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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

charlotte claire

playing dollhouse.....
I love when they are in their own little worlds....she can keep occupied playing dollhouse for hours. Right now, she is the only little one still up and I just put batteries in a toy laptop computer. She gets it all to herself, without anyone trying to get a turn. She is growing up on me. She is extremely independent, and very articulate. She always talks about the kids in her class, and on her bus, even though she doesn't go to school for another two years. Her imagination is in full force. I am glad she has a sister only 18 months younger than her even though Camille seems so much more babyish. They will be good friends. I am thinking that if I were to have another baby, the baby would be three years or so younger than Camille....so I would have to have another one after that so he/she wouldn't be lonely. So twins would be good. Hey, I can dream. Besides, I saw the coolest Bebecar double stroller.....

Suzanne and Kathryn.... Kathryn and Evelyn....

Kathryn

Camille was hungry today. She asked Mirielle, "Can we have food and water?" Mirielle thought it was so funny, she made them grilled cheese sandwiches and of course, water. When the kids are little, they get hungry more often and usually don't eat as much at a time.
Camille is napping, Rosie is napping, college basketball is on tv.....I have dinner all ready to go into the oven (two roasts, all seasoned in a pan with foil, potatoes all peeled ready to boil (I was going to bake them in the skins, but they didn't look too good, I had to peel them), and a huge pan of baby carrots in olive oil ready to roast). The boys should be home before we leave today, so I can put the stuff in the oven and leave for church. (they have had their share of meetings this weekend, and are probably exhausted from late nights....)


sunday, a day of rest..

And I won't even write "ha"....I have taken Rosie-the-energetic outside twice, the second time I left her there tied to a tree in the front yard. She is having a grand old time digging in the snow and getting herself all tangled up. The other day I went out there and she had literally hogtied herself. It was so funny. Not to her, I imagine. I do not like tying her up, but she is a racer and a chaser and a herder, so.....sometimes I let her off the leash and play with her, but when her ears perk up and she hears something that is totally her business, like a tractor down the road, she is GONE.

Church is in the afternoon today, because the boys are out there for a weekend conference. So it is sort of a relaxing day. The little ones are watching "Rescue Heroes", they look like they might fall asleep. Mommy let them stay up way too late last night, but it was fun. Paul, Emily, Abigail, and Mirielle were doing fundraising at the Carrier Dome....the Orange won again, beat Villanova! They are good good good this year, the college basketball team. Anyway, I was here (wishing we had cable so I could watch the game, instead I kept checking the score online) with Mali, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. Benjamin was helping my brother move into a new house. And the other boys were at the conference. I let them have Ramen noodles for dinner. I seriously do not consider those things to be "food", but the kids love them, so I bought them some the other day. I didn't have to twist their arms to eat their dinner last night. In fact, they were so excited about it, it almost hurts my soul.

Jonathan wants to be a busdriver or a train conductor when he grows up, and Charlotte Claire wants to be a cop. Evelyn wants to be a surgeon. Kathryn wants to be an archeaologist. Sonja wants to be a doctor. Sometimes the kids ask me what I would choose to be if I could do it over, and I have to say nothing different than I am doing now. Yes, I would like to go to nursing school. But I am thinking that might be too difficult, because once I entered, it would be so intense, and I would still have like nine kids in school if I went when Camille was in kindergarten. I still need to be here. So I am trying to think of something different. I could sell things on ebay. Like that Dyson vac, I should have bought it and re-sold it. (ha, who am I kidding....I would have kept it)

Well, today I have smaller fish to fry than think about future careers. Sweet little Camille knows we are going somewhere today, and she just put these cute little pink pants on, thinking she is ready. They have had their showers, and she has no patience for all this waiting to go bye-bye.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

remembering billy....

Cheryl and Kim, maybe you shouldn't read this, unless you are in the mood to cry. In one week, one week from today, it will be the one year anniversary of my brother's death. I am still reeling. I cannot believe it yet that he is gone, and I am still sad. The other day while waiting in the van for Benjamin, I turned on the radio for a minute to keep the little girls happy, and the Billy Joel song, "Only The Good Die Young" was on, and at the same time I saw a guy walking with that funny gait that Billy had, a guy with dark hair and a plaid jacket...my heart jumped with recognition before my brain reminded me that Billy is gone. It has happened to me many times in this past year, that I suddenly remember that he has died, and every single time it hurts. It is like a punch in the stomach. I have been teary eyed alot this past week, thinking of him. Then this morning the girls were helping me clean up and they turned on some Queen, and "Bohemian Rapsody" came on....that song always makes me cry anyway, but this morning I thought of Billy, and.....then my brother Bob stopped in. He had some papers with him, and the statement from the coroner. He showed it to me. "Contact gunshot wound to the neck and head". That phrase is imprinted on my brain and will no doubt haunt me. I have not grieved properly for William yet, I have just gone on with life and I feel like I need to just get away and cry for a week. Why would he do this? How could he? I would have helped him, talked to him. (he did have a high level of carbon monoxide in his blood, which could have caused confusion)(he heated his place with a wood stove)oh, anyway, I am just so sad. So I am going to write some good things here about my brother, just to help me cope.

