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

Saturday, February 28, 2015

way back when and other important things...

Way back when I was senior picture...

Miss Char has a low grade fever today, and is feeling blah. She had Jon's winter coat on...our house isn't THAT cold.

Selfies with Sonja K. We had to wait for Paul in the car, at the airport...but did we get bored?

No, we did not.

I spend a few hours with a 12 year old, and I am twelve too.

Today, I cleaned my house. I woke up at 7:30, and nary a soul was around except for Kitty and the pups. I fed them and let them out and back in, then wiped down my kitchen cupboards. I have been getting that spring-y renovations bug lately, and have googled AND oogled kitchen cabinets that have been re-done...specifically, painted gray. I don't think I have the patience or the energy to do the whole thing though, or a sander:). So I decided to do what I CAN do to make the house nicer. I moved the microwave to a different counter, swept and mopped and sorted through piles of papers. I shined appliances and put things where they belong. I worked in that kitchen until at least noon.

I have ideas. I want to get rid of my red plaid couch and chair. I don't like the red in the living room, never did. I would like to recover them, but...I would also hate to. ha. If I could just snap my fingers.

I am thinking of a smaller couple of comfy chairs, in gray. Maybe a different rug, some different pillows on the couches...just to change things up.

We'll see. It is nice when I am motivated to do things around here. At least today I didn't have to leave to go anywhere.

Paul took me out to dinner this evening....oh it was nice. Kathryn deserves a million bucks, she stayed here and made taco salad for the younger kids while her sisters went out to a gathering. (Joseph is at a conference.) We went to dinner at a nice place in town, I had strip steak and fries and steamed veggies...carrots and broccoli. And split pea soup instead of a was hot and delicious. Paul had chicken breast stuffed with lobster. It was enough for like three people. We saved our leftovers, of course, and will have a nice lunch tomorrow, shared with lots of kids, of course.

The kids are all cozy in the living room watching a Barbie movie. Camille is cuddled up to Daddy:)

Abigail took Jonathan out to lunch today for their annual Valentine's Day date, a little late. I just get a kick out of how much fun they have together. And how none of the other kids said, No Fair.

It's good to have Paul home again, however briefly. I do like him:)

Friday, February 27, 2015


And Paul is coming home tonight! I am leaving for the airport soon to pick him up. It is clear and cold, which is fine for this girl who is sick and tired of driving in snow. It looks just fine, but driving in it is nervewracking. Especially driving down the N.Y. Thruway, with all the invincible tractor trailers.

The kids went out to play today, they were out there for quite a while. The Duplos are still out, they keep playing with those too. They did some school work this afternoon, and now are allowed to play some video games if they want.

We had a ten-minute-tidy, which was a lot longer for Mommy. I vacuumed the stairs and foyer, and the furniture, and the edges of the kitchen and living room. I had to operate on the vacuum cleaner, and discovered a popsicle stick stuck in the hose, with all sorts of goodies backed up behind it. I vacuumed under the refrigerator, and had Camille take the plastic grill into the bathtub and clean it up. I washed up the top of the stove, and the tiles behind it, and did some dishes. Suzanne took the glass globes off from one of the kitchen light fixtures and washed them, put them back up. Kathryn took out lots of garbage, and I mopped the floor. I straightened up my room, and made some dinner. The kids had chicken patties, yuck, but they LOVE them. I had a bowl of green beans with sliced tomatoes and some turkey, lots of pepper. It was good, but I find myself thinking of the cookie dough in the 'fridge, but NO. I will not.

I was up and out the door early this morning...I had to pick up my brother Bob at 7:30 for a dr. appointment. Emily let me use her car while she is in France and Norway, which is sweet, because it is an all-wheel drive Suzuki, and I love driving it. The heat in it actually works, too, which is a bonus. I waited in the waiting room for a while, just zoned out and relaxed, then we went to his next appointment. I flipped through a few magazines, looking to see what new strollers are out...I would like to get Mali something really light and easy...

The kids are not actually playing video games. They have an adding machine that I bought at the thrift store a while ago, and since then have gotten them some paper for it. They are playing store. Jon asked me how much a can of coffee costs. They are so funny, they have the shopping carts out, and lots of plastic bags. I love that they are still little enough to play.

Anyway, off I go...time to leave to get Paul...yay!!!! It's the good part of him travelling so much...:)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

just a quiet thursday afternoon....

1. 13 of my kids have been here today. Well, 9 live here and four stopped in (Emily, Mirielle, Aaron, and Mali Rose).

2. Mirielle stopped in to bring Emily and Margaret to the airport...they are going to France, and to Norway for a few weeks.

3. The only kids I haven't seen today and probably won't are Abigail, Benjamin on the west coast, and Samuel in D.C./Arlington.


5. They're learning, right?

6. The three youngest went out to play in the snow today, too.

7. I don't feel well today. Blame it on letting two princesses sleep with of whom walked up me all night, and Jon, who has a croupy-ish cough woke me up at dawn, afraid he couldn't breathe. He could. I sent him out to the deck for a few minutes in the cold air, then had him turn on the hot water in my shower and sit in the bathroom for a few minutes...

8. I also blame not feeling well on a spectacularly horrible period. Awful. Cramps, blah. I just want to crawl into my bed and never come out. My face broke out and the whole nine yards. And chocolate, how I love thee. Last evening when I was here all by my lonesome for a little while, I remembered there was a piece of a dark chocolate/cinnamon/pecan bar from Wegman's in my purse. It's not there anymore.:)

9. The kids are finishing off the ice cream cake I made the other day. It is to DIE for. Caramel, cookie crumbles, fudge, real homemade frosting...the mint stuff, oh dear heavenly goodness. Evelyn was serving, and I asked for some...then I decided to listen to that little tiny squeaky voice in my head that wants to be skinny, and I told Ev to Never Mind. I really don't want any, I lied.

10. I will be glad when that whole evil thing is all gone.

11. The weather is nice enough to go bye-bye and return the boatload of overdue library books, but I feel so BLAH. Add in running to the bathroom every hour to prevent a disaster, and naw, I think I will stay in today.

12. Mali was here today, and she has a nice little tummy.

13. My feet are cold. Aaron and I were talking about warm places. I tried to talk him into driving down to Florida with me to visit Grandma, but he balked at the long drive. Abigail still wants to go, although I think Paul is just plain travelled-out.

14. My two girls who are in public school are home now, Evelyn and Sonja K.. I think I will go and talk to them now, perhaps make a pot of coffee...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

home again...but phew, that was fun!!!

Miss Camille and I...

We had the pool all to ourselves...Sonja 12, Jonathan 10, Charlotte Claire 8, and Camille four youngest, went with me. I would have taken a few more of them, but the minivan was in the shop. I was ready to call the whole thing off because of that van, but Kathryn assured me that she was totally fine if she didn't get to go, Suze too. They said they would stay home with Joseph, and Evelyn, and that we could just go with the little kids because they were so excited to go...

