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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"because she said so...

you don't need to question your mother!" Ha, I did not say this, Samuel did! I have taught him well! He said this to Jonathan when I told him not to do something, and he answered, "Why....?", in that way he has of making WHY a three sylable word.

It is nice in here, we have the two window airconditioners in the kitchen and living room cranked. It is already 82 out and humid, nineties today, tomorrow, next day....I slept on the couch last night, it wasn't comfy but it was cool.

Yes, the lazy hazy days of favorite favorite part is having the kids around all of the time. I just cannot fathom for the life of me how moms can be "ready for school to start". I just don't get it. Not that I am the Queen Of Patience, no sir, I get irritated just as much as the next person, but I work with that....I am tempted to just walk out sometimes, it isn't all sweetness and cuddles is honestly a fight within myself not to get sick and tired of everything. But thanks be to God for His word and His help. Because when I get victory through Jesus over my own sin, my selfishness and demands, then it is easy to love and appreciate the kids. I see more and more that I am my own worst enemy. It is not the mess, nor the two year old, nor the dog spilling her, those are just the circumstances that bring out my sin, and God works all things for the good for those who love Him...(romans 8 v.28) And I also have answered my own question: I get it now. I see why moms are ready for school to start....and I truly understand.....

I have things to do and places to go....nothing amazingly earthshatteringly wonderful, but nonetheless, off I go....


We didn't go to the beach today.....some only wanted to go to the far beach, some only wanted to go to the close beach....and the day was ticking by, so we decided to stay home during the day and enjoy the pool, and go bowling in the evening. Abigail picked up our friend Nellie after work, and headed over. They joined Mirielle, Joseph, Aaron, Samuel, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and I. That made fifteen, a full van. This is Evelyn, putting the stroller (we don't really need it anymore, wah) in the minivan so we had more room. Camille was excited about rolling the ball, she didn't seem to realize the object of the game...she didn't even look to see what she hit...

hmm...I think SODA comes out of here....

She liked her bowling shoes, again.

It's nice to have Mirielle home she is holding Jon and sitting with Sam.

Marg, Aaron, Sam, and Joe.

Kathryn and Evelyn....and snacks...(actually, today this was dinner)

Team A.....Mirielle, Abigail, Nellie, and Margaret

Team B...Samuel, Joe, a lady who looks pregnant but isn't, but hey, give her a break, I think she has birthed seventeen babies..and Aaron.

Team C....Charlotte Claire, Evelyn, Camille, and Jonathan...who wasn't co-operating at the time.

Camille was getting tired....

Team D....Suzanne, Kathryn, and Sonja K.

Fighting over the chair.

Camille was biting Jon...I didn't know it, or I wouldn't have been just standing there taking the picture....
We left in a hurry....Camille and Jonny both crying...then Miss Charlotte Claire, who was a angel while we were there was a fusser half the way home....
But it was fun. Joseph had the top score, and that lady next to him with the tummy had the second....which should tell you that we are NOT good bowlers. We are extremely good gutter-ball rollers though.
So it is very hot and humid here in Central New York State, again. The pool is getting nice and warm again, but I do not like it so much....the brilliant sunshine is nice though......

Monday, August 30, 2010

things about my monday....

1. SOMEONE served iced coffees and used up all the half-n-half. Okay, 1% milk will do, but ...

2. Sonja was the lucky child who got to sleep with me last night, she fell out of the bed at 7:30 this morning...and couldn't fall back to sleep....since we are still on our "summer" schedule, that is like waking up at three a.m.

3. There were no new ants anywhere this morning, that I could see. I did discover that some brilliant child opened the 72 ounce bag of Nestle Chocolate Chips, and left them in the cupboard that I found the ants in last week....I didn't see any critters in there...phew, that would be true tear-water tea.

4. Yesterday was my father's birthday. He died when he was seventy, which seems like a rip-off. I have wondered occasionally why some people get to live so long, but both of my parents had to die young-ish...69 and 70.

5. It is 7:48 pm in Mumbai. I wonder if Paul thinks of me as often as I think of him. I can't look at the time without adding 9 and a half hours and wondering what he is doing. Uh-oh, I think I'm in love!

