summer 2011

summer 2011

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

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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

random stuff....

Wait, is it ever anything else? I had big plans today, blah, and they fell through. Camille and I were going to go with Kim (my sis-in-law) and her four year old son Sean to visit her daughter-in-law Allison and her daughter Meg. Kim texted that she doesn't feel well, so we are canceling. Camille doesn't know yet, she was so very excited. She doesn't go to very many people's houses.

As I sit here in my comfy chair and survey the damage, I wonder what I could do differently. The kids have left for school, and there is a trail. In days gone by, Before Blogging, I would have been zipping around and cleaning up first thing. Now, I sit here and type, knowing I have work to do. But I don't care, writing here helps me immensely. Helps me put things in perspective.

Imagine my surprise and delight to find out that Joseph did not have to go to work today, after dragging my lazy rear out of bed a half hour earlier than I otherwise needed to be up. I couldn't go back to bed, I had already gotten dressed and taken Rosie out. So I was nice and made French Toast for the kids' breakfast.

Bicker bicker bicker. These girls of mine, they can't resist getting in the last word. I stand there in my striped shirt with my whistle, saying things like, "Evelyn, just drop it. Margaret, don't answer that. Suzanne, don't get so mad, she didn't mean it." I tell them how much better it is to just be quiet than argue, how blessed it is to be a peacemaker (plus that peacemakers are the children of God),
but they still bicker. I tell them it does not matter if one is right or wrong, why try so hard to prove you are right? Who cares? Isn't it better to drop it and have peace?

So I have to go see a surgeon on Thursday. I do not know if he will recommend the removal of the gallbladder or not, but most likely. I realized that this means another setback in my Great Getting Into Shape Plan. I picture myself not being able to exercise, and eating too much...blah. But I am not going to be so negative, one day at a time here, I will not paint the whole future black. (although I have read many accounts of weight gain after this surgery. Dang!)

Sonja K. did not make it to school this fine morning. She has been wanting to stay home, I knew this was coming. Yesterday she dawdled and grumbled, and barely made it out the door, saying at the last minute before the bus came that her tummy hurt. Well, she had just eaten two bowls of Special K with Berries, she was NOT sick. So fast forward to today....same thing. All dressed and ready, and, "Mommy, I really don't feel well..." Fine, I said, go back to bed. Why did I give in today? Because I think she needs a day with me. Why would she want to stay home so badly? And that is the reason, yes I do realize, that she pulls this nonsense, because IT WORKS!

Instead of my usual oatmeal with peanutbutter this morning, I had blueberries and wholegrain French Toast. I microwaved the frozen berries, added a sprinkle of sugar, then added the French Toast on top. It was like a piece of blueberry pie.

Well...I am not able to concentrate anymore on this masterpiece of writing ...Mirielle is getting ready to leave for college, and we are chatting...

Monday, January 30, 2012

um, excuse me?

Camille has full and total use of Jonathan's new scooter today, as she is the ONLY child home, and the weight limit on the scooter is 143 pounds, so I cannot get on it. Anyway, she doesn't quite steer it so well...and she just said, "This freakin' scooter won't go right!" I do not like that word, but it is everywhere, including in my older kids' mouths.

Paul is home. He went to visit Benjamin and Ashley while he was out west! He was in Oregon, so he just drove to Washington, it was three and a half hours each way. I am SO glad he went though.

It is nice to have him home, except for that I don't have the bed all to myself and I can't just read all night. And I have to back the vehicles into the driveway because he thinks that is smart to do in the winter so they don't get stuck backing out, which is smart, but still.

He came home very happy and all encouraged and fired up to be faithful in the daily life, happy from being with such good friends.

Tired, but happy.

I went to pick him up from the airport right in the middle of Downton Abbey, rrr, and it was terribly snowy out there. I do not like driving in the snow.

Okay....weight loss. ha. ha ha ha. I am in maintenance mode, and I am not done losing weight yet! I call this a "diet" out of defiance for the seemingly more currently favorable term, "lifestyle change", but it really IS a lifestyle change. Because I have changed my life - I exercise almost every day, do not pig out on cookies anymore, if I have any, it is just one. I stay away from breads and pastas and eat much smaller portions. So yay...except for that my body is nice and happy and comfy with the amount I am eating. And I am not finished losing weight yet! I still have a long way to go! I know I need to kick up the exercise a notch, and keep my hot little hand out of the chocolate chip bag...blah. I will not give up though! It is possible, and somehow I will figure it out.

I will say this though: I am getting SICK and TIRED of losing and gaining the same few pounds, this has been going on for weeks now. blah.

I had to get up at 6:15 this morning to drive Joseph over to my sister's house so he could catch a ride to work with my niece Claire. I shoveled a path across the deck and down the driveway, then shoveled out the end of the driveway. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I did not use proper shoveling technique, and my back is very tender, not smart.

If I wash those dishes and put that huge pile of bedding through the wash, will anyone thank me profusely? What if I also sweep these floors that I swept yesterday, and perhaps mop again?

If I exercise again this morning, will it make me lose one lousy ounce?

If I say NO to picking at the giant cookie pizza all decorated with candy that Camille made at Activity Club at church yesterday, will I get a prize?

Sometimes I feel like I just want to give up and eat a stack of cookies, crawl in bed and ignore all the stuff I have to do, and read a book.

Why do I always have to be the peacemaker and the one to humble myself, the mature one who doesn't answer harshly...why can't I just stomp off to MY room and slam the door and let everyone else take care of everything?

Because I am The Mom. This is my job. I am in it for the long haul, there is Giving My Two Week Notice, no I am in the middle of a huge never-ending job. Rewarding, yes, but honestly, sometimes so tiring. I am thankful that God gives wisdom to those who ask, and He strengthens the bruised and wavering reed.

That is the biggest mystery to me, how anyone can function without God's leading. When I am asked, "how do you DO it?" I think, "How do YOU DO IT, without God!!!?"

Okay...just got the call from the dr. office about my horrible gallbladder function test...the result: go see a surgeon. Ah, life is never dull.

Friday, January 27, 2012

just the usual morning routine...

"Usual" for me is not the same "usual" it was a few years back, when I had baby after baby and was always sleep-deprived and struggled to keep track of things like spelling tests and school snacks and who had gym when and had to wear their sneakers on what day. Not too much has changed though.

Not as much as one would think.

I have more time, more sleep, so why the heck couldn't I find Jon's spelling words this morning? (and where are all the clean towels already?)

This morning...ugh. I have use of the minivan because Paul is away, all the way across the country. Joseph was going to drive it to work, then Mali called me, she has this eye I have to go to the Big city to pick her up from college, then take her to the Small city for a dr. appointment. I don't like driving the Big van to the Big city, so Joe got to take it to work. Not without stern admonitions from Mom to BE CAREFUL. That big van doesn't stop on a dime, and if he doesn't slow down enough before a turn, he will flip it. To make my worries worse, he doesn't have a cell phone, which wouldn't have been an issue a few years back, but these days...if one's child goes off driving somewhere without one, uh-oh!!! And, he is doing construction on a house all by himself. I told him if he got hurt to run to a neighbor's house...oh, the things I have to worry about.

Anyway, this morning. Jonathan got this cool new scooter yesterday at Target after we dropped Paul off at the airport. It was 70% off, and it is so cool. It is a Razor Powerwing, one doesn't have to push with the feet, just sort of wiggle and it goes! It is absolutely amazing to have in the house, it is silent, although the girls begging for turns is not silent. He really likes it and is glad he spent his Christmas money on it. Anyway, he was apparently taking it for a little spin around the livingroom this morning before school, with chocolate milk in his hand, and uh-oh, all over. I mean that milk FLEW. It covered my table next to my chair, dripped into the drawer we keep hair stuff in, down onto the power cord, splattered my computer, which thankfully didn't die....right when it happened, my niece texted and asked me to come help her with the baby twins because she had a rough night, and I had offered to come Any Time...well, blah, I couldn't come today because of Mali...anyway, I reminded her that Emily will be helping her today...and started cleaning up the milk. It was neat because I did not get upset about it, I stopped and thought before I yelled, and it had a good effect. Mr. Jon got a cloth to help clean it up, and apologized, and I told him it was okay it was an accident. He said, "no, I shouldn't have been drinking chocolate milk on the scooter." wow, bingo, that's right, Jon!

