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

Monday, September 30, 2013

and the stay-at-home-mom is home again...

after being gone for half the day. But you know how it is, when you know you're going somewhere, you can't really start anything. I did clean up and do some dishes, a few loads of laundry. I started working out then realized, duh, I had to leave in less than 20 minutes and had to get clothes out for the little girls.

It was just a dentist appointment for a few of them. Then a stop at the grocery store for bananas and yogurt and chickn and carrots and green beans and lettuce and a big bag of Kibbles for the two bad puppies. No, they're not REALLY bad, but one or both of them has been peeing during the night. I know if Suri pees, Duke has to pee on top of it, because that's what he does. He rolled in something again today, so had his third bath, we've only had him less than a week.

I can't complain though, he doesn't have a mean bone in his body. He is just nice.

In the grocery store today: Jon, Char, and Camille played Spy, or Hide On Mom, or whatever you want to call it when you know your kids are following you but every time you turn around, you see the top of a head disapearing behind a display. Scurrying back around corners of aisles, laughing and admonishing each other to be more quiet. I WAS going to put stop to it. After all, most people just go to the store to buy some stuff, and are in a hurry. But then I thought about it. They aren't really hurting anything, and it is so much fun for them, especially when I play along and pretend I think they are indeed very stealthy.

On the way home, I stopped at Dunkin'Donuts for the last day of 99 cent Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. The iced ones are super yum. I thought the special was already over with, so I ordered myself a regular coffee, and let them each choose a donut. When I found out the special was still on, I let them each get an iced one, and they were pretttttty happppppy. This is the Best Day Ever, shouted Camille.

Home. Mali visited a bit, we put away the groceries, the princesses are playing in my room. They like to close the blinds and turn on the lamps and the battery candles and play with their stuffed animals and dolls. They have their iced lattes in there, and their donuts still in the bags. They are being save-y. They are probably playing Dunkin'Donuts.

I am thankful that I can spend my days like I do.

Two things: just because I stay home doesn't mean I have tons of free time

And: Even if I don't seem to be extremely busy, I always have things to help with and straighten out for the kids. Even the older ones.

As Evelyn was taking off her socks the other day and asking me what I thought was on the bottom of here foot, and I was saying I had no idea, I had this unbidden thought: What are they going to do without me? Now, I am not planning on checking out anytime soon, and I don't consider myself a superstitious person (just a little stitious, as Aaron would say), but this thought did freak me out just a teeny tiny bit. It's funny how being a mom puts things in perspective though: I can't die, who will act like they care about invisible things on the bottom of their feet?

Seriously though, who will? Not Paul, he will just say, "Uh-huh."

So I hope I live long, not just because I enjoy my days, but because I have lots of kids who need lots of questions answered, they need me to tell them they are beautiful and to encourage them to fight their fights of faith.

Anyway.....enough nonsense for today, there is soccer tonight and I am supposed to be making dinner, which I partly am, there is chicken and a pizza in the oven....

Friday, September 27, 2013


Camille and Charlotte Claire at Open House at school last night....

Having only two kids in elementary school and visiting only two classrooms was new and different! Camille had to show me every single nook and cranny of her classroom, she loves school. I whispered to her teacher that she IS my youngest, and well, she's a bit spoiled. She laughed and said it was okay. Charlotte Claire has a nice teacher too, and really likes school.

I am picking them up early today to go on an adventure! Sonja K. has to get an immunization this afternoon, so I am taking the princesses and Jonny too, then we are going to do something fun. I don't know what yet, perhaps a movie or the mall or out to dinner somewhere. The little girls both slept in my bed with me and Jonathan on the floor. Did I want to wake them up this morning for school? Um, no. I wanted to let them sleep, I wanted to stay there and cuddle with them. Oh, they are so funny. I told them a goodnight story last night about a little girl who won the lottery. I described the house she had her daddy build for her family, complete with a huge indoor rollerblading rink (my kids love when I look the other way and let them rollerblade around the circle from the living room to the kitchen, until I just can't stand it anymore...)anyway, she built a tremendous house with an elevator and a waterfall and a huge built in pool in the back yard. Then she gave the rest of the money away to her friend Dani and her brother Ben. Camille burst into tears....she said she hated the story because the little girl didn't have any more money....

So we have two dogs now. It isn't much different than having one dog, but my heart breaks for old Duke. He IS old. I don't like falling in love with an old dog. I don't want to see him slow down and suffer. He is content to go outside and pee on everything, walking around and wagging his tail, while Suri runs wild, fetching the stick and wanting me to chase her. He likes to tussle with Suri a bit, then take another nap. Last night they behaved again, no garbage on the floor, no surprise piles, no barking in the night. He comes back so willingly when we call him, and is a champ on the leash. He really isn't any trouble at all, and I love that my heart has room for him. I feel this protective feeling of him, like I want to take good care of him. Suri is put out about him sometimes, she just seems a bit sad, yet she really likes him. I think it's good for her, and after a while she will be so used to him she won't even remember what it was like to be the Only Dog.

I hope Paul likes him. I hope he doesn't turn into a huge expense as he ages.

I still can't believe I actually got another dog.

What a week.

My brother and his wife welcomed their third grandchild into the world last night. Emmett was born early, but seems to be doing fine. He is beautiful, and I can't wait to meet him.

Tomorrow...Paul comes home. Have I mentioned that I can't wait to see him? Seriously, if I ever complain about anything ever again, remind me how lucky I am to have Paul.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

things are looking better today....

So the dogs are becoming friends. They wrestle and play, and get jealous of each other. Then they sigh, put their heads on their paws, and take naps. There was no surprise on the kitchen floor last night, no 3 am barking to go outside. I only woke up to being kicked by Miss Char, who got the turn to sleep with me in the big comfy bed.

Jon and Suze took Duke on a walk yesterday afternoon, he was fine on the leash. I take the two of them outside every few hours, they do their business, run around a bit, and come right back in when I call them. In fact, Duke listens quicker than Suri does.

I do wonder about having two dogs, but it is a little late for that:)

Samuel went to PT last night, whatever that is. He usually goes once a week, it is training with the Future Soldiers, for the Army. He hurt his leg last night, doesn't know exactly what it is, a pulled muscle is my guess. So he stayed home from Activity Club last night and we planned to watch , "The Shankshaw Redemption", which he has to watch for his film studies class. We had the house all to ourselves, with the dogs, of course. Then Benjamin called, and I got to talk to him for a bit with no interruptions, which was pleasant. Ben has to go out to a remote place in Washington state for three weeks of training, starting today. (He is in the Army:} Ashley is due for their baby in four weeks. The soldiers can't have phones there, but if she really needs him, she can call the base and they can reach him. I wish I could fly out there and stay with her! Anyway, they are doing well, they have everything ready for the baby and are so excited.

