on tv., and the bus is coming with the 6 olders school kids. Should I go shopping, or stay home and make dinner like a good mom?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

snowy beautiful saturday

The snow is clinging to the tree branches. I love living out here in the country where looking out the window is so relaxing. A silo across the street, nothing but hills and trees out back....

Well, we sucessfully avoided Wal-mart yesterday. Real Deals ( a dollar store) is wonderful, they often have snacks/food worth much more than a dollar, like 6 packs of Nature Valley granola bars, or 24 count packs of Pillsbury ready to bake choc. chip cookies....Then we went next door to Big Lots. I especially like the 1/2 price bin. We eat it so fast, it doesn't matter if the expiration date is looming. I mean Chocolate Lucky Charms for $1.00? Eight boxes. Then we went to the Chinese restaurant for lunch. It was Emily and I, with Sonja, Jon, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. The kids really enjoyed it. They love having the "hot tea".....I was a good girl, I didn't over eat. Then we went to B.J.'s. It is a huge warehouse club. You have to know your prices, because some things are actually quite expensive. They always have coupons that make things not only reasonable, but bargains. They have a really cool teeter-totter airplane thing that holds up to 7 looks so fun!

Today is my little Molly Rose's birthday. 14 years ago today, I went in to be induced because I was a week overdue. All day long, the contractions came but didn't hurt and didn't dilate the cervix. I remember talking to my sister on the phone around 4:15 in the afternoon, and telling her nothing was happening, and I might go home. Then, things moved. (did she pray for me?) I went from 4 centimeters to birth at 5:10.....She was born effortlessly, although I did yell loudly for God to help me before I pushed her out (that part of birth is wicked painful for me, when the baby is all the way down). As she was being born, the doctor, who was Indian, exclaimed, "God wants you to have babies, Della!" So, when I tell Molly her birth story, I remind her that the first word she ever heard was God. The next day, when she was one day old, was our 10th wedding anniversary. We were married 10 years and had 7 children. The hospital used to have a special dinner for new parents, roast beef and lobster tail. So, we got to go out to dinner on our anniversary in the hospital. The nurses babysat!

My arms are full of baby in the evenings, so I have gotten in the habit of going online in the morning. I really have to get up and get moving. All the work that was done yesterday has to be done again today.....but, it's Saturday, and the kids are home, and I love them. I'm sure I'll be tempted to anger and irritation, but by the grace of God I'll be good, gentle and kind.

Friday, March 7, 2008

just a quick post

Another ice storm heading this way, and I don't have enough "supplies" for the weekend. Sonja Kathleen is home from kindergarten today because her class is going bowling, $7.00......and chaperones aren't allowed to bring other she has a day off. Em is also home again, but she is getting new tires for her car, and we can't all fit in her car: Her, me, S.K., Charlotte Claire, Jon, and Camille. So I may have to take the 15 passenger van to Wal-mart. I should've gone yesterday....

Thursday, March 6, 2008

everyone made it on the bus today

Major feat! The little girls do like school, which I'm thankful for. A few of the boys could take it or leave it, actually they would leave it. It is really quite incredible how responsible they are, though. I hardly ever bug anyone to do their homework. I have a few kids who get excellent grades, and that's great. I have one who tries very hard, and gets average grades. And that is fine, too. And one who is lazy, aces every test, and has grades that go up and down like an elevator....but this child is wonderful, respectful, and musically inclined....

See, my way of giving individual attention is this: I let the kids take a day off from school at random, to be with me. Then each gets a turn...when they start whining to stay home, I tell them it isn't their day to be with me yet. Of course, they stay home when they're sick. Which has been pretty often this winter.

One reason to be very happy: Emily has today off! And no classes, spring break! (ha, spring break-it's snowy and icy out there). We are running out of milk, only one gallon left. There were 6 gallons in there on Sunday, and it's Thursday, not too bad. We don't drink it for meals, just cereal and bottles, and in coffee and tea. And with the occasional cookie... this ties together, because with Emily here, I can take a trip to the store! Wal-mart, get ready to make a few bucks....

You'd think I have no life, being happy to go to Wal-mart. Well, it isn't that I'm happy to go there, it's that I have a chance to fit it in. Bringing 3 1/2 year old Jon, 22 month old Charlotte Claire, and 4 month old Camille by myself isn't something I would choose to do. An extra pair of hands changes things completly. If Jon has to pee, voila! Em can take him. Makes it simple. And I have to admit: I am a clearance rack junkie. When I find skirts for the little girls for $3, what fun. And $2 trousers for Mr. Jon, yeah! Paying full price is a form of torture for me, and I don't do it unless I am at gunpoint, or close to it.