1. Billy was a giver. I remember when he started college, I am 3 and a half years younger than him, and when he got his loan money for books, he threw me a twenty. (I promptly went to the mall and bought the clogs I had been coveting and thought I would never get)

2. He gave up an extremely lucrative job offer from the Post Office to stay home and take care of my parents.

3. His sense of humor was so sarcastic, one wasn't sure if they should laugh or cry at his comments. They were always right on target. I still don't know how he could peg people so accurately.

4. He loved the kids. If he knew my kids were coming over, he had caramel creams and Starburst for them.

5. He saved up change and gave it to the kids.

6. He took it in stride the way my father was. When my dad was unreasonable, Billy would just raise his eyebrows at me and do what my dad wanted.

7. He always slept on the floor because he didn't like beds. He said they hurt his back. Now my Mali does that too.

8. He was supremely good looking. He looked like Charles Bronson and Burt Reynolds (but better).

9. He wrestled in high school.

10. He never married and never had kids, but he did have a few serious girlfriends.

11. He proposed to a lovely girl one time but someone who didn't like him advised her father that he wasn't a good guy, so she listened to her father. It broke his heart. And yes, I have forgiven the person who interfered. I think.

12. He got converted when he was in his early twenties, and spent several good years in our church, serving and having fellowship. After he left, he still loved our friends and kept up with what they were all doing. I think he always regretted leaving. When he died, he left a stack of pictures of his friends from his time in the church. With his bible.

13. I suspect that he thought he had cancer or something because of how lousy he must have felt with the carbon mon. buildup in his blood, plus his extremely severe pectus excatatum, (sunken sternum). He had been complaining of not feeling well, and I suspect he didn't want to be a burden.

14. When he was younger, he hated answering the phone.

15. He was a voracious reader. He probably read every book I ever read (except for the romances)

16. He was so easy to talk to.

17. I have fond memories of playing with him when I was little, then we hung out together as teenagers....

18. My kids remember fondly the times he babysat them. They still call him, "Mister Master Babysitter".

19. He had bad knees, even when he was younger.

20. He grew a beard sometimes and when he shaved it off he was shockingly young and handsome again.

And now it is busy in here. Mirielle is cleaning out the hall closet and Charlotte Claire and Camille have bathing suits on. They are making comfy beds with on the living room floor with the bedding and sheets that Mirielle is sorting and folding. My break is over....I can no longer concentrate. It is a wonder I ever can, but sometimes I can just phase things out....

Friday, February 26, 2010

out and about in the snow

Camille and Mali in the grocery store.... Camille
Snow pile at Target...if you look closely, you can see a shopping cart sticking out, right in the middle at the top...the plow must've just plowed it up....it is a HUGE mountain of snow....




Margaret in our driveway



Margaret getting the snow out of her boots.



Camille getting her carseat.




Mirielle in the driveway.

Mirielle, Aaron, Mali, Margaret, Camille and I took the minivan and went to Target. There was a Dyson vacuum cleaner for half price. $214 for the new ball model. I actually put it into the cart, and texted Paul. He did not answer, so I put it back. I wanted it but knew I didn't need it, but also worried with that superstitious worry that if I don't buy it, ours will break. I love my vacuum cleaner. So much. I didn't buy it, I put it back. Ouch. I wanted it. Paul doesn't understand why. Oh well, I am still alive.
We then went to the grocery store and got some red peppers and carrots and mangos and lettuce and cheese and pasta and sauce and ice cream and eggs and orange juice and milk and bread. A coffee at McD's for the ride home, and ahh, what a nice drive. Now we are home, and we are going to the pool first, and having dinner when we get home. It seems like a better plan because they are hungry when we get home anyway.
It is actually a sunny day, and is in the thirties. Mirielle left her coat in the van because it is nice out. I guess to a central New Yorker, thirty and sunny feels like spring.
Aaron, who is 17, really wants me to have another baby. He keeps bugging me. He dreamed the other night that I had twins, and that they were really cute. They are praying for another baby. I don't say much to them, they can hope for what they want. I, however, am really at peace either way. If I could CHOOSE, I would of course choose baby, but since I can't, I will be content. It is neat how much these guys love the hugs from Camille and Charlotte Claire though. They always are saying how cute they are, and they just love them so much.
The kids have gone out to play twice today, and have also had lots of fun in the playroom, I mean livingroom. They have dollhouse stuff out, and some of Jon's trucks, and little piano and Jon's train, which is picked up and put back in the box now.....they keep busy, and we just have to walk around stuff. If anyone stopped in right now, they would see snowpants and mittens and jackets draped all over the kitchen chairs to dry. Lovely. But that is life.
Well, I have to gather the towels and suits soon....and dress them and do their hair...wait, do we HAVE to go to the pool?






snow day part two!