After talking to Ben, I made some popcorn for Sam and I, and we had a good old time watching that movie together. Then Emily and Abigail stopped in to meet the new pup, and stayed for a while to talk. The other kids started piling in the door from Activity Club, Sam had to take the movie out to finish it in his room, as it wasn't good for little kids, even if he could have heard it with all the noise they brought in the door with them.

So here we are this fine Thursday morning. We have a stack of books to return to the library. Jonathan is going to learn about the American Revolution, so we will get him some books about that. He is like a little sponge, learning so much every day. Since our new pup is un-neutered, and Suri is not yet spayed, and Jon hopes for puppies...we had some talking to do. (I have called the vet, I need to check to see if Suri is able to bear pups after having her hip surgery after that accident.)

Having Kathryn and Jonathan home is really really amazing. They have this nice little alliance, she is pretty patient with him and teaches him stuff, right now she is telling him that we are like, "fren-emies" with Russia, which pretty much explains it. He wants to know everything about the Cold War. She explains the ramifications of our relations with Syria, and Jon says he hopes Russia will "humble themselves and help us if we need it". It is quite hilarious, to listen to Jon and his simplistic and innocent view of the world.

Anyway. It is a fine day, and we are leaving soon. We have to get a few things at the store like sugar and coffee and milk and bananas and and and.

Only two days and Paul will be coming home from Germany! After him being gone for two weeks last time, I thought this one week trip would go by fast....ha. I miss him so much it's crazy.

Oh, and I am finally making that scale move down again, little by little!!!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

it ain't all sunshine and roses...

or is that, "sunshine and puppy dogs"? I don't know. But I do know that now that we have taken in this new dog, life is a wee bit different. Sleeping through the night is over-rated anyway, right? Hmph. Mr. Duke decided to bark his little head off at 3 a.m. I came out to see what the commotion was, and the kitchen garbage was strewn all over the floor. I let the two bad dogs outside, called them back in a few minutes later and gave them their treats for coming so nicely, scooped the garbage back into the cans, bid them goodnight, and went back to bed.

6:30 came too fast. And there to greet me on the kitchen floor, yup, a pile of poop.

Is this normal behavior for Duke? Or is it just getting use to us? I do not know. My first thought was: we cannot keep this dog.

But hopefully he will adapt, settle down, learn some manners.

I swept and mopped the floors this morning, cleaned off the counters, folded some clothes, got the little girls ready for school, then...yup, went back to bed for a while.

I have to go take my walk, and wash the dishes, and do some laundry.

Paul is still in Germany, and I still miss him. I never in a million years ever would have believed that one could be married for so long (29 1/2 years), and still love someone as much as I love Paul. It's like I love him more and more as time goes on.

And back to teaching Jonathan...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

in which she adds a new member to the family....

Meet Duke!!!! He is my new baby, a Chocolate Lab! He is no baby though, he is 8 years old.

Suri and Duke...

Jonathan with his newest Best Friend....

Yeah, so I look on craigslist for dogs sometimes. Today, I saw this pure-bred lab, with papers. For free. His family had to move out of their big house in the country to an apartment which does not allow dogs. A good family was all they were asking for. I went to meet him, which was probably a big mistake, because we all know that once you meet the dog, it's over. But that's what we did, Kathryn, Jonathan, and I. We drove for many miles, 60 something. We arrived at the apartment, and met Duke and his people. He is kind and good natured, but not exactly perfectly trained. He is good though, know what I mean? Not a mean bone in his body kind of good. Anyway, his people are good too. They did not want to say goodbye to him. They have had him since he was a puppy. I showed them a picture of our family, and assured them that their Duke would be well taken care of. By the time we left with him, Jon was hugging him and calling him, "Best Friend." Duke obviously never learned about Stranger Danger, because he jumped happily into our minivan, just thrilled to be Going For A Ride. His people were tearing up. Now, I don't like to see big people cry. Seeing the mom was bad enough, and the grown daughter, but the grown man...the dad- ouch it hurt to see him in tears to say goodbye to Duke. I texted them some pictures already, and told them Duke is fine.

Although perhaps they would sort of rather had me say that Duke is sad and heartsick, missing them like crazy.

Not so. Dukey boy hit the jackpot. He LOVES Suri. Suri loves him. The kitties - not so much. They have not been in the living room all evening.

Anyway. We now have two labs. They are sleeping, both snoring.

I truly dreaded having to tell Paul what I went and did. I mean, it seemed perfectly logical to take my two homeschoolers for an adventurous ride, a few counties over, to meet this dog. Perfectly logical. And then of course we brought the sweet little guy home with us. We tricked the other kids, who were all home from school, told them to come out and help with the groceries:)

After Duke and Suri got to know each other, and after the kids gave their opinions, Mirielle came in from day two at her new job, and was totally thrilled and surprised to meet Mr. Duke. But I was feeling a bit of buyer's remorse. What had I done? A new pet is a forever decision, and Paul HAD just told me last week that he didn't want to pay for another pet. This dog WAS free, but he will still need to go to the vet, and eat. So he won't be free. What had I done? I thought maybe Aaron would want him, to keep at Emily's house.

Paul called me. It was the first time I had talked to him except for texting, since the night before he went to Germany, so four days. He asked how we were. Fine. What was going on. Well, I said, a chocolate lab is going on.

I told him not to worry, maybe Aaron would take him. He said, "Don't give him away until I get the chance to meet him." I about fell off the side of the bed.

I love my husband. I truly do. I hope he likes Duke, and I hope Duke turns out to be a good dog, and I hope he is happy here in our house.

Duke's old Mom just called to see how he is doing. He comes from a good home, so he will probably be a good dog.

Monday, September 23, 2013

pictures from days gone by....

Back when I was sixteen...

The prom with Paul...

1984, we got married....I was 18 and a half.

Then comes a baby in a baby carriage...
That was Emily in there:)

Young me with only two kids.

This one is funny, like his socks?

Dang he was handsome. Still is.

I love this one. He has been such a good daddy. Emily was certainly his sweetie. He has been spoiled with sweetie after sweetie all these years!

Emily and Abigail, my two oldest, with my dad. Emily looks exactly like Camille with that thumbie in her mouth.

Here's an old one. Emily 13
Abigail 11
Benjamin 9
Mirielle 8
Joseph 7
Aaron 5
Mali 4
Samuel 3
Margaret 19 months
Kathryn 4 months
And little did I know that Evelyn would be born the next year, then Suze the next and Sonja the next. Anyway.

Things are going well here at home. Aaron came for dinner (chicken, corn, green beans), and ice cream, and a visit, and to pick up his mail. Then Emily came for a visit and a few chips, no dinner. The two little girls are sleeping in my room with me tonight. Today was a good day, according to Camille. I brought them home a doll, which we really needed. I went out and about with Jonathan, to get those gifts for the girls' friend, and I saw this doll in BigLots. It was so cute! Fifteen dollars. um, it was really cute? It crossed my mind to get them each one, but thirty dollars on something we don't need is just too much. They are sharing. With difficulty, of course, as she is a cute new doll.

