summer 2011

summer 2011

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

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

92 degrees out with sunburn...

The water was cold at the beach. Very cold. There was no breeze, the sun was hot, we ventured in the water quite a few times. Sonja, Jonathan, and Charlotte Claire would jump right under, brr, but we just went in to the knees and splashed ourselves. Well...then Suze and Evelyn thought it would be funny to get Mom all wet...they splashed and splashed, and since I am not quick enough to get away from them, I splashed back. It did no good. They soaked me to the top of my head. And Suzanne, in her ten year old silliness, decided to put some sand on my too. Wet sand. I had no choice but to dunk into that cold water to clean it off. I can't blame them too much, I laughed too much for them to take me serious.

I put 50 Baby-waterproof sunscreen on the kids twice. I put a little on me, but not enough. Will I ever learn?

Home for dinner...a simple one of hot dogs and coneys, again, on the grill, and salad....then off to the pool for six of us for some we are home, it is stifling hot in here....

Aaron and Kathryn are making homefries. The little princesses are walking around in some high heels from Margaret. I smell coffee, they are probably making iced coffee. Never a dull moment.

off we go to the beach!!!

Mali and her senior collage....

Mali's senior collage....

Some family pictures taken at the hospital with new babies...just think, Aaron was our sixth child, and grew up going to the hospital every 15 months or so to meet and welcome a new baby....

Aaron was/is such a cutie!

Aaron's senior collage is on an American Eagle bag...he likes those kinds of stores.

so...we want to go to the beach. I haven't been yet this year, it is calling me. The girls (Emily and Abigail and Mirielle and Mali and Margaret and Kathryn and Evelyn and Suzanne and Sonja, nine of the eleven) are going to the ocean this weekend. I am not going because I feel torn...Paul didn't say, "Oh, you should go!" and I would feel bad if I did. I do not get enough time with him as it is, and he is going away to Boston for the whole week next week, so....also the thought of sleeping in a tent in hot weather with no fan...nah, I'll just stay here and let them have their fun. Anyway, we started talking about how it is going to be ninety degrees today, and going to school in that sort of weather seems like Cruel and Unusual We are going to the beach!

Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, and Jonathan skipped school. Well, they technically didn't, they stayed home because they weren't feeling well. Not feeling well about going to school, that is. blah. Anyway, Mirielle and I are filling up the minivan and heading to Lake Ontario.

We had a nice picnic yesterday. Joseph and Aaron and Samuel headed up to the lake to go out in a boat with their cousins, Abigail took Margaret and Kathryn to the beach with some girls from church, Mali was at her friend's house, so Paul and I had a picnic with Mirielle, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. We had grilled turkey burgers and hot dogs and coneys, baked beans, and green beans...we ate out in the yard, and it was lovely. Except for the fight the two little princesses had about a plastic rainbow colored belt....Camille had it and Char wanted it. blah.

Our garden is now planted with tomatoes, summer squash, green beans, cantaloupe, radishes, cucumbers, and lettuce.

The poor sick children are really wanting to get to that beach so they will feel better....

Monday, May 30, 2011

a few pictures

Kathryn Grace

candyland on the deck

Jonathan and Charlotte Claire got cooled off in the little pool

memorial day, sadness

Today is a day of parades and remembrances here in the U.S. of A. In our little town, the parade will feature the fire trucks and ambulances and the boy scouts, and the girl scouts, and the middle school band. The high school band used to look pretty spiffy in their ancient uniforms, but due to budget more high school band. It is a sad affair, especially because the whole town gathers for this event....

The real sadness in my heart today is because we lost a friend yesterday. He and his wife raised ten children, a couple with hearts of gold. She was away in another state with her dear grand daughter, as this grand daughter lost her battle with cancer and went on to heaven. Her husband was at our church conference, and on his way home, he was struck by a vehicle which pulled out in front of him....his poor wife. Reg was such a kind and considerate and faithful man, he was a true gentleman. Emmy, his wife, I am crying for her today. A marriage of over sixty years....what heartbreak.

When these things happen, the normal daily trials and situations seem so trivial. It is sobering.

We did get our garden plants. We now have one pepper plant planted. The rest will go in today, if the rain holds off. Or perhaps in the rain we shall plant. We wanted to use the roll of plastic mulch stuff, but we are using seeds for most of the garden, how do you use that with seeds? blah, we don't know anything about this. We will probably try the newspaper with dirt on top to help prevent weeds....

I talked to my soldier son Benjamin last night. He heard about Reg's death, and was very saddened. Other than that he is doing well. He says it is 98 degrees with humidity, and they have to do drills in all that gear...blah. He is heading out for the last phase of Medic training, which is camping in the wilderness and practicing saving people, carrying 250 pound patients for one mile, complete with night time "attacks".....good times.

He should be home in a few weeks, for a few days. I cannot wait to see him!!! We are going to get a nice family picture this time! No matter how much they grumble and say, "", we shall get a good one. We are having quite a party on the Sunday he will be here, one of these days we should think about getting some things done around thing I want is a new grill. Our grill has only one burner, it works, but only in two spots. Paul says if I buy a new one, I will be disappointed because before long it won't work very well. I say that if I get a four burner grill, at least after a while it will work in EIGHT spots.

I should NOT be sitting here. But after my hot and sweaty walk with Rosie this morning, my chair looked so inviting....Rosie and I met a huge snapping turtle this morning. It was as big as my lap top, or bigger. Turtle did not like Rosie. Turtle moved quickly, so I held Rosie back. Rosie was about to get snapped. I had to drag her disobedient little butt away by the scruff of the neck.....on the way home, Turtle had moved into the tall grass, but we could still see it...I really wanted to snap a picture with my phone, but Rosie would have used the opportunity to go get her nose snapped...... to the parade we go.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

one thousand nine-hundredth post

Sunday morning...took Miss Rosie for her walk. It is very hot and humid today, I am totally wilting. Today is Day Two of our church conference, but Paul and I decided we just can't manage to go today. We have a garden half rototilled, that needs to be planted already! He is gone so much, we have to make time for some things around here. Well, the kids were not happy campers this morning. They wanted to go out to the church conference. So Joseph took a van full of them out.

I feel bad, because I really do want to go to.

But I can't do everything.

Paul and I worked our tails off yesterday. We prepared and cooked and served lunch, I sold candy and made sno cones, we cleaned things up, I ran up to the grocery store for some things we ran out of (which was GREAT fun, I brought along a very good friend who is visiting from Missouri...the kind of friend who even though you don't see very often, it doesn't seem that way at all. She is amazing, she helped us work all day, too). Then it was time to make things for the dinner crowd...hardly a break all day. I went into one meeting and listened for a bit, it was very encouraging and good....

Last night after we got home and got the kids tucked into bed, I sat down and put my feet up. I got up after a while to use the bathroom. I could barely walk. Ouch. After all the exercising and walking and swimming I do, this was a surprise.

Today the house is a mess. I do not want to spend the entire day cleaning it, nor do I want to live in a house that is messy. This is why I need a maid.

I shall do what I do best, just pick up and make it livable, so it doesn't bug me so much. The bare minimum.

Because guess what? I am tired. Sunday morning should be a day to sleep in, but NO, Rosie knows it is morning, and she wants OUT of her cage. So blah, I am tired.

But happy.

Yesterday was a good day. Working together with one's friends is grounds for some good fellowship. The girls (Mirielle and Mali and Margaret and Emily and their cousins) made some excellent pizzas, forty-four of them. We ordered one for dinner, and it was very difficult for me not to scarf a whole piece down. I just had a few bites...

I stepped on the Evil Scale yesterday despite my pledge to wait until Monday. I guess I had to see if the two pieces of Domino's pizza had ruined me. (We older ones were also duking it out for the crusts the little kids left on their plates...Domino's makes such good crust...all that garlic, yum)...anyway, I saw a number I haven't had the pleasure of seeing since way back when...the fun thing was that it was one UNDER the number I was waiting to see! I know these numbers fluctuate, but still. I choose to rejoice! Almost 20 pounds lost now! It is working! I read so much stuff, so many things to never do or to always do, sometimes the same exact things...oatmeal in the morning, for example. But I eat it almost every day with a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter. I do measure and make sure it is a half cup or less, which is plenty when it is microwaved.

This afternoon we shall go get some plants for our garden.

Tomorrow morning we shall go to the parade in town at 9 a.m. because Margaret is marching in it with the school band.

In the afernoon we might go to a big parade if it isn't too hot.

And now, I think I shall go take a nap. ha.

Friday, May 27, 2011

the joy of being a mother....

I vent here, I complain plenty. But there is so much joy in all this too! Here is what has made me happy lately...

