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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

happy halloween!!!

When we were kids, we used pillowcases for our candy when we trick-or-treated. It was more of a marathon than an outing. We came home exhausted, but never had as much candy as our older brothers managed to get. We dumped our bags, and set up the candy. Billy liked to play war...the Snickers and MilkyWay bars were tanks, the lollipops were the guns...his army was always bigger than mine. Joey liked to trade. He was a smooth talker, and usually got too many of my candybars, leaving me with the Dots and Maryjanes and Pixiesticks. We used to dump those in water...and use the sticks as straws.

Anyway. It is chilly today, with possible light rain later, but we still have plans to trick-or-treat. I figure if we wear warm clothes and gloves, we will be okay. And if the littler ones get tired and cold, I can wait in the van with them while the older kids go for longer.

For the past few years we have gone to Chili's for dinner aferward, because they have free meals for 12 and under...but this year I just don't feel like it. The food is not that great, and the wait is long. I would rather just bring them home, make a batch of popcorn, and let them dump their candy out.

I will be needing some extra self-control, to put it mildly. A super-power that says NO to sweets. Just thinking about the orange wrappers of those Reese's...oh my.

Camille is home from school today with a cold. She was just coming down with it yesterday, coughing and sniffing. By dinner time last night, she was clearly sick. I let her sleep in this morning. She is in her ice cream cone pajamas, and she is cute. I love that she is home. I am taking her to the dollar store to look for wings for her costume, and to Wallyworld to get some flea stuff for the dog. She is very excited, she got two dollies dressed to go with us.

The problem is, someone needs to clean up this house. The floor needs to be swept, the sink is full of breakfast dishes. I need to wash my long tangly hair, and exercise. There are towels to wash, and what is for dinner? I seriously need two of me. One to do the work, and the real me, to do the fun stuff.

Suri didn't wreak any havoc last night...I sprinkled cayenne pepper around the counter instead of chili powder, it kept her away from the bread and bananas. We lock the garbage can in her cage every night because IT doesn't howl like a baby to get out like she does. She is a big brat. She loves bathroom garbage. She loves chewing up apples and the tires off toy cars. She loves Barbies. She loves sleeping on the couch...I might have to sprinkle pepper all over the furniture at night, too. She has a nice comfy bed on the floor. Right now there is a half-eaten roll of toilet paper on her comfy bed. Fun to shred, I guess.

Good thing she is cute. And sweet. And kind. She will just lie there and let the cat eat out of her bowl. She watches with her head on her paws, she does that resigned sigh...

She IS a keeper. I know she will outgrow most of her puppy behavior. And she is getting so much better about having accidents during the night. No surprises this morning.

Camille is really wanting me to get off this computer and get moving.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

random pictures

Joseph thought kitty would like a mustache.

Suri and Kitty really are friends. Kitty was less than thrilled with our photo session, and Suri thought it was time to play with Kitty.

Jonny is very cute, and Suri is too. She thinks she is a lap dog.

Samuel James is a World War II expert. I love this picture of him.

Jonny and Abigail like to watch, "Psych" together. She is such a nice big sister.

Paleo chocolate chip cookies...yum!!!!

sandy stormy excitement...

I do realize that it was not all fun and excitement for people downstate and in New Jersey, and other places on the coast. So without belittling their truly tragic storm experiences, I will relate ours:

Much ado about nothing. Our power didn't even go out. Oh, it flickered several times, went out and back on, just enough to make the girls afraid to go to the bathroom without a candle or flashlight. Enough to make me stay on top of the dirty dishes, "in case the power goes out and we don't have any water". We kept the toys picked up and the floors cleared, just in case. I did tons of laundry, just in case.

It was windy. It was rainy. After school activities were cancelled, and we watched in hope for a closing today, but no. After we finished our dinner of roasted chicken thighs with lemon pepper and Carribean Jerk, mixed veggies, and fresh rolls (you know, the fresh ones from the can? store brand Pillsbury...)(and no, I smelled them but didn't have even one bite. wah.)Anyway, after dinner, Mali and I started out on our date...traffic court! Her ticket from that accident many months ago was finally going to be resolved. I voted we skip, but she called the court clerk, who assured her that, "Of course we will still be in session tonight!" Well. We drove down the dark windy backroads, past a firetruck parked next to a downed power line, over several branches in the road, over swirling leaves, past flying garbage court. It was strangely dark, not a car in the parking lot. We waited. Surely they were just late. She called the clerk a few more times, no answer.

Now, one would think that perhaps that clerk could have called Mali back to tell her they had cancelled. The court docket for this particular place is...well, last time there was one other person in court. Not like it would take her all night to go though the list and make the calls. rrrrr.

Mali declared that she was mad, but I told her to never mind being mad. We had a nice little drive through the storm, and being mad doesn't help. Never mind that she came home from college to do this...

So. All in all, we made it through the storm fine. The kids are in school today. The trees in the yard are naked. We have three cases of water bottles, and a few jugs of Poland Spring water for the next storm. We have plenty of extra batteries, and some of those nice Christmas candles that go in the windows. I sent the younger ones to bed with those last night, Just In Case.

And, Benjamin was texting me last night...seems he and Ashley aren't ready to throw in the towel yet. hmm. Of course I wish them well. I want their marriage to survive. The ups and downs are making me dizzy. I will still pray for both of them, that they can forgive and forget and move on, build a life together if that is what they are choosing.

Ha, now Ashley can help Paul and I and Benjamin cook the Thanksgiving dinner for the guys!

Okay...I am a mom. I have lots of kids. Last night there were fifteen of us at the dinner table. Life is busy. The work is never ending. I have six teenagers. SIX! And five kids older than teenagers. And five younger ones. Can anyone guess which group gives Mom the most headaches? Yes, for one million dollars, you are correct! The teenagers! I love them with all my heart, yes I do. But. The way they squawk at each other. Oh, if I could only MAKE them not want to have the last word. MAKE them drop it. MAKE them say things gently to each other. I am learning to take a deep breath, not react back the same way they are talking to me. I am learning what to ignore, and when to put my foot down. I am learning that the depth of the my offendedness doesn't have to equal the degree my foot goes down. Oh, by the time my kids are all grown and moved out, I should be a saint, with all I am learning! Tried faith is more precious than gold. And mine is surely tried, day after day!

The key is to seek wisdom from God. He hears our prayers, and He gives to those who ask. When dealing with so many personalities, there is no set formula. One size does not fit all. But when I am seeking His will...then I can sense when to let up, when to let go, when to persevere. The thing is, I need to first cleanse myself. Reacting out of anger or being offended, or because I am sick and tired of something.. helps NO ONE.

So as usual, I have my work cut out for me. It isn't just to keep the place from turning into too much of a pigsty. ha. That isn't the real work here. The real work is understanding that God placed precious souls into our hands, to care for, to teach, to lead to Him. I know that God wouldn't just give all these kids then move on to other things, no, He is there listening and answering prayers, giving grace.

But for now, it is just Suri and I...she is napping, I am drinking coffee and writing important things...but my mind is wandering now to all that I should be doing.

Monday, October 29, 2012

stormy day....

Well, not quite too stormy yet. Just windy and chilly and overcast, some rain on the horizon. I have my Mama Bear mentality on this morning. I want my kids home with me!

Suri and I are just chillin here. I have laundry in, trying to get caught up in case the power goes out. I should probably get all the dishes done too.

I found almond flour in a grocery store, and I have recipes I need to try. What a perfect day for it.

My short paragraphs are telling me I don't have much to say this fine Monday morning.

Yesterday afternoon, I spread a quilt on the floor, and played dollhouse with the little girls. We set up a huge orphanage. I played with them until they were really into it, then I sneaked away. This morning I discovered that a certain someone peed right on the quilt in the middle of the orphanage. rrr, Suri!

A certain kitty also pooped in the downstairs hallway during the night. Mr. General Thunder, is my guess. He is a great cat, big and elegant, and SO nice. He is just a purr-er, a sweetie. But. He doesn't meow fiercely to go out like Swanson kitty does. For the three and a half years we had Rosie, he kept a low profile, staying outside and out of her way. Now that we have Suri, he feels safe to come in and be around again. Which is a mixed blessing, seeing that I don't particularly like to clean up little piles of surprise.

I have not taken my walk yet. The weekday early morning ones are just not happening. I usually make up for it later in the day, but it gives me no joy to walk through the woods in the dark. And if it a chore, no thanks.

Cat poop, dog pee, this my life?

No, there is a little more to it. Tonight, for example, Mali and I have a date. We are going to court again, to hopefully finally get her ticket dismissed for that awful accident she had with Abigail's car.

And Halloween is coming up. I convinced the princesses to just dress as butterflies, since they will be wearing their pink polka-dotted winter coats...I said I would try to find them some wings....keep it simple...we won't be out too long anyway, it will be chilly and rainy.

Jon doesn't know what to be yet, I say just put on a cowboy hat and draw on a mustache.

I just have to keep my paws off the candy. Last year I had one Ghiardelli chocolate square while we trick-or-treated, and it was enough. So I am thinking to let myself have one thing.