And the hour is late, morning comes early, I am tired.

just a few pictures...

My son Joseph did this.

This is Joseph. The other kids say he is my favorite. I don't actually have a favorite, but I certainly do like Joe. He is kind, he is compassionate, he always respects me. He gets up and goes to work in the morning even though working construction is not his thing. He likes to draw and create and learn languages, write music and listen to and play music. He really likes to spend time in his room working on things, but he also has a heart for the young people from church, so he does things with them. Last night we had eight boys over for pizza and chips and veggies and dip, fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, and lots of soda. Not for me of course. And I ate my own special pizzas, made on 16 calorie rice-cake-y things. But anyway. I am The Winner at Off On A Tangent this morning.

This is Kathryn Grace. She is amazing. She works out every day, and loves pushing her limits in gymnastics. She is my home-schooling teenager. She is really good at getting her work done, she even does things on the weekends. Right now she is baking up the rest of that chocolate chip cookie dough with Jonathan, who is taking a break from learning about oil spills. (have you ever had the aroma of baking cookies surround you? I will not eat one. I will not. I ate some dough yesterday, and when I think of it, probably several hundred calories worth. Then I broke a piece off a cookie to taste it...bad idea, because I do make excellent cookies! What did I think, that it wasn't going to taste good?)

I love love love having these two home.

And I WAS going to call the dr., but I don't know. I am fine now. I hate to go in and have all sorts of tests done. For one thing, our insurance is awful, we have to pay 100% until we reach like seven thousand dollars, then 20% of everything after that. I walked yesterday up the evil hill and was fine. I think I will just wait and see.

I am a really good procrastinator.

This morning, I swept the floors, straightened the couch covers, washed and cleaned off the kitchen counters, loaded and ran the dishwasher, washed some extra bowls and pans. The house looks decent enough, but does anyone ever stop by when it looks like this? Of course not!

The little girls have been Making Forts. They drape blankets between the couches and hunker under them with...more blankets, perhaps a lamp or a battery-operated candle or flashlight, some books, a few dolls, stuffed animals....they sometimes drape a blanket over the coffee table, or add some kitchen chairs to make their fort bigger. They always say they will clean it up as soon as they are finished, but I guess they just aren't finished yet.

Although they are at school.

Oh well. It could be worse.

I miss my husband. He has only been gone for two days, but still.

Mirielle started her new job today. I miss her too:} I now have three kids working as R.Ns.

Jonathan wants me to buy a new laptop, because mine is old and junky. He says I have Dad's card, and can just buy one. I say No I Can't, I Can't Just Do That. He says I should get a job for a few days a week so I can buy one. Oh, life according to Jonathan.

One of my boys was eating Lucky Charms yesterday. Taking all of the marshmallows out. I said that was No Fair. He said, what is this, communism? We have to share the marshmallows equally?

Life is never boring, that's for sure. Today, for example, I have to go out and about. Some of the older girls are invited to a housewarming party for a dear friend who has a place of her own. She also just graduated from nursing school and is working in a hospital as an R.N. She is a sweetie, and is so good to my younger kids as an activity club leader at church. Since Mirielle is working today, I am going to buy a few gifts for her housewarming.

And, that is it for this morning's potpurri of odd facts about my life and my day.....

Saturday, September 21, 2013

just a lil catch up post...

Paul left today for another trip to Germany for work. I will behave myself this time and not get into the jealousies I might or might not feel:)

It is rainy and chilly and very autumn-like here in central New York state. There was a football game at the stadium we fundraise at, so off we went this morning, lots of my older kids and I. Well, I am not in very good shape, or something. Between the evilist hill and the big horrid steps, I felt awful when I got in there. My heart didn't just slow back down to normal, it kept jumping all around, for 45 minutes or so after I got to the stand. I felt dizzy and like I just might throw up. So, I left. I felt bad, leaving, but Joseph drove me home. I felt better by the time we got on the road, a bit better.

Monday morning I will make an appointment and have things checked out, but I think I'm fine. It WAS hot in the stand today.

It shakes me up a bit, me trying to be healthy and having these things happen. It just goes to show we can't control everything.

Tomorrow we are going to church, then having company over for dinner. We are making pizza.

Since Paul is gone, I let the three youngest kids sleep in my room. Mirielle read them stories and tucked them in, they are as happy as can be to be in my room, all snuggly.

Our stupid kitty kitten STILL nurses on the dog sometimes. It seems so weird, but Suri just washes that kitten and thinks she is it's mama.

So that's all for now, we are watching a movie tonight, Mirielle is making popcorn, the yummy stovetop stuff with lots of butter.

Friday, September 20, 2013

always keep your hair clean, 'cause you never know when you have to go to the hospital...

Seeing as this wasn't an emergency, I didn't really HAVE to go with him, but Aaron cut his face on a shelf he was taking apart last night. Right after I got the little ones tucked in, and was resting comfortably in my comfy chair with my feetsies up. He walked into the living room holding a cloth to his face, then took it off to show me, asking what I thought. Oh dear, the bottom of my stomach fell. I don't like owies much. It wasn't terribly bad, but it was gaping enough, and being a facial wound, it needed to be fixed up professionally.

Now, I am not about to let him go to the hospital all alone, even if he is 20 years old.

It took way too long, and we were home way too late, but of course I wouldn't NOT go with him.

One thing I learned from my mother was to enjoy where you are when you are there, make the most of it, so I did. I spent time with Aaron, and enjoyed it.

I asked him what he would have done if I had been in my jammies, like lots of other people seemed to be. He said he would have gone alone. (I know that in true emergencies, one can't always change one's clothing, but seriously, these days wearing jamma pants seems to be the norm)

Aaron did break my heart yesterday. He decided the Time Has Come. He is moving out. He has a renovated room in Emily's big old house in town. He will be working nights soon, and has to sleep during the day which, around here, ha. So off he goes. He was packing when he cut his face. wah. I love him dearly, and even though it is such a short distance away, wah.

And to the library and store I go. I stayed home for two days in a row, but we need milk and bread and books today!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

what is victory?

I walked today. That's a victory.

I didn't want to wake Miss Camille up this morning. She still looks like my baby when she's sleeping.

New flowers, and pumpkins from the little girls helped decorate the house for fall. They are going to make decorations when they get home from school....I realized that for 25 years or so now, I have had little kids making these lovely creations...and these two last little girls are growing up. In a few years, they won't be cutting out construction paper leaves and making teddy bears with googly eyes. wah.

Kathryn is my lovely 15 year old daughter, here with Camille.

Anyway. I was walking this morning, thinking of what it is to have victory. Real-life victory. I went for my walk today, that was a victory. I didn't fit it in early, as I fell back to sleep because I was having an interesting dream about going to the bathroom in the night in someone else's house in just my bra and undies, then the sun came up and there were people in the hall, and I was stuck in the bathroom, but anyway. I overslept, then reasoned away the walk. I love my walks, but also love to reason things away. But later, I fit it in. As I walked, I thought about how by now, I should be walking way farther, or running, and was feeling pathetic. Then I stopped myself. I had gotten out the door, and was taking a brisk walk (I also jogged a bit today, which was wonderful). It was a victory! I have struggled so much with dieting, eating right....have felt so defeated....but I have not given up! THAT is a victory!

