summer 2011

summer 2011

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

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

Friday, April 30, 2010

almost a record....

My children all went to school every day this week except for Sonja, who stayed home today. She had a darned good reason, which was that I told her to stay home. And I had a darned good reason, too. And you know what? She would kill me if she found out I wrote it on here. But jeepers, if a child wets his or her pants in school, which is tear-water tea anyway, why would the teacher send that child to the nurse for some goofy shorts to wear around for the rest of the day, instead of calling the mommy, who would drop everything gladly to come rescue that child from being morbidly embarrassed all day long? Why would the teacher not let the child use the bathroom in the first place? Is the child telling the truth, that the teacher said that "this is not the time to use the bathroom"? Well, I shall call the the teacher today and very nicely inquire. She is a nice lady, and she certainly doesn't like to see this happen to children either, but sometimes adults forget about children, how they don't plan well for things like having to use the dear Sonja is a last-minute-have-to-go-pee-REALLY-bad kind of girl. rrr. It makes me cry, the whole thing. She said the kids laughed at her. I never ever ever want to send her back.

I picked Kathryn and Evelyn up from school yesterday for a dentist appointment. Afterwards we went to B.Js for milk and cheese and snacks for the trip. Then a quick trip to the dollar store for some birthday stuff, and some snacks for the boys....then to A.C.Moore for orange t-shirts for the soccer kids, then to the dreaded carwash to vacuum out the van. Oh My Goodness. There are these cupholders on the one side, where the plastic inserts have come out, leaving these convenient trashholders for the kids. Oh My Goodness. We were shrieking and laughing like idiots at the things we pulled out of their personal trashcans. I will spare the details, but it was nice to get that done. We vacuumed four dollars worth, and cleaned the dash and the inside of the doors with wipes. Then we took her through the carwash, and wow. She doesn't look brand new, (not with all the dents in the doors)(Ben did the back one, and Emily the side ones), but she looks respectable.

Phew. That was a big job, and all this time I was just churning inside to get back to my other kids. Mirielle was so nice to be home making dinner (chicken alfredo), and the Krispie treats for Jon's class. When I got home with all the stuff to carry in, the big kids had left for the youth meeting, Rosie escaped and headed for the neighbors, and Emily arrived with her new car. Needless to say, there are still some things to put away and clean up today. Kathryn, Evelyn, and I ate dinner at 8:30. We were going to eat a bit earlier, but when Suzanne opened the refridgerator door, and one of the gallons of milk fell off the top shelf and burst open on the floor, we had a bit of a clean-up job. It was interesting, because I was very aware of my growing impatience, and was working at not complaining, yet it was almost like I was a ventriloquist, with my daughter saying the things I was tempted to say..... all I can say is the flesh is never satisfied. After all Mirielle had done for me, I was tempted to grumble and complain. Praise God for His goodness, that I can be free from being a bitter and grumpy person!

Waffles. Krusteaz frozen waffles are so good. I got some at BJs and we cracked the box open and had some as a snack while we were out and about. yum. I made homemade syrup this morning, because it is Jonathan's birthday, and it is his favorite. (melted butter with brown sugar)

Yes, it is Jonathan's birthday, he is six years old today. I have loved all my babies, but I think he was the one I was the MOST thankful for. Because he came after Robert, who was sweet and sad and stillborn. I mean, that summer seven years ago when I had Robert, I was in a state I didn't understand, but is clear to me now. I was very depressed, and mourning. I stayed up half the night with Benjamin all summer, watching the Yankees. I never cared too much for baseball, but that summer I was obsessed. I remember that feeling of just not caring about things, and just going through the motions. Then, six weeks after Robert's birth/death, I was pregnant for Jonathan. I was nervous, that blissful happiness of being pregnant just wasn't there anymore, it was replaced by that tentativeness....but the pregnancy went well, and it comforted me, although sometimes I felt unloyal to Robert, that we were replacing him. Jonathan's birth was wonderful. (I probably didn't think that at the time, but hey, 6 years have gone by....) Emily was with me the whole time. I had labored for days at home, and was getting tired. When I was seven centimeters, and just plain stalled, I asked for some pitocin. He was born within 45 minutes. He cried and cried and cried when he was born, he didn't like the light and noise and air. After he settled down, he was such a good baby. I do forget details, but I remember holding him and just crying and being so thankful. And my sister and her girls came to see him, and my niece Grace, who was only 16 months old, was fascinated with him. He was a complete and total blessing, and he was alive! (I honestly remember holding Robert and just willing him to breathe, just breathe, do not be dead, come on!!) So I had a greater appreciation for Jonathan....and him being the little boy after those 5-little-girls-in-a-row, then having two little girls after him, has made him very special. It is amazing how he has grown up loving his cars and trucks and keys and steering wheels, even though he has worn his share of pretty dresses and heels, playing with his sisters.....

This afternoon, Benjamin has to be at work at three or four.......Aaron has to be at work by four....Abigail and Joseph are working all day and leaving from work to work at the Carrier Dome for the Block Party rap concert, Emily and Mirielle and Mali are also going to work there....I am leaving at five for Conneticut, with the big van full of excited soccer players, plus Evelyn, Suzanne, and Sonja....that leaves Paul here with Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. He said he would take them someplace fun...

It is hard to leave them behind, my little ones. I won't be with the older soccer kids, just Evelyn, Suze and Sonja....and it will be nice to spend time with them. They are SO excited. Sonja was all packed, and I asked her what shirts she packed...she had a puzzled look on her face, and said, "Oh, I didn't pack any shirts..." Undies? same thing. I didn't even ask what made her bag so big and full.....she probably brought a huge teddy bear or something....

I have the gift of gab this morning, so I will end this nonsense before I bore myself to death.....

Thursday, April 29, 2010

a new day...

and they all went to school, again!! Samuel was reluctant, he didn't feel well, he couldn't fall asleep last night...but I was persistent, and made him go. He wasn't too thrilled with me, but he got on the bus. I am praying for him today, that he isn't too miserable. I am a wimpy mother, I do not like to see my kids suffer, so I would rather have told him to just stay home. But I have to do what is best for him, and when he misses alot of school in his grade, he gets behind and his grades really suffer.

This afternoon I have to take Kathryn and Evelyn to the dentist. We also have to take the van to a vacuum place to play Hurry And Vaccum Before The Time Runs Out. Hopefully Kathryn and Evelyn are up for playing, because there is no way I can vacuum under the last two rows of seats. I do not think I have ever been back there.....

I went to Mali's trackmeet yesterday and suffered immensely for over two hours. It was freezing out there, with a cold wind. Watching her run was a joy though, she is a natural. She came in second in the mile, did well in the long jump, and I don't even know what the other events are called. She loves to run though, and has a good time.

I got home in time to help serve the pizzas the kids had made, and out the door again to a Sister's meeting, which was so wonderfully encouraging, I could cry just thinking about it.

On the way home I had a nice talk with God, and I am determined that I will be much more diligent to seek His kingdom first each day.

I got home and Miss Rosie was tied up out front, so I unhooked her and brought her in, put her in her cage, got out school clothes for today, took a shower, and went to bed. I fell right to sleep, in spite of the yummy cup of coffee I had had. About an hour later I was awakened by Miss Rosie, whining and barking. Rats. This could only mean one thing. I got up and put my coat and shoes on and let her drag me down the stairs and into the yard. I will nicely spare the details, but she had "the runs" again. I do not consider myself to be scared of the dark, but I do not like being out in the yard in the middle of the night by myself. Even with such a good watchdog. It is creepy. There was a beautiful full moon though...

I am glad she lets me know, and doesn't just go in her cage, but jeepers. We only feed her only Purina Dog Chow, but sometimes she gets other things, and small scraps. She must have a sensitive stomach. It is pretty funny, really. Camille sleeps through the night now, but Rosie gets me up.

Tomorrow is Jonathan's birthday. I am planning to make him Rice Krispy treats, and send in some Capri Suns. He didn't want cupcakes because "everyone always brings cupcakes". Okay. I do feel very rotten leaving on his birthday. But today he is going with Emily to pick up her new car, so he is very very excited. Jonathan is obsessed with cars. He will carry around a tiny steering wheel from a small car, and drive all around the house. He always has one of his toy steering wheels in the van wherever we go, if not, he will use a nickel or a quarter. Or a drink top. He got to sit on Abigail's lap and steer while she moved her car for me yesterday. So he is a happy boy today. He went with Emily one day while she looked at cars, and she took a picture on her phone of him sitting in a sports car convertable (how embarrassing, I don't know what kind of car it was, but he certainly does!)...she said she let him sit in as many cars as he wanted to, and he came home euphoric.