Ah well. I have to get out of my comfy chair and switch the laundry, and get some exercising in, since I skipped it all weekend.

If the power goes out for any length of time, have a lovely week and don't miss me too much!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

the calm before the storm...

Hype? Panic? Hurricane Sandy is heading our way. By the time it hits here in central New York state, it's hurricane status will be gone...but it supposedly will still be wild, bringing wind and rain. If the cold front collides with it, it could be even more interesting. Not that I have a degree in meteorology, like my sister's husband. The stores around here are selling out of water and bread. For us, when we lose power we have no water. At least we have a swimming pool to dip buckets of water from if we need it for flushing. I didn't stock up on gallons of drinking water, so we filled a few pitchers and a few igloo containers.

No, I am not panicking. Not totally. But we DO have quite a houseful of people here, and we do drink alot of water. I had bought like five flashlights for a dollar each a while ago at the grocery store...tonight I passed them out to the younger kids, just in case the power goes out. They are kind of excited, kind of apprehensive.

Baseball is on. I can tune it just fine, just like football. Sometimes something interesting happens, but mostly blah. It is just background noise to me. We do mute during commercials, as a rule.

After working at the Dome for seven hours this morning...we came home to happy children. Abigail was here with them. Evelyn carved pumpkins with them, AND cleaned up the whole mess. I took a nice long walk in the mist with Suri, then came in and made dinner for 13 of us...baked chicken breast...some of it in Buffalo sauce. A nice big tossed salad with tomatoes and green peppers and cucumbers, and garlic bread sticks made from leftover pizza dough. I also made a pan of cinnamon/sugar/butter breadsticks, which tasted carmel-y...oh yum. I was NOT going to have any...then the taste...a few more bits...then we wrapped the rest up for Sam and Aaron.

Emily was so kind to think of me on her road trip to Ikea. She brought home a t.v. stand with bins! We have been using our coffee table "temporarily" for like three years now, to hold the movies and the dvd player. It will be nice to have the coffee table back as a coffee table!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

saturday night...

Well...lots of things made me happy today...

1. Went wedding dress shopping with my newly engaged niece sister's daughter. Let me just say she is a princess through and through...she looked lovely and gorgeous in everything she tried on. It was great fun.

2. Went on my walk, a nice fast one, in the rain/mist. I loved it.

3. Ate apple oatmeal this morning. Two small bruised apples, peeled and diced with cinnamon...a few packets of truvia, a bit of oats, some water, microwaved...added milk, and yum! Better than apple pie!

4. Emily went on a roadtrip to Pittsburgh Pennsylvania with Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, and two of the Ikea. Just for fun.

5. Paul's brother borrowed our big van today so we had to do a quick clean up. It's always nice to have a clean van.

6. The scale was a tiny bit lower this morning than yesterday morning.

7. After three hours of wedding dress shopping, we went to Pizza sister, her grand-daughter Grace, her twin baby grandchildren, six of her daughters, and Sonja K. This made me happy...although I knew darned well I shouldn't eat pizza...I had two slices....a Buffalo chicken, and a bacon...pan pizza. I felt horrible afterward, not used to all that pizza crust...but. Was it ever good!!!!

8. Abigail is here today. She took the little girls to the library and to the dollar store...she bought them warm mittens for Trick Or Treating, and those plastic pumpkin pails for their candy.

9. I just had the best cup of tea. Vanilla Caramel with half and half...Bigelow...I had a small handful of Ghiardelli chocolate chips with it...yum.

10. It is almost bed time. Today has been quite busy enough.

But...morning will come too soon. We have to leave the house by 6am to be at the Dome...volunteering at the concession stand for the Field Band competition.

Abigail is spending the night...she has her air mattress set up in Jon and Sonja's room. They are too excited, hope they don't wake up the little girls...

Friday, October 26, 2012

doing the happy friday dance....

And it is a lovely Friday. Sunny and warm...and not lonely. I have three little friends here with me today. Mr. Jonathan still has an awful cough and cold...Miss Camille also has it. She really really wanted to go to school for Pajama Day and eat pancakes, but...she just doesn't sound good. And Char...she was NOT going on the bus alone. No way. So. Here we are!

They will go in and out of the house all day, playing in the leaves and swinging, enjoying the 75 degree weather. Right now they are playing house, they have baby dolls named Linnea and Sebastian and Davian. Poor kids, having to stay home from school sick.

Mali is also here this fine morning. She has a dr. appointment, then needs a ride back to the big city for a big test! She studies so hard but has a hard time with those tests. I feel like I am going through nursing school too, being anxious about a test I am not even taking. I am just hoping and praying she makes it through, she loves it so much.

This morning I saw a new number on the scale! Not that I used to weigh myself alot way back when, but I was heavier than I am now when Benjamin was a baby...and Ben is almost 24. I have been heavy for a long long I was almost jumping up and down when I got on the scale and saw what I think of as a New Decade of numbers...It has been sloow going...I have only lost ten pounds in five months. But really, I have lost like a hundred, the way I lose a pound, gain two, lose three, gain one, up and down...with a slow downward trend...blah. So what am I doing differently now? If anyone really cares....I cut back my sugar in them anymore...either pumpkin and almonds, or peanutbutter still, with a little bit of Stevia. I am being super careful about avoiding the carbs...just fruits and veggies and nuts and meats, if I have brown rice, it is just a spoonful. I am still sneaking the chocolate chips, but more moderately. Yesterday for a treat when we went Walmarting, I brought along two of my pumpkin Paleo cookies, then got a coffee at TimmyHo's...just a large coffee with a shot of sugar free pumpkin syrup. Not bad at all. Being prepared for temptation is a good thing, both in real life, and in the spiritual:) Anyway. I do cheat occasionally...I had a Cookiewich at the Dome last week. A Cookiewich is amazing. Two chocolate chip cookies with soft ice cream swirled between them, frozen solid. 600ish calories. I made it my dinner. I know, not good. But, on the other hand, really really good. love for food has not diminished, but I am realizing more and more that I am the boss. I get to decide. Just because I am tempted, doesn't mean I have to give in.

Anyway. Today is a beautiful day. There are beautiful dirty dishes covering what I am remembering as a beautiful countertop. But if I am going to take my beautiful daughter to her dr. appointment, I shall have to leave them for later...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

is someone gonna clean up this house?

Just because I am a girl...a mom...a HOUSEWIFE, for goodness' sake, does NOT MEAN I LIKE TO CLEAN THE HOUSE. blah. I like when the house is clean, but that is an entirely different thing than actually cleaning it. Oh, sometimes I get into a groove and don't mind polishing the stove and cleaning off the burners...vacuuming in the corners and shining up the windows. But every stinking day? When school started this year and I was ha, "home alone", I thought that FINALLY, the house would be clean. But guess what? Seems my house just won't stay clean.

I did take my nap yesterday afternoon. My headache was atrocious, it was dark and rainy, the kind of day that just screams CHOOSE THE NAP! So I did. Sonja K. didn't get the memo though, she got off the bus, wondered where Mom was, and crashed into my room just as I was falling into a nice slumber...I said hi to her as she realized I was trying to nap, and out she went. blah.

An hour later I heard the school bus again, second trip kids were home. The princesses didn't care in the least that I was napping, they climbed right into bed with me for a snuggle. I didn't mind. Camille did not want me to get up and start dinner.

But I did. I had boneless pork marinating in lemon pepper sauce...and a pan of brown rice (I always bake the rice now...if it is pre-soaked, and is baked with a bit of olive oil or butter, sealed with foil, it comes out nicely and is just more brainless than the stovetop way.) We set the table and microwaved some veggies, and voila, dinner for...I don't know, Abigail joined us so I guess 15.

Since I am such a good housewife, the dishwasher was already running so we had to just rinse the dishes and leave them in the sink...washed the pans, and out the door we all went to the Activity Club fall party.

The path into the woods was illuminated with the pumpkins the kids had carved the week before, with candles...and glass jars with more the clearing at the end of the path, chairs and hay bales were set up around a camp fire...there was popcorn, and hot cocoa. Music and a small children's meeting...all done by the young people at church. We have an amazing youth group! (When Char said her prayers last night, she thanked God for all the good things the young people had done for the kids...)

Back inside for cider and donuts and a balloon stomp and games...and bags of treats.

I had brought a travel mug of chocolate fudge flavored coffee (no sugar, just flavored) to ward off any donut temptations. I did munch on some popcorn though.

Anyway, the sink is still full of dishes. The floors need sweeping, and there are some clothes on the couch, which we all know could turn into a baby couch monster very very easily. There is laundry to do, and the bathrooms, ugh. It just gets messy so fast! So many kids here, each leaving just a thing or two or three around...

And then of course I occasionally leave a jacket on a chair or my purse on the table...

The books on the bookcase get put back horizontally on top of the other books...socks get taken off....mugs of tea left on tables...

And guess what? I do not feel like cleaning it up today.

I just don't.

We are all out of pull-ups. The wearers only wet occasionally, but it is certain they will wet their beds if I don't head to Walmart and get some.