In the spiritual it is the same. Real-life victories seem so insignificant. In proverbs 21:2, "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord ponders the hearts..." So when I realize and admit that perhaps I am not right about something, that I am really really proud...then isn't that a victory? It doesn't seem like a great thing, but it is.

It has been fine weather for drying clothes and bedding outside, so I have been taking advantage of it. I love when the sheets smell like sunshine. Oh, I am such a housewife. Two days in a row of staying home, so far. I do need a trip to the library to get Jonathan some books. And we are running out of milk, ugh.

Mirielle made pumpkin spice pancakes for lunch. I made a two-egg omelet and split it with Jonathan so that I wouldn't eat too many pancakes, and so that my sugar wouldn't jump as much. Eating protein seems to balance things out. I probably shouldn't have had ANY, but I did, and they were so very good.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

in which the stay-at-home mom actually stays home...

All the live-long day, I stayed home. Since I live such an exciting life, I shall be unselfish and share the details.

1. I walked. It was chilly and I loved it.

2. I swept the floor.

3. I put some beef, half a sweet onion all sliced up, three pounds of carrots, and about four pounds of cubed potatoes on the crock pot with seasoning and pepper.

4. I washed dishes and cleaned counters and did three loads of laundry, which I hung outside in the sunshine to dry.

5. I cleaned out two junk drawers. Markers and crayons and pencils are now in three quart-sized storage baggies. I found hair clips, barrettes, and Barbie shoes. I threw away expired coupons and broken crayons. It feels amazing to open those drawers now, and yes, when the kids got off the bus I showed them the nice neatness.

6. I cleaned out two cupboards. I am not saying they are totally organized, but much much better.

7. After dinner, it was time for Activity Club! 12 kids went tonight. Getting them out the door with appropriate clothes for the different activities, like playing legos, going to a playground, a scavenger hunt, making fairy houses....and sending them with snacks to was pretty quiet when they left. Paul worked from home today, and was still working.

8. So, I worked out. Not a huge long work-out, just three sets of twenty push-ups, some crunches and leg lifts and lifting the ten pound weights. 18 minutes. Then a shower. A long leisurely shower. For years and years, this scenario would have been unheard of, and you can be certain that I enjoyed it immensely. Except for the bad part...I used some conditioner that must have gone bad, which I have never heard of before. It smelled terrible, and I had already put it in my hair. I had to wash my hair all over again, and rinse it forever, then re-condition it. I hated wasting so much hot water, but it smelled awful. I smell good now though:)

9. My sister called me, so I sat out on the deck as it got dark, and talked to her.

10. I almost forgot, my sister-in-law came a-visitin' today. We sat out on the deck, me in the sun, her in the shade, and caught up. She was away on vacation for a week, so we had some talking to do.

And so my day went. It was a good day. Camille told me a story that she says she is going to write some day. She said it was about a lady who was a dance teacher who loved to dance, so she danced all day long. She stayed up too late dancing, then the next day she was too tired to dance.... Oh Camille, you are so much like your mother....

There is a medium sized clothes monster on the couch. It gets started when the kids take a load of laundry out of the dryer and leave it there. I hang up the Important Stuff, then stuff gets left there. There are the unimportant things from like 3 or 4 loads there now.

The little girls have been playing House in the living room. They don't want to put it away yet because they are going to play again tomorrow. So there is a dolly on one couch and one on the floor and a basket on a chair with a stuffed chicken in it. Clifford The Big Red Dog is in a basket on the coffee table, and there are five Barbies and a Ken doll on one of the end tables.

Aaron just got home from work and is very happy to see such a good dinner...there is some left, thankfully.

And, that is my exciting day.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

of course I remembered!

It was foggy and chilly and absolutely gorgeous when I took my walk this morning. I was pretty far down the road when I realized...I was being followed. By a stealthy creature. I scooped up this bad kitty who was following me, and gave him a kiss. He wiggled down out of my arms, and walked right near me the whole way, up the Evil Hill, back down, through the woods, and all the way home. He is such a funny little kitty. He would be perfect, except for the fact that he likes to poop NEAR the litter box, not IN it.

Anyway, I took my walk. I cleaned up the kitchen and swept the floor after the five bigger kids went out the door to school. Then I woke up the little girls, got them dressed and fed and brushed and washed and out the door with their lunches. phew. Then Kathryn asked if we could please go to the craft store to get some paint and canvas for her art requirement. Well, I didn't really want to go anywhere today, but. I had to go to the store for a few things anyways, because I had to make cupcakes today for the Israel Feast for the youth in our church. They are planning a trip, and have to plan their fundraising, ect. I was asked to make the cupcakes. Two weeks ago, I said I would. Yesterday I kept asking everyone what I had to do this week. I knew there was something I was supposed to be remembering. Then I got a text yesterday afternoon asking how those cupcakes were coming....

So today we went to the craft store, Kathryn and Jonathan, and I. I got some cupcake papers and a few new decorating tips, and some fake fall flowers.

Then we wandered over to the pet store to see the puppies. It's a good thing they are so expensive, or we would have brought one home today. Then to the dollar store for a few things we just plain needed, like socks and headbands and spices.

Grocery store for shortening and confectioner's sugar, bananas and carrots, coffee, chicken, burger.

Home...time to bake! I made three batches of cupcakes, a double batch of brownies, which I split into two. One half went into a pan with a mixture of mint chips and chocolate chips that I had melted together, all swirled into the brownie batter. The rest went into the mini cupcake pan, with small Reese's peanutbutter cups in them.

And the always takes way longer than you think.

It was time to start dinner by the time I finished these up. We had sloppy joes (browned hamburger meat with spicy sauce, supposed to be served on buns, but some of us, um me, had them without...), green beans, peas, and corn.

The little girls are finishing up their homework, I am done in the kitchen for the night I hope, I was in there for six hours. Mali came for a visit while I was decorating, Samuel made me a coffee, I can't complain.

And, the girls need stories, it is almost bed time. I miss summer. I hate being ready for bed at eight o'clock.

Monday, September 16, 2013

monday morning....

Emily Anne, my oldest child. Wait, no longer a child, is she? I can't be old enough to have a 28 year old, yet I do. Anyhoo, she was interviewed at the Labor Day Youth conference at the article on

So Mirielle has a job now, Joseph is working construction, Aaron has a new is getting a teeny tiny bit lonely around here:)

My knee feels SO much better this morning, I took one naproxen last night. Yesterday's pain was the most I have had with this knee, and it sort of depressed me a little bit. But the nature of this type of arthritis is that it peaks and wanes, depending on activity level, the weather, whatever. I had to realize that just because it was killing me yesterday didn't mean it had progressed to that level and was going to stay there. When I woke up this morning and it felt so much better, I wanted to jump up and down, but it isn't THAT much better, so I refrained.

