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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

a day at home...I think....

Today is one of those days that is so lovely and beautiful and nice, I am thankful I am an at home mom....the weatherman described the forecast today as "flawless". A few puffy clouds sailing in a clear blue sky, high seventies, low walk this morning was pretty nice, too. Just a slight breeze, perfect temperature, sunshine....too bad two tractors drove by and made Rosie flip out. She is a high-strung nut. A big, strong, heavy nut. I got her calmed down, then our neighbor across the street drove by, and Rosie got all crazy again. She wants to chase these things, these trucks and tractors! She wants to herd them, I guess. I just make her sit down, and hold on for dear life. See, we live on a country road, and on some of our walks, no cars go by at all.....

We are planning our vacation, or should I say, "short jail term". Tents? 15 people in tents? It seems so. Our big camper is so big, so hard for Paul to tow, needs new tires, ect, $$$, We are tenting. We decided to go for only four nights...then if it goes well, perhaps we will go again. Hopefully Emily and Abigail can plan it so they can go many tents for seventeen people? How many tents will they let us put up? We might need two sites....I am not going to think about the details yet. It is great fun to talk to the kids about though. Bears, especially. There are around three thousand six hundred black bears in the Adirondacks Mountains. . Sometimes they get brave and wander through the campgrounds in search of food, like Yogi Bear. The last time we camped, one came into the site one night and chewed up a baby bottle we left on the picnic table. One of the older kids was so scared (it was a loud bear), she poked her head out of her tent and threw up. Several years ago, there was a troublesome bear terrorizing the campers, it ripped up someone's screenhouse and tried to drag away some coolers. It came walking through our site, not a care in the world, while Paul and I scrambled into the van...the kids were all tucked in in our pop-up camper, the bear smelled the camper from end to was scary, but not really dangerous. The bears aren't there to attack anyone, they just want food. Anyway, the kids are excited....

One thing I think I shall do today is go somewhere to get some things for a super yummy salad. We used the last of the lettuces last evening. It is much easier to resist cookies and licorice and chips and popcorn if I have things I enjoy, that are okay for me to have. This battle isn't getting any easier for me. Well, a tiny bit easier. But the Muncher inside me is still alive and well, and there are times the Muncher just wants to EAT! My brain is rational, tells Muncher NO, you have eaten sufficiently, SHUT UP, NO....but. It is still there. But I figure the worst case senario is that day after day, evening after evening, I shall have to battle this Muncher. It won't kill me. I can do this. Even if it is for the rest of my life. Because: this battle is worth it! I would rather fight this and be able to walk and run and fit into normal clothes and have more energy, and enjoy life more. I have heard more than one person say that loving food is harder than being an alcoholic because you cannot survive without food. You can't just give it up and walk away. It is something you have to deal with, the separation of what is needed for strength and nourishment, and what is just feeding the MUNCHER. To me, going into a grocery store is a suffering. I can't just NOT GO anymore. Everyone is different, I see some people walking around in the store, skinny as can be, they don't even seem to be tortured by the smell of donuts or by the bags of peanut M&M's....everyone has their battles, I guess, and this one is mine.

Princesses have library books they want read....

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

park pictures....

Charlotte Claire
Sonja pushing Evelyn
Jonathan and some sisters
Charlotte Claire and I...I had to let Sam take a picture of me to balance out the ones I took of him...
Aaron helping Camille...I LOVE when big brothers help little siblings.
Samuel James

Miss Emily-The-Nice-Big-Sister
Sonja hates her scooter now. She fell off. So I did what every nice Mom would do. I took a picture.

Eleven of the kids went to the park today....Emily, Mirielle, Aaron, Samuel, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. Sam took this one.

The playground was the new American standard...a padded playground. Underneath the whole thing was a foamy carpeting. It certainly was fun for the kids....Sam and Aaron kicked the soccer ball around, Kathryn and Suze did some gymnastics, I pestered a young mom about her sweet little baby twins, she probably thought I was a creepy stalker person, but those babies were so cute! We had some lunch, then on to the library.

I have a stack of books waiting for me....I think we got out about forty books. the ice cream place! The chocolate and vanilla twist was worth every single yummy. And worth every penny, too, nineteen dollars for twelve of us. Emily and two little princesses got baby cones, which I should have done...but. Summer around here means soft ice cream, and if I can be super careful for the rest of the day, I figure I can have one once in a while. (after all, at the park I resisted the chocolate chip muffins, the blueberry muffins, the cheap cheezy puffs, and had only three Triscuits with peanut butter, some orange, some peach, and a green apple. And a few cashews.)

