summer 2011

summer 2011

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

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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

family picture

Merry Christmas!

And since there is never a dull moment, I am getting up in the morning and driving to Florida. Yup. Not alone, of course. Joseph(21) and Aaron (20) are the other drivers, Samuel (17), Evelyn (13), and Suze (11) are just going along for the ride. The 21 hour ride. We are staying in a Microtel a few miles from Gramma's place. See....Kathryn and Benjamin are flying there tomorrow. Ben is flying home on New Year's Eve, we are taking Kathryn home with us. Why? We want to visit Gramma (Paul's mom). Grampa isn't doing well, and it has been hard for her. She has had some tough decisions to make, so we want to go down and give her a few hugs, and see Grampa. Sometimes these spontaneous ideas just fall into place. we go tomorrow, to Florida for the weekend!

Monday, December 24, 2012

i'll he home for Christmas......

You can count on me....they missed their flight. After sixteen hours at the airport waiting for another one..they finally got seats on the red eye. So they are in New Yoro now....sleeping at Emilys house...we are just waiting now for them to come on over... so...I took Sam to the small city to get cartriidges for his air soft gun that he picked oit to get from Santa. It would be too sad if he couldnt try his present on Christmas. Paul built a snowman with the kids...when they went in the house, after ,my nice relaximg walk, Sam and I plugged it with his airsoft rifle.....ooh fun. Anyway...we did go shppping today...just to the one place...then the kids started texting me for things...A quick trip to Aldi too....i am writing this oj my nook so excuse the mistaoes...and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

merry merry Christmas!!!!

Camille and I...

Miss Charlotte Claire and I...

Miss Margaret The Birthday Girl, teaching baby Linnea to play her ukele.

Baby-In-A-Box...well, my five year old baby...she found this doll pacifier and reverted instantly to a crawling baby.

Suzanne tried to get Camille to eat when she was sick...what a nice big sister.

Suri was such a good pup when the girls were sick...

Miss Charlotte Claire going out to enjoy the snow.

Kathryn and Jon like their cousin Thomas...well, he is married to their cousin. He is the twins' daddy.

So...the shopping is done...all the food for tomorrow night is planned and bought. The last of the gifts have been wrapped. Today Mirielle and I found just a few extra things and she wrapped them for me. We were out of the house by 9a.m. to go to the dollar store, B.J.'s, and Wegmans. We bought crackers and cheese and pepperoni, green peppers and tomatoes and cilantro and cheese and fajitas for our Chipotle bar.

Benjamin was supposed to come home yesterday. They missed their flight. So...they will be here before Christmas, but I am not supposed to say WHEN. I am so so excited!!!!!

Lots of the older kids are at Emily's new house helping her put in new floors upstairs. Paul and Samuel and Suri are rabbit hunting, and I hope they don't really shoot a bunny.

So...I just want to say how thankful I am...thankful for my kids...thankful for my has been so nice to have him around these past days. I am thankful that I know and believe that God sends all things for my very best.

Friday, December 21, 2012

all done shopping...

Abigail and I went out and about this fine snowy morning. BigLots for one more roll of wrapping paper, two Secret Santa gifts, and some marked-down Christmas cds. An oil change for Benjamin's car at Valvoline, then to Walmart for pizza dough (homemade is better, but 88 cents isn't bad either), and a box of ribbon candy for Aaron. Then Wegman's...they sell 5 pound bags of shredded mozzarella cheese for $12-something. We are having our usual Saturday night pizza tomorrow for Margaret's sixteenth birthday celebration, plus some chicken wings, celery and blue cheese, and carrots and ranch dip. Not me, of course...I do not eat dip, and try to stay away from pizza. Anyway, we got Fluff to make our Christmas fudge, and pears and yogurt and milk. We stopped to fill up Ben's car with gas, and home we came.

Emily and Abigail are moving. They closed on their house on Wednesday, and most of their stuff is moved. Samuel, Sonja, and Jonathan just went to help Abigail move the rest of her stuff into the house.

My little princesses stayed home from school today, again. They were just dragging yesterday. Char had no energy...and Camille had a temperature of 99.9 yesterday afternoon. They are pretty happy though: their big box from the Disney store! Belle and Merida and Ariel and Rapunzel are now playing with them.

Yesterday I got my sugar cookies took too many hours. Rolling them out, baking them, frosting and sprinkling them. I used a new recipe that called for 10 cups of flour and 6 sticks of butter. Kim, I think they turned out pretty good, judging by how many I "tasted".

Now we just have to keep the kids out of them so there will be some left when Ben gets home.

I don't know when that will be yet...I think he is going to surprise us.

It is snowing out! We will be having a white Christmas here in the middle of New York state.

Mirielle and Aaron are tired this week. They had clinical in the hospital, leaving here at 5:30 every morning. And somehow I wake up when they do. This fine morning I couldn't fall back to sleep, so I can totally sympathize with their fatigue...I would LOVE a nap today!

But when those kids get off that school bus in an hour or so, it will be the start of Christmas Vacation! So I don't think I will be sleeping when they come in the door. Nah.

I think I will go do some work around here, make some fudge, switch the laundry.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I wish...

I wish I was the kind of girl who....

1. Answered every comment left here on my blog. I totally enjoy reading them, then I procrastinate about replying....then I'll be doing one of those mind-wandering jobs like wiping down the top of the stove (I live with dozens of slobs!), and I'll remember a question or a nice comment that I never answered or thanked someone for.

2. Had her act together. I mean, come on. I have a huge bag of presents in a Target bag in my room. They are for either Charlotte Claire or Camille. That one day...that day I was so proud of my accomplishment of getting things out and putting them in piles? Well. That day, we either pooped out or got interrupted before we finished wrapping...and that bag of presents is sitting there. I don't know what we already wrapped for which one...and I don't believe in equality, but...what if one of them gets all the presents? I still have to check with Sonja K., she was my helper that day.

3. Same as number two. (ha, I said, "number two"!) I never got the candy out for Suzanne's class party. dang it. I remembered after the buses left. Shh, I know I could have driven over to school...but I didn't feel THAT bad.