6. We are simply horrible at "maintenance" around here. We work so hard every day and clean this place all up and in the morning, wow. Ben's sweatshirt on the dog cage. Charlotte Claire's skirt and a pair of shorts on the living room floor. Not dirty or anything, just stuff left around. If 15 of us each leave three things around, it obviously adds up and equals a mess. And I do not like MESS!

7. I am simply not cut out for this job! But I love love love the kids. The older ones are such good company, the younger ones are just precious...

8. I want to spend the last bit of summer just having it good with the kids.

9. I found out the other day that Jonathan, age 6, calls his cousin Becky, age 25, about 5 times a day sometimes. If she isn't home, he will just talk to my sister Cheryl.

10. It is almost 10:30 and a total of three kids have gotten up: Aaron, Sonja, and Jonathan.

Today is a blank slate. Mirielle starts college tomorrow....Ben, Aaron and Mali have the day off from McDonalds...what will we do? Where will we go? I cannot wait to find out!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

pictures of ALL of the kids!!!

I had a brilliant idea this evening, as we ate our grilled burgers with fresh tomatoes and pickles, and sweet corn with butter, and hot sausage...that we should take a picture of the kids since they were all here! (we had a full table, there were three friends here, too...)As one of them scrambled to wash her hair, several to change clothes, we realized...oops, Sam wasn't home! Joe hurried over to pick him up from his friend's house, and outside we went...the first one was in order of age....the little girls were fooling around, so Ben was telling them that soon he was going to be shipping out for the Army, and he wants some pictures, so BEHAVE.....

and one of me....

and Evelyn


Paul feels disconnected. He is so far away and so busy and on such a different schedule. He texts me during his breakfast, while I am thinking about going to bed. It is getting to be too long, 9 nights down and 7 to go. The novelty of being the boss around here is wearing off, and I miss him. Trouble is, I don't think he misses me as much as I miss him, and that makes me feel so sorry for myself. I mean, he is meeting new people and seeing new things and here I am, sitting in the same old chair. poor me! And....

Yesterday was a sad day.....we buried our brother, Cheryl and Bob and Tom and Joey and Casey, and I. Talking about the old days, re-telling those growing up stories WAS good for the soul, but it still was extremely sad. His ashes were in a bag, in a cardboard box, in a plastic which an official certificate was taped, still intact in the envelope. We opened it and passed it around..., just my sister and brothers and I. It listed his age, 47, name, William J., and cause of death, Suicide. I do not know why that was on there, but it certainly hit hard. I mean, we already know what happened, but to see it so coldly in black and white, ouch. Because this is Billy we are talking about, the guy who always had Caramel Creams and Starburst for the kids, who gave them money and teased them so much and always knew what was going on with all of them, Billy who made us coffee and cooked amazing things. Billy, who loved the Adirondacks and the beach and could fix anything. Billy who treated our sometimes grumpy sick father so tenderly, yet he would look at us and give us that smirk. His humor was dark and sharp and he had everyone pegged, no one was immune to his assessment. Yet he was kind and caring....oh my goodness, there we were up at the cemetary, and what could we say? We didn't want to be too sappy and stand around and cry our eyes we talked about old times, we buried him and planted a nice plant.....(Casey got it for $2.48 on clearance...but it IS pretty).....and we said our goodbyes......

After a cookout at my brother's place, home to get the kids to bed and catch up with Mirielle, my 20 year old daughter whom I picked up at the bus station yesterday from a summer in Toronto. Life goes on....and Paul is missing it all....

Saturday, August 28, 2010

quiet after midnight...

Life is made up of a series of situations....there are things we sort of have to do, and things we choose to do...places we want to be, places we have to be......obligations, things we do to be nice. Sometimes I feel like my own life is completely out of my hands. I said YES to the babies, and didn't realize all the running around and errands and messes they would bring. Nah, just kidding. I would have said YES anyway. But in my life, I have decided to have a good time and make the most out of my situations, no matter what. Okay, going grocery shopping might not always be the "funnest" thing in the world, but I can bond with the kids I have with me, and make the best of it.