I mostly caught up on my laundry yesterday, but other than that, I have to do all the same things today as I did yesterday. The pizza pans are waiting for me, there are cups all over the counter, and the floors need sweeping. But today, I will not complain, no matter how much I am tempted. God has been too good to me for me to just be unthankful......

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

they all got on that bus again!

This mornng it didn't seem so lonely when they left because Miss Charlotte Claire and Miss Camille have been up for quite a while, and are already being....shall we say "challenging"?

They are getting their underwear on. Of course they have to do it themselves....Camille has her froggy boots on, which is a no-no in the house. I have never had two children who go back and forth antagonizing each other as these two do. Most of the time they play wonderfully, in their own little world playing house or store or library, but sometimes....oh, sometimes.....rrr.

Then again, when is the last time I had just two little children?

Sometimes when I am getting out the clothes for the three youngest school kids, I feel like I am working in a clothing store. "I don't want this shirt, the sleeves are too tight." "These tights are itchy." "Grant has this shirt, and I don't like it." Okay.....I'll put it back and get you something else. That is when I am being nice. I honestly have had my times when I say to JUST WEAR IT. But then I always feel bad, especially when they act all uncomfortable and suffer-y. So I end up getting them something else.....

I am back from wiping Camille, changing over the laundry (always check those pockets, I found SweetTarts!), and cleaning up some Rosie pee. The girls headed into the bathroom to go pee, and I heard all the exclamations about Camille doing a poop, I headed in there fast...."Oh Mommy, she did a Piggy-poop! It looks just like a Piggy!" And Camille said, "It is a big Mommy poop, like you, Mommy!" Thanks, Camille....

Then Rosie thought it was playtime...she was bounding around me and wagging her whole butt and nudging me, and then jumping...I told her NO, stop it....and she started barking at me. I am not going to let her run the show like that, so I told her very firmly to STOP IT, and took a step toward her...she ran away and peed. So I guess I have a passive-agressive dog.

One would think that since my youngest is now two and a half, almost, that my house would be cleaner. All I have to say about that is HA.

And another thing, I cannot count how many times through the years different moms have said to me, "I only have two kids and they never stop fighting!", or "I only have two, and they keep me busy"....or "drive me crazy",....or whatever two kids can do to torture a mom. And there I was with my 4 or 5 or 10 or 15 or 16 kids.....and I would smile and I must be a good mom. Ha. Ha ha ha. 'Cause now I have THESE two. Oh, I love them with all of my heart, they are funny and sweet and cuddly, but they are spirited, and lively and inquisitive and they fight sometimes, and protest certain cups or bowls and want their own ways....have all my kids been like this? Is it just that is more glaringly obvious because I am just with the two of them all day? Or have I just spoiled them? I don't know, but I am sure of one thing: I am glad I can see how smug I have been, unknowingly smug. So, all you mommies with two or three kids: I do feel your pain!!! (and of course your joy....)

Some people know for certain they aren't going to have more children, for health reasons or other reasons, they might do something permanent, and that is that. They know there won't be any more babies. I, on the other hand, am getting old, slow and agonizingly, each month wondering if maybe, just maybe, I will win the lottery this time, I mean, be pregnant. I don't dwell on it all the time, but when it starts heading towards that time of the month, I cannot help but getting hopeful. Last month I was a whole week late, which is crazy for me (must be just age), and I was already getting out the new Inglesinga pram bed, in my mind. Then...ugh. rats. I know, I know, I know, that God has my best in mind, and He is in charge of passing out those babies, but....I cannot help that hope that starts to spring up, even though I try not to think about it......

I have reserved our hotel room for this sister Cheryl and I, and Evelyn (10), Suzanne (9), and Sonja (she turns 8 this Monday), and hopefully my sister's granddaughter Grace, will be staying there. I am so looking forward to spending time with my girls. I told them about it yesterday, and they are thrilled and just can't believe it is happening. It was bothering me how Jonathan would feel....Friday is his birthday, and Mommy and his sisters leaving....(Margaret and Kathryn are going too, but they are staying in a different place, with other soccer team kids)......but I presented it to him like this: " Jon, you get to have daddy almost to yourself, just you and he and the two little girls....he said he is taking you someplace on Friday for your birthday....". So he is fine with us going, and I am relieved by that. (Friday there is a fundraiser at the Carrier Dome again, a rap concert, which all of our older kids will be at. Then Sam and all the girls down to Sonja will be with me.....) Our van will be pretty full, with the younger girls, Cheryl and I, and eight soccer playing girls. And all their sleeping bags and suitcases and teddy bears. It is going to be SO much fun!!! ha, I am a soccer mom!

As usual, I am postponing what I really should be doing, but writing relaxes me. Even when the two little girls are playing right here and are so funny...poor of her dollies is telling the other one, "Soon you will go to the hotel!" She thinks she's going....poor thing. I can please some of the kids some of the time.....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Today I met an old man. He tried to engage Miss Charlotte Claire in conversation, but she had just been taken out of the car-cart she was sharing with Miss Camille Anaya, for fierce fighting. That constant antagonizing that goes on sometimes, when they seem to just want to fight. So this old man didn't get much from Miss C. C., so he started talking to me. Here is his story......he has no grandchildren. Four kids, none of them had kids. He was married for 62 years to the same woman, his one and only, he said. She died recently of pancreatic cancer, and he missed her. Poor guy, I am guessing he must be at least 80, if he married at 18....he was SO lonely. He just stood there for a bit and talked about cell phone laws/driving laws and how it was okay for kids to be shy......

I wish I could have done something more for him.

Is it not sad, the lonlieness in this world?

they all went to school, AGAIN!!!

Two days in a row for all nine to get on that bus has to be a record! It leaves such an emptiness when they troop out the door though. wah.

And: IT IS SNOWING OUT!!!! Big huge thick flakes. It looks so funny to see that white snow falling on the fresh green grass and new baby leaves with their distinctive springy color. I took Miss Rosie out this morning, and I shortened our usual trot (ha, I should say sort-of-fast-walk) down the road, it was cold and I had a skirt and shirt and clogs on, with bare didn't take me long to realize that winter is back. I packed up the girls' tights a few weeks ago, but didn't put the bag away. So procrastination is sometimes a good thing.

So I am hoping Rosie doesn't have to go pee again until like tomorrow.

I wanted to take a picture of the snow, but when I located my camera, which one of my lovely daughters borrowed this past weekend, the memory card wasn't in it. She has no idea where it is!!! So next time someone wants to borrow my stuff.....I know, I know, I'll say "yes".

I reserved our hotel room in Conneticut. Yay!!! It is a bit further away from the place the kids will be staying than I wanted, but the small city nearest has only two hotels, one is an inn with no pool (Paul and I stayed there a few years back, and it is nothing to write home about), and the other had all bad reviews. One review actually said, "Do NOT stay here! It is gross!".....I was just going to book it anyway, but I decided it was better to drive a little and stay some place nicer. The place I got was cheaper than this one, too. I do have triple A, which I will take a moment to sing the praises of, even though I am not getting one red cent to do so. It is so worth it to have AAA. (Automobile club of America?). One car-towing a year is worth it. Or if you lock your keys in the car, they will come, anytime of the day or night. Once I had a flat tire on the big huge van, and was big and huge and pregnant, and it was hot and humid and miserable outside, and inside, and YAY, the man that triple A sent came along and changed that tire for me.

I couldn't find my camera last night, because lovely daughter-who-borrowed-it was already in bed, but I wanted to take a picture of my radiant daughter Emily, who just bought her second car!!!! The first one was sort of old, but this one is a 2009 Suzuki, which seats five. She is so excited. It gets good gas milage, and she said it isn't too "soccer mom-ish". We live 35 minutes or so from the hospital she works in, so she needs a good reliable vehicle with good gas milage. She is picking it up today, so if I find my memory card, I will take some pictures...not so much of the car, but of her happy face. There is something very satisfying in seeing my child grow up and make good choices, work hard, and be succesful and happy.

I am taking the little girls out and about today, because we need fruits and veggies again. I like having bananas and apples for them and obviously they go fast, and I can't exactly stock up on them. And I like to have those healthy veggies in the fridge for salads. It is a bit expensive, but I usually get them at Aldi. Paul likes eating healthy, and I think if he does, the kids should be able to have good fresh things too, and if that's how he wants me to spend our money, I am more than happy to.