So we did.

And it was interesting, going with just those four younger ones of mine. It was like having a small family. It was only 25% of my kids:) When there are older kids, sometimes the younger ones don't get as much attention. And this worked out wonderfully, because Miss Sonja K. and I had a great time together.

This was taken from the room where the pool and hot tub are at the hotel...oh the contrast between the frigid day outside and that warm humid room.

Miss Char enjoyed fixing cups of tea for herself.

Both of these girls enjoyed the breakfast...those Belgium waffles, with strawberries and whipped cream. Scrambled eggs and bacon (what I had, along with a "diet" yogurt with berries and raisins...and a little whipped cream:)). As we walked down to breakfast I said to them, "Remember, take what you will eat and eat what you take...", and they already know this so they said it along with me. I don't think it's nice to waste food, but I also don't force them to eat it if they really don't want to. I just want them to be conscious of not just taking a bunch and wasting it. If they really like something, they can always go get more.

This little guy, my ten year old Jonathan, is a sweetheart. He is like a little adult, in so many ways, yet he simply delights in things like this little trip. He had it all mapped out on his tablet, and told me where and when to turn. He likes to have the room key, and he got to sleep in one of the beds for the first time ever, he has always gotten the floor on hotel trips.

Sonja and I enjoyed watching the Duggar family on 19 Kids and Counting. We were fascinated at this family so much like ours, yet so different. We only have three less children than they, yet their house is easily twice the size. Their laundry room...never mind. We agreed that Jim Bob is too bossy. If a girl is old enough to "court", is she not old enough to be trusted to behave herself? Do they not believe in victory over sin at all? To send the little siblings along to spy for, it seems strange.

Anyway, to each his own I guess.

Our little getaway was refreshing and relaxing. Spending time with Sonja was time extremely well spent. She is the fifth girl in the five-girls-in-a-row-in-five-years. Margaret 18, just graduated and is going to France tomorrow with Emily, then to Norway a week. Kathryn 16 is more outgoing, she WILL get her attention. Plus, she homeschools this year and has lots of time with me. Evelyn 15 is full of drama. When she is around, she will not be ignored:). Suzanne also homeschools this year, so I see her more. She tends to be quiet, but she is very thoughtful. Then there is Sonja. She is SO funny, quick with the jokes, and also she is clumsy. She slips and drops things and bumps into things. A few years back one of her brothers started this, "Sonja's home!" thing when there was a crash or something broke. She laughs at herself too, and readily acknowledges that she is clumsy. She is also lovely....

Anyway, it was nice to get away and bond with the younger ones. We really had a nice time. It's probably good we don't do this too often, they so appreciate it and I wouldn't want them to get spoiled and not delight in it the way they do.

Home....I walked in the door with groceries, had to stop on the way home for dog food. I also got strawberries and apples and cereal and turkey breast and crackers. After putting away the groceries and sweeping and mopping and hanging up wet bathing suits and unpacking bags and straightening up, it was time to make dinner...we had taco salad, and pasta, and kielbasa, and strawberries. There were 12 of us here, so we each got three. There are a few leftover ones, I think I get dibs on them. I hate rationing things out, but if I don't, there will be someone who doesn't get any. Shh, but it has happened more than once through the years that we would be at the table eating dinner, and one of the kids would walk into the dining room and be like, "Seriously? No one told me we were eating!"...and oops, we didn't notice. Or one of the other kids will say, "Mom, I TOLD you that such-and-such wasn't here, and you didn't listen to me!" I do have superior drowning-things-out skills. It's a coping mechanism. How can I remember the salt and pepper and the spoons and napkins and to thicken the soup and way back then, take care of a baby and a toddler...AND listen to everything everyone said to me?

Anyway. One my most embarrassing moments was because I tuned someone out when she was telling me something that had happened in school. Abigail was in fifth grade. Now, in my defense, she was like ten years old. I was pregnant for our ninth child, Margaret, and Sam was only a year old. So I was busy. Anyway. Abigail won a pencil in school, for some reason that I forget now. She did tell me. She said she did. She said she did when her teacher asked me at Open House if Abigail told me about the pencil, and I said, "No, she didn't.", and Abigail said, "Mommy, I did too tell you!" The teacher just smiled at me...but I knew what she was thinking. I tried so hard to make it look like I could handle things. I wouldn't want the teachers to know the truth, I was in way over my head! I couldn't keep track of everything! Permission slips and lunches and sneakers on gym days! Valentine's cards and cupcakes for class parties and library books and signing and returning those pesky report cards! It was too much! I got through it one day at a time. I made sure they got to school well fed and neat and clean and brushed, with nice clothes on....while the house was a tornado. I couldn't do it all! And when I got the chance, I left this tornado of a house and took them on adventures. Which got me further behind here, but life is short.

Anyway. Life is still short, but it certainly is much easier now. While floating in the pool with only four very well-behaved children, I had this sudden longing for all of my children, back when they were all young and all needed Mommy so much. It was too quiet, too easy...these kids of mine had a wonderful childhood. There was always someone to play with. When I took them on little getaways, or even just to the beach, they had each other.

I am sitting here in the quiet...the dogs are snoring, the dryer is running, but other than that, just the sound of my keyboard. The kids are at activity club. Any minute now they will come bounding in the door with their stories of what they made or heard or did or had for snack...and these days, I listen.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


We did it! We hit the road! We are on a one-nighter! And we have arrived at the hotel...

Our room is super nice, it is a two room suite, with two televisions, a microwave and refrigerator....and, there are cookies and hot drinks in the coffee...AND, a heated pool, AND a hot tub.

We are going down to the pool right now....yay!! I love my house, but it sure is nice to get out of it for one night!!!

Monday, February 23, 2015

birthday girl!

Miss Suzanne Eleanor, 14 years old today. It was a terrible day, weather wise. School was cancelled. The roads were bad. was Suze's birthday. She said it was okay if we didn't go anywhere, but I knew she was hopeful.

So..we went to the Chinese buffet. Her choice. As per usual, I felt that our Big Van is parked permanently in the driveway, I can only bring six kids with me when I go out and about...unless we double-buckle...but even that option was out today, as our minivan is in the shop. I had to drop it off in town today, and the roads were not fun, ice packed with white-outs from the blowing snow. The snowbanks are high, the wind blows across them, plus more snow was falling today. I did not want to go out and about. But. I did, and we are alive to tell about it.

We drove the Bravada, which is good in the snow, but can only fit five. The girls have their cousin Olivia here, so I brought Suzanne and Kathryn, Olivia, and Evelyn. My heart broke for Sonja, she had a snow day from school and really wanted to go.