1. Private First Class Benjamin Paul....He has been hoping fervantly for a special assignment called "Hometown Recruiting". It would mean a few weeks home instead of the five days he is alloted between his training and where he is going to be stationed. He heard that the soldiers who got good grades (his were excellent) and stayed out of trouble, which he did, would be chosen. So yesterday when the names of the chosen ones were called, he was surprised and disapointed that some of them were guys who got low grades, and who had gotten in trouble for things...and his name wasn't called. So. He said he was very upset. More than upset, extremely sad. Then, he realized that like all things, this was God's call. So he just gave it up. He knew that God has a plan for everything, and perhaps he would never know the reason, but this just wasn't meant to be. He said after he realized this, he was fine. So...he told me all this on the phone, and I my feet were floating like a foot above the floor...what more could a mother ask for??!! My son believes that God causes all things to work together for his good!!

2. We found a bathing suit for Mali! Second store! It fit, she was happy, it was only ten bucks.

3. Suzanne and Sonja were volatile this morning. One just looks at the other, the one interprets the LOOK as a MEAN look...blah, fighting breaks out. Just words, but still. One storms out, one cries. I talked to the one and told her to tell her sister she loves she did, and the sister apologized.

4. Last night, a piece of watermelon flew from one child's hands toward this child's sister, across the room. It missed, hit the window, but the juice from it sprayed sister. Sister was SO mad. Perpetrator insisted sister deserved it, onlookers agreed. The accused is usually the most peaceful of the kids, and was just as surprised as the rest of us by this action. After a while, I went in victim's room to comfort and see if she was all right. I hugged her and told her I loved her, then told the child she was arguing with in the first place that I also loved her...she just looked at me with the most soft expression, and said so thankfully, "I know you do, Mom." (I think they both thought they were in trouble....)

5. The house was so messy yesterday when I finally got home from my all-day shopping trip. It was 88 degrees, and I was tired, and I had to make dinner. The kids all wanted to go to the gym. I just couldn't. I have been running around too much. I just had to stay here and get things in a little bit of order, after all, Paul was on his way home....he couldn't come home to an empty messy house....Ashley started picking things up and folding towels and cleaning....then Mirielle made pancakes for dinner while I cooked up some bacon (I made a huge salad for me, and for others who don't choose to eat things like pancakes, although they looked and smelled delicious). They ended up abandoning their plans to go to the gym, and we had a grand old time sitting around the dinner table talking...

6. Charlotte Claire likes to pour her own cereal and milk now. She is just so happy that she can do it. She is eating right now while I sit here and type, which does make me feel like a BAD MOM.

7. I did sneak in 20 minutes of exercise yesterday afternoon even though I could easily have expended the energy cleaning up instead....but it feels nice to have the respect of the older kids for sticking to my Horrible Diet and Exercise Plan. Nothing feels as nice as hearing one's teenager say, "You go, Mom!"

8. Sonja K. told me that she noticed that I don't huff and puff as much as I used to.

So, I bought a Wegman's bakery apple pie yesterday for four dollars, Memorial Day special. Aaron loves apple pie, so I was thinking of him. One eighth of the pie: 350. blah. Last year I remember eating that pie for breakfast and lunch. I just had half a slice last night, and didn't eat all of the crust. For about 150 calories, it just wasn't worth it. I can eat a piece of whole grain bread and three slices of turkey for that. Or a yogurt and fruit. Or an apple and a few almonds. For some reason, there is still most of the pie sitting out taunts me, but I do not want to eat it.

I behaved myself while out and about yesterday. I always bring apples and nuts with me, and a Balance bar. For a treat in Target, I bought some salt and pepper cashews. I only had twelve of them, they are so bad, but oh, so good.

My princesses are such princesses. While I was gone yesterday they raided the closet and found velvety Christmas dresses. They wear their sisters' heels (Abigail took some of the girls to the Salvation Army store recently for the 50% off sale, and bought them high-heels)....and tons of clips and sparkly things in their hair....

I went on a short version of my walk this morning because I woke up a little late....I went the other way down the road and went up a different hill. The funny thing is that I was deep in thought, and didn't even notice going up the hill. Later I am going to sneak out without Rosie and go up and down it like three times for a nice little workout.

Just for the record, I am not out of the woods yet, as far as Loving Food goes. It is hard to resist temptation sometimes. My mind whispers these things to me like, "Just a little won't hurt. It will be so good." And things like, "How can I keep going like this...?" But I figure it hasn't killed me yet, and I just have to deal with one temptation at a time. It is NOT easy, especially when it seem to go SO slowly....the scale went down to a number I hadn't had the pleasure of seeing for a number of years, then went back up one. blah. Rush of happiness, then a few days later, fighting discouragment. I shall not get back on the scale until Monday.

I am picking the kids up early this afternoon from school. They have been bugging all week for it, so I wrote the notes....

This is the big conference weekend at our church. It is interesting because Paul and I work at the grille all day long, and take care of the kids. We do go to the morning meeting and stay long enough to hear some good things, then on to setting up for lunch. It is busy and crazy and tiring, but it is so much fun! We have such good fellowship with each other, and the friends here in our local church with whom we cook and serve. It will be a hot weekend, so we will also have the sno-cone machine going...I shall grill some chicken breast today, and pack baggies of salad fixings so I will have healthy things to eat all day...because we sell these bacon cheeseburgers that are almost to die for, on fresh kaiser rolls with lettuce and tomatoes....and the local Hoffman hot dogs, which are juicy and scrumptious...we also sell salads with grilled chicken, and deep fried fries, and salt potatoes. And loads of candy!!! I sell it all day long, but no longer eat it. Ouch.

Now both princesses are up...Camille knows how to put ponytails in her own hair now, which is cute, but not exactly pretty......

Thursday, May 26, 2011

my camera?

is home where it always is...blah, I forget it time and time again.

So I have no photos of our amazing afternoon and evening.

Mirielle, Aaron, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and I went to the gym in the afternoon. After a nice swim, we walked over to Jonathan's chorus concert. It started a half hour before I had thought it was going to, so Emily missed it. Jonathan cried his little heart out about that. I told him he had more people there than any other kid, so stop being so sad and start counting your blessings.

We went over to Emily's apartment and picked her up in the big white van, so she would go on our Pizza Adventure with us. Jon started crying again, so Emily told him it was in the past, and there was nothing we could do about it. He could either keep thinking about it and be sad, or stop it and enjoy himself. He chose to stop. But he also said several times how, "Mom got the time wrong..."

5 pizzas from Domino's. The bacon with green peppers and onions was the best, but that is because it is the only one I had. I did not try the Buffalo chicken wing kind or the chicken alfredo kind or the ham/bacon/pepperoni.

We ate at a park on a lake that we had never been to. There was a huge playground - under construction. blah. Poor kids. Too bad the sign wasn't where the turn-in was, I probably wouldn't have gone there. They were okay though. They did gymnastics in the grass and ran around. It started getting dark and chilly too quickly, so we packed up the rest of the pizza to take home to Sam and Joseph and Mali and Ashley...

We stopped for gas on the way home...with my Price-Chopper discount of $2.70 off a gallon, I got twenty gallons for only $23! Not bad when gas is almost four bucks a gallon.

It is no fun to forget the camera, although it is nice to avoid the grief the older kids give me when I start snapping pictures. They say, "is that going on The Blog?" blah.

Camille alone is so adorable....she was so happy to have her pizza, she ate two pieces. She liked the table we sat at, she liked her cup of water. She liked being done and getting down and running around. She liked the Golden Retriever we patted on the head. She liked wearing her, "Pretty Dress". She just plain liked doing something different.

Joseph has had a bad cold/headache thing, and Mali has been battling headaches. I had to go pick her up from school again yesterday. I worry about her. Is it just sinuses, or a cold, or is it stress?

She stayed home today and is going shopping with me...I have tons of things to get for the grill still. And she has a list of things she needs to do...get pictures printed for school, and she needs a bathing suit (bathing suit shopping with a girl who....hmm, how should I put this....a girl who has no idea how beautiful she is? put it nicely. Not fun.) I go to feed the children and get ready to Shop To The Drop.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

nice sunny day...

Warm weather, sunshine....what I have been craving all winter is finally here. Today is supposed to be a really nice day. Starting tomorrow, more thunderstorms and possible rain, but today is supposed to be nice.

And today I am planning to stay home. Until early evening, then we shall go to Jonathan's elementary chorus concert. After that we shall go on an adventure. We are thinking Domino's Pizza. We have some Buy one Get one Free coupons...

And we are thinking a park we have never been to....just for fun.

Then tomorrow, more shopping for the grille....

Things I have been thinking about...

Feelings. I get my poor feelings hurt so easily. I hate being so vulnerable, but I think it serves a purpose: I strive not to make anyone feel bad. When I feel hurt, or offended, I really try to take a minute or two or a hundred to think about things. I do not want to return evil for evil, and most of the time, the person was not even aware they "hurt" me. Having a hard heart towards someone because of these things is not only stupid, but it is certainly ungodly.