That means I have to get out of my comfy chair and get mooooving......rrr.

Monday, April 26, 2010

off they go, nine out of nine on the bus...

It was challenging, but not too bad. After ten days home, they were dragging a bit, but also a bit excited to go back to school. I rather hate to see them go, but I also think it's good for them.

Sonja sat for a long time without making a move to get dressed. Then she fussed when I washed her thick tangly curls. Then she complained that she might have to run the track today. And she wouldn't take a snack because she doesn't like Wheat Thins, or chocolate chip granola bars. Evelyn came upstairs just in time to grab her waffles out of the toaster and eat them while she put her shoes on. She is so teenager-ish already. She showed me her report card this morning, and I felt bad because I didn't realize that I didn't see it already when the other kids gave me theirs. oops. I don't always keep track of everything, but the house hasn't fallen down yet, and they still love me.

Sometimes I get that feeling that I am forgetting something really important. Seriously, there are just so many things to deal with that my brain gets foggy. The other day, during vacation, I remembered to get up and take Mali to track, then at home I got busy, and I paused to look at the clock and decide what to tackle next, and OH my GOODNESS, it was the time I was supposed to be at the school to pick her up!!! oops. hhee. I got out the door in a hurry.

Yes, it is embarrassing, my kids say they don't want to join sports because Mommy forgets to pick them up. I have only done it a few times, but....when Abigail was in volleyball way back when, cell phones weren't widely popular yet, and one night she waited for quite a while outside the school while I blissfully made dinner....until I got that UH-OH!......anyway, if you want to know how I REALLY am, just ask my kids.

The other night we were talking about how much fun it was to have our Norwegian guests here, and Margaret said she asked them what they thought of our house. One of them said it was a little messy, but not gross or anything. We laughed our heads off because they should see it now, when it isn't cleaned for company. There are just so many toys in the living room again. And the bookcases get messy because for some reason, it is easier for the lazy persons who live here to put the books on the shelves horizontally, on top of the other books, rather than put them in properly. There is a stack of library books on top of the dog cage, along with some empty Easter baskets, ouch, yesterday's newspaper, and the hairbrush. The floors need sweeping, the counters which were cleaned off yesterday need it again, and the dishwasher needs to be run again. Even though it was done after dinner last night. The house is in what I call it's "natural state". Not a total hurricane, just messy. Not dirty, just messy. Mondays are always a bit overwhelming, because I don't know where to start. So I just sit here blogging, and avoid the dilemma.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

quick post...

'cause I am tired. I stayed up way too late last night, and got up way too early this morning.

I am in the process of booking a hotel in Conneticut for this weekend for my sister and I. We are driving our church soccer team to play and have fellowship, and are hoping to stay in a place with a nice indoor pool. I get so frustrated, looking online for places! It seems like after you look for a while, the prices go up magically. And I don't really know the area, on the map it doesn't look so far away, but there are curvy backroads in Conneticut, so I am thinking to stay as close by the church as I can, even if the place is "iffy" and more expensive. The hotel, not the church.

It is misleading anyway, by the time I get led in by the reasonable rate, taxes are added on, and WOW...

We had a good day, and this mommy shouldn't stay up any later. Morning comes so quickly, and there is SCHOOL tomorrow. rrr. where oh where did my vacation go?

Things to remember:

Camille likes to remember she has to go peepee when we are on our way to bed. And we all know that a two year old can make a simple thing like going peepee into a timely ordeal. I just hd to take a deep breath, and pray for patience. Again.

She also likes to pray before bed now, and it is quite hilrious that she is thankful that we had ice cream and that she can have jammies.

Charlotte Claire sleeps in her own room with the light on all night.

Jonathan sucks his thumb all the time.

Sonja was so tired from the drive-in last night, that she was a wreck today. Suze too. Suze didn't even eat dinner. I hope it is fatigue, and not the return of the sickness monster.

Evelyn is a wonderful girl. She can take care of little Will like a mini-mom. She has those instincts, and can keep him occupied in his carseat and look out for him. And Kathryn changed his poopy diaper last week.

Margaret had a good weekend and therefore a good attitude today. It was joyous to be around her. Mali was very pleasant today too. I think we all were so encouraged by the memorial feast we attended, we couldn't help but be glad.

We heard about our dear friend Gwen, she was old getting frail, then she developed cancer....and when the dr. gave her the diagnosis, she said something like, "The poor dr., having to tell me bad news. I felt sorry for him." She truly was a warrior in faith. She battled against all complaining, and therefore she was a thankful and happy old woman, no trace of bitterness or self-pity. We all feel very blessed to have known her. And when I talked to her, I quickly forgot that she was OLD. She was just a friend to me, a very dear and caring friend.

So here I sit, thinking of all sorts of things to say, but I need to go nighty night.....

Saturday, April 24, 2010


While I am sitting here waiting for Mirielle to get home from the drive-in with her date, I mean her three little sisters, I shall write.

I went to a bridal shower at church this evening and had a very nice time. The bride-to-be is a lovely girl, she looks like a Barbie doll. She has never dated anyone, she has embraced purity and goodness. Now she is engaged to Prince Charming, and it is very exciting and worthy of celebration.

At the beginning of the shower, we had fellowship, and shared about how good marriage is. One of the ladies present has been married for 59 years, and said it only gets better. Yes, when one seeks to bless the other, it only gets better and better. One of the examples given was this: wife, in the kitchen cleaning up or preparing food. Husband, napping or sitting in his chair. Wife, starting to be tempted to grumble. Hmmpf. He SHOULD be helping me... But saying NO to it, and continuing to bless the husband. He never even knew it, but a battle was fought and won, and love abounded. It is very simple, really. When one blesses, God blesses that one. Of course there are many many temptations, many thoughts, many times when husband and wife simply don't agree, and those are the times to fight for the marriage! Say NO to my sin, not letting any bitter roots come up.

So it was extremely encouraging, then we had some fun. Toilet paper wedding dresses, writing ficitonal stories about how the happy couple met, using candy bars as vocabulary, and then opening the gifts. And there were snacks, of course. Veggies and pizza rolls and dips and breads and chips and cookies and licorice...I was pretty good...well, no, I could have been much better, but I also could have been worse.

I miss my mother. So much still. She would love Camille and Charlotte Claire. C. C. was only a few months old when Gramma died. And she would love Rosie-the-bad-dog. Of course, Rosie would listen to her. Everyone did. She was interested in everyone, and literally to know her was to love her. She was the kind of Gramma who always had kids on her lap, read them stories, remembered their favorite things. She had/has 48 grandchildren. (16 from me, 10 from one brother, 12 from another brother, 7 from my sister, two from my younger brother, and one from my other brother.) She was once asked if she had a favorite, and she answered, "Yes, the one I am with at the time."

She was a giver. I couldn't stop in at her house without bringing something home from her. Everytime she came here, she had things for the kids. She even gave birthday gifts to the other kids who weren't her grandchildren. She didn't get all ruffled about things. The phrase, "Meh." is something I had heard for years from her, only she said, "Eh." Meaning, "Oh, well. So be it."

What I wouldn't give to dial her number and talk to her. I often dream that she is alive, and I ask her how long she is staying, and she tells me not too long. Or that I know she is going to die soon, and she doesn't know, but I don't want to tell her. She is always wearing her big fuzzy robe, and sitting in her chair, all relaxed. I want to tell her things. I want to tell her that Camille is wearing undies, and that Jonathan knows how to add double digit numbers. I want to tell her that they all jump right into the school pool, over and over again without getting too tired. I want to tell her that our house caught on fire last fall, and that our new washer and dryer are such blessings and so much fun. I want to tell her that Emily is looking to buy a new car, and that Ben is being trained by the Census Bureau. And that Aaron looks handsome in his McDonalds uniform, but gave me the look of death when I asked where my camera was. I want to tell her that Joseph makes himself an egg salad sandwich every single day that he has to work. And that he and Abigail are hilarious, going to work giving away samples. And that Mirielle is talking about going to And that Paul is doing really well at work. And that I am trying to be more active, and more conscious of eating well. And that Mali is running track and can run five miles and live to tell about it. Oh well. I am rambling. But I feel better now. Hey, never know, maybe I will get to heaven and my mother will say, "Oh, I loved reading your blog!"

outing without the camera, oops

I didn't let the HappyMeal coupons expire this year, so I feel like I accomplished something. Shh, I know the only thing I REALLY accomplished was to fill my kids with fat and salt, but still. They got cute little prizes, that I am sure they will treasure forever, and they certainly had fun filling those little cups with soda for once, instead of just water.