I got up out of my nice warm bed to check to see if school was closed, and YAY! I sneaked back by the little green bed, got dressed, and came back out to take Rosie out. Once people are up, she has to go out, and fast. So.....I open the door, and SNOW!!! This is the driveway, obviously, I couldn't make it to the edge near the road, there is so much snow from the plow.... It was over the top of the giant size eleven boots, so I didn't want to venture any farther.







Rosie couldn't wait to go down the deck steps, but I was nervous....especially because when she is all excited, she pulls me....which is pretty much all the time. I have developed a go-down-the-steps method that works though: I hold right on to her collar, and make her stay on the same step as me. Then at the end, I let go and brace myself....


Yesterday Camille did not take a nap. I wasn't surprised since she slept in late....but what I WAS surprised about was that she came out wearing my new stockings....




Well, Kathryn is telling me her dream....











Thursday, February 25, 2010

snow snow snow

I took Miss Rosie out after dinner, out into the snow storm....the wind is just blowing and it is dark and cold....she peed, then she heard the people-down-the-street's tractor/plow, and off she went...down the road. I had to hightail it all the way down the road in those size eleven boots, walking right into the wind....I DID apologize to our neighbor, I mean one should be able to plow one's driveway without a dog barking and circling.....I got Miss Rosie hooked to the leash, and off we went down the dark snowy road....I was hurrying along just as fast as I could go through the snow, hoping and praying that the snowplow wouldn't come along, me with my navyblue jacket, dark jean skirt, blue mittens, black boots.....(jumping into snowbanks is not my idea of fun).....that was my excitement for the evening. Anyone want a dog?

outside fun

This puppy dog is wild outside. She needs to be supervised around the kids still, because she loves to play and jump and grab mittens. I played out front with her and tired her out a bit before going out back to play with Sam, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzane, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. The snow is so wet and heavy, they made snowforts and we threw some snowballs at each other. It is really pleasant out there, despite the fact that the snow is to my knees....just walking around in one of the boys' huge boots is a work out for me. Camille and Charlotte Claire...





Camille....she wears these boots around the house instead of slippers sometimes....


I never let the other kids wear any shoes that had been worn outside, around the house. But with the messy paws Rosie wears in here, it seems kind of fruitless to not let her.
Mirielle so nicely took over baking the cookies for me so I could go outside. I made a triple batch of peanut butter mini-chocolate chip. Now my life is not without trials, but the sometimes the simple joys are overwhelmingly joyful. When I walked in the door, all cold and damp and snowy, the smell and warmth of the cookies enveloped me.....and I had one. Then another one....Camille has caught on to "milk and cookies", and she takes it so seriously. Kathryn is cutting oranges for them. Jonathan and Charlotte Claire are all set up at the Little Tikes table in the livingroom, waiting for "Calliou" to come on. I wish this day would go slower......




SNOW DAY!!!!

Most likely my two favorite words!!! Camille woke up a little aafter six this morning, which is a no-no, and when I went to her little green bed, I discovered that she had peed through. She was soaked. So I sneaked her out to the kitchen (why the kitchen? Well, Rosie-the-happy-puppy has a cage in the living room, and if she saw us she would wag her loud thumpity tail and whine, and think it was morning. I do not consider 6:00 to be morning. Not yet.) So I got warm washcloth and washed her up and changed her and dressed her in warm clean jammies and got her more milk in her sippy cup, wrapped her in a clean blanket, and sneaked in to see it the school closings were being announced yet....we were quiet, and Rosie slept unaware....and there it was, our school, closed! And even more exciting, Mirielle's college had cancelled classes too! I put Miss Camille into her little green bed, with clean bedding, and made the rounds to tell the kids. They would much rather be told while they are in their warm beds, so they can just go back to sleep. Mirielle was so glad! Just Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, and Charlotte Claire are up now. I can't believe Camille is still sleeping.

It is of course very snowy out, the trees are covered and it is getting deeper. I love it. I DID feel sorry for Paul this morning however. He still had to go to work. But he warmed my heart by how happy he was for the rest off us.

So today I am thinking, "Cookie baking day"....hmm.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

quiet of the evening....

Quiet. What a lovely word. All I can hear right now is the fan in the kids' room down the hall. And the keys of the laptop. Rosie is sleeping in her cage, and all the kids in the family are in bed except for Benjamin, who should be coming in soon. And Emily, who is working the quiet dim halls of the big hospital in the big city. She said working nights is more relaxed and less busy, no doctors to deal with.