So off to school they went, leaving Miss Char the kindergartner here...she has had a long week, needs a day with Camille, plus she is a bit stuffy again.

We went to the library yesterday after Target. I had promised Evelyn, the Book Queen. She got a whole stack, and the little girls and Jon got quite a few too, which means I have More Things To Keep Track Of. I hate having to pay overdue fines, yesterday's damage was $4.70. I don't know why that makes me turn around and look to see who noticed what a slacker I am, there at the check-out desk. At least there were no lost books to worry about this time.

I got a book to read, just a silly snack-y romantic comedy type of book, the kind I love/hate. This one is actually quite entertaining, and it was nice to snuggle under my electric blanket last night and have the whole bed to myself and leave the light on as long as I wanted to, and read 'til I fell asleep. I read half the book, and could have finished it but I kept reminding myself that I have to drive to the Big city today, and don't want to be too tired.

Donuts. Yes, we stopped at the bakery. I had a bag of healthy snacks packed, and we so conveniently forgot to bring them with us. I had picked up a few kids from school, they were hungry. So, to the bakery we went. Donuts, fresh baked bread, pizza dough. yum. That whole place is a heavenly experience...smells so good...oh, the chocolate pies and danishes and cannoli, frosted cupcakes and half-moons...

I had half a lemon headlight. I stopped eating it at half. My mouth enjoyed it but my brain wouldn't stop yammering about how I shouldn't be eating it. So I put the rest back in the box. Then I started thinking about a peanut donut. How good it would taste. I had just a piece of one. Then a little taste of a cinnamon one. There were a dozen donuts, and I totally encouraged the kids to EAT THEM UP when we got home, and they did. phew. Why do I do this to myself? But that lemon headlight, the white frosting was so good, not too sweet, just right....

Well, my time to sit around and relax is done for now, I have two little girls to get fed and dressed and into the minivan for our drive to pick up Mali....

Thursday, January 26, 2012

five second post..

I have one half hour, just thirty minutes until I have to get back out the door how do I spend it?


I had my gallbladder function test this morning, and let's just say that Ignorance Is Bliss. I am SO glad I didn't look it up on WebMd first. I thought it was a "scan". Well, I walked innocently into that room, took in the CAT scan machine, heard the technician say the lovely phrase, "insert your I.V.", and whoa. What? Then he said the word we all love to hear, "injection". But at least he didn't say my least favorite phrase, which is, "take your clothes off."

He was a good I.V. inserter, no pain there. But lying on my back for an hour and a half with that machine down over me, no no no. I had to think happy thoughts about lying on the beach in Jamaica to calm myself down. I have a horribly stuffy nose right now, so it was easy to imagine myself choking and dying. So...then the good part. The "injection" was inserted into the I.V., was a hormone that simulated eating a cheeseburger! (I would have gladly just eaten the cheeseburger). The nice nurse (he was a guy nurse, and I wanted to tell him I have a son in nursing school, but I was feeling woozy) got that stuff going into my vein, telling me reassuringly that I would start feeling naseaus. Well, I thought I was going to die. Gonna barf all over, right there stuck on my back. It was awful. He said not to worry, I would not really throw up. How did he know, I wanted to know...but he was right.

Anyway, I survived the fasting, the going to the small city without coffee or oatmeal, and being stuck on my back for all that time. My nice sister brought me, and watched Camille in the waiting room watching Sesame Street. She brought me to McD's for a coffee, then we went to Kohl's to spend my $10 in Kohl's Cash that was going to expire on Saturday. I got: a gorgeous sweater for Camille, a mermaid nightlight for Camille, and some boots for myself, all for $14.24.

Home....swept, mopped, gave Camille lunch, and now I have to leave to pick up Jonathan and Charlotte Claire, who are going with me to bring Daddy to the airport...he is off to the West Coast for the weekend...

The bad part? What is near the airport? The best bakery in the world. I shall not go there. If I do go there, I will not eat a whole donut. If I do eat a whole donut, I will not eat dinner. blah.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

mess and clutter?

But I only put up pictures of the clean parts! ha. You should see my laundry room. Since I have been writing this blog, I cannot count the number of times I have gotten it all in order, and thought it would never get awful again. ha. hahaha.

My hallway upstairs. I didn't post a picture of that, either. Picture it though: an unseen laundry basket filled with some clothes the girls don't miss too much, and lots of extra comforters piled on top. We have issues with bedding, we have lots of extra blankets and comforters which is nice when someone needs clean stuff before theirs goes through the wash, but where do we keep it all? For years I had a stack of folded blankets and comforters in the end bedroom, but now Charlotte Claire and Camille have their bunkbeds, and it is a nice room, so the bedding ends up in the hall. In a perfect world, it would be folded on the laundry room of these days.

I also didn't put pictures of my room. It isn't too bad, but my dresser is a clutter-attractor. Not Paul's, he is very neat with his stuff. I still have my big lavender Norwegian pram parked in there, with lots of stuff in it. Stuff I need, like clothes that don't fit me, and baby stuff I couldn't part with, and stuff I bought for birthdays, and my cupcake decorating sets...Paul asks every once and a while when I am going to get rid of the carriage, and I just look at him and ask, "Where would I put all my stuff?" He just shakes his head. He does not understand. I need to go through my clothes and weed out the things I no longer wear, one of these days.

I also didn't take a picture of the treadmill sticking out of the closet downstairs, because the girls wanted it in their room and it did not fit through their doorway. It was way too heavy to bring back up the stairs, and we already decided it wasn't good to have in the living room because with the wood floor it was just to echo-y and loud when anyone used it. Plus, it took up so much room.

I was thinking that maybe soon I would have another one of those temporary moments of insanity, and I will sneak around and take more pictures...but I imagine if I posted pics of their rooms I would be pretty much in Big Trouble.

They would get me back via facebook, I think.

I did love all the comments I got from yesterday's post. To be fair, the living room was relatively clean for those pictures. It gets really messy every day, and is picked up constantly. I have always liked the kids to be able to play where we all are, so they bring out the trucks and dolls and set things up...(I turned on the van radio the other night when I was picking the girls up from Susan's house...the radio host was citing a study that found: messy houses are good for kids. They need to have toys out, need to build forts and make things at the table, because imagination is really important for brain development. Video games and watching television are not good for them, (duh!), but having a house where they are encouraged to jump around and play pretend is. Did I already say DUH?!)

The shoes and boots...blah, there is work to do over there, too. Sorting time again! Kids keep growing, and I bet a million dollars if I were to take all these guys to any store with a shoe department, at least one of them would tell me their tale of woe, how small their shoes/sneakers/boots are getting....

Common sense would be to get rid of the too-small pair when one got a new pair, but common sense doesn't have younger siblings.

Throw snow pants and mittens and hats into the mix over by there by the door...and blah.

If I had a mudroom, I would be happy.


Anyway, enough about the mess.

There were days when it was hard to get a chance to run in and go pee, much less sort through things.

Paul said to me the other night, "You have lots of time." Yes, I do. Finally after all these years, I have time. Time to exercise and time to sit and put my feet up, time to put laundry away properly when the dryer buzzes. Time to play with Rosie and Kitty Kitten, which makes me feel guilty sometimes, knowing Paul is working hard to support us all. So I try to do my part to make life good for the family, like getting a healthy dinner on the table every night, making sure there are plenty of clean towels and matching socks, and keeping the floors clean. I try to make sure there is milk and fresh fruit. I try to look at my evolving role here at home as my job, so I don't slack off too much. Because I AM a slacker.

Yes, I have help from the kids but...they do not have as much time as I do when they are in school, especially the college kids. So I don't ask too much of them. The older ones do their own laundry, keep their rooms pretty clean, help clean up dinner, take the garbage out, and the bathrooms clean. Occasionally I will do a Chore List and get a lot done in a short period of time, but mostly I just plug away at things.

Joseph worked yesterday and again today for my nephew-in-law, who does renovation work. I had to get up at 6:15 and drive him to where he could catch a ride in to work, because the car he inherited from Abigail has bitten the dust. Too old, too expensive to fix. I would rather drive him over than have him take The Big Van, just in case I need to pick any sick kids up from school, plus it takes too much gas. Joe has all the credits and pre-requisites he needs for nursing school, so he is applying to go in the fall and is not in school right now. He did well in college, he got straight A's. So I hope he gets accepted into the nursing program.