Camille and Charlotte Claire, waiting for the bus this morning.

This morning I had pumpkin spice coffee. I loves it. What I really would rather have: pumpkin muffins. But alas, I cannot. I took a trip to the small city up north this morning with Mirielle, stopped in the grocery store, and lo and behold, there were 6-packs of pumpkin spice donuts for one dollar. Yeah, I got a few packages. No, I did not have one. I am going to let the kids have one with a cup of milk for after school snack, I shall not have one. blah, I hate loving stuff.

I did get some healthy stuff, of course. We shall be having turkey/beef meatballs for dinner, with sauce from our garden, mine with green beans instead of pasta. We will also have a salad with green peppers from out garden, and cucumbers from the store.

Eat healthy, exercise. It is my life. I have to do it. I can't not do it. I need to stay in love with it. Or fall back in love with it. I have to baby this knee for a bit, but still, I have to fit that exercise in. And stay away from the breads and cookies and snacks and donuts.

And, speaking of things I can't eat anymore, I have to make lots of cupcakes. The youth kids are having an Israel feast at church, to talk about fundraising for their projected trip there. I am making the cupcakes. They have to be done tomorrow night, so I had better get busy....or at least start thinking about them.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

what a weekend!

Five of my kids played on the church soccer team this past weekend. They didn't win any games, but they got a trophy for Most Improved. They tied three and lost two games. They have gotten much much better, and it was good to see them so hopeful and optimistic.

I am too tired to write much more tonight....and my knee is absolutely killing me. Limping on it has made my lower back start hurting. I have enjoyed my new-found physical well-being so totally enjoyable these last few years that I am having a tough time dealing, mentally, with having to limit my walking, exercising, and just moving around. I may have to break down and start taking those anti-inflammatories.

Friday, September 13, 2013

a new car!!!

Aaron bought a new car today.

We were in the city and had to wait until some paperwork got figured out, insurance figured out, ect. So we went to a nice grocery store in the suburbs and had Chinese food (I only had a tiny bit, paying by the pound is a good diet helper). Anyway, we walked through the store, not wanting to go too far from the city, as we had to pick up that new car today. We ended up having to come home for something anyway, but we had fun burning time in the store. I tried not to think of all the things I could be doing at home, concentrating instead on helping Aaron make decisions, and just enjoying the day with he and Jonathan.

The car is a cool one! All-wheel drive, perfect for a young man who is a nurse and drives into the big city during the winter and works night shifts, perhaps driving before the snowplows come out. It gets good gas mileage, and has all the bells and whistles. Aaron has the same affinity for cars as I used to have for carriages and strollers. A Graco - no way. He chose a Subaru, in a nice shade of blue with heated seats and power everything. The good thing is that the car he shared with Mirielle will now be freed up for her, because she got a job!!!!

She is a registered nurse as well, and will be working at a hospital to the north of us. She is very very glad, she interviewed for a few jobs and this one was her first pick. She actually got a call with a job offer from another hospital right during her interview for this job.

Yes, my kids are growing up and I am getting old. Today is rainy and chilly and I feel old. I need to exercise, and make lots of lunch for tomorrow, our church soccer tournament. It will be busy, as I am watching not only my own kids, but my brother Tom's kids too, which is actually a joy. They are good kids, and just hang out with mine anyway. (my brother and his wife, Kim, are finally finally finally taking a vacation! 12 kids, and hardly a weekend away ever for them!!!)

And off I go to get out of my comfy chair on this dark cozy coffee cup is empty...

and the stay-at-home mom doesn't stay at home. again.

Well, I am thankful that I have the time and flexibility to do some of the things I end up doing. Today, for example, I am going with Aaron to buy a car. Not for me, for him. He has a Real Job now...

We are letting Jonathan go, even though he should be working on his school work. I have his instructions written out for the day, he has to do the work, so he will work on it in the car, and later when we get home. Jonathan is a Car Expert. He will remember any details or prices he hears about today, and he will help Aaron decide. It is just right up his alley, and to not let him go would be cruel and unusual punishment.

I did not have time to sweep the floors this morning, but I did clean the counters and wash the dishes. It will be here later. Oh, and I did not mean in my yesterday post that I don't care about my house. I do. I just care about the kids MORE. Going with Aaron today is much more important than having the house all in order. And I do spend a considerable amount of time cleaning and sorting and straightening and picking up. Just never quite ENOUGH time. But someday, perhaps, my house will be the quiet kind of house, the kind where the sound of the clock ticking is the only sound.

My knee has been hurting this week. It is mentally distressing. I worry about losing mobility, about not being able to do what I do now. I can't even straighten my leg all the way anymore, the arthritis is so bad. My other knee is not much better, it clicks and locks into place when I bend it, then I have trouble straightening it when I stand up. I have cut back on the walks, the doctor had said that hills and stairs should be avoided at all costs. I guess it is back to the rec center pool for me, next week. Although I will try to fit in a regular work out this afternoon, one that doesn't strain my knees.

Anyway, off we go....

Thursday, September 12, 2013

and and and

Samuel James, my little sweetie. He is no longer a cuddly little toddler, however. He is 18 years old, and almost finished with high school. He is already enlisted in the U.S. Army, and will leave for boot camp sometime after January 2014.

If I could go back in time, I would care even less than I did then, about the house. I have no fond memories of my clean floors or getting the clothes out of the dryer before they got wrinkled, but I certainly remember rocking those babies and reading Richard Scarry books to the little ones. I do remember, sadly, times of frustration, as I tried to get a small baby to be content in a swing, so I could finish up dishes or sweep a floor. It was a lot to balance, but my point is that...the house is still here, those babies have morphed into these big kids...not that I don't love them even more now.

Today was another busy one. I wrote up my homeschool instruction plans, got them printed at Staples (our printers never live long!), dropped them off at the school, returned some brakes to Advance Auto, that Paul thought that the truck needed but didn't, filled the minivan with gas, waited while Mirielle picked up some medical forms from her dr. office, stopped for iced coffee at Tim Horten's (no-sugar rasberry with half and half...yum), picked up a copy of Benjamin and Ashley's marriage certificate from the town in which they filed it, to prove to the Army that they are indeed married and eligible for the married couple housing allowance, shopped at Target for birthday gifts for a party that Jonathan and Sonja are going to on Friday night, helped Mirielle pick out a new phone (she got the Galaxy s4), went to Price Chopper to get some things for the soccer weekend grill and of course some things for home like bread and milk and bananas and yogurt and chicken, went to B.J.'s, a warehouse club store, for the rest of the things for the grill, and a few more things for here like tortillas and candy. Then to the bank, to Tim Horten's again for a hot coffee, one dollar, then home. Ahh, home.

Home to put it all away.

Samuel can drive now, so he drove that minivan out to soccer practice, all full of things for the grill to be put away.