I don't feel like doing that either.

But. Guess what? I don't actually go to work...but this stuff is my job. Whether I like it or not. So I will make myself get out of my comfy chair and do my best to make the house nice and homey and clean...

I do like having all the kids though. They fill my life with joy and noise and fun (and fighting and worry and oh, they always need stuff!)

I am in the middle of a new, "Anne Tyler" book. She is so good. I just want to curl up and finish it. But this is my job, and people do not read books at work. ha.

Yes, I am well aware that I have it good.

Oh, my hot still leaks. I am hoping it is just a loose fitting or something. After the pipes were repaired, we scrubbed it all shiny, filled it up...and the water drained back out...wah. It was leaking near the motor, not near the places that were patched up. Hopefully it is a cheap easy fix.

Jonathan is home today. He has a cough. He has been dragging. I didn't wake him this morning, and he slept an extra hour and a half. He is pretty darned happy to find himself home with Mom. He is sitting on the couch watching a dinosaur show with Suri cuddled up to him. Suri, who is NOT allowed on the couch....

Suri is a sweetie. She is just so good and kind and nice. But. She is also a Bad Puppy. She loves going in her cage, to put the things she sneaks down the hall and steals from the kids' rooms...dolls, stuffed animals. She will get a candy wrapper or a yogurt cup, and put it in the cage. Sometimes I put her in there for a bit, try to get her used to it ha. Well, the other night I put her in there before I went to bed because I was getting sick of having to lock up the garbage can and batten down the hatches, she is such a counter-jumping thief during the night...she was fine for an hour or so, then she started barking...then howling. So, I let her out. I put the garbage can in her cage and locked it up, sprinkled chili powder all over the counters to keep her off, and went to bed. she won.

The chili powder does help though. She didn't steal bread the last few nights, and I didn't find any veggies or apples on her blankie.

Anyway...I think I will clean up then take Jonathan to Wallyworld....

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

what a day!

It started out like any other day. I woke up tired because last night I had to sew Sam's American Flag patch on his new uniform shirt for his Criminal Justice class. Not a huge deal. Then Suri went out into the rainy evening to pee...came back in, ran over to my chair, and jumped right up onto the shirt with her muddy paws. I tried to sponge it off with a wet cloth and Wisk. But it didn't work. So after I finished sewing, I had to throw it in the washer...then wait up for it to be done so I could hang it to dry.

But I am not talking about last night...this morning, I got the kids out the door to school. Charlotte Claire's missing sneakers were found in the bench in the foyer, so she no tears from her. Lunches made, coats on, bus left...aah, coffee and pumpkin oats with almonds...but no sir, not for me. The phone rang...Where Are You??! ooops. It was my mother-in-law. And she was...a teeny tiny bit upset. Yes mam, I was supposed to bring them to the airport this morning. I would be at their house by 8:30 am, I had said a few weeks back when they asked me. But I am certain they had said it was Thursday. So it was not on my radar to be going anywhere this morning....

But I was going somewhere! I changed my shirt, grabbed my purse, slid on my lovely old Birkenstocks...and out the door I flew. Didn't even brush my long tangly hair. (which is why it is a good idea to carry a huge purse with a hairbrush in it). I ran over a dead skunk, which made the minivan smell lovely. I got behind the We-Care garbage truck....and believe me, they did NOT care that I was in a stinkin' hurry. It trundled along at 45...rrr. The in-laws were in the driveway when I got there....sorry! There wasn't time to drive their car to the airport, no, we had to take the minivan. Was it clean and spotless? ha.

It worked out fine. I drove fast, got them there, they didn't miss their flight. I was sorry they had such a stressful morning though...I hope the rest of their trip to their winter home is better.

I was hungry. I needed coffee. McDonalds. Large coffee for a buck. And dang it, I ordered a sausage McMuffin with no cheese. While parked in the dollar store parking lot, I discovered the McMuffin had no sausage, and lots of cheese. Yuck. But there was a bonus! A hashbrown! A free hashbrown! Never mind that I do not eat things like that anymore, I was hungry. Gobble and crunch, that thing was gone. Dollar store...caramel Cheerios, pumpkin spice bread, frozen pretzels, hair elastics, cowboy hats for Halloween for my little princesses who are going to be cowgirls...I decided after that to go back to McD's and get the right McMuffin...long story short: when I finally got the right one, the nice kid said to me, "I stuck a hashbrown in there too, we have extra and would just throw them away." I smiled and said Thank You...but I was thinking, DANG. I took one bite of it, ate the sausage out of my sandwich, crumbled up the bag and threw it into the back where my sneaky little hands couldn't reach while I drove home...

It was rather nice to go to the grocery store all alone. But I got so lonely that by the time I had my bananas and pears and yogurt and green beans and mixed veggies and chicken, I was making friends with the cashier...ha.

Sinus-y thing is bothering me today. My head aches and my face hurts. Bringing in the groceries made my head pound. I think I will not exercise today. Perhaps take a nap instead. shh, doesn't that sound way way better? It's not that I hate exercising...but.

Last night I made more of my Paleo pumpkin cookies. I have a supply of them in baggies in my freezer. Helps me when there are Bad Snacks around to have something so yummy to have instead.

Well...that nap is sounding better and better....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

the meanest sister I ever had....

No, not you, Cheryl. Camille said that about Char this fine morning. Because they decided to bring out the building blocks, and discovered a miniature plastic chest with tiny little gold coins. Char got 13, and Camille got three. Camille may not be a rocket scientist, but she knows when she gets the short end of the stick. And to add insult to injury, I dropped one of the three. It is in the depths of my comfy chair. So there are tears. Char is being kind, divvying more up, and Camille comes over and drops another one into my chair. Um, perhaps these coins are too small to play with?

These little girls are supposed to be in school. But. Seems Char lost her nice sneakers that fit. Her grey ones are out in the rain where kids leave things when they play in the leaves. The bus was there at the end of the driveway, and she was crying her little eyes out because no other sneakers fit, and she had gym today! By the time we found something suitable, the bus was on it's merry way way down the road with poor Jonathan on it.

I suggested driving them to school. Nah. Didn't feel like it anyway.

Now, one would think they would be supremely happy to be home from school on a chilly, overcast, rainy day. But. Camille has cried like 47 times already. She wants candy. Um, no. She is just on Whining Mode. Me thinks she is very very tired. Maybe we will have a nap time later...she could snuggle up to me and fall asleep while I listen to the rain and read my library book...don't hate me, remember: I really sincerely appreciate days like this.

Camille is hilarious. She just told Char that Char is making life Not Fair, and God doesn't like it.

Charlotte Claire CAN be infuriating, sweet little six year old that she is. She hums and sings when Camille tries to talk to her.

I told them they could have candy after lunch. But, crying girls can't have candy. So Camille said, "Char is making it so I can't get candy..."

I am so glad they missed the bus today.

Rain rain rain, I am thinking raincoats and rainboots and walking down the road...then soup for lunch...then a nap...hmm.

My schedule is all out of whack today because Benjamin called me this morning and we talked for a long time. He is struggling to keep his head on straight, keep his thoughts pure. It hurts enough to be dropped for someone else, but he has to grieve the loss his marriage too. I reminded him that during this time he still has a choice: every single thought he thinks, he has a choice. We always have a choice. Bitterness....grudging....hate...anger....which builds up and leads to those bitter roots....or we can say no to those thoughts, and keep our hearts pure. I reminded him that it has nothing to do with HER, or whether she deserves it or not, it is for our own good that we keep our hearts pure. I know right now he has to distance himself from her in his mind, get over her, almost hate her for a while so he can get through this. I wish I could just hug his pain away...

There are all the practical things to get through, too. Her stuff is in storage with his stuff, out in Washington. It needs to be shipped to her. He is kindly going to do that, and I will help him. I suggested we put spiders in all the boxes, and he laughed. We won't really, but it is good to hear him laugh.

So today I will exercise. I will go for a walk, even if I get soaked. I will NOT eat bad things. I will drink lots of water. Every day, all day, sticking to this...sometimes I get sick and tired of it...sometimes I just want to eat a sandwich! Sometimes I wonder if it's worth it. But...I can sit with my legs crossed now. I can tie my shoes, no problem. My back doesn't ache day in day out. I can buy my clothes in regular stores, in regular sizes, ha even if they ARE big sizes still. My heartburn, which led me to this weight-loss path to begin with, is HISTORY. So long ago and forgotten I almost forgot about it, and it tormented me! I can do push-ups now! Not all the way down yet, but I can do forty or fifty and live to tell about it. Not all at the same time, in sets of ten or fifteen.... If it isn't obvious, I am preaching to myself here. Because it isn't easy to say NO to stuff all the time....and I usually have better things to do than takes everything in me to stick to this day in day out. But as I have proven to myself by writing this little paragraph, it is SO worth it....

Monday, October 22, 2012

happy monday...

