summer 2011

summer 2011

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012
family

Friday, July 25, 2008

goodbye for a while.....

Unless something really interesting happens today, this will be my last post until we get back from vacation in the Adirondacks....

Today has been kind of busy, I vacuumed the camper again, and packed some stuff....I am not finished yet, but I took a break and went in the pool (cold, but clear and nice), and the hot tub,(hot, but needs chlorine)....and sat in the lovely breezy sunny back-yard to drip dry for all of five minutes when Aaron brought Camille out....he and Joe were tired of her....the sun felt so nice, but all I could think of was how she is too little for the sun, so I went in the house, and as I predicted, I haven't been back outside since....rats! Oh well, I have stuff to do anyway....more important than this, but oh well....

I have to take Kathryn to the dr. this afternoon, she has an ear-ache, probably swimmer's ear...I tried to cajole the dr. into just calling in some anti-biotic eardrops, but no....he needs to see her, especially since we will be out of town...so 18 miles each way, to the dr. we will go....

Our new dog must have moved on....which is sad, but I hope he went home....we wouldn't want to keep a dog who wandered anyway....

Why do kids like to bug each other? Why can't they just stop, and get along? Why do they have to argue? Why do they slug/slap each other? Why do they blame each other? I am going to keep track this week of how many fights they have....and how much time they spend actually arguing....It may be that it seems like more fighting than it actually is because we don't take notice when they are playing nicely....the older kids can't stand it when the younger ones are bratty......so I really want the younger ones to be good so the older ones will like being all together....aah.....the peacemaker, me.

Seems we only have a few working bicycles....they are made pretty junkily (is that a word?) these days...when I was little, a Huffy was made in U.S.A. and lasted for years and years...we have a lot of bikes, but things are broken on them....and I certainly can't go out there and fix them...and I am not compelled to go buy more Wal-Mart bikes that will break....I bought Mariel a $15o Target bike for graduation, and the gear thing busted after just a few days....we took it back....so camping, they will have to take turns....

If I won the lottery, I would buy them each a really nice bike.

I'll try to take some good pictures of this camping trip.....and, if you're passing through the Adirondacks, and you see a whole bunch of kids, and two bewildered parents in town having pizza, that's us, spending my birthday money!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

12 of us gone all day

Molly pushing Jon.... Jon and Charlotte Claire love these carts....
Charlotte Claire and Camille....with Evelyn in the background....



Here is Camille in the in the massage-chair in the mall....

Here she is with Aaron's optomotrist-issued sun shades....





Miss Charlotte Claire...





Suzanne and Evelyn....







So this is what the kids did while I waited at the eye-center with Aaron....Charlotte Claire looks nice in the square of light....





Jonathan, Suzanne, and Charlotte Claire....










Jonathan "steers" with his camera.....










oops, same picture...










When we got home from: Aaron's eye appt.,(Sears), 2 or 3 stores in the mall, BJ's,(the sample lady did not like giving mashed garlic potatoes to 11 of us), Wegmans, Price-Chopper, then the gas station,(where I saved $3 a gallon with my Price-Chopper savings! So almost 22 gallons of gas for $30!) and home.....Charlotte Claire, holds Camile, and Jon helps....I bribed Charlotte Claire with a piece of gum to take her picture.....











Here she is opening the gum....she acutally left her hair in the pony today.... I opened it up for as many of the kids to go today as wanted....I figured I was bringing the van anyway, so fill it up. Aaron had to go, and it was so nice to have him along. He is so good-natured, and he makes the best of things, and gets a kick out of the kids. Abigail, Molly, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jon, Charlotte Claire, and Camille also came. In Sears, they had %50 off some of the girls clearance clothes, so I let the girls pick out something to save for school....and I found Charlotte Claire a new shirt and skirt for $1.99 each...she was happy with it....then to Old Navy for a few pair of flip-flops....and I got Charlotte Claire and Camille matching bathing suits at Children's Place for $3.99 each....I know, I know, an eight month old baby does not need a bathing suit....but for $3.99, and matching her sister's? How could I resist? Charlotte Claire has a nice bathing suit already, but it has marker on it and a hole in it....which is probably fine, but when there are so many kids, I try to keep them neat and clean when we are out and about.......at home they are clean, but they wear their "at home" clothes....comfy, stained..(but clean).......






















Okay, grocery shopping for a camping trip takes planning and concentration....ha. We did write our meal plan, but of course I forgot to bring my list....but something about writing things down helps them stick in the memory, so I didn't do too badly....at least I don't think I did....but you should never shop when you are hungry, especially when the 10 (plus Camille) kids with you are hungry too....in BJ's, I am embarrassed to say, we bought: peanut M&Ms (2 huge bags), Swedish fish, roasted almonds (yum!),Starburst......and some muffins to eat in the van....(for lunch)....but we were so hungry, we ordered two sheet pizzas in Price-Chopper ( 2 for $10), and by the time I did my shopping (during which time Aaron and Molly walked around with a car-car cart with Jon and Charlotte Claire, and all the other kids except Sonja, who was with me, and put funny things into their cart....they thought it was so funny....then they put it all back.).... the pizzas were done....so we paid for them, along with a 2 liter of diet Pepsi, got some cups and plates, and ate in the little resaurant area...it was nice. They were really well behaved, and thankful for their pizza, which almost balances out how bad they were when they waited in the van with Abigail while Molly and I ran into Wegmans....I guess they got in a fight, the little girls, and there was much screaming and yelling....






