Phew. The day gets SO busy sometimes. Tonight Paul was gone to a meeting, Mirielle, Joseph, Aaron, Mali, Sam, and Margaret were gone, and I was home with the seven youngest. (how did I manage this with a baby?) I think partially the answer is to that - now I have Rosie-the-dog-with-more-energy-than-all-of-us-put-together. She likes to go outside and just run in circles. Anyway, it was an eventful evening. As I tucked Jonathan in, we discovered that his bedding needed changing, OH YEAH, now I remember this morning he needed a shower. And Sonja missed Aaron this evening, and somehow thought of some good reasons to get up and come out and see him when they got home. Evelyn stepped on a sharp toy, and Camille climbed out of her little green bed three times. Oh, and I washed up all the dinner pans while Evelyn swept, Sonja washed the tables, and Kathryn loaded the dishwasher. I also sneaked into the laundry room and put away some clothes. Kathryn made ice cream cones for all the kids, and I said, "No thank you,", like a good girl, then Camille didn't want hers. Oh well, it was good.

Anyway, after they are all in bed, I sit here enjoying the quiet, feeling guilty that I love quiet so much, and thinking how much better it could have gone. I want to pay more attention to Jonathan, and read him the two stories he wanted instead of the one...I DID go into their room to read the story though, to get away from "American Idol"....it is too interesting to me. Suzanne got a hair trim/cut from Mali, and was not happy because she wants it short like Sonja, and followed me around half the night begging me to cut her hair. Not tonight, Suze....that answer wasn't what she was looking for. I let them play, "Elefun", which usually gets a bit crazy, but Rosie was outside, so at least she wasn't eating the butterflies. One of the girls signed my name on one of their papers and her teacher recognized it wasn't my writing, and the child lied and said it was her mother that signed it....now she feels bad and wants me to write a note, no way, you have to write a note or tell herself. It is good to humble yourself, I told her. Everyone has that stuff in them, and to see it and to have others see it is painful, but to admit it and ask for forgiveness is beautiful...."God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble..."(James 4, v.6)......

Well, it is nighty night time...and I will continue to pray for Eva....I found her blog, 65redroses, and it is very sad...she is on a waiting list for a lung transplant and is very sick, she has cystic fibrosis. Charlotte Claire is praying her heart out for her. Jonathan too.

afternoon lull....

I sat down with a huge load of socks to match.....oh, it feels nice to get socks matched. I feel rich when we have a laundry basket full. I accomplished a lot today, it feels like someone prayed for me or something. I cleaned up the shoes and packed away some sandals. Yeah, I know, I should have packed them away like in November, but still. I threw away shoes that are too small for Camille, and I seriously could have cried. I threw away the baby walking shoes that Camille wore. Wah. I put down a new rug over by the door, cleaned the tile, straightened and paired up shoes and boots, cleaned under the roll-top (hide-the-mess-top) desk, swept and vacuumed and did lots of laundry. And I had a nice lunch with the girls and Jonathan, soft pretzels, yogurt, and ham. And one piece of rye bread for me. Camille is taking a nap, and now Jonathan is going outside with Charlotte Claire. Sonja K. is looking at the AmericanGirls catalog, which we have never ordered from, but have enjoyed looking at through the years. My older girls liked those books so much. The dolls are lovely, but so expensive.

Suzanne has taken a shower and is waiting for me to cut her hair. And the burger simmering on the stove is calling me to stir it, we are having our old stand-by for dinner. Spaghetti, which we haven't had in a while. It sounds good on a cold night. We are in for more snow, apparently. A storm is moving up the coast, which always stimulates the lake effect to kick in. I am of course hoping hoping hoping for a snow day!

Well, my nice little break is over. Just a hint: if you have an Aldi nearby, go there. Buy the chocolate bars, the milk, dark, or almond. They are around $1.50, for 5 ounces or so. So worth it. Choceur, it is called, made in Austria. A few squares in the afternoon, oh so good. Not that I would know. It is just a guess.....

well, eight isn't bad...