Fairness. I do not believe in fairness. I would go crazy if I always tried to make everything fair around here. I love my kids, but sometimes one gets something and another doesn't. If I hear that it Isn't Fair, I just console the complainer with, No, it Isn't Fair. But sometimes YOU get special things, too. So...I always can pick something up for someone while out shopping without thinking I have to get something for the whole crowd.

Sharing. I don't believe in hoarding things for oneself. But. I do overlook some things. One child really likes Nutella, buys it with his own money, keeps it in a secret place. It is too expensive to have on hand for all of them all of the time, and if he likes it so much, shouldn't he be able to have it? rrr, it is hard for me. I did buy a big jar of it for $4.79 yesterday and told the kids it was for all of them. Guess what they all ate for breakfast? Uh-huh. At least the bread was whole-grain. On Joseph's birthday, I bought him a two pound container of fresh strawberries. I asked him to give everyone just one (about half of them), then encouraged him to bring the rest to his room, if he wanted to enjoy them. Sonja also got strawberries for her birthday. She made a huge label for them, and ate as many as she wanted for a few days....she did give out a few....but she LOVES strawberries, and it isn't everyday around here one can have as much of something as one wants. (I have to hide my Balance bars in my room, or they would be gone in a day...and for me right now, it is so nice to know I have those around so when I go out and about, I can have something healthy instead of giving in to eating junk)

I guess in these things it is like in 2 Corinthians 3, "The letter kills but the spirit gives life..." There can't be hard and fast rules for everything, but to instill in the kids to THINK of the others, and to share in general.

I always tell the kids that when they share it makes what they have taste yummier.

It will make their hearts happy to see their brothers and sisters happy.

So, I got out of bed once again at the early hour of sixish. blah. I wanted to go back to sleep SO badly today. But I knew it was going to be warm today, and walking in the morning is better than sweating in the afternoon. I do not use an alarm clock, I only use one if I have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the airport or something. I automatically wake up at sixish these days, it started when I decided to do my walking in the morning. I am cursed, cannot sleep 'til seven anymore. I cannot talk myself out of going on those walks, which is a good thing, I guess. Although I do give myself a pretty good argument sometimes....

I talked to my dear husband last night, he called late and I thought perhaps he forgot about me. He said he had to call because he didn't want to get in trouble. ha, I'll give him trouble. He did not forget about me. I could tell. It is a nice thing to be in love. Even after all these years....more so as the years go by. I do not know about anyone else's marriage, but I know that mine has gotten better and better and that it has been worth every single suffering...I do not regret any of the times I have battled my own sin and forgiven and been longsuffering and have gone the extra mile to straighten things out and been the one to give in and say sorry. I do regret the times it has take me so long to just let things go and be good to him...those times I thought he was being a certain way so I was a certain way back....blah. Holding onto perceived injustices in one's mind is VERY stupid. Those thoughts cannot be allowed to grow and thrive and take up residence! Seriously, when I begin to think of how I think I should be treated better, then I think of how I treat him..oooh, room for improvement! We are together in this battle against sin, not against each other!

And now I must feed the monsters...I mean The Princesses, of course.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"shop to the drop"

We had some Norwegian friends here a while back. Now I never say, "shop 'til we drop" anymore.

Today, Mirielle shopped to the drop. We drove all the way to Target, I put my keys away, and did not see my wallet...oops. I used a Wedding Purse for the Wedding on Sunday. My wallet was still in that Wedding purse, 40 minutes away at home. blah, we drove all the way home, and all the way back again. So much for our early start!

Target. Not much there.

Price Chopper. Lots and lots of hot dogs for the grille this weekend. Bananas and Italian bread and carrots and bread and eggs for us.

McDonalds. We were SO hungry. Mirielle had a salad with chicken, I had a McDouble and a side salad. I didn't eat the bottom bun, but it was still around 400 calories, ouchie. The side salad with the small amount of dressing I use was less than fifty. It sure was yummy though.

B.J's. Tons of stuff for the grille. For us, 3-packs of Tombstone Pizza for $3.99. And frozen strawberries, Nutella, walnuts, milk....

We went to the church to put stuff away, then to Tom and Kim's house to drop off some of those cheap pizzas, then finally, HOME!

Put away the groceries, abandon plans to make stew from the leftover beef and gravy and bake three frozen pizzas....

The youth girls (ages 12 and up) were going to Girls' Fellowship, and Joseph, Aaron, and Sam were out at the church doing yardwork and weedeating....and I wanted to go to the I packed up the younger kids and took them.

Home for snacks (the pool makes us SO hungry) of mini Teddy Grahams and chocolate chips...I didn't have very many....and bed for the monsters...

There are still a bunch of older kids up....

I still miss Paul.

Rosie had a bath last night, which explains why she rolled in something poopy today. She only does that when she is really really clean.

blah, I am so tired....

tuesday morning...

1. I walked this morning...against my body's wishes.

2. Stayed up too late AGAIN last night. I think it is Mirielle's fault, she is done with college for the year, so she can stay up late and sleep in. I, on the other hand, cannot sleep in.

3. All the kids went to school, although it was pretty close for Sam. He doesn't get up until like five minutes before the bus comes, and ever single day he is surprised that the bus is "here already??!!"

4. Charlotte Claire's Rapunzel doll has long hair, but not long enough. She uses a sheet or a towel or a blanket and attatches it to the poor doll's hair so it is long long long like in the movie, "Tangled".

5. Samuel and Kathryn did not go with us to the pool yesterday afternoon. Sam decided to clean up. He did the dishwasher and swept the kitchen floor. Kathryn cleaned the living room and swept the floor. This was pretty sweet to come home to!

6. One of my skirts is too big to wear. I put it on yesterday, and it almost fell down.

7. I almost stepped on a dead frog this morning. I like to relax and look around while I walk, but between Rosie and the critters that could be dead in the road, I tend to look down quite a bit.

8. Jonathan is our only elementary student in chorus this year. blah. The band concert is one thing, the elementary chorus concert is pure and sheer torture.

9. But we shall go anyway, and praise Jonathan, even though we won't actually be able to hear him.

10. Why in the world would someone take a load of darks out of the washer and put it in the towel hamper?

11. Why does Mirielle make cupcakes? They are not calling my name, no, they are SCREAMING it. I already know I won't have one, I am far too comitted to wanting to get into better shape, but they taunt me nonetheless.

12. I need a good library book.

13. Isn't it amazing that we have TWO kids graduating from high school this year? Mali doubled up because she hates high school.

14. We have nine kids in school this year, we shall have eight next year.

15. Next year we will also have four college students who live here and commute.

16. Socks do not match themselves, but they should.

17. Each and every day I wonder why in the world I didn't start "dieting" several years ago, and why in the world I let myself get so fat and out of shape in the first place.

18. Eating right and exercising is not one millionth as difficult as I always imagined it would be.

19. About three times a week, I do "my exercises"...twenty minutes of marching in place, jogging, leg lifting, air boxing, and lifting ten-pound weights between songs on my mp3player. (my favorite "exercising" song: Waterloo by Abba. 'Cause I'm finally facing MY Waterloo.)

20. If you stop in when I am "exercising", go ahead and laugh your head off. I am used to it. My kids find it very hilarious. I do not stop for visitors, or for ringing phones, or for kids who ask for popsicles or if they can have the last yogurt.

21. Talked to Paul on the phone last night. How can it possibly be that I have been married to him for 27 years, been with him for 29 years, and I still am so crazy about him? I simply can't wait for him to come back home.

22. I SHOULD be doing some things around here.

Monday, May 23, 2011 home

"flowers" from our walk down the road....

Camille and Charlotte Claire, who were supposed to be in bed...but when big sister makes cupcakes, it is mean to send them to bed....

yum...I only had one bite!

I guess we didn't make enough cupcakes on Saturday...Mirielle wanted to make more.

Took my walk this morning. Got the kids to school. Sonja K. got to stay home, however, because she has a sunburn on her shoulders...ha, pretty bad excuse, eh? It was such a joy to have her here. She played princess dolls and Barbies all across the living room with the little girls. We went on a walk, then had a snack (15 calorie popsicles, peanuts, and grapes)...then I went in and took a little nap while they watched a movie. I stayed up WAY too late last night, then woke up at six...I tried to talk myself out of going for my walk, but all the arguing with myself made me so awake, I decided I wouldn't be able to fall back to sleep I got up and went. I needed the nap. It was sweet and enjoyable. Woke up, gathered up nine kids, and off we went to the pool....home for dinner, leftover roast beef from the wedding, with beef rice and broccoli, dinner rolls, and for me, and a nice hot bowl of spinach for me.

My calendar is filling up, but I am trying not to stress about it. One day at a time! Concerts and award ceremonies and dinners and field trips and the fifth grade Egg Drop and graduation and then all the shopping I have to do for the big church conference this weekend. And Paul is away for the week, which I hate. The only thing good about it is looking forward to him coming home.

Rosie had a nice bath after dinner tonight. I brushed her and clipped a few tangles, she looks nice.