A dog has adopted us....I have to make some phone calls tomorrow to see if anyone has reported one missing....Paul drove it up and down the road last night, asking the neighbors, and they don't recognize him.....it is a black lab, less than a year old, and very sweet. It seems like someone has worked with this dog, he is obedient, and so soft and cute...listen to me. We do not need another dog! I really hesitate to call the dog catcher, because if no one wants him, will they euthanize him? I have to find out......the kids are having great fun with this dog I call George..he fetches sticks for them...and he acually listens to them...






















I am not going to renew my BJ's membership. Here is why: they have coupon books there, and I checked all the expiration dates before I gathered the coupon items.....(try using a $10 off 5 certain brand items with several hungry kids with you)...but I didn't think to check the BEGINNING dates....so, I had picked out Cookie Crisp cereal (I am such a nice mom), and some Dunkaroos (little cookies with frosting to dip), and the coupon wasn't good until next week!! I put all that stuff back, and apologized to the kids....I wasn't rude to the cashier, but I was not happy about it......ah well, not good stuff anyway....






















Tomorrow I plan to stay home and finish packing....you would think we were going away for 3 months from the sounds of it.....












how much trouble can a camping trip be?

Well, the camper has to be registered (48bucks), inspected ($21), install brake system on big-gas-guzzling-van ($225), find out your van needs inspection (21), find out your van failed inspection because you need new rear tires (300bucks), new electrical panel for 15 year old camper refrigerator ($150)......I won't do the "priceless" thing....anyway, we needed the tires anyway, but did we need them yesterday? I am getting frustrated...I have to take Aaron to an eye appointment 45 minutes away today....and all the kids want to come (the younger ones), which means it will take forever....but it will be way more fun.....and cost way more money....yesterday, I went to town to get the van inspected at 9:00 am., with Suzanne 7, Sonja 6, Jonathan 4, and baby Camille 8 months.....it was supposed to take an hour and a half because they had to look at the van A.C. (just fixed a few month ago or so, broken again)....so I thought I'd take the kids to the library....nope, closed until 1:00....so I took them to the diner for breakfast....french toast......it was lots of fun....especially when Jon randomly pointed across the restaurant at a family and loudly said, "Wouldn't it be funny if they got kicked out?""...then back to find out the van didn't pass in\pection, then home to switch some kids and tank up the baby....then to Wal-Mart for tires and $155 worth of stuff we didn't know we needed but couldn't live without....(notebooks for 5 cents?) I stopped on the way home for 3 dozen ears of early sweet corn, locally grown....home in time for dinner: I made some chicken soup (those bags of individually frozen chicken breast are great), and the corn....only two each....I'm not sure how much corn they could eat if they could have all they wanted...

After dinner I got some of my clothes packed in the camper, and the kids stuff if all out there...I got it all sorted and packed, and sent it out, and they suppposedly put it away....let's put it this way: I have some work to do. I need to buy food today, and then spend tomorrow doing some cooking and packing.....I could get all this stuff done in a few hours, but I don't seem to have a few hours....life gets in the way....

So, now I have the enviable task of getting out the door in a half an hour with I-don't-know-how-many-kids.......I am such a pushover....can't say no.....and I love being with them...but when I get in the store, and Jon is hanging all over Camille, and Charlotte is trying to stand up in the cart/stroller, and pulling everyone's hair who comes within her range, I wonder....I really wonder. And when these adorable little children are trying with all their might to convince me that they really really need: shoes, sneakers, sandals, bathing suit....because their's is too small, tight, old ripped.....I've said this before, but how many little girls do you bring in the shoe department before you go abolutely nuts? And Jon joins right in....
€$

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Charlotte Claire

Perpetual motion....jumping, running.....she will be the camper trasher this year. (We have trouble with screens, the kids push on them, and they come out....) But she isn't always moving. Here she tries on a chain of dancing girls I cut for her, she thought it was a crown....
She is a story moocher...if you are sitting down, she brings you a book....Abigail is game for a story....



Even Sam doesn't mind reading to her...

Today Charlotte went in the pool with me and some of the other little kids. She wears a swim vest floatie, a full suit thing....so I hold on to her in the pool....today, she kept getting free and swimming around on her own....and getting mouthfuls. She is just so darned independent....she loves the hot tub, too....no one can sneak in without her going out, and putting on her floatie....and she changes her clothes all the time....she has on one of baby Camille's dresses, looks like a shirt, in the story-reading pictures....her favorite outfit is just a diaper, or sometimes not even that....I have to chase her down, and diaper her. She has no patience for sitting in the highchair....so she is sort of graduating to a booster seat at the table....sometimes she eats really well, but sometimes it's just a waste of food.....I don't like to give the kids food unless they are at the table, so I have to lure her sometimes with a popsicle, then give her something nutritious when she's done...
But she is just so adorable. She does not like having her picture taken. She says, "NO, no..."when she sees the camera....so I don't get many good ones of her....she likes to snuggle, and she copies me sometimes, I'll have my hands on my hips, and look at her and she is standing there with her hands on her hips...she doesn't miss a trick, she can hear a bag open or a wrapper from half the house away....she always seems to find the markers, loves to color on herself...She loves to jump on the couch, run, run, jump.(which is not allowed)....she is as stubborn as can be.


Monday, July 21, 2008

why can't summer last forever?

Yeah, they were using the camera...I deduce it was Evelyn, since Suzanne is in this picture, in the front room of the camper.... Here is little sweet and innocent, notice the marker all over the chair? She also got some on her bathing suit....washable, my foot.

Here is Kathryn claiming the middle bunk....

And here is Kathryn watching a good movie - hmm, was the a.c. up too high?