Sitting here typing is fun and relaxing, but there is no shortage of things to do here. Camille is playing dollhouse, Rosie is napping, the college kids haven't left yet because they are doing evening clinicals. They are still sleeping. I won't bore with the details of what I plan to do today, but I hope to keep this in mind while I work: thankfulness. There is so much complaining in me. I don't want to fan those flames and turn into a huge nagging grumbler. Having so many people occupy one house is quite interesting. They aren't all total slobs, but just for instance: there are two cups on the computer table, two on the lamp table, a few tissues on the floor near the garbage can, coffee sloshed on the counter, cereal still out, a pair of socks on the floor, a towel on the couch, a hairbrush on the chair, someone's sweatshirt slung on a kitchen chair. If each child does one or two sloppy things, it adds up to a big mess. rrr. I do try to straighten them out, in a nice way of course, ha, but...

Tomorrow I have to go in to the hospital first thing in the morning, fasting, drink something fatty and yucky, and have a gallbladder function test done. Ca-ching. It is January and our new huge deductible hasn't been met yet, so we have to pay 100% of everything. With that in mind, I almost declined to have this test done, but decided that we will end up paying the deductible whether it is for this, or just for dr. visits, so I may as well find out what is wrong with me.

Tomorrow afternoon I have to take Paul to the airport, he is going to a church conference out west, in Oregon, until Sunday. I already have a list of kids wanting to go with me, and the clamor for getting to sleep on Daddy's side of the bed will soon follow. I hope Paul enjoys the break, sleeps well, finds "paleo" food to eat (meat, nuts, fruits, veggies), and comes home refreshed and encouraged to be happy and content and be saved in all the trials God so lovingly sends. And, that he hears just a little something about Loving One's Wife, ha. (seriously kidding, he is amazing to me, sometimes I see how I can be about things, and he never lets on that I am being witchy with a capital "B"....)

Now I have blabbed on enough...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

in a temporary moment of insanity...

I decided to post some pictures of what things really look like around me, after I worked out.
the view of the back yard from the lunch table...nice, except for the taped screen.
The Shoe Organizer. We need like five more of these.

lots of coats and shoes
the desk I inherited from my mom...which I don't really like, but it reminds me of her.
This one was a lttle hard to post...because our water is very hard, leaving iron residue...we even have a filter on the 'fridge, so this water is better than what comes from the sink...and the top of the microwave, dang it needs to be cleaned off...when i looked at this picture I thought, "wow, someone has some work to do..."
This lovely college girl walked in while I was taking this picture, Miss Mirielle. She was thrilled about it.
my spotless kitchen with the dishes all caught up...with the Broken Cupboard in the corner. It has been broken for so long, we just put stuff in it, and refer to it as The Broken Cupboard.
we DO have a nice view out those awful windows...
dining room table with mismatched chairs...and my lunch, and Camille's Ariel doll
this shot highlights our nice window...Paul replaced one a few years back. He is going to finish the trim soon. I think. Under the window is the Mitten Bin, covered with coats that don't fit on the hooks. And that IS a huge bag of chocolate chips.
this is our Red Chair, primarily used by the princesses to look in the mirror. The crooked mirror with the handprints on it, next to the other sets of hand prints on the wall.
our coffee table as a movie/dvd player/Wii is only temporary, we are getting a nice shelf one of these days. That's what I told, has it been over five years already?
this shows the rotting window frame AND the lack of trim on the wall where it meets the floor...we just put these floors in not too long ago! Three years maybe?
the Clothes Monster which ever lives on our couch
cozy living room
my comfy chair
the computer table next to Rosie's cage. Like the towel on the window keeping the heat in?
Charlotte Claire when she got home from school and announced that she had lost her third tooth. Slow down, please, Char. The toothfairy cannot keep up with this.

So why this insanity? Not just to embarrass myself, or the kids. But to say this: things do not have to be perfect in order to be happy. I don't like the way alot of things are around here, but has it killed me? Not yet. Of course I am ever hopeful we will get around to fixing and upgrading, and I will get more organized and clean up clutter. But my point is that while it is nice to be comfy and clean, the house doesn't have to be like out of a magazine in order to have a good life.

And I am not completely insane, there are no Laundry Room pictures.

I am not hungry. I keep telling myself this. Why in the world am I plagued with this urge to munch? Today I have had my nice breakfast of oatmeal with crunchy peanutbutter and blueberries, then an egg with bacon bits, and a grapefruit. Then a serving of veggie stix. I will have a yogurt with my coffee when the kids get home, then dinner. But I keep wanting to have something more, I am thinking of ice cream and cookies, or a big bowl of cereal. I am not hungry, so this is just a mental battle here. And no, I cannot just give in because....well, I gained three pounds! Since yesterday! No gradual gain, just WHAM, three pounds! No fair, no fair!!! The scale needs to go the OTHER WAY!! I am not going to go off the deep end about it, but I need to be careful, and careful does NOT include ice cream.

The kids are coming home soon, today was a strange day, writing in the afternoon instead of morning because Jerry The Cable Guy came to fix the internet. So off I go to make that coffee, and NOT have any Bad Things to eat...

Monday, January 23, 2012

happiness is...

Cuddling Camille

Chatting with the college kids as they grab some breakfast and head out the door
(and, Aaron (20) showed me what he got Mirielle(21) for her birthday. He is such a nice kid to get his sister a present!

Being greeted by a purring Kitty Kitten in the morning. Kitty Kitten who already has food and water, just wants to be picked up and petted.

The way Rosie is ALWAYS so happy for a pat on the head.

Aaron took the trash out this morning without being asked, without me making any suggestions.

Watching Downton Abby with Paul and Mirielle and Evelyn and Suzanne last night.

Reading Allison's blog - she is so very encouraging!

Yesterday in the van on the way home from church, Paul asked Camille if she wanted a baby brother or sister, because she had held both twins, Sebastian and Linnea. The older kids in the van took this question as if Daddy was hinting at something, and they got all excited. This made me happy because of two things. One, Paul would LOVE to have another baby, he loved seeing Camille beaming holding those babies. Two, the kids' reactions...they would love another one too. It made me a tiny bit hopeful that perhaps it will miraculously happen. Even if it doesn't, it is nice everyone here has that respect and appreciation for life.

Talking to my sister. She is not only the funniest person I know, I can have fellowship with her. She knows that all things happen for her best, and no matter what, she seeks to please God in her trials. After a conversation with her, I know that I am not alone, and I am usually laughing my head off about something.

Mild weather in January. I have to go to the store, yet again, and it is only rainy because it is like forty degrees out.

Happiness is also that feeling of richness that comes with bringing lots of good stuff home from the store. I love having lots of apples and bananas and grapefruit and plenty of milk and bread...

Knowing what's for dinner is also very nice, but unfortunately today I have no clue yet.

Happiness is also knowing how to make good pizza. When the kids all thank me and praise the pizza, oh it is nice. Evelyn helped me make the Buffalo chicken pizza, she shredded the chicken breast and put it in the butter and hot sauce...I mixed some hot sauce with the pizza sauce, covered it with mozzarella cheese, then spread the chicken on top. I also added some chopped red onion. Yum. We also had a pepperoni pizza, a veggie pizza (green peppers, red onions, black olives), and an everything pizza (veggies plus pepperoni and bacon). We also had celery and baby carrots.

I have stew beef in the freezer, perhaps I will thaw that and make a nice beef stew.

Camille and I are going to get dressed and head to the store, I am also out of blueberries for my oatmeal. I am spoiled, yes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

lazy sunday afternoon

Camille and Charlotte Claire

Charlotte Claire put this picture of Ben and Ashley in her frame on her dresser.
Miss America
General Thunder (aka Big Kitty) and Swanson (aka Kitty Kitten) snuggled together. Kitty Kitten is not afraid of anything, and was never daunted by General's hissing at her. Kitty Kitten likes to follow General around, and has finally won him over.
Evelyn helped Jonathan set up his train track.
Mr. Jonny making a sandwich.
the princesses in our spotless living room which never has toys in it.