Two walks and the pool, no wonder I am tired in spite of the nice nap I had...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

wedding day for Luke and Laura

The cake and cupcakes...

Paul and I

My brother Tom and I

Luke and Laura

my brother Bob and his lovely daughter Laura

Emily and I

Emily and Abigail, my two oldest girls

I got up this morning and frosted thirty more cupcakes...we got them to the wedding with minimal damage, only a few got squished. relief!

A nice short sweet ceremony, and a very nice day. Seeing my brothers and sister and nieces and nephews and their sweet kids, very enjoyable. Paul had to leave after a bit, as he is spending the week in a big city across the state from here, blah. It was sad to see him go, I think partly because weddings tend to be so romantic, and he was sitting with me, no little kids, and blah, he had to leave.

Home to kids who missed Mommy! Joseph was a very good babysitter though, he made them pizza! The homemade kind, with rolled out crust. They were happy kids, so I know he paid lots of good attention to them. They are all tucked in, and I am all tuckered out....

Saturday, May 21, 2011

saturday...full of promise...

Rosie and I went on our little walk today. Since I knew we weren't in the usual weekday hurry to get back and get the kids off to school, we went a little farther, then went up the Evil Hill twice. She was just as terrible as usual, trying to pull my arm off when a car went by. She should be a sled dog, she is incredibly strong. I fear one of these days she will see a squirrel or a bird and knock me right down. Margaret says that Sheepdogs just plain don't belong on leashes. hmm.

Yes, today is Cupcake Day. 200 white cupcakes with white buttercream frosting and ribbons and sparkly it not exciting?? Also a small wedding cake for the top of the cupcake stand. I am so apprehensive yet excited about this.

Today is crazy here. Emily is coming over and switching vehicles so she can take some of her siblings on a hike to a waterfalls not too far from here. Joseph left with Samuel and Caleb, the friend they brought home from the youth meeting this week, to go weed-eat and do other work at our church conference center. Ashley went to work.

My weight loss seems to be slowing way down...which can be normal, from what I have read....17 pounds now. I guess that's not too bad, 5 pounds in the last 19 days.....I know, I shouldn't be obsessed by the numbers. It's just that I have decided to do this thing, and it takes soooo long.

I enjoy things more now though. Seriously. I had one sour gummy worm from the princesses last evening. Ten calories. I ate it slowly, and it was just as horrible as sour gummy worms ever have been. I also had ten chocolate chips...they are so so good. It isn't that I am free from my love and enjoyment of food, it is that I make more sensible decisions, and don't just have what ever I want when ever I want.

And honestly, it isn't that bad. There are moments when the temptation to give in and just have something is SO strong, but I am learning that it passes, I live, and I feel better for not giving in.

Well....I have all these children here to talk to and play with and here I sit....I mentioned to Kathryn that the ones who are going with Emily should do a few things around here first, so she assigned Sonja to empty the dishwasher, and Suze to load it. She swept the living room floor and is organizing the baskets of movies. And here I sit....

Friday, May 20, 2011

aahh, friday!!!!

Just a quick after dinner post before the bed time mayhem starts....

Mirielle and I took the little princesses shopping today. First to the mall, because we mistakenly thought the Old Navy one dollar flip-flop sale started, which really starts tomorrow....and to return an outfit I got in the mail....Mirielle got the girls pink frosted donuts while I did my return....

Then onto Target...and to the grocery store....then to Walmart, where I "ran" in while Mirielle waited with the girls...I had to get some containers for the 200 cupcakes I am making tomorrow for my niece's wedding on Sunday.

Then into Aldi I "ran" for apples and pineapple and yogurt and a watermelon. And rasberries. And some sour gummy worms for the princesses.

Home to put it all away, barely catch my breath, and out the door to the pool with Mirielle, Aaron, Margaret and Jonathan....

Home for dinner, which I partially prepared before the pool - taco salad. I eat mine with no tortilla chips, just a big bowl of raw spinach, taco meat, tomatoes, peppers, and black olives.

Last night, 12 of us went to the pool and gym...

There was an accident on our road this afternoon, on the first and less evil hill. One car off the road, both smashed up, ambulance and fire happened right after we got home with our groceries, before I took inventory of who was home from school first thought was that one of my kids was on a run or a bike ride....blah, calm cool collected as always.

I love Friday. Paul does not have work tomorrow, so he is more relaxed. We usually have a movie date, which is all I am going to say about that. The older kids go to the youth meeting, and always bring back more kids than they left with.

So...tomorrow is Cupcake Day. Mirielle is going to help, and maybe Mali. I have two of those nice plastic frosting dispensers....six cupcake pans....I am nervous though, I mean this is for a WEDDING! It is so much fun but so nerve wracking....

Heck, I am so distracted right now...out of my element, I usually write in the morning...blah.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


But it won't last long, the clouds and rain are coming!

The little princesses are playing dollhouse. They started setting up last night right before bedtime so they were SO HAPPY to go to bed, ha. Jonathan had dragged out a bunch of Playmobil stuff, too, so we had to pry them from their play...

Mirielle went to the pool with Jonathan and I yesterday afternoon. She swam laps while I swam around near Jonathan and tried to get as much exercise as possible while he told me about the baby chicks that are hatching in his classroom.

Home for dinner, which I had prepared and put in the oven before we left: marinated roasted chicken thighs, baked basmati rice. I also made some broccoli with cashews, and a bowl of spinach for me.

I am not starving. I am not longing to eat things I know I shouldn't. But I do find myself very impatient to lose more weight! Results, please!!! I have a niece who has had lap band surgery and lost almost 50 pounds in less time than I have taken to lose my 16. Don't get me wrong, I am extremely happy for her. But I have to admit I am jealous of the quick results.(although I know it hasn't been easy for her, either)....

I miss my mother these days. Lilacs are blooming. Yesterday I stood outside and buried my face in them, and remembered her so vividly. (one thing that fascinates me is the way smell evokes memory, but memory rarely evokes smell) She loved lilacs. I have to admit I did tweak some from bushes that did not belong to me through the years, to give to her....

What I can't believe is how strong my longing for her still is. I'll be going along fine, then from out of the blue I'll have an image of her come into my head....of her standing in our living room by the piano looking out the window....and it will actually hurt like a punch in the stomach when I realize she is gone. The same thing happens with my father, and of course with my brother....with Billy, though, the pain is much worse. I cannot comprehend why he did what he did. I try not to think about his last day, about how he could possibly plan his own death, what he must have been thinking.....I try not to think about it, but sometimes I find my thoughts going there and it always makes me cry. I am still very mad at him, but I miss him terribly.

And to think the title of this post is "sunshine!"

On to happier things.....

1. Aaron is going to Norway for a few weeks in July.

2. Mirielle, Aaron, and Mali have signed up for their classes (nursing school), and have some together, which sounds like fun to me.

3. Charlotte Claire and Camille have Fruit Striped Gum, which they do not leave in their mouths.

4. They also have out dolls and strollers and dishes. It looks like thirty little girls have been playing here instead of just two.

5. Char is dressed in her Kitty Suit, and Camille is dressed in nothing at all. I think she got distracted.

6. I think I will skip the pool today and do some other exercises.

7. I wish we had an Endless Pool.

8. I cannot wait until we open our back yard pool.

9. Our hot tub NEEDS to get fixed. I picture myself pushing myself harder while working out, with the joy of a hot tub soak set before me....

10. Coffee tastes better out of a nice mug.

11. Aaron has to get the bar taken out of his chest soon. It has been in for almost three years now.

12. I ordered three skirts, and two tops online, and the order is supposed to come today. I feel like Jonny waiting to get a Hess truck in the mail. I hope they fit!! I hope they make me look spectacular! ha.

13. The Garbage Man is here, Rosie is safely in her cage, yay!

14. Rosie seems to be feeling under the weather. She barfed on the living room floor last evening, and this morning on our walk she stopped to pee like ten times...she usually just does that once.

15. I think it might be because she chugged from the toilet last night, gross, and one of the dear children, gross, did not flush. Only number one, thankfully, but STILL.

16. Charlotte Claire is sad that Joseph mowed down the dandelions yesterday.

17. Camille is still in her Birthday Suit, as my mother used to say.

18. Blogging is a perfect way to procrastinate doing those little things around the house like getting out of my chair and heading out to the kitchen to assess the damage....

19. I matched socks last the middle of it, Mali called to be picked up from her trackmeet....I asked Joe to get her....he must've forgot, and all of the sudden, I realized ten or 15 minutes had passed and Joe hadn't left, so I just went out the was pouring out, and the car Ashley drives was behind the big van....and she had the I called her on her cell phone, and she came out and drove over to get Mali for me.

20. Mali was the last one there waiting to be picked up, I felt bad for her....

21. Okay, Camille, seriously, you need to get your clothes on.

22. We are going to do something fun today.

23. The Garbage Man is gone so I have to take Rosie outside again.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

being content

Today the place doesn't look much better than it did yesterday. Not because nothing was done here, but because what WAS done has been UNDONE. Null and void. Re-trashed.