Home: I got my sneakers on and went on the treadmill for 25 minutes. Ice cream guilt.

Spaghetti for dinner tonight. I shall have meat sauce on green beans, instead. It is good and filling, and healthier.

It is chilly today, but so cozy. Mali is reading a princess library book to Princess Camille. Em is just chillin' on the couch with Sonja, Sam is waiting for his ride to go camping in Canada for a few days with some boys from church....Rosie is lying on the floor....

shall we go to the park?

Emily, my oldest daughter, has been working alot lately. 12 hour shifts, days on end in a row with no break. She works hard, being an R.N. on the post-surgical/trauma floor. It isn't just the physical toll of working long hours and sleeping during the day, then working the odd day when she is used to sleeping....she has a few days off, and says she needs a "Mental Health Day". So....she has asked us if we want to go to the park.

Now I normally wouldn't recommend a day with our family to someone who needs a Mental Health Break, there are some in our family who need one of those FROM the family. But Emily lives down the road in a nice little apartment, and she isn't here for the day-to-day craziness anymore. She also has good memories of those days of piling into the van for adventure.

So today I shall pile them in, take them to the library, then to the park for a picnic. We are supposed to leave soon....but those teenagers are still sleeping...I have been up for hours, taken Rosie for her walk, packed lunch, and had breakfast....

Today, I shall....

1. remember the camera, and take lots of pictures.

2. be careful what I morning weigh-in was promising, I am down 29 pounds now.

3. walk and play with the kids, no sitting in my chair while they run around.

4. be patient.

5. stop at K-Mart and buy them a volleyball, bringing them all in, of course.

6. be patient. I shall begin the task of waking the bears.....since the little ones are fed and dressed and chomping at the bit....

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

summer afternoon pictures

Suzanne, Kathryn, Sonja, Jonathan, and Evelyn
chicken wings on the new grill
Rosie likes to keep me company when I grill on the deck.....she knows I tend to drop things.
Evelyn Joy

Mirielle and Evelyn got new dresses today....

We had to be out the door by 9:45 this morning to bring the minivan for new brakes. Mirielle and I, Evelyn, Sonja, Charlotte Claire, and Camille went shopping...we bought a new tent! I had a $10 off coupon, so the $189 tent that was on sale for $69 was only $59. We are planning to go camping without the camper, since it is so big and difficult to tow. Fifteen of us in tents....blah. If Emily and Abigail come up, they should probably get their own campsite.....

We then went to Target, got an airmattress...I can sleep in a tent on one of those, I think. There were jeans 75% off, and I got Char some adorable kindergarten sneakers, wah. Then to Price-Chopper for chicken and hot dogs and a watermelon and salad greens, peppers, shampoo, bread, red licorice, crackers, detergent, papertowels.....then to Wegman's for burger (we are having taco salad tonight), green peppers, milk, and a pool floatie that was on clearance. Oh, and a bag of ice. 18 pounds of ice....our ice maker in the freezer is clogged up because of our water, but if we put ice in there, it will still dispense from the door....nice clean ice made with non-mineral-y and iron-y water....yum.

We came home in time for a terrific afternoon thunderstorm. After putting away the groceries, we put in the movie we rented for the kids, "Yogi Bear", and I did 20 minutes of exercise....then two 15 calorie popsicles, and here I am...taking a nice little break. I could seriously fall asleep right now, it is hot in here and the house fan is on, making that sleepy white noise.....but I shall not nap, it is almost the dreaded Dinner Time....and I would like a quick dip in the pool if the storm is over.....

Monday, June 27, 2011

gloriously beautiful day.....

beach sky
Jonathan at the beach
Camille - 3, Evelyn - 11.
The title of this book is, "I Am Not Sleepy And I Will Not Go To Bed" (Lauren Child), excellent book, nice face on Camille
rain in the pool....yes, random.
This reminds me to be thankful that her leg isn't really broken...they were playing ambulance, and of course we have Charlotte Claire's old cast....(Pollyanna once received a missionary barrel with crutches in it instead of the doll she wished she decided to be thankful she didn't need the crutches...)

Today is a beautiful day....sunny and in the eighties....though we need milk and bread, I shall try to stay home today and make due. Stay home and swim, sun, play with the kids....and try to plan a camping trip.