Suzanne and Sonja, all ready for school. I finally cut Miss Sonja's tangly curly hair last night....it made me sad, but it is now more managable and less painful for her. I mean, to me that is just vanity if I make her suffer the tangles to have long pretty hair. And not just tangles, she would just get clumps of matted hair all the time because of the curliness and texture of her hair. And besides, now she has short pretty hair. She loves it, too. But now Suze wants a cut....we'll see. Little Miss Monkey Camille. She climbed up on top of the dog cage to see in the mirror. She had a brush and was fixing her hair.
Jonathan got to stay home today. He told me last night that the teachers in school were "concerned" about his cough. That is exactly what he said. I asked him what they said, and he said they looked at each other when he coughed. Perceptive little guy, isn't he? He does seem to have a cold and cough, but not very bad, not enough to make me start thinking DR.....anyway, I let him stay home today. And I am very excited about it, because he can be such a joy. His little sisters are going to be so happy when they wake up and see him here.
Camille woke up three times last night, but all three times she went back to sleep on her own. I am glad about that. Finally.....!
Today we are going to clean out a closet when Mirielle gets home from college. I am lucky to have such a daughter who is willing to help with things like this. Yesterday she cleaned out under the kitchen sink. We got rid of two blenders with missing parts, a popcorn popper that had gotten wet, and a couple of drink pitchers that look yucky and we never use. I like doing things like that, cleaning out cupboards and closets. I get them all nice and think, "I am always going to keep it like this"....but even when I think that, part of me knows me, and knows darn well that ain't gonna happen. It's a good thing one doesn't have to pass an "organized" test to have children. Especially lots of children. It isn't complete chaos here, I am organized about some things. And somehow, we thrive and survive.
It was so nice to be with Abigail yesterday. Now I know how my mother felt when I went down to visit her. I hope she gets this job she interviewed for. It must be hard to be 23 years old and have no money. The economy IS tough right now, Mirielle, Benjamin, Joseph, and Aaron have put applications in all over the town and small city, and haven't had any calls. When they hear somewhere is hiring, they go online and apply, and haven't gotten anything yet.
I guess I am going to start taking classes soon, and probably go to nursing school. I am nervous about it, what if I can't do it? What if I flunk out? Or don't even make it in? But we are thinking how nice it would be if I got an RN degree, and could start working even 5 or six years down the road.....Paul could retire. (he has worked for 25 years, and has never had more than two weeks of vacation a year. Two weeks. He needs a break.) It only seems fair that I do that for him after how nicely he has supported me all these years. I have gotten to stay home for 25 years, taking care of kids. It has been rough sometimes, but mostly heavenly. Not the housework, the kids. ( Truly, I love a clean house, but I have to MAKE myself do the work. I have to tell myself how nice it looks, and how it is my job, and how nice it is when Paul comes in and it is clean in here. I have to kick myself in the.....to get up and move it and clean. rrr. I wish I always had the nesting instinct. It simply isn't there. )Anyway, back to nursing school. I am not totally excited about it because of that niggling thought that I am not capable, but I am going to try, anyway.
And now I am going to give myself that kick and get out there and start on the kitchen. And throw in some laundry. I did three loads yesterday, so it isn't too bad. I have to sweep the living room again, and vacuum around the edges. Which I totally love doing. I love vacuuming. I was sad when we got rid of the carpet, for only that reason, I love to vacuum. But I quickly realized that using the hose of the vacuum to do all the edges and corners gets up all the dog hair and dust that collect there....and I am not getting paid to say I LOVE my DYSON vacuum cleaner. Just love love love it. It is my favorite earthly possession. I got it cheap, half price, and am almost scared it will break and I will have to go back to an awful Eureka or Hoover again. Or the dreaded Dirt Devil. ugh. I have gone through so many of those. It starts out all exciting, then it gets clogged. And the belt breaks. Or the motor burns out. anyway....I love vacuuming. I think it is because when I was little and my mother vacuumed everyday, and I loved the hum of it....now I have to be careful because it drowns out everything, and I can be in my own thoughts, and I have to watch out that the kids aren't getting into anything while I go on my merry way.
Can you say PROCRASTINATE? oh, I am good at that...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

happy 9th birthday, Suzanne Eleanor

Suzanne with the birthday bear her teacher gave her today. I thought that was so sweet.
Midst the playing and singing and talking......Charlotte Claire takes her daily conk. She was tucked into her bed, but came back out and claimed the couch.

Camille Anaya woke up happy today....

Sonja put new gumballs in her gumball machine, but some fell on the floor....guess who got them?



Jonathan Robert




Sonja with her magical gumball machine....
I made up a pot of chicken soup with carrots, potatoes, and mixed veggies....it is simmering, the table is set, Camille is coloring, Jonathan is playing wii....lots of things are going on...and my break is over.....





ha, I went out and about...

My dear daughter Abigail stopped by after a job interview (yay), and asked me if I needed to go anywhere. Well, I am my mother's daughter, because I promptly forgot all the work I should have stayed home and done, and got the two little girls ready. (I did put in a quick load of darks) We went to the DollarTree, where I got some soft pretzels, some crunchy pretzels, some coloring books for the girls, and some soccer socks. We then went to Wegmans for milk. $93 for milk. Ha. I got bread and carrots and eggs and juice and veggies and a few muffins, and a large coffee. We then picked up Benjamin, ha, I stood my ground on that one, huh?

So here we are home in the quiet afternoon. (Joseph did the dishwasher, cleaned the counters, and swept the livingroom and kitchen floors while we were gone, YAY) The girls are in their naps, not sleeping, but in their naps probably changing their clothes and getting into things. (I have had a lot of kids, but these two are something else.)(not that I don't love them to pieces, that is probably the problem, I spoil them both).