Blah, I never exercised yesterday, but I redeemed myself and marched in my room and closed the door after getting home from church, after sweeping the floor and putting away a bunch of stuff. I put my sweatpants on, and for 25 minutes I walked/jogged in place/lifted 10 pound weights, did squats/leglifts while lying on my back/and today: 20 pushups! I listened to ABBA, and felt pretty darned good when I was done. Out here for coffee and a yogurt and reading the newspaper, life is good.

There are four pizza doughs on the kitchen counter and it is getting later, so off I go to make some yummy Sunday dinner...I shall only have a little taste, and have some chicken and salad. Ouch.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Morning came too early, I was sleeping all snugly in my bed when Rosie-The-Bad dog starting doing those Let Me Out yips. rrr.

So my day started. I swept the floors, cleaned up the pee Rosie did when I came out and told her to be quiet. I cut up some grapefruit, which Charlotte Claire loves dipped in sugar. Camille wanted some sugar, so I told her only with grapefruit. She made a mess! Sugar all over her sleeper jammies, the table, the chair...I was busy making omelets with bacon and onions and green peppers and cheese.

Kathryn and Suzanne and Sonja just got back from a brisk walk down the road in the fifteen degree sunshine, Jonathan is playing Wii, the princesses are carrying Kitty Kitten around in a laundry basket with a blanket over it. More kids are getting up and wandering into the kitchen now, Mirielle is making another omelet.

Charlotte Claire lost a second tooth, and that dang forgetful toothfairy let her down again. I told her the one that comes on Saturday nights is better anyway.

As I sit here and glance around at the house, I wonder why in the heck the same things have to get done over and over again every day. I don't do it all myself, but I do have to ask kids to do things, assign chores, make sure things get done right, enforce that they even attempt to do what they are asked to do. I keep thinking that I am sick of it, but then I think of the verse, "let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not lose heart."(Gal. 6 v.9)

And I also remember when I had that horrible gallbladder attack, when I vowed that when I felt better I would never ever complain about anything ever again.

And then when I drove in the treacherous weather last week, again vowing that I would be SO GOOD if I made it home safely.

Why is it so hard to stick to these vows? Well, because I am full of sin. The good news is that being tempted is not the same as giving in, and I do not have to give in!

Speaking of giving in...the pie, oh the pie. It is gone now, and yes, I ate it. Not all of it, but I did have a nice piece with my afternoon coffee, and it was so so good. Pumpkin pie is one of the best things in the universe by far. I reasoned that there are three cups of sugar in four pies, and this last pie was a skimpy one, with only like an inch of filling. So besides the sugar, the other stuff is good, eggs and pumpkin and I used 1% milk, then spices. The crust though, ha, could I have just thrown that away? not a chance, I made it with part shortening and part butter, and it was flaky and yummy...blah.

So there is no pie in the house today. Nothing that overly tempts me. I shall behave today.

Our dinner last night was really good. Bone-in chicken breasts, roasted red potatoes, green beans, applesauce, and a big bowl of hot spinach for me, since I had only one very small potato. I skipped the dessert Paul brought home, peanutbutter chocolate chip cookies from Wegmans. I still felt too guilty about the pie.

I am down another pound, three days in a row, so that means it is official. So so slowly, this weight loss thing...but. But. I will stick with it. I did my exercise yesterday, and listen to this: I did eighteen pushups! More than that, there are three 4-minute sections of exercises, I some pushups in the first one, in the second set, and then 18 in the third set. Now these are not full all-the-way down pushups, I can only go down a few inches, ha, but they are not the girl ones, either. They are the regular guy ones, and I could not even do one of them a few months ago. I would lie on the floor and push with all my might, and could not get up. So I am happy with that little bit of progress.

Instant results, that's what I want. I have made up my mind, I want to be thin enough to ride a bike with Jonny, I want to wear a regular bathing suit, I want to go ice skating...NOW. Not down the road. I want to sit down without my muffin top showing up over the top of my waistband. It seemed impossible for years, so impossible I did not even attempt it. I would have dreams I was wearing a bathing suit and looked down at myself and thought, "wow, I didn't know I was so thin!" I have been a prisoner in my own body for a long time, just being released little by little in these last months. It is no fun being fat. Being invited to sit down, looking longingly at the offered chair, but declining, pretending one would rather stand...because who wants to test the strength of a chair? blah. Lots of reasons to lose weight besides just the blood pressure. I feel like it is a life and death matter to me, not just a vain endeavor. My mother suffered from breast cancer, diabetes and kidney failure, heart attacks and a triple bypass. In the end the diabetes robbed of her of her eyesight, her feet were necropic or however that is spelled, they were turning black from the diabetes. And she weighed way less than I do now! She was only 69 years old when she died, and that was after ten full years of kidney dialysis.

Anyway, today I shall behave. Thank you for all the kind uplifting comments, it really is nice for me when I check this blog and find them! I love knowing that "I am not the only one"....

Friday, January 20, 2012

writing from the heart

I like to get comments on my blog. I like knowing people read it, it is satisfying. But I don't like that to influence what I write. I want to write what I want to write, whether anyone wants to read it or not. Does that make sense?

After yesterday's post about pie and weight loss, I wondered if I should have written about struggles that expose me so much, and possibly make me look like an idiot.

But the day I start censoring myself based on what impression I want to give about myself is the day I shall stop blogging.

Holding things back to protect a certain teenager, or not telling about a child's bedwetting problem, or an embarrassing incident at school is different.

It is amazing how easy it is to sit here and write when I am Not Caring What People Think Of Me.

That being said, today I feel lazy. I really wanted pie when I woke up, too. I had some yesterday afternoon, but I did only have a grapefruit and a handful of peanuts for lunch. And green beans with meat sauce for dinner. Anyway, there was pie still left this morning. So I did what any pie-loving mom would do: I asked the kids if they wanted pie for breakfast, and they did! Pumpkin pie and orange juice is pretty healthy, right? Problem was - they didn't finish it, and I had to throw the leftovers in the garbage. If you guessed that this was not easy for me, yes, you are right. If that makes me sound really crazy, so be it. But I did it, took one bite, and scraped those pie scraps right into the trash.

Now there is only one un-cut pie, and one piece left in the other pan. I will not eat it.

I did go to the store yesterday afternoon on the way to pick Paul up from work. I bought more grapefruit, it is so good this year. I also bought some Italian bread for dinner, still warm from the store bakery, which I only had one bite of, and some milk and the orange juice. I used to buy them orange juice all the time, but it isn't all that great for them, eating the fruit is better. And it is expensive. The good thing is that when we have it, they totally appreciate it. I had to give the lecture: remember guys, only have a small glass so that everyone gets some. No using those huge cups!

Camille is cuddled up to me in her kitty jammies. She is still so sweet and snuggly, I am really struggling that she is growing up so fast and probably going to kindergarten next year. Her chubby little face still captivates all of us, we reach out and pick her up and hug her and the boys call her, "Tiny One". When she gets hurt and cries and says, "I want you, Mama!", I am so pleased even when it is irritating. I know when they grow up they still want me, arms are feeling empty.

Our church youth group is taking a trip to Israel in 2014! I want to go too! I am still young! Samuel is so very excited about this. There will be fundraising, yay. ha.


1. Gather and wash socks. Match them instead of just dumping them into the clean
sock basket.

2. Sweep floors, even though they were swept and mopped yesterday.

3. Figure out what is for dinner tonight.

4. Do my workout. Yes, it should be Number One on the list.

5. Pick three youngest kids up from school at 3:00, this saves them the usual hour
long bus ride.

6. Text Benjamin. We try to keep in touch each day, I talked to him last night and
he has had some Snow Days. Yes, Snow Days in the U.S. Army! Apparently the
Tacoma Washington area is not used to snow, especially eleven inches at a time,
so everything shut down. Unfortunately for Ben, two things, his
car slid into a curb which caused $6oo in damages which is not fixed yet because
roads not plowed, ect. Two, he and Ashley had planned to go to store before
snow hit but didn't, now have no car and not much food...they were going to walk
to the gas station last night for milk and bread....

7. Think about the kids, and pray for them, so that I can be a help to them and not
just a naggy mother, getting after them for stuff, but encouraging them to
choose the good. And also be a good example for them in my own conduct, which
is way harder than just telling them to be good.