We went to Kohl's first, and I let Suze pick out a few things for her birthday, because...even though her birthday comes on the same day every year, it sneaked up on me somehow. I wasn't prepared. She found a sweatshirt, a flannel shirt, and a pair of sneakers. They were all on clearance, of course, but are very nice. They all started rallying to go to Chinese for lunch. I tried to remind them how awful we feel after we eat there, and how we have vowed to never eat there again. They were undaunted, and since it was Suzanne's birthday, we went. They think they're funny, and one of them asked if they could get soda instead of water, which we simply don't do in our family, :), and I said, "no", unless it comes with it. It didn't, so we had water. And hot tea.

These girls are silly. They are loud and funny when I made a pig nose at one of them for going up for thirds, right as a lady from another table looked our way...I looked at her with my pig nose, and I think she might have thought I was making it at her.

The bad thing is that when they are laughing, I can't help but join in. I forget that I am old. That is precisely why it is so much fun to be with them.

Winter, how I hate thee.
Your sparkle deceives,
Your ice is a snare.
We're captives but we
soon will be free,
to wander the yard in barefeet.
That knowledge of that hope,
makes you weak...
You battered and blew
and still are not through
but spring will come soon,
and rescue me.

Anyway. Tonight is going to be another cold one. -13 F (-25C), not including the windchill. brrr. The good news is that it should warm up to 20 by the afternoon. Paul called tonight from Florida. He at lunch outside. He had dinner at a restaurant and ate outside. He said he drove with the windows down in the car. rrr. Naw, I am glad for him. And it is not all fun and games, he was still doing work at 9:30.

Okay. I may get the prize for Worst Birthday Mom, but I did manage to make a yummy ice cream pie/cake for her.

Two packages of Oreos, crumbled and crushed, mixed with a stick of melted butter (I did set aside a cup of the crumbs to sprinkle on top). Spread in the bottom of a big pan, mine is 18" by 24". I think. Anyway, I used three cartons of ice cream, slightly softened. I used mint choco-chip on one end, fudge ripple in the middle, then dark chocolate on the other end. I added caramel to the top of the fudge ripple, and a little bit drizzled on the chocolate. I sprinkled the extra crumbs all over it, then some chocolate sprinkles. Waxed paper then foil, and into the big freezer. Then I made homemade frosting: half a stick of butter, some shortening, about a pound of powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk...I used half and half this time.

Yum. I had a very tiny bit in a very small little container, like two tablespoons. It was TOO GOOD.

We put candles in it and sang to was a small gathering, for our house. Evelyn had left with a friend to go to the bookstore (and she brought home a gift for Suze), and Margaret went to visit her cousin Audrey who is watching my niece's two niece is in the hospital recuperating from surgery due to complications of Crohn's disease. (poor Kate, she is the sweetest girl, my sister's oldest daughter. She is a childhood cancer survivor, and is a fighter! We are hoping and praying that she will feel better now than she has in a while, her surgeon assured her it went well and she would start feeling better soon:))

The little girls were all excited about the ice cream cake and the birthday song, and the little gift bag with the travel mug, a bag of Valentine's candy (yummy mixed chocolates), and a box of Valentine Fun Dip. And a flash light. Hey, what can I say, I am running out of gifts in my gift closet.

Margaret and Sonja and Joseph stayed home with Jonathan, Char, and Camille today. They hung blankets over the windows and in the livingroom doorways so they could watch a movie in the dark. Margaret and Sonja made them brunch, and Camille had to call me to tell me how much fun they were having. Char actually told me to take my time and not hurry home. What nice big sisters they have.

Margaret's interview is rescheduled for tomorrow morning.

If the van is fixed soon enough in the day, we will attempt our little hotel night get-away.

I really really hope so...the hot tub and heated pool sound heavenly right now. My fingers are so cold I can barely type. Blah blah the snow is pretty and winter is wonderful, but seriously? Who on earth actually enjoys cold hands? And cold toes! If I didn't have my electric blanket rigged up on these freezing nights, my feet would never warm up! I would just try to put them on new warm places on my opposite legs all night, and never get them warm. I have socks and slipper on now, and a comforter over my feet, and they are still cold. My nose is cold. I know, I know, there are colder places, there are homeless people, I shouldn't complain.

Snow. It is heavy and cold and when the wind blows it off the snowbanks and down my collar when I am cleaning off the car in the morning....and when I open the car door to get the snowbrush and the snow from the roof falls all over the seat in the car....and when I drop my phone in the snow....and when the newspaper gets thrown in the driveway because our paper box is long buried...and when I have to shovel to get the door open...and when the recycling bin is totally submerged under a few feet of snow...and when the dogs fuss to go out and come back in covered in snow like ten times a day....and when the heat works sporadically on two of our vehicles and not at all in one...the minivan has heat only in the front....and when it's so cold the wipers are frozen to the windshield, and the heat isn't working, and I have to manically scrape the ice from the insides of the windows while I try to drive...when carrying in groceries, up those snow covered deck steps...when successfully backing out of our own driveway is like a victory...when I realize my muscles are as tight as when I am sitting in the dentist chair, simply driving down the road trying to see through a white out...then in all honesty, I can say, I hate winter. Sure, there is beauty. There is exhilaration in going out to shovel on a freezing winter night, with the stars shining and the wind howling. There is something robust about going out and shoveling. The trees branches weighed down with snow are breathtaking. And when the snow piles up more and more, it can be exciting. We can almost jump right off the side of our deck these days, right into the ever-deeper snow.

And that's my I Hate Winter Rant of the day.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

so here's the thing...

Me today...bathroom selfie at church...this is what I'm talking about...I need to lose and re-lose and get into better shape...ah well. Here's what's going on:
1. Today I found out that my oldest son Benjamin, the one who lives in Washington state, and was a medic in the Army...who stayed on in Washington as an apprentice in the HVAC coming for a visit in June!!!! YAY! He is of course bringing his wife and little Anya, our's like Christmas! (they're coming the week we are renting a huge camp on an Adirondack lake...right on the water....)

2. Today is Mirielle's birthday. She is my fourth child, one of my favorite daughters:), and she is 25. I was younger than that when she was born.

3. Tomorrow is my daughter Suzanne Eleanor's birthday. She is turning 14, which does NOT seem possible.

4. The power steering fluid leaked out of my minivan today. Tomorrow...instead of heading to the hotel in a city south of here to celebrate a 14th birthday with Suzanne, I will be bringing the minivan into the shop. I hope it is a quick and cheap fix.

5. Tomorrow Margaret has a job interview. Keep those fingers crossed.

6. Today was relatively warm, but not above freezing...tomorrow: frigid. The high: 6 degrees. And windy. And maybe a bit more snow.

7. Charlotte Claire, Camille, and I brought Paul to the airport this morning. He probably arrived in Florida by now, to spend a week...for work.