I don't like the heat, but I love the languidity, the lack of schedule...Abigail has Jonathan and Charlotte Claire in the hot tub (we don't have it too hot), and baby Camille is napping....and I should be packing...isn't that how it goes, I always should be doing something? I found my camera, apparently Joe had it.....which is nice, because the kids I questioned about it seemed so earnest in their denials that it wasn't them. I am very glad they aren't just excellent liars.
Why is it that when I can possibly fit it in to do something, like pack the camper, I don't feel like it, but when it's crazy here and all the kids need me for something, I feel like it? That is where a little more self-discipline would be handy...I need to remember that this is my job, and I don't have to like everything about it.....I cannot quit my job, nor do I want to .....but can't I just call in sick? (eeks, bolt of lightening, I don't really want to be sick!)
Samuel will turn 13 years old when we are camping, so we are having his favorite for dinner that night....Hamburger Helper Stroganoff.....for some reason, the kids just devour it. I make 4 boxes, and they eat every bit. Maybe because they know it isn't good for them. Or maybe because I rarely serve it....I don't know, but they love it. It seems an easy camping dinner....anyway, Sam is going to be our 8th child to turn teenager. Emily Anne was 10 years old when Samuel James was born. How did I ever manage? That was the summer we got our pool.....I remember having a new baby, and trying to watch the kids in the pool....Emily was 10, Abigail 8, Ben 6, Mariel 5, Joe 4, Aaron 2 1/2, and Molly 17 months...I remember we had a girl staying here to help us that summer, a girl who had more problems than I felt I could deal with, but deal I did....she had panic attacks, and lied compulsively....but I had her for the summer, and I loved her , and helped her as much as I could.....yeah, she was here to help me...but she was only 18 years old....she came from the west coast...I saw her a few years ago, and she is doing well....
Sleeping yet? I have to get Sam a birthday present this week, and hide it in the camper. He wants a video game, surprise. When I was little, I never remember asking for anything for my birthday....I was just thankful for what I got. We didn't have much extra money, and I grew up very conscious of that. I think I make up for it by spoiling these guys just a bit too much. I want them to truly appreciate things.....
Dinner time is approaching......and where is the cook? Why, she's sitting on her rear- end typing! She isn't doing her job! She is being lazy.....she has to make turkey burgers....her children love these.....why isn't she getting up? All right, here she goes....

stressful from the word go

I am awakened each morning this summer by one of 3 things: baby Camille, who makes sweet sounds, and is content until she sees me trying to sneak past her bed to the bathroom before I pick her up, because if I put her back down without nursing her fully, she will scream and wake everyone up, or: the 5 kids , from waking to fighting in 2 seconds flat....or: Charlotte Claire's door.....which is thankfully a very loud and distinct sounding door. Because when I hear that sound, I jump out of bed so fast I can't see straight. I grab that excited-for-the-new day child, and carry her past the room of the sleeping five siblings, and the sleeping baby room, out into the safe living room, get her a bottle, change her diaper, and keep her distracted, because as soon as I let my guard down, she is out of here, down the hall, waking them all up. What great fun.

One thing that never wakes me up in the summer is noise from the teenagers and older ones....naw, they stay up late with me at night, which is wonderful, but then they sleep in...

Our camper is all cleaned out, vacuumed and shined, ready to pack....I have piles of clothes on the couch, clean and folded, and ready to go into the camper....I only have to pack for Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. I do have to make sure Margaret and Sam remember clean undies and jackets, but the older ones pack their own clothes....I only want to pack minimally, but camping is dirty, and I like to have clean clothes on them everyday....that is alot of clothes...I am bringing some detergent, but I'll be darned if I'm going to spend half a day on vacation washing out little clothes....

The hardest part about packing is being interrupted while I am trying to think. "Hey Mom, can't I sleep in the middle bunk? She said Jon was, and I thought you said he was sleeping on the dinette...." Jon: "I am not sleeping on the dinette, I am sleeping in the piggy-hole!!" DO we HAVE to discuss this now? I can't remember what I was trying to think of.....I do have a list, but I still have to be able to go in a room, and get the things I need without someone following me asking me which color pail is hers....then, when they want me to hurry and take Camille, they follow me with her....okay, okay....I am hurrying!

I cannot find my camera, though I have my suspicions of who might have it....Jon and Sonja were fighting over it today, two children who are not allowed to touch my camera....although I am a big softy, and if they show me something really cool, I'll let them take a picture....anyway, I took the camera away, put it next to the phone, and it isn't there now....and they are sleeping.....

Saturday, July 19, 2008

my beautiful children

I like tucking the 5 little ones in, the ones who share a room. Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, and Jonathan. Kathryn isn't an official resident of the crazy room, but she bunks in there on the floor, because she likes it in there. Jon always prays for everyone in the world to be good....I am working with them on getting along better before we go to the quiet Adirondacks. To stop and think before grabbing the other's hair, before they slap or scream. It's funny, when they are all in their beds, talking, they are so gung-ho about everything. Yes, they are going to get along better! Oh, yes, they are going to think before hitting! So that is where there hearts are, and it is beautiful to see their good sincere hearts. I am so very blessed.

Friday, July 18, 2008

this fever is still in the house

First Charlotte Claire, then Jonathan, then baby Camille, then Sonja, then Suzanne, then Evelyn....who will be next? It doesn't last more than 2 days. Jon said his throat hurt. Summer virus? Evelyn went to the garden party yesterday, out in the yard, then came in and said she was freezing. Sure enough, sick....and stupid me forgot this morning that she was sick yesterday....and let her come shopping with me today. Oops....we went into the grocery store for just a couple things (really, this time, only $22)....and she said she was freezing again...uh-oh....we got home and she was on the couch, 102 degrees. One dose of ibuprofen, and she was eating dinner and running around.