It was extra fun because we have Will today, my sister's grandson. He is 17 months old, and he is completely lovable. The girls fight over him, they do not get tired of him, either. So today I brought Samuel, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and of course Will. Margaret and Kathryn are at the beach with a family from church, Paul and the older kids are at the Carrier Dome fundraising, Ben is heading to the pizza place, and Aaron was at his first day of work at McD's. We went to a playground by a river, and let Will walk and run all around in the grass, and pushed him in the baby swing, and caught him at the bottoms of the small slides. He has a cold, so I didn't want to tire him out too much, and he was pretty mellow and relaxed on the way home. I set up his little bed, Evelyn changed him and put him in it, and he went to sleep right away. What a good boy! Now the kids are watching, "Fantastic Mr. Fox", and I am relaxing in my chair.

I started this day early, too early for a Saturday, but I needed to clean up the floors and make sure there weren't any buttons or pennies or stray pencils on the floor for Mr. Will to get. I worked for a few hours, and it really did feel nice to get so much done. When my niece got here with Will, I was glad I had so much done, because he had already had his morning nap, and we could get ready and go on our outing....

And here I am.

There was a mommy at the playground with a little boy around four years old. She was the nice kind of mommy, talking to him and giving him nice underduckies on the swing. The little boy asked her some questions about my little girls, and she said to him, "I know it is your dream to have brothers and sisters, honey..."....I forget sometimes how lucky I am, and how lucky these guys are to have each other.

Friday, April 23, 2010

finally sitting in my chair...

One of my favorite places, I might add. Today I went to ten places.

1. Mirielle's college to drop her off.

2. The dollar store.

3. Big Lots.

1. Mirielle's college to pick her up, but I won't count that as two places.

4. Aldi

5. Wegman's

6. McDonalds

7. Walmart

8. B.J's

9. Blockbuster

10. BigM

Oops, 11! We went to the bank.

We got food for here, food for the activity club party tonight, and food for the memorial feast on Sunday. I also got some more candy for our grill/candy store at church.

We got home, and the boys had tied Rosie up (I don't like to do that very often), and of course when I let her loose, she ran around and greeted us all, then went over to the neighbors house to poop. rrr. I have to buy Aaron a pair of black pants for his new job at McDonalds that starts tomorrow, so I bribed him....I told him I would give him $2o for the pants, but he had to take the rake and shovel across the street and be a good neighor. Joseph went with him, for no pay.

I assigned tasks for the boys who were here, and they did them, but boys are not like girls. The girls would have had this place much nice when I got home, they don't just go by the letter of the law like the boys. Ben, Joseph, Aaron, and Sam were here, along with their cousins Luke and Jake, andMali, Margaret, Kathryn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. I went with Abigail, Mirielle, and Evelyn.

I brought home some flip flops from the dollar store, so the two little girls are hopping around here in them.... they are staying home tonight with Paul and I, and it will be like the old days when we had two little girls, Emily and Abigail. Benjamin is working at the pizza place in town, and the rest of the kids (except for Emily, who is at work tonight) are going to the activity club party. They are having a jungle theme.....what fun.

I saw a newborn baby today in Wegmans. The mommy was bundling him up to brave the chilly breeze, and when I walked by and got a glimpse of him, I unexpectedly and suddenly got all teary-eyed. Did I enjoy it enough when I had all those babies? Did I cherish them enough? I know I didn't leave them fussing while I mopped the floor, that's for sure. The baby always came first, and sometimes that was frustrating, because things HAD to be done....the dryer would beep, things got spilled, toddlers pooped....but I do think I loved those babies plenty.

Charlotte Claire and Camille want some stories.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

sleeping in...blissfully

And forgetting all about getting up to take Mali to track practice....until she nudged my shoulder and loudly whispered, "Mom!! Get up!"....and I panicked, and she said, "It's okay, we have 15 minutes." Now, 15 minutes is not enough to make myself beautiful, I mean "presentable", take Rosie out for her morning ritual, and get going....but I made it somehow. I just took Rosie with us. After I dropped Mali off, I encountered fire trucks and police cars and a traffic stop....a house near the school had been on fire, there was a huge hole in the roof, and it was black and burned.....I don't know who lives there but I am sure we will find out soon, I hope everyone got out safely.

Today was going to be the go-for-HappyMeals-day, but apparently Emily has the day off and is taking Jon and Sonja over to her appartment. So we will put that off until Saturday, when Paul and the older ones are working at the Carrier Dome again.

Mirielle and I have the task of planning and buying the food for a memorial feast that will take place this Sunday. It is for Gwen, a very dear friend of ours, who passed away in November. We will plan tonight, then shop tomorrow. I don't know how many kids we will take with us yet, but I am sure it will be eventful. We also have to get a snack for a wedding shower Saturday evening.

Bike prices have gone up. I was unpleasantly surprised in Walmart. $79, $94... ouch. And suddenly, it seemed that Evelyn NEEDED a bike, too. She has been riding one with no brakes, blah blah blah. So yes, we walked out of Walmart with two new "gear bikes", as they call them. Then Ben got home last night and said he saw a nice bike for sale for $30 in the small city....rrr.

I made three sippy cups of hot cocoa this morning, when I made my coffee. It is chilly and cloudy and cozy. I would like to go back to bed with my book. But I won't. I will get up from my comfy chair and put in a load of laundry and do the dishwasher and clean up and keep busy and read stories and be a nice mommy.

I don't have much to say, but I DO have much to do....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Suzanne got her new bike....her face says it all. Kathryn, Margaret, Suzanne, and Evelyn went with me to get the new bike. We made a secret stop.
Me and my long tangly hair.

Evelyn with Jonathan, Kathryn, Sonja, Suzanne, and Camille and Charlotte Claire in the front.

They were so excite to go out and about yesterday.

Sm and Margaret went on a walk the other are Camille and Jon picking pretty weeds, I mean flowers.

Sam got a bit tired, I guess.

He did have a big load to pull.

Charlotte Claire got tired. Sam is such a nice brother.

Setting off down the driveway....Sam, Charlotte Claire, and Jonathan pulling Camille in the wagon.
Our front yard...nicely decorated with bikes.

Charlotte Claire

glorious vacation....

"Vacation" is a tricky word. It implies rest and relaxation and drinks with umbrellas. Or at the very least, lying in bed leisurely in the morning. And since I am forgetful, or naive, or optimistic, or just plain stupid, I am always surprised how vacation REALLY goes.

This has been a good week, in spite of the hundreds of cups they go through each day, the inordinate amount of dirty clothes getting stacked in the hamper, and the ridiculous amount of times Rosie has gotten loose and visited the neighbors.

Today we might be getting Suzanne a new bike. I would rather buy a used one, and save money, but the few times I have done that the bikes have had things wrong with them. We pass the bikes down, if they should survive that long, and if they are all riding, Suzanne is the odd man out. They cannot ride on our road without direct supervision, and then just up a little one way, and down a little the other way, but they have been riding all around the yard, and having a great time.

I also promised that we would redeem four of the kids' Happy Meal coupons during this vacation, with a trip to the big library or the park. They say today is the day. I would rather stay here and play and get some things done, but during "vacation", that is not an option. can be easy to spout a list of things, like the second graders doing their Turkey Project, but when I am in the midst of my day, (in my "vacation", ha), and in each thing that comes up, to be thankful.....then an amazing thing happens. It shows me how absolutely UNTHANKFUL I really am by nature. It shows me lots of grumbling and whining and blaming. It really brings me into need about the way I am, which is a wonderful place to be. God loves humility, and He gives abundantly to those who ask.

So during this "vacation", I will have my ears open to God, and give up my ideas about how life is supposed to be.....

Here are the things that I was tempted to grumble about already today:

1. The kids who go to soccer eat when they get home, so I leave some things out for them. What a treat to find the food still on the table this morning!

2. Someone made a cup of tea last evening and didn't drink it. It is still sitting on the counter (1. waste, 2. hard to wash the mug when tea has been sitting in it.)

3. Someone put one of the cheap flimsly bags in the garbage, which fell down, which someone didn't notice, and someone put eggshells and cereal scrapings on top of....