8. I ate a peanut donut this morning. I wasn't really even thinking, it wasn't a conscious decision. I just felt like I deserved it, I mean, hey, I just dropped my husband off at the airport...he's going to Florida! I can have a donut! So, I decided to never ever eat anything again for the rest of my life.

9. My lifetime of fasting ended at dinner. I broiled steak (Camille specifically asked for it today, we rarely have it as it has gotten so expensive). I sliced up a five pound bag of potatoes, tossed them in olive oil, and roasted them...and made a tray of sweet potato fries. I also roasted some cauliflower, for me. We had green beans, and some broccoli too. It was a fantastic dinner. I did not have dessert:)

10. Downton Abby was delightful tonight. Charlotte Claire and Camille are the biggest fans now. They like cuddling up and watching it with us.

11. Mali is doing better. Her morning sickness has decreased, and she heard the heartbeat with the doppler at her Dr. visit the other day.

12. I like my kids. They exasperate me, they worry me, they make messes and NEVER eat the chocolate and they never ever leave empty packages in the pantry. But I like them. They all pitched in and helped me get tonight's dinner on the table, and clean up again afterward. I like doing things for them when they have a positive and thankful attitude...which is getting better with them as they get older. Since I have pretty much 6 teenagers....counting Sonja K. who is 12 going on 17, and Samuel, who is still a teenager but All Grown Up in the Army....anyway, I deal with five teenagers on a daily basis. You never know what you're going to get. What was funny yesterday will get me a, "MOM, SERIOUSLY!!??", today. I won't even get into how their cycles synchronize. But I like them.

13. We need to get out of this house more. Or so it seems. The newest craze here is marathon Monopoly. Games go on for hours...the little ones play too, and sometimes they are just bouncing off the walls. Today, Camille was jumping on the couch, which is Not Allowed, and slipped and put her down the crack where the two sections come together...I thought it was Broken Leg Day, but my hair is clean, so she was fine.

14. Mirielle has a nice new car, she bought it last year...someone rammed into it in her driveway, and dented the door. Then the other night, a deer ran right into it when she was driving. She said it was running away, then turned and ran right into her car. Poor Mare.

15. Enough for now...goodnight!

Friday, February 20, 2015

can you say, "cabin fever"?

Jon just let the dogs out and shouted, "Oh Mom, there IS a lot of snow!" The sun is shining here now, the skies a lovely blue against the whiteness of the snow. The DEEP whiteness of the snow. It is only 3 degrees (-16C)....too cold to bundle them up and send them out. The boots these days...they are not warm enough, and their faces would be exposed, and if they take their mittens off....maybe I will go with them, just for ten or fifteen minutes....

I had to cancel on taking my brother to an appointment this morning, and I felt bad. Paul called me from his way to work to let me know the roads were really we got more snow last night, and the driveway was iffy. When it is -4 (-20C), and windy, the snow blows onto the road, and turns to ice. You can't get traction, and salt/sand doesn't help.

So I got up, got dressed, and chickened out.

Sorry, Bob. Maybe next week....

After today, the temperatures should moderate a bit.

It's hard right now to even imagine that springtime will ever come, where will all this snow go?

Our door was snowed shut this morning. Paul had to push it really hard, then squeeze out and shovel it open...I would have been stuck:)

Today is a day of silliness. The kids have been having a Monopoly marathon. My niece's little boy is here...Will is five years old. He came on Wednesday, spent the night, then the roads were awful last evening, so he got to spend another night. He is very grown up for his age, he is well-adjusted, and just happy to be here. He has a quick sense of humor, and fits in well here. He's one of those kids who isn't shy, and can talk to the kids and the older kids and adults, no problem. Anyway, today the Monopoly game: Margaret 18, Sonja K. 12, Jonathan 10, Charlotte Claire 8, and Camille 7, and William 5. There is bickering and fooling around, but there haven't been any real fights yet. I keep suggesting that perhaps they just finish before that happens, but they are really into it.

Evelyn left with Emily to go shopping, Joseph and Kathryn and Suzanne are here too. I am thinking of heading out soon to get some groceries...if I head to the small city down south of here, the roads are better, I have heard.

Tomorrow, another basketball game, three for me in one week.

We moved the furniture in the living room and swept/vacuumed under and behind...picked up the matchbox cars and Nerf bullets and hair ponies and bobby pins, and pennies. There isn't nearly as much stuff as there used to be, but why on earth was there a butter knife?

They are doing the slappy-party thing, where they jokingly hit each other...those inevitably end with someone hitting someone too hard and crying ensues. Margaret's tea hasn't spilled yet...she deserves a prize, btw. My patience is being tried and I am not even playing.

Paul leaves again on Sunday for Florida, which is TOTALLY fair. I am thinking of taking the kids on a one night get away...I found a hotel that includes breakfast, and can accommodate all who want to go from is a two room suite, for under a hundred dollars.

Ah well, my ibuprofen kicked in...the dry air, shoveling the driveway before coffee, the noise noise noise noise...probably a combination of all of the above, and I had a real pounder this morning. Now, I shall think about who to take with me to the dreaded grocery store....who am I kidding, I love the grocery store.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

it was a dark and stormy night...

We had just finished dinner, without Paul, again, because the guy works too much...there are ten kids here, including little William. Dinner was fun and cozy, we lit a few candles on the table to make it seem warm. Kathryn decided to go out and shovel a little so Dad can get into the driveway. Evelyn and I joined her.

The wind is whipping, and it is SO bitterly cold out there!

We didn't last too long, but it was rather exhilarating to be out there for a bit....spring is sounding pretty good though.

have I mentioned the cold and snow....?

The snow in the yard this is deep. Sometimes snow will drift, but the wind blows across the yard and the drift is on the other side of this table. It is just deep. And it is cold here....3 degrees (-16C). And the wind is blowing, it is snowing relentlessly over hour house, from the lake.

Marge is a saint today, Miss Margaret Cheryl...she is playing games with the crazy snowed in children. It is just too cold to send them outside, and we can't drive anywhere because the roads are terrible, with blowing snow and white-outs. There is simply nothing like driving down the road and not being able to see anything but white, guessing where the road is, then hearing that sound made only by tires in deeper snow signifying that you probably not exactly where you want to be. The plows try to keep up, but last night by the time we got home from the basketball game, our road had 6+ inches of new snow.

Anyway...Margaret is being very good to these guys. They already played Life, they ran around and got some energy out, now they are setting up Monopoly., I made cake pops. The kids thought it was pretty cool. They had to wait for them to cool, then to niece's little boy is here, he was pretty diligent to check with me every five minutes or so to see if the were ready.

I asked them if they would like to ruin their dinner...they all said YES except for Camille, who voted to wait 'til after, but she joined us anyway. We played the game where I ask them a question before they can take one...