Mirielle and Margaret and Aaron left soon after to go to choir practice and cleaning.

Home alone with the princesses for a while, helped them do homework and cuddled, and heard about their day.

Guess what? I am ready for bed.

Monday, September 9, 2013

goodbye monday. see ya next week.

After shopping with Mali and Kathryn and Jonathan, I had a huge headache. Target, Price Chopper, the library...I just wanted to come home and crawl into bed with a book. I seriously considered it. But who would put away the groceries and husk the corn and make the dinner so six of the kids could get out the door for soccer practice at 5:30? Since I like to get sidetracked, I decided to try shooting a few of Sam's airsoft guns with him. Uh-huh, I hit the target, a large stock pot propped up on a bucket in the back yard. Too much fun, I tell you!

Then I husked the corn with Jon and Mirielle. I put two chickens in the crock pot. Did I mention that our oven is sick? Paul has a friend who fixes appliances, he usually walks through the problems on the phone and helps him order the replacement parts. A repairman? Um, no, not us, not usually. The oven makes everything black when it's not even done. So the crock-pot it is, for now.

The chickens will be for tomorrow, we had peppered turkey wraps and corn on the cob for dinner. The soccer kids had an ear of corn quick before they left, and are eating part II right now.

Paul is at a church meeting.

The little girls are all tucked into bed. They did their homework and read stories to me, had snacks, and brushed their teeth. They are so sweet and funny. Charlotte Claire so matter-of-factly told me that her friend was back in school. I asked where she had been, and Char said, "She was sick, plus she had lice."

This coming weekend is our church soccer tournament. Emily and I are planning/shopping for the grill. I already bought some of the candy, but still have to get Gatorade and soda and water and lots and lots of burgers and hot dogs and chicken and chips and stuff for salads. We will be prepping/baking on Friday night, then working all day Saturday, hopefully getting to watch the kids play their games, too. Kathryn and Evelyn and Suzanne and Sonja and Jonathan play this year, with Sam helping to coach.

Emily is coming over tomorrow so we can plan and perhaps do some of the shopping.

My headache is gone now, thankfully. Life is much more challenging when the head is pounding.

monday morning, how I loathe thee...

And yet...thankful. Sending seven kids out the door to school is some picnic, some days. This morning, for example, I forgot that speaking the truth is not always wise, especially on a Monday morning. Now, we have iron-y water. We have had several water systems through the years, in fact we just got another new one last year. Iron filters, too. Yet our water still has that nice orange-y tint. It stains white clothes, it can build up in your water bottle. Anyway, this fine morning, my kids were grumbling about the water. I mentioned that perhaps they should be thankful that we at least have water, an abundance of it. I reminded them how much God hated it when the Israelites grumbled and complained after they were brought out of Egypt, longed for meat to go with their heavenly bread. So they never entered the promised land. God hates complaining.

Uh, they didn't really want to hear this. And of course, they weren't REALLY complaining, I missed their point entirely! They were just mentioning how they didn't like it! Jeepers! There is a difference, MOM!

I may not have much wisdom, but I am learning how to drop a matter and change the subject. Although it doesn't hurt to plant a seed of thought in their minds, there certainly was a better time than this fine Monday morning to point it out.

Anyway, I took my nice long walk, then got Jonathan's school day planned while I brewed a pot of pumpkin spice coffee. Jon cooked our eggs, he really likes cracking eggs. Good thing I really like wiping up the stuff that trails from the cracked egg to the pan.

He is nice and quiet, studying like a good boy. I love having him here. He is genuinely interested in learning all sorts of things. We can spend lots of time on interesting stuff, yet we don't have to do page after page of stuff, once he gets it, unless we want to.

Friday I had a few hours out and about with my three oldest girls, Emily 28, Abigail 26, and Mirielle 23.
(Abigail, Em, me, Mirielle)

We went to Kohl's because I had a 20% off coupon. We mostly just wandered around and wondered how things could cost so much, but I did find Jonathan some really cool Nike sandals for nine bucks. Emily found new sunglasses, Mirielle a new purse. We stopped at the grocery store for more bananas and yogurt and veggies and and and.

Can I mention how much I totally enjoyed being with these three daughters? Emily and Mirielle talked nursing a bit, Mirielle is looking for a job, interviewing here and there. Abigail is still out of work on medical leave, hobbling around but doing better by the day. Em had the day off, so it just fell into place that we went out and about in the sunshine together.

Today, Mali is coming over to spend some time with me. Jon is trying to get his work done speedy fast, in case we go on an adventure.

We woke up to a chilly morning here in central New York state. It is sunny and gorgeous, a little breezy. Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer, possibly ninety degrees! So I am keeping that pool filter on, hoping for a few last swims. It is painful how quickly summer turns to autumn. Even if I keep the water clean, and it gets really hot for a day or two, the water is going to be freezing. I am thinking this will be the last pool week, wah.

We didn't do everything on our summer list. Suzanne said she wanted to go fishing with Daddy. We did go to the beach a few times, went camping in the mountains, went to a waterfalls, went to our friends' pool, picked berries...we had Iced Coffee Day, and went to the park.

I know time is supposed to pass, but it just goes too fast! I see my kids growing up into these people who don't need Mommy to brush their hair or pick out their clothes. They remember their own homework and pack their own lunches. Emily and Aaron ride in to the city to work together sometimes, and I remember when Aaron was born...Emily was in second grade, and when I went to school to see kindergarten Abigail's Christmas presentation, I brought newborn Aaron in with me. (I also brought Benjamin, who was 4, Mirielle, who was 2 1/2, and Joseph, who was 18 months old) Anyway, I brought those little kids and that newborn baby Aaron, who was born on December 10th, it was probably like the 22 of December, and Emily was such a proud big sister, holding that baby boy and showing him to her class. Now they drive to work together.

I had a girl come to help me when Aaron was born. She stayed until he was four days old. I cried when she left. Two kids in school, four at home. How in the world did I ever survive those years? (Mali was born exactly 15 months after Aaron...then of course Sam came 17 months later...then Margaret 16 months after that, Kathryn 15 months after that, Evelyn 17 months later, Suzanne 18 months later, then Sonja 14 months later, then Robert 13 months later, then Jonathan ten months after Robert, then a few miscarriages, and Miss Charlotte Claire...then Camille Anaya, 18 months later. phew. No wonder I am enjoying my downtime so much!!!!

So anyway, it goes by to fast, this incredible life of mine.

Kathryn is making waffles for Jonathan and herself. Oh they smell good, but I do not eat waffles anymore.

Perhaps I will have some more pumpkin spice coffee....

Sunday, September 8, 2013

don't follow me!

I'm lost! We started out on an adventure, on this cloudy, fall-like day....we were going to the apple place! The place where we pick those apples out of those big wooden crates, and put them in paper bags. Big bags of apples for six dollars a bag.

