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, August 18, 2014

home again home again, jiggety jig...

Of course I know that "jiggety" isn't a real word. Or is it?

So I feel sort of like I deserve a big prize for not only surviving another camping trip in tents, but surviving a camping trip in tents in the rain! It didn't start until we got them all set up, but it was cold. Chilly and cold. brrr. I don't get cold too easily, either. Abigail had her winter coat on, and was lamenting that she forgot to bring gloves.

Then the rain started. It was rather funny that we sat there around the campfire with umbrellas. Abigail gets a million points for bringing those umbrellas, by the way. When we climbed into our tents (we had five), our bedding was damp because it was so cold and wet.

I slept in practically all the clothes I brought. I had exercise leggings under my sweatpant capris, which looked lovely with my neon socks and Birkenstocks, so I put my sneakers on. I had a short sleeved shirt, a long sleeved shirt, a jacket, then a huge sweater on. I slept in it all too, except for the sneakers:)

Anyway. Saturday was a tad bit warmer, but still very chilly. We went down to the beach, where Paul and the kids did some fishing off the dock, and some of them took the kayaks out. Then three of my daughters decided to take a swim...not that they had their suits with them or anything. The beach was deserted. The sky was cloudy, but that little lake still called me. I couldn't make it down the steep incline to where they chose to take a dip, so I went back to the campsite for my suit, and went in properly on the public beach:). And yes, it was cold. Way too cold. But oh so refreshing.

Due to technical difficulties, aka I Don't Know What I'm Doing, I can't upload any pictures. Jon will have to help me:)

Anyway, we survived camping. Emily and Abigail and Mali, Margaret, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille, and cousin Olivia went. Kathryn is out west, she won a trip to Oregon and California for her fundraising efforts. She went with a cousin (Olivia's sister Eileen), and three friends.

Getting home from camping is not my idea of fun. It rained, so all the tents have to be aired out. Our deck is draped with them. There are stacks and piles of bedding and towels and smoky smelling clothes that are waiting for their turn to take a ride in the washer. I could breeze right through it, but then one of the girls will come up and put their own load in.

The house is mostly back to it's regular sparkling self, ha. Only a bag here and a stack there to still put away.

It was a lot of work, but oh the fun we had! When Mali had a tiny salamander, oh so cute, until it scrambled up her sleeve, which sent her into a hopping screaming frenzy, as she ripped off her jacket and shirt, and we laughed out heads off. Emily drove up right at that moment, it was pretty hysterical. We went through the industrial sized bag of Twix bars, plus peanut butter M&M's, and marshmallows, and on Saturday, I kept making pancakes and they kept eating them. We had lots of hot coffee and tea and cocoa, too. Hot dogs roasted over the fire, even in the rain, taste excellent. The kids were commenting on how good they were, I said they were seasoned with Camping.

Emily brought up a variety pack of beer, some summer shandy and some rye, a few other flavors, it was fun to try them.

Sometimes I think that you have to have had sixteen kids, going through year after year of having a nursing baby plus a wandering toddler plus a needy two and a half year old plus a four year old who needs to be accompanied to the bathhouse at extremely frequent intervals, plus a few more older kids who dance around begging to go to the beach or a bike ride or to the absolutely appreciate the peacefulness of going camping with a bunch of kids with the youngest being six years old.:)

Paul and I are thinking of going camping again on Labor Day weekend, as the kids are all going to be at the youth conference. We only have three kids who are under youth age (12). So perhaps we will camp with Jon, Char, and Cam. :) (I just told the little girls, and they are jumping up and down and trying to figure out what we will drive (bring bikes! bring kayaks!)

I am happy today. Happy because it is still summer, and because I am homeschooling five of my kids, and I won't be very sad when school starts. A little sad, because that school bus will take Sonja, Evelyn, and Margaret away each morning. But happy that my younger ones will be here with me.

We have plans. Big plans. Field trips and outings and lots of fun. We want to start school a day early, then take the real local first day of school off, and go somewhere fun. We have some books already, some plans. I have written most of the Plans, which I write rather ambiguously. The girls want a cozy reading area, so that means some new bean bag chairs. They are using their Little Tikes tables for desks, but I am imagining them lounging on the couches with their work, before long.

There are things they must learn to do, lots of math and proper paragraph writing, and science-y stuff...but I think we will learn a lot through life. Making and baking and budgeting money and setting up a fish tank. In Real School, they waste so much time, I don't think it will be too challenging to teach these guys as much or more in less time, leaving more time for fun. Right now, they are setting up and organizing their play kitchen...they seriously never get bored.

Maybe today I will let them bake some real cookies....

It is a chilly morning, overcast and gloomy, my favorite kind of day. I have cleaned up and swept floors and put through some laundry. I have fed the little kids, burned some toast, and talked to the neighbor down the road about bad Duke visiting his girl-dog.

So what's on the agenda? Lots of little things. We are getting rid of our big van, wah and yay. I remember getting that thing, it was almost brand new (one year old), and it was so huge and nice! It fit us all for a while, by the time we outgrew it a few of the older kids started driving. (there are 18 of us, it is a 15 passenger van). Then time went on, and the kids grew older, and more started driving...Ben joined the Army, Emily moved out...then Abigail, now Mirielle and Mali too. Then Aaron. Then Samuel joined the Army. Nine of the kids have drivers' licenses, and Kathryn has her permit. Emily and Abigail and Ben and Mirielle and Aaron and Mali all have their own cars. So we drive the minivan and the truck and the Bravada, which takes a lot of gas, but is very nice and seats five. It is really Sam's from his Grandpa and Grandma, but I don't think it's practical for him to have it in Washington, D.C. with all that traffic....

Anyway. We grew and grew until we barely fit in the big van, then lo and behold, we started going in the other direction. It takes SO much gas, and although there are times it would be really convenient to use it, it isn't worth the expense of insuring it when we rarely use it.

Time marches on. Sometimes I am out and about with just a few kids, maybe a couple of teenagers, and I see these moms with their babies and little ones, and I smile at them, and they look at me and perhaps think that I have NO IDEA how busy they are....

So always be nice to people, you have no idea what they are going through, or have gone through.

Ah well, as much as I am enjoying just sitting here writing, I have to get moving. My conscience is niggling me about things that I should do, like go on my walk and and and.

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