Let me say this: the cake had the rest of the melted chocolate on it...and tasted like one of those wonderfully disgusting Little Debbie cakes. I am just not one of those grown-ups who says, "Yuck, that's too sweet! Marshmallows, gross!" No, not me. I did have a little bit of cake, but not very much.

We are going to have spaghetti tonight...I'll skip the pasta, of course.

Tomorrow will be very cold again. It isn't supposed to get over like 6 degrees. Then Saturday, finally, it will be a bit warmer, but still freezing...then Sunday: perhaps over freezing!! Then...a new cold front is moving in....

I know, it's winter! It's normal! But this has been the coldest February in Syracuse since 1902, and out here, I dare say it is colder than in Syracuse, and we certainly get more snow.

Evelyn wants to go to the library. Well, not today, sweetheart. It's actually closed because of the weather. That doesn't happen very often. If they weren't on school break, they would be having snow days anyway.

Suri is eating a cake pop stick. (we took it from her) She is so stinkin' cute. She forgets how cold it is out there, and wants to go out, and seriously two minutes later the both of them are barking or jumping on the door to come back in. They come in all covered with snow...and we have to tell them to Lie Down, which means on the floor, which they KNOW. But Duke, he is a sneak. He ends up on the couch.

Ah well, the cook isn't coming tonight, and the housekeeper didn't show up either. We were to babysit a little friend of ours today, who is 18 months old. She was sick to her tummy just as her grandpa pulled into our driveway, and the roads were terrible, so Grandpa decided to cancel his appointment and just take sweetie back home...Margaret cleaned her up and put her in a dry shirt, while Grandpa ran in to use our bathroom quick...I had asked someone not half an hour ago to please clean up that bathroom...but all this person did was take out the garbage. rrr. It is like the dirty hair/emergency room rule: if your bathroom needs cleaning, someone will need to use it. And you can't very well say, "sure, just give me five minutes!", and go down the hall with the disinfectant spray and the paper towels.

So, since the cook isn't coming, and the teenagers have seemed to lost their interest in making dinner after the big chicken enchilada production the other night....

So off I go to make some dinner....

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

just another winter day....

Darth Maul, aka Charlotte Claire, Camille, and Suzanne...Cam was too tired of walking, so Suze sat on the bench with them at the grocery store. We had been at "kids' camp" at church today, where the older kids, aged 12 to 18, did activities with the younger ones. Sledding, a bouncy house, cookie decorating, crafts, and a kid-friendly lunch of hot dogs and pizza rolls and rice krispy treats, Swedish Fish, mac and cheese...there was also face of course Char being a #1 Star Wars nerd....had to be Darth Maul.

I can say one thing for winter: it promotes coziness. And cozy is a good thing. Camille chilling with her thumb-y, and Old Kitty, Suri, Duke resting on Jonathan....

I got out and about today, again, and tomorrow is another college basketball game. It is going to snow again in the evening, blah, I don't like driving in it, especially all the way from the city.

Paul is leaving again on Sunday, for a Florida! Is that fair, I ask? Hmph. I know, I know, he is going to be working, not chilling on the beach. But still.

So I have been thinking of taking the kids to a small city not far from here, just for one night. Just to get away a little bit. The little girls love nothing more than packing their bags for a trip, even if it's just a small one.

There are lots of kids milling around here this fine evening, so I shall give up this writing endeavor for now....

Monday, February 16, 2015

how to get warm...

It was cold here last night, so this morning I bundled up and went outside to take a few pictures, shovel a little, romp around with the dogs...and experience the winter. It had warmed up to -3 F, (-19C), it was much colder during the night. We got more snow yesterday, so everything is sparkling clean out there...and sound is's like being in a huge padded recording studio. But it is very very cold. I took off a mitten to take pictures, and my hand was aching when I got back in the house.

Anyway, this is how you get warm: you go outside for half an hour. When you get back in your previously freezing house, you feel all warm!

The snow is deep in the yard.

So a while back, I ranted about winter. I complained about the snow, the wind, the ice, slipping on the snow and ice in the wind. And those things are still true, but guess what? I don't hate it as much as I thought I did.

They say there is good in everything. The coziness of the family gathering in the living room...last evening I made cocoa and tea, and popcorn, for Downton Abbey.

So later, when the kids start grumbling about how cold it is in here, I will try to get them to go outside for a few minutes...ha.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

cold cold cold...

Jana, this is my new garbage can. I like it. The lid slides open, allowing the trash to overflow without the lid swinging into it. It can be found at Wallyworld, online.

It is cold today. Colder than cold. Freeeeeeezing. My fingers are numb. It is zero right now. It is supposed to be -15 tonight (-26C) It highest temperature in the next week: 28 next Sunday. So winter break is going to be like living in the movie...Frozen. I just made hot cocoa and hot tea for the kids...Suzanne doesn't feel well, she was just sick to her stomach. Poor girl.

We could barely get the door opened this morning...snow!

Syracuse didn't beat Duke, but they put up a good fight. And, we had fun! What a nice way to celebrate Valentine's Day, eh? Paul and I didn't mind...

The kids are now watching, "Mr. Deeds" with Adam Sandler, which makes us all miss Samuel. He still spouts lines from this movie.

Benjamin is planting flowers today, as it is sixty degrees out there in Washington state. My mother-in-law is in Florida, it is warm there too. If I won the lottery, I would be visiting the both of them this month:) With all the cold children. We aren't complaining though, we talk about spring as if it's some mythical creature....hope is a really powerful thing.

Charlotte Claire and Camille don't get bored. Today, they are changing their room around. (When furniture must get moved, it must get moved! Women get that thought in their head, and that furniture must be moved!) They keep themselves pretty busy, moving the even the bunkbeds, but I made them promise to get Daddy to help them do that. They don't want me to come in until they are done, to surprise me. I do look through their garbage though, they throw out good stuff instead of putting it away sometimes. And Cam has made a few trips to the hamper....

Jonathan has been flying his quadcopter all day, when the battery is charged. I told him that drones are the future, he won't even have to go to college, he can get a job flying one for a news agency or an private detective.

Emily and Mirielle came to visit today. I was just mixing up a triple batch of chocolate chip warm up the house, of course. I sent some home with them, and with Jon's friend who was visiting.

Ah well. Life is good. Cold, but good.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

a very special present...

Yesterday, I got a new garbage can in the mail. And I am thrilled! It is from Ben and Ashley. When I visited them out in Washington state in December, we went to Ikea,and started hating our houses. I looked at trash cans, which were too expensive, and explained that it was hard to find one with the slide-top, rolltop thing instead of the swing-y one which swings onto the garbage that always seems to be filled to the top.

So, this big box arrives...I texted Ben, and he said it was for me, to open it. Yay! It makes me happy.