It's official: Emily Anne 23, is taking her little brother Aaron, 15, to England in April. She bought the tickets last night. They get along well, and she has ALWAYS wanted to go to they are renting a car, an automatic. She will barely be able to drive on the WRONG side of the road, much less learn to shift left-handed....They are staying at cheap places, and avoiding the tourist-y places...Aaron is SO excited! I'll have to post a picture of him, he looks like Jim from "The Office"....acts like him, too. Last June, Emily, Abigail, 21, Mariel, 18, Aaron, and Molly, 14, took a road trip to Quebec. About 6 hours from here, I guess. They went on a shoestring budget. They brought peanutbutter, and canned food which they heated up by putting hot water in the tub, and setting the cans in....anyway, I am rambling. My kids have some fun together, which makes all this work worth it.

I hear Jon singing in his bed, he probably has cars in there. I have spent too much time here, I could have the kitchen all in order by now! But who cares? It's not going anywhere....

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

another snow day

I tried to talk myself into getting my rear out of bed this morning, it was very hard. I finally dragged it out, and checked the tv, just in case, and sure enough: snow day! Those darn kids checked and went back to bed.....I didn't have to get up! I climbed back in bed, thinking if I was a good effecient mom, I would tackle the dishwasher and get a load of laundy going.....but I'm not a good effecient mom, so back in bed I got.

Today I accomplished something: I packed up all Camille's sweet little outgrown clothes. And also got out some bigger things that Charlotte Claire outgrew. And, I bribed Mariel and Molly to clean up Charlotte 's room. And not an ordinary room. No, the toy storage room. And extra comforter and blanket storage room. So, it took them a few hours to get it done. We have too many toys.....and if Jon sees one being thrown out, whoa! I told the girls to be sneaky with the junky stuff, we don't want Jon to be traumatized....

Camille's so cute. She is just so smiley and silly. She does blurt alot. That means spitup. Jon found a nookie (pacifier) somewhere, and he looks like a doof with it in his mouth. He says that the calender is 42. Whatever...he has the concept of numbers and days, but not quite.

I have to go make some dinner. It's almost 5 o'clock, and I have no idea what to feed 17 people. Last night, we had 8 cans of tomato soup, and 16 grilled ham and cheese sandwiches....and some leftover potatoes and roast, miraculously left over from the night before. Of course, we did cook two large roasts. I am thinking of taking the most of the kids to a hotel for one night, a mini vacation includes dinner and breakfast.......

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

a few pictures

Charlotte Claire in the red chair. Camille Anaya looking cute.

emily's day off

My oldest daughter is a full time RN, working on the trauma floor of a large hospital. She goes to college part time also, and lives here at home. She is planning on taking a leave of absence in December, and going to do volunteer nursing in another country for a year. Here's why this is sad: she is my firstborn, and I don't want to miss her! She has been on other excursions, she lived across the country for 6 months a few years back, volunteering....

She is just so nice to have around when she's around. She likes to do things with the little ones. She is on spring break from school, so with a day off today from nursing, she is really here! Why is that exciting? I won't have to juggle Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille all by myself.

Charlotte Claire got her cast off yesterday. Okay, she hates vacuum cleaners. We still vacuum with her around, but she scrambles up on the couch when it goes on. Or runs out of the room. So the device to remove the cast is a huge vacuum with a cutter on the end of the hose. They had to hold her down. She was terrified. But the expression on her face when they took off both sides of the casts, and put them together: surprise! It has been part of her for 5-6 weeks, and she looked so shocked to see it off! Then she started itching furiously...dry skin on her leg. And she still hobbles...

We had two days of warm weather here in the Northeast. It feels just so good to breathe the warm air. But alas, snow and sleet and freezing rain for this afternoon.....But heck, it's March, pretty soon I'll be putting away 20 pair of boots and getting out 40 pair of sandals......little girls need lots of different sandals....and shoes, and sneakers. When you come in our house, you enter right into the kitchen. It looks like someone just dumped a few boxes of footwear.....we DO have shelves, but they are are the coat-hooks. So the toy bench is stacked 2 foot high with coats, and when the kids get home, backpacks. This house is great for about 7 kids, but not big enough for 16. But I survived yesterday here, I suppose I''ll be okay today.