This afternoon, I discovered the following:

1. We were dangerously low on milk. I mean dangerously.

2. We were dreadfully low on bread.

3. We were out of bananas. Bananas are a necessity. I am allergic, cannot eat them, but my kids eat them every day. If we have them, that is.

4. My sister had to run some errands in the big suburb, where the good stores are. She was going all by her lonesome.

Well, I mentioned it in front of my kids, who did NOT want to go to the store, and and was totally encouraged to join my sister and bring home good things. Joseph is 19, and makes an excellent #1 babysitter, Sam, 15, was here too, as was Margaret, 13 and Kathryn, 12....then Mali and Aaron and Ben were getting home from Mc' I knew the kids would be all right. They really wanted me to go....I think they think it is fun to hold down the fort without me. Sam cooked dinner enthusiastically because it was his favorite: tomato soup and saltines. A few of the kids had sandwiches instead....which Sam said was bratty, but hey, some of them don't like tomato soup. I wasn't here to mediate this, but they are all alive and well, so they must have figured it out. Camille was pretty happy to see me, but she was fairly good while I was gone, they said.

I brought Charlotte Claire with me. I bought her a new lamp for her room, (she sleeps with it on), new sandals, and a HappyMeal, because it had a little MadameAlexander doll in it. (Cheryl also bought one and gave her the doll...Thank You, Cheryl!)....I also bought her a package of Mentos at the checkout and told her to save it for tomorrow, which she did. She was completely and totally happy to be the only child for the afternoon. I enjoyed her, and she enjoyed me. And it helped here at home, because when Camille lost her sidekick.

Today the kids colored all over the driveway with chalk, played a huge game of hide-n-seek, inside and out, with at least ten kids, painted with watercolors and colored with markers, played Wii, of course......why do they need school? I think they are learning enough just playing and living. Charlotte Claire told me in the grocery store that we have FIVE pools. Four little ones and one big one, she said. What can she learn in kindergarten?

Anyways, there was a lady in the store today who had three kids with her. Ages, perhaps 14, 12, and 8. Girl, girl, boy. Those kids were full of it, and having a great time. Mommy was all business. She didn't seem to think they were funny at all, I thought they were hilarious, it made me miss my kids. I was in line behind them at the service desk, and she pointed to Charlotte Claire, and told her kids, "You are teaching that little girl bad things!"...I assured her that she had enough older siblings to teach her bad things, not to worry about it...I just think she could have been having so much more fun with her kids if she lightened up a bit...smiled at them, perhaps. Am I judging her? I hope not..I certainly do not know what she is going through in life, she might have cancer, or be going through a divorce, or maybe her mother is ill....I don't know...I just know that life is short, kids grow up, and yes, kids are lively and silly and irritating sometimes, but love them and appreciate them all the time, not just when you feel like it. They slip right through your fingers......

Friday, August 27, 2010

one week without Paul, ten days to go..

In a way it is nice.....I can just do what I want, and believe me, I have settled in and taken over our whole bedroom, even his side of the bed. Target bags and school supplies...but of course I miss him horribly, there is a big emptiness in the evening when he doesn't come in the door. And when it gets busy and crazy, I miss his calmness and ability to restore some semblance of order. We also work together quite well cutting up meat and filling plates at dinnertime. I mean, he sees what needs to be done and does it without being told, usually, ha. Without him to lean on, though, I have had to do more myself, obviously, but that is not a bad thing. He is usually the #1 tucker-inner at night, but I am seeing that even though I am tired by then, it is quite enjoyable to do this by myself night after night...even though it isn't without challenges. See, all those years I had newborns, he just tucked in the older ones when he was here, and when he wasn't, it was aaah, crazy! But it isn't so crazy now. Usually.

I suppose one of these days we should get on a better schedule because of school....last night we started a movie at 11:30pm....I let Suzanne and Sonja and Evelyn stay up and watch it with Kathryn and Margaret and Mali and Aaron and I. Jonathan slept in my bed, and went to bed like a champ, fell right to sleep, and is STILL sleeping, at is Camille....and Sonja and Suze are, too. Sonja was so happy to get to stay up and be one of the big kids last night, I figured it would be worth it for her to be tired was fun. Popcorn, ice cream sandwiches.....and one of the coconuts the boys put in my cart the other day. Aaron hammered it open, and they enjoyed it.