We have to get going soon here, but I thought I would put my feetsies up for a bit and rest, before the big basketball game. Syracuse and Duke, college basketball.

Okay, here's part of a conversation I had with my psychiatrist this morning:

Doctor: What brings you back again so soon?

Me: My feelings are hurt. My husband told me I was brilliant.

Doctor: Maybe he notices all the things you do, and really means it.

Me. But it was in reference to me forgetting to get a new Dump Permit, and a Parking Pass for today's game.

Doctor: I'm sure he really loves you and just reacted. Perhaps you should just take the advice you would give to anyone else, and fuggetabout it.

Me: But. But. I felt so bad. I mean, he didn't praise me for remembering to pay the taxes!

Doctor: Have you ever called one of your kids an idiot?

Me: Have you been looking in my windows?

Doctor: I think you need to take a good look at yourself lady, and stop being such a big baby. You know that if you feel sorry for yourself, you will give room to all sorts of bad thoughts. Why waste a perfectly good day being...offended?

Me: I am not offended! I am hurt! There is a HUGE difference.

Doctor: Just take this to heart, and have mercy on others when you see them upset by something someone else says.

Me: Well. I guess you are right. This IS the day that the Lord has made. And I am supposed to rejoice and glad in it. I certainly can't do that when I hold something against my husband. And he IS very cute....

Friday, February 13, 2015

he loves me.... york style

It's -9 F (-22.7C). Brrrr. The new snow that landed last night has stayed frozen on the branches, making my windows into bright and beautiful works of art. There are fifty shades of white shining into my house.

Evelyn says she has been dreaming of spring, every single night. She says to just imagine sitting on the deck, a nice breeze, listening to the creek...

She also made a nice pot of coffee this morning.

I do want to clarify this: I love my husband. I truly do. He still makes me happy, and sometimes we confess that we still feel like teenagers, and are certainly still in love with each other. Maybe it's the season, Valentine's Day hype, but every once in a while, my expectations of romance and thoughtfulness just don't quite add up with his. When he was still in France, he texted that he missed everyone. I texted back and asked if he specifically missed me. Kathryn was looking over my shoulder, and said, "Mom forces Dad to say the words." Sometimes a girl just has to hear it.

Yes, men and women are different. "I love you", is something we know, but still need to hear.

I walk a fine line here, trying to illustrate that life is not always a bed of roses without putting anyone in particular in a bad light.

It's Friday the 13th. I am not superstitious, just a little stitious. ha.

Well, kids are up and talking and I can't concentrate...

Thursday, February 12, 2015

keep trying to write this...

It's cold out. Windy and cold. I had to put gas in the minivan today, and brr. Kathryn and I went out and about for a few things today, since tomorrow it's going to be even colder, perhaps not even hitting zero, and windy. We went to Target for batteries for a quadcopter that Jon ordered with his Christmas money. It came today after much anxious waiting. The kid had the tracking number, but the thing shipped from the Netherlands, ordered from China, so it took several weeks. He had signed up for an email alert of it's progress, but still wouldn't leave the house this week without confirmation that someone here would be on the look out for it, lest the mail-lady not deliver it.

He is happier than heck right now. The quadcopter videos and takes is a remote control helicopter with four propellers. Too much fun. But I daresay, the waiting was the best part.

Anyway. I have been having an interesting week. I have been thinking of the verse Rom 12:9, "abhor what is evil and cling to what is good..." It's glaringly simple to see evil out there in the big bad world, but perhaps that verse means a little bit maybe some of the thoughts that run through my very own brain. For example, my husband: he is not a walking Hallmark card. He doesn't buy into the Every Kiss Begins With Kay philosophy. He isn't always extra chatty, to say the least. And all of this is fine. I love him, he is a good guy. But he is who he is. I am who I am. End of story.

I can't articulate what I want to say, but I am working on being content and thankful.

Today is a good day, my sister's little grandson Davian is here with us to play. He is astoundingly smart. He just turned three years old and he can read. He can read anything. He was having cookies and milk, and oh he liked those Oreos. I told him to remember how to spell that, and write it on his Mama's shopping list...

There are two big fat chickens in the oven, and it smells good in here. I will roast some potatoes and heat up some veggies. I have been getting little surprises for the kids for Valentine's Day. I didn't wrap them but I put name tags on them for tomorrow.

We are hoping school is cancelled tomorrow, because of the cold and the wind. We only have two getting on that bus in the morning these days...

Camille is really hungry, she says, which I doubt, since she had milk and cookies an hour ago. Those Oreos smelled good, looked good, but they are really evil little things, trying to trick me into having just one...ha. I resisted. I am sipping a rasberry coffee from Tim Horten's...sugar free, of course....

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

a break....

in the weather, that is.... We got some snow. This is Margaret, our number nine child, outside with the kids. She just graduated from high school, and has some time on her hands...between teaching French to the small ones, teaching herself Norwegian, giving piano lessons, and being the #1 driver for her sisters. She is hoping to go to Norway in June for a year:)


Suri loves the snow.

Sonja K....she had a real snow day, off from school.

Today, we have a break, no snow in the forecast. It will get really really cold by the end of the week, with nightly temperatures of -10 F (-23C). Right now it is a balmy 13, but hey, it's not snowing! I know, I know, it's winter in the northeast....

And today, since we are having such a vacation from the snow, in that we don't have to shovel a foot of it to get out of the driveway this fine morning, we are celebrating by the dreaded MALL. The big one in the big city. Why are you doing this crazy thing, you might ask. Well, there is a Microsoft store there, and Kathryn has a Surface which has given her trouble. They fixed it a few months back, and it's not really fixed, and her warranty runs out in March. Plus, these kids have been in this house a lot, these homeschoolers. So we will brave the food court, which is no problem for them. Especially when I let them actually choose what they want to eat. It's like new terrain, when the older ones were littler they remember going to the mall with sandwiches in a lunch box under the carriage, if I didn't have a coupon for Buy One Get One Free pizza.

I am not supposed to be sitting here if we are going bye-bye. I need to get the girls ready, ect...but after getting up and showering and sweeping and picking things up...I got some coffee, took my vitamins, made my sprouted grain toast with butter and the tiniest bit of honey, counted out ten almonds, and planted my considerably sized behind in it's favorite place. Camille has been dancing around asking when we are going, when are we going. Jonathan has been prattling on about how much sugar are in juice boxes, and Kathryn texted me from her room and asked if we are going. So, it's up from this chair and out the door for me...

Monday, February 9, 2015

snow day!!!!

Another snow day! Last Monday was also a snow day. The Snow Day Fairy must've granted a wish that all Mondays are snow days.