Slobism isn't a real word, but I say it anyway. I mostly say it in the morning in the summer when the older kids are still sleeping, the ones who made the hot sauce popcorn and didn't rinse their bowls. The ones who left their cups and mugs in the livingroom when their movie ended. I have threatened to wake them up at dawn if they did this, but I am too nice. rrr.

Sonja's ear hurt this morning, so I told her not to go underwater in the pool today. Hopefully it will clear up, it probably is swimmer's ear. I was hoping to keep appointments to a minimum this summer...the big van needs new brakes, too. And Mali needs to go to the Social Security office to have her number straightened out, WITH a parent or guardian. I need to do bloodwork, but am in no particular hurry. Blah, fasting bloodwork is awful. Anyway, I just want to stay home more....

Sunday, June 26, 2011

day at the beach....

Aahhh, nothing is like a day at the beach. The eastern shore of Lake Ontario is nicer than the ocean, in my humble opinion. I have been to the Atlantic ocean twice, in Delaware and Virginia, wait, three, Dominican Republic...and to the Carribean in Jamaica...the beach in Dominican was really nice, but this beach on Ontario is truly wonderful. Today started out cloudy, but the sun peeked out, then it clouded up again. The water was wavy, the fun-to-play-in waves. So I played. When Jonathan was brushing his teeth tonight he said he feels like he is still playing in the waves.

For being cloudy most of the day, I certainly got a lot of face is quite rosy again....

Mirielle and I made chicken/red potato/onion/green pepper shish kabobs, with chicken marinated in homemade Cornell sauce. Yum. All pre-grilled, in the coolers for easy serving. There were also potato chips and cheese popcorn and I made Paul stop on the way up at the Save-A-Lot for some fruit.....(which was a whole sad story....I ran in by myself while he waited with eleven kids in the van.....I hurriedly gathered grapes and peaches and pears and apples and oranges and carrots, and some graham crackers and Hershey bars, as per Sam's in line behind a lady with a week's worth of groceries, everything ringing up wrong...only one other line open, longer than mine....rrr. All I could think of was how they must be out there in the hot van, thinking I am dawdling...which I WASN'T! So.....I hurried out to the parking lot, drove the cart into the cart return and tried to gather up the fruit to carry to the van....the bag of oranges broke open, oranges rolled here and there and everywhere....I put everything back into the cart, and as I approached the van, I could hear the kids joking about how long MOM was GONE, I did what every grown-up responsible Mom does every once in a while...I cried.)

Anyway, I recovered, stopped feeling sorry for myself, and had a lovely day watching the silly kids empty the lake into the sand, one bucket at a time...they went on the playground and played limbo, and lacrosse, and volleyball, and bocce ball. It still seems strange to go to the beach with no stroller/playpen/gear, to not nurse a baby, keep a baby out of the sun, chase a toddler....Camille is so easy and mature and funny....she did NOT want to leave the beach. She was just plain bummed out when it was time to go, even though we had spent over seven hours there.

Oh, I did take some pictures, but Joseph also enjoyed my camera today, he still has it....perhaps tomorrow I shall put up some beach pictures.

Friday, June 24, 2011

taking another break....

We tried to go strawberry picking...Mirielle, Aaron, Samuel, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and I....we packed our bowls and set out in the big van...well, it started raining. Pouring. So we went into town first to get some money from the bank, and some whipped cream for the strawberries from the store.

It still rained. Poured. So...home we went. No strawberries today. I passed out the chocolate chip M&M cookies I bought for the kids, had one bite of one, and went on the treadmill for 29 minutes and 43 seconds, a mile and a half. It didn't kill me, but it sure felt like it was going to....

So today is a good day. Walked, swam, ran/walked on the treadmill.

There are still two cookies left, someone better eat them.

I am having a cup of coffee, courtesy of Kathryn. The kids are playing in the newly cleaned room, courtesy of Evelyn Joy.

Dinnertime is approaching, I need to kick into gear again....dinner, then graduation.....

pictures of summertime....

I haven't taken pictures in the last few days, so I shall attempt to describe the goings on around here....

1. The relaxed pace. I slept in until 9:20 this morning, took Rosie on our walk, came back for some oatmeal with crunchy peanutbutter and my coffee, as the kids enjoyed toaster pastries and Honey Nut Cheerios. I sat down with the morning paper, and the kids started bugging to go out in the pool....

