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, April 29, 2014

pictures from washington

Oh we had a grand I am with Emily.

Here is my handsome son Benjy, outside of Winco, where we HAD to stop on the way home from the airport. :)

My granddaughter, Anya Jade.

Ben and Emily.....I loved seeing the two of them together, my oldest son and my oldest daughter.

Ben with his little girl.

Ashley with Anya.

Benjamin and I when we visited Seattle, down near the water.

This is me at the gum wall. Yes, it is covered with individual pieces of chewed gum. Why? I do not know, but it was disgustingly cool.

This is from Emily and my trip to Mount Rainier.

Emily the Tree hugger, in the forest near the base of the mountain, where it was still springtime.

Up on the mountain a bit, it was winter. We visited Old Man Winter, and it wasn't half bad, especially knowing we were leaving him behind on the mountain and going back down to springtime.

This is the next day down near Pike's Market in Seattle. Emily and I walked so many blocks, we decided to have a nice lunch outside on the water. The waitress suggested it was too chilly, but nonsense. It was sunny, we were all set.

This boat pulled in right in front of us while we ate. Way cool.

After lunch, we had to get back to the metro train. The way we came was pretty far, so we decided to pay the extra fare and find a closer train stop. It was closer, but there were stairs. I want to say hundreds, but there really weren't THAT many, it just felt like it.:) It was so pretty though.

Seeing this baby was by far the best part of the trip. She is funny and smart and sweet, plus she likes me.:)

Yes, I have a Safeway card now. I can't help it, Guy Behind Me, the cashier wouldn't give me this discounts without a card. And I couldn't put the Piece Of Cake Ice Cream away!, or heaven forbid, buy it for more because I don't have a little plastic card! No sir! So sorry you had to wait while I filled out the form for the card! I know you had only two items, you practically screamed it by the way you sighed loudly and shifted from one foot to the other like it was an actual eternity you had to wait for this lady from New York....sorry!

Ahh, so now I am home, to a nice clean house, ha ha ha. Guess what I did today? After my two hour nap that is...a well deserved nap, btw, we traveled all night, and I am not a sleeper while traveling. I cleaned the house!

leaving on a jet plane...

For some reason I can't put up photos right now, but here we are at the airport in Seattle, ready to take the red-eye home. It was too fun for words, this little trip of ours. Seeing Benjamin and Ashley and that sweet little baby was so nice I am almost sorry we came here, because of how much I am going to miss them now. :)

I had a headache on the way here. I only slept for a few little naps before we left, so I took some ibuprofen. Didn't work. The headache got worse, then by the time we were at Ben's house, it was just pounding. I took more ibuprofen a few times, but it didn't help. So. They took me to the hotel. On the way, I was certain I was going to throw up in Ben's car. They stopped at the store and bought me some Excedrin migraine, then on toward the hotel. We scarcely made into the parking lot, and I was out of the car barfing my brains out. ugh. my head hurt so bad, I felt like I was dying. IT was the worse headache I ever had. Horrible. AFter some medicine, a drink, and lying still in the bed in the dark for a while, because if I even moved a finger my head would pound, I fell asleep. When I woke up, I felt better enough for a shower, and was so thankful. The upside of feeling so horrid is the wondrous feeling of getting better. I still have that slight residual headache-y feeling that follows those intense headaches, but I am so thankful for feeling better:)

We had some adventures. We went up the mountain, Mount Rainier, where it is springtime at the base, then winter halfway up. We drove to the city (Seattle) with Ben, and explored Pike's market. We bought sour dough bread and had homemade ice cream, and bought flowers for Ashley. Then today Emily and I set out on our own, to the city again. This time we drove part way, then took the metro into the city, which was an adventure all in itself. We went to Chinatown, the historic district, then down to the water and ate out on a deck overlooking the sound. We walked for miles, which Em says is an exaggeration, but I had told her that like 12 blocks was my limit, we went at least fifty. Or at least 20. And we walked up hills and up steps and down steps.

I swam each morning in the hotel pool before we did our exploring, so I didn't feel too bad about the extra things I ate while on this vacation. Have you tried whipped cream in your coffee? Well, don't. It's too good.

My granddaughter is smart. She is smart and she is cute and she loves the sound of her own voice. She loves me, she loves everyone. She squawks and laughs and drools and rolls over. I love her so.

And, my battery is running low, and I don't feel like re=locating. Our flight is boarding soon, and I have my sneakers off and my feet up on a chair....

Thursday, April 24, 2014

all packed and ready to go!

2,754 miles I will be traveling tomorrow. The U.S. of A. is a big country! I am glad we aren't driving to Washington state! Emily called me to find out the plan, Joseph is driving us to the airport at....4:15 a.m. If I believed in unGodly hours, this would be one.

I managed to fit all my stuff into a carry-on, to save the $25-each-way charge to check bags on the flight. It is quite packed, considering I have lots of things for my grand-baby:) Who can resist all that cute baby girl stuff? I also packed healthy snacks like almonds and apples and beef jerky and a few balance bars. Two bathing suits, plus my sneakers, and I'm good.

I am also going to fit this laptop into my bag, so there will be updates, as Emily and I will be certain to have lots of extra downtime lazing around our hotel:) Can you tell I am smiling?

Today I went shopping to stock the place up with bananas and yogurt and milk and apples and chicken and turkey lunch meat and bread and crackers and a huge box of Fruit Loops. yuck, but then again, if I am honest, I would love a huge bowl of those. But I won't.

I haven't picked out school clothes for the girls for the three days Kathryn will be getting them on the bus, she says she can do it. I think she can. The girls are just glad it isn't Joseph doing it, like he apparently did one other time we went away. I guess he didn't do their hair so well.

Cleaning the house while I am going is optional, I told the kids. I said they can either clean up continuously like I do, or just let it get really really messy so Paul can see just how much Mommy actually does around here. But, I told them, don't really do that. He should not have to come home from his long day at work and do dishes, especially if they get home from school and just lounge around. No way.

If they can get along with each other while I am gone would be nice too. When we went to Florida, we were hanging around the pool with Grandma, and got a call that one teenage girl threw a plate at her sister. When we were in Washington after Benjamin got home from Afghanistan, we got a call from a crying girl, with shouting and fighting sisters in the background, long distance girl drama.

Paul WILL be here this time though.

Aaron came today for a long visit. Some of my dear daughters raided his Easter basket, but luckily I had extra candy and was able to re-fill it quick when he pulled into the driveway.

And...the kids are home from their thing at it is noisy. Lots of kids are here talking to me at once...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

good morning, happy wednesday!

After school yesterday, Kathryn got out her guitar, and several of the girls started singing, "Let It Go", and it was lovely. I knew they would hate it if I videoed it, but I sneaked in and got my phone. Sure enough, by the time I had unplugged it from the charger, they were done, and Kap was putting the guitar away. So I snapped a picture of Camille with her library book.

Today is a rainy day. Dark and gloomy and rainy and ever-so-cozy. The birds are singing, and it is spring, never mind that it is a chilly 41 degrees out.

The kids all went to school again today, but I am picking the little girls up 15 minutes early today, which means they will get home almost an hour earlier than usual, because of the long bus ride. They miss a bit of playtime, but I am also picking their cousins up, so they can play here for a few hours.