And so on. There is obviously no lack of things I can find to bring out the complainer in me. And for that, I am thankful.

Oh, and one thing I was thinking would be fun to do today: surprise Abigail and Joseph at work. They haven't told the people they work with how many kids that they have in their family, because of all the inevitable questions about laundry and such. Joseph likes to keep a low profile, and his fellow employees's chatting drives him crazy as it is, so they haven't said anything. The ladies know that Abigail moved out, but they think Joseph is our only child at home. I do think it would be funny to come in with 8 or ten of the kids....

Well, there is a huge fight over "The ladybug dress", Charlotte Claire wore it yesterday, and though it is too small for her, she does not want to pass it down to Camille. I knew trouble was coming when Kathryn just handed it to Camille to wear.....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

being tested....

Rosie has been sick. She is better now, but oh-my-goodness....yesterday and last evening she had the"runs"....I had to take her out to the woods every hour or so....then after I took my shower and got in bed last night, and was almost asleep, she started whining and barking in her cage....I let her out, and watched her from the deck...she went potty, then she took off down the road. It was past midnight, it was all dark and quiet, then the neighbor's dog started barking, and the neighbor's lights turned on, and I had to get my coat on and go get her. rrr. Back in the house and back in her cage she went...and then she woke me up again an hour was another short night. And I woke up to a very special surprise. Benjamin had taken her out again, and left her out of her cage....and she pooped over by the door, not very much, she was trying hard to hold, dancing and whining, and walking in the poop.....I had to clean it all up, lucky me. rrr. I really wnted to take it right, and I was thankful for foaming bathroom spray, and for paper towels....then I just started crying. It took 45 minutes to clean it that was how my day started.

It got much better from there. Emily and Abigail came over and we sat in the sun and we drank Diet Coke and the kids ran around and rode their bikes all over the yard and just plain relaxed. Emily had to go to work, so Abigail, Samuel, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and I went out for soft ice cream...then to the library, where we got three tall stacks of books.

The two little girls were getting tired out....they napped nicely, so we went ahead with our going-to-the-pool plans....I prepared dinner (hamburger stroganoff and green beans) before we left, and we ate when we got home at eight o'clock. Sonja is learning how to swim, and the littler ones like to jump into the water....we stayed in the water for an hour, and now I am suficiently tired.

Tomorrow Mali doesn't have track practice, so I don't have to be out the door by 8:45 am, but I still have to get up and take Rosie out. She is very lucky she is cute.

Now it is popcorn/American Idol time....

Monday, April 19, 2010

the prayers of my heart....

I couldn't sleep in this morning, as I had to be out of the house by 8:45. So I woke up at seven, and my mind started in on things, and no more sleep for me. If I hadn't stayed up talking to the older girls 'til one o'clock, it wouldn't have been so bad...but I do not learn. And, it was worth it.

So......while I thought about my day and my week and the kids vacation, I had lots and lots of things to pray about.....

Dear God, help me to think before I speak, before I correct the kids, before I utter a threat. Help me to see that I am bothered, and deal with that before blaming things on anyone. Help me to use my time wisely so I have time enough to listen to what each of these kids has to say to me. Help me not to just listen with one ear, and say, "Uh-huh", while not hearing anything they said. Help me to keep my mouth shut when I am tempted to complain, and to sing songs of thankfulness instead of going on and on about how much stuff these guys leave around the house. Help me to be conscious of each thing I put into my mouth today, especially in the afternoon when I have that "I-really-don't-care-attitude", and a cup of coffee. Help me to go the extra mile, or at least up and down that second hill on my walk, even if Rosie-the-bad-dog is pulling and tugging. Help me not to care what people think of me. Help me not to agree with random uncharitable thoughts about my husband or my friends. Help me to be good as much as I can, to do good and be kind and not live for myself today.

That was generally what I prayed this morning. And now it is afternoon....I have been shopping with some of my kids, I sat in the sun with them when I got home. Now I am taking a break before that happy time called DINNER TIME. I bought four packages of sirloin tip steak with reduced stickers on them, and put them in southwest marinade. I think I will grill them, the cut them up and serve them with a salad....romaine, tomatoes, peppers, onions....maybe a few baked potatoes for the kids.

Kathryn doesn't feel well. Her tummy hurts. I am not surprised. My sister-in-law and some of her kids have had the throw-up bug, and we were with them. And of course, things go around in school, too. So I can't really make big plans for vacation......I WAS going to take them mini-golfing tomorrrow. I have never taken them and thought it would be fun. The problem with things like that is that when you take ten kids, and it costs four or five bucks each, it becomes a major investment. Since Kathryn isn't feeling well, I might just take some of them swimming in the evening. It feels so nice! And, I bought four pairs of goggles today. Evelyn already has some, so that won't be too bad to share the rest.

The girls are checking the pool schedule, and it is open tonight...but there is soccer, too....hmm. But the little girls didn't nap today....hmm. I am tired, but it would feel so nice.....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

undies???no more diapers??

This little girl likes to use the potty. She has been taking off her own diapers, peeing in the toilet, then putting the diaper back on, all by herself. Today she wore a pull-up all day, and when I asked her if she wanted to poop on the toilet, she ran right in there....I was still sitting at the dinner table with some of the older kids, and she came running into the kitchen, all excited...oh my goodness...she had pooped AND wiped herself!!! Lovely. Good thing she's so cute!!

Friday when the kids were home from school, they played playdough....

Samuel hugging Rosie....

Suzanne was the cashier at their store....Jonathan is so cute in his polar bear jammies...

They don't get bored....

Margaret and Kathryn melted some Easter candy to dip pretzels in....


I like those chilly gloomy days when the kids leave their jammies on and play and pretend and just wile away the hours.....
Today they got plenty of playing outside in, it was sunny and warm-ish. Near sixty, and breezy. We had 14 of the kids for dinner tonight. Benjamin went off with his cousin, and Aaron is in New Mexico. Emily doesn't have to work tonight, so she came over, and Abigail came home from work with Joseph, and stayed too. We had ham and mashed potatoes and veggies and cranberry sauce, and: Godiva chocolates. Abigail brought them home from work. Oh My Goodness. Why is chocolate so good?
Tonight, Emily is taking Kathryn, Evelyn, and Suzanne home with her to spend the night. Jon and Sonja are bummed, but they'll be okay.
I am going on a small trip in a few weeks, to Connecticut. Our 11 - 16 year old soccer team has been invited there for the weekend. There are around 15 kids, and only two drivers in two I am going to drive the big van. A big van full of young kids on a long road trip....yay! Actually, it sounds fun to me. I just have to behave myself.
Vacation isn't going to be as relaxing as I had hoped, as far as busy-ness goes....I have an outing tomorrow already, then I am buying the food for a memorial feast next weekend for an older sister in our church who passed away. So that makes two days that I can't just spontaneously take them on an outing.
The job market is tight around here. Benjamin is going to be trained for the U.S. census next week. It is a temporary job, but it is something. Abigail is trying to get hired at the local hardware store, but is way overqualified. She doesn't get enough hours where she is. A four year degree in accounting, and.....she is giving away samples at Sam's Club.
I continue to have my "newborn" dreams. Then I read about the woman in Florida who was expecting twins (no fair), was 15 weeks along, and one had Down's Syndrome. She decided to have that baby terminated, but the dr. botched the job and inserted the chemical filled needle into the wrong child, and killed the one the lady wanted to keep. He subsequently was suspended, and declared he wanted to kill himself, and was involuntarily hospitalized. The next week, the woman aborted the Down's Syndrome child. I don't know where to start here with my outrage and disgust. I wonder if the dr. realized the horror of the job he was doing. If it came crashing down on him. As for the woman choosing to do this murderous thing, I just cannot comprehend it, but needless to say, I was shocked. I WOULD HAVE TAKEN THAT BABY!!! rrrrrRRRRR. AND wah.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

pizza and chaos...

But since I am one of the drink-spillers of the night, I cannot say anything.

We made four pizzas tonight, with bacon and onions and tomatoes and basil and green peppers and garlic and black olives, and of course cheese. Two with sauce, two butter and garlic. One I rolled out too big, so I stuffed the crust edge with cheese. It was too good.