2. I went in the pool. I wasn't through relaxing, my coffee was only half gone, but I enjoyed the swim.

3. I did not realize how many towels we have! They are taking over! Swimming several times a day multiplied by several children and young adults using towels, get towels everywhere.

4. Yesterday I went to the dentist and survived a filling in a wisdom tooth.

5. Mirielle and Sonja went with me, leaving Joseph home babysitting. We came home with chocolate chips, shampoo and conditioner, yogurt, peanuts, cereal, and veggies, from B.J's. The house was not only still standing, but the kids were happy in the pool with Joe.

6. It would be easier if we were one of those families who ate all three meals together, and functioned as a unit, but it just ain't so. The kitchen is always open, and I just have to live with it. I cannot "control" the teenagers, nor do I want to. It is their summer, too, and if they want to stay up half the night watching movies and sleep until noon, so be it.

7. It is never quiet or lonely here.

8. I sort of miss the days wherein I could announce we were going on an adventure, and they would jump up and down without protesting and dissenting.

9. But they grow up, and it isn't ALL protesting and dissenting.

10. With four kids going to college in the fall, we need to start looking for a more reliable car. Old Goldie has one hundred fifty thousand miles on her, and shakes like she's terrified. I HATE driving her.

11. The weather has been delectably delicious. Low humidity, low eighties, breezy, a few clouds, some thunderstorms....

12. I shared the last piece of Mirielle's deadly diet busting cheesecake with whoever would help me eat it yesterday, just to end it's reign of terror and temptation. It was a white chocolate cheesecake with Oreo crust, and hot fudge topping.

13. I made cajun chicken soup with rice, red potatoes, red peppers, and corn for dinner last night. The kids protested that it was too hot for soup, but I had leftover chicken and leftover rice.....they ended up really liking it. I am glad there is enough left for lunch, if I get to it first, that is.

14. I am considering taking the kids berry picking today.

15. Tonight is GRADUATION...blah, I hate things like graduation ceremonies. It is challenging to just sit there for so long and behave. But Paul and I are going for Aaron and Mali. I am proud of Aaron, I am not positive of his class rank, but I think it is six....and he took very hard classes. And I am proud of Mali for doubling up and graduating a year early, and still doing well in all of her classes.

16. I want summer to go by sloooowly.

17. Just the thought of school starting sickens me. I am once again thinking of homeschooling them....I do NOT want to send Miss Charlotte Claire to school. She is like a twin sister to Camille, and it almost hurts to think of separating them.....

18. Camping, picnics, bonfires, drive-in, museum of glass, mini-golfing, going out for ice cream....aahh....

19. Tomorrow is a graduation party for my sister's youngest daughter (my sister has seven daughters), she is graduating with Aaron and Mali...the kids love getting together with their cousins. I also like getting together with them.

20. The party is also for my sister's daughter Claire, who is their fourth child to graduate from college!

The younger kids have been playing dollhouse again, it is spreading across the living room. Jonathan wants to wake Sam up, because Sam is teaching him how to play the trumpet this summer (another "Poor Kids From a Big Family, They Don't Get Enough Attention" example....). Jon also is bothered that it is almost one o'clock and some of the kids are still sleeping. Jon loves summer. He does not get bored. He rides his bike all over the yard, he is as brown as a little bear. He is making bagels for himself, and Charlotte Claire, which smell so yummy, blueberry bagels...but I do not eat bagels anymore. Last night Mirielle made a batch of her homemade kettle corn made with brown sugar....I did have a small filled the whole house with a deadly yummy aroma....oh, so good. It would be way easier if I hated all that good stuff....

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

no more pencils, no more books....

no more teacher's dirty looks. Or phone calls from the school wondering where the kids are today. It is the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL! It is a half day, and I made them go because they missed Friday and Monday and Tuesday. For good reasons, of course.

Ben and Ashley are gone, the party is over, summer is here. The house is still relatively clean, and I would like to keep it that way. I offered Evelyn fifteen bucks to clean Charlotte Claire's room, and she accepted. Evelyn is an excellent room cleaner. She doesn't do just a shove-y job, never sneaks stuff under the bed.

We live just a couple miles from a pick-your-own strawberry patch. I haven't been yet this year, but the older kids have been three times. If it isn't raining after school I might take some of the kids again. The berries are too delicious for words, healthy, reasonably priced, and not off limits for me. And they are fleeting...just a short window of ripeness, then they are gone until next year.