Yesterday afternoon, after preparing dinner and putting it in the oven (marinated pork chops and potatoes sliced up and tossed in olive oil and seasoning), giving the older girls instructions when to take it out, I took the three youngest kids to the pool. I have had little kids for years and years and years, but these last few are growing up fast. As they kicked and splashed and played volleyball with the giant beachball, I tried to hold on to the moment, tried to appreciate it. I have been to that pool hundreds of times through the years with various children. One time little Samuel got out of the pool with Daddy to run in to go pee, then came out, didn't get his float-y back on, and jumped right on in...down he went, all I saw were bubbles as I scrambled over to scoop him up. He was probably 2 and a half or three. I can just see his curly blonde hair and chubby little cheeks. Now he is in the Army. I feel like an old fool, to borrow a phrase from my mother-in-law, because sometimes I see cute little toddlers and babies, and I get all teary-eyed, because it went by too fast.

Yesterday my sister-in-law came to visit, and brought her 7 month old grandson with her. He is a heartbreaker, so adorable and sweet and cuddly and content and smart, he is just a keeper. :)

This morning, I came out to the kitchen where my girls were gathered, eating breakfast and getting shoes on for school. Evelyn said that she had a dream I was pregnant. I was like, "Yippee!"

Now that Sam has graduated and gone away to the Army, there are only six kids going to school in the morning...Margaret, Evelyn, Suzanne, and Sonja go first trip. Then the two little girls go second trip an hour later. (Kathryn and Jon homeschool) It seems like so few kids, and it is. I haven't had only six kids go to school since the oldest six went, and then I had a whole slew of younger ones at home.

I am thankful that I can be home and enjoy the two homeschoolers, and the older kids when they come to visit (Emily was here for a few hours yesterday). I get to talk to Mirielle in the mornings when she gets home from working at the hospital. I am here after school, too. Sometimes I think I should be working, but then the time I had home would be so limited and stressful, catching up on all the work. I like the days when I can sit and put my feet up and have a cup of coffee when they get in the door from school, and just talk to them and hear about their days while they banter and shriek and eat up all the snacks.

With all that said, I am absolutely thrilled about my trip to Washington state! Friday morning before the sun comes up, Emily and I will be on that plane! Oh some heavenly downtime, and yay! I get so see that little granddaughter of mine. And my precious son Benjamin. That boy was always a handful, so clever and competent, right from the start. He grew up and grew into one of those dreaded terrible teens. He lied and he sneaked and his favorite phrase was, "I do what I want..." He got in trouble, he had the wrong friends, he dropped out of college a few times...we were at our wits' ends, trying to help that boy back to the right path in life. Then...things finally clicked for him, then he left for the Army. I always felt a little bit ripped off by that. Now he is such a decent young man, totally on the straight and narrow, would do anything for his wife and daughter...and he is so far away and I am missing out on him:) So. I am greatly looking forward to being with him for a few days, this fine guy who is my son. The good boy who was in there all along, but overshadowed by poor choices and that ATTITUDE.

Anyway, I am happy to be taking off for a bit, and also excited for the kids because Paul is planning a few fun things for them. In a way it's No Fair because he seems to do fun things when Mommy is gone, but when I am here, blah. I want to get in on ALL of the fun, but since I never have been able to be in two places at once, I shall just enjoy that they can get along fine without me.

Oh, it's hard to get up and moving again...the dogs are snoring on the couches....I want to snore on the couch!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

and you learn something new every day....

This fine rainy morning, I headed to the dentist. My whole jaw has been just aching, I cannot chew anything on the right side, ouch. Dr. Dentist looked at my teeth, then tapped them. OUCH! Three in a row hurt like the devil! He said that three teeth can't just hurt when one is bad, and since it came on so suddenly, it was perhaps a sinus infection, but he would do an x-ray to see what was going on. And there on the x-ray, was the sinus cavity, very swollen, right there above those molars. I did not know they were so close, or that a toothache could be caused by a sinus infection. It certainly explains the constant headaches I have had lately. He prescribed an antibiotic, and I hope it clears it up. It is much better than that drill....because believe me, I was sitting pretty tensely. I had to consciously relax....then next thing I knew, I was out of that dreaded chair, and off to Walmart for a prescription!

Guess what? I like wandering around Walmart all by my lonesome. It took 45 minutes for the pharmacy to fill the script, so I had some time on my hands. I looked at pans and storage containers, then at discounted Easter candy. Yes, I bought some. Then clothes for Anya, because Gramma can't go a-visitin' without some cute little outfits! Then I wandered over and picked out a few things for Sonja's birthday. Then I meandered over to the ladies's clothes and picked out a sweater and a t-shirt...I bought Jon and Camille a package of bologna, I cannot stand it, but for some reason they absolutely love it, I rarely buy it. I bought some yummy green salad olives, then headed to get the medicine...

A quick stop at the dollar store, because....why not?

I filled the van with gas, then home.

Ah, home. Kim, my sister-in-law, was here, and Emily came over. We had things to talk about concerning the grill we run at church conferences. Kim brought one of her grandsons, he is a sweetie.

And that's all I have to say today. I am thankful I didn't have to have a root canal, but am hoping these antibiotics kick in soon so my poor jaw will stop aching. It. hurts. so. bad. :(

Monday, April 21, 2014

and a happy monday it is!

Phew, what a day! It started too early, with me waking up remembering how much cleaning I had to do this fine morning...once I wake up and think about things, it's game over for sleep.

Paul had to get a physical for an insurance policy, and he thought it would be easier to have the nurse/doctor come to the house, since she offered. Um, easier for WHOM, is what I want to know. We had Easter grass and jelly beans and toys decorating the living room floor, and the kitchen floor was mopped just yesterday, but....yes, but. You know how it is. If you don't, then I hate you. Just kidding. I am just a wee bit envious. Anyway. I got up and got the princesses dressed and brushed and washed and fed with lunches all packed, then started on the house. Paul is working from home today. He couldn't figure out for the life of him why I was so concerned with cleaning up the house, "for someone you are never going to see again", he said. Well. I really don't know. I just don't like it messy anyway, so it makes sense to clean it when you know someone's coming over. BTW, if anyone was going to drop in, this morning would have been a good time. It's getting messy again already! Anyway, I took a nice long walk, then when the dr./nurse got here, I entertained the three children and two small dogs she brought with her. Or rather was entertained by them. They stayed outside and tried out all the bikes and scooters, while the dogs ran here and there. Cuteness!

I got some sun (yay!), worked out, did some dishes and laundry, which I dried in the sun. I assigned Jon some work, went over it with him, and made sure he was reading his book instead of playing games on his tablet. He got some bike riding in, and some sitting on the deck with mommy time. I made a dentist appointment for myself for first thing tomorrow morning, and I made a grocery list. Has anyone else noticed how the prices are just creeping up? I am going to three different stores to get the sale things at each place. Aldi is one of them, their produce is so cheap! It takes longer to go here and there, but it's worth it.

I am so excited by the two trips coming up!!!! Emily and I are going on an airplane! I know, I have never grown up, and it is still exciting to me to fly. I don't particularly like airport security, especially with Emily the rebel with her comments. She says things like, "Yeah, it's a good thing we are only bringing 3 ounces of shampoo so it's not dangerous!". But we shall have fun, because she also has the gift of Stopping To Smell The Roses. We will NOT get bored, and we can have those companionable silences without wondering if we said something wrong. She does NOT get stressed, no she stays calm cool and collected. We are going to see Ben and Ashley and Anya, and perhaps Pike's Market in Seattle, or Mount Ranier. We are staying in a hotel a few minutes from his house, a hotel with hot breakfast, a pool, and a hot tub. :)

Then in a few weeks, Georgia! I booked the hotel for that last night. No flying this time, it's only 17 hours to drive. Paul and I and Joseph and maybe Kathryn, and Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. The rest of the kids will be at the youth conference at church. One of Sam's friends, who grew up with him, went to school with him, who is from a family with 14 kids, from our church, called last night to get Sam's contact info....Nate is graduating from his Basic Training in Fort Benning the week before we go down there, so he will be free to visit with Sam too. I can't wait to see him, and am so glad Sam will get to spend time with him. His older brother Steve is stationed there too, and perhaps he will be free too. Anyway, I booked a hotel room that's a suite, with two queen beds and a living room with a pullout couch. Two televisions, free breakfast, cookies in the evening, indoor pool and hot tub in case of rain or bad weather. The little girls are so excited, they got ready for school speedy quick this morning so they could see pictures of it. It takes me forever and a day to choose a place, I want nice but not too expensive, and I look and look until I find something I am absolutely sure of....but I actually like it.