Children are waking up, I hear talking from the little girls' room. I have been up for an hour and a half...oh, exciting stuff...I washed dishes and swept the floor, cleaned up the plant that Bad Little Kitty knocked down during the night. That kitten is CRAZY. I picked up the empty package from that fresh Italian bread I bought yesterday. I thought there were four slices left after dinner last night, but something tells me the package didn't find it's way to the floor over near the door by itself. I suspect one big bad black lab named Suri. She is The Hungry Thing.

We have snow. It is taller than the mailbox now, and still sprinkling down from the sky. Right now it is coming down like rain. Yesterday, the flakes were huge and fluffy, filling that driveway up again right after we cleared it. I don't mind the snow when I can sit in my chair and look out the windows. But, Paul had to drive to work. My older kids all drive to work (Emily and Abigail and Mirielle and Aaron and Mali).

I drove in it yesterday. Jonathan didn't come right out and say that I was a Baby, but as my co-pilot, he hinted at it. See, he really really wanted to go to his little cousin's birthday celebration. Our destination: four miles north. But the gas station in town is closed on Sundays. And this vehicle I wanted to drive was seriously on "E". So we drove four miles south to the other town, got gas, then drove up to the birthday party. It was a joy, to see that small boy so excited for his friends and his presents and the snacks. I enjoyed seeing my sister, and my nieces, and friends. (ha, I crashed the party instead of just dropping him off and having to come back to get him later:)).

The ride home was where the fun began. It was really really snowing, and dark out. It was hard to see where the road was, especially because the windshield wiper on the driver's side was not working properly...there was a huge smear right in front of me, allowing me to see only if I scrunched down low and looked out over the dashboard. I was glad it was only a few miles, and I was happy to get home. Jon said, "See Mom, we're alive."

We had pulled pork for dinner, it had been in the crock pot all day. Yay me! I feel so accomplished when I know what's for dinner! We had it with green beans and the bread with butter. We re-watched the last episode of Downton Abbey, and had popcorn. Then the girls switched channels from, "The Hunger Games", which was on tv, and The Grammys, which were rather tasteless in parts...I mean, Madonna, really? She looks good for her age, I'll give her that. But. Then the newest episode of Downton came on, and we enjoyed that. I probably wouldn't even watch it if it was just me, but watching it with a living room full of us is fun.

Kids are emerging from their rooms now, all happy's a snow day!!!! That means there are nine of us here for the day instead of the usual seven...Paul is the only one who left the house this morning. I will be a good mom and get off of my computer, and talk to the kids.....

Saturday, February 7, 2015


picnic, anyone?

This snowbank is taller than Miss Charlotte Claire!

Char, Camille, and Jonathan went with me to pick Paul up from the airport. (Emily 30, Margaret 18, Kathryn 16, Evelyn 15, Suzanne 13, and Sonja 12, went out to dinner by themselves). So I took the three youngest to Panera Bread. I got a half salad, Asian with chicken and almonds, dressing on the side, which I didn't eat. I did eat the fresh baguette, and I bought a loaf of their cinnamon raisin bread to take home. Okay, I also bought a bear-claw (a pastry with lemony flavor, cinnamon, brown sugar, and toasted almonds), which I shared equally with the kids. Well, mostly equally. And I had coffee. They had soup bowls and grilled cheese sandwiches. The wife of my nephew said that her husband wouldn't go to Panera because he can make soup and sandwiches at home, why should he pay for food then have to take care of his own dishes? I found that too, last night. All that money to eat, and you have to clear your own table. hmph. But clearing up after only four of us, and not having to wash the dishes, it wasn't too shabby.

Charlotte Claire had a loose tooth, and pulled it out in the parking lot. It was drama, of course. Blood! I enjoyed it thoroughly. She was absolutely thrilled, I don't know why kids like losing teeth so much.

I can't do the math, but I certainly have Been There Done That with kids losing teeth.

And no, the Tooth Fairy didn't remember to come last night.

Paul is home, it is so nice to have him back. He is busy doing stuff, but he'll crash sometime in the afternoon because of jet lag.

Yay, the Panera cinnamon bread is gone! I only had a little bit of it, and now it's gone, yay!

I made Paleo pumpkin cookies the other day, with raisins. I used coconut flour. They are so moist and yummy. I had a few for breakfast with my coffee. They are good and satisfying, but not the kind of thing I want to eat all of in one sitting.

I have chicken in the 'fridge, I think I will make some Chinese food for dinner.

Five kids are in here right now, so I think I will be done with this now. Today is a good day, it is snowing out, and we will probably stay home.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

snow and snow and cold....

Kitty wanted to go out, but for some reason....he didn't want to STAY out.

It is 11 F, -11C, and snowing. I looked on the weather map, and the rest of the state was clear, just a little blob of lake effect snow hovering over hour house, like Winnie-The-Pooh and his rain cloud.

Joseph is frying some bacon, and making more coffee. The little ones are doing school work, and I am "helping" them. It is cozy in here, with that brightness that only snowy days can bring. Margaret is all done with high school, and all back from Florida, and enjoying the lull. She is going to Norway for a sisters' conference with Emily next month, then hopefully she will be accepted to the one-year work/program she applied for, in Norway, starting in June. She is looking for a part time job until then, to pay for the plane ticket.

We are going to rent a camp this summer! We love the Adirondacks, but our camping-in-tents experiences have been...challenging. Having a specific week several months in advance will help everyone to be able to get the time off. Four nurses in the family, two working nights and two working days, makes it difficult to all get together. Paul will be in the country for the week Emily has requested the camp, hopefully it works out and we are able to reserve it. Sunshine, barefeet, sunsets on the lake...!

Camp or no camp, barefeet and sunshine sound pretty sweet right about now.

brr, it is so cold. The sun has come out, sparkling on the deep snow, making it look almost inviting. The kids are asking to, "go someplace". I am tempted. We can only play outside for a short period of time when it is this cold, but perhaps we could go to the mall or something...

Paul is coming home tomorrow! I am taking my brother to the dr. in the morning, then in the afternoon, to the airport!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

my favorite day of the week!

The weeks go by too fast for me, I am not one of those Hurry- Up -And- Get- Here, Friday! kind of girls. No, I enjoy my days. But Wednesday is extra special, half price day at the thrift store!

This morning I was tired, of course, after last night's airport trip. And seeing that I don't always learn from my mistakes of staying up way way too late and being a zombie in the morning, I stayed up way way too late. I found some blogs written by other mommies who have traveling husbands. I am not the only one who likes heading out the door to Target without having to answer the #1 dumbest question in the world: What do you need at Target? Seriously, though, I read of a study proving that the spouse/parent left behind to hold down the fort was much more likely to suffer from illness and depression that regular people in the general population, although you probably realize that the study was not worded like that.

One woman described her struggles with serving dinner alone, waking up to every noise knowing she was THE protector of the household, and having to kill a mousie all by her lonesome. And of course a person had to comment and tell her she was a baby, that other people had it worse, there are military spouses who have husbands or wives who are actually in danger, ect. Oh come on. There are always those better off or worse off, but that doesn't negate our right to vent.