And I found myself complaining, once again. I hate it!!! I hate getting up in the morning and seeing things that don't sit well with me and pointing them out to the kids! I need tape over my mouth, or better yet, I need some help from God. Here are the things that bugged me this morning:

1. A child used the rest of the milk, left the gallon jug on the counter with the top on it. (it needs to be rinsed and put in the recycling can-am I the only one who is capable of doing that?)

2. Waffle batter hardened on the counter from yesterday's after school snack. Could the waffle maker have cleaned that up yesterday?

3. The sauce pan from last night still on the stove...the child who was assigned to do the pans overlooked it.

4. A pan with the whole-wheat pasta still had pasta in it, and was obviously not washed either.

5. I hit my head on the dryer door, which was left wide open (the problem with a stacked washer and dryer, I am always hitting my head on the dryer door. this was really my fault, but this morning, I said, "who left the dryer door open?")

6. Kids grumbling about the lack of matched socks. So I suggested this afternoon some of them pitch in and we can match socks and do some other things around here...."MOM!"....

7. A certain few teenagers think they are the exceptions to the No Shoes In The House rule.

I desperately want a re-do of this morning. No, I wasn't yelling. Wasn't ranting and raving. But they have only a small bit of time in the morning before they go off to school, these older kids of mine, and with all my heart I want to make it smooth and peaceful in the morning. The thing is, I know better. And I was conscious of it. But somehow I found myself saying things anyway. blah.

Yes, I am the MOM, and I have to TEACH them. But there is a time and a place for everything.

Then there is the ditch of Poor Me, I cannot do anything right. I give up. Let the house turn into a pigpen, I tried, I don't care anymore. ha. Far be it from ME to fall into THAT ditch.

But God is good. I am sure I will have more opportunities to get treasures in heaven tomorrow morning.

Yes, there is much to work on each day. I keep thinking of a verse in Luke, 16 v.15: "He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight." What is highly valued among men? Or by me? Do I strive to have others think highly of me, even if it is my kids and/or my husband? Why do I feel so devastated when they don't? There is so much to be freed from! Seeking to please God and seeking to please men are two totally different things, and will bring totally different outcomes. Obviously with the first there will be blessing, and with the second, frustration and disapointment.

I don't mean to preach, but sometimes I get help when I write out what I am struggling with.

My two little princesses are up now. Camille is HUNGRY. When I said, "I thought you were Camille!", she did not think it was one bit funny. She wants to eat NOW.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

sono was fine.....

Thankfully, there was no sign of anything that shouldn't be there. I was a happy camper walking back out to the parking garage today.

I was also a happy camper going to the grocery store all by my lonesome...then into Walgreens for some buy one get one free fabric softener, which was all gone. I walked out without buying anything. Then the dollar store where I got some treats for Rosie-The-Bad-Dog. Then BigLots for some conditioner and a few new bowls and some tortilla chips and granola bars.

Meandering through the stores by myself has a certain appeal. It is more boring, but relaxing and kind of fun. It was good to get home to my kids again though. I made 6 pounds of burger,four eggs, bread crumbs, oatmeal, cracker crumbs, garlic,chopped onions, and black pepper into two big pans of meatballs. Into the oven they went, and out the door I went with Jonathan and Charlotte Claire, to the pool.

Home again home again....I had a plate of green beans with sauce and meatballs and just a small bit of whole grain pasta. yummy. The meatballs turned out really good. I want another one. I shall not have another one.

Now to spend time with the wild Indians, I mean wild NATIVE AMERICANS.

busy busy busy...

Okay, not as busy as I used to be, but phew, it is busy around here sometimes. We left early to go pick Mrs. Ashley at the airport yesterday so we could go to The Faraway Mall We Have Never Been To. Mirielle and I, Margaret and Evelyn, and the two little princesses, Charlotte Claire and Camille. We didn't buy a stinkin' thing, but we looked. I found a really pretty sweater, but even marked down and 40% off it would have been twenty bucks. Nah, I don't need it that badly. The little girls got to play in the little play area for a bit. They are not Mall Kids, so their eyes were huge. They went up and down the escalator in J.C.Penney, that was the highlight for them.

After getting Ashley, we went to lunch at Wendy's. The princesses had never been there, so they were delighted. Char said, "This is a REALLY NICE kind of McDonalds!" They got chocolate Frostys, which were way more appealing to them than their burgers or fries. I got a side salad (25 calories, and I used about a fourth of the dressing, for another 20 calories), and a five piece spicy chicken nuggets, which I ripped up and put on the salad (240 calories). When I wrote down my daily total, I also included an extra hundred to account for the bites I took of Camille's burger and the slurp I sneaked of her Frosty. And the huge drink of Evelyn's chocolate Frappe from McDonalds on the way home. I was good there, I just got a coffee.

Oh yeah, I had a few fries, too. If you like fries, and who doesn't, the new fries at Wendy's are out of this world. They are "natural cut", and just so yummy. I did have a few, but I used my "wait and they will eat them all up" approach, and it worked.

We got home, I grabbed my swim bag and Jonathan, and off we went for a quick swim. Mirielle was making waffles with rasberries and whipped cream for dinner, so I just skipped out. We got back just in time to leave for a meeting about the grill we run at church conferences. There is a May conference coming up at the end of the month. It shall be a busy month. This weekend is my niece's wedding, for which I am making a few hundred cupcakes and the cake. Paul is leaving on Sunday for the week, for work, and I have to do tons of shopping for the next grill. I usually just get the candy and the soda, but my brother, who usually does the rest, is busy with the wedding and cannot get the other things....

And, we are having the big party here in June, and things have to be done. I can't count on Paul doing too much, he is super busy with work. He will be going away again in June, too. So...this morning I gave Joseph a nice little pep-talk about helping do a few things around here between now and the second week in June. Pressure, I hate that feeling of so much going on. But what can I do? I can fight against the spirit of anxiety, fight to be at rest. What gets done, gets done. Today is the day of salvation. Yes, there are things to do, things to think about, but when I start getting weighed down by the cares of this life, I need to stop and take control of my worries. Because by nature, I am a worrier!!! If there is something to worry about, I shall be the first one to worry about it. But to give in to that is in direct contrast to God's promises. Jesus said that the very hairs of our heads are numbered, and not a sparrow falls from the sky without our Heavenly Father knowing about it. He said to cast our anxieties on Him because He cares for us.

One moment at a time, one day at a time.

This morning while I was taking my walk with Rosie, I remembered to thank God for being so good to me. I remember not too long ago begging Him to have mercy on me, and strengthen my knees so I could walk and get into shape. I prayed and prayed. This morning as I walked, I realized how much better my knees have been. I have been able to walk, day in, day out. I am so very glad for that. For all the complaining I do about taking these walks, I am actually very thankful that I am able to go on them. This morning was so beautiful outside, it was easy to think of God. The day is cloudy and not just overcast, but foggy. Misty and foggy. Where the road goes through the woods was simply magical....the undergrowth is flourishing, the trees have their leaves, there are wild flowers and weeds and tall grasses for Rosie to munch on. Critters scamper away as we tromp through, we only see the occasional squirrel. Walking clears my mind and relaxes me. I am thinking that perhaps I should start getting up earlier and going a little farther.....

The sink is full of dishes. There are dirty pans. The laundry room floor is gaining some cushioning, blah. The floors need sweeping and mopping. The counters need cleaning off, and there is a load of light colored clothes on the couch. The top of the dog cage is turning into a catch-all, and the computer table has some growing clutter issues. The books on the shelves are turning horizontal.(why is harder for kids to put them back the right way?) The shoes by the door need to be straightened and shelved, and there are towels hanging on a few kitchen chairs (Jon's and mine from the pool). Who will do all this work? Me? blah.

And, I am leaving in a little while to have my Strictly Because Of Family History Breast Sonogram. Honestly, I feel a bit quakey about this whole thing. But God knows the beginning and the end of all things, I need to leave His job to Him, and trust that He sends everything, EVERYTHING for my very best.

I need to go take a shower and wash my hair and do a few things around here before I go...isn't it funny how I sit here with my feet up drinking my coffee while I complain about all the things I have to do?

Monday, May 16, 2011

scary phone calls

What is a scary phone call? How about one from the hospital radiology department wanting me to go back in for a sonogram because of the results of my recent mammogram. What???! I told this nice caller that my dr. office already called me and said the mammo looked, this nice caller insisted, I need a follow-up ultrasound. Why?? hmm, she said, Let me check....Okay, here it is...strong family history. I asked if there was anything that showed up on the mammogram that is leading to this follow-up, and no, just the family history. Now why in the heck didn't they just do this when I went in last week? I have to take that big van to the small parking garage again!!! rrrr.