We had to bring our van into the shop for a brake system, one that is needed to tow the camper....so I went to pick it up today. 4 miles down the road, the auto shop is. And on the way home, I almost got killed....almost. What a word. An old man pulled right out in front of me, I was driving 60 mph, and he pulled right out.....I had to slam on the brakes of that 15 passenger van, and honk, just lay on that horn....it was so close I just burst into tears....what was he thinking??? I had my lights on, my van is white. I do feel invisible sometimes, but this was crazy. So, now that I am alive, and not in the hospital.....whew. I know, I know, who cares about near misses....

A guy got killed on his motorcycle just a few roads down this morning. 38 years old. Lost control of his cycle, and hit a sign. Poor guy. Good gas milage, and tons of fun, but is it worth it? They are so dangerous. I tell my son Benjamin, if he ever gets the bright idea to get one, he can just move out. I would be too worried. The 4-wheeler is scary enough for me.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

summer is so nice

Emily planned a garden party for some of the youth girls....and our little ones were all invited. She prepared some yummy stuff, and they strung up lights in the yard, played some games....(they like to play this game where each person has a name taped to their forehead, and had to ask a question about who they are, like: am I real, or am I a woman? then figure out who they are.....it is funny....Molly had Hillary Clinton, and she asked ,"Am I a dictator?") Anyway, Emily and my older girls like to keep the younger girls busy doing fun things.....it can be quite challenging to grow up in this world, and remain pure and faithful....there are so many temptations.....my older ones have such a care for the girls, they want to do what they can to keep doing good things.





I am having trouble remembering what day it is, that is a sign I am deep into summer....into that mindset that I had as a child, when the days blended....I purposely don't want to know the date if I don't need to, and I never figure out how many days are left before school starts....






I had to run (15 miles one way, not exactly run) to Wal-Mart today for some essentials: pool shock, chinchilla food (she eats bunny food), and ant traps.....a hundred bucks later, I had my essentials....I like to pick up clothes for the kids to wear back to school (I know it is coming, just not how soon) when I can get them cheap....so I like to scour the clearance racks....I got a few 8 packs of socks for $2 today.....we can never have too many socks....sometimes I wonder what the people did long ago, how they lived without all this stuff. I mean Laura and Mary crossed the prairie with just one wagon load of stuff. We can't even go camping with a 15 passenger van and a 35 ft. camper (packed full), without bringing the truck too, to carry all the stuff.
Joe, Aaron, and Sam are going camping with some of the boys this weekend, driving to the Adirondacks, then canoeing 3 miles to camp. Sam is so excited! I am thankful they are able to do these things....and we live in a great place.....close to Lake Ontario, close to the Finger Lakes, and close to the Adirondack mountains......
Anyway, summer is so nice. It is very hard to keep up with the housework when the weather is so nice.....then I start having trouble finding clean undies for the kids in the morning, and I know I have to put more effort forth.....we try to do the morning work, then everyone's free to go outside, or whatever. The trouble is, I get up at 8 or so each morning (which is fine with me, during school it's 7), but the older kids are lazy slugs....9:30, 10:30, even 11:30 or noon, they are drifting into the kitchen for breakfast....I have been up and busy for hours, and the little ones are ready for lunch....I try to give everyone something they have to do, like vacuum or sweep, or run the dishwasher....so we do get things done, but the get-it-done-so-we-can-go-in-the-pool kind of work.....kids tend to be slapdash and haphazard with most chores anyway. And it's summer, so I don't really care.....
Time just slips away, and I want to use mine in good ways....I keep telling the kids I am going to do something fun with them......I guess taking them to the dmv to register the camper wasn't fun enough....it is going to be really warm tomorrow, high eighties, and very humid.....I don't like to go to far when it's that hot.....so we'll stay home and play in the pool, and save the really fun thing for a rainy day...(I have a feeling the really fun thing is going to be Chinese for lunch, they love sitting around drinking tea....with tons of sugar packets...one time I confiscated the little sugar-packet-holder, and they didn't protest...because they were fliching from another table....) Anyway, I am thankful for today.
This morning I was having a bit of a hard time being patient with the kids, making oatmeal for 3 of them, then one more wanted some, ect....and Suzanne said, "Mommy, why are you talking so softly?" Well, my dear, that is so I don't scream at you! (I didn't really say that).....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

dmv, again....

Well, we (Joe, Aaron, Molly, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille) went bye-bye today....I dropped Joe and Aaron off at the dentist, then took the others to the dept. of motor vehicles to register the camper....then we walked down to the dentist to wait for the boys...then walked back to the dmv to get Joseph's learner permit...(my fifth driving child? wow.) (Only 3 have their licenses)....but realized when he started filling out the form that he didn't have his s.s. card, or number..so we went to the grocery store......Now, teenage boys do not like the grocery store. They do however like the things that come from the grocery store. Joe walked around with those stupid headphones on, his mp3 player, and Aaron carried Camille (he said he would carry her if I hurried)....Now, little boys, at least my little boy, likes to ride in carts, car-car carts, in particular. This grocery store is very crowded and busy, and today we said no car-car-cart.....so of course he had to sit in the back of the cart, with Charlotte Claire sitting properly in the front.....this caused the following problems: I had to stack the groceries around him, and HE KEPT BUGGING CHARLOTTE SO SHE WOULD SCREAM!!! What fun...anyway, I was nice and bought them a huge, really huge inflatable turtle for the swimming pool....which nice Molly blew up when we got home.....they are in the pool right now..Charlotte Claire missed her nap today, and she is a real prize....she couldn't wait to try this out... I think Miss Charlotte Claire looks so pretty in this dress....can you believe she pinches people? And laughs?