Well, the bus is here with Aaron, Mali, Sam, Margaret, and Kathryn ...

whew....

Rosie-the-bad-dog.....
She was ripping up/eating the purple streamers from the birthday party. She doesn't just chew things up, she eats them.... Our back yard this morning.




It isn't nine o'clock yet, and I need a nap. I actually had a good sleep last night, Camille woke up twice, but I didn't get up, and she went back to sleep on her own. Only like a year later than it should take for a toddler to learn that, but I'll take it.






Camille is up now, and she is snuggling with me. Rosie is tied up outside, and barking her head off. She is all clean and fluffy and cute now. I just went out and got her and brought her in again. That makes three trips outside already for me. A guy is plowing our across-the-street neighbors' driveway, and somehow that is Rosie's business. She is pacing around and whining to go back outside. I wish I could just let her go, but she will go over there and bark at that truck.
All nine school kids went this morning. Suzanne remembered her brownies. They all remembered their snacks (or rather I remembered all their snacks), and Jonathan brought his snowpants just in case they go outside. I am successful. ha. Aaron had a migraine at school yesterday. I wonder why he and I both got them on the same day. He came home and went to bed, and when he got up later in the evening, he still felt awful. He has some migraine med. but forgot to take one before school. He only gets them in school, I wonder if it is the lighting or the dust or the lack of air circulation. Or stress. I don't know. I always try to figure out what triggers mine, and the one common denominater is stress and being very busy, but that is the story of my life, and I don't always have a headache, so it has to be something else.
Well, like I said yesterday, I am thankful for the help I recieved yesterday, but....oh my goodness, they don't do things like I do. Joseph DID sweep up last night, which is nice. But a Monday without doing any laundry, eeks! Benjamin is taking his GED test today, and Mirielle has classes, and will be picking him up when he is done, but he will have to wait for her for a while...he wanted me to pick him up. I said no. It was hard to do. I like to please everyone. But it will take me all day to get ready and drive to the small city and then I won't want to just come home after all the effort of getting ready, and he won't want to shop. So...I said no. He can wait the hour or two....but of course I feel bad. That's me, the mom who wants to help all the kids all the time.....but sometimes I just can't. Oh, but maybe I should just go get him....rrr.
Emily was here to visit last night. She didn't have to work, but she couldn't stay overly late because she had homework. She is going for her bachelors in nursing by taking classes online. She has a tough job, I couldn't do it. She works on a very intense floor, and people there die. Of course it is a hospital, people die in hospitals. But her floor has people with mostly unfixable or dire medical conditions, and it is sad. And just for the record, she never tells me any names or specifics about any patients, she abides strictly by the privacy laws.
Anyway, Paul and some of the older kids were gone when she came over, and the little ones were estactic to see her. They showed that by their behavior. Jumping on the couch and going wild....I had to put a stop to that...they wanted her attention. And I told her to remember that they aren't always like this. She'll never want to come over! She is a good girl, she helped by changing Jon's bedding and tucking them in. They liked having her pray with them and put them to bed.
I have a niggling feeling, and whenever I have that niggling feeling and I ignore it, I am sorry....right now I should check on the girls. They are not supposed to go into Evelyn, Suzanne, Jonathan, and Sonja's room. Because they get into their stuff, and there is nothing more heartbreaking than a kid getting off the bus and running into their room and exclaiming how someone dumped her Barbies or trashed her shelf......I am supposed to guard that room for them...so off I go...





Monday, February 22, 2010

life goes on....

Charlotte Claire, Jonathan, and Camille. Camille is eating a plastic chicken drumstick. These kids do not get bored. Rosie the dog was very dirty. Even though there is snow on the ground, she manages to get dirty...I gave her a nice bath after dinner, I wash her face with kids' no tears shampoo. She is spoiled. I left her in the bathroom with the door closed for a while, because she gets the whole living room and kitchen all we when she shakes off....so she just waited until I let her out. She is so smart.

I am feeling wrung out. I hate that post-migraine feeling...that exhaustedness, with the still-slightly aching head to accompany it....I didn't accomplish a single thing today, but I am extremely thankful that Joseph held down the fort and that the other kids helped out.

We had roasted chicken breasts for dinner, with rolls and butter and salad. There is a lot of chicken leftover, which means dinner will be easier tomorrow night. Paul had to leave to go to a meeting, and Samuel, Margaret, Kathryn, and Evelyn went to soccer practice. Mirielle is cleaning up from dinner on her birthday, poor girl, but she is not complaining. She is truly a kind soul. She is also making individual brownies for Suzanne to take to school tomorrow for her birthday.

It seems like whenever I start to get ahead around here, I get a headache or something. But in my heart I know it isn't what I get done here that is really important.