We have three extra children here for the night...Luke, who is 17, Bethany who is 12, and Caleb, who is also 12. They are watching Spongebob, and laughing their heads off....the living room is crowded, and uh-oh, Emily is here....

bye for now!!

saturday, and it is COLD

Sam and I took Rosie for a little walk...."little" because we were assaulted by hail! It is very cold and windy out there, like autumn. I thought a little cold would be fine, but the was sting-y and just a little bit scary. What if it got bigger, ouch?

Today is a good day. We are babysitting for my sister Cheryl's grandson, Will. He will be here all day while his mommy and daddy are at a church fundraiser. He is exactly one year younger than Camille, and the kids have been fighting over him. He is so adorable. He is taking a nap right now, and they keep asking how long is he will sleep.

Camille is going to take a little nap right now, too. Her brothers and sisters are playing store, they have bags out and the toy register and real pennies (yes, we will get them put away before Will gets up). It is kind of hard for Camille to say goodnight to them, so I told her I would give her TicTacs when she gets up if she takes a good nap. I think bribery is okay. (Hebrews 12, v. 2 "for the joy set before him, he endured the cross....")

It is one of those cozy gloomy days, the kind I simply love. Jonathan is still in his polar bear jammies and chaarlotte Claire has her one-piece footie snowman jammies on. I am going to go with Sam to pick up his friend who lives nine miles down the road, then hopefully I am home for the day. Margaret and Kathryn and Evelyn are badminton-holics these days, and it was just too chilly for them out there. They lasted about 15 minutes.

Sam is now chomping to get going. I shouldn't have suggested it until after I relaxed here for a while, too late now.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Camille with a Snuggle bear...Joseph and Abigail got them from work yesterday....there are perks to handing out free samples.
Charlotte Claire, she had juice for dinner. Suzanne

Evelyn holding Camille, Kathryn holding Jonathan, Sonja, Charlotte Claire, and Suzanne....

Camille has to get out all by herself....

So we didn't go to the library, just the McDonalds with the playground....I sat and drank my coffee and texted Mirielle and answered the kids calling me from the top of the playground. After they played for a while, they got sundaes, then played some more. I was getting tired of Spongebob blasting on the tv over my head....
We stopped at BJs for a few things, and Evelyn insisted on pushing a huge car cart with Camille and Charlotte Claire in it. Jonathan and Sonja climbed into the cart part. They played musical seats through the whole store, I sort of pretended I didn't know them. I was getting milk and eggs and baking cocoa, and looking for candy for the snackbar/grill we run at church conferences. Well, we hit the jackpot, and it was fun!! 12 packs of Orbit Watermelon Mist gum: 99 cents. For twelve packs. TicTacs variety packs: 36 count, $4.99! And 36 Twix bars for $4.99. When I was getting in line, the kids all screamed that I didn't take them through the toy aisle yet. So I sent Evelyn with them to look, they promised to be good.
Then a stop for gas, fifty bucks for only 17 and a half gallons.....New York state taxes.....
Charlotte Claire fell asleep on the way home, and was cranky when Sam tried to take her out of the van....she thought it would be fun to stay out in the rain and cry for a while. I gave Mirielle a pack of gum to go out and carry her in. She then stayed just inside the door and cried for a bit longer......but she's okay now. Camile is just plain tired, I should have listened to my mother, dream or not.
Martha! I love that new baby. Congratulations, Gramma!!!! go congratulate Martha....
I have to go pick up Mali from track. The big van is the only vehicle here, so I am elected to go get her. I have no idea at all what to make for dinner tonight, but hey, I've got time....don't I? Uh-oh, I have to leave NOW, and the kids are going to activity club tonight...oops!

can't find a fire...

Nothing is on fire around here but is humid out today, and I took Miss Rosie out and around the yard and up the road a bit on her leash, just to tire her out a bit. I think it worked, I know it worked on me. I don't know what the electrical smell was that we smelled before, but it scared the living daylights out of Jonathan, who made it out to the front yard in his polar bear jammies as soon as he heard the words, "Is something on fire?"....poor guy.

It is still and humid, and we are expecting thunder storms. The kids wanted to go in the little pool (but the hose isn't fixed yet), it is in the sixties, yet we are expecting snow showers by morning. A cold front is coming across Lake Ontario.....again. Just in time for spring break.

To me, it seems like a perfect day to stay home...when the rain starts, they can watch a movie. I got them all to pitch in and clean up before they went outside, and my hampers are pretty empty still, so I don't have a lot I have to do around here, yay. I remember a few years back when several of the kids were a mix of occasional and nightly bedwetters, and I would have the ever-present mountain of blankets and sheets and comforters in the laundryroom doorway. I was simply never caught up. I have definetly gotten "over the hump" of busy-ness. Unless I get surprise twins or triplets one of these days....

I am losing this battle....because they said I told them we would go to McDonalds on Grandparents Day. I guess I did. I am trying to get out of it, but they are all excited and want toget ready to go...rats. Suze feels fine now. So I am off to get out the bye-bye clothes...and sorry, Mom, but the girls will be missing their naps again.


Today is Grandparent's and Special Friend's Day at school for the elementary kids. It makes them too sad to go today, so they are home. I tried to set up some friends for them, but Emily has work and Abigail has work, and Joseph has work. And Margaret remembers on year when Ben said he would try to come, and he didn't, and she kept watching for him....wah.

The plan was to take them to a "different" McDonalds (different because we never go there) to redeem their free HappyMeal coupons from the school reading program. But Suze says she doesn't feel well, and she is already home from school, so it may just be real.

Yesterday afternoon, I had an idea. School pool. I checked the hours, and it was open. Charlotte Claire and Camille were taking the first nap of the week, they have been really exhausted. Mirielle was here, so I decided to go and leave her to watch the soup, and the two little napping girls....then I felt guilty, and woke Charlotte Claire up and took her with us. It would just be too mean to leave her here. It felt so nice to be in the water, and it was enjoyable to be with the kids, too. But later, when I was sitting with Camille, she smelled Charlotte Claire's hair, and said, "I want to go to the pool!" So next time I'll be waking her up, too.

I had a dream the other night in which my mother was still alive. She told me that I had better start getting my little girls on a better schedule. She said I shouldn't let them skip naps, go to bed early (early, ha!), then sleep in late, thus missing naps again. She said it was like they are fussy all the time, mostly Camille. hmm. Did she really tell me this, or is it my subconscious, or a total coincidence? Camille HAS been a bit brattier than usual lately. But she took a good nap yesterday, and still had a little fit at the table because she wanted the WHITE spoon.

Two year olds like to do things their own way. They like to do things themselves. When Camille wants to get her own drink, fine, I will hold her and turn on the water and let her fill her cup. But when she wants to get something out of the refridgerator, sorry sweetie. Little children cannot have access to that. She cannot pour her own milk or cereal, but she can put the top on the milk and put the cereal back in the cupboard. I understand that she doesn't try to do things herself to be BAD, just because it is in the nature of a young child to become independent. She isn't trying to be the boss, or run the house. But I also need to work on not being afraid of the little fits and fusses that come when I decide that she cannot do what she wants. Like pulling the Sit'NSpin over to the stove when I am cooking...nah...

Well, we smell something something on fire?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

cinnamon toast and orange juice

Having cinnamon swirl bread in the house makes breakfast easy, especially on days like today when we are all running a bit late. I don't know if it was that I let them stay up later and watch most of American Idol, or just the gloomy cloudiness, but they were dragging. Sonja literally couldn't walk at one point, her legs and feet hurt and I just don't understand how much it hurt to walk, apparently. She really did not want to go. But, she got her cute little pair of skorts on and her tights and her pink shirt and I brushed her curly tangles into a pony tail, she ate her toast and made it out the door. Jonathan gave himself a shower, not because I didn't want to, but because he is that kind of kid, the kind who likes to do things by himself. He got ready very happily this morning, which helped Sonja. Actually, he started out complain-y but at some point he must have realized how he was being, and he ran over and hugged me and said he was sorry for being bratty. Suze didn't mind going too much, she was happy that the toast was cinnamon without raisins.

I totally understand how they feel this morning. I woke up with the same headache I went to bed with last night. My head feels a bit stuffy, which makes me dizzy. So as I got dressed, I had to really pray for patience and to be able to be good, even though I felt like staying in bed. In fact, after I woke up and started to get out of bed, I closed my eyes again briefly and was dreaming that it was okay to sleep in...anyway, I am up now, drinking coffee, and enjoying the peace and quiet of just Miss Charlotte Claire playing dollhouse. She has no one to fight with, and she is in her own little world. She asked me first thing this morning if we could go bye-bye with Danielle again today. No, not today.....