Tonight Mariel and I are going to the real grocery store, for a real shopping trip....today's stop was just to get a few things ($84 worth of a few things...) So I have to make some dinner, and get moving again....I was supposed to go last night, and put it off, now Camille's better, so I can't procrastinate again.....
I think Charlotte Claire is a beautiful name....Claire is the name of one of my favorite nieces....but my kids: they call her Oda. Always....I am the only one who doesn't, even Paul sometimes calls her Oda, though I think he tries to calle her Charlotte. Oda Nobinaga...a Japanese warlord.....the boys started calling her that when she was a chubbyfaced baby, and boy did the name stick....and Camille: Mansa-Moosa.....what it means, or where it's from, I do not know...but she is Mansa....I pretend I don't know who they are talking about when they refer to them by Oda and Mansa, but I cannot stop them....I have almost called them Oda and Mansa myself, but I refuse.....the kids get a real kick, a big laugh at me when I accidentally do....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

stayed home...

my little sweetie-pie Camille is sick now. She has a fever, like Jonathan and Charlotte Claire had. Sonja also has it. I stayed up and finished my 700 page book last night, until 2:00 (I will never learn), and right as I climbed into bed, Camille started wimpering. So I nursed her, and put her back in her bed.....got back in my super comfy bed, relaxed.....wimper, sniff, snort, cry....rats! I got her up and nursed her again, and again. Four times I snuggled into bed with my fingers crossed. Actually, one of the times I started falling asleep sitting up, so I layed down with her....she thought it was fun time...when I got her in bed for the fourth time, I stupidly looked at my watch, 4:30... and I hadn't been asleep yet....she woke up at 8:00 in the morning, and I closed my door, hoped the other kids would be good when they got up, and took Camille into bed with me for a little dozing and a little nursing.....

I really need another grocery shopping trip, but I couldn't take a sick baby, and couldn't leave her home......tomorrow I have to take two boys to the dentist, Margaret needs a clarinet reed, and I have to register the camper....then when Paul gets home from work, I'll take the truck grocery shopping, and maybe get my daughter a new bike....and maybe a new bike-stroller.....IF Camille is better.. but the dentist, I'll have to go anyway....Emily-the-nurse has to work, and Abigail has plans....Ben has to work, and M. doesn't have her license yet, just a permit.....

Ah, the little details of life. Lots of little details....I don't want to waste the mundane moments. All of our big kids left for the evening, leaving Kathryn on down. Paul went in the hot tub with them, (the kids just LOVE it!!)....I went for a walk with Charlotte Claire and Camille in a double stroller, and Jon, Champ the dog, and the two cats walking. I am not kidding. The stupid dog, he's either deaf or selective of what he listens to in his old age......and he selects not to listen to me. And the cats, Kitten Force and General Thunder, trotting down the road along side of us....what idiots! I honestly felt like we were the traveling circus when a car went by....

I tucked the kids in tonight, or "talked" them in, as Sonja would say. They all say their prayers, and Jon always prays that everyone in the world can be good. Oh, to be four years old again....my kids never forget to pray for people.....if you tell them that such and such person is sick, they are their prayer list forever....it takes a long time to "talk" them in at night....

The little kids aren't bored yet. They have their room clean, and they switched beds around....their beds are like the stuff nightmares are made of for people like me who think of things like throwing up in bed.....dolls, stuffed animals, pencil collections, all around them....and I am the nice mom who cannot just throw away a barfy stuffed dog....oh no, I have to wash it.....I have thrown Barbies right into the wash with the bedding...I must be really tired, sorry.....I'm going to go to bed......

Monday, July 14, 2008

does anyone like the department of motor vehicles?

It didn't seem like it....we are helping our son out with a car....he hasn't had the best of luck with cars...and we live 15 or 25 miles from everywhere, so a kid needs a car for a job, and a job for a car....and he commutes to college....anyway, he works very hard, and is paying for the car...he put it on the road today, and the dmv clerk accidentally charged him too little or NYS sales tax.....she was upset, she made a mistake....she called here begging him to come back...short version: I made a trip to the dmv, 15 miles away, to pay the difference.....(he was fixing the brakes on this wonderful new used car!)....anyway, 35 minutes "wasted" in line.....people were so miserable....and why? Sure, it was a beautiful day outside....and maybe people really had to get back to work....but the real reason, I think, is that people don't even think anything about complaining....they just do it. One guy was talking on his cell phone (ignoring all the signs), right up to the window....he kept looking at it and clicking buttons while he talked to the clerk....grow up a little....the ladies who work there are actually quite pleasant, miraculously. I found alot of grumbling in me as I waited to pay tax for the state to waste, that they made a mistake on. But I battled it, I mean life is short....why waste time being miserable? So, I got to the window, talked to the lady who had dealt with Benjamin, and she was so apologetic...I was thankful, so thankful that I chose to be happy, and was able to honestly tell her it was okay...she just made a mistake.....she probably gets enough grief from people, day in, day out....

Since we (just Kathryn Grace, 10, and I) were out, and drove all that way, we went to RealDeals and BigLots.....can't waste gas money, can we?

Tomorrow, guess where I have to go again? Right! The DMV....to register the camper....of all the ridiculous things, registering and inspecting campers.....New York state, so money hungry. I think I need to get my thoughts straight before I go tomorrow!! Say a big NO to all that grumbling in me....

monday, jon has a fever

Sorry, my dear sister!! We visited her in the hospital on Friday, and Jon has a fever today....Charlotte Claire had one on Saturday, and it didn't prelude any illness that I am aware of...just a fever for a day. Must be a virus.....So Jon is on the couch watching Bob the Builder....televisions and dvds are good for when the kids are sick.....