It was hard to send the kids to school today after having them home for a nine day vacation. I love having them home. Yesterday Jonathan and Charlotte Claire played out in the snow at the edge of the woods, making a fort, for almost two hours. He does amazingly well in kindergarten, but I am jealous that the teacher has him for so long. We just enjoy him too much. Same with the girls.

headache day...

I should have taken some ibuprofen before bed last night, I should know by now. I thought my head just ached from the long day....

I couldn't sleep, it ached so badly...but anyone who has had a migraine headache knows that when one gets up and walks, the pounding is enough to make one throw-up. I finally got up to take that ibuprofen, and it was FIVE o'clock! Rats. I got back in bed, and oh my goodness agony....it hurt so badly....I tried to think calm thoughts, because even when stressful thoughts crossed my mind, it made my head pound. And it is not exactly relaxing to know that the clock is ticking, ticking, ticking, and the kids have to be woken up for school in just a few hours.....when I was sort of relaxing and starting to drift, Miss Camille started crying....I had to get up and comfort her, and when I got back in bed, pound pound pound....I was still awake at 7:02 when Paul got up....then, of all things, I dozed off 'til 7:16. So I have had 14 minutes of sleep. Yes, I am sort of complaining. But I am okay...I got the kids fed and dressed and brushed and kissed and out the door onto the bus....and I am making Joseph get up and watch the little girls so I can take a few more ibuprofen and go back to bed.

I haven't always had the luxury of being able to do that, but miraculously I have usually only had these bad headaches when I was able to sleep. It is amazing what one is capable of though, when one has no choice. I have nursed babies while having the stomach flu.....that's the thing about being a mommy, there are no SICK days. I am sure Paul would have stayed home if I asked him, but he does not even stay home himself, unless he is really really ill.

Oh well, I think Joseph is almost done with his shower, I am going back to bed. And later when I get up I will start that "battle of the birthday cake".....you know, the battle not to eat it all......I wouldn't officially take a piece and put it on a plate, no way, I would just take a little taste at a time....whittling away at it....if I can make it until the kids get home, I'll be all set.

Oh, and HAPPY 20th Birthday, to my daughter Mirielle Joy!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

birthday fun....

I woke up this morning and decided we should celebrate the birthdays today. I took Sonja and Camille and went to BigLots and the dollar store for some gifts and ballons....then home to make the cake and some cupcakes. I was tempted to go to BJ's and buy a cake for $9.99, and I should have. But it was fun to do....Suzanne .....
Suze and Kathryn

The cupcakes had butterflies and flowers...the cake was French vanilla, and these were chocolate.














Rosie with a ponytail.




Charlotte Claire







Looking at these pictures, it is hard to remember that it is cold and snowy out. Camille's top is a 12month size that she pulled out of a bag of clothes I had packed away in the closet.




Today the girls' cousin Grace came over, and their friend Hannah. There were a few of those fights that happen when extra girls come over. Jonathan was sufficiently wired with excitement, and Charlotte Claire was looking for attention. We did the party backwards, which means we had cake and ice cream first, then dinner. They shrieked with agreement when I suggested it.
I am tired enough tonight, tired enough to fall asleep while watching Jane Austen's "Persuasion" with Mirielle....









video

Saturday, February 20, 2010

ten o'clock, do you know where your children are?

I know where mine are. Most of them. Benjamin is with his friends. Where that is, I do not know. Hopefully he is behaving and not getting into any trouble. He is 21 years old, and trouble IS his middle name. Not really, he is not a bad kid. But...I do worry. Emily Anne is my oldest, 25, and she is at work right now at the big hospital in the big city, working a night shift on a busy floor. Abigail, 23, Mirielle, 19, Mali, 15, and Margaret,13, are at a church conference. Joseph, 18, Aaron, 17, and Samuel, 14, are watching a WorldWarII movie here in the living room. Kathryn, 11, is playing SIMS on the computer, while Camille, 2, watches. Evelyn, 10, Suzanne, 8, Sonja, 7, Jonathan, 5, and Charlotte Claire, 3, are tucked in to bed. So there, I know where my children are. Mostly.

Paul and I are also watching the movie, but I cannot just watch a movie without reading a book or being on the computer. Oh, it is hard to watch, too. Things that happened during that war are horrific.

Mirielle is turning 20 on Monday. I am feeling old. My fourth child, twenty years old. Yikes. Then the next day, Suzanne is turning nine. Yes, nine years ago this Tuesday, I had my twelth child. Suzanne Eleanor. Emily Anne was 16, Abigail Marie was 14, Benjamin Paul was 12, Mirielle Joy was turning 11, Joseph Michael was 9, Aaron Royce was 8, Mali Rose was almost 7, Samuel James was 5, Margaret Cheryl was 4, Kathryn Grace was almost 3, and Evelyn Joy was 18 months old. Sam didn't go to kindergarten yet, so I had seven in school, and the five at home.