4. Same as number three. I am almost out of wrapping paper.

Oh, never mind this list. I don't have too long to sit and enjoy the quiet today. Charlotte Claire is sleeping on the couch. She is still not 100% she stayed home again. Camille went today. I do miss her. But, it's nice to be here with just Char. I filled all the stockings, sort of. Paper bags with 17 names on them, all lined up on the table. On Christmas eve or Christmas day later on when they start asking, I will empty the bags into the stockings. I swept the floors (Suri sheds so much!!!). I washed the counters and did the dishwasher. Washed some clothes. And here I sit, taking a rest. I was going to help Emily move in to her new house today...yes, she closed on her house! I feel very proud of her for being a homeowner!! Yesterday I had my day somewhat planned out...then I dropped everything and went to her apartment with the two little girls. We packed up her kitchen stuff for her, then went over to the new house to do the walk-through with the realtor. It was really fun, and I was glad to help. So today we were going to try to move as much stuff into a U-Haul as we could, just her and I...but Char is dragging....and ugh. I just think she is better off waiting until the older kids are home from school, and Joseph is up and can help her....

I made cut out cookie dough last night. I really want to roll them out and bake them before Ben shows up home. I think he is going to surprise us, he hasn't told when he is coming yet. He better not surprise us and not come home at all...

The first batch of cut-out cookies are long gone.

I also want to make fudge....and some Almond Joy fudge for Sam.

But I don't want to eat any of it. While I was filling the stockings, I had an extra Tootsie-Roll Peppermint Candy Cane lollipop. 60 calories. So I opened it, tasted it...then decided it was just too sugary...I wasn't enjoying it, so I threw it away.

Do you believe I am still not done with my Christmas shopping? Just a few more things.

I talked to my brother today on the phone. He has two kids who are 7 and 9, and I told him he is getting them better presents than my kids are getting. Just in case they read this I won't mention the gifts, but...I want one of those! And one of those other things! Of course he IS my brother, so he didn't pay too much for anything...he just finds those deals.

Time to get out of my comfy chair and make those cookies.

And...thank you everyone for nice comments you have left me. Please know that I really appreciate them! answer the question about if I worry when my kids are sick...well yes....this morning Char didn't get up until after the buses came and left...and all of the sudden I was really scared. Then she came out and was jabbering away. I worry about her though. She is very petite, no fat to spare. She hasn't been eating much, she is very pale. I don't want to send her to school to catch something else. But...after all these years, season after season of having flu, colds, the barfing fun...I know it will pass. I know they will be okay. There is still that little whisper of doubt, I worry that maybe they won't. And croup always scares me because Mirielle almost died of it. (she was 20 months old, and had an infection plus the croup virus. Her throat swelled, closed up...she had to go by ambulance to the hospital...she had to stay a few days, then Joseph, who was 5 months old, was admitted for it.)

I do pray alot, and know that God causes all things to work together for my very best, and that He is watching over me. But sometimes I have to fight against the spirit of fear...quite often, in fact. For me it is scarier to have my non-cholant 21 year old working a night job and driving to and from work in winter weather. And my 27 year old nurse daughter driving to the big city all the time, working 12 hour shifts and being tired. It is scarier to have a daughter who works at McDonalds during school break (Mali), and hear some of the comments that creepy guys have said. When my own heart does that thing where it skips a few beats, I get scared. Oh yeah, I have my things to worry about. I think everyone does. But then there is God. When I just actively give in to my worry, listen to it and dwell on it...instead of fighting against it and trusting God, then it gets stronger. Peace comes when I fight that spirit of fear.

Sorry if that is all scrambled is totally quiet in here...except for the hum of this computer and Suri snoring on the couch next to Char....who is sound I can't blame it on being distracted. But I am. I need to get moving...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Chewed up ornaments everywhere...When she wants something to gnaw on, I guess she just goes over to the tree and helps herself.

Let's see../.how much did I accomplish since yesterday? I took Mali shopping and let her pick out a few things, so now she's done. She got her secret santa gift, which I helped her with. I got something small for Ben and Ashley, and some stocking stuffers. We then took a quick trip through the grocery store because we were running out of puppy chow, milk, and fresh fruit. I got a rawhide bone for Suri's stocking...Mali said, "Suri has a stocking??!!" Well. It was NOT my idea. Charlotte Claire totally tacked an extra one up, all on her own. I have, however, supplied some special treats for Char to put in it. Mostly because Char thinks it's so much fun.

But yes...she sort of is the 17th child:)

I still have just a few things to get. We are having Margaret's birthday on Saturday, with chicken wings and other good snacks...then our Mexican Christmas Eve, then a ham on Christmas. I tend to get all muddled in the store, so I wrote some specific lists. Now if I can just remember to bring the lists into the store with me. Then remember to refer to them, instead of burying 'em under groceries in the cart.

So yesterday afternoon, I got into the house with presents to hide, groceries to put away, dinner to make. I put teriyaki pork chops into the oven and made some veggies. I then wanted to exercise, do stockings, wrap I started with helping the kids wrap their class gifts. Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille needed we wrapped, Jonathan casually mentioned his chorus concert. Yeah, it was last night. And yeah, we went. I was thankful I had the presence of mind not to say what I was thinking, which was, "SERIOUSLY!!? TONIGHT?! Blah!!!" The little girls were still running fevers, so it was just Jon going on stage. Paul and I both went to watch him, and we were impressed. We were impressed that they sang the old "Here We Come a-Wassailing", which had the lyrics.."may God bless you.."...hey, in schools these days, God is NOT that popular.

So the girls are home again. They have to be fever-free for 24 hours before going back to school. They were both quite hot again last night.

It has been hard to send Jonathan, but he is such a good kid....he gets ready so responsibly. He takes his own shower every morning, his homework is always done and in his backpack, and he brushes his teeth and gets his shoes on with no drama. After the Connecticut thing, I am sure every mother in America, if not the world, hesitates a bit before sending her children off to school. (Yes, Margaret, probably the dads too.) So having the girls home sick this week is okay with me. Not okay to see them sick, but okay to have them here to hug and snuggle and take care of.

I am cutting my computer time short this morning, as I have so much to do. I want to make a whole boat-load of Christmas cookies, especially because Ben is coming home. I dread it, because I am just finally back down to a better weight after working off those last ones...I only ate the burnt ones, but my goodness I burnt a lot of them! Just well done, actually, golden brown....really crunchy and buttery..oh dang. I should chew mint gum all day or something.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

days of waiting...