Yes, it is a happy day. For me anyway. Why? Because I am not going to let the cares of this life weigh me down. No, things aren't perfect. But I am recognizing that when I give into anxiety about things that my kids are going through, or about money, or about Benjamin....I get weighed down. I am not God. I do not need to do His job. Of course I can pray to Him, but when I cast my cares upon Jesus, and believe with all my heart that all that befalls me is sent by a loving God, then I have peace in my heart.

Not without a battle though. Thoughts come and want to take root...but my thoughts shall remain pure!

As a mom with lots of kids...I could most certainly be a wreck. I sometimes wake up barely rested because I have had anxiety dreams about failing a nursing exam, and I am not even in school. I can't help the dreams...but when I am awake...then I can pray for my kids, and work on my own salvation, because it is written that when we do that, we save both ourselves and those who hear us.

Joseph has opted out of nursing school. At first, this broke my heart. I wanted him to succeed at this. I was proud of him with his stethoscope, and his steadfastness. But. He has his reasons, and I realized I had done all I could do...I encouraged him, I supported him...he is 21 years old, after all. Life isn't over for him, he will find something that clicks for him. And now he is going to Washington to stay with Benjamin for a while. Perhaps it will help Ben cope with Ashley's decision not to be with him. Perhaps it will help Joseph see a different part of the world, and decide what he wants to do. He will look for work out there, perhaps go back to college.

Anyway, I can't pull all of the strings.

I can suggest and guide, but I can't live their lives for them.

Letting go is not easy.

Some of their decisions...ouch.


I love them nonetheless.

And I pray for them.

And just to clarify: I have not yet met my weight loss goal! I am more than half-way there though! Seventy down, fifty to go! It has been slow going, I have only lost 19 pounds since I had my gallbladder out in February. I have lost only nine pounds since May. I have been exercising and walking, most days. So I decided to be more strict with the carbs. I had almost phased them out, but then started having a few more here and there. Sugar and grains = weight gain. So...I still eat my morning oats, but I cut the amount in half and added either a cubed up apple, or a scoop of pumpkin, and sliced almonds. Or peanutbutter. But less oats. I do eat popcorn sometimes, but am skipping out on all pizza lately, and of course no bread at all. (Mirielle made these pizzas the other night...sauce and cheese and pepperoni or bacon...on sliced yellow squash and zuchini! She tossed the slices in olive oil and baked them a bit, turned them, topped them, crisped up the cheese, and YUM! Just as good as pizza!) I have cut back on the chocolate chips, and have limited the nuts. (the calories in nuts can add up pretty quickly)

Anyway, since I have been more strict, the weight has started coming off again, slowly, but at least the scale is moving down. I am now a pound less than the lowest number I have seen yet! One of these days perhaps I will be brave enough to share the actual numbers, but ouch! Maybe after I lost the next fifty pounds.

Which I SHALL do!!!!

Slow and steady win the race!

This afternoon I have to leave my quiet cozy house and fill the minivan tank with gas, pick Samuel up from his Criminal Justice program in the small city, drive back here to get Joseph and a few extra passengers, then drive to the big city to the Dome to work at an NBA basketball exhibition game between the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76'ers. Carmello Anthony! Woo-hoo! Back in '03, Syracuse won the National Championship, thanks to Carmello. He went pro, but has really helped S.U., donating millions to build a new practice facility. When he comes back to the Dome, the fans go wild. So poor me, right?

I have to miss our weekly Monday night pool night...and it is only the second week! I promised the kids I will take them another night.

Poor Charlotte Claire. She lost a tooth on of those that seem like they are going to just stay in there forever, hanging by a thread. I told her to just go get a tissue and yank it out. She did. Oh, the joy! Forget how many times I have been through this now, but their little excitement dances are contagious! Then...oh then, the stupid forgetful Toothfairy forgot to visit. Sunday morning same thing. Dang it!!! She would check, tooth still there! This morning, same thing! I told her that I was certain I saw a little gift there, the Toothfairy must be playing tricks. Now, my kids know that their mama is the Toothfairy. And they know by now how forgetful I am. I sneaked into my room, into my Present Closet, and got out a little set of lip glosses that go in a plastic case. See, Char? She DID remember! It's right here! Anyway. She was happy.

Yesterday after church, some of my teenagers were bored. They wanted to do something fun! Please, Mom? Please? So...Kathryn 14, Evelyn 13, Suzanne 11, and Sonja K. 10 (I know the younger two aren't teenagers yet, but they might as well be.)...we went to the library. I wasn't going to get a book, but I picked one up and started reading it in a comfy chair while they browsed and Evelyn filled a bag up...and got hooked. Kohl's. Even the stuff on the clearance racks were too expensive. I let them try some stuff on just for the fun of it. I looked at the sneakers...too expensive. Any in my price range, not in my size. rrr.

Target. The girls found a few things there reasonable enough for me to buy for them. I let Suzanne and Sonja get slushies.

Price Chopper. I had just been there a few days ago and didn't need much...ha. the McD's drive through to get the girls some snacks. I had a fruit and yogurt parfait, and two fries. Why are those fries soo good? Oh, I also had one bite of Kathryn's McChicken. Times like those I just want to say Forget It and just eat a cheeseburger, but I held fast.

Then, up to the big city to visit Mali in her dorm. We brought her some fresh-baked bread and some candy...she is eating vegan now, so couldn't take the cheese pizza I had gotten her. She has been vegetarian for two years or each his own, I guess.

blah blah blah, my dad used to say. I am even boring myself now.

Laundry needs to be changed over, and Sneaky Suri is on the couch snoring away. She doesn't seem to care that she is NOT allowed on the couch. She is the sweetest puppy. Not a mean bone in her body. And now, I am done here...

Friday, October 19, 2012

weighing in...

I bought a new scale yesterday. The old one was temperamental. I stepped on it the other night, and woo-hoo, I had suddenly lost 15 pounds! I was absolutely certain it was malfunctioning, but I am so lame I stood there admiring that nice low number. Everytime I stepped on it, I got a different number, all nice beautiful numbers. I know, I could have changed the battery. But this scale has always been tricking me, I would have to stand on it three or four times to get the right reading and never was sure what exactly WAS the right one...

So I bought a new one, clearanced half price, of course. Fifteen bucks to know exactly how much I weigh. And this morning, I am finally back at the lowest number ever, in like 20+ years anyway...the number I hit three weeks ago, before I gained a little back again...that's how this "diet" is the Bunny Hop, forward-backward-hop-hop-hop. I am really trying just to hop though!

It is a rainy day here in central New York state. Chilly, rainy, lovely. The trees are blazing with color, one of our maples is orange, the other red. The pear tree is burnished orange, and we crunch in the fallen leaves when we romp around the yard with Suri. We aren't leaf rakers here, we like the natural look, ha.

The mornings are too dark for my walk, I have to fit it in later in the days. Even with my hideous glow-in-the dark vest, I don't feel comfortable. I mean, yes, the drivers can see me. But I can't see what's in the woods, or what on earth I am stepping in...out here in the country, there are things in the road...but I won't ruin anyone's coffee enjoyment by going into detail.

My brother has been here a few times, patching up the broken pipes on that hot tub. A few of the boys helped him turn it up on it's side so we could make sure he found all the cracks. He just has to test it to make sure we didn't miss anything and that the fixes are truly fixed. I am so looking forward to using that hot tub!!!

Paul and I are really looking forward to the Thanksgiving meal we are going to prepare for Benjamin and some of the soldiers. Ben said he was inviting at least three medics and 10 mortars. With us, that makes 16. I texted him back, "16 is unreasonable!" ha. it will be less than at home. I don't know where they will all sit, in his one bedroom apartment, but we will just call it cozy. I am just plain excited about it. It's one of those things, I already know that Paul and I will be blessed far beyond what we give...

In other news, it looks like my son Joseph might be moving out to Washington to stay with Benjamin for a while. Nursing school is just not working out for Joe. He doesn't like it. He is re-considering what to do, and has some ideas. I told him I am fine with it, but he can't just get a part time job and hang out. He has to go to college, get a career. He can do this from Washington too, and this way Benjamin won't be all alone in that apartment he rented for he and Ashley.

Well, since I am a nice mom, I let two little girls stay home today. Camille, my little baby kindergartner, not yet five years old, is just so tired out from four days in a row of getting up and going on that bus...she was reverting to her old, "Mama, I want you!", this morning. Char said she does that on the bus sometimes...wah. She is lying on the couch with blankets, sucking her thumb and watching, "Dinosaur Train". Sonja K. is also here. Miss Sonja is ten years old, the fifth of the Five-Girls-In-A-Row-In-Five-Years. She is still a little girl, yet she is growing up. She doesn't always find her place around here, and needs a lot of attention. She is very sweet and caring. And, she needs jeans. So...we are going to return a few things to Target today, and get her some.

And, we are going to have fun.

I am not going to clean the house or exercise first, just go off and enjoy these girls. Then pay for it later, ha.

I DID already clean up some things, put in a load of towels. So I am not that big of a slacker.