Well, we went to the wrong town. "We" as in, "ME", as I was the driver. Sonja K. tried to tell me I was going the wrong way, but did I listen?

Sonja, Me, Suze, then Camille, Char, Jon in the front...Evelyn took this one.

Evelyn in this one....

It was a lovely place, the place we discovered by accident. We had taken the wrong road. Turn around and go back? Ha! I am a firm believer in Keep Going, Eventually The Right Road Will Show Up. So we drove and drove and drove, until we saw a sign that said, "Dead End". We pretended to be scared, I declared that at least we weren't running out of gas, to which Evelyn retorted, "Do not jinx us!". The road got smaller, more narrow. Hmm, where in the heck were we? Yah, we had smartphones, but we didn't check Mapquest, this was more fun. Char was getting nervous, she said, "If the road ends on a cliff, please don't drive off the end of it!". I told her the road would NOT end in a cliff. Well. It did. A cliff overlooking the beautiful Lake Ontario. We were pretty far away from the apples, but it was very nice there.

We did turn around, we found our way back, and we got apples. We also got peaches. The place we go has a 24/7 barn sale. Antiques, odds and ends. Camille had a dollar in her hand, and asked me like one hundred times if she could buy something if she found something for a dollar. I told her that it wasn't likely, but okay. I do think the lady behind the counter heard her, because when Camille found a plastic bag with a Barbie in it, plus a few brand new outfits and lots of Barbie shoes, and I asked the lady how much it was, she said it was a dollar. Seriously? Oh happy day. Char took it really well that Camille got something and she didn't. I tell them that life isn't fair, sometimes one of them gets something and the other doesn't, to share, and to be happy for each other. If it were the other way around, Camille would have been a different story. Anyway.

Evelyn and Suzanne found some cool candle holders and some other old stuff, and then we headed home, eating fresh peaches.

Home....yes, we baked pies. Three apple, one pumpkin. I told the girls it must be, "Pee-pee" day. Pies, pizza, pumpkin, aPPles...Margaret and Jonathan made three pizzas while Evelyn and I cut up all the apples and Mirielle rolled out the pie crust. Joseph requested the apple pies to begin with, so we guilted him into helping peel some apples.

Emily and Aaron drove to work together today, so they came in and had some dinner and pie after work.

The house is a mess, thanks to the little girls who have been playing house all over the living room. The 12-pack of paper towels made a nice wall for their house, but now it has opened up and there are paper towel rolls all over the floor at my feet. They also used the huge package of toilet paper, but that is still sealed. They used a toy bin and a laundry basket, which they turned upside down and put couch pillows on, plus they got out toy dishes and blankets and books. Books aren't just for reading, they make great walls for houses.

Someone covered up with a quilt, now it is in a heap in a chair. A few sweatshirts, a stack op papers, a princess cup, a magazine...oh, how cozy it is in here.

I have done enough today, it will be here when I wake up.

Friday, September 6, 2013

aaah, friday how I love thee....

This weekend is empty. Not planned. No fundraisers, no baseball games to work at. And guess who love it?

I am picking up my two littlest children from school this afternoon and taking them for ice cream. They remember that I did that on the first Friday of school last year, the little smarty-pants princesses. Please, Mama? Please? So now I hafta skip lunch so I can have an ice cream cone too.

Jamaica is calling me these days. This year is our 30th anniversary, don't you think we should go to Jamaica for like seven or eight days? Or perhaps to the Dominican Republic? Shh, I was sitting here in my comfy chair, looking at places, oh the warm and sunny beaches and pools with swim-up place has jacuzzi tubs out on the deck of each room. Or rooms with the pool running along right outside the room, just step outside for a swim. Or better yet, rooms right on the beach with ocean views. Some of the resorts have these virtual tours, so it seems like you are standing right there. Of course they are filmed when the places are empty, so there are no fat old Russian guys with rings on every finger, drinking vodka at ten a.m.

I am thinking it would be nice to go to an adults only place, me that loves kids so much. I do love them, but if I can't bring my own kids, I don't want to be splashed by spoiled kids. And I would really love to bring my own kids. Kind of. Sometime. :)

Nothing wrong with dreaming, right? Paul has been gone so much for work, three separate weeks spent in Louisiana, then the two weeks in Germany. When he's home, there are so many things to take care of, so our time together is limited. Now, I am not complaining, and if we can't go on another trip, we will be fine. But it is fun to think about. Sometimes I think it is worse that we have taken vacations, now we know what relaxation is, and how much fun we can have together!

Fall has arrived this morning, sunshine and crisp air! I already made pumpkin muffins the other day, and I cannot make them again, at least until I have a whole houseful of kids who want to help me eat them. I will not say how many I had, but it wasn't one and it wasn't two. I can not be trusted with a pumpkin muffin, and I darned well know it. So I will make pumpkin spiced coffee instead. And maybe some of those pumpkin Paleo cookies with toasted almonds.

I did make chocolate chip cookies last night. I have stayed away from those, but it was chilly in here, and I didn't think about it too much, I just made up a triple batch and baked some up, before I went out to put the chicken on the grill for dinner. I accidentally put in six sticks of butter instead of three, so they were really flat, and surprise! Really buttery. They taste absolutely amazing, even though the consistency is not right. I had to slap my little hand a few times. Oh, I didn't have a whole cookie. I do not eat cookies anymore. I just had a taste of dough. And another and another. And a little piece of cookie, and another and another. dang it. All my hard work, then I do something like make cookies. I need a clothespin on my nose and a piece of mint gum in my mouth.

Can you believe I am going to be a grandma soon? Benjamin and Ashley are having their baby next month! They will be home for Christmas with a two month old baby in tow!

Emily is working hard these days at her real job, and doing things with the younger girls, and helping plan for the church grill for the soccer weekend coming up.

Abigail is still home on medical leave from work, after her knee surgery.

Mirielle is all done with school, has passed her nursing exam, and is interviewing for jobs.

Joseph is doing drawing work online, he just finished helping illustrate a Christian children's book.

Aaron has a Real Job working at the same hospital as Emily, as an Registered Nurse. He had his wisdom teeth out yesterday.

Mali has started year two of nursing school, and is working part time as a receptionist at a hotel.

Sam is in his senior year at high school, he will be graduating in January and leaving for the Army sometime after. His official ship date is in July, but he is trying to move it up so he can go sooner.

Margaret is in eleventh grade and is in the top five of her class.

Kathryn is homeschooling, and is such a joy to be with.

Evelyn is in 8th grade.

Suzanne is in 7th grade.

Sonja is in 6th grade.

Jon, homeschooling 4th grade. He loves learning!

Charlotte Claire is in 2nd grade.

Camille is in 1st grade.

And that is all I have for today. Oh wait, let me mention that I am thankful for today. I am thankful for my kids, my family, my friends, and for everything that God sends my way.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

first day of school

Homeschooling Kathryn and Jonathan is going to be fun! Our first day went well. After we got our basic work out of the way, we decided to do gym class (walking!), and art (photography!)at a local park. Suri got to go too, even though she is not homeschooling.