8. Stay out of the pie, stay out of the pie...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

what would we do without him?

Paul is home, yay. He discovered this morning that the furnace didn't run last night, no wonder it was so cold in here. He fixed it. (the temp outside is in the teens, brr.)

Emily was here for her birthday last night, and mentioned that her washer hose was leaking. Paul jumped right up and got her some waterproof tape to fix it for now.

He always helps with Jon's homework..oops, when he wasn't here I kept forgetting about it...

We had a nice birthday here for Emily. I had her guess what the tent was, as I had forgotten and left it in the minivan. I told her it was something one uses outside, unless they are really wierd. She guessed "weedeater". She finally got it when I mentioned the Occupy Syracuse movement...

We had roasted lemon pepper marinated pork chops,baked basmati rice, broccoli, and applesauce. Dessert: pumpkin pie, which took a twice as long to make as I had thought it would. I also made the yummiest chocolate covered peanut butter balls...I mixed confectioners sugar with some crunchy peanut butter, then added a little creamy peanutbutter, some crunched up thin pretzel sticks, then dipped them in melted white chocolate bark with a few handfuls of chocolate chips mixed in..they were so good! I used the rest of the chocolate mixture to dip pretzels, then put it all out on a tray with three Ghiardelli chocolate bars and some chocolates I still had from after-Christmas clearance. I had two of the chocolate peanut-butter things, then slapped my hands and kept them out of stuff. I did have a little bit of pie too, yum.

There are still three pies here! Someone come over and eat them, please!!!!

It is rather quiet in here right now, Charlotte Claire is home from school because she is still blah, has a bit of a cold. She is awake, as is Camille, and they are in their room playing. Suzanne got up, talked me into letting her stay home (she is not doing ANYTHING today, she says), and went back to bed. Kitty Kitten is in her perch on the back of the couch looking out the window, and Rosie is snoozing in her cage, all content and tired from going out for a cold walk, coming in for her breakfast, chasing Kitty Kitten around for a while, and the stress of hearing the garbage truck at the curb and not being able to chase it and bark at it.

I do not think the furnace is running. It is freezing in here. blah. If I call Paul he will tell me what to do to fix it, I don't like doing things like that but I also don't like freezing. I COULD bake some cookies, that would warm it up in here and make my kids love me when they come in from school, but it would also torture the heck out of me. I just got a coffee refill, and saw those pies out there, oh dear me, how can one resist pumpkin pie? Maybe a small slice will be my lunch...

I read about the new advertising campaign in Georgia against childhood obesity. One line was, "Being Fat takes the fun out of being a kid.", which was read after a child was shown retreating to playing video games by himself after being teased by other kids for being fat. Wait, shouldn't the ad suggest it is HORRID to tease someone? Being fat does not give others a Free Pass to tease! The article I read was written by a woman who wrote a book about her daughter's battle with bulemia and anorexia, and she was troubled about the message this new ad sends to kids. Society has no tolerance for fat people. If a movie star gains a few pounds, (and still looks smashing to me), OH NO! Unacceptable! If a fat person stars in a movie, there is much to-do about their success despite being so large.

Yes, it is unhealthy to be fat. Diabetes, heart disease. My health is the first and foremost reason I finally decided Enough Was Enough. But honestly, now I am liking the idea of checking out of the most discriminated class of people in the world. And that makes me hate myself a bit! I am the same person, and when I lose another fifty pounds, I will still be the same.

Blah, I love food, love yummy stuff, love cooking it and serving it, yet I also crave feeling good and being able to move! I try to keep most of this to myself so that my kids aren't all messed up about it. I do have one daughter who struggles with some issues, I hope it isn't too much my fault.

One thing that I have recognized that is really neat is this: just because I am tempted to eat something does not mean I have to eat it. I get to choose. It is no one's fault if I overeat, it is not the food's fault for being there. I have the power to say NO.

Anyway, we all have our battles. It makes me really awake to how I relate to my daughters though, I don't want them to have self-esteem issues that seem to plague girls. I know that even though I have lost fifty pounds, I still think I look awful, look in the mirror and see a fat lady. I don't say this to my kids, of course, but I can relate to how they how critical they are of themselves (and they are so beautiful!). So I tell them how lovely they are. I tell them they are beautiful no matter what, they are gorgeous just the way they are. And of course the most important thing: it is the inside that counts, and that inner beauty radiates to the outside! All this other stuff is just fading and passing away. This part doesn't always comfort a twelve year old though!

Anyway anyway coffee cup is almost empty, there are things to do and things to clean and straighten, and two sweet little girls to snuggle with and talk to...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

my 27 year old daughter

Emily on vacation in Jamaica
Emily 27, Abigail 25, Mali 17, and Mirielle 21
Emily and Mali, Mirielle and Abigail in the back
pretending to be sick
coloring at one of the restaurants in Jamaica
We wanna eat! (Em, Mol, please do not kill me for posting this. I think it highlights how much fun you guys had down there...)
Mali and Emily

Mali Rose, Emily-the-Birthday Girl, and Mirielle..(in Jamaica)

Here are some things about my dear daughter Emily...

1. She knew how to tell time when she was four. She could read in kindergarten.

2. She stopped taking naps when she was very small, reading piles of books quietly while the littler ones (and I) slept.

3. She knows everything about everything.

4. She does not act like she knows everything.

5. Her beauty comes from within, yet also from without.

6. The outings she takes the younger kids on are the stuff kids' dreams are made
of: walking in the river, hiking to the falls, going to the big nice library
without stopping at the store too...

7. In her growing up years here she could often be found out in a tree reading a

8. She graduated third in her high school class, spent 6 months on the west coast
build the church conference center there, then spent a year in Norway before
going to nursing school.

9. She has been to India and England and Italy and Germany. And Jamaica.

10. She is only 19 years younger than me, so we are going to be in a nursing home ' together some day. Actually, she told me she would never put me in a home.
That alone makes her a good daughter, right?

11. I admire and respect and am thankful that she has chosen the straight and

voices in the night

When a mom is awakened in the night by the simple shriek of, "Mommy! Mommy!", the mom can have a whole slew of thoughts cross her mind. Foremost for me last night when Charlotte Claire called me at 4 a.m. was, "Please, not throw-up.", followed by, "I hope she didn't wet the bed." So imagine my surprise and delight when it was only, "Mommy, my eye hurts and I need a tissue." In my kindest voice I suggested that her eye will feel much better is she closes it, and brought her a big piece of toilet paper since it was closer than the tissues. I then suggested that she let Mommy sleep, gave her a hug and shuffled back to bed.

The thing is, last night I watched the news, which forecast such dire weather and possible power outages because of extremely high winds. We gathered up flashlights and battery candles, which cause Mr. Jonathan much anxiety. After all the kids went to bed, I found myself reluctant to go to bed too, like I was standing guard or something. Paul is in Ohio, and one of the kids actually asked me if I was scared to sleep in a room all alone (a foreign concept for them!). Well I wasn't scared until they asked that. And I wasn't really scared, just...well, just scared.

My sleep wasn't the best, although I usually don't mind having the big bed all to myself, not being nudged for snoring. Anyway, I really thought there would be a Snow Day or at least a Delay, but no, nothing. blah. So I did what any lazy mom would do, I talked to the first trip kids, and decided not to send the three younger, and went back to my warm bed. I was already keeping Miss Char home because she had a low-grade fever last night, and was just blah.

So I got a few extra hours of sleep, and have a pounding headache that wasn't helped by having to go outside in the cold wind with Rosie-The-Bad-Dog.

But I have my oatmeal and my coffee, Jon and Sonja are playing Wii, Evelyn, who stayed home because she didn't feel well, ha, is playing Barbies with Charlotte Claire and Camille. We are planning on cleaning up the house a little later and baking something yummy because today is EMILY ANNE'S 27th birthday! Is it possible that I am the mom to a 27 year old woman?

Yesterday I made Mr. Joseph, 20, go shopping with me. He so nicely agreed to go, even though he hates shopping. I let him drive, even though I hate when the kids drive. Camille happily went along with her Ariel doll. First Target, for Emily's birthday presents. I got her a nice new coat for only $20, and a Coleman tent for half off. If she reads this today she will ruin the surprise, oh well. I also got a set of two fake Barbies with clothes and shoes for Camille, marked down to $3. Well, the dolls look like they have been to war, no limbs left. One of the dresses ripped already. I thought of the poor little girls who got them for Christmas, and the parents who paid the full ten bucks. Target should not sell such junk! I am thinking of gathering the pieces and returning them or at least sending them an email.