For the kids, the days before Christmas are all about waiting. Waiting for the presents, waiting for Ben to come home. Waiting for their stockings. But for the mom...oh dear. I have lots to do still. A few gifts to buy. Things to wrap, stockings to fill. Margaret is turning 16 on Saturday, yes she was born on the 22nd day of December. 16 years ago...I brought home a beautiful little Margaret Cheryl on Christmas eve. She is my ninth child, the first of the five-girls-in-a-row-in-five-years. When she was born, Emily was 11, Abigail 10, Benjamin 8, Mirielle 6, Joseph 5, Aaron 4, Mali 2 and a half, and Samuel 16 months old. That Christmas, Mirielle got sick on Christmas eve, so I drove all the other kids and that newborn Margaret over to my brother's house because Christmas wasn't Christmas for our kids without spending Christmas eve with their cousins...and it was the better of two hard options...staying home taking care of a sick child (cleaning up yucky messes) with a newborn, or going to my brother's house and just holding the baby while the Aunts and cousins help with my kids...anyway. I do go on, don't I?

Margaret is turning 16 this year on the 22nd, so we are having a party for her. She likes to cry about sad things, so we are having a Sad Birthday. (what does she like to cry about, you might ask? Well...a few weeks ago Paul took the little girls and Jon to chorus practice...they had to wait a long time for the older ones to finish their practice, and they were very good and patient. So he stopped at the small expensive store in town and bought them a cake...that made Margaret cry.) So...I still need to get Margaret a present. All she wants for Christmas is a U.S. Passport because Emily is taking her to Norway soon. So for her birthday, I want to get her something nice.

And I still have to do that.

I also need a classroom gift for Jon, and to wrap the Barbies I got for Char and Camille to take in for their gifts.

Lots of them are bringing things in for their parties. So I have to make/buy that stuff.

And...the little girls are excited as can be because I sat here with them the other day when they were burning with fevers...and let them spend their Christmas money from Gramma at the Disney store online. It was great fun, now they are asking a hundred times a day WHEN the mail is coming. They are getting the Rapunzel wedding doll with the short dark hair, a toddler Ariel doll, a Belle doll, and the Eleanor doll from the movie, "Brave.".

So they wait, I procrastinate. Today I hope to get some things done though.

I did clean up a large mess this morning, thank you Suri. While we were at the dome last night, Evelyn made brownies, Suzanne made a chocolate cake. The brownies were left on the kitchen table. Suri jumped up and crashed the glass pan of them to the floor. She managed to eat them all and leave a nice big pile of clean glass there. I am really hoping she is okay. If she swallowed any glass, eeks. She knows she was bad though, when Paul tried to call her over to the pile, she would not come. Dogs shouldn't eat chocolate, but she seems fine. I am a bit worried about, chocolate...if anything happened to this dog, the kids would be devastated.

So, never a dull moment here. The girls are feeling better. Better enough to take all the Fisher-Price Little people stuff out of their closet, have a tissue "snow-ball" war, and fool around like crazy. They do not want to watch any shows or movies, thank you, just catch up on all the things they couldn't do for the last few days.

So...I have to buy food for Margaret's party and for Christmas eve. Our Christmas eve theme this year is Mexican. Margaritas, Pina Coladas, tacos and fajitas.

Oh, it is so much nicer to sit here and type about all the things I have to do than to actually get up and do it.

Monday, December 17, 2012

aah, monday again...

Where did the weekend go? The kids went to school, except for the two little sick girls. Jonathan got showered and ate his wheat Chex while watching, "Curious George", then brushed his teeth and got his shoes and coat and backpack and went out and got on that bus all by himself (the six older kids go an hour earlier). I hated to send him. Honestly, after what happened Friday in Connecticut, it makes it all the harder to send the kids off to school. It is just unbearable what happened to those kids.

And it makes all my troubles and trials seem quite silly.

Suri thinks the laundry room is her lair. She stole one of Camille's boots, brought it in to the laundry room. Gloves, the foam package from the hamburger the laundry room to be chewed up later, I guess. A few Christmas ornaments, a pine cone, one of the stockings that didn't get hung up, a doll. I would just go in and scratch my head and pick random things up...then I realized that Suri was the culprit. I mean, who else would stow the foam burger package in the laundry room?

She hasn't peed on the floor again since the Great Present Catastrophe though.

My coffee is gone, wah. There wasn't a full cup left, and I lazed out and didn't make another pot. My oatmeal was really yummy this morn. We are out of crunchy peanut butter, so I just added a heaping spoonful of pumpkin, some cinnamon and allspice, lots of sliced almonds, some splenda, a teaspoon (yes, I measured)...and whole milk. Yum.

Benjamin is coming home soon!!!!! Yay! I don't know if he is going to tell me when he is coming, or just surprise us. He says I am a terrible secret keeper so he might not even tell me. ouch, I am not! Ashley is coming with him, which is very nice. I have been praying!

Just knowing Ben will be here for Christmas is so so nice. Too bad that Emily-The-Nurse has to work the 24th, 25th, and 26th, all 12 hour shifts. But having Ben home will be just so good. I still read, "The List", on The Drudge Report...I can't help it. Soldiers are still dying in Afghanistan, America may have forgotten that war, but families are still losing their sons, husbands, fathers. I feel like it's the least I can their names, whisper my thanks. I pretty much broke down reading about one of the most recent ones, he was from Benjamin's base, he had just gotten there last month, replacing a Stryker unit. So Ben and his guys come home, one of the replacements gets hit with an Improvised Explosive Device. So I do not take Ben Being Home For Christmas, lightly. Oh no. I am so thankful.

And just for the record, I think the principal of that school in Connecticut should have had a gun. Just sayin'. Or perhaps one in a cabinet in the nurse's office. I mean, this principal and the school psychologist both are heroes, they went after that guy. If only they had had a weapon too. Seriously. I just think if we control guns more, have more laws, the bad guys will still get them. I mean, look at drugs! I could get some tomorrrow, if I so desired. They are everywhere, and guess what: they are illegal!