Anyway. I need to get up and get moving again. Some of the kids will be getting off the bus in like five minutes....

Sunday, April 20, 2014

easter easter easter

Seventeen baskets, all filled. Well, technically, 15, since Emily, Abigail, and Mali shared a huge bowl.

Duke is so easy going. He is just the nicest dog.

Joseph with Kitty, Suri, and Duke.

And, a retro picture....

This is when Evelyn was a little newborn, 15 years ago this summer. Look how Benjamin was holding her! He was ten years old, and the oldest of nine kids. Emily was 14, Abigail 12. Kathryn was the little toddler, Samuel didn't like having his picture taken. Oh they were fun.

Today was a glorious day! Sunshine and warmth! I had to work at the baseball stadium, but had 20 minutes outside on the deck, where I ate my breakfast and drank my coffee before dressing in my ugly blue work trousers to go to the game. I decided today though, to be thankful. Because honestly, why waste life grumbling? I would RATHER have stayed home and spent much more time in that wonderful sunshine. But life is seriously what you make of it, and I decided today to get treasures in heaven:) At the stadium, you can look out at the sunny field while you stand on the hard cement floors and wait on people. I took a 15 minute break with Abigail, it was very pleasant to sit there in the stands and watch the game and get some sun on my face.

When I got home, I brought the little girls outside and watched them ride their bikes, then Paul came out and did sprints up and down the road with the pups, and the girls on their bikes. Now the little girls have had showers and are in their pajamas. They all had pizza for dinner, and are watching, "The Princess And The Pauper", Barbie version. I am having chicken and broccoli. I did sample some candy yesterday, and want to get back on the right track today:)

Camille told me this afternoon that if she kissed me as much as she loves me, she would never stop kissing me. Can life get any better than that?

Ugh, but I have a toothache. No, not from candy. It started so randomly, in the middle of the night last Thursday. It's in a tooth that was crowned when I was expecting Camille. The whole jaw aches, it feels like I bit down hard on something and it's stuck way up deep in the gum, and the pain is unbearable sometimes. I am taking ibuprofen here and there, but am going to call the dentist in the morning. I would rather give birth with no pain meds a million times in the middle of the road than go to the dentist.

Practicing thankfulness is more challenging when there is physical pain involved. I find I want to complain every time I turn around.

Charlotte Claire is sitting on the couch eating cotton candy from her basket. blah. Sugar. I know it makes me feel awful, and would really like to wean the kids off it. It is everywhere.

The pies I made yesterday were absolutely incredible. I just made them with whole milk and pudding mix, but the crust....crushed graham crackers and butter, then I mixed in some melted chocolate chips with more butter, pressed it into the pie pans, and what yummy crust! I only had a tiny bit of each. I didn't make any bread or rolls yesterday, but when Emily and Abigail came over, they brought a loaf of Italian bread.

Oh well. Time to look for hotels for the beginning of May in Fort Benning! I cancelled the rooms I reserved for June. I cannot wait to see Samuel....!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

ahh, happy easter!

Today is Easter, for all intents and purposes. We are having our ham dinner, and the baskets, and hunting for eggs. Tomorrow, Paul and I and Abigail and Joseph are working at the baseball stadium, so today is our Easter.

The little girls are so very excited. We are having three friends over for dinner and making them baskets, and the little girls want to help fill them. They have been dancing around here all morning. They made a list of names for baskets and labelled them for me with masking tape. (A bowl for Emily, Abigail, and Mali to share, then 14 more).

We have to clean up the house. The puppies bring in so much dirt, even though we keep a few towels by the door and wipe their paws when they come in. I sweep the floor several times a day, but one cannot sweep until one picks up the various items that end up strewn around, like socks, stuffed animals, dolls, a hair elastic....and the little girls have made themselves thrones in front of the t.v. cabinet. They stacked up those work-out maps, put plastic bins on top, then their yellow Little Tikes chairs. They asked if they could Please Please Please leave them there so they could sit on their thrones while they have their baskets. Whatever. It really adds to that Better Homes And Gardens look we don't have going on here.

Margaret made some yummy cookies with Jonathan last night, for later. I am making chocolate pies and a coconut cream pie, and thinking of attempting some home made rolls. Then again, I keep lazily reasoning, perhaps just ham and applesauce and veggies, because of all the sugar from the candy and pies, which I do not plan to partake of anyway.

Paul is taking the kids to the park to ride their bikes. They are adjusting helmets and getting sneakers on, and gloves, it is chilly today. He is mailing some letters to Samuel, also. I was considering having him stop at the store for store-bought rolls, is so crowded the day before Easter, and he hates stores.

Samuel gets to call us today! He wrote to us, and he is passing everything and doing well. He has a good attitude, too.

rrr. Evelyn is up and wants to get cleaning. I am not ready to start yet, and besides, I already swept up the kitchen, washed dishes, served breakfast to the little ones. I like sitting here for a bit. But...I cannot relax, knowing I have things to do. I am tired, because we picked Mirielle and Kathryn up from the airport last night, and the ride home wasn't long enough to hear about their trip to I stayed up past two...three o'clock, I climbed into bed. 7:30 this morning, I woke up, tried SO hard to fall back to sleep...but I KNEW Sam was going to call today, and what if I slept through it? I knew I had to clean and make pies and clean...rrr.

Sam said we shouldn't come to his graduation in June. He says he may have to ship out right on his graduation day, and have no day with us. He also said he could possibly have ten days of leave, it just isn't clear yet. So, he wants us to come for Family Day in May. Family day x 3, actually, three full days of leave for him, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. He says if he ships immediately after graduation he may not get any leave until Christmas, so if we don't go to Family Day in May, we are out. So. Change of plans....I am waiting until after I talk to him today to change our hotel reservations, but I think we are going to Georgia in a few weeks!

Phew, Paul finally went out the door with the kids. I probably don't have to explain that I seriously love them. But I am trying to write here! Adjust my helmet, mama! I can't find my other glove! I don't NEED to go pee, I know there aren't bathrooms there, I won't have to go!

I am getting up out of my comfy chair now, it's niggling at me, all the things I have to do.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

recipes, answers, and a huge thank you!

I'll start with the thank you, to my mother-in-law Eleanor...she sent me her sewing machine! It arrived this morning, and I can't wait to set it up and finish the apron I cut out for Camille last week, and start lots more things.

Recipes: Paul grew up loving his grandmother's molasses cookies, so here it is...

1 cup brown sugar
4 cups flour
1 cup shortening
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs
2 tsp. ginger
1 cup molasses
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup hot water
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp lemon extract
Sprinkle with sugar before baking, I added cinnamon to the sugar, that made them really yummy.

Combine ingredients in order given. Drop on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.