Anyway, next we went to Kohl's, where I got Joseph jeans and a hoodie, jeans for Mirielle and Mali and Suzanne, boots for Sonja and Charlotte Claire, two pair of sneakers for Jonathan, one of which is too small, a kindergarten sweater for Camille, and I can't remember what else.

Then to Price Chopper for grapefruit and apples and pears and bananas and romaine and lemons and yogurt and kitty food and detergent and milk and blueberry muffins, which were $4.49 for 12 huge muffins, and which are torturing me this very moment. I will NOT have one.

The girls (Ev, Char, Camille) just trooped in here all dressed up in heels and pretty dresses to tell me they are playing Packed Suitcase Hotel. And that they really packed suitcases. Oh joy, will they possibly unpack them and put the clothes back in the right places?

So Paul is coming home tonight and once again absence has made the heart grown fonder, if he keeps leaving I will love him so much it won't be funny.

It is nice though, to still be in love.

If you are reading this and you are married, don't take it for granted. Relationships have to be be tended to, and husbands need to be a bit spoiled and respected and know they are wanted. If you are not married, do not marry anyone who doesn't respect his mother because if he doesn't respect his mother, he will not respect least that is what my mother always said.

It is getting that time in my post when I am just writing what ever comes into my head, wait, I do that from the first line...but I have things to do, and I haven't checked Facebook yet. ha.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

quiet house...for a few hours anyway...

Miss Camille is having a cupcake for breakfast. Jonathan did not want the one we brought him home from the baby shower the other night, so he gave it to Camille, and the girls babysitting her wouldn't let her have it before bed last night, so they left a note on the kitchen table to make sure no one ate it, and she was allowed to eat it for breakfast.

They did fine without me yesterday. Abigail couldn't work Dome because of her knee, so she bought some pizzas and helped here with dinner. She also brought caramel and chocolate syrup for Suzanne's new latte machine, an early birthday present. These guys love making hot drinks, we go through green tea and Chai tea, and coffee and cocoa so fast!

The game was good, Syracuse won again, they are 20 and 0! We get to the stand a few hours before the game starts and make pizzas, prepare the soft pretzels, and make nacho trays. Then we get to take a break, and that's when I usually have my Cookiewich. This time I split it with Audrey, all the yumminess with just half the guilt! We sat down near the floor and watched some of the players warm up. There was a huge noisy crowd, very busy. My niece Audrey and I took turns being cashier and filling drink orders. Five of my older kids were there too, how lucky am I?

Just getting to the Dome is fun. Joseph was the driver of the minivan with Samuel as co-pilot. Emily and I sat in the middle seats, then three of my sister's seven daughters were in the back, Janet, Ellen, and Audrey. We stopped at the DunkinDonuts' drivethrough, and everyone made Joseph ask if it was Free Donut Day. It wasn't. We ordered our drinks, and after each one the lady was like, "Is that all?", and Joe would say, "No, there is one more..." Then he pulled up to the pick-up window too far away....and she forgot one of the coffees, then he handed her back two of the drinks and asked for whipped cream...the line behind us was huge, and that for some reason was hysterically funny. Sometimes I forget that I am OLD.

All the kids went to school today. Mirielle, Aaron and Mali started back to nursing school today. Joseph is starting in the fall, and since he already has finished a year of college with all his pre-recs done, he is home. He is supposed to be finding a job...

I am cold. I wish we had a woodburning stove or a fireplace in the living room, to make it warm and toasty. We have a combination oil/woodburning furnace downstairs - which is nice, we can make a fire in it when oil is low, but the heat rises and heats it only up here, the downstairs is cold and the upstairs is not as cold...when there is a roaring fire it gets warm. There is no roaring fire today. I just ordered 150 gallons of oil, so that should get us through the rest of the winter...

Winter is nice when one can stay in the house. Winter is not nice when one is out of milk and yogurt and fresh fruit and salad fixings. Tomorrow is supposed to be freezing wintry cold again, so it looks like today is the day for going out...blah.

Winter is also not nice when one has EIGHT children who can drive. Now, Samuel and Mali only have their learner's permits, but still. And, to be fair, Benjamin is in Washington state, not here in the snowbelt, but still. I won't even get into my worries about Mr. Ben, who is heading to Afghanistan with the mortar brigade. blah. I won't worry about him, I will not worry, he is still safe and sound here, and God has always had His hand on Benjamin.

Anyway, having my two oldest girls work in the big city and driving in what is sometimes absolutely treacherous weather, oh I have to work on not being anxious.

And Paul is in Ohio, hopefully he will have good traveling weather for coming home in tomorrow.

Dang, I should have kept Sonja or Suze home today to go to the store with me.

I would rather go during the day than leave them after school, after being gone for so long yesterday. See me trying to talk myself into going out today? Hmm, we can live without milk, right?

Okay, the diet/lifestyle thing. My plague, my joy, my obsession...I eat WAY less than I did when I finally put my foot down and changed my slothful ways. And here I am, stuck again. Just eating carefully and exercising every day, and not losing a pound! That would be marvelous if I just had the fifty pounds to lose, but I am still very heavy and need to lose at least fifty more. Right now I would be happy to lose five more! I need to rev it up again, yet I don't want to cut calories more and be in the situation where if I so much as eat a piece of bread I will gain a pound. So more exercise it is...along with keeping my hands off candy and chocolate, which I am getting much better at. Why can't determination itself just burn calories?

Right now I shall go and put in a load of towels, pick up a few things, wash some dishes, do a quick work out, then bring Camille to the store. Sounds easy, right?

Monday, January 16, 2012

"my whole entire dream was about those babies"

Sonja K. dreamed about Susan and Thomas' babies last night. That's because she was lucky enough to be invited to Katie's baby shower last evening and because Susan is so kind and share-y, she lets the girls hold those tiny little twins. Sonja has spoken of nothing else, and cannot wait to see them again. Since my cold is finally cleared up, I held them yesterday too, and I fell totally and deeply in love with both of them, they are so sweet.

The baby shower was the best ever. No stupid games, but we went around the circle and each of us could tell about a special moment as a Mom, a moment that makes all the tiredness and work worth it.

One mom told a story of when she was locked out of the house with several small children, they checked all the windows, then one of the kids suggested they pray. The mom was not convinced this would work, because those windows were locked. But they prayed, and sure enough, one of the windows opened and they were able to get into the house.

Another mom told how her little daughter just started talking and the first time she said, "I love you" to her Mama, she said, "I ruv you", like ScoopyDoo.

One mom said just sneaking into her son's room and seeing him sleep, so peaceful and innocent, is joy for her.

I remembered when Benjamin was born: The rush of love and affection I felt when I first held him was shocking. I had been preparing myself for the work of another baby, and somewhere along the line I had forgotten that I was actually going to have another baby! I forgot how much I would love him to pieces! I never forgot that again,in subsequent pregnancies this feeling was foremost in my mind.

One mom, who has seven children, said her favorite thing ever in the whole world was to cuddle on the couch with the babies. Nothing ever could beat that for her.

Older siblings also had moments, as did Aunties. Margaret remembered when Camille was small and was fascinated by looking at herself in the mirror. One day Miss Camille kept saying to the mirror, "You are beautiful. You are beautiful." She noticed Margaret watching her, turned around and said to Marg, "You're pretty too."

Mirielle said she loves how there are so many kids in our family yet they are all so different. It fascinates her.

Ellen, one of my sister's girls, said she loved how her nephew William hugged her and told her he missed her when she got back from a recent trip to Ottowa.

Lots of stories. There was such a good spirit there, and it made me pretty thankful to be in our church, were the babies and the children are welcomed and wanted and appreciated.

Katie is due soon, and she looks fantastic. She is still small everywhere, just a huge basketball of a baby. She suffers from Crohn's disease, so this pregnancy is no picnic for her, but she is taking it well, and is of course thrilled to be having him. (she is a childhood cancer survivor, and she is my hero. She is more amazing than she knows, and I am proud of her)

The food last night was super yummy. Veggies and pepperoni and cheese and crackers (I just had some pepperoni), hot cream of broccoli soup which totally hit the spot since it was like zero degrees out, warm baguettes, which I only tasted, and yogurt with strawberries and blueberries and granola. YUM! Since the yogurt was so good and satisfying, I was able to forego the delicious looking cupcakes that Cheryl made, without suffering too much.

