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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

wii morning

Kathryn, Suzanne, and Sonja have been playing Wii since at least 7:45. No big deal. I just tell them: close my door! They woke up the monster. I like to have a little time in the morning without the child with 8 arms......I mean, a simple cup of coffee. Can't set it on the lamp table next to me. No sir. She is all eyes. Then, as she approaches, she is all hands. With long arms. So I have to play the I-am-quicker-than-you game. Oh, and relax and enjoy my coffee.

Actually, as I have said a million times before, I love her so so much. She has several pair of fuzzy footy pajamas, which she wears day and night, except when we go bye-bye. She still has a bit of the stiff-legged gait, the newly walking baby gait. I look at her, and long to do it all over again....and don't understand for the life of me how anyone can "be done"....just like that. I want another baby....not frantically, or anything like that. I trusted God to send the children, and I trust Him still. But it doesn't hurt to ask!

So, the last day of 2008, and I woke up to snow! Lots of it. Windy and cold, and snow. Which I don't love driving the big white van in. Why did we buy a white van? But I will. We are going out to our church New Year's celebration, a bouncy house is set up in the foyer for the kids. I usually go out a bit early so they can bounce and run and have some fun. I was thinking of having Abigail bring Charlotte Claire out after her nap. Camille can nap in the carriage. And Jon doesn't nap anymore.......

Well, the morning rest time is not going to exist this morning. Jon needs clean clothes.....and I need to keep them a bit quiet so they don't wake up the two year old monster......

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

all is quiet, except camille

She is still up. She is like the energizer bunny. Here and there and everywhere. My camera died on Halloween night, and I have been borrowing Mali's and Abigail's. Today, I had Abigail's in my purse, and she has a small memory card, which was I didn't get any pictures....we had a relatively nice day. Aaron is now a real person. I told him that happens when people get their driver's permits. He took the test, and got a 95% without even knowing there was a booklet to read. He got his picture taken, his eye test, which he had to borrow Sam's glasses for, sinces he forgot his, and paid my $75, and voila! He can drive with a licensed driver who is 21 or over. Yay. Mirielle has her license now, so we have to add her to the insurance. But we're taking Emily off. Anyways, taking 8 kids to the Department of Motor Vehicles is a joy.

Then, on to the grocery store. Aaron and Sam got a cart, filled it with 25 bottles of soda and 10 bottles of Cran-Rasberry, for the New Year's celebration at church. I got a cart, and got some milk and bread and chicken.

Then, I really wanted to go home. I was tired and hungry. What a coincidence. So were the kids. I had mentioned going to McDonalds for lunch, mostly so they could run around. By the time we got the groceries and kids in the van, I was waffling. Home: get the groceries in and get them to the table....hmmm. Mcdonalds, get them all out, eat junky food for too much money (who am I kidding, $1 menu), then back to the through? Nah, same amount of money, just no playing, rip-off. And messy in the van. So, I decided I may as well have some fun with them. Charlotte Claire with her two little pony tails, skipping around, going down the slides....she said there was a monster up the slide. A big one or a little one, I asked? A big one.....but it must not have been too scairy of a monster, because she skipped right back up there....

Then, not home. B.J's. I just got a few things in there. Then home. And, hurry hurry, the older kids had to be out the door. So, we had a break: Joseph made peanutbutter and fluff sandwiches for the little ones, and some of the older ones had leftover spaghetti. I was busy making dipped pretzels for Paul to take to work tomorrow. I used a Ghiardelli white chocolate bar for some of them, then added a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips to it, and made some more. Mirielle made some fudge quick, and I took the fudge and dipped pretzels and made up a tray for him to bring in tomorrow.

Mirielle, Aaron, and Mali went late night ice-skating on a rink in the city. Yeah, she got her license just last week. She has been driving since she was 16, but still. A mother worries. Her daddy is so much more okay with things than I. So I have to just let them go and pray.

Abigail went skating today with Margaret and a few friends. She got knocked down by some guy, and is feeling it now. I told her to take some ibuprofen. So, they are all into ice-skating. We should make our own rink and buy our own skates......

Our beautiful Christmas tree is a victim of too many presents under it and not enough water. It still looks nice, but I am getting afraid to plug the lights in.

Tomorrow is going to be cold cold cold. High 25 degrees. Cold. It is always cold for New Year's. Oh, I went in the hot tub with Kathryn last night. It was wonderful. It was turned up to 101.....and it started snowing a bit while we were in....lovely. It isn't unbearably cold when you get out, because the water is so warm and it warms you up deep inside, which lasts a while.

Well, Camille the monster is still up, getting into the diapers now. I have to get her to bed...

well, at least I got some of it done.... big girls were all gone skating, and the medium ones at their friends' house all day. Suzanne and Sonja played so nicely. Jon, Charlotte Claire and Camille were their usual busy selves, making messes as quick as I could accomplish anything. I did get the kitchen/dining room floor mopped, several loads of laundry done, and the main bathroom clean and sparkling. Oh, and all the little messes in between that show absolutely no results. Like the playdough Charlotte Claire crumbled up all over in the kitchen. And the toy bench they emptied. Oh, they "helped" me clean it back up....Anyway, Joseph and Aaron were home so it was a pleasant day. Aaron gave the kids lunch for me so I could clean......and we had some nice conversation, that somehow doesn't happen as much when all the kids are home, especially the bigger girls. Hmm. By dinner time, everyone was back home again....

What do you have in your mouth?
What do you have?