The next is the white cake I made the other day, I really liked it, had to throw the last few pieces out so I wouldn't eat them while I waited for the kids to eat them.

2 1/2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
3/4 cup shortening or butter (I used some of each)
4 eggs
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla

I mixed the dry ingredients, set aside. Mix up the shortening/butter, add the sugar, then the eggs,vanilla, then the milk, add the dry ingredients to it, then mix it up till fluffy.

It is rather dense, but flavorful, and good with fruit and whipped cream.

Now, on to some answers. I had a question about keeping the kids home from school. So here goes...

My oldest child who is still in school is fifth in her class. She does her work because she wants to do well. The next youngest from her is homeschooled this year because she decided, for personal reasons, that she would rather not be at school. I believe that decision, for her, was lifesaving. The next three girls are all on honor roll or high honor roll, report card after report card. Then there is Jonathan, who is homeschooled this year. Then the two little girls. The two little girls get excellent grades. Charlotte Claire now gets 100's on all her spelling tests, and is really advancing in reading levels. She gets math, and does well there too. Camille is very advanced, her reading level is improving by leaps and bounds. She can read just about anything, and fluently. She also "gets" math. I don't know if school is slow, or if these kids are clever, but they seem to do well in all they are given.

The older kids know they have to go to school regularly, or they will fall behind. So they do. Sonja still misses too much and has to work hard to catch up, but we are working on that. It's hard when you are 11 years old and have teenage issues, in my opinion. Anyway. The younger kids do miss a bit of school, sometimes a day a week, but then I try to get them to go the whole week the next week, and so on, so they aren't just absent all the time. They make up their work, but at their grade levels (1st and 2nd), it isn't too difficult. There are days they miss because of things like pajama parties with movies (they can do that at home!), or half days which for them would be spent mostly on the long bus ride there and back.

So here's the thing: Sometimes I do need my "kid fix". But also sometimes I sense they need a "mommy fix". Life goes by fast, they grow up, their time to be little kids and just is so limited. Their school days are long, they get home after 4:00, and head to bed a bit after 8:00, with daily homework, usually. Add in dinner, maybe a shower, and they have no time for playing house or office or school or Barbies.

I do not officially homeschool them when they are home. But I talk to them. Camille asked me yesterday if there were east and west poles, or just north and south ones. Char just asked me what one quarter of ten is. When I answered, she said, "I thought so!!", very excitedly. I interact with them, and they learn from life. School has it's place, it teaches them about reality and that life isn't fair and how to get along with others. But it isn't the end all and be all of a kid's life. My kids learn how to stop and smell the roses, and how to cuddle on the couch with a book. They go out and about with me and learn about coupons and prices and checks and ATM's and tax and gas mileage and speed limits and signs and how badly mom sings in the van.

Perhaps I don't play by the rules, but so far, the school hasn't had any issues with me, or with the kids. I know they don't love when kids miss too much school, and I know they lose state aid when they are absent. But on the other hand, look at all the state aid they have gotten from all my kids going to school all these years....:)

If I wasn't allowed to keep the kids home as much as I have, I don't think I would send them to school at all.

I hope that answers the question.

And on to other kids have enjoyed their vacation. It is cold out, snowy yesterday, sunny today. It should warm up a bit today though. I have to go work at the baseball stadium today for a double header. It will be very busy there, and I hate to leave the kids, but I have some babysitters here and Paul will watch them this evening. I also like going because I am working with Emily and Joseph and lots of my friends.

Tomorrow, I am taking the kids to Kids' Camp at church, for the day. They get to play together and do activities, and I get to talk to the other parents.

I am excited about Easter! I am filling baskets for 14 of my kids (Sorry Ben! Ashley can fill you one this year!), and Sam of course can't have any "contraband" while in Basic Training. Plus, three baskets for three friends from church who are staying in the area, Stevie and Adrian and Andrew. Em doesn't want any candy, well, she conceded, just a few I am filling a bowl for her to share with Abigail and Mali. I LOVE filling the Easter baskets. Simply love it. We are having our Easter dinner on Saturday, our baskets on Saturday morning, because there is a baseball game on Easter Sunday. I figure one day is the same as another, basically, so why not sign up to work the baseball game, since I know lots of others won't be so thrilled to work on Easter....

We have a spiral sliced ham from Target. They had $10 off if you spent $50 on food, not too shabby. I have red potatoes, and veggies, and the makings for a chocolate pie with chocolate graham cracker crust, and a coconut cream pie. Oh, I need my jaw wired shut for the next week! I WILL behave.

And now, I have to get my daily letter to Samuel written....

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

ooh, another late night post....

This has been a looonnng day. It started too early, since I stayed up 'til the dogs were snoring last night. I could NOT fall back asleep, because, hey, it's vacation, why get some sleep? Why is it I can just shut my eyes again on a school morning, and be dreaming again immediately? Anyway. I woke up early, took a shower and washed my hair...and, there were no little feet stomping down the hall or doors I got back in bed and read a book. Oh it was lovely.

Evelyn wanted to go to the dreaded Walmart this morning, to get paint for her room. Okay, okay, I'll take you to Walmart. Three little girls DID want to go, they did! I spoiled them a little, since it was just the three of them (Miss Char, Miss Camille, and their cousin Dani). We stopped at Dunkin Donuts...they got ice cream cones, except for Camille, who opted for a cookie dough flavored decaf iced coffee with whipped cream. I skipped the high calorie treats and had a coffee, but those marshmallow Peep donuts looked yum. Nope, I never did grow up.

On to Walmart we went. There was a glitch in the paint mixing machine, so I got to hear the Paint Lady's life story while we waited for the Paint Guy to fix the machine. It wasn't broken after all, the Paint Lady just didn't think enough color was squirted in.

The little girls just danced around and chose paint samples, I limited them to two each. They helped me choose some chocolate bunnies for some guests for Easter, then we looked at the toys. Oh, toys! I love them but they aren't as good as they used to be. I let the girls buy some of those little doll bottles that have liquid that disappears when the bottle is tipped, seems like the dolly is really drinking the bottle. Simple and sweet. Then I bought them a package of newborn diapers. They were simply thrilled. They skipped and danced through the store. At the register, I told them they could chose a candy bar, and oh, what joy. I didn't have one:)

A stop at the bank, and home....I had to bake the cake for the wedding shower for my niece. I found a recipe for a white cake... (oh yeah, I forgot the molasses cookie recipe. I will get that tomorrow. And I will post the recipe for the cake I made was yummy) ...I made a sheet cake, a double layered round cake, and an extra round cake for the kids here. I made frosting with a half stick of butter, a scoop of shortening, vanilla, a 2 pound bag of powdered sugar, and...heavy whipping cream...I didn't frost the cakes with it until right before we served them. I bought frozen rasberries, blueberries, strawberries to serve with it, topped with whipped cream from the can. Um, I had just a tiny piece, but I kept tasting more...blah. No more. No more for me. I was otherwise well-behaved today....

Anyway, it was a lovely wedding shower. The bride-to-be is my sister's daughter, she has seven. All girls. They were all there tonight except for Claire, who is in Australia, and is also getting married, in June.

The girls have had their little cousin Danielle here for a few days, and the older girls have two of Danielle's older sisters here too, Eileen and Olivia. I love having them...on the way home from the shower, I randomly stopped at the pizza shop and let them go in and get some slices. But, their mom misses them and they have to go home tomorrow.

Our nice weather is departing. Tomorrow - cold and rainy then getting colder and possibly icy. By Thursday it should warm up a bit again, into the fifties/sixties. Not too bad. But after this summery weather, tomorrow will be no fun, especially for spring break.