Anyway. Charlotte Claire is sitting on the couch in her warm fuzzy robe...or rather MY warm fuzzy robe, with a sippy up of water...asking when I am going to be done with Daddy's computer, because she wants a turn. This is good, yesterday she was so sick she didn't care about too much. Camille's temperature is 99.5, so she is on the road to recovery. She is sitting with me.:)

We have no fresh fruit left in the house, except for a bag of grapefruit. I need some pears., perhaps NEED is too strong a word. Weightloss news: I seem to keep losing and gaining the same four or five pounds. I am glad I lose them again, but I am getting tired of vowing not to gain them again. But. I will NOT give up. No sir. Not an option. I do not want to re-gain. So I am hereby proclaiming that I will not nibble cookies, take bites of pizza, or eat too many chocolate chips. I will not lie and say I will eat NO chocolate chips, however. ha. I went up a few pounds, but am back down again...but I am SO ready to lose some more...I think I am getting to be an expert at maintenance, but I am not ready for that yet! Fifty more pounds to go!!!

And now I will put those towels in the dryer and put in a load of darks....I need to wash my "Dome jeans". Yes, back to the Dome this afternoon. The basketball coach is hoping for his 900th career win. Seriously, going to work concessions there with the team SO not too difficult. I happen to love college basketball anyway, but to get glimpses of those three pointers, and to hear the crowd roar...not too shabby.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

sunday at home...

Jonathan with Suri...

Charlotte Claire is smart, she knows that, "Cats are stoopid."

Two sick little princesses cuddled on the couch...

Camille made this picture in kindergarten art class. It is a monster with wings, and a bellybutton. She is the little girl holding it's leash.

Suri with Camille...

Char says the only good part of being sick is er friend Suri snuggling with her all the time.

They have been really sick today, the little girls. Temperatures 104.2 and 103.5. I stayed home, except for the cold windy 1.2 mile walk I sneaked in, and cuddled with them. Abigail took Suzanne, Sonja, and Jonathan ice skating...then brought Jon to a friend's house to watch lots of episodes of, "Psych". Mirielle brought Margaret, Kathryn, and Evelyn to the twins' first birthday party. So it has been a strange day...rather quiet. There were only Paul and I and seven kids here for dinner. I made meatballs, some pasta, green beans, a garlic and cheese pizza, and a sugar/cinnamon pizza.

I don't like that they are sick. But I must admit, I do like taking care of them. Making them tea with milk and sugar in their sippy cups. Sitting with them. We went online today and spent all their Christmas money at the Disney store...Camille has asked me fifty times already, "When is the stuff going to come in the mail, Mama?" Char is feeling a bit better, she was up and playing, "SIMS" for a bit.

And now I sign off...there are seven girls in here right now, and I want to talk to them...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

saturday morning at our house...

I made Camille's little dream come true last night. She, for some reason, has been asking begging pleading to sleep in the living room...for weeks now. She does not give up. So last night, I decided to let them sleep in the living room. The older kids were all ice skating with the youth kids from church, so we were having a cozy little evening here. We had some M&M's and watched, "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer". They were already cuddled up on the couches...we brought Jon's mattress out, and made a cozy nest on the floor for Charlotte Claire, who had a 104.5 temperature earlier in the evening. Camille and Sonja slept on one of the couches. Suri thought it was a great celebration. She slept with Camille most of the night. Camille said she sat up and petted her. Camille woke up with a fever. She has the "flute", she says. Ha, she has already missed several days of school, and is just now coming down with it. But I will be glad to keep her home with me for a few more days. Because, like the rest of the world, my little ones have become a bit more precious since that horrible tradgedy in Connecticut. I look at her cute little face, her still-chubby toddler-ish tummy, and the way she tries to be so grown-up...the way she pronounces her words so correctly...and I can't someone could do something so awful. How parents can possibly bear the news. Kindergartners. Impossible to fathom.

So last night I decided she could sleep in the living room. She jumped up and down on the couch and said, "You made my dream come true!!"

Ah, the little things in life.

Today is a Dome day for me. Again.

And...since I have a sick Camille snuggled up on the arm of my chair, a sick Char who is better enough to be whiny...and since it is Saturday, lots of other kids are milling around talking to I cannot concentrate, which is fine...I will sign off for now and go be a mommy...

Friday, December 14, 2012


Out to dinner for Abigail's birthday...with my niece Ellen, my sister, me. It was also my sister's daughter Claire's birthday.

Abigail. Emily told her, "I bought you a house for your birthday, Ab." Emily and Abigail live in an apartment in town. But not for long! They are closing on their house next week! A nice big roomy house.

We had too much fun last night. And yes, I was bringing home the straws to the girls. Yes, I washed them when I got home. Yes, Camille was happy. But Charlotte Claire is too sick to care. She has a temp of 103.3 this morning, and Jon is still 101. No fun. Camille...she is home because there is no way, no how, she was going to go to school all alone. Even if I picked her up, even if I put pudding in her lunch. I decided to just relent and bow out before the battle..

Today, I am staying home. I am sick and tired of shopping anyway. (Mirielle was nice enough to volunteer to take good care of them while I went out last night for Abigail's birthday..I offered her money to go instead, but she didn't want knowing they were in good hands, I went with only minimal guilt)

Suri is a great comfort for sick kids. She lies as close as possible to them, or right on them. She is a cuddler.

Camille is not sick, but she has a big comfy robe on and wants attention. So...I will give her some.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

happy birthday abigail!

As cliche as it sounds to go on and on about how I can not possibly be the mom of kids so old, I will say it anyway. Abigail is 26 years old today. (Emily will be 28 in January, eeks!) How can I possibly be so old? How can she be so old? Since I spend most of my days muddling through being patient with teenagers and keeping the energetic little kids happy, I forget that, for all intents and purposes, a few of my kids have actually passed successfully on to independence. Abigail did well in high school, graduated from a 4-year college with an accounting degree, and has a job in the big city. She is happy with her life, she is a good girl. She has a bad knee, which she dislocated while playing volleyball a few years was not put back into joint properly and healed wrong. She goes to physical therapy a few times a week, but it is still painful and limits her activities. Anyway, today is her birthday, and since I have my act together, I have tons of fun planned. Not really, but seriously: if you are one of my kids and are reading this, you know by now that the degree that a celebration is planned in advance has no correlation to the degree that you are loved. 'Cause I do love you all.