It is summer here. The birds are singing, the smell of wild flowers is in the air. It is overcast now and the branches are still, it rained and thundered last night. I woke up with the storm, it was really magnificent. A few of the lightening bolts were almost in sync with the thunder, it was very close by. I was awake for so long I barely woke up in time to get the kids on the bus. Good thing I had bought them some donuts for their Last Day Of School breakfast.

Taking walks in this weather is lovely except for the deerflys. They bite, and they are persistent. They fly around my head and I walk down the road with Rosie's leash in one hand, the other hand swatting myself all over my head in vain, I never seem to actually hit the fly. It is more challenging to walk in the heat, so going first thing in the morning is better. This morning, however, I overslept, so Rosie only had her cheaty little walk to the mailbox....

My new scale: I am still losing. Slowly but surely. A few pounds a week, I am down about 26 pounds now. The day before yesterday I went a mile and a half on the treadmill, plus my mile walk with Rosie, and some excercise in the pool. If I have days like that a few times a week, with some weight-lifting days in between, I should stay on track. It takes a lot of time. And I see that I go about my week living my life, then realize that if I want to reach my goal, I need to give more and suffer more and work harder. It is like the spiritual life, there is no place for lukewarmness. I need to be radical! Faithful in the thoughts, faithful to work out. And faithful in eating good things.

After the airport yesterday, I took nine of the kids to Burger King for an Icee (four of the kids went home in the minivan) (they have one dollar Icees, 16 and 20 ounce sizes, which brought up the question, "Who would order the smaller one?").....I ordered a Coke Icee, but couldn't enjoy it because of it's excessive sugary-ness. I drank half, gave it to Sam, and asked for the cup back when he was done. On the way home from, after getting groceries, I filled the cup with ice and diet Lime Coke....Target was fun with nine kids. I bought some four dollar beach towels, but that doesn't mean at least one of them won't bring a ratty old towel to the beach, just for my salvation. I found some shorts for Evelyn and Sonja for 75% off, and bought the new scale. The grocery store was even more fun! My "little' brother, Casey, was in there. I knew I would see him there! I was pushing a cart with stuff in it (a watermelon, milk and bananas and romaine and donuts and chicken and yogurt and cheese....), and Jonathan was pushing a car cart with the two little princesses in it. We bought four packages of 15 calorie Popsicles, some regular Popsicles, some Fudgcicles, and some Bombpops, which are red-white-blue Popsicles. They were half price, and yum. I told the cashier that we had just said goodbye to my son, the kids' brother, and that he is a soldier, and she told me about her son who just signed on for another four years....she said the year he was in Iraq was the hardest year of her life. I can believe that.

Home....pool! Then Evelyn made French toast for the kids, I made myself a huge salad, and Paul grilled some chicken. Aah, summer.

I am thankful for that swimming pool.

The garden is growing well. A hummingbird comes to visit when I water the garden, flitting in the hose water.

Anyway....the party went well, it went by fast, I hardly talked to my brother Bob, but I did talk to my brother Joe, and my brother Tom, and Casey. And to my sister Cheryl. And to Paul's parents. And his brother and sister-in-law. And a few of my nephews and their wives. And my other sister-in-law. The chicken was good, we cooked about 55 pounds of drumsticks and thighs, marinated, baked, and put in the electric roasting pan to keep warm. The cakes were very yummy, I had a small piece of both kinds, then cheered inside when it was all gone and I didn't have to suffer anymore. ha.

I am still very inspired to stick to my goals, and to eat healthy. I want to see this thing through, I want to ride a bike with Jonny!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

goodbye benjamin and ashley....

Sam and Rosie
Suze and Kap watch Ben pack....he gave Suze his old beret, and Kap scored a t-shirt.
Not only did Rosie get used to Ben fast, she totally loves him again...and now he is packing up to leave!
taken by Photographer the van on the way to the airport
Kathryn wore her, "Proud Army Sister" shirt
Ben with 8 of his sisters...and Jonathan
Ashley carrying Camille...the kids are going to miss her so much!
Benjamin and Paul
I offered Ben "shotgun", but he chose to ride back with the kids on the way to the airport.
Sam and Benjamin
Sam carrying Ben's bag

Mirielle took this of us waiting for them to check their bags
Ashley and Ben
Benji and I
bye to Sam
goodbye to Margaret
bye to Mali
bye to Joseph
bye to Mirielle
Saying goodbye to Jonathan
This face about sums it up....