Well, I am getting very tired, it's 1:11 am, and the house is quiet. I need to go to bed. Sometimes I just like to stay up late and soak in the quiet.

Blah blah, sometimes this blog seems like just word vomit. I went here, I went there blah blah blah. There are things I really want to talk about, like my dear son Aaron, who doesn't come around much anymore. He was here the other night, and it was a little awkward because he's only been here a few times since Christmas. I love him with all my heart, and respect that he is making his own decisions in life, but I miss him immensely, and feel the loss of his presence here so much, especially with Sam being in the Army. I know, right?! How many kids do I have, yet I feel acutely the loss of one or two? Remember that Benjamin is far far away too....

I read an article someone referenced on facebook recently about a mom who discussed her children not being her whole world. I got it, but I didn't. I feel like my kids ARE my world. I don't hold their hands and micromanage their homework, nor do I try to make everything fair for them. But I do everything I can to make sure they know they are loved. I make sure they have lots of healthy food to eat, and that they dress as nice as we can manage, so they can feel good about themselves. I praise them and encourage them. I try to make time to listen to them, and to be here for them if I sense they need to talk. I worry sometimes that if anything happens to me while they are still growing up, will there be someone else they can talk to, someone who cares what the science teacher told them today?

I also want to talk about my husband. He is busy. He works alot. Projects are finishing up in France, he will be going there for a few weeks next month, then a few more times in the following months. He works hard. He never gets away from work. Plus he does church work, and we do our volunteer work. He also fixes things around here, although the list is always longer than what he accomplishes. (he did get a new hose for the dryer, and it works much better, no pushing the button so the towels get a second ride because they weren't dry enough the first time.) He also installed a new kitchen sink faucet, fixed the main bathroom toilet (replaced the thingamajiggy in the back of it). He started building a wall in Kathryn and Suzanne's room. He cleaned out under the deck. And, he got the grill going for the season. He is busy. He spend lots of time this weekend watching the little ones ride their bikes...

He is a good daddy. And an excellent provider. He is responsible, and I love him. I totally lost my train of thought, as it is getting later, or should I say earlier? Almost 2 am. Good night.

Monday, April 14, 2014

late night blogging....

Sometimes I write things without actually realizing that people will READ them, and when I re-read those things later, I wonder what I was thinking...perhaps I was tired, or just not, I will write here late at night, and try not to think too much...

Today was lovely. We skipped spring here in central New York state, and went straight to summer. I'm not sure the official high temperature for the day, but my phone said 82 degrees, Abigail's car said 86. Sunny and warm, with a slight breeze. I walked. Paul grilled chicken outside. I wore shorts and a t-shirt, and raked the old leaves from the yard 'til my hands blistered. We had a fire in our little firepit on the deck, under a full moon sky, no mosquitoes. It was so lovely it was like a scene from a movie. Unreal. Emily and Abigail and Mali joined us for dinner, and the fire afterwards.

Did I have any trials at all today? Can you say Labrador Retriever, times two? Those dogs like to do a little thing I call, "slogging", and it involves a muddy creek that runs through our back yard. Now, these dogs aren't ordinary dogs that are kept out in a dog house or on a chain in the yard. No sir, they sleep right on the comfy couches. So they have to be somewhat clean. I had to give them baths today, after a day of slogging. I had to sweep up lots of mud, too.

Let's see, hmm, yes, I did wash lots of dishes.

But mostly today was glorious. I got to sleep in, went to church, sat in the sun, had some chocolate, had a huge salad for dinner with the chicken....the princesses have their cousin over, to spend the night. Margaret helped them set up snuggly sleeping spots on her bedroom floor, so they could watch, "Frozen", again, and sleep in her room. Those girls had a glorious day too. They got to ride their bikes in the road, with Daddy out there with them watching for cars, they brought lots of dolls and their princess tent out to the deck, they spent time swinging and singing, they went way out to the very back yard with a couple of labs who always go where the kids go outside....

Paul had a busier day than I, he had lots of Real Work to do from his Real Job, so he was on the phone and computer alot this afternoon/evening. He went to bed at a smart time, but I stayed out at the fire with Evelyn and Margaret, then came in and turned on my computer. I will be tired tomorrow, but hey, the kids are on vacation, so I can perhaps get a little extra sleep in the morning.

Now, this weather is not going to last. Nope. On Wednesday, the high is in the thirties. The low: 21. dang, that's cold. It is going to seem really cold on our sunburned skin.

We have big plans for the week. Tomorrow, to Walmart we go! Paint for Evelyn's room. Berries and whipped cream for the cake I am baking for my niece Ellen's wedding shower tomorrow evening.

The children's museum is on our list, as well as a few parks, and the cemetery, as we want to visit Robert.

And, baseball games this weekend! I am working on Thursday night, and on Easter Sunday. We decided to celebrate Easter on Saturday, so we can work the Sunday game. I don't know why there is a baseball game on such a holiday, but we have it in our contract to work it, so we will. Our kids won't mind getting their baskets and bunnies a day early.

Friday, April 11, 2014

ah, friday, how I love thee.....

Yesterday I took these lovely daughters of mine to the airport, Mirielle and Kathryn...what a lucky girl Kappy is, to have such a nice big sister. They are in Washington state for a few days, then on to San Francisco, down to San Diego. I am not exactly jealous, but wouldn't they have more fun with me along?

My littlest children are getting big, Camille and Charlotte Claire....

And, the molasses cookies I made for Paul's birthday celebration. I found another bottle of molasses in the cupboard:) They are SO stinking good, it's horrible. I wrapped the last few up, I tend to behave better that way. Paul ate lots of them. He didn't exactly say they were as good as his Grandma's were, because I'm pretty sure those are built up in his memory of warm times with her. He really loved and respected his grandmother.

I will post the recipe if anyone is interested. They are really easy to make, and just too good.

So yesterday, I finally got to sit in the sun with shorts and a tank top. Sun on my skin, oh heavenly relaxation. Jonathan and Camille were out on the deck with me, Jon brought out a blanket for them to lie on, which Duke promptly plopped down on. 20 minutes I was out there, and it was time to bring the girls to the airport. I had to stop at the store quick for a few things because we were having a big dinner, and I got some donuts to supplement the cookies for dessert...Jonathan cut them up and arranged them on a pretty platter, as if donuts need to look even better. Anyway. I got home and put things away and cleaned up and set up a salad bar for dinner, put the chicken in the oven, ect...and didn't get outside again. Those 20 minutes were appreciated though. And I did go for a walk earlier, and that was lovely too.

Today it won't get so warm, yesterday it hit 70. But Saturday is supposed to be really nice...and I am working at the Dome all day, blah.

Anyway. Last night was nice, Emily and Abigail and Aaron and Mali all came over. Paul was kind of surprised, and rather pleased to see them all. Aaron brought him a nice bottle of rum. Mali got here after Aaron left, she had to go to class late to pick up some papers. I stayed up too late talking to her, then found out she had to get up at 4:30 this morning to start her day, oops! I realized as I talked with her though, just how lucky I am. Of course there are trying times, trying to raise teenagers and put up with temper tantrums and straighten out squabbles...but these grown children of mine are truly my friends. Mali has matured so much, has learned to deal with things in her life, and I am so very proud of her. She is a kind young woman, a beautiful girl. Here I am, bragging about my kids again. But hey, if you can't brag about your kids on your blog, what good is it?