Emily worked two 12 hr. shifts, Saturday and Sunday, then came home last night and after a while went out to the hottub....(the little kids were in bed) ....so I thought I would go out too...because everytime I've gone in, it has been a full house in there (what do I expect, right?) So imagine my surprise when I got out there and Joseph, Aaron, and Sam were in there too! I could fit, but some water did go over the sides....it was a beautiful, clear night, with the moon glowing.....and fun to have some time with the older kids. Everything is "epic"....one of the boys was talking about how mom flips out about things....ouch! I replied that he doesn't know how hard it is to be in my position.....I want to be patient when the pitcher of lemonade goes flying off the counter and covers 10 square feet of kitchen floor, plus the splashes up the cupboards....and of course Jon was in his raincar, driving straight through it.....and every kid that came along somehow didn't see it, and would've walked straight through it if it weren't for my flipping out!!!(kidding, I know I could accomplish the same thing being patient and gentle...) but all excuses aside, it is the longing of my heart to : think before speaking, be patient and gentle, deal justly and mercifully with my kids.....

Sunday, July 13, 2008

sunday morning in the hot tub in the rain

Oh, they love each other. Camille is such a sunshine, she just totally lights up when anyone smiles and talks to her, but when she sees Charlotte Claire, she goes nuts. Evelyn started playing the violin this morning, and they both looked over....they think she sounds good....

It's getting so that when I so much as take the camera out , the big kids groan....they were apparently reading my blog and laughing their heads off the other night when I was out to dinner....this is Sam, 12, and Joe, 17, trying to watch 10,000BC, which I thought was stupid....

I know, I know, too many pictures of Camille...but she doesn't groan when I get out the camera!


Yesterday Charlotte Claire had a fever...so mommy had busy arms and full hands.....




Aaron with Camille....





I didn't know Molly gave Charlotte Claire another kitchen sink bath until I saw these pictures on my camera....Molly thinks it's funny, and Charlotte Claire just delights in it....this was done when I was gone on Friday night.









The little kids ate fast this morning, as mom decided to take them in the hot tub after breakfast....cloudy, then rain on us! It was wonderful....not exactly relaxing: Jon is pretty reasonable, but Charlotte Claire (with her swim floatie on), is crazy....thinks nothing of going under water....she can walk in there, and it isn't over her head, but I keep a close eye on her anyway....and Sonja and Suzanne like to hook their feet over the sides and go under backwards.....Kathryn and Evelyn just like to talk to me, and fiddle with the lights and waterfall....last night we had a bottle-neck, too many wanted to get in at once....we should've gotten two! When I said that to Paul, he didn't even laugh....
We are planning an Adirondack camping trip....we haven't gone in a few years, but we started camping when Em was a baby, then bought our first camper (a little Coleman Pop-up) when we were expecting Benjamin, baby#3.....when we had five kids, all sleeping in the camper on trip, as we sat under the teeny awning in the rain, reading the newspaper by lantern-light, we decided: a bigger camper, or no more camping.....so we started looking, and when Aaron, baby #6 was born, we bought a 35 foot camper, with a front bedroom, and triple bunks in the back....supposed to sleep 9, so we thought it was huge....now, of course, we need several tents in addition. And no, we didn't win the lottery, we paid monthly for ten years...it's 15 years old now, and considerably battered, broken shades, ect, but pretty nice still on the inside...with gas prices, I can't even gues how much it will cost to tow it behind the 15 passenger gas-guzzler....and we'll have to take the truck to hold all the bicycles and stuff.....in New York state there is a 6 person limit per site at the state parks...I learned long ago to reserve the site on-line, and just fill in "6" as the number of people.....if they say anything once we get there, we can explain they are all our kids....Emily has to work, and will hopefully have 2 or maybe 3 days off to come up....Ben has to work, and can maybe drive up for one night and a day....so there will be just 16 of us for most of the time.....I am starting to think of meals......I can put 3 or 4 days worth of meat in a cooler, then more in the camper freezer...sorry, I am sort of thinking out loud.....
I would like to get a new bicycle trailer, that goes behind the bike, and converts to a double stroller....ours is so beat up....it only hooks to the bike with rope now....and to use it as a stroller, the front wheel doesn't go on, so you have to balance it on the two wheels.......we will see.....
Oh great, Charlotte Claire just noticed that kids are in the hottub, and is looking out the window, crying and saying, "got-tub, got-tub," over and over....

Saturday, July 12, 2008

my hot tub.....

Jon can touch the bottom in the hot tub! In case my nice brother is reading this: you don't have to come hook up the hot tub, Mike did it....you were on vacation last week, and he said he could do it...so now we are just waiting for it to warm up. Some of the kids went in it at 70 degrees, I think I'll wait....around eight tonight it should be 100 degrees. I am so excited. I bought it last September, brand new, and life just got in the way, and it sat there, empty.....it seems like every time my brother attempted to work on it, something came up......so, unless someone invents a waterproof laptop, I won't be writing as much, as I'll be in the hot tub.....(wishful thinking, I'm sure.)

It is a very hot day here in central New York.....high eighties....what a nice day for Charlotte Claire to have a fever. Her temperature was almost 103 with her mouth open (I stuck the thermometer in when she was taking a little cat nap, because she hates it)....I don't know where she could have gotten anything, she hasn't been anywhere but the beach since Sunday.....I mean last Sunday was six days ago, that seems too long if she was exposed then, to come down with it now.....I suppose she could pick up something at the beach, but she wasn't in the bathroom or anything.....I guess I may never know. I gave her a half dose of ibuprofen, and she is acting like her old busy self again.....