Sickness update: Jon's fever was 103.7 last night. He seems a bit better this morning. Charlotte Claire has a fever. Camille had one yesterday, this morning she is lying on the couch with a normal temperature. Sonja still had a fever last evening.

I actually crawled back into my warm comfy bed this morning after I got up and saw the older kids out the door and ran around in the cold with Suri. I checked on the girls and decided they couldn't go, and...back to bed I went. Oh, it was nice. I dozed off and everything. I could so easily be a lazy bum. Or rather, more of a lazy bum.

And since no one wants to hear about what I bought at the store yesterday and what I still have to do before Christmas, I won't bore you with the details. But let's just say I have like five kids to still get things for.

Does anyone else have kids who like to write on things other than paper? Camille scribbled in green marker on the side of the counter-top trim. I took a wild guess that she was the culprit, when I told her I knew it was her, she didn't deny it. She asked me how I knew. So I guess my guess was right.

I am starting to get really excited for Benjamin to come home for Christmas. I had better get him a present though...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

what will today bring?

Sonja K. is sick with a fever, she has the flu. The nice nurse from school called yesterday to say that that Suzanne was there in her office and needed to be picked up. Then Jonathan came home from the Activity Club ice skating party last night shivering...102 temperature. So, did I send the two little princesses? No. I tip-toed into their room with the thermometer this morning and checked Miss Char. 97.4. Camille was still sound asleep. Char begged to be able to go back to sleep. She said her throat hurts and she is tired. Well, with all that is going around...I said Okay, as long as she was quiet and didn't wake Camille, and truly went back to sleep. They are finally waking up now.

So Evelyn is here. She went back to school yesterday and feels worn out today. Suze, Sonja, Jon are sick. And the princesses are up and playing Barbies. I guess this means I cancel Evelyn's dentist appointment, since I can't leave the younger ones all here by themselves.

I do have to go to BigLot's sometime today. I went there yesterday and spent $99 on things we really needed, like a new zippered vinyl mattress cover to replace a ripped one, stocking stuffers, a SpongeBob Christmas dvd, and some 50 cent bags of kettle chips. The bag with the quilted waterproof mattress cover and the shower curtains stayed behind at the store. I called and they are holding it for me. It never made it into the cart somehow. oh well. (I know, right? 99 dollars??!!)

I didn't even get new undies for the little girls. They need some because a certain puppy likes to chew them up. lovely.

Christmas is coming,
The goose is getting fat,
Please put a penny in the old man's hat,
If you haven't got a penny a ha'penny will do,
If you haven't got a half-penny, God bless YOU!

I do not know who wrote that. But it puts things into perspective, doesn't it?

I have most of our presents wrapped now, some for the third time. Suzanne pitched in and helped me last night while most of the other kids were ice skating. I still have like five kids to buy for though.

All my own mother ever wanted for Christmas was, "seven good kids."...and we would tell her she already had that. She would say that she was all set then. I miss her. Christmas is a tough time for that. I miss my dad too. He wasn't perfect, but he cared about us. The way he looked out for us all felt so secure. He has been gone for almost 6 years now and I still feel rather untethered. A little lost. My parents loved me like no one on this earth ever could. Then there is my brother Billy. I can't even think about him without crying still.

Yes, Christmastime is a season for memories and traditions, and some of those memories make me feel such loss.

Kathryn has been texting me from school. She doesn't have a phone, but she has one of her siblings' old ipod with a texting app. She is heading to the nurse because she feels awful. Dang, I need to wash my long tangly hair. Wonder if I have time to jump into the shower...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

never a dull moment, part II

Suri doesn't go to the bathroom in the house very much anymore. Last night she must have had to go pretty badly. Outside, she goes over to the edge of the woods to do her business. know where this is going, right? Yup. Right under the Christmas tree. Oh, the neat 'lil pile of poop didn't get on anything but the floor, but the pee...oh, the pee. It soaked through at least two dozen gifts. I had to unwrap them and wipe them down...some of the things have to have their tags removed and take a ride in the washer. Mirielle is going to think I got her new ### from the thrift store. It did cross my mind to return it to the store..."These smell like dog pee..." Not really.

Anyway. That is my sob story for the morning. I mean, we just got the mess all straightened out from the tree falling down last evening...all the water from the base mixed with the broken ornaments, the wet gifts... To keep the tree standing, I had to turn it just right, now the side I so nicely had decorated is facing the wall like it did something bad. Oh well. The presents that escaped the pee are piled on the couch, and I have lots to re-wrap.

Suri is having quite a nice Christmas season, I might add. She chewed the sparkly wood star that Sonja made at Activity Club, to splinters. She chewed the head and arms off this cute little rag doll ornament. She chewed up some gingerbread people. She has a special fondness for mittens and gloves, too. She likes them best when the fingers are all gone.

She is sharing the couch with Miss Sonja K. this fine chilly morning. S.K. has a fever, the only one now who has the flu. Evelyn is back to school today, as are all the other kids who stayed home yesterday for various reasons, none of which would stand up in court.

So it is quiet in here for the first time since like last Wednesday.

When I was pulling the presents out of the pee, assessing the damage, I was not a happy camper. Oh My GOODNESS. Jeepers. Dang it. And a few more spicy ones I am not proud of. I mean, jeez. Then, because God is good, I heard this little voice...that perhaps this could possibly be all for my very best. Nope. Not this. rrr. Then a little thought that it is ironic how I am so upset about Christmas gifts when the very reason Jesus was born was so that we an follow Him, and be free from perhaps this trial was meant to work something good in me, not just get me mad. Hmm. Okay!! True! I need to be cleansed from so much here! And guess what? I got happy. Not thrilled about the dvds and Barbies dripping with pee...or about the brand new socks and yoga pants that have to be de-tagged and washed...but that God loves me. He indeed sends all things for my best.

Which is a good thing, because I was beginning to wonder if the all the forces of the universe have been conspiring against us.

I just hate grumbling and complaining. I really do. I want to learn to be content, and be happy in my days.

Yesterday 27% of the high school students were absent. (only one of them was mine). Since Evelyn and Sonja K. are my only kids who got really sick, I am just waiting for the nurse to call. Mirielle and I both have felt awful on and off, but didn't get the knock-down feverish sickness the two girls have had.