Ahh, today is a blank slate. I have nothing I have to do except return a RedBox movie in the small city. And the beauty of having only one of those is that if I don't get it back, it is only another buck....

Well, I am just as in love with summer now as I was in the beginning. I am not sick of the kids, not sick of the lack of schedule, not sick of the late nights and late mornings. Yesterday was one of those days that should just be framed, or bottled up. The older kids brought home two dozen ears of sweet corn, I grilled steak and made salad, and we had a very nice dinner. Jon DID spill his water. And he ate three ears of corn and hardly any of his steak. And Camille poured her own barbecue sauce, enough for like five people.

So tomorrow I pick up Mirielle from the bus station, yay! I have to bring the big van and all the kids since my three McDonald's workers will be working, and Joseph is scheduled to work at the New York State Fair. No one to watch them so they will all go with me. After that I am going to my brother's house....and my siblings and I are heading up to the cemetary to bury our brother Billy. (he was cremated, we will bury his ashes...not officially, just plant him with my parents in with a plant...isn't that awful? But he would like that, I think.... I don't know how the cemetary people would feel about it, but what's the difference?....) Then we are going back to my brother Tom's house for a picnic. I can't put into words what I feel about all of this. Having my brother die is something I still cannot fathom. He was my friend. He was happy, wasn't he? Why didn't he tell us if he wasn't? Was his life that horrible that he had to end it? Or did he think he was sick? I miss him. I love him. I don't want to face the fact that I will never see him again, on this earth. Why? How could he? I think we are all still reeling from this, and it has been a year and a half. I doubt this burial will bring closure, but it has to be done, and I am hoping that it will help in the healing process for my brothers and sister and I. And also our families. They say that time heals all wounds, but I think when someone you love dies, it never gets all the way better. My mom, for got a bit better after a while, I no longer actually start to pick up the phone to call her, but it still crosses my mind to call her, especially when Camille poops in the dolly change table, or Kathryn learns to do a back walkover. And I still miss her something fierce.

Emily, my oldest daughter, works in the hospital as an R.N. She works on the critical care/trauma floor. So she sees death, several times a week sometimes. She had a patient the other night (just to make it clear, she NEVER tells me specific details or names, just general stuff...because she has to talk about it once in a while, I think...) Anyway, this patient was a woman in her early fifties, was in remission from cancer, planning a big trip with her sister. She relapsed, and went septic, died so quickly it was unreal. When she passed, her sister could not believe it, and wailed, "We were going to go to Florida, she cannot be dead!" So Em deals with these things on a regular basis. She wonders why people don't realize how short life is, and do more meaningful things with their lives.

Sorry if this post has a gloomy tone. I just want to remember to live my life each day like there is no tomorrow, not in a reckless way, but in a thankful and happy and giving and loving way. Why hold grudges? Why get the last word? Why be so strong and so right? God has blessed me tremendously, I owe big time.....

Thursday, August 26, 2010

pears already?

Ice cold water....brilliant sunshine, seventy degrees...almost cool in the shade...yet they dip their heads in the water...

Yay, Benjamin is home!

Even Charlotte Claire and Camille dipped their heads...
This puppy earned being tied up...she went over to visit the neighbors, AGAIN.

Sonja K....

Kathryn Grace

Suzanne Eleanor

Camille Anaya...she likes picking pears and taking bites...

Mr. Jonathan Robert

Charlotte Claire...

They actually taste pretty good this year.

pears and pears and pears...the tree is overloaded this year.

Charlotte Claire and Jonathan...

We had lunch outside on blankets, then filled the little pool, picked some pears....after a while, since the kids were shivering, we came in and they watched a movie while I did some kitchen work...I also made chocolate RiceKrispie treats, with CocoaKrispies. For after dinner. Joseph and Sam came back from the fair with four friends. I thought they were staying for dinner, but they raided the 'fridge instead, and left to play some volleyball at the conference center.