I had a very nice swim today, I love being in the pool when it is extremely hot out....then getting out and baking in the sun for a little bit....too bad Camille woke up from her nap, and I had to go in the shade with her....she is turning into a little piggy baby.....or a baby piggy.....she eats the whole bowl of baby cereal, she shakes her hands and gets all excited when she sees her food....today, she tried graham crackers, and yum! She drinks one 5 ounce bottle of apple juice a day, just devours it.....she does not like formula though. I feel like she is just slipping away from me so quickly, just growing up. She is still cute and adorable, and so funny. She is sitting with a bunch of toys, and picking them up and smiling at them......she saw Jon with a graham cracker, and she is saying mom-mom-mom, which I guess is her begging phrase.

We have an air conditioner in the kitchen window, and one in the living room....we put a curtain across the hall, so only this main living area gets cooled down...it makes it nice. When I go through the curtain, it is balmy.....

We bought a violin! The kids are enjoying trying it out. Joseph really likes it. These kids have talent, and they don't get it from me. The violin is such a beautiful instrument, I hope someone here can ace it......

Friday, July 11, 2008

friday, going and going

I had some things to go out and do today, and brought M., Abigail, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, and Camille.....as we were backing out of the driveway, Jonny was standing there looking sad, waving....so, I turned around and picked him up and brought him....as we drove away, he was saying how it was the happiest rainy day he ever went bye-bye in a long time...(I try not to bring him all the time, because he gets focused on something he wants, like batteries, and won't drop it...and he has so much more fun at home playing) we went to the movie store, got 10 dvds for only $8 because we get a free rental for every 6 we rent....then to the grocery store.....plums, strawberries, apples, bread, milk, cheese. Then we went to visit my sister in the hospital....the kids were really good there....they didn't want to leave! They love their aunt. Now, my kids have mostly been to this hospital to visit when I have a baby, so naturally Jon thought......he told me he had a great idea when we were leaving...he said we would come right back as soon as Aunt had her baby......great idea Jon, she would love that, but she is sick, not pregnant.... she is feeling a bit better, but needs some more tests....

Paul and I went out to dinner about a half an hour after I got home from shopping...we went with D. and A., some very good friends.....we first went to vistit a friend who lives in an assisted living complex, she is very old, and very sweet, she hasn't lost her edge. She is English, and was born and raised in India, lived in Calcutta during WWII....her father was a railroad man...she has lived here in the US for over 60 years.....she is so much fun...it is rough on my soul to see her getting old in body....her hands shake, she can't walk very well.....it was great to visit with her....then we went to a nice Chinese buffet, talked and ate for a few hours.....had some hot tea, and headed home....Miss Camille was watched primarily by Aaron, and did fine without me....which honestly a little painful, but nice.

Oh, the puzzle is done....we need to start another one.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

nice birthday

Here is what I bought myself for my birthday: a Polly Pocket playset, which I will share with all my little girls. The laundry room set for Fisher-Price dollhouse.....my sister the toy hog will hate me....I am letting the kids use this, too.....
Paul brought me home some nice treats, too: some cherries, some licorice, a flashlight that lasts for seven years (I'll have to hide it for sure), and a box of chocolates....my kids gave me a funny card...with $2 in it....we had ice-cream cones tonight, to celebrate, and the little kids sang me a song....
We decided to stay home today....it was so nice out, I couldn't leave....it was sunny and breezy and warm with low humidity....the pool water was so warm....Charlotte Claire learned some neat tricks at the beach - she runs around in circles in her little pool, and she lays down and gets her head under.....and puts her face in, and she laughs and smiles...she takes everything off, so I can't take any pictures...I try to put the diaper back on her so many times, I just gave in today and put sunscreen on her bare bottom....

I went to the library with only Joseph and Margaret tonight....wow, that was a treat....I haven't been in months....it seemed strange to just pick out books without saving the shelves from disaster.....and I was a little hesitant picking out books for the kids....they usually get piles of them out so fast......I guess I think too much.....help, I'm growing up!!!

videoHere is the video of the kids singing for me...notice Evelyn Joy, third from the left....loud and wild.....

fun outside, sister update

My sister is in the hospital, and is doing a little better on the antibiotics, still had a fever of 102 this morning. I should probably check with her before writing too much about her...I forgot to talk to my brothers about her before writing last night, and my sister in law read it.....oops. But thanks very much for your concern! My sister is a very dear person. It's hard for me to hear of her suffering.

The girls are doing this puzzle, an ongoing project.....they started it last week in the backyard on the lid of the Little Tikes toybox.....they transferred it to the kitchen table, and amazingly the little kids have left it alone.....I told Abigail last night, as we stayed up 'til 1:30 or so working on it, that our kids are pretty good to be so respectful of it.....oh, it is addicting....we want to finish it before the hikers return from the mountains.... Kathryn Grace with Charlott Claire and Camille.....


Charlotte Claire outside last night..we had some fun in the yard...

Jon pulled her around in the wagon....




Evelyn Joy with Camille..... Today is mybirthday! I am 43 years old. I honestly feel no older than 30. It is a shock to me that I am so old. I don't really want to be so old. I want to be young and keep having babies. I am old enough to be a gramma....I told my daughter the other day that I would like to have one more baby....I have been saying this for several babies now....wouldn't a little baby boy be nice? Oh well, we'll see....I think I am going to take these kids to lunch today....Abigail won't be able to help me, so it will only be Margaret, 11, Kathryn, 10, Evelyn 8, Suzanne, 7, Sonja, 6, Jonathan, 4, Charlotte Claire, 2, and of course Camille, the amazing nursing baby.....the Chinese buffet is reasonable for younger ones.....so maybe we'll do that.....we could go to Blockbuster and get some 99cent old dvds.....hmmm....




Wednesday, July 9, 2008

my sister

Blogging is an interesting concept. I have always liked to write. I wrote journals in various notebooks through the years. Having this on the internet is challenging beause I don't want to say too much. A few of my daughters don't want their names used. And now I want to write about my sister, and don't want to say too much.....