The two little princesses were full of it last evening. They made camping spots in the downstairs hallway. They washed their hands in diaper rash cream. They trimmed their own bangs. They started chasing Suri and pulling her tail, which of course is NOT allowed. They were just short-circuiting. I decided it was because I had spent the day with them and given them so much attention, they wanted more. Plus, it was cold and rainy outside and they had tons of energy. Paul gathered them up and played Matching Game with them, then settled them down with some bible stories before bed. It's funny because a friend was telling me recently that his little boys sometimes stay up 'til all hours jumping around and having pillow fights, and I said that my girls sometimes play Barbies in their beds, but they don't run around so much. hmm.

Anyway, I am thankful today. Thankful for those quiet little suggestions God whispers in my ears. Thankful for my home, my kids, my husband, my rascal of a puppy, the cat who thinks the kitchen table is his "spot" (no, it is't), thankful that Mali passed her semester of nursing school (we were so happy for her we cried. then Aaron and Mirielle, who also passed were like, "hey, we passed too!", and Paul reminded them of the Prodigal son...)

Anyway. Lots to blab about today. But my oatmeal is growing cold, and Sonja might like her mama to talk to....

Monday, December 10, 2012

pictures from our Christmas feast

Me...and my oldest, Emily

Paul with Emily..

Miss Camille

Mirielle and Aaron playing with little Linnea...

Me with Paul

The kids' choir...Suzanne and Sonja are in the back, Jonathan in the green plaid shirt, Charlotte Claire in the blue sleeveless dress, and Camille in the red plaid...

Aaron and Joe...


Well, since the theme we seem to operate under is day after day of, "Never A Dull Moment", I should mention that the Christmas tree did just fall down. All the water spilled and soaked the presents I so gleefully wrapped ahead of time. And here I sit. It is Aaron Royce's 20th birthday, and I have big plans. Plans that do not include sweeping up broken glass that is floating in tree water. Or re-wrapping presents. The tree is now propped against the wall, waiting.

I baked a white sheet cake. I am going to make a light and fluffy vanilla frosting with heavy whipping cream, layer that cake, and add coconut to the top. Aaron loves coconut cream cake. And, we are having a taco bar for dinner...brown rice, black olives, sliced grape tomatoes, green peppers, shredded cheese, cour cream, taco chips, and of course the taco beef. Oh, and lettuces. And here I sit. The girls got some glimpses of gifts that got wet, Camille tried to convince me that means I should just give them to them.

This morning I was out the door bright and early with the two youngest princesses. We waited almost an hour and a half to see the dr. for Camille. But when we left, they had free kids' meal coupons for Applebees. After going to BJ's, I took them out to lunch. We played, "I Spy With My Little Eye" while we waited for the mac-n-cheese and fries (for them), and the honey barbeued chicken chunks (for me, which I shared with them for one of their fries. One from each of them, that is.) One of the things that Camille spied was a guy's glasses.

Anyway...we are home, and I have to go make the Birthday Feast. And here I sit...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

some resolutions...

1. I will take more pictures. I will also learn how to load them onto Paul's computer...since my computer has died. I hate sharing with everyone, but a new computer just ain't on the list right now.

2. Listen to myself when I talk to the kids to make sure I am talking to them in a voice that I would want to be talked to in.

3. Make the most out of the days. A palliative care nurse wrote a book about the top regrets people have about their lives, as they are dying. Having kept their house cleaner was NOT on there.

4. Remember that being tempted does not obligate me to give in.

Last evening, I went shopping with Kathryn 14, Evelyn 13, Suzanne 11, and Sonja 10. Suzanne wore her rain boots, so she ran and skipped through the puddles. They were trying on clothes to wear to the Christmas Feast we are going to tomorrow in Canada. After two stores, losing my phone in the first store, discovering it was missing in the second store, returning to get it and buying a few more things...we stopped at the grocery store for milk and chicken and oranges. Can I just mention that those girls were full of it in that grocery store? They do this slapping thing that always starts out in good fun, but one girl will always at some point get slapped too hard, and get upset...voices rise, I tell them to Knock It Off. We are just kidding, Mom. Then they do that thing where they start throwing things in the cart. Then one wants to push the cart, and keeps bumping into one certain sister, just because. I let them pick out a donut, then when we went through the register I told the cashier to please not squish the donuts or the girls would cry all the way home...then I found out one of them goes to school with him.

Anyway, today is a home day. Paul and some of the older ones are going to the Dome, again, but I shall stay home and get ready for our little road trip tomorrow. We have to pack our lunches, and some nice clothes. The sick kids seem to be better, hopefully no one else will get it.

Friday, December 7, 2012

happy kids here...

Today is Getting The Christmas Tree Day. The little kids have ferried most of the decorations up the stairs all by themselves. They didn't just leave the boxes there on the floor while they patiently waited for the tree. Nope. Camille has decorated one of the lamps with all sorts of stuff. The have been going through stuff and playing Ornament Store.

I don't feel the greatest, but there is a thing I call Feeling Sick Because The Kids Are Sick. I just feel tired, a bit achy, not terrible, but not great. Every once in a while I will feel awful and be certain I am sick, then I will be fine. So I am keeping a low-profile here this morning. I put some bedding in the wash, swept the floor, gave the kids breakfast, and here I sit. I know I should hang the stockings, do the dishwasher, maybe make some cookies with them. But blah.

Paul is out deer hunting this fine cold morning. In a way I hope he gets one so he will stop going, but honestly: I am not a big fan of venison. When we were newly married, we ate it that first winter. In chili, steaks, ribs. We were broke. He had these huge student loans, a baby, a car payment, ect. So it was fantastic to have all that meat. Now I am more spoiled. But I am also thrifty enough to not want to waste it if we have it. So I kind of hope he doesn't get one. But I also love him, and would like to see him experience that joy that shooting a deer seems to bring.

My girls are now playing Going Shopping. I have been around the block a few times, so I know that means Big Mess. It involves grocery bags. I think they are shopping for books. Yesterday they went on an Airplane Trip, and believe me, when I saw that they had taken all those nice school clothes off the hangers in the laundry room and packed them into their little suitcases and backpacks as I headed out the door to the Dome, rrr!