And yes, in the moments I waited for this nice caller to check on WHY I had to come back in, I remained calm cool and collected as always. Okay, I didn't exactly plan my funeral....but. but. The thoughts do come quickly, at least with me.

So tomorrow, no lying around the house reading novels and drinking coffee, off to the hospital again.

And today, off to the airport in the big city far from here to pick up Mrs. Ashley. I mapquested the mall and Target nearby, just in case Evelyn and Margaret, today's schoolskippers, were interested.....(the school will never understand how much a day with Mom means to kids from a big family)

It is very chilly and rainy and overcast. I made English Muffins for the little girls, cinnamon raisin and honey wheat, and let them eat them on a big comfy blanket while watching some educational tv....I would love an English muffin or a bagel right about now.

But. The scale budged a little bit, I am down 16 and a half pounds altogether in the seven weeks I have suffered and toiled and denied myself. I was thankful that it budged a little more, because when I read about reaching plateaus, I get confused. Am I eating too little? Too much? Do I need to exercise twice as much, or have cheat days? blah. I am just going to keep on doing what I am doing....

I did have six chicken wings last night with dinner. I had only a taste of the chicken RiceA roni, a whole pile of cooked spinach, some cucumbers and carrots....but the wings were so good. I bake them in the oven with the convection on, so they get nice and crispy. Then I put half in a mixture of Frank's hot sauce and butter, and the other half in barbecue sauce, put them back in the oven for a while....yummy yummy yum.

Frozen spinach, microwaved and served hot with no butter or salt. I love it, don't know why. I have it in place of the carbs I serve to the rest of the family, in addition to whatever veggie we are having. It is filling and nutritious. I like raw spinach in salads too.

This does not mean I have forgotten all about donuts. Or chocolate. The huge bag of chocolate chips is my friend. I sometimes take a few and eat them with a few peanuts, but I write it down. I write every single thing I eat down, even if it is a taste or a bite. It makes me think before I eat something, which is what I am aiming for....I think I can safely say I am on my way to breaking the mindless eating habit.

Paul has been trying to roto-till the spot for the garden, but we are getting so much rain it is difficult. We are also planning a party here for Mali and Aaron's graduation, when Ben is home so he can see everyone. A party here = cleaning some things up. It is a great motivator, but also stressful. The foyer that I spackled and sanded a few months back is still spackled and sanded. Now we need to paint it. Anyway...stuff to do.

Now I shall go and get ready for my trip to the bigger city down the highway....and I shall battle against the new thoughts of anxiety brought on by that nice caller from the hospital.....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

the last day of having 6 teenagers in the house....

at least for a while. Joseph is turning 20 years old tomorrow. I shall not embarrass him by writing too much, but he is one excellent son. He is respectful and kind and smart and responsible and he always does what I ask him to do, no more, no less...ha. He hasn't always been this way, but we shall leave it at that. He is growing up. He exercises and eats well and he is such a good example, being patient and not talking back. (yes, nothing puts a mom to shame more than realizing that some of her kids are more mature than she)

Joseph Michael is my fifth child, he was born when we still lived in our mobile home. If you want to have some fun, have five kids in a trailer. It was a nice trailer, a single-wide, but it had three bedrooms and we bought it brand new. It had a very nice yard, too, huge with lots of trees...but it was rather tight with five of them. We moved into this house when Joseph was almost one, and we rattled around like peas in a pod...for a few years anyway.

Joseph is extremely creative. He can draw and paint and play piano and guitar. When he was little, he used to make these elaborate costumes, especially Indian suits....fringed pants and tops...he made a knight's helmet once, he made oxygen tanks out of soda bottles, he turned regular action figures into the X-men guy who had the sharp claws come out of his hands....he was always making bows and arrows, and always wanted me to buy him more elastic or feathers. He loves the cat, and he likes Rosie although he won't admit to it. If she has a pink head or green paws, it was Joseph. He is the number one perpetrator of the writing hilarious but sometimes questionable sayings with the refrigerator letters.

So....tomorrow we will only have five teens in the house.

My fifth child to reach twenty. blah, I am getting old.

rain on the house tops...

rain on the trees...rain on the garden, but not on me! I do not know who wrote that poem....but it isn't true anyway. Rosie and I take our walk rain or shine. So we got wet this morning.

She gets pooped out, comes home, has a snack, and zonks in her cage for a few hours.

I, on the other hand, get energized. I only walked the hill once this morning because there were tractors in the fields which intrigued the Bad Dog. She truly wants to pull my arm off, it is her main goal in life.

To church this morning we shall go. We are eating lunch together so I have to go pack that up, get out clean nice clothes for the younger children, and give emotional support to a handful of the middle children...(oh, those girls! They come out in these outfits which I have to approve of - they get so stompy if I mention that something doesn't really match or if it is too immodest....)

Camille slept in the room with the older kids last night, sleepover on the floor. She is just waking up, so I guess she did okay. I got up at 6:30 to go on my seems to be my time to get up. If I lie in bed longer, my hips will ache, my arm will fall asleep, I will toss and turn, then perhaps fall back to sleep after a long while and wake up feeling worse than I would if I just got up at 6:30.

Stepped on the scale yesterday even though it had only been five days...lost only a half a pound. Stepped on again this morning...blah, still only half a pound. Shall I just give up and gain back my 15 pounds? NO!!!! I am still motivated to see this thing through. It is discouraging, because when I figure out how long it will take me to lose all this weight (a year or more), I factor in a pound or two or three a week...and when it doesn't happen, blah. wah. On the bright side, at least I didn't GAIN a half a pound. I shall just work harder. (One of my friends, who at her heaviest is way smaller than I shall probably be even if I lose tons of weight told me that she started going on walks, didn't even change her eating habits, and 30 pounds just melted off...rrr) I want 30 pounds to just melt off. A few times over, please. by day, I shall keep on.

(I almost had a brownie last night, but I ate one crumb instead....a large crumb, not quite a was yummy.)

Oh well...on with my day now....

Saturday, May 14, 2011

lovely relaxing day

Every night, we have to count how many people will be here for dinner. I usually start with the number 18, which is all of us counting Ashley minus Ben....then I minus Emily, but tonight Abigail is here. And Jake and Olivia. So that makes 18. Aaron is at work, but we make him a plate anyway. I grilled some London broil that we marinated since yesterday, and cooked up some hot dogs. We had green beans, some leftover pasta and mashed potatoes, and a nice big salad. I did eat too much steak, but it was SO good. I figure it is my splurge. One teaspoon of potatoes, lots of salad, lots of green beans...but now Mali is making brownies...the whole house will smell so heavenly soon....but this is my life, I cannot restrict everyone else around here just because I am DIETING. It builds character. ha. I shall have one very small taste, or maybe a big taste. blah.

I took a nap today. It was a much needed nap. We stayed up too late last night, and I woke up early and went on my walk. Then I also did my 20 minutes of exercise....then around 3:00, I was just so dozey, I gave in and cuddled up in bed for a bit. Do I even have to say how nice it was? I do love naps. I hate the time they waste, but oh, I have a deeply rooted love of sleep. I have been deprived of it so much for the last 26 years or so, I just find it delicious

We are watching the movie, "Matilda". I love it.

And now I am too distracted...oh blah, Kathryn just got out some cookies. .

resting from the whirlwind....

Sometimes life is just plain busy. Yesterday my day started at 3:30, when my alarm actually worked and woke me up to take Ashley to the airport....see, I woke up and checked at least five times because that is what I do when I have to get up for something important. Ashley was very excited to be going to Texas to visit Benjamin, so we talked and laughed the whole way there, about an hour and ten minutes. The way home, I ate chocolate chips and peanuts and sipped my coffee, listened to dorky talk radio, and fought to keep my eyes open.

I got home at the time I usually get up to take Rosie for her walk. So I did that.

Then, I decided to be a really bad mom and let the little kids stay home so I could go back to bed for a nice little nap. To be fair, I wasn't really too horrible of a mom, Suzanne did have a temperature of 99.8 the night before, and was feeling dizzy. I wouldn't want to send her to school like that, and what if the other kids came down with it during the school day?

Shopping: I took Kathryn (13), Suzanne (10), and Sonja (9). If you ever want to have the funnest, laugh 'til your stomach hurts so badly you almost cry, go shopping with these three. (although I would suggest taking Evelyn too, but she happened to be in school like a good girl. And Mirielle so graciously volunteered to watch the younger ones at home). Anyway....these girls try things on and find bargains and fetch things for me, they dance and fool around....they brought their slushies from Target into the bank and - I just cannot explain how everything is an adventure to them. They told me some things they learned on the bus (where babies come from)(I thought Kathryn was going to die laughing), then they wanted to try Big Macs from McDonalds. They had never had one, and they are on special for $2. So I got them one. This was for some reason hilarious to them. Suze didn't even taste hers, she ate a salad and decided to bring hers home to Sam. I behaved myself and got a McDouble, removed the top bun, ate half the rest of it, and gave the rest to Suze. It was still full of fat and sodium, but only a bit more than 200 calories. I am finding it feels better to stick to my DIET than it feels to cheat. Because there are always excuses, reasons why it would be okay to have this or that. My mind is very tricky. But I am learning to overcome those tendencies, and I am fine with it. I do not feel deprived or starving, because I bring apples and almonds and Balance bars with me when I go places. The other day I bought some individual cups of mandarin oranges in pear juice for a treat from the grocery store, for the ride home. It wasn't as good as one of those huge cranberry muffins with toasted walnuts on the top, but I lived. And I felt good about it.