If I am going to get things done when I get back this afternoon, I had better hustle and get out the door. I am wondering if we should bring Suri along. She loves going bye-bye...hmm. Plus, she is horrid when she is left home alone. Yesterday I was out in the back yard with my brother Bob, and Suri was alone in the house. She took the bag of potatoes off the counter and and batted them all around the floor. And: the glass jar of honey. It was lying, unbroken, on the floor. I imagine her standing on her hind legs and using her paws like hands and gently placing that jar on the floor. But probably not. Why the glass didn't break on our tile floor is just a bonus for me, I guess. That would have been a heck of a mess to clean up.

Camille is asking when we are going, and I have nothing else to say.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

rare moment of quiet...

Mirielle is here too, so I am not actually Home Alone. But she is in her room studying. I just got in from taking Miss Suri out for a romp around the yard. She likes playing Chase Around The Pine Tree, and is not easily fooled. I can double back, but she learns quickly to expect it, and can change directions and head the other way.

The kids ate their chicken stew and headed out the door to activity club. Mali came home from her college dorm to visit for the night, so she went too. I didn't have to drive. Paul had to go to dinner with his colleagues from afar, who are visiting his work to do a project. So here I am.

I made a quick batch of chocolate cookies for them to take with them...a box of brownie mix, a box of chocolate cake mix stirred into a stick of butter which was whipped up with the mixer with two eggs. Quick, easy, and yummy. I HAD to taste them. I cut a small cookie in quarters, and ate one quarter. In my head I thought, at least 25 calories...blah. I was glad to send the whole container out the door with them.

The aroma lingers though. I started getting crave-y, so I am chewing a piece of orange gum. It isn't a chocolate cookie, but it helps.

I savor the quiet. It almost seems loud, it is so quiet. Suri is sleeping, and I am alone in the room. I think I like it. I keep thinking there are things I should be doing, but nah. I shall sit and soak in the quiet.

Mirielle thinks I should make a Thanksgiving dinner for the guys who are deployed with Ben who have no family closeby,(not ALL of them, just the ones Ben knows.)(although I wish I could do it for ALL of them) when I get to Washington. In Ben's apartment. Now, Ben probably doesn't have too many dishes. Or pans. And then I started thinking of him unpacking the stuff from storage, and the wedding gifts, and Ashley's stuff...oh dear how sad. Sad. It is going to be a tough road for him. It might be good for him if we do this though.

I think I will start a new book...I have a Susan Isaacs I don't think I have read yet.....(I never remember if I read them until I start, "I Know This Much Is True", by Wally Lamb...not sure if I have read it or not...)

so why am I crying this fine morning?

Well, on facebook, I am "friends" with the Army base Benjamin is from. Hundreds of soldiers are returning from deployment soon. Volunteers are soliciting donations to fill welcome baskets for the them, especially because many of them will be coming home with no one to greet them. I just can't get that image out of my head, these guys getting off those planes, standing in formation while friends and families wait with joy, one there for them. This volunteer group is putting together the baskets to let the soldiers know their community is thankful for them. If anyone wants the address, let me know

The baskets will have nuts and gatorade and shelf-stable microwave meals. wah. But seriously, just think to let them know they are appreciated. Tell me, am I the only one who thinks this is absolutely horribly depressingly sad? Those soldiers not having anyone there for them? Too bad there aren't volunteers to stand there and greet them, give them a hug...awkward though, "Hi, you don't know me, but want a hug?"...

For me, I am still in tears thinking of Benjamin, his dreams stepping off that plane and melting into his wife's arms have been shattered, this time for good. She has made her choice, and it isn't Ben. I am sad for him, and sad for her. I wouldn't wish a Dear John Letter on anyone, but to have it happen to my own son is just heartbreaking. He tried so hard, he wanted things to work. I am just so very thankful that he has his faith in God, because if he didn't, I don't know how he would cope. War is hard enough without heartbreak too.

Paul and I will be there for him though. The ticket prices are inching up, but Ben hasn't a firm date yet, now he says the Medics will fly out last and that is a week later than we had thought. I think a flexible date ticket will cost as much or more than the going rate...but I am still researching.

And so life goes. One thing after another, day in day out...I am trying to Capture The Moments. Live In The Moments. Because today is all we really have. I know that is about as cliche' as cliche' gets, but it is so true. We only get this one ride through.

Today, many of my moments will be taken up doing all the dishes that accumulated between after dinner and now.

My brother Bob is coming over today to hopefully finally get the hot tub pipes fixed. It seems to be a little more complicated than we originally thought, so hopefully it will get done today. I would love to be soaking in that soon...ha, soaking. More like telling kids not to go underwater in the hot water and to stop splashing all the expensive heated water out. But still. It will be nice.

Tonight is Activity Club for the kids at church, I get to drive them. They are carving pumpkins, I will help if I am needed. Friday night is another Dome, then Monday is an NBA event at the Dome. I would like to take the younger kids to a pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin one of these days.

Oh well, enough for this morning.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

just an evening rant...

First of all, the dentist appointment wasn't quite as awful as I had thought it would be. But it was NOT my idea of fun. Even though I really like my dentist. I was in that chair for 55 minutes. He tried on the temporary crown like five times, wanting to get it to fit just right. Each time, he had to yank it back off, and even though I was numb, I kept finding myself all tensed up. And all the drilling, geesh! Between all those pieces of tooth in my mouth and being tipped back so far, I kept feeling like I was gonna heave.

The permanent crown will arrive at the dentist's office in a few weeks. Dr. said if the temp fell out, I could put it back in with Fixadent. He so nicely put a pencil mark on the part that faces the back. I think. Or the front. Hopefully it won't fall out. He said No Bubble Gum or Pizza Crust or Caramels. I gave him the thumbs up and said Good. He apologized, and I said, No, Really, I don't want to eat those things anyway. He prob thought I was crazy.

Anyway. I lazed out when I got home. Washed up a few dishes, talked to Joseph who was home from class, took the pup out for a walk...had some bacon and eggs for lunch...then, I headed to bed with my book, "The Moment I First Believed", by Wally Lamb. I loved it. I cried so many times. Read it. It is like seven hundred pages long, but it is worth it.

Got out of my comfy bed feeling like a real slouch,(but it was WONDERFUL!!! I rarely lie in bed with a book on a chilly rainy-ish day, but it is my favorite thing!)...I greeted the first trip kids, switched laundry, and sneaked back into my room to exercise. My push-ups are getting better, I can almost go half-way down now.

Then, time for dinner...we had the cheat-y lasagna from last night, with a pan of meatballs in sauce, green beans, and a tossed salad.

I also made up a batch of Paleo pumpkin cookies, a variation of the muffin recipe. I found the muffins stuck to the paper too much, making me really tempted to just eat the whole wrapper, which I didn't do. So I baked these on foil sprayed with cooking spray, they came off the pan nicely. I also added a topping: a few teaspoons of butter, a bit of brown sugar, and some sliced almonds, heated in the microwave, then spooned onto each cookie top before baking. The way the butter coated the almonds made them toast up and the the brown sugar, even though it was only a small amount, carmelized on the almonds. I don't know if they are still genuine Paleo with this addition, but. Let me say this: super yum. Here's how I made them:

15 ounce can of pumpkin
6 eggs
some spices to taste (I just dumped in some pumpkin pie spice)
teaspoon of baking soda
teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup of coconut oil, although I used a mixture of melted butter and the coconut oil since the oil is so expensive.
3 tablespoons of honey (this time I used 1 and 1/2 tble honey, and 1 and 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar)

I baked them at 350 until they looked scrumptious. They tasted delectable as cookies, especially with the almond topping. I am not saying these are low calorie, but they are gluten free.

It was nice to have a few of these with my very light dinner tonight (four small meatballs with sauce and some green beans). I also baked up the last of the chocolate chip cookie dough from the other day, but wasn't even tempted to eat one since I had my own.

Now, since my kids also like pumpkin, I did make the others at the same time on purpose. I baggied (I love verbing nouns!) and froze up several for future pumpkin cravings.

Sonja just told Char that if she called her fat, she was going to get fat.

Wisdom from children, eh?

But ouch, like it is the end of the world to be fat. I try so hard to teach them that beauty is from within, but they still pick up the idea that fat=ugly. I try not to share my battles with food with them, that's why I need this blog!

And, time to get some childrens to beddy-bed-night-night-night. Stories, brushing of my favorite things to do is tell the little girls stories when I tuck them in, and lie in the bottom bunk with Camille for a bit. I am just savoring her littleness.

I wish I could go back in time and do it all over again and enjoy them all so much more than I already did. Time goes by so fast!

Monday, October 15, 2012

just a little post...

Since I will be leaving the house way too early tomorrow morning to get my broken tooth fixed, I shall write this evening instead. I was mean and asked my sister to take me to the small city...she is going in anyway, and everyone loves to take me to the dentist. I, however, hate taking me to the dentist. I would rather have a baby with no pain meds (which I have done, several times, thank you) than sit in a dentist chair.