And now Evelyn is up and asking me to make her some breakfast. That's a good sign.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

just a random post...

Evelyn Joy, 13, has the flu. She woke up this morning after a very fitful sleep full of nightmares about not getting anything done that she was supposed to do. I knew she had a fever. She is on the couch under a blanket.

There were 8 kids out of 23 absent in Jon's class, overall 20% of the elementary students out sick. Camille's teacher was absent yesterday. So, I did what any concerned mom who loves a good excuse to spend the day with her kiddos would do - I let the three youngest ones stay home. They slept an extra hour and a half, which is always good. Since Evy is sick anyway, it's not like I am keeping them home to prevent them from catching it, it is just that they will fare better if they are well rested. Yah, I know, I just like them home.

Paul and I are working at the Dome tonight. Love love love that Syracuse Basketball team this year!!! I don't like being so busy and leaving here and working at the Dome, the walking up the Evil-ist hill, or serving the greasy concession food. But, I like being with my friends, fund-raising(we want to send our youth group on a trip to Israel), getting glimpses of the game, and...this sounds weird, but I love when the Star Spangled Banner is sung. A few weeks ago a young girl sang it, and she really nailed it, the crowd went wild. It is just fun.

Aaron and Mirielle and Abigail will be here, so the kids will be fine.

Suri is such a good dog. She is a total people pleaser. Aaron says all the time, "Bill. A friend to all." (the boys call her, "Bill".) I say, "Suri, the dog who gives back." She is so affectionate. And she is smart. She comes into the kitchen every single morning without fail, as soon as I take the peanutbutter out of the cupboard for my oatmeal. She has a thing for peanutbutter. She knows I will give her either a taste, or the rest of the jar if it is pretty empty. That happens quite frequently here. The jar makes her very happy. She gets it all out somehow, then chews on the yummy container. I just think it's funny how she is conditioned to come running out when she hears that cupboard. It's not like she comes when I make coffee, or other things. She doesn't follow my every move like Rosie did.

I still miss Rosie. I dreamed the other night, that she came back to life. She was so excited to meet Suri, and I felt horribly guilty. In every dream I have that she comes back, Paul always tells me to call the vet and find out what happened. Which is totally redundant...

Anyway. The lights are in the windows, the furniture is all moved around, and there is an empty corner for the tree. Jon is under my electric blanket playing on his ipod, a cast off from an older sibling. The princesses are having the time of their lives playing dress-up and house.

I am heading over to my friend Rachael's house to help plan our church New Year's Feast. I am thinking of a Chipotle-style Mexican food bar, cotton candy, ice cream sundae bar...our theme is , "Winter Carnival". Maybe karaoke, some improv comedy skits.

In the news....a Long Island man shot his girlfriend in the back with an automatic weapon because he thought the military might intervene in the, "Walking Dead", and she didn't. Sounds horrific. But. What a thing, to get so angry about a disagreement. It just encouraged me to really be faithful in the small, to say NO to those thoughts and spirits that want to divide and be offended. I think Satan just hates peace. "For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual fores of wickedness in the heavenly places..." Ephesians 6.....

As a parent, it can be easy to be deceived into thinking that because the child needs guidance and boundaries, I am entitled to be so strong and right. I can be headstrong and impatient. Oh, God has much to teach me!!! I am very very thankful for this time of grace in my life!!! So thankful that God is still working in me!

I promised Jon we could wrap some presents, so off I go...he is asking like every 30 seconds, as if I have forgotten...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

sorry everyone...

but there will be no long rambling post this morning. Just as I started to mull over what I wanted to drone on and on about this fine overcast morning, the phone rang. Evelyn Joy is at the nurse's office, headache and chills. Dang. Yes, I will come get you sweetheart. Joyfully, to boot. So off I go to run a brush through my long tangly hair take a little ride to school.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

nice sunny morning...

We are having a small warm spell here in the northeast. We may break the record temperature of 68 degrees today! It feels like spring. But the cold front is coming, cold again by tomorrow morning. I just might open up some windows and air out the house.

All the kids went to school today, wah. I really wanted to let Char and Camille stay home, but they just skipped last Friday. Char didn't want to go because all four 1st grade classes practice for the chorus concert together, and it is, "squishy and hot."

I read on the news this morning that New York is one of the states that signed up to try a new program that adds 300 hours to the school year, either more days or longer days. Not every district will have to comply, but it's coming. It's like throwing more money at a problem. We live in such an immoral society, where kids have to suffer through divorces and remarriages and their parents' tempers...then the schools are supposed to fix everything. Get the kids motivated, help them be successful. Teach them things they never learned at home.

Imagine this: a world, about just a country, where every mother who gave birth to a baby was married to a man who put his wife and child/children before his own wants, worked hard to provide for them. If every teenager "waited until marriage", or stayed happily single. If parents stayed faithful to each other and respected each other. If the parents loved the children unconditionally, gave them hope and stability. Encouraged them and helped them reach their goals. If the parents loved spending time with their kids, talked to them and took them places when they had time. Then...would there need to be more school? Seriously?

But we live in a Free Country. Each can choose their own lifestyle. They can make messes of their lives, then the government can try to fix it all up nicely.

And I know it isn't as easy as it sounds. There are trials and troubles and glitches in life. Just because one tries to live a Godly life doesn't mean that everything will be smooth sailing. But I would bet the world would be a vastly different place!

So I worked at the Dome last night. I drove my nieces Susan and Becky, my friends Janette and Nellie, and my son Sam. We stopped at Tim Horten's on the way, I got coffee with a sugar-free caramel shot.

At the Dome: Janette and I made the pretzels and laughed about stuff. She is such a nice girl. She comes from a family with 14 kids. I just always love to see her happy face. She is only 18, but she is one of my best friends:)

Then I had to say goodbye to her and the others, and go to the end of the stand to do beer-pouring with my sister's husband Bill, and our friend Dave (a cancer survivor, he has 8 kids). What fun we had! We got a little splashed with beer, but we kept up and didn't have too many left-over at the end. It is very busy to beer-pour, but we had a chance to talk too. Dave is a very blessed man. He has had many trials in his life, but has sought God's wisdom so desperately, and God has answered. He has learned the simple yet amazing art of Being Thankful. No matter what. He has learned that life is not to be taken for granted. So talking with him is always good for me.