Aaron, Mali, and Margaret are bringing back some sweet corn, and I am grilling steak for dinner. I will make a nice salad too.

The days are just flying by. Summer, oh summer, how I love thee. I wish I could just grasp it and slow it down.

Here is a question.....I would seriously like some replys to this:

Am I the only one who wonders sometimes what the heck the house would look like if I died suddenly?

Another question. Am I the only one who actually considers telling some of the kids, "Listen, if I die suddenly, can you PLEASE make sure you take the burners off the stove and wash under them once in a while?" Of course, that is only an example. I have been tempted to tell them to make sure they shine up the kitchen faucet and wipe down the windowsills and take the lint out of the dryer lint-trap. To soak the washcloths in bleach once in a while, and clean under the furniture. Then I think, "who cares? If I'm dead, why would I care?"

I am sort of kidding, but I am wondering if I am the only one.....

Mr. Jonathan, almost in heaven....he LOVES steering wheels.

Camille and I....

When she is my age, if I should be so lucky, I will be 88. That is is hard to be approaching middle age and not have a mommy anymore......when I found out I was going to have her, that was one of my thoughts....

thursday morning, where did everyone go???

Joseph and Samuel went on an adventure to the New York State Fair. They brought some of the boys from church. They had some free tickets, and ten dollars, so they packed their lunches and off they went. I was nice and gave them some more money, just in case. Joe is such a good boy, he didn't want to take the money, thought they didn't need it. I told them they had to pay to park, and with only $10, they couldn't even buy an ice cream cone in the dairy building. So they took it, joking that they would instead go to the video game store.

Aaron, Mali, and Margaret went to the mall. Just up and left me. I am here with Kathryn and Evelyn and Suzanne and Sonja and Jonathan and Charlotte Claire and Camille. We are rattling around like peas in a pod.

I bought a fun-pack of assorted Crayola markers yesterday on clearance. There are scented markers and tri-color markers and two-tone markers. We sat at the table and had milk and cookies, then colored on our paper plates. I made some masks for the kids, which Rosie is scared of....change your voice a bit, put on a mask, and Rosie thinks you are a STRANGER. It is too much fun, but I told the kids we really shouldn't do that to her.

Suze got to sleep in my bed with me last night. I had been holding out, telling them no, enjoying having the whole bed to myself....I would RATHER have Paul home, but since he's IS nice to stretch out and hog all the room. Anyways, Sonja slept the night before, last night Suze, tonight Jonathan, then Charlotte Claire....part of me wonders why I started allowing it, but they enjoy it so much. We DO have a super-comfy bed, it is a Sleep-Number bed, with a soft mattress topper on top. Suze thought it was the best sleep....

I think we shall stay home today and clean up, again, Benjamin is bringing his girlfriend over for dinner tonight, along with one of his friends who is leaving soon for college. This friend doesn't have much of a family life, and fits in well here. Our kids just love him. And her.

We have had so much trouble this year with ants.....teeny tiny baby ants. I have ten ant traps hidden on the counter tops, and two hidden on the floor. I think they come from outside and find a place between the backsplash and the counter and I will find a small gathering of them underneath I spray and clean them up....and I spray along the crevice with kitchen-friendly ant spray, which I suspect is also ant-friendly. I hadn't found any in the cupboards since about a month ago...then yesterday, the chocolate donuts...ugh. Covered in ants. So I cleaned out the cupboard thouroughly, plus the one next to it...I didn't see ants in very many things, just a few, but I threw away everything open, just in case. They are dumb ants, and slow moving, thankfully....they didn't get into the cupboard where the sugar is, thankfully....but I cleaned that one out anyway, just in case. I sprayed along the baseboards again, I have nothing else to do.....rr, I really didn't want to do that yesterday before we went for the passports and everything...but then I thought, perhaps God wants to help me clean out the old boxes of baby cereal, now that Camille is almost three....