This morning I had to get up and drive Paul to work. No fair, another day off from school that I had to get up anyway. Friday the kids had a snowday and I had to go to that sonogram. Anyway, I had myself convinced that coming home and going back to bed was the best plan, but by the time I got home, I changed my mind. A little quiet time before the kids got up sounded good by then. Didn't work, but that's okay. I figure I am already up, why have to get up all over again?

Paul is going to Ohio for a few days for work. Wah. And today is another basketball game at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse is now 19-0! I am hoping to sneak in a few minutes of game-watching in the second half when things slow down at the concession stand. I love college basketball.

Am I losing any weight these days? Nope. Staying the same same same. My morning walk is now pretty much phased out, just a short walk down the road with Rosie. I do my other exercise every day, but it is not enough, I guess. blah. I am trying to be really careful and aware of everything I put in my mouth, and it could be better, but it could be worse. I think I need to jump start things by going on the treadmill, but not today. Today I am going to the Dome, and there are STAIRS. Lots of them. The Dome is up on a hill. An evil hill, probably the EVILIST. The nice thing is that it does not kill me, yet it is challenging.

And the thing about the Dome is this: Cookiewich. Can one be in love with Cookiewiches? Because just the thought of one makes my heart pound...

Things that made me cry already today, and it is only 9:30-ish...

1. Saying goodbye to Paul. He shaved on the way to work and I find that so attractive. I did not want him to get out and say goodbye. wah.

2. I read the morning paper, including the obituaries, and one Mrs. Marie Scott passed away at 87 years old. She was the youngest of 16 children. Wah! She lived through the passing of her parents, and all her siblings! Too sad. (yes, I pictured Camille)

3. Thinking about Christina who lost her twins.

Things that warmed my heart already today...

1. Mr. Jonathan. He is so grown-up and sweet, he charged my phone for me.

2. Sonja K. talking about those babies.

3. Camille's cuddles.

4. The three youngest kids' reactions to the cupcakes we brought home for them.

5. Charlotte Claire and her excitement to be home from school today and play dollhouse.

6. Stupid dum-dum Rosie and her extreme gladness to see me this morning.

7. Texting Janet, one of my sister's girls...I am old, but we are friends. Sorry Jan, writing that on here probably embarrassed you. ha.

And now I shall enjoy some time with these guys before I have to get ready for the Dome...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

coziest of days

What could be more cozy that a 15 degree winter day in a warm house with lots of kids? Add in two lasagnas baking in the oven, and snow falling outside, and yes, it is nice.

Abigail did not go to the Carrier Dome today to work concessions, Paul and Mirielle and Joseph and Aaron went. Abigail has a bad knee, so she is taking a break from working at the Dome. So she decided to make us some lasagna. It is starting to smell yummy in here.

So everything is good. No trials here at all, ha. No teenagers who think they know everything, and the house is spotless. No kids with too much energy.

Tomorrow is the baby shower for my niece Katie. The newborn twins will be there, and I want to hold them.

I cannot for the life of me think of anything interesting to say. I do know that life is interesting, there is never a shortage of sin to see in myself. I am wondering what the story is with my gallbladder, I am feeling lots of twinges of pain lately, and am dreading another attack. I am dreading what the doctor will say, no matter how "easy" the new surgeries are, it is still Hospital and still Surgery. And what if the dr. says everything is fine and I know it isn't? Blah, all the "what-ifs".....Now there is nothing wrong in all this except for when it leads to anxiety...the thoughts that go farther than they need to, the worry that kicks in. I tell myself to just drop it, to cross the bridges when I come to them. God has not given a spirit of fear, as it is written in Timothy. So here I am, just Wanting To Know. Yet having to wait.

Christina is in my thoughts and prayers very much these last days, her sonogram showed no heartbeats in those identical twins. I do not know her In Real Life, yet I know her, and I feel so bad for her right now. As much as we trust God in sending the babies, it is still real and painful and sorrowful to lose them. I am praying for her that she takes time to grieve and heal and that she is not afraid to cry.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Snow snow snow!!! Deep and drifting and blowing and cold! I don't know this from just looking out the windows this morning, no, I had to venture out in it for my gallbladder sono. I was tempted to cancel, but decided not to because the kids are going back to college next week, and it will get tricky to get someone to get the kids on the bus and watch out I went.

Let me say first that I had a terrible headache. It could have been from going out in the wind to walk Rosie, or going without coffee because I had to fast for this test, or just sinuses, I don't know. But it was pounding. And the roads were terrible! Guesswork just to decide where to drive, and slippery because it started out raining, and the bottom snow was slushy, and it was getting colder out...anyway, this time I didn't have a hard time parking, I just went to the top of the garage and parked in the snow, it wasn't plowed yet. I then sneaked one ibuprofen, I mean "nothing by mouth after midnight" is all fine and dandy, but my head was pounding.

I lived through the sonogram, it was quick. Then to the snowy car I went...popped the trunk, and YES!!! there was still a bottle of Diet Sierra Mist in there! I took two more ibuprofen, and ate a few bites of a Balance bar...and I was ready to run into the grocery store for bread and milk...

The ride home was worse than the ride there....I prayed for safety, and I told God that if I made it home safely, I would be good! Then I walked in and...blah, forgot that pretty fast when I saw the girls had made fried potatoes for breakfast and didn't even rinse their ketchup plates...ect, ect....but I remembered again, and this will be a good day. I brought them chocolate donut holes, and did not have one with my coffee, just a light yogurt with sprinkles and a few chocolate chips.

And now we shall have a good snow day...perhaps we will bake cookies, ahh, the torture!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Kitty pajamas and Kitty Kitten
Jonathan Robert
Sonja did not want to go to school...
Charlotte Claire lost her first tooth!

Camille playing house.

what? no medal? no congrats?

All these months I thought when I went into the doctor...he would be so happy about the weight I lost! ha., he didn't even notice. I think he was so relieved to have a patient with a clear cut diagnosis, he ordered some bloodwork, a sonogram of the right upper abdominal quadrant, and sent me on my way. I didn't even get a chance to tell him that my ears have been clogged and my cold is still hanging around after three weeks. hmpf. I need to get more assertive. After I was ushered out the door and waiting to get blood drawn, I was tempted to walk back in and say, "I was not finished here!" But I behaved myself.

Getting to the doctor yesterday was quite an adventure. Not like the old days when I had four preschoolers and a nursing baby in the waiting room with perhaps my sister and a few of her kids, or an older kid skipping school, or my mom...maybe Paul...once years ago when I had strep throat I brought my newborn right into the exam room with me and held her while the dr checked me out. He was not thrilled, I did not think it was a big deal. I did not like him anyway, he thought I was foolish to have so many kids and didn't hesitate to tell me so. He could not understand for the life of him why I would be interested in getting in shape yet be open for more babies. I switched doctors.

Anyway, Camille wanted to go with me yesterday. She planted herself outside the bathroom door while I showered, she did not stop pleading the whole time. She was saying things like, "Please don't leave me with Mirielle, please don't. How would you like it if YOU were the little girl and I was the Mama, and I was leaving YOU home. If you bring me I will be very good. I can get ready fast. Please don't leave me. I love you and hate when you leave." This went on and on. She was pretty hysterical by the time I unlocked the door and came out. I almost caved, almost asked Mirielle to quick get her ready.

Anyway, I got into the big van, and: hardly any gas! I was running late, as per usual, so I couldn't stop. I drove to the small city, tried to find a spot on the street to avoid the parking garage...this is a whole book in itself, trying to park a 15 passenger van in a parking garage. Mine is a Chevy Express, which has a longer wheelbase than a normal 15 passenger, which I thought was wonderful before I owned one and actually tried to park it. Anyway, I found a spot, and had to back out and pull in like five times with four cars lined up behind me, wondering if I was vacating the spot...with the low-gas warning light beeping and flashing...

I couldn't help but wonder during my brief dr. visit whether I would have enough gas to get to the gas station, but I did. (gas prices are creeping back up, it was $40 for only half a tank!)