After shopping at Target, Price Chopper and Aldi, we came home and made dinner....taco salad and corn "with peels", according to Charlotte Claire. I prepared the meal, then let Paul take over while Suze and I skipped out to the pool. we are on Saturday morning. Seven of the kids are in the livingroom, no eight. Some of them have plans...our new rototiller has come arrived at Sears, I shall go pick that up today. The day is new and full of promise, I love it.

Do I have trials? Ha, of course. I don't like to reveal personal things about the kids so I cannot always go into detail...but I get my lack of respect. I get my feelings of Poor Me. I get tired, and I get frustrated, and I feel like all I ever do is run around in circles. Life ain't all sunshine and roses no matter who you are or how much money you have, how many kids you have or who you are married to. But life can be good, very good and blessed if you take your trials right and seek God in those small things.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

eighty degrees today!!!

AND sunny! Oh, I am appreciating this weather!!! The birds are singing, the sun is shining, I went for my walk this morning, tackled the Evil Hill twice...

I must say though, I have this cold. It isn't terrible, but it is there. Yesterday afternoon I was feeling so tired and worn out, I decided to take a little nap after the older kids got home from school...I conked as soon as my head hit the pillow. I woke up to Camille in there singing her little heart out, "Mother Knows Best" from the movie, "Tangled". Then Paul came in and turned off the fan, not realizing I was napping...I thought I had slept for hours, but he had come home early. Yes, the one day he comes home early I am sleeping the day away. rrr. He doesn't really mind anyway, but jeepers. If you ever want your husband to come home early, just take a nap.

It was only an hour nap, but it was nice. I do love naps, even though I rarely take them anymore. Back when there were babies and toddlers, I lived with Daily Nap On The Brain. I needed naps, loved them, craved them, dreamed about them.....I cried when they were thwarted, I plotted and planned so that even if I couldn't manage to sleep at least I got some quiet time....

I remember one time I was in the middle of what was probably a much-needed nap. In a deep sleep. I woke to one of the older kids holding out the phone to me, saying, "Mom, it is the police!" Calm cool and collected as always, I grabbed the phone and asked what had was the Police Benevolent Association soliciting donations. I gave them a donation all right...rrrr.

I talked to my son Benjamin for a bit last night on the phone. He is coming home for a few days in June even though he doesn't have enough leave. He will be "in the hole" but he doesn't care. He hasn't been able to see his younger siblings since December, and he misses them like crazy. The smart thing would be for him to just go directly to his post out west, but he needs to come home and see us. Lots of money, too, but it will be worth it.

It is so nice to talk to him these days. Never ever give up hope for your children. Pray for them and encourage them and speak to their hearts, forgive them over and over again, remember how you yourself are when you deal with them, be merciful. The whole point as they are growing up is to get them to acknowledge when they have done something wrong and to be sorry for it...not to punish them harshly. When I know full well how difficult it is for ME to humble myself, then I am aware of how difficult it is for them. I can learn then to shut my mouth, to pray for more patience, to encourage them, to overlook things. Anyone can be strong and right and an enforcer. But to have a meek and lowly spirit like Jesus, then it will be easy for our children to listen to us. They know they are loved and not just demanded upon....when Ben was going through his more difficult years, I used to remind him sometimes that God was opposed to the proud...Ben would just always have so much trouble, like everything was going against him....his nice car was totaled, he would lose a job for no fault of his own, couldn't keep track of payments, me, it seemed like he could run and run, but until he got his life straightened out and got things right with God, it would just be like that. He didn't appreciate it when I told him that, but I was always hopeful for him, prayed for him unceasingly.

Yes, life is short and no matter what we manage to accomplish, faithfulness to God in our daily trials is the ONLY thing that will matter in the end. Not to mention the blessings it brings in the meantime.....

Because I am a nice mommy, I wrote notes to pick up the three second trip kids from school today a little before dismissal time. This way they can miss the hour long bus ride, and enjoy some of the nice weather. Tearwater tea: I gave them ice cream money, and Jonathan lost his down the couch right before the bus came....but thankfully Suze had enough that she can go to him in lunch and give him the change from her dollar....poor Jon though...

Mirielle is busy making cookies to send to Benjamin again. Ha, perhaps that is why he is doing so well lately, fueled by Mirielle's cookies. It makes him popular, that's for sure. The are not allowed to bring the cookies up to their lockers, so he has to share them all when they arrive. Mare sends them on Thursday via Priority Post so they get there by Saturday, all fresh and yummy. The aroma in here right now is nothing less than heavenly....

My cuddly little girls are up now, I want to read them some stories, like, "Owl At Home"...(Tearwater Tea and Strange Bumps...good stories)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


my new shoes

Happy Birthday Charlotte Claire

Camille Anaya got something too, Aurora!

Sonja K.
I am not a gardener. Sometimes when people find out large our family is, they ask if we are farmers. Naw, not even a chicken or a goat. Last year Mali enthusiastically made herself a little garden...then she enthusiastically forgot about it. The weeds won. This year will be different. Paul bought a rototiller. He is serious about this garden. Says he wants us to freeze stuff. I almost pointed out the veggies are only a dollar a pound at Wegmans, and all you have to do is pick up the bags and throw them into the cart, but I didn't.

So I need to learn about gardening. The only thing I have ever grown are tomatoes. I guess once I figure out which green things sprouting out of the soil are the weeds and which ones are the plants, I'll be okay.

Today is Charlotte Claire's birthday, she is five years old. Her big sisters came over for the party last night. Emily got her some bubbles and an Aurora Barbie. Abigail got both little girls some princess dishes. I gave her the princess scooter that has been sitting in Joseph's room since I got it on clearance last year for 75% off, $11.24. It took Joe over a half hour to assemble it, but he is like his dad, just does things without grumbling. I grilled burgers, which took a while since only like two spots on our grill actually work. Mirielle made a yummy cake frosted with whipped cream and strawberries. I forgot to get some birthday candles, so she had one nice little fat candle. If she minded, she forgot to mention it.

I seriously need to get better at taking pictures. I am usually too busy enjoying what is going on. Perhaps I should assign the task to one of the kids.

Today: sunny and warm, 72 degrees. No plans to go anywhere. I need to catch up on things around here. Again. Kids keep making messes and dirtying dishes and clothes.

Oh, good news: my mammogram came out fine. phew. My mother had breast cancer when she was 44. Her mother died of it at age 33. (my grandmother's sister also died of cancer, as did my mother's sister). so, phew.

I know that God sends just what we need, but still, phew. Life is so nice, so good, I am not ready to check out yet. I mean, I finally start to get into shape and lose this weight...I thought for sure I would get pregnant, which would be great, but my second thought was that I would discover a tumor or a lump. Am I the only one who has these doom and gloom thoughts? I mean, we all are going to die, one of these days. I think we live in denial of that certain fact. Don't want to think about it, don't want to talk about it. Getting older is a bit scary, getting closer to that certainty, dodging bullets like heart attacks and cancer and strokes....

Anyway, on a brighter note....Aaron and Mali are graduating from high school this year....shall we have a huge party? I am thinking to have one to coincide with Ben coming home so he can see everyone in one day. He will only have a few days before heading out west...

I am happy today. Yes, I have cramps, just in case anyone was wondering. And I am also coming down with a cold, my throat hurts. Stuffy, tired. But..I am still happy. I went on my morning walk despite all the excuses my brain was concocting. Paul got me a really cool mp3 player for Mother's Day, yesterday I exercised to Abba. It was so much more fun! Plus it drowned out my kids laughter, although I could still see their smirks. I don't care, I know I look like an idiot marching and lifting my little weights and dancing...I just like getting my heart rate up and moving and trying to build a little bit of muscle. They are proud of me too, I know that even though they laugh. They love to tease me.

It is just so satisfying to see some results in all this. I have lost 15 pounds now, my skirts are getting looser. I am wearing a skirt I bought last year...I could not even get in on, but I kept it in hope that someday I possibly would be able to. I have more energy, just a slight bit more, which isn't saying too much. I went for that mammogram yesterday and parked really far away and walked as fast as I could. This is a sharp contrast to the old me, I was known to circle parking lots for several minutes to get the closest spot possible. Wasting gas to save steps.