Time just flies. When I had little ones it seemed like it would be that way forever, and now they are all just growing up so fast. I know, I know, so cliche'.....I read Camille her stories tonight and cuddled her and rocked her (I took a break while writing this), and she actually asked to go to bed now. I wasn't quite finished cuddling yet, but I carried her in and covered her up...I know she is a big girl, but after having babies for twenty-five years, it is hard to let go. I wish someone would just knock on the door and give me a baby. ha, I must sound like a crazy woman. I am not seriously going crazy for a baby, but my arms WERE full of baby for all those years, and it was the greatest joy. My babies were treated like gold....new clothes, new blankets, (on sale, of course)...new prams and strollers and re-covered car seats...always a nice baby swing.....the Fisher-Price countertop cradlette is the sweetest thing, I still have that...probably for my grandchildren. I have treated the children like gold too, of course, but the babies...I didn't let them cry unless I had to put them down for a diaper change or something important like the toddlers playing in the toilet. I never believed in letting them cry.

We made pizzas again tonight, Aaron and I, and our sweet little Charlotte Claire. For being only three years old, she can roll out a dough with the rolling pin mighty fine. We roll the dough out with flour, then let is rise in a warm oven for a bit, and bake them with lots of olive oil. We decided that pizza without sauce is better, serving the sauce on the side helps it not be soggy. We put butter and garlic powder, then cheese and bacon or red peppers and tomatoes and onions and black olives and pepperoni......Paul put hot peppers on one for he and Joseph. We also made some spicy chicken drumsticks, and a nice salad. Then, ice cream cones for dessert. I try to stay away from ice cream, just maybe having a spoon of it when the kids eat it, but tonight I had a small cone...it was birthday party ice cream....irresistable. Now I feel yucky.. I should have only had a spoonful.

We had a special afternoon visit with one of our friends from church this afternoon. He brought his oldest son over to play guitar with Joseph, and he sat and had tea and fellowship with Paul and I. He is a cancer survivor, if I might be so bold to say, since it has only been three years since he was diagnosed with esophogeal cancer. It is usually fatal. He had major surgery, and thought he would never be able to eat solid foods again. But he has had a miraculous recovery, though he is still quite weak and gets tired out easily. He and his wife have eight kids, the youngest is three. It was so nice to sit and visit with him. He has done what is written in the bible, he has lived the gospel. He is thankful and trusts God, and is such an encouragement.

I am getting too tired to write....and this movie is so sad, "Letters From Iwo Jima".....

have I mentioned how nice my husband is?

Yesterday was busy. Fourteen of us out the door after breakfast to shop....then in the door at dinnertime to put away groceries, cook, eat, and pack up for the pool....then home with wet suits and towels and kids who were hungry again....needless to say, I did not get everything all tidied up and put away before bed. No, not even close. I actually fell asleep in my chair while watching the Olympics. At least twenty times, before I finally dragged myself to bed. So, this morning, I would have liked to scream when I came out here and realized the work I had to do just to catch up......I had the kids help, and Paul helped, too. He likes to move all the couches and sweep under them, and it seems that we do that every Saturday. Today I apologized to him that he seems to help me clean up so much on weekends. I do try to have things nice on Fridays.....but...well, he told me he totally understands, because there is one me, and so many of them. He says it is like that at work for him. I was just so thankful that he said that, because sometimes I feel kind of like a failure....I can't keep up with everything, and I don't even have a baby anymore....anyway, it is much cleaner in here. I swept and vacuumed and mopped and shined the stove and 'fridge and cleaned the counters and picked up shoes and coats. Suzanne cleaned the mirror and tv and windows, and Sonja dusted and shined the tables. Kathryn straightened the books on the shelves, and Benjamin did the dishwasher. (Mirielle, Mali, and Margaret are at a church conference)

Well, it is time for lunch. Jonathan wants tomato soup. Suzanne and Kathryn are having leftover mashed potatoes and turkey gravy. I need to get out there before they make messes.

Friday, February 19, 2010

home, home again....

Jon with some of the balloons they got at the grocery store....
They got a cookie, a balloon, and I ordered a few pizzas at the grocery store. They walked around with us for about 20 minutes then Abigail took them over and they ate the pizza. I brought 13 kids with me today. Well, Abigail and Mirielle aren't really kids. Charlotte Claire was tired out.

Jonathan and Mirielle


Camille...and that is chocolate on her cheek. I bought some marked down Hershey's kisses at Target. Yum.



And now we are going to the pool -, Paul and I and some of the kids.....Joseph, Aaron, and Samuel are taking the mini-van and going to the Chinese buffet with some of their friends. I am tired and do not feel like getting up and serving dinner and cleaning up and going to the pool, but I will anyway. And I will have fun.