Yes, life has it's trials. Today's #1 trial is keeping Rosie in the house so she doesn't attack the garbage man. Since he told me he WILL NOT pick up our garbage if THAT DOG is loose, I have been paranoid she will get out and bark at him. And since we still have no dog leash, when I took her out this morning, I kept thinking I heard the truck coming....anyways, when Mali and Aaron left, they left the deck gate open and just the screen door closed in the she escaped. rrr. She went to the neighbors, and I had to go pretend we were going bye-bye, by opening the van doors and calling, "Let's go, Rosie, come on, let's go!" It still fools her, but one of these days she is going to realize that I let her jump in the van, eat a few pretzels from the floor, and drag her into the house. She is sleeping under my chair footrest right now....but I won't relax until that garbage man comes and goes....phew. He just picked up the garbage. Phew.

So now that my #1 trial is over, I can go on my merry way and do the dishwasher and wash some bedding and sweep the floors....Sam mopped the kitchen yesterday, too bad it doesn't last. The kids are getting waffletown out again, and playing Wii. It is nice and peaceful here, there is a good spirit.

I mentioned the other day that Aaron put his Golden Grahams on top of the cupboard to keep them "safe", as in all for him...then he came home with a bag of LittleDebbie Cakes and put them up there. Last night while the kids were coloring, he got them out and passed them out. I was impressed. Yesterday, Suze couldn't finish her Chinese food, so she put a note on it, "Do Not Eat", Suzanne...I cannot blame them, it seems like all I hear sometimes is, "Who ate my...?, Where is my.......? Who took my....?" The bigger picture is that all these things are lessons on learning to live peacefully together, forgiving, sharing, giving, and learning it is NOT the end of the world if someone drinks my last Diet Coke. (yeah, I am learning lessons too...)

Seems I could just go on and on today....but I won't.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

passports and chinese food and video games....

an afternoon of out and about with four boys and five girls, and me. Aaron doesn't like me to take his picture, so I just say, "fine, put your hand up....I'll take it anyway." Filing back into the van after shopping at the warehouse club.
I tried to get a picture of my boys, but they kept walking...Aaron and Sam and Jonathan and Joseph...and Charlotte Claire...and Camille

Jon has no idea he is smaller than his brothers.

He also has no idea he is too small to push his sisters in a car-car cart. So he did it, and didn't bump into anyone that I know of.

Suzanne and Sonja....

The little monkeys.




Camille did not want help buckling, yet she did not want to do it she had a fit before we even left the driveway.

She didn't love having her picture taken....
Aaron applied for a passport renewal. Joseph stayed in the van with Sam and Evelyn and Suzanne and Sonja. Aaron and I, and Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille went in to to the county clerk's office. They kids sat in a row of chairs while we waited, and made friends with some of the ladies who work there. They told them about Emily and Abigail, and how we have a dog named Rosie, and lots and lots of other stuff. The ladies gave them stickers and got out some stuffed animals for them to play with. When we were leaving, I think Camille made on of the lady's day by saying, "Mommy, that is my FRIEND!" and pointing to her.
We picked up some Chinese take-out, which I told them we were eating at home...ha. We had to drop off some movies to RedBox, then Joseph and I went into Blockbuster and got a few more...they ate in the van. They couldn't wait. Then we all went to BJ's and got some cookies and croissants ($2.99 a package, bakery fresh, with $2 off can you go wrong with 6 huge croissants for a buck?), three coconuts (the boys put those in the cart...), milk and cheese and chicken. And a game for the Wii...yes, I am a sucker. It is nice though because we have enough controllers now for four people to play at once...MarioCart! Jon loves the steering wheel! Oh, he is learning how to share, ouch!
Emily took Margaret and Kathryn out to lunch today....such a nice sister.
So now we are home...Suze is making a huge Waffletown road for the new Zhu Zhu pet she bought with her birthday money. Charlotte Claire is playing too, Camille is changing her clothes, Joseph is eating a peach and watching the little kids play Wii.....Margaret is on a computer, Mali is having a snack,Sonja is playing dollhouse, Kathryn is cuddling with Camille who put her shirt on backwards... Ben just had some of the chicken and rice we brought home. It is a cloudy day, so it is cozy in here and it doesn't feel sinful to be parked inside.