My sister is ten years older than me. She has seven daughters. And they wore alot of yellow and green as babies, because she thought the next one had to be a boy.....she lives very close to me. We go shopping together alot. She likes to stop and smell the roses, and we dawdle terribly together. When I was growing up, I thought she was mean. She sided with my mother on everything. Then we started becoming friends.....I got converted, along with some other family members. She thought we were crazy, drinking kool-aid and the whole bit. But after a while, she got converted too. Our friendship grew into fellowship. And we accepted the children from God, together......before I moved to this house, I was outside the toll-free calling area for her number. This meant huge telephone bills. We perfected the art of staying on the phone through dirty diaper changes, breaking up fights, and serving meals.....our kids learned lots of hand signals. I think the most exciting thing about moving to this house was that I could call her for free. Anyay, we still have fun together, even though I have had 10 kids after her youngest was born.

She is very sick right now. She is in the hospital. She has had some trouble with kidney stones, and had surgery to blast a very large one. Then it was discovered she had a deformity of one of her kidneys, probably from birth.....she has had pain for all these years...now she has another infection. Her fever was over 104 last night, and she passed out. I talked to her a few hours ago, and they are going to admit her to the hospital, and have already started I.V. antibiotics. They are doing bloodwork, exrays, ect. Tomorrow they will be doing an echo-cardiogram to check her heart, I hope they don't see anything bad. I know none of you know her, but please pray for her, that she can get better, and enjoy the summer a bit.

One of her daughters is in Norway right now, and participated in a Fun Challenge thing at church.....this daughter is allergic to the cold, and apparently the fiord water is very cold....she went into shock, and stopped breathing, and had to be rushed by ambulance to the hospital. She is okay, now......thankfully one of our friends, who is a doctor, was with her and knew what was happening. My sister got this call this afternoon, as she prepared to go in to be checked out herself....when it rains, it pours.....I had been thinking very strongly of this daughter of hers today....and I was compelled to pray for her, not knowing why.

God knows the beginning and the end, but we don't. We just have to trust him that He knows what He is doing, and what is for our best.

muggy day

Today some of my older kids are going on a hiking trip to the Adirondacks...without me! Not that I hike...but how did they get so old? Emily the nurse has some vacation days. And a car. So off they go....it's nice how they have so much fun together....23 years old, 18, 15, 14, and 12, 3 girls and two boys......sometimes I wish I wasn't the mom, but one of the teenagers...

Here is Jonathan at the beach...... Here is Sonja making the face she makes best....poor me. No matter how much sunscreen we use on her, she burns...

Here is Aaron with Camille (he saw me with the camera)


Here is the young and beautiful mom, tired and ready for the almost 2 hour ride home....
Emily the nurse....thrilled at seeing me with the camera..




This is Molly , 14, with Charlotte Claire.....






Suzanne, Jon, and Sonja






I can't write her name, she'll kill me enough if she knows her picture's on here....









Here is another daughter who doesn't like her name on here.....isn't she pretty? She is only 11...





Samuel James needs a haircut....









Charlotte Claire used the playpen as a refuge when she got tired, she got in it quite a few times and rested.....then, near the end of the day, she climbed in with her bottle, and.....she had quite the sand mustache-beard thing, yummy.....













Jonathan never naps anymore.....but he did yesterday....I like the pink blanket.....










The girls were patient with me and let me take the carriage AND the playpen.....and I am so glad we did....Camille liked laying here looking at the trees and seagulls....and she took a few naps, too.









Charlotte Claire decided she liked to swim....the water was clear and warm, with the nice sandy bottom....she was fearless.....so Mom was mentally exhausted.....she just took those waves in the face, and laughed....she kept me on my toes....















Abigail holding Camille, Evelyn, Suzanne, Charlotte Claire and Sonja....












Kathryn Grace

















Camille liked the water....but I kept her in the shade most of the day....she's too little for sunscreen...














Aaron...



















Charlotte Claire was so cute...I accidentally packed pull-ups instead of swim diapers...she looked so funny.



















She had so much fun....


















Suzanne and Sonja





















lots of shells to gather....


We pulled out at 10:20 am, and returned to the driveway at 10:18 pm....Sam wanted me to drive a bit slower to make it an even 12 hour trip...he was my co-pilot....and we had a lot of fun together......just leaving the house with the kids and the stuff is a story....Emily remarked how amazing it was that we were leaving by 10.....then she remembered that every time she went to brush her teeth, there was someone in the bathroom....then 3 or 4 kids decided they needed to go pee before we left...so Sam decided he had time to make toast.....this is after I got everything and everyone loaded in....so, at 10:20, complete with Sam's 3 pieces of toast with crunchy peanut butter....we left.....
On the way home, we stopped at McDonalds.....the kids had a list, and were taking orders for about 20 miles......"raise your hand if you want a double cheeseburger"......it took several times to get it right......they were allowed to get 2 things each, and I ordered a few fries for them to share....when we got there, I had to nurse Camille, so Abigail and Sam went in to get the food...several kids had to go to the bathroom, too.......the order got messed up (I wonder why), and they gave us several extra orders of fries....Abigail told the girl, and she said it was okay...did she feel sorry for us? We also got an extra sundae.....13 ice waters, because Charlotte Claire had a bottle......I can guess the van is still pretty trashy......
Lake Ontario is gorgeous.....just as nice as the ocean, without the crabs or salty water....too many rules at the State Parks, though....no flotation devices, unless coast guard approved....no frisbee or ball, or dogs allowed on the beach....swim between the flags...with all that beach! and don't go beyond the ropes....not deep enough! Such a litigous (that isn't spelled right..)society.....ruins everything.....pretty soon, we'll only be allowed to look at the lake.....