Perhaps I will take a few ibuprofen with my oatmeal in the morning. Blah, I do wish I could fast-forward to Being Done. I have never had to have a crown put on, but this tooth is pretty severely broken, just a piece of it left, thanks to that almond I bit back in August. It isn't very painful, but sometimes it aches a little. A little lot. The dentist asked lots of questions about the pain level, because it is wise to do a root canal, if necessary, before the tooth is crowned. Root canal? Nah, doesn't hurt at all, doc.

To the pool we went this afternoon after getting home with groceries after the kids' dentist appt'. I had prepared dinner, which was a cheat-y version of lasagna: some nice meat sauce in a big baking dish with frozen cheese ravioli, topped with sauce and cheese. I asked three different people to put it in the oven while I was at the pool with Jon, Char, and Camille...oops, they forgot. Oh well. Turkey and cheese sandwiches for the little kids, some of the older ones microwaved some of the dish and said it was good. I had some of Emily's leftover chicken/rice soup and a rice cake with peanutbutter...followed by my last two Paleo pumpkin muffins. Swimming makes me too hungry.

I ate well today, considering. Considering that I said NO to a donut at Tim Horten's. .49 cents with every hot drink purchase...I just had coffee, thanks. Although I did want to beg just one bite of Sam's chocolate glazed. I didn't, and before I knew it, he had eaten the whole thing. I was going to crack open the bag of peanut M&M's on the way home from the store, even had the bag in my hand. Then I thought, "What am I doing?" I had a few sunflower seeds instead, and my trusty apple, which I try to never leave home without. Then I picked up a Hershey's miniture Special Dark, and put it back down. It isn't always easy, but it hasn't killed me yet to say no. I am learning that I feel worse when I say YES.

And Yes, I am a slow learner.

Benjamin's arrival date in the good old U.S. of A. has been moved back, he will be home later than we anticipated. I guess the lucky medics have to leave last. Makes sense. He is a good guy, my son Ben. He is practicing Being Thankful.

My poor 18 year old niece is back in the hospital, again, for possible kidney stones, again. She is running a fever too. She is a childhood cancer survivor, I am going to say aplastic anemia, but I might be wrong. She had a bone marrow transplant at the tender age of two, and her survival was against all odds. She has had a rough last few years medically. Please pray for her, and my brother and his wife, my friend Kim. Kim is the lucky one who gets to sleep in the hospital chair while solving all the problems at home via cell phone.

Makes me feel bad for complaining about something like a tooth being crowned. Kidney stones are notoriously painful, and she just had some blasted a few months ago, poor girl.

So on that note, I will go snuggle into my comfy bed and say lots of prayers, and practice being thankful too.

dark and gloomy....

Aww...what a sweet puppy. This picture of Aaron with Suri was taken a few weeks ago, before we gave away the kittens. I find it hilarious that Mama Kitty was just lying on the back of the chair nursing those kittens while Aaron held the puppy.

They ARE cute, the animals. Good thing. Because Suri has been very bad lately. Last night we remembered to take out the compost so she wouldn't play Hip Hip Horray in it. We remembered to spray disinfectant on the top of the garbage so she wouldn't tip the can over and have a feast. But. I mistakenly thought a sealed container of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies would be safe on the kitchen table. Ha. She must've gotten really full because she left six cookies. Crumbs everywhere.

Now she is all agitated because the Mama Kitty has a present for me, a nice fresh mouse. I do not want her gift, however, so I am not opening the door, no matter how loud she mews and begs. Suri wants me to let kitty in, so she is whining and jumping up at the window. That's because she loves the kitty, and she loves the mice.

Okay, my new oatmeal: whole oats, a big spoonful of canned pumpkin (I just put it in a container in the fridge so I can eat it every day), a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spices, some sliced almonds, some water...microwave for a few minutes, add some stevia, a little milk...and yum! Tastes as good as pumpkin pie!

Saturday I took some kids to see the movie, "Brave", again, at the $1.50 per person movie theater. I drove into the big city and picked up Mali, took her too. She loved the movie, said she wants it for Christmas. I took them to some socks, and some laundry detergent for Mali. Then to the big Mall, which I hate. Too many expensive stores, too many people, and just a general spirit of dissatisfaction. Charlotte Claire and Camille liked it okay, they got to ride on the carousel. I also let them browse in the Disney store, but I didn't buy them anything. Jon didn't say much....he liked the escalators and wanted to go in the elevators but they were too crowded. blah, I do not like the mall.

Yesterday had a really encouraging event at church. Most of us were able to go, except we forgot poor Sam. I thought he went in the first vehicle that left, but he was still in the house. I called home as soon as I got there and realized he wasn't already there, but he had already gotten comfy and was fine to stay home and do homework. Homework ha, I know he was playing video games.

Please continue to pray for Benjamin. He will be home from Afghanistan next month, to his home base in Washington state anyway. Right now it looks like Paul and I might be the only ones there greeting him when he gets off that plane, so pray for him. He knows that God has not forsaken him, but I think his heart is broken.

It was nice to have the littler kids for a three day weekend, having Friday off for some togetherness. They settled down and did some bonding. Char has been just acting so bratty since school started this year. Her teacher gets a nice sweet child, then she comes home and what do I get? Don't get me wrong, I love her even when she is talking back and doing this new screeching thing, but. I feel rather ripped off. Like, who took my Char and left this kid in her place? So Friday we stayed home...they played all sorts of things. They set up Office all over the living room. They got out no less then 6 doll stroller/carriages. They played House, even Jonny. Then Daddy came home from work with new princess coloring books for the girls, and a Transformer for Jon...nail polish for Sonja, aptly branded, "Sinful Colors". He gave the older girls $20 each for the babysitting they have done lately, and brought me flowers. He also brought stuff for root beer floats for the kids.

Saturday we went out and about, and went to church yesterday. After they had their baths last night, they settled into playing again, and I hated to break it up! Then when I woke them this morning, wah. Poor Camille...I sat on her bed and was talking to her, trying to wake her up and her eyes kept closing again. I SO wanted to say Just Stay In Bed, Sweetie.

But, she likes school. She likes the other kids, she likes coloring and gluing and cutting and walking down the halls to Music and Gym. She has that typical fascination with other kids' names.

So I got them up, served them oatmeal, made their lunches, brushed their hair, and waited in the driveway with Suri for that big bus to swallow them up and drive away.

I don't get to laze around all day however. I have already done a few loads of laundry and washed some dishes, cleaned up Suri's CookieFest mess, and cleaned off some counters. I have to pick a few kids up from school and take them to the dentist, stop at the store because we are out of coffee, black beans, bananas, canned corn, and sugar. Ha, as if that's all I will get.

To the school pool this afternoon to meet Abigail for some fun with the kids and some exercise...then home for I should probably make something ahead of time...

Friday, October 12, 2012

great adventures!!!

Adventure with Mirielle, and Aaron...we went to the deep woods of Ithaca, on a 4 and a half mile hike. It didn't sound too bad at first...

Then I saw stairs. Lots of them. Mirielle told me Don't Worry Mom, You Will Feel So Good When You Finish This Hike.

Mirielle said these were probably the last of them. Ha. At the top, they turned and there were MORE!

I was huffing. Couldn't talk much as we ascended. Hills and stairs. The gorgeous scenery wasn't lost on me though as I tried to keep my suffering to myself mostly, so Mirielle and Aaron wouldn't totally regret bringing MOM.

With Mirielle...

Lovely Mirielle.

I won't lie, going up those hills and stairs was...shall we say challenging? My heart was hammering. My legs were a little quivery. I was not thrilled. I had thought myself in better shape than that. Two old ladies breezed by, stopping to ask us which trail we took. Oh, they said, that one is hard. I said, "You mean there's an easier one?" Ha ha, they laughed. Only I wasn't kidding.

My despair was shortlived. I realized somewhere along the line that a few years ago I wouldn't have been able to even consider this hike.

This bridge marked the half-way point of our hike. 2 and 1/4 miles down, 2 and 1/4 miles to go. Straight ahead, across the bridge was a scenic lookout, up some stairs. Ugh. I thought about the miles I just hiked, and opted out. Mirielle and Aaron went, and I sat on a big rock in the woods looking at the falls...

The rock was cold, and I was in the shade. I soon put my jacket back on. I thought about how hard it was to just sit and do nothing. I consciously relaxed. I looked around and took some deep breaths. I had to go pee, and wondered if I could possible manage to go before anyone else came down the trail, but chickened out.

Mirielle and Aaron came back, and off we went...toward the car. Dang, it was a long way back. But I had changed my tune. I realized that I had made it halfway, and I would make it back. Thankfulness kicked in. Thankfulness that my knees were doing fine, that my legs were holding up, and the day was joyously beautiful. Thankful that my older kids included me. We plodded on, me looking forward to the bathroom since I had had a large coffee on the way (pumpkin spice coffee from Wegman's...)AND lots of water from my water bottle. Aaron talked about what we were going to have for lunch. My lunchtime is normally noon. I had a handful of sunflower seeds and a pear at noon. Not enough. We finally walked off the trail and found the restroom at 2:45. Almost three hours in the woods. Phew.

We had a snack in the car, a few seeds, some fruit, a bite or two of peanutbutter-on-rice cakes...