I kept Camille home again today because she had a low-grade fever off and on yesterday and didn't feel so good, but she seems fine now. She just told Jonathan, "I am having a good time in my childhood, and every day off is a good day." It's kind of funny, having Char at school, and watching Jonathan interact with Camille. He is super good with her. They are writing a list of things to do over vacation...

Today is the last day of school...then vacation! We're not going anywhere, but the kids will have nine days off, ending with Easter Sunday. And we are going on little outings and adventures, of course. Camille has them all written in pink marker on her list.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

here's the thing...

Camille is sick again. I should have known, I mean, she is the sixteenth child. She was extra whiny and complain-y yesterday, she didn't like her dinner, she was tired. She went to Activity Club, came home with her loot of Easter eggs from their egg hunt, and curled up on my lap. She said, "When I was looking for eggs, my heart hurt." hmm. This morning, I was thinking of keeping her home from school, but her fever of 100.2 decided it for me. So she is curled up on the couch with a purple fuzzy blanket. I read her the entire book, "Junie B. Jones And Her Big Fat Mouth".

Charlotte Claire was a big girl and went to school without her. I hope Char doesn't get this next, they are on vacation next week. February break, Char was sick for days, and Cam had her broken arm, so we didn't go to the pool or anything.

We are celebrating Paul's birthday tonight. He doesn't much like parties, but too bad. Last evening, the kids all went to Activity club at church, Paul and I ate dinner alone and watched, "Jeopardy". I made marinaded pork chops, and roasted veggies: cauliflower, green peppers and onions, yellow squash, and zucchini. I sprinkled them with olive oil and seasoning and baked them for ten or fifteen minutes.

I wanted to bake him some molasses cookies, I have his Grandma's recipe, but only have a small amount of molasses and don't feel like going out and about to the store. He doesn't really like cake, but maybe I will make cupcakes anyway, the other kids like them and it feels birthday-ish. Poor me though, I have to bake my cake and not eat it, too.

There is chicken marinating in homemade Cornell sauce in the refrigerator, and there is lots of good stuff for salad. I am hoping to go out and clean up the grill so I can cook the chicken outside, it is going to be nice today! Perhaps 70 (21c)! And, sunny!!!!, post office (mailed a box of things for Anya), grocery store, thrift store, bank, dollar store...home, and I went for a walk!, after putting the groceries away and starting dinner, that is. No excuses, ha. I thought of that as I huffed up the many excuses I have. Some of them are pretty darned valid, but still. Where there's a will there's a way. Honestly, for those years having babies and being so incredibly busy, I couldn't have made time for working out. Not every day anyway. Paul would go to the gym before work in the morning, and I would just marvel at what it must be like to just walk out the door IN ONE TRIP. See, I had to carry out the toddler, come back for the car seat and the diaper bag... Anyway. I did go to the pool here and there through the years. There was one time I was serious about it, and really worked at getting there. I tried to go a few nights a week, leaving the kids with Paul. Of course I had a nursing baby, and one night I came home and she was just crying and crying and the kids were running around...this particular baby, like lots of mine, would not take a bottle, and just plain wanted Mama. I quit. Took the path of least resistance.

And here I am, with much more time on my hands.

Today, I have a headache. I had it all night, a sinus-y kind of headache. I am trying to ignore it, but I know I have to take something for it pretty soon. That's the thing about FitMom and her No Excuses policy. Does SHE get headaches? When I get a bad one, I cannot work out. I have tried, and those headaches turn into immobilizing, almost throwing up headaches. So if she doesn't get headaches, that alone means she has no right to say anyone else has No Excuse. ha.

I don't know why that slogan bothers me so much.

As if the rest of us WANT to be fat and lazy.

sniff, we can't help it.

Camille is watching Bugs Bunny now. I have to get moving here. There was a bed-wetting last night, again, but at least my laundry isn't the mountain it was a few years back...we used to have an actual mountain in the laundry room doorway, of bedding. I just couldn't keep up. Okay, it was just a large hill, but we climbed up and over it to get into that room.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

happy birthday Paul!

Paul with our tenth child, Miss Kathryn Grace, who is 16.

We are celebrating his birthday tomorrow, but he doesn't know it. He hates surprises, hates birthdays, but too bad. Emily and Aaron and Mali will be coming over, we will have something yummy like chicken fajitas for dinner, and he will enjoy being with the kids. Mirielle and Kathryn will be on their way out to Washington state to see Benjamin, so they will miss it, and Abigail has physical therapy for her knee on Thursday evenings. It's getting impossible to find a night where everyone can be here at the same time....

Today, I have to pick the princesses up early from school for a dentist appointment. Kathryn wants to come too and stop at the thrift shop, she is being craft-y lately and has some ideas. I don't mind, it's Wednesday, half-price day. Half-price at the thrift store, yup. She wants to start sewing, she asked me if we could get a new sewing machine, or if they don't make them anymore. ha, I laughed my head off. Sewing is not THAT old fashioned. My sewing machine is a Singer, bought it second hand when I was expecting Camille, and it has been nothing but trouble. I got it out on Saturday, and it just won't sew properly. I adjust it and adjust it, the threads just get messed up. rrr. I worked on it and tinkered with, then finally gave up. It is on my list, to get a new machine one of these days. I mean, who buys curtains when they can make them? I have had some of these in here for too long....

Anyway. I went for my walk yesterday, in the chilly windy afternoon gloom. It wasn't bad though, just strange to have to wear a scarf in April. When I am finished writing here, I am going to go exercise. No excuses. I actually like that mindset, to not think and reason things out, just do it.

One thing I have been doing at dinner is eating my food...then waiting for a while, instead of just having more because it was good. If I wait a bit, I find I really don't want more. See, I'm smart like that.:)

I was mean this morning and gave the little girls showers before school. They don't need a shower, they just had a shower! It does make the morning a bit hectic, blow-drying their hair because it is so chilly out, packing the lunches and fixing breakfast. I laugh at myself for feeling stressed at the busyness of it, because not too long ago, I was getting 9 or 10 school kids out the door, with crying babies and busy toddlers to deal with at the same time, and most likely on small amounts of fragmented sleep. How in the heck did I do it? Now I see where people are coming from who said things like, "I don't know how you do it, I am busy enough with my two (or three or four or whatever...)."

Busy or not, I am enjoying the heck out of my kids these days. The little girls are into potty humor, which I am embarrassed to say often makes me laugh my head off. This morning Camille was singing her little heart out, substituting the words, "Do You Smell It?" for whatever the real words are....Jonathan is like a little professor, he takes electronics so very seriously. He helps me figure my smart phone out, and is a valuable resource for anyone considering a tablet or laptop purchase. He LOVES riding his bike, and is looking forward to his birthday at the end of the month, he already knows he is getting a battery powered scooter. He was with me when I bought it for 70% off a few months back, he can't wait to try it out.

So today is the fun kind of day, picking kids up from school and going here and there. I am thankful I can be home, thankful I can spend time with them....

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

one of those bragging moms...

My oldest son Benjamin with his daughter Anya. He just loves her to pieces. I am super thankful that he does, that he is a good daddy...that he is an upright, honest, decent, hardworking Army guy. A kind husband, a thoughtful son. Enough yet? Ha, I swore I would never be my mother and brag incessantly about my kids, ha.

Miss Charlotte, painting...apparently you paint your hand, then put it on the paper...see, I was talking to my sister on the phone last evening...Paul was at a meeting, the older kids were all here, the little ones were playing cards, I took the phone to my room so I could hear more than the You Cheated and Hey It Was My Turn....I came back out to check every few minutes, but then I came out and they were painting....