Sam,18, Margaret, 16, Sonja,11, Evelyn, 14 Suzanne, 12. And...

My first grader Camille Anaya, and second grader Charlotte Claire.

Jonathan Robert, such a character. He has been obsessing about tablets. He has researched them and ogled them and saved up money for one. Unfortunately he lost his cow wallet, but Gramma called yesterday and made his day! She took him shopping and let him pick one out! I don't think his feet have touched the ground yet. He has been just beside himself, downloading things and figuring things out. I was nice and let him use it to research some things for his first day of homeschooling.

Margaret 16, Kathryn 15, Evelyn 14, Suzanne 12, Sonja 11. My five-girls-in-five years. When they were little, I wondered what the teen years would be like. Oh my goodness. Worse than I could have ever imagined yet way better too. They are all so strong and opinionated, yet they have kind hearts and forgive each other...Taking them all shopping, like I did yesterday, is a wonderful adventure. They are good shoppers, they know how to find the clearance rack, but it certainly adds up!

Evelyn sometimes gets irritated when people look at us. Well, girls, act like normal human beings and maybe people won't stare! One of these girls pushed her sister through the whole grocery store in a cart, I just pretended I did not know them.

So we survived our first day of school. I did cry when that school bus swallowed up my little girls. But not for long, thanks to sweet little Jonathan, who was all gung-ho to start work on his first project, an essay about his shopping trip with Gramma, followed by a thank you note to her.

Paul worked from home today, which was kind of nice. This is my first bit of down-time yet today, and I have to get those little princesses tucked into bed soon. We have chosen clothes for tomorrow and packed lunches. I filled out several packets of paperwork, they need one of each sheet for each child, and seven are in public school now.

I think I am ready to get back on a better schedule, since I woke up at six this fine morning.

And that is all the exciting stuff I have for now....

Monday, September 2, 2013

stormy day....

Evelyn didn't just want to throw away her old rainboots. So she got creative.

Today has been a luxuriously lazy day. Stayed in bed too long, didn't take my walk, had a healthy breakfast of one egg, one sausage link, and an ice cold peach. And coffee. Lots of it. Kathryn and Suzanne and Jonathan and Charlotte Claire and Camille joined me in the pool. I swam and paddled and exercised in there for over an hour, until the thunder got close and the underside of the leaves on the trees were blowing. Camille and I sat in the sun on the deck, drying off as the thunder moved in and the clouds took over. We ran into the house just as the huge drops started to fall. The house got dark as we took care of some more tomatoes from the garden. We cored them, dipped them into boiling water, then into cold water, peeled the skins off, quartered them, froze them. Not my idea of fun, but we have more tomatoes in the freezer to make sauce and chili and salsa with, in the cold winter months.

I also started a pot of chicken soup for dinner, as the kids have soccer practice this evening....

And here I am again, in my favorite chair, longing for a second cup of coffee....and some chocolate. No matter how motivated I get, how hard I work on eating healthy stuff, I still love that chocolate. Paul brought some back from Germany, it doesn't get much better than that. But it is long gone.

Summer was once again too short, and I am going to miss it dearly. I don't much care how the weather goes, I just don't like the school stealing all of my kids every year. Well, this year I get two of them at least:)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ahh, a few more days of summer...

The sky is brilliant blue, the breeze is warm, it is humid enough to make me feel like I had gone for a swim instead of for a walk down the road this morning.

Paul and I are working at the baseball game this afternoon. It's a gorgeous day for a game, too bad we are on the other side of the counter, and will be wearing hot polyester smocks and ugly black caps. We have to wear long black or khaki pants, or knee length shorts. I mostly wear gym shorts and mostly not in public:) So I will be hot.

The older kids are all at the youth conference, so we had to find someone to watch the four youngest. My brother and his wife, who have ten kids, will have them at their house for the afternoon. A few of their kids with some grandchildren will be there for my four to play with.

So this year we have a huge garden. It is Paul's garden. He loves being out there, walking in the dirt in barefeet. Me: not so much. I think it's easier to just buy some veggies at a local stand. Our garden has been yielding tomatoes. I ate a whole Heirloom tomato with my breakfast yesterday, a whole one the day before sliced with bacon bits. We chop them up and add chopped Vidalia onions, garlic, basil, and olive oil and have the yummiest bruschetta. We make salsa. Mirielle has made two batches of sauce, plus the most awesome fried green tomatoes...

Last evening Paul went out and picked tomatoes. We cored them, dunked them in boiling water, then in cold water, peeled off the skins, quartered them, and put them in gallon baggies to freeze. We filled three and a half. Two large bowls of tomatoes left, we decided to save them for another day. Then I realized we still had a huge bowl of them on the table. But Paul is still on Germany time, it was like the middle of the night to him, and he was getting tired.

He is mowing the lawn right now, and I do feel a teeny bit guilty sitting here like a lazy bum, but heck, when he turns off the mower I can get up and get busy quick...ha.

And it IS Sunday. The day of rest, right?

Homeschooling. Why did we finally decide to jump in? Well, Kathryn, who is 15, essentially decided for herself. She is a beautiful girl. She is sweet and pretty and smart and has different and radical tastes in music, she is a rebellious teenager only not really so much, she just likes to be herself, she refuses to be molded into anything. She works out every day and takes good care of herself. She is a gymnast, she can do the most incredible things. From what I gather, she is effortlessly popular in school, and the boys really like her. She just decided she doesn't want to deal with all of that stuff right now. She had some rough times last year, and to her right now, the most important is to live a Godly life. Sometimes one has to flee the things that would ensnare them. This is her decision, based on what she feels she needs to do, and we support her in it.

Jonathan is a totally different story. He is an expert right now on phones and tablets. He focuses on things and talks about almost nothing else. A while back it was Hess trucks, before that it was vehicles of all sorts. He is like a miniature adult, helping with smaller kids, but not exactly meshing with kids his own age. He would rather help out and do grown up things. School was hard for him, because he would usually catch on to the concepts quickly, then get totally bored when he had to do pages and pages of the same concept for homework. If he didn't complete the homework, he lost playtime. I tried to talk to his teacher about it, but she was frantic about the dreaded State Tests. Oh, the pressure! She would yell at the kids so much that Jon said it wasn't even worth trying to be good at school, you got yelled at anyway.

Jon's reading level at the end of third grade was the end of fifth grade, and he has always gotten math quickly. I am just really excited to teach Jon, explore things with him, things that interest him, not beating things with a dead horse like they do in school.

My little girls are fine with going to school, but down the road I am certainly open to homeschooling them too. Sam only has a half year to go, and Margaret, who is going into 11th grade, is in the top five in her class. She doesn't mind school at all. Evelyn is going into 8th and loves school. Suzanne is going into seventh, and Sonja into sixth. She is also fine with school for now. If Kathryn has a good year homeschooling, perhaps a few of the others will choose to do it too.