Jonathan sat on the arm of my chair last night, after his two little sisters had been tucked into bed, and enjoyed some snuggling. He said, "Mommy, you should have another baby...." Poor child.... He wants to go to school on Grandparents Day because his teacher told him it will still be fun, and he believes her. He is too young to remember his gramma and grampa, sadly. He was only two when Gramma died and two and a half when Grampa died. But Sonja and Suzanne and Evelyn remember them. My mom has been gone for almost four years, and Suze still wears her old nightgown. I wish I had saved more of her things. wah.

Okay, this kind of day is way too suitable for crying, and I don't need that today. I miss Aaron already. He left yesterday for New Mexico and will be back next week. It just seems wierd to have him gone. I hope none of my kids decide to move far away someday. I hope they all just settle around here, no more than 45 minutes or so away. Life is too short to spend it missing people.

Camille is up now, sitting with me, telling Charlotte Claire to stop singing.....hmm, was it me who thought when people ONLY had two kids they had it easy? ha.

It is a busy season, this spring. I have a nephew getting married AND having a baby soon after(wedding and shower), another nephew and his wife expecting a baby (baby shower), some friends getting married in May (wedding shower too), plus the soccer tournament and a May church conference and a soccer weekend in Conneticut which I may drive the big van for.....I don't know if we'll get our garden in this year or not. Mirielle and Mali really want to. We haven't had one in years because we always seem so busy in the springtime. But this just might possibly be the year.

My computer is giving me trouble. I have a brand new power cord, but where it goes into the computer is shot, so any movement at all cause the connection to is only 24% charged....

Is it a bad dream or did I really read that it is legal to get an abortion up to 24 weeks gestation? I think I read of reformers protesting that because of fetal pain....well, duh!!! My baby Robert was just over 24 weeks, and he was a fully formed tiny little precious baby. How in God's name can anyone possibly think this is decent and humane? Of COURSE they feel these people think that nerves form AFTER birth? My goodness. Sometimes I wonder how God holds back wrath. A lot of things that happen are due to just plain ignorance or carelessness, but some things are just pure evil. Ugh. Anyways....I am rambling again.....

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

ahh, what a day!!

Today I was going to do some things....then I remembered that my sister-in-law Kim was going to come over for a visit with her two youngest children, Danielle and Sean. I needed to get garbage bags and pull-ups from the store, so I asked her if she wanted to go. Of course she did. So did Abigail, who didn't have to work today. We went into T.J.Maxx first, I got a few things for two of my nephews who are going to be daddies soon....then to another store, where Kim and I looked around while Abigail played so nicely with the kids...there was a big comfy chair, and the lone employee gave the kids a stack of books to look at. I had a ten dollar off coupon, and found myself a nice jean skirt...but at the register, the nice lady gave me a $15 off coupon! Kim got one too, so we have the same skirts now.....and Abigail was the sweetie of the day, she played ring-around-the-rosy and kept those kids entertained while we shopped. It was only the four little ones, Charlotte Claire and Camille, and Sean and Danielle. Kim's two little ones are close in age to mine, Danielle is nine months older than C. C., and Sean is 3 months older than Camille.

We then went to Target, where I was a very good girl. I got Suzanne a new bathing suit, a few pairs of clearanced tights for next year, a $2.24 shirt for Jon, and a few pairs of 75% off pants. Then on to PriceChopper...I was already tired by then, and so was Camille. Abigail pushed Danielle and Charlotte Claire in a big car-car cart, and Kim and I pushed our own carts with our own two-year-olds......they got their cookies from the bakery, and free balloons from the floral department. Then I went through the McDonalds drive through, dollar menu of course, then to Aldi for fruits and veggies. Kim and I had the pleasure of running through by ourselves, courtesy of Abigail, who stayed in the van feeding french fries to the children......
We got back to my house and the little ones got out and played here for a while when Kim went to the small city to pick up her daughter from work.....sunshine and springy weather and swinging and playing and Rosie and all her energy.....I put dinner in the oven, two $1.99 per pound roasts....and made garlic bread and salad and gravy.....ooh, yummy dinner.
And now, I am tired. I wonder why? Paul had to leave right after dinner to go to a meeting... We are watching American Idol....
I am letting my girls stay up a little....

This is Suzanne's eraser collection. She is absolutely nutty about them.

And here is my dear Samuel with Rosie....
Is that random enough????


Camille.... Charlotte Claire....
Seneca Lake

Chinchilla.....taking a dustbath


Vineyards, everywhere along the lake.

Paul and I, me the wonderful photographer....

View from our hotel window...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

we're going someplace today!!!

Charlotte Claire and Camille think this is very exciting!!! They want balloons! Camille wants purple! They are playing house now.

Oh joy! I thought my coffee was all gone, but there is still half in there! Yay. There is nothing like that morning coffee. I almost get depressed when the cup is empty, and if I make another cup, it just isn't the same.

Today Ben is starting his new pizza shop job. It is only four miles down the road. Ben is supposed to be a pizza maker, not a driver. Which is good because he has no car. I have to drive him down there this afternoon. But four miles is fine, the small city is fifteen. The place Abigail and Joseph work is a 66 mile round trip. So four miles is wonderful.

(Rosie is playing fetch with me. She keeps bringing me her bunny, which I throw, which she brings back, which I throw...she does not get tired of this tiring game.)(And Camille took a huge slurp of my precious coffee...No Sir!! she cannot be doing that!)

Camille is being really mean to Charlotte Claire, according to Charlotte Claire. So Charlotte Claire is NOT playing house with her. To which Camille is singing that "Nah-Nah, na Nah-Nah" song. Where DO they learn that song? Is it in every language?

Camille has learned to say, "Mommy, get off your computer!"....ouch!

Monday, April 12, 2010

the quiet

It is almost midnight, and smart mommies are already in bed. Mommies that know about consequences. But not this mommy, no - this mommy does not learn. This mommy will drag her lazy self out of bed in the morning, with those sandpaper eyelids, procrastinating the final leg-swing out of the bed, falling back into dreamland with every blink of her eyes. But this mommy is in love. In love with quiet.

The only sounds in here: the fan running in the children's room, and Rosie giving herself a paw wash. Rosie, by the way, is a very bad girl. She escaped from the deck and went out back and came home covered in mud. I was going to give her a bath anyways, but jeepers! Now she is clean and sweet though.

And I am enjoying the quiet. If I had some energy left, I would do some things around here, but nah, I am drained. I don't even have the kids clothes ready for tomorrow, but it will be simple to do since things are much better in the laundry room now.

They only have three more school days until their long break! Tomorrow I have to take Aaron shopping for sunglasses for his trip to New Mexico. I will also get him some socks from the dollar store, and maybe a new shirt or two if they're cheap. I am hoping he will find his sunglasses at the dollar store or at Biglots.

Benjamin got a job, finally. He is starting tomorrow at the N.Y. Pizzeria in the next town over. He has experience in pizza making. Hopefully he will get lots and lots of hours. He is still researching what job to choose for the Army, he is leaning toward Medic. Even if he signed the papers tomorrow, he wouldn't ship out until late July or August, so he needs some money in the mean time.

Abigail was so nice to have here today. She really helped alot. She stayed right through dinner time so I could go to a meeting tonight with Paul. I really appreciate it. The school kids were in bed when I got home, and I feel like I missed out....but tomorrow morning will come soon enough...and I should go to bed so I am not too grumpy.

yay, my new cord is here!!!

I don't have time to put any pictures up now though. It is getting to be that What-The-Heck-Is-For-Dinner-Time. One would think that by now, I would be a better planner. But I made a good dinner YESTERDAY!!!

Thanks to my dear daughter Abigail, I spent most of the day sorting laundry and washing clothes and organizing things. I could use another day to finish sorting and putting things away better, but it probably won't be tomorrow. Too many other things seem to slide when I do a big job like this. I did take a small break to sit in the sun for a little while.

Abigail is oiling her trumpet, I wonder how Rosie will like that. Kathryn is setting up dollhouse, Evelyn is playing Sims, Suzanne and Sonja are outside with Jonathan and Charlotte Claire and Camille. Benjamin is at the gym with Sam, they will pick up Mali from track when they're done. Sonja just came in to tell us that her shoe is on the roof (I didn't even ask), and Rosie escaped. Of course when she is called, she turns around and runs as fast as she can towards the neighbors. rrr. Mirielle and Margaret are around here somewhere, as is Joseph, and Aaron. And Emily is probably just waking up to go to work.