The first thing I am going to do when I heave my lazy self out of this comfy chair is exercise. I want out of this weight-loss rut! I have been just maintaining, going up a few pounds, then back down a few pounds. I am tired of it!!! I feel so much better than I used to, but. I have a long ways to go. I eat mostly healthy, but I have gotten a bit lazy, slacked off on the discipline. My diet is totally different than it was Before my "lifestyle change", but I need to be more strict and get that scale moving down again.

For one thing, today I am going to start writing down everything I eat. I will estimate the calories before I eat it, and make more smart decisions, not just base it on whether I really want something or not, because chances are: I will really want to eat it. That is just not a reliable indicator for me:) My brain, the smart part that really knows what's good for me, has to be the boss. Not the part that says What The Heck, It's Really Yummy. And, being REALLY hungry does not justify eating stuff that I shouldn't eat!! Besides, I have no business letting myself get REALLY hungry! I know how to pack a few almonds and a apple, or how to have a small yogurt to ward off that starving feeling. Mostly I eat bad stuff when I get too hungry and that voice that says to Watch Out just whispers too quietly. Or rather it shouts and I just drown it out, I don't know. Sorry for all this, but hey, I am now quite psyched for the day!!!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

that moment when your computer dies...

It fires up, then turns off. Even Paul can't figure it out. He is going to call a guy. Sometime. In the mean time, I am using his computer, which is just not MY computer. If you know what I mean. Hmm, perhaps I am a bit adverse to change in my advancing years.

Oh, we had a jolly fun weekend! To the Christmas bazaar on Saturday morning, mostly to get I.D. cards for the under 16 kids,except for Margaret who has a school I.D., to make it easier to cross the border to Canada. The lady who typed up their info said, "Oh my, seven kids!" Yeah, I said. She asked if they were REALLY all mine. Um, actually, I said...there are nine more. Then I grew horns. Seven is crazy, 16...oh, one of THOSE people.

But she really was nice. I liked her alot because she appreciated Camille's cuteness.

The bazaar came to a quick end for me, as I experienced that sudden feeling of Uh-Oh, where is the bathroom, that comes with the territory of getting that gall-bladder removed. It is mostly better, but dang when I least expect it, blah. It seems to have no rhyme or reason. Abigail was there with her car, so she so nicely kept Jon, Charlotte Claire, and Camille with her. They came home with treasures, she is so good to them.

Next, a baby shower over in the suburbs near where my parents lived. Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, and Sonja went with me. The mom-to-be is my nephew's wife, she is as cute as can be, and very appreciative of the snuggly little outfits and gifts.

Next, to Target because a few of the girls really needed undershirts. Which is all we got, ha.

Home. aaah.

Sunday morning, a nice brisk walk for me before getting the kids dressed, fed, and into the van for our trip up to Ottowa. Rain. Rain and rain and rain. Although I didn't like when the big trucks spray it all over my windshield, I was very thankful it wasn't snow. Because it would have been rough going. To get from here to Canada, one must drive through the snow-belt, east of Lake Ontario. It an be treacherous.

Driving in the van for almost 8 hours round trip with my six youngest kids, challenging, frustrating (yes, I did threaten to drop one of them off on the side of a rural road up in Canada). I mean, if your sister does not like when you touch the wet window then touch her cheek, why in the heck do you continue to do it?

It sort of looked like a tornado touched down in there. Orange peels and candy wrappers and granola bar wrappers, then on the way home...french fries got spilled (Jon dropped them. When I reacted, "Jon!!", he answered rather wisely, "What, Mom, do you think I WANTED to drop the fries??!" Good point.)

I was very well behaved....mostly. I did eat one mini Almond Joy bar, and I'll tell you this: I am simply not one of those girls who diets all the time and then says the sweet stuff "doesn't even taste that good, sickeningly sweet...", or some such nonsense. No, it was way too good, and I had to hold the steering wheel tightly not to reach into the bag and get another.

And I broke my One French Fry Rule. No, not the whole order, but at least 15. ouch. 15 fries. They were freshly made, the nice McDonald's girl had to bring them out to the van...I could not resist.

We got our dinner from Price Chopper, because I needed to get milk and bread anyways. We got some fresh baked rolls and some chicken and olive loaf. And some water bottles with spigot tops. And some Wheat-Thins, and the bag of Reese's, the Almond Joys, a bag of the yummiest Clementine oranges, two totes of apples. And some chocolate chocolate-covered donuts. Why did we get all this stuff? We were so hungry. And they had been so good. Well, not as terrible, anyway, on the way home. Mostly because I thought we had missed the exit to go to the border way up there in was dark and rainy and there were no signs, I though I was headed to Toronto....and there were no exits to get off and turn around. The kids sensed I was a bit nervous that we were going in the wrong direction, mostly because I said, "Please be quiet, I think we're lost." Evelyn tried to call Paul, Aaron, Mirielle, but wouldn't you know, we couldn't get through. (Then we saw the sign that said Bridge To USA, and I was so relieved. Although Evelyn-The-Co-Pilot had been assuring me that we were indeed on the right road all along because she is a Sign Noticer.

Anyway. Home and to bed with the tired kiddies.

Today, I am going to the Dome.

Paul will go to Evelyn's band concert tonight, sorry Ev!

Today I will work out extra hard to burn off those fries. And yes, there were good. I didn't eat them and think, oh, fast food is awful! How can people eat this stuff. Although I will say I have totally broken free from eating any of their sandwiches. I do not eat fast food burgers or chicken sandwiches anymore. If we stop and I am hungry, I will get a yogurt pafait. And a coffee. All we stopped for last night was coffee for Suze and I, but they started yelling French Fries, so I surprised them and ordered two Larges. Then I surprised myself and started eating out of one. It could have been worse, that's for sure. They were pretty good.

Anyway, yay for oranges and apples and peanubutter, my true friends.

Time to get moving...there is a load in the dryer to come out, one in the washer to go in the dryer, and a lots of hampers vying for the next ride. Suri is snoring. She actually snores just like a people. She is tired because I took her outside twice already and let her chase a stick. She likes when I chase her too. She is a good girl.