Camille, hard at work. I didn't mind that they were painting, but if they had asked, I probably would have deferred it to another night when it wasn't almost bed time.

Today has been a strange day. I am tired. See, I made chili for dinner last night. It came out delicious, I ate only one bowl, ate dinner early, but for some reason, it really didn't set well with me.Plus, I got into the cookies. I had resisted for hours, then...anyway, I felt awful, and had heartburn. So I stayed up and read my book until I felt better...which was 3 a.m. oops. So when 6:30 rolled around, Zombie Mom got up and faced the day. ugh. The little girls were cheerful and woke up on their own, had plenty of time to relax and eat their breakfast, I even had time to look at clothes at Target online with Sonja, who went in on the second bus trip this morning.

They went off to school...I had some coffee...went online...looked at twitter....and Paul had retweeted an article about FitMom. You know, Maria Kang, I think is her name. She is in SUPER shape, has three small children...and has posed with them in her fabulous fitness clothes with the expression, "What's Your Excuse?" um. The picture brings out so many excuses in me, I don't know where to begin. First of all, I want to hate her. no fair. just not fair. And, she admits that fat people and obese people are that way because they did it to themselves, and if they are honest, they will not get offended, but get to work, because anyone can be fabulously fit. Not her exact words, but. And, she IS right. But, can I please just say...ouch. ouch ouch ouch. I do not really hate her, after all, she has made good choices, worked her butt off, to look like that. She works out with her kids, makes them healthy food, ect. But this fine morning, when I felt like hot wet garbage on a sunny day, and saw that Paul had retweeted the article about how fabulous this Hot Mom is, I burst into tears. I cried my poor little eyes out. Poor me. I have been trying and trying to get into shape, working my own ample butt off, but things just aren't progressing like I would like them knee hurts, I get headaches, there are get the picture. My excuses just tumble out like Niagara Falls. I knew I was being ridiculous. I was tired. So I took my sorry self into my room, and actually went back to bed.

Now, don't get too jealous. I forgot to turn down my phone, and after finally falling into a yummy sleep, Paul texted me and said, "you must be tired" Um. now that you mention it, yup. Then Emily texted about some plans, then I texted Jon about what work he should be working on, then then then...I finally just got up.

I made some coffee and toasted some Food For Life Raisin bread, and here I sit. Oh, I did some laundry and dishes and wiped down the counters and the front of the refrigerator.

And...I have not given up. I have read some articles lately that suggest that even if one is at a higher than desirable weight, in others even if one is FAT, exercising regularly makes one much healthier than even a thin person who sits around and doesn't exercise. So. I won't give up. I have my excuses, and they don't hold up in court. I gave in with the cookies, and believe me, I felt AWFUL. Horrible. I cannot tolerate sugar and white flour like that anymore. I ate pretty well all day, then ate those cookies, which tasted heavenly of course...and blah. So. I deserved to feel yuck, but I live and learn.

Today I will go out for my walk, and I will keep my paws out of the cookies, and I will persevere. I won't ever be on an inspirational poster, but I will feel better. I am not her, I am me, and I have to make the most of it.

Monday, April 7, 2014


This fine Monday morning started with this surprise on the kitchen absolute favorite kind of cookie, oatmeal chocolate chunk with white chips too. Mirielle likes to hack up really good chocolate bars and put them in cookies, in addition to chocolate chips. I broke off a tiny piece just to make sure that these were as droolingly yummy as they look, and yup, they are. So I wrapped lots of them up in packets of two for lunches, then put foil over the rest on the plate, but I can't fool myself, I know they are there. And I am not going to eat any, because I know myself too well. One will be good, two will be better, three will be just fabulous, and I can't afford to do that to myself.

I said something to Paul this morning, as he went out the door to work, armed with his healthy lunch and day's supply of fruit and veggies, about the cookies being torture. He just looked at me and shrugged, like I had gone around the bend. Big deal. Cookies. Don't eat them. To HIM, maybe! Hmph. I actually had the thought that perhaps I should go out and about today...I mean, seriously? Leave the house? To get away from COOKIES? Ha, I AM crazy. Crazy about cookies.

Perhaps I exaggerate a teeny tiny bit, but honestly, I am smitten with baked goods, and it won't get easier. When I broke off that little bite, I tried to be mature and say to myself that it was way too sweet, blah. Ha, as if!

So, until the day comes when I magically don't want cookies anymore, I will use my self-control and just not eat any. No one ever said life was easy, and one can't have one's cookies and eat them too.

Anyway. My princesses were so tired this morning. Just getting them out of bed was a challenge, when they found out it was a Shower Morning, they fought it tooth and nail. It's funny that I only have two children left that need me to wash their hair and shower years past, it was a line-up of kids...every night after playing outside, it was shower time. phew. Anyway, they left the house all clean and blow-dried, tummies full of Cinnamon Life, lunchboxes with turkey and pepper sandwiches, carrots, chips, cookies, and water bottles, homework done....phew.

Here in central New York state, winter is dawdling and lingering. Spring is TRYING, but it is still so chilly. It was 33 this morning. brr. I have wool socks and Evelyn's boot-slippers on, long sleeves, pants, and am shivering. I want to go for a walk, and I am going to, but brr. I just want warmth and sunshine...

I missed that sunshine yesterday, being at the ballgame and working in the concession stand...I can't complain though, I was with friends, it was a good time. I just miss the has been so long.

The dogs are snoring, I want to go back to bed, but I have to write my daily letter to Samuel.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

saturday morning post....

Kathryn and I....twins.

This fine morning here in central New York state, we have had snow. Wind, and snow. The baseball game has been cancelled, so my day has opened up, no commitments, so nice! But. I am working tomorrow instead.

Anyway, yesterday Emily and I and two of our friends headed down the highway to work at the baseball game, and got the text that the game was cancelled because of rain. Yay! I mean, it's not terrible to work, in fact it is fun, but there we were, out and about, with hot coffee, driving down the road, with no place we HAD to be. I was covered at home, Emily needed some groceries, one of the boys needed some work pants, so we did a little shopping, then stopped for burgers. Home, on a chilly rainy evening, all the kids home, no scheduled activities, a few friends over, Emily was really nice.

The princesses have taken over the living room. Last night, they played Library, which meant they had to have lots of books from the shelves, to check out for each other. They have offices set up in here now, and lots and lots of dolls out. Right now Camille is dancing in circles with her Rapunzel doll.

It's nice to have some down time, I feel like I have a Day Off, when in reality, I usually do. The girls are so excited today though, they are spending the night at one of our friend's house tonight! They are all packed, even though they aren't leaving until this evening. Jonathan is going out and about with his big sister Abigail, and spending the night there. Margaret is at church right now, doing some painting. Kathryn, Suzanne, and Sonja are at Emily and Abigail's house, they spent the night there last night. Things have changed since they were little, not I am not as busy, but still have to keep track of who is where.

And...Cam just spun around and smacked her hand against the wooden chair and is I am done here.

Friday, April 4, 2014

I am just too nice....

I promised Kathryn to take her to Kohl's when a 20% off coupon came along, she has a gift card there from her nice brother Aaron, and wants new sneakers for her trip. Her trip..oh I wanna go! She is going to California! Mirielle is taking her out to Washington state to visit Benjamin for a few days, then they are flying down to California and renting a car....

Anyway, I have to leave here for the baseball game by 2:30, and my knees are already killing from working 6+ hours yesterday...but I promised Kap, and this is the only day we could fit it out and about I am going, stopping at the grocery store too, since there is of course, "nothing to eat", to borrow a phrase I have been hearing. That simply means that anything they would eat would require more than ripping open a package, but whatever.