There is some comfort in knowing we aren't the only ones.

Whenever Paul comes home from a trip, it seems like he asks if I have done one thing or another that I was supposed to do. And the thing he asks about is always the one thing I forgot about. He never seems to ask about the other three thousand things I DID take care of.

The school nurse called today. Well, she said, Evelyn got hurt in gym class. It seems she was snow-shoeing and fell down. She got hit in the nose with another kid's show shoe. So she had a bloody nose, a swollen lip, and her tooth hurt. But she was okay. Never a dull moment.

Margaret, all happy and back from Florida, took Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille to the pool today while I went out and about. Suzanne came with me. I found a few good things at the thrift store, a jacket for me for $3, a pretty polka-dotted night gown for a few bucks, a really nice scarf for a dollar and a half, a t-shirt for Margaret, and a Corelle coffee mug for 79 cents.

We got the oil changed on the minivan (I hope Paul remembers to ask me if I did that, so I can shrug casually and say, "Of course.") We went to the bank, the dollar store, Big Lots, where I bought a new trash old blue one was at least 15 years old, and the top was broken. This new one, I don't know. The top swings downward, what a smart idea! Trash can get all over the swinging top! ugh. Anyway, we went to the grocery store for bananas and grapefruit and cereal and chicken and tea and and and.

The kids are watching, "Despicable Me", which is adorable.

It is snowing out, again. I am glad I went out and about when the weather was mild. Paul comes home on Friday!!!! I can't wait to see him. As much as I hate that he travels, I love when he comes home. There are adjustments though. I have been the Boss for a few weeks. I have had to make those decisions about whether it's safe for them to drive on our snowy roads, and have had to make sure there is always enough milk, as there is no one to stop on the way home. I have had to make sure we don't get snowed in, and that the trash gets to the dump. I have given the pep talks, and broken up the arguments, tucked in the princesses, and set the boundaries for tablets at bedtime. I have vetoed or okay'd the television viewing, and kept an eye on the know, sometimes No One cranks it up. There has been no daddy here with a twenty dollar bill in his wallet for the kid who gets invited out and about with some friends. I have found that I am stronger than I thought I was. I can handle this! Except for when I feel like I can't, and I cry. When he comes home, it takes a while for him to fit back into the groove of things. He is usually so tired and jet-lagged for the first few days, he just takes a space on the couch, pretty much. He tries to stay awake. He does try.

Anyway, life is interesting.

it's the middle of the night....

Yet here I sit...decompressing. I almost said, "decomposing", but that wasn't the right word.

It has been a long and eventful day. I went with Mali to her appointment, and saw that little baby on a sonogram. A nice steady heartbeat, and a healthy looking little blessing.

Mali came over here for a while, and even fixed lunch for the little kids. She made them mac and cheese, applesauce, and carrots and green pepper slices. She chilled on the couch with a blanket while I sat with my feet up and had coffee.

Then...the basketball game at the Dome. I filled nacho trays and waited on some customers, but it was a late game, starting at 9:00pm, and not very many people buying food. I was supposed to pick up my three daughters from the airport at 11:40 pm, in Rochester, but they flew into Binghamton instead. Mini road trip! Kim, my sister-in-law and dear friend, volunteered to go with me. Kathryn wanted to come along too...she has been battling migraine headaches, and the Dome was not agreeing with her. So, off we went, down route 81 toward Binghamton.

We stopped for coffee, yum, and may or may not have had a peanut donut. What is eaten on a road trip stays on the road trip.

Anyway, we picked up three happy and suntanned daughters, and headed home.

They visited the gulf coast, went out on a boat and watched the manatees, shopped, went to dinner, relaxed at the pool....and came home happy as can be. When we got out of the van at home, Margaret was pretty surprised at all the snow. The snowbank near the road is as tall as the mailbox.

It is now 2:00 a.m., and I need to go to bed. The crazy kitty is sleeping on my arms, making typing almost impossible. I have already gently relocated him twice, but he purrs and finds his way back to me.

I came home to a very clean house, and am ready to hug a few excellent babysitters.

Tomorrow, I need to get some small children out of the house. They need to get out and do something fun. Problem is, we need some groceries, and they don't think shopping is fun.

And, I will probably sleep in a little.

Yeah, so I am almost sleeping in my chair.

I have nodded off a few times here, and this disjointed post with the kindergarten-like writing is not one of my favorites, but oh well. Tomorrow is another day....

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

never a dull moment...

Not boring, not exactly exciting...but certainly not dull. Okay, we have to backtrack to begin this story.

It was the day of the big snowstorm, and I got a phone call from Mali. She was throwing up blood. She was at work, at a small hospital in a small city. She talked to her sisters who are nurses, who advised her to go to the big hospital in the big city. So she called me. And I hesitated. And um, didn't go with her. And felt like a total shmuck, a bad mom, a horrible person. The snow was coming, and we live 40 minutes from the big city. The snow WAS coming. With Paul in France, the thought of leaving the kids all here with a storm coming...even with Joseph here...I just couldn't do it. I told her that if she got there, and things were bad, I would come up. To let me know, to keep in touch. Still, I felt schmucky.

She is okay. She isn't a big eater on a good day, and having morning sickness doesn't help. Poor girl.

Anyway, this morning I got up and headed to the store because...oh dang, we have mice! We have either been extra lucky all these years of living out in the country, or our mice have been extra sleuthy. I haven't found signs of them in the kitchen, but in the downstairs. So we went to the hardware store for some mousetraps. And a quick stop in the store for oranges and fresh bread and green peppers, eggs, milk, and popcorn.

Mali texted me and asked me to go with her to her dr. appointment. I have to be at the Dome by five for a basketball game, so I am free in the middle of the day. Sure, I said, I will go. I will be glad to redeem myself of a bit of that shmuckiness.

So this is a short post. The kids have some assignments, but I have to talk to them for a few minutes before I go.....

Monday, February 2, 2015

snow snow snow....

We got some snow, over a foot. Jon shoveled for over an hour this morning. I joined him, and we managed to clear enough of the driveway to get one vehicle out if we needed to. We didn't need to.

The dogs like to go outside with us, but Duke is old, he doesn't last long. Suri though, she loves the snow. She likes to put her face under it. I found her buried tennis ball, and she was pretty happy. She carried it into the house with her.

Camille thought Suri was cute like this.

Snow Day! NO school! The homeschool kids still had school though. We learned about Antarctica, China, and The Industrial Revolution. We read, looked up maps, and they have essays to write. Camille is writing hers now, but the other two are allowed to wait and do it tomorrow.

Well, I thought I could write a post, but there are seven kids in the living room right now...