Jonathan's jeans are all muddy, he said he fell in the "snakefield". The snakefield is what they call our back-back yard. He came walking in here in his undies and shirt, but his sisters already told me he got all muddy. I asked him where his jeans were, and he looked like he was going to cry....."It was an accident!", he said. I asked him how he got muddy, and he asked incredulously, "How did you know?" They must've told him he was going to be in big trouble.

The little girls still have lots of candy left in their baskets. I have just let them have it when they want, and amazingly they have been very wise with it.

Now Jonathan is playing the trumpet, in his plaid undies with a striped shirt on. I don't know what's funnier, the audio or the visual.

Joseph rescued Rosie, and she smells like poop. She probably stepped in it, stupid dog. I do love her, but she cannot come in now until she gets a bath.....rrr. Why, oh why, did I want a dog?

Time flies when mommy is on the computer. Because Mommy doesn't just sit here and write, no sir. Mommy has to find out if Sonja really bit Evelyn's butt, or is Evelyn just kidding? Can someone please wash Camille's face, it is chocolate-y. Charlotte Claire had to tell me that tonight she is not going to cry at dinner time like she did last time. "I promise!", she said. Last night she cried and cried and cried because I had told her we were going to have a special dinner with candles, and when it was time to eat at 6:30, it wasn't dark out. She doesn't understand the time change, or the fact that summer is approaching and it stays light out longer. She did not want to have a special candle dinner when it was still light out. So, she cried. It didn't work, we didn't put the food away and wait. She finally came and joined us.....anyway, Suzanne showed me the bruise on her arm from the playground, and Jon stepped on Camille's toe. I don't seriously want everyone to leave me alone, but....jeepers. I just cannot concentrate right now, but that's okay. I need to talk to these guys anyway.

good morning!!!!

My new computer cord isn't here yet, so I am sitting at one of the family computers, which allows me to look out at the front yard. The big van and the pick-up are parked in the grass on either side of the driveway because Paul is such a nice daddy. Jonathan loves to ride his bike, and although we live on a country road, it is curvy and hilly and the speed limit is...- well, there is no speed limit posted. I can see the birds flitting about, and the newborn baby leaves gracing the trees, and the yellow flowers blooming on the bush that I cannot remember the name of.

One thing I have been thinking about lately is this: A good marriage is worth fighting for. If you have to ask why I say "fighting for", you probably...A. Aren't married. B. Have been married for a short time. C. Are very lucky. But in general, there is a fight that is necessary so that there is not only peace, but a pure love between husband and wife. First I have to have the mind to bless. Then I have to know full well it is true with me what is written in this verse, Romans 7 v. 21"So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me." There is a better translation that says, "I find the evil present IN me." So...when I acknowledge that YES, I have sin....then I am not surprised that even when my intention is to bless, I still have to sit in judgement about the way I am. It can be so painful to humble myself, but it is beautiful to God, and it brings peace. We have been married for 26 years, and it is better than ever for us. Not because of us, but because God has been so merciful. Salvation is not just a one-time thing, it is a continuous process. Phil. 2, v. 12 ..."continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling"....It is a GOOD fight, against our sin. It brings peace and blessing and oneness and goodness.

I am happy today. All of the kids went to school except for Kathryn and Margaret, who both went to Ottowa for the weekend, then both stayed up and watched Anne Frank, and now have stomach aches...hmm. There are only four days of school for the elementary school kids this week. Friday, they get to stay home because it is Grandparents' Day. It makes them too sad, and no school work gets done, so they get a day off. Spring Break is the following week, so I will have them for ten days!! Aaron will not be here, he is leaving for New Mexico on Wednesday. He is going to visit some of our good friends who moved down there a few years back. And when he gets back, he will start his new job at McDonalds. Poor kid. But he is thrilled to have gotten a job. He certainly can use the money.

I have big plans for vacation. There are a few parks I would like to take them to, and perhaps the Children's Museum again. They also love staying home and building forts in the woods and riding bikes and going in and out of the house, slamming the door. What??! The seem to LOVE doing that. Okay, okay, I am sure I will find plenty of irritation in myself, but by the grace of God, we will have a wonderful week.....

Mirielle is going back to college this week after a nice vacation. It was really good to have her around, poor girl. I mean, it isn't exactly Daytona Beach or Cancun here. But she got some sunshine over the weekend. And plenty of treasures in heaven, I'm sure.

Abigail is coming over today to help me with the kids. I am going to do some laundry sorting. I do this thing where I pick things out of the hampers to wash, and every few months I notice there are things in all the hampers that I haven't gotten to.....and also that the hampers get mixed up instead of being exclusively for darks or I have to empty them out and sort and get things organized again. I don't mind doing it, especially when someone is watching the girls....I know, I am very lucky. I haven't forgotten yet what is like to try to get things accomplished with four or five little ones who don't go to school yet, but it is getting a little blurry. And I would choose that again in a minute if I could. In fact, one of my favorite daydreams is going in for an ultrasound for a surprise pregnancy and being told, "Mrs. Mommy, there are two, wait - Three! wait, I think there are FOUR in there!!" (if I am dreamin', may as well dream big...) Anyway, I am thankful to have help now when I can, it decreases the likelyhood of the girls using all the soap or painting their nails on the bedroom carpet or sneaking outside.

And, I love having Abigail over.

Kathryn is cuddled up to Charlotte Claire on the couch watching, "Totoro", breaking my NO Movies During The Day Rule, but rules were made to be broken, I guess.

And now my first load of clothes is off I go, to fight the fight of faith and have a good day.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

sunday...a day of rest

We are watching "The Diary Of Anne Frank" on the public television station. It is hard to complain about how busy I have been today when this is on. These poor people were terrified, and of course we already know how it ended.

But it HAS been a busy day. We got up and went to church, then came home and had our grilled cheese and fruit on the deck, in the warm sunshine. The kids rode their bikes and played on the swings and went in and out of the house. I made dinner for only 8 of us. The youth age kids were at a picnic. I made Chinese food: sesame chicken and General Tsaos chicken, and rice and stir-fry vegetables. Suzanne and Sonja acted as if I was feeding them roasted ladybugs or something. Not the rice and chicken, no, the vegetables. Carrots, red peppers, green beans, snap peas....heavenly...but not to them. I got out some chocolate covered mint cookies, and sort of bribed them to at least try each thing...they ate most of them after all, with those cookies in sight. '

I did a few loads of laundry, the dishwasher, and some picking up. It IS Sunday, so I didn't get stressed out about getting all in order today. Tomorrow will be soon enough, although when I wake up and see the mess tomorrow morning I will probably wish I had done more today.

Well, my dear daughter Emily has stopped in...I REALLY can't concentrate now...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

home, home again, I like to be here when I can....

(pink floyd)(yes, I used to listen to them, and still love their music) Anyway...we are back, the kids are fine, and the house didn't fall down. Mirielle is a saint, that's all there is to it.

I took some nice pictures but cannot put them on until my computer gets fixed. Paul has ordered a new cord, so it should be pretty soon. Here are the things I took pictures of:

1. The lake. The lake from our window, the lake from the pier, the lake from the beach, the lake from a different beach.

2. Paul. I took a picture of him in the warm and cozy and loud and delicious pub we went to for dinner. We had the fish fry, and it was good. (I had sweet potato fries, ooh.)

3. Amish people plowing the field with horses.

4. A bald eagle in a bald eagle's nest, on top of a huge electric post.

5. Our hotel from out on the pier.

Things I didn't get pictures of:

1. The laughably small pool in hotel. I was absolutely shocked about how tiny it was. It looked like a hot tub.

2. The albino deer we saw.

3. The fish swimming under the surface of the water, from our hotel window.

4. Paul relaxing and playing his guitar.

5. Our lunch date at the opposite end of the lake from our hotel. (we were going to split a sub, but it was Customer Appreciation Day at Subway, so the subs were buy one get one free. We still each ate half, but saved the other halves for dinner)

So life went on when we were gone, and Mirielle kept in touch with us, since we all have cell phones now. She texted and said things like, "Camille just fell and cut her lip and is bleeding alot but I think she's fine", and "can you bring home some tomatoes?"

Camille is still up since she had a nice nap today, and she is sitting with me waiting with a pile of books. She is a story-crazy girl. and she is getting impatient.