I did have fun going out and about all by my lonesome yesterday. I went to Kohl's first and cruised the clearance racks. I got Joe a shirt for his birthday, some nice things for Mirielle who was babysitting, some cute little shorts for Suzanne and Sonja, and: a pair of shoes for myself. I won't say how much I paid for them...on sale, but not on clearance. ouch. But I tried them on and they fit and I loved them....I only have Birkenstocks for weddings and everything, and always feel slightly a drab old herb gatherer or something. My feet are comfy, I tell myself. That's all that matters...but. These new shoes are nice. My girls all said the same thing: I like them on YOU, Mom...but.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

whirlwind....was it ME who thought life is getting easier?

blah. No complaints here, just some minor whines. Yesterday after getting home from shopping at Walmart with my three youngest, who, just for the record, are worse in the store than any of the other ones ever were put together. Camille asks for things non-stop. Not even things she really wants, just everything she sees. Like bath-scrubbers and goldfish and air-freshener spray. Charlotte Claire TOUCHES everything she sees. Touches things and picks things up. And Jonathan...oh my goodness, everytime I bring him shopping I remember how he gets about the toys. He wants to look at every single thing, and I had better not hurry him. He also has money, so he had the idea to buy something yesterday, which I had already said was not going to happen. He didn't have a breakdown, but he did say over and over and over again that he wanted to buy something. He also was getting silly with Charlotte Claire...when they join forces, they are just worthlessly silly. Jonathan is a good boy though, he tried not to be bad, even though he was laughing and falling on the floor....Char, on the other hand, did not try at all....I really had a talking-to with her once we got in the van....after she honked the horn while I was putting away the groceries...Jon said he "suggested it, but it was NOT his fault she really did it. 'Cause it was only a suggestion."

Anyway....home to untie Rosie, who was tied up for the very first time of the year (I detest tying her up, but the yard is shadier than the deck, and I couldn't just leave her inside on a beautiful day.)....carry in the groceries, and feed the kids lunch. Then off to my room to rifle through my closet for some gifts for Charlotte Claire's birthday. I was specifically looking for a bag of prizes I know I had. Then Mali came in and said she skipped practice so I can take her to get her bloodwork done for nursing school (she tried to get it without me last week, but she is under 18. Apparently in this crazy world, one can get an abortion without parental consent, but not bloodwork done. go figure.) Anyway...I did NOT want to go to the small city again, but I saw that I had to. I went, with Aaron driving. Blah, I had things to do, I did not want to go on this little outing. But I decided that I would make the most of it, so I told Aaron and Mali that I would take them for a coffee or iced-coffee afterwards....Mali got her bloodwork done, Aaron got his MMR for nursing school, and went in for his nose check-up. TimHorton's, then home (the Timbits tempted, but we didn't get any)

Home...time to get ready for the band concert! What about dinner? I asked my dear son Joseph to make something....and off I went with Sonja and the girls who are in band....I once again decided that even though it was crazy to leave the house again, I would enjoy myself and make the most of it. It was wonderful.

Fast forward to this morning: blah! NO WONDER the pregnancy test I took yesterday was NEGATIVE! Blah, ten days late!!! I was getting pretty hopeful....and it made perfect sense to me that I would get pregnant once I finally started losing weight...but no, not this month. wah. And, I have an early morning MAMOGRAM appointment. blah again. Sounds like NO FUN. Big van, parking garage....a necessary evil to have done, but blah anyway! The good part though: I am going all by myself. I love my kids with all my heart, but those rides all by myself...I can actually think straight! And, I am planning to stop at the store for strawberries and whipped cream for the nice cake Mirielle made last night. (I am already planning to have one heaping forkful)

I took my walk this morning. I am finding it really to my liking to go in the morning. Then I know I have done it, I start the day with an accomplishment. I also try to do different exercises in the afternoon each day.

I just told Charlotte Claire, who is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, that today is her last day of being four...she said, "hey guys, tomorrow is my real birtday!!!" Yes, she says "birtday".

Now to get ready to go to the mamogram...oh, joy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

school again?

The Evil Hill, The Evil Dog.

There were two dead snakes in the road this morning. I detest snakes. One of the neighbors, who also has been walking every day (my new friend, old enough to be my mother, but very sweet) saw a huge one last week. She took a picture of it. blah.

I got on the Evil Scale this morning. I do not know exactly how it compares to the dr.'s scale, but this morning it was three pounds lighter than the dr., and it was four pounds lighter than the last time I stepped on it, which was like nine or ten days ago. is working, this suffering! Ha, what I really mean is that I had ice cream yesterday, and I still lost a few pounds!!!

No pool for me today though, some of the kids are in the school Band Concert tonight. I just ain't Supermom enough to go to the pool, come home and feed and dress them, and get them to school in time for the concert. To be truthful, it will be challenging enough without going to the pool.

Today we shall go to the grocery store again. We need milk and bread, and bananas and yogurt and apples. Jonathan will go with us, since he did not go to school. He is coming down with a cold, and is hoarse. He woke up on the wrong side of the day, didn't want to take a shower, didn't want to get dressed...he cried. He stopped when I told him he could stay home. hmm. rrr. But - I am glad to have him here.

Charlotte Claire is turning five years old this week. We have four birthdays here within 17 days. Jonathan turned seven, Sonja turned nine, and Joseph will turn twenty on the sixteenth.

Charlotte Claire loves the, "Tangled" movie. She especially loves Flynn Ryder. She wants the Flynn Ryder doll, but it isn't in Walmart or Target, and is sold out at Toys R Us (or Toys R 3, as Camille calls it). She will be fine whatever she gets, but she is just so sweet and funny, I would love to get her a Flynn.

When I got home yesterday, the house was all cleaned up, thanks to Paul and Mali. Then this morning, it was all straightened again, thank you, Ashley! I washed up a few stray dishes, swept up some more dirt - thank YOU, Rosie, and it is nice in here. There is bedding in the wash, a few clean towels on the couch, but other than that...not much to do. Good thing I have shopping to do! ha, it's not like I couldn't clean the bedrooms or anything.

Mother's Day is rather sad for me. Yesterday I had to remember that it means something for my kids, it isn't all about missing my own mother. I do miss her, but she is still so WITH me. She...

1. Used to call me on a nice day and say, "You should get outside!" if I hadn't thought how nice that would be. As if it would be easy to get out there, with a nursing baby, busy toddler, a two and a half year old, a stubborn four year old, messy house.....

2. She had no tolerance for disrespect. Her kids respected other people's property, and their own property. They sat properly on the furniture, and did not slam around. I am thankful she instilled this in me for my children.

3. She would drop everything and go shopping, or to a park, on an adventure. She loved being spontaneous.

4. She called me every single morning. I usually also called her in the afternoon while I was making dinner.

5. She would come here sometimes to spend the night when my father was driving her crazy (he was bipolar, and when he was in his low time, he often didn't speak to her at all)...but as soon as she got here, she would call him to see how he was doing.

6. My mother was a birthday remember-er. She of course knew the birthdays of all of her forty-something grandchildren, but also all of the kids in our church. She bought things all the time to make sure she had presents for them all.

7. She wasn't a fancy person, the gifts often were in the store bag, or wrapped in the comics. She thought store bought cards were a complete and total waste of money, and if she ever received one, she would read how much it cost on the back, and wonder how anyone could pay so much for a paper card.

8. She thought half a paper towel was good enough for most any job.

9. She gave us the time of day. She gave our friends the time of day. She listened, and she cared.

10. She called me Lady Jane.

11. She used to say, "It's painful to be beautiful" as she tugged through my tangles.

12. She had no tolerance for lying. She would say, "A liar is a thief and a thief is a liar and everyone hates a liar."

12. Her eyesight wasn't so great in her last years, and so many times it would break my heart when I picked her up for a shopping trip and there would be a stain on her nice pretty shirt that she didn't see. She always dressed so neatly and was attracted to pretty pastel I couldn't say anything.

13. It makes me laugh and cry to remember her last week with us. She was going to die, she knew it, her heart was doing crazy things during dialysis, they couldn't even complete the last session she went to. She always said she wanted to die on her own terms, and not in that dialysis chair. When she checked into the hospice care unit at the hospital, she sat there on the bed and joked, "So THIS is my deathbed." She wasn't in the least bit afraid, she said. But I knew it was so hard for her to say goodbye to all of us. I did not tell my children when they all came to see her that it would be the last time. I didn't want them to remember her they way she got later in the week, but how she was when she first got there....she was actually happy! She was happy because everyone was there with her, and she liked that more than anything in the world. (now my kids say things to me about that last day they saw her, how she hugged them all and said good bye...they said they did not know she REALLY meant goodbye...)

14. I miss her every single day.

15. I love when I have dreams about her that seem real.

16. When I see young and middle aged mothers in the stores with their mothers, I get jealous. Sometimes I want to tell the grown daughters to be nice to their moms, to be thankful for them, not to take one single day with them for granted....

blah, now I have made myself cry.