I took the opportunity to sneak to the grocery store all by my lonesome. Just milk and stuff for salad and a bag of Kibbles for Rosie. I find myself so open for the possibility of a treat when I go into Wegmans. I smell the donuts and the muffins, which I do not eat anymore so I don't even look, I saw a lady with a package of cookies and thought, "she has cookies, and she is thin, no fair!" Anyway, I bought a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken for a treat. Camille and I had it for lunch at home, with some veggie sticks and grapefruit.

Mirielle said that Camille stopped fussing as soon as I left and was fine the whole time I was gone.

Sonja, Jonathan, and I cleaned their room thoroughly. Sorted and sorted and tossed and put away a bag of stuff, "for the poor kids". I let Jon decide what to keep, he did a great job of letting go of things. I kept reassuring him that it would be nice when he had just the things he really liked. See, he inherited the toys from his brothers, so he had all these transformers and Legos and trucks..he kept some of them, and all the Legos, but now there are no stray Lego blocks mixed in with other things. It is all neat and organized, and yes, I do believe this time it will stay this way. ha, how many times have I believed that one?

It is January, and it is raining out! Not to worry though, the snow is coming! Actually, it looks like rain mixed with snow. It will be getting colder tomorrow, snow Saturday with cold and wind, and below zero on Sunday.

I think I need to get on the dreadmill today for a bit since my walks have been reduced to cheat-y little ten minute outings. I have been doing my 12 minute Pace workouts, but ha, I cannot do all the things. Mirielle did it with me yesterday and we collapsed on the floor laughing when we were supposed to do these impossible things where one gets into the push-up position and alternates extending one arm while supporting oneself with the other arm. ha. I consider it an accomplishment just to get myself into the push-up position. We got our acts together and finished the workout. She said if it was her she would do that like five times. That is why I am fat and she is not, I was beat. Just the fact that I actually went home and exercised was a big accomplishment for me, a victory over my sluggish mentality, which suggested all the way home that it was a good day for a nap.

My nap. I did try one later, it was a huge unfunny joke. First Paul texted me. Then I fell totally asleep, and one minute later he texted again. Answered him, cuddled Camille who was touching my face and squirming, fell asleep again. He called me...see, Joseph and Mirielle were getting rid of one of the cars that no longer drives very well, bringing it to Pick and Pull...blah, details, but suffice to say there is no rest for the wicked. Then Camille fell asleep, the first trip bus came, doors were slamming, kids laughing, I just got up and had coffee and chocolate. Yes, chocolate is the only consolation for a Crappy Nap, pardon my French.

And here I am...getting tired of trying to eat right and exercise, just want to crawl back into bed and feel sorry for myself. But I won't, not today anyway. Camille is all warm in her froggy jammas, and the college kids are snoozing still.

I have to decide what job I want to tackle today (clean out a closet? Sort some clothes? blah)

Miss Froggy Jams is asking for more Trix....

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

going to the doctor....

blah. I have to be out the door in just a half hour, and still have to shower, so why am I sitting here writing this? Camille is snuggled up to me with the entire huge comforter from her bed wrapped around her, how does the doctor expect me to extricate myself from her and get in the shower on this 27 degree morning?

She wants to go with me. I told her to go wake Mirielle and if she will go too, she can go.

My organization and decluttering plans were derailed yesterday. Mali wanted to go order her scrubs for nursing school, and get some school supplies. I am nice, so I offered to pay for the scrubs for her birthday present, which isn't until March, so I reminded her not to forget when it rolls around that Mom got her something really nice: a lab coat, two tops, and a pair of scrub cargo pants. We then headed to the mall so I could return the two shirts that Joseph and Samuel did not like from Old Navy. Sam actually laughed at the one I picked out for him, I give up. I returned them and found some slippers for Mirielle and Suzanne, a shirt for Sonja, and some $1.47 capris that fit no one so far.

Mali and Aaron watched Camille in the play area while I quickly checked out Sears...I got myself a few skirts in smaller sizes, for motivation. Cheap, of course.

We had to hurry home because in my dawdling I had forgotten that the kids were going to the calling hours for the young man down the road from us. Aaron, Mali, Samuel, Margaret and Evelyn went. They just gave the mom a big hug, shook hands with the dad, and came home. I told them it was the least they could do. So so sad. They were pretty teary-eyed and sober when they came in the door.

Well, lots to write about but no time....have to take the shower and go to the Dreaded Doctor. What if his scale is broken and I weigh more than I did last time I went there? It is out in the hallway, the scale, I hate that! Can you shout that number a little louder, Miss Skinny Nurse, I don't think the people in the back row quite heard you!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

i wish...

I wish I could announce that I am pregnant. But I'm not. I wish I could announce that I have lost another five pounds. But I didn't. I wish I could say that my whole house is clean, ha. That my laundry is caught up. Nah. That I have made all the phone calls I have been procrastinating...

But I can say this: I am happy. Happy to be a Mom. Even though I don't always get the respect I think I deserve from my teenagers, or the appreciation I think I should get for all I do around here. Yes, it is a Thankless Job, but someone has to do it. Not really though. The rewards are plentiful...

I made French Toast for the kids yesterday morning, turning the dark cold kitchen into a fragrant cold kitchen. ha. I really like doing things for them that they like. Last night, for example, my girls were home from Jamaica...they stopped here to pick up Emily's car, and to empty the one big suitcase they shared ($25 for checked baggage, they just brought carry-ons and shared one bag for things like shampoo and sunscreen and sneakers)Anyway, Emily is working a 16 hour shift today, and won't be going grocery shopping 'til tomorrow, so I stocked them up on some stuff to last a few days...then they got home and discovered their landlord had totally ripped out their shower...uh-oh, Abigail really needed a shower before work...she came over this morning to take one, and I made her toast and tea....

Anyway, I like being good to my kids. It is rewarding. It is also rewarding to see what wonderful adults they are growing into. The Jamaica trip girls had a really really good time. I was hoping they would, because I am the one who recommended they go there. I was half afraid they would get there and think it was a dump or be bored or have awful food. But I needn't have worried, they loved relaxing on the beach, going out to dinner, and eating lots of fruits and veggies at every meal. And of course Jerk Chicken. They looked wonderful as they walked to the van from the airport, all tanned and laughing. They were hesitant, because they feared I had the camera, then they remembered that THEY had my camera, so they were fine.

So they had fun. (Mali went up to the room for something and the elevator got stuck between floors. She was on the elevator with five Jamaican guys, who kept telling her not to worry, Princess.) They read and rested and relaxed and probably missed me, ha.

The calling hours for the young boy down the road who passed away last week are this afternoon. Sam was friends with him, but is hesitant to go today because he says he doesn't know if he can handle it. Who can? I can't think of a more painful thing for a family to go through. I won't make Sam go, and I will go with him if he wants, encouraging him that it is for the family, to let them know that their son, their brother, mattered. They aren't going to stand there by his casket, wondering if we really knew him enough to be there.

Tomorrow morning I go to the doctor for my gallbladder complaint. I haven't had any more pain or symptoms at all, so perhaps I passed a stone and now everything is now fine and dandy and getting it checked out is just a huge waste of time and money.

Rosie escaped with the first trip kids and barked at the bus like a crazy dog, but came right to me when I went out to get her, ran muddy paws across the floor into her cage, rrr, anyone want a sheepdog? She gets so absolutely dirty all the time! She has all that fur, and it gets so stinky when she goes out in the cold, the oils come out, and yuck! She loves to slosh through the ditches and get burrs in her fur, and roll in stuff. She gets baths about every two-three weeks. Why didn't I just get a regular normal dog? She is SO high-maintenance. Good thing she's cute.

I am getting myself motivated to clean things out around here. Get rid of the excess. I talked to Jonathan when I tucked him in last night, and he seems open to sorting through his toys. This is a huge step for him, he has always wanted to keep everything, literally freaking out if I threw away a broken truck. I need to sort through my clothes, 90% of them don't fit anymore. I want to clean closets, and get rid of clothes that Camille has grown out of. I know I can't do it all in one day, but today I will start. Because less is more, right? Instead of just wishing I had a cleaner house, I should just clean my house, right? And that starts with getting out of this chair...