Then...into the city, and to Moe's. We had never been to Moe's. Aaron said it is like Chipotle, which I have never been to either. I got a salad with chicken and rice and salsa and olives and cukes...a basked of tortilla chips comes with each entree, and there is a salsa bar. I usually don't eat carbs like that, but hey, I felt like I could yesterday. I was ravenous.

Wegman's for bananas and pears and bread and milk and yogurt and: this Wegmans, being near Cornell perhaps? had a much bigger health food section. I got some coconut flour, finally! They were all out of almond flour though.

Home...ahh, nice to be home. I made sloppy joes for dinner, some fresh cauliflower, mixed veggies, green beans...then pumpkin ice cream for dessert. I had a small bit, just a scoop. I had to almost slap myself silly not to get up and get more. It was too good.

Well. There is a Dome event tonight, Paul and I were both signed up to work. So I decided to let Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille skip school today, and have a sleepover in the little girls' room last night. I went in there and helped set up the beds...I snuggled on the floor between Jon and Char, and told stories...

Today they are here with me. They are snuggled on the couch, still chilled from their little escapade out on the started hailing like crazy, so they got winter coats on and went out and tried to collect bowls of it. Suri went too, so she is snuggled with them. I know, I know, no dogs allowed on the couch.

They have been busy today. Sonja K. was playing Wii Fit, Camille had a pile of dollies and was in her own little world, while Char and Jonny went around with the measuring tape, measuring everything.

We are going to make cookies today. I have confidence that I can keep my paws off them because I am going to try out a Paleo recipe, now that I have my coconut flour. Yay!!! It is a perfect day to bake, so cold and overcast and windy.

Paul and were supposed to work...but, enough people signed up that we don't have to!!! We like working at the Dome, but we also like being home. He texted me and said we are having a party tonight, he is bringing stuff for root beer floats.

My dear dear kids are now watching, "Jacob Two-Two". They are all relaxed and getting warm. I think it is time to bake cookies. We plan to play, "Just Dance 2" later...I will sneak my weights out here and dance and lift a little, get my work out in...

Because, I have decided to keep on keeping on. I loved my hike yesterday. I loved loved loved it. It is a suffering to exercise,to fit it in, and to keep going when there is other stuff going on around here, and to stay out of the junk food, and to limit my portions, to say NO to ice cream...but the benefits far outweigh those sufferings.

We are going to put the kettle on now for tea and cocoa, and decide what kind of cookies to make...Sonja votes for chocolate chip cookies with no chocolate chips, Jon wants oatmeal chocolate chip, Char wants pumpkin cut-outs, and Camille votes for oatmeal...I am also going to make my pumpkin cookies...yum!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

a message of peace....One World Concert...


1. After 9 school kids and the college kids left, Suri and I went on our errands. First to town to pick up a parking pass for the Dome.

2. Quick stop at insurance agency to get insurance cards.

3. Department of Motor Vehicles. Suri got to get out and walk down the sidewalk and bark at a few people while wagging her tail. (the good news is that I actually had all the forms I needed and got the car registered!)

4. Grocery store to get drink mix and nuts and gum for the last package to Ben in Afghanistan!!!

5. Post office to mail it.

6. McDonalds. What? I needed a coffee! So I got one for Sam too, plus a few other things for him, and a yogurt parfait for me.

7. To pick Samuel up from school (I told him I had McDonald's food in the car, but I forgot the fries...we got in the van, he looked in the bag, and we accidentally scored a large fries! AND I didn't get charged for them!) Anyway, he was a happy camper, I ate only two fries...Suri had three. For being such a good puppy. She could have totally trashed that whole bag of fast food while I was signing Sam out.

8. Gas station.

9. Home. Ahh, home. But only for ten minutes! We had to get moving to the Dome!
I fixed myself a peanut- butter- on- a -rice cake quick, changed my clothes, used the bathroom, and we were out the door...Paul and I, Emily, Mirielle, Joseph, Aaron, and Samuel.

I got in with a Balance bar, as did Emily. Mirielle brought in a pear and banana. But one of the other guys there got his pear taken from him. We were "wanded", and one of the girls had her purse searched...but she opened it up, there were Girl Supplies on the top, so the guy was embarrassingly okay with not searching the whole thing. I mean, we had to have ibuprofen and gum and chap stick with us! No purses, ha. One poor kid didn't get the security memo and had to return to his home with his backpack, as he wasn't allowed to even leave it at the gate...he missed quite a bit of the event. He stopped to buy water because his water bottle was confiscated at security, and we were nice, shh, and gave him a courtesy cup. When we told him not to tell all his friends, he said he didn't have any, don't worry. I am hoping he just meant at the concert.

One World Concert: it was decent. I am not a big fan of most of the music played, but it was loud and clear, and some of it was enjoyable. The Dalai Lama was very interesting. My niece and I took a break while he was speaking, climbed those steps right up to the top of that seating in the Dome, and listened for a bit. Unfortunately the kids behind us didn't care much for his message, so they were noisy and rude.

The crowd last night was much different than the usual football game/basketball game crowd. Overall, more respectful. The hippie-ish clothing was great, too! Most of the people I interacted with were really nice, kind, thankful people. There is one in every crowd though, and it seems he always finds me...the one rude guy. My rude guy last night...

He was with his wife. She ordered two pretzels(3.50 each) with cheese ($1.50extra each), and a coffee. I was helping fill the order, and didn't hear 2 cheese cups, so I put one on the counter. He said that if he was paying a buck and a half for a cheese cup, he damn well better get his cheese cup. I just got him one, said I was sorry, and smiled at him. He snarled that we were robbing people with our prices. I said that we just volunteer there, we don't set the prices. He was in a very bad spirit, I said to him, "Give peace a chance!"...he didn't appreciate it. His poor wife. When I handed her the coffee a minute later, she thanked me and apologized for him, while he said to her, "better hold onto your purse, or she'll steal that too!". Meaning me. Like I would ever take anyone's purse. jeepers. No one made him go to that event, or made him buy cheese with his pretzel. What a huge adult brat. His poor wife, she looked like she was mortified.

And one lady complained about the price of the waterbottles to Mirielle, then proceeded to just grab it and walk away without paying. Mirielle says that lady will get her just reward when she ends up in hell. Wouldn't it just be easier to pay the three fifty?
But most of the people there were just happy to be there.

We didn't get home until one a.m., I took the dog out, cleaned up some of the mess she made by having a hip hip horrah party in the compost can, took a shower...then finally, my comfy bed. But could I sleep? ha! I had too much coffee, too much diet Mountain Dew. Perhaps I just wanted to go over in my head all the different people I "met"...and remember all the things that happened....

One lady was irritated at another woman for being noisy, so she yelled at her, "Show some EFFIN RESPECT!" I still find that hilarious. The total irony of the statement. because in real life, she didn't say, "EFFIN".

There was the handsome kind black gentleman who said to me, "How is your evening going so far?" right when I was about as frazzled and tired as could be. It just was nice, like he didn't see us as mere workers, as most people do, especially at the sporting events. I lied and said It Was Fine.

It wasn't really a lie though. Even though my feet hurt and my mind was starting to blank out, and I was getting tired of telling people that Sorry, We Ran Out Of Pretzels, it was satisfying to be there with friends. One of my nieces made a mask, totally out of register tape, and wore it for a while. One of my sons draw a ninja warrior on the white paper, which said, "Peace? lol!"

Today, my feet hurt. I am tired. But I am home with just housework and Suri. Paul had to go to Real Work, and my poor college kids! And Sam, he had to get up and go to regular school this morning. I will be thinking of them today!

Anyways....I texted with Benjamin this morning. He will be home at the end of November! Home to his home base in Washington, that is. He texted me a picture...he looks sunkissed and healthy, and happy. I emailed it myself and spent like ten minutes trying to upload it to the blog, but it didn't work. Oh well.

Enough of my babble for today.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

wah, having a cry-y day...

1. Kitty Kitten's kittens are all given away. She isn't dealing well, and I am crying my eyes out as she paces the hallway mewing and making that Mama Kitty noise in her kittens are coming to greet her, and she doesn't get it. Where are those kittens? Wah.

2. I read the morning news...a missing ten-year old girl in Colorado, police have found her backback. I won't say what words came out of my mouth, directed at whoever took her. How dare they? I have a ten year old daughter, and I can't even begin to imagine the agony...

3. In military news, a Marine Sqt. from California was killed in Afghanistan. She was beautiful and her first name was Camella.

4. I had to send my kids to school this morning after a four day weekend. I told them to get school lunches today because I totally didn't feel like making them. Mommy Guilt.

5. Totally out of nowhere this morning I thought, "My parents would have loved Suri." I started thinking about them, and that always makes me cry. They had this chocolate Lab named, "Bup", also known as, "Buppie Rose", who was so spoiled yet so smart...she would get all worried when my mom was in the hospital, going in and out of her room. She would bring sections of the newspaper back and forth between my parents, they just got a kick out of her. They also had a previously abused beagle named, "Shelly", who was always shy but when they first got her, she was terrified of everyone. My dad used to drive her to Burger King ever single day and split a burger with her. Oh wah.