We do need more apples and bananas and some yogurt. And chicken. Can't live without the chicken.

Anyway, I can't believe those lucky daughters of mine are going on such an exciting trip. Although...guess what? I am going to Washington state too! Three weeks from today, Emily and I will be getting on a plane....we are going to visit Benjamin, too. And of course Ashley and little Anya. I am so so excited...a little bummed that Paul and I aren't going to Gettysburg, but hey, you can't do everything. And perhaps we can fit in something some other time....

So here I sit, knowing my day is going to be spent mostly on my feet, trying to store up some rest and relaxation.

I read a story this morning about a cyclist from Boston, who was 570 pounds when he decided to live his life and start riding. He has lost 240 pounds now, and is such an inspiration. His name is Ernest Gagnon. I guess the company Boombotix put an ad up, showing a small fit cyclist on one side, then Ernest on the other side, with the saying, "to be or not to be" superimposed over the two of them, with the words, "not to be" over Ernest. The picture was used without his permission. It was really insulting, so I decided to read about Ernest. He came to a point where he didn't want to care what anyone thinks of him, and do what he likes to do. And the support he gets from the other cyclists is enough to make one cry, which is why I was crying when I read it.

There is a lot out there about food and nutrition and exercise, as, "Mark's Daily Apple", it's good stuff. I am a little bummed out this morning because as a daily weigh-er, who has been delighted to see the scale slowly inching down a little bit, stepped on it this fine morning, and gained back a pound. I know, only a pound. But I wanted to lose a pound, not gain one. See, at the ball game, when it was over, there were leftovers...I thought I was behaving, by taking a few bites of the huge fried dough, because I could have eaten the whole thing no prob. And I had only a few fries, and then a few Buffalo chicken tenders...I mean, I was hungry. After working all day with nothing since breakfast but a Balance Bar, oh dear, I was hungry. I went home and ate only a grapefruit and some peanuts for dinner. blah. I feel broken. I can never eat like a normal person....I gain weight when I so much as look at the wrong food. And I know I shouldn't have eating these things. They are not good for me. No one forced me to eat them, I smelled them all day, and when given the chance, I ignored that little voice.

So today, and tomorrow, I am working the stadium again. I will bring my apples and almonds and I will eat those instead.:)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

and out the door she goes....

Leaving perfect order in her stead...ha. Actually, I swept and washed dishes and did laundry this fine morning. It doesn't look too bad in here. I have to get out of this comfy chair though, and make my lunch and brush my tangly hair into a ponytail, get on my ugly workpants and my all-time favorite sneakers, and the baseball game! It's opening day!

Our church runs one of the concession stands, so it's volunteer work for me. It's sunny, but chilly! It won't hit fifty today. brrr. And it's like being outside, working in that stand, it's all open air. This year we will sell chicken wings, as well as Buffalo tenders, fries, deep-fried macaroni and cheese. Sausage and peppers, beer, soda, candy, peanuts...

I am working today, tomorrow, and Saturday. Paul is working with me Saturday, so we can have some time together:)

This morning, I woke the little girls up ten minutes early. I told them they could either lie in bed for a bit, or come out and snuggle on the couch. Camille asked if she could snuggle with me, instead. I thought briefly of the things I was scurrying around to do this morning, then said, "Of course you can!" As I held her on my lap, and smelled her yummy hair, I realized that when a parent snuggles that youngest child, it isn't just that child that is being snuggled. It's the whole sucession of them. They grew up too fast, but this child...this child gets all the affection and rocking and cuddling that's still there in mommy's heart. I was telling the little girls this morning as I brushed their hair pretty, that just six years ago, my mornings were CRAZY. Let's see....Emily was 23, Abigail was 21, living home and commuting to college. Same with Ben, who was 19. Mirielle was 18, Joseph 16, Aaron 15, Mali Rose was 14, Sam was 12, Margaret was 11, Kathryn was 10, Evelyn was 8, Suzanne was 7, Sonja 5..Jonathan was 3, Charlotte Claire was one, and Camille was a little baby. I had to brush a lot of girls' hair, those school mornings! I remember the school kids taking turns holding Camille while I got them ready, and being quiet so Char wouldn't wake up.

Anyway. Time passes, things evolve, life marches on. I want to say to moms with small children and babies, "You have NO idea how fast this is going to go by..."

And now I have just a few minutes to get ready....

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

all sunshine and roses....

Life is good. Paul brought me these flowers on Friday, aren't they pretty? Married for 30 years, and I still get flowers. Based on that alone, I should never have anything to complain about ever.

An yet...I fine a zillion things...

Mud. Yesterday, it was a fine day for playing outside, my kids were in hog heaven, it was finally a spring day. Never mind that it was still pretty cold at 43 degrees, they were loving it. They would come in and get something they just had to have out there, bringing in a little mud. The dogs were the worst, they slogged through that creek, came in with not just muddy paws, but muddy tummies and legs and noses...good thing I had nothing important to do and was available to mop up the mud repeatedly, wipe down the dogs...I would get them all cleaned off, then someone would go out the door and invite them to go too, they would jump up and wag and follow them, and I would just about scream. Nope, nothing to complain about.

Camille slipped in the mud. Pants, sweatshirt, sneakers, a mess. She simply changed her clothes and went right back out.

It has been a long winter for them.

Camille broke her arm not too long ago, and has a gym excuse until the end of May. That means she can't play in gym class, but also that when the class goes outside for recess, she is only allowed to sit on the bench, no running or swinging or playing at all. Now, I don't know about you, but I think that is mean. I know, I know, liability and all of that. But poor Camille. Today is sunny, and is supposed to get into the fifties, so that means her class will probably be going outside for playtime at the end of the day. So I am picking them up early, both her and Charlotte Claire. They can come home and play out in their playhouses, and swing on the swingset, and NOT climb any trees....

First World Probs: without getting into the details, money is a little tight right now. And, we are going on a trip to Georgia in June. Paul and I also had planned a trip to Gettysburg for a weekend, one of these weekends....for our 30th. And, I wanted to go see Benjamin and his wife and baby out in Washington state, at the end of the month, with Emily. Paul and I decided that we can't do all three things, so I had to decide...and I chose the trip to see my granddaughter. No weekend away with Paul. The trip to Georgia...we are still doing that. We have to go see Sam!

Anyway, if Emily gets one day off that she is scheduled to work, we will be going out to visit Ben at the end of the month.

But my point was that I felt so much turmoil about making a decision, and the poor-me, can't do everything. In the big picture, of course, it is absolutely ridiculous. We have food and shelter and our family and friends and and and...

I am hoping and praying that Em gets that day off though. I miss spending time with Ben and Ashley, and I just love that little Anya, I want to know her though. I want to connect with her, to hold her, see her smile, not just on facebook.

And perhaps Paul and I can still get away at another point, although I have been really looking forward to it...not getting away from the kids to get away from the kids, but to be able to be enjoy each other without figuring out rides and problems and arguments and who has to be where when.

I am finally more psyched to get into better shape. Oh, I have never, in the last three years anyway, given up on it althgether, but honestly, that winter funk of just not feeling it is fading. The key, I think, is Just Doing It, to borrow a golden phrase from Nike. It doesn't matter if I feel like it or not, I just exercise. It doesn't matter if I want a cookie, I just don't eat it. Now, this does not apply to that wonderful cinnamon raisin toast I shoveled in yesterday morning, of course.:), there are exceptions every once in a while. I did get right back up again yesterday, and it was a good day overall.