6. I missed my walk this morning because I woke up in the wee hours of the morning having to wee. It was one of those, "do I stay in bed and try to sleep even though I have to go so bad I might just wet the bed, or get up and go knowing I will NOT be able to get back to sleep?...." I got up and went, and then, oh my mind got going...all the things I had to do today, ect...blah. I fell back to sleep and was totally zonked when it was time to get I dragged myself out of bed with only enough time to take Suri out in front of the house.

7. I saw a lady in Wegman's yelling at her kids. Now, I am not saying I never did that. In fact, I could totally feel her frustration. Her little boys were happy and bouncy and driving her nuts. Her little girl was sitting in the cart whining. So she was mad. Threatening, and yelling at those poor kids. I stood there putting my rice cakes in the cart...staring at her. I wanted to say something to her, but wah, wouldn't you know my eyes filled with tears. The thing is, the times when I got so frustrated with my kids...even the other day...I realized pretty quickly that it was ME who was will be kids, and sometimes they can be horrid...but. It is ME who has to be good, gentle, and correct with goodness. This mama obviously never got that memo, and she was so mad. It makes me wonder how God can stand it, seeing all that He sees....

8. Sam's Army mug broke.(when I say he drank out of this every single day, I am not kidding) Jonathan was playing with Baxter, Ben and Ashley's border collie. Jon wound up and threw a stuffed mechanical kitten, which hit the top of the doorframe and pinged the other way, knocking Sam's mug off the top of the refrigerator. I swear it fell in slow motion. We all yelled, "Jon!!!"....but I quickly comforted him, telling him it was an accident....then I picked up the mug, which had huge chunks broken off, and said, "Maybe Sam won't notice." For some reason, that had us doubled over with laughter...but Sam DID notice.

9. We went to visit my in-laws yesterday. Paul's dad gave us his car because he cannot drive anymore. Wah! He put 95,000 miles on that car in just 8 years of driving ONLY IN SUMMERS! (they winter in Florida). He loves going for drives! He had to sign some papers yesterday, and I assured him we would take good care of it for him, which he said he appreciated. The back seats of it were never even sat in! And this vehicle may have a lot of miles, but it has new tires, has been take care of, never driven in winter, has leather heated seats, a moon/sun roof, ect. The fact that I love it and am excited to drive it makes me feel even sadder for my father-in-law. I know he has been blessed, he is almost 85 now and just had to stop driving...but still. wah.

10. We went to the library yesterday. This time I don't have to cry about fines because all the books went back on time. But this made us sad: a group of young teenagers hanging out behind the library, smoking. They have nothing useful to do. wah.

And I guess I am all out of sad things for this morning. I have to get going the insurance agency to insure this new-to-us vehicle, then to the dreaded Motor Vehicle Department to get it registered in my name. Then to Walmart to buy more drink mix for Benjamin, then to the post office to send him one last package, YAY!,then to pick Samuel up from his criminal justice class, then to Subway because I promised Sam a sub because then, we are going to the Dome to work the concession stand because the Dalai Lama is in town! I really really like him, he is such a humble man. I am thinking and hoping we will get to hear what he has to say...there are several bands playing, ect, but when he speaks, I doubt people will be buying is supposed to be quite an exciting thing for him to be here in our state, coming to our Dome...and security will be tight. That makes it difficult for me, because I always bring at least an apple and some almonds when I work at the Dome because the food there is SO horribly unhealthy. We get to eat one item, and we will be there for like 8 hours. I usually snack on my healthy-from-home snack...but today, no purses are even allowed! What if you are a girl, and you need supplies? I was thinking to stuff my whole purse with pads and bring it through security just to make a statement.... Anyway, I guess one day eating junk won't kill me...but dang, it doesn't sound good.

Mirielle is fretting about it too, she eats gluten-free. She says the thought of eating a Dome pretzel makes her feel sick.

Oh well.

I feel better now. If you haven't read the book, "Owl At Home" by Arnold Lobel, order it and read it. It contains the story, "Tear Water Tea", and it is a must-read if you have kids or grand-kids. Even if you don't.

Now that I have cried my tear water tea, I feel better.

Oh, and I always forget to say this: I love when you comment! I always MEAN to answer them, but then I hit "publish", then don't go back to the post and comment, thinking I will later...but I love reading them and getting feedback!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

happy sunday!

It is very chilly this morning, but what a nice walk I had! Suri was horrid, she wants to sniff everything, and she actually gobbled something up from in the road, I am not sure what it was, yuck! She is learning she has to stay on my right side, not cross in front of me whenever she darn well feels like it, causing me to trip over her. Mama Kitty came the whole way with us too, which I find hilarious.

My headache is gone, and I am very thankful for that.

No church for us today as our building is being expanded and is under construction. We haven't had a whole weekend at home in so long. Even though we worked at the Dome Friday night, it seems like such a luxury to just be home. I have to call a lady back about taking a kitten, so there ARE some things to do. Of course if she comes here to pick it up, I will want to clean up a bit more than I would if no one was coming over.

Camille needs some attention. She is cuddled up on the arm of my chair, being a Bug. Poking me and trying to rock the chair, humming in my ear. She has a beautiful princess dress on. She wants to go someplace. I do not want to go someplace. It is cold out, overcast, and it is warm and cozy in here. I want to make pumpkin spice lattes (and pumpkin muffins, but they are a No-No for me.)

Well, I thought it was a good time to write, but apparently the kids here don't think so. I shall go and be a good mama and perhaps write later, since I have so many important things to say.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

the best laid plans of man...

My mother used to say that quite often when things just didn't go like they were supposed to. Today, I have a mega-headache. It started out as a mild annoyance this morning, and I was able to go on my 1.2 mile walk with Suri-pup. After some puttering around, I started some breakfast. Two pounds of bacon on a cookie sheet in the oven. Some of the kids had scrambled eggs, some cereal, and there was toast being toasted. I do miss toast, as I don't eat it anymore. I had just a tiny little bit of whole oats with crunchy peanut butter, some sliced almonds, blueberries, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and some Stevia. And one egg, scrambled. And coffee. And too much bacon. It was so good though! Lots of the kids and Paul and I sat around the table for too long, just talking.

My head started hurting more and more...I should have taken some ibuprofen earlier. But I didn't. I finally just took a few, and I feel almost like I am going to get sick to my stomach.

Yesterday was a good day for exercise. After my morning walk, then working out, then walking on the nature preserve for 2-3 miles, we went to the Dome...parked in the parking garage at the bottom of The Evilest Hill..then up three flights of stairs..and walked up a Super Evil fact, it is referred to as The Hill. Someone simply forgot to add the word, "Evil". Because it is very evil. Then, to add insult to injury,there are steps. They aren't ordinary stairs, they are higher, steeper. I counted 80 something...then, into the building and up two more flights. But the good news is that my racing heart slowed down pretty quickly and I felt fine. I always wish I had stairs like that here, it is like a total work-out just from the parking garage to our concession stand! And may I mention the joy of repeating the whole schmiel on the way back to the car after standing on my feet for hours and hours?

I was a beer pourer at the Dome. From the time we opened until four hours or so later when we closed, I poured beer from tap, non-stop. Except for when I had to pour a cup of wine. Cup after cup after cup. The best part was that I made a new friend...a very nice girl who goes to college there. Very sweet and friendly. The worst part, besides when one of the kegs went dry and we got showered with beer, was the repeat customers who thought they were so of the guys was so inappropriate. According to his I.D., he was 23 years old. Same age as my son Benjamin. Seriously? He was talking like that to me? I acted all innocent, but I was steaming mad inside. Then I answered him as cold as ice, and he was all like, "What, I am just being nice, giving you compliments." Yeah, bud, you are saying one thing and meaning another, I am not stupid. rrr. Then another guy got totally ticked off because one of the beers was coming out super foamy. He really got mad about it, and I put my foot down and said, "Listen Mr., don't you dare give me a hard time about this. I just volunteer here for a church group, and I this is NOT my fault. No way." I looked right at him while I said it, and he totally backed down. He apologized, and I backed down too, and joked about the long line...then he came back later, and the my new friend looked at him and said, "You're the guy who was so mean to us before." It was SO funny. But he did feel bad about it, which he should. I mean, jeepers. He had to wait a minute for his beer. too bad!

Anyway, it was not too bad for the most part. Most of the people were friendly, and Paul and I got to leave after half-time because that's when they stop serving beer there.

It is a nice cozy day here, very chilly outside. The kids put on snowpants and coats and boots and went out to play in the leaves for a while. Then they came in and slid down the carpeted stairs with their snowpants on into a huge pile of coats they had taken off the hooks. It took them a while, but they did pick all the coats back up by themselves when they were done.

Evelyn is making brownies. I just want to go lie down and get rid of this headache, but I remember now that I promised Margaret a ride to her cousin's house. blah, I do not know if I can drive.

When I don't have a headache, please remind me that life is so good! Pound pound pound, dang.

So off I go to talk to Miss Margaret...maybe she can wait a while to go...