Nothing? Or did you already swallow it?
Yes, it is a good thing she is so cute. She is at a high maintenance stage, but she is so charming. We are going bye-bye today. The older kids, down to Margaret, are going ice-skating again today. And I have to go out shopping, so I am bringing the younger ones out and about. It is getting colder out, with wind and a bit of snow. brr. I would rather stay in. But it is good for them to get out of the house, too, and what is more fun than the grocery store with seven kids? I am thinking about taking them to Mcdonalds for a dollar menu burger. If I can keep it to around $10, it is worth it for them to run around the germy playground for an hour. I just have to close my brain to the germy part.
Well, as I sit here, things are happening. Camille is hindering Jon from setting his new Thomas train up, I am trying to get Sonja to turn off Sesame Street, no one is watching it and it is blaring. Charlotte Claire got her shirt all wet, don't ask, and is walking around in just pajama pants, with Jon's Christmas candy cane with Hershey kisses in it. He wants it back. He got it back. She is mad. The tv is STILL on, Camille now has a Wii remote, yum. And, now I shall go get them ready. Will they be good? Will they co-operate? Will I bribe them with Mcdonalds? Eew, the snow is blowing....

Monday, December 29, 2008

monday morning

and it is sort of quiet, sort of busy. Margaret, Kathryn, and Evelyn are at their friends' house. Ben, Joseph, Aaron, and Mali are still sleeping. Abigail and Mirielle are going ice skating, maybe taking Suzanne. Camille is getting ready for her nap. She is into everything these days. If the kids would always keep their stuff picked up and out of reach, it would make it easier.

I plan to stay home today. I already have clothes in the washer and in the dryer. I have to go out shopping tomorrow, at least a little bit, because I have to get the drinks for our New Year's celebration at church. We are getting together for dinner, then fellowship, bouncy house for the kids, ect., until at least midnight. By drinks I mean Coke and Pepsi, not beer and wine.

So, today I stay home. I will start with the kitchen. I really want to mop the floor today. The other night, I was in a huge hurry, making some homemade pizza dough, and the kids had to get out the door at a certain time for ice skating with the youth group. Suzanne and Jon were making pizzas in her Easy bake oven, so I thought I'd do the same in my big oven. I found a recipe for baking powder crust (which also had some yeast), that didn't have to rise for more than a few minutes, so I got moving. And I dropped not one, but two Pyrex glass baking dishes to the tile floor, smash, crash, scatter.....STAY out of here, NOT come in here. Joseph was in the vicinity, and grabbed one of the brooms.....we got it cleaned up relatively fast, and even vacuumed afterward to get any stray pieces. So the pizza was wolfed down rather quickly as they left....sometimes, the more I try to hurry, the more messes I make. I get scatterbrained and distracted. And now I am down two of my favorite pans. They were 13by 9 baking dishes...

It would be more fun to clean the house if it actually stayed clean. Another thing on my to do list: potty train the lazy Charlotte Claire. She is 2 years seven months now, and perfectly capable. I bought her undies for Christmas, and she just says I have to talk it up a bit, and once she is up for it, it should be pretty easy. It will be nice to have just one in diapers. It is wierd to think that if Camille is my last baby, and she gets trained in a year or two, I will have no one in diapers for the first time in 24 years. I cannot even calculate how many diapers I have changed. And, I used to use cloth diapers. Which I loved and hated. I loved the satisfaction of clean folded white diapers. I hated rinsing the dirty ones. I used them when Emily was a baby and we didn't even have a dryer. I just hung them on a rack, or out on the clothes line. I was expecting my 6th child when I moved here, and I switched to disposables because of the distance between the bathroom and the washing machine....I was afraid to carry the heavy pail so far, being pregnant. And I haven't used cloth diapers since. I still have them though, you never know what is going to happen. They might come in handy some day. And thus the reason for the bursting closets.....

Samuel is growing out of all his jeans, and I don't think I want to save them for 4 year old Jonny. He won't fit in to them for 7, 8, 9 years.....because Sam and Jon are 9 years apart.

Well, I know darn well what I am doing here: postponing the inevitable. So, here I go to get some things accomplished.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

emily is gone....

And I am so sad. We (Joseph, Aaron, Mali, Camille, and I) brought her to the airport. We then checked out a few video game stores to try to find a game Joseph wanted, then to Target so Aaron and Mali could fool around and use Aaron's new camera, and get slushies and popcorn, then a quick trip through the grocery store, and home.....Daddy and Mirielle were making dinner, chicken fajitas. Three of the girls, Margaret, Kathryn, and Evelyn left to spend the night at a friend's house (they have 14 kids, 13 still at home). My niece and her husband took Suzanne, Sonja, and Jon on a great adventure today. Chinese restaurant for lunch, to the movies to see "Bolt", and to the dollar store to get a prize. It was fantastically nice of them. They spoiled these guys. Now, Joseph and Aaron are gone, and Sam is going to the movies with some friends from church. I have to have a constant mental list of who is where. Sometimes I count who is in the room, and go from there.

So the niggling at the back of my mind about the laundry and things around here that need to get done has gotten a bit noisier, it is almost a scream now. And to top it off, today Paul suggested to Mirielle that she and Abigail help me clean up laundry room while they are around. So it isn't only me who is seeing what needs to be done. I think it is interesting that we are given a certain conscience about cleaning up. Some people are obviously more inclined to keep things in order, and some are more sloppy. When I get my nesting instinct before a baby is born, I can do amazing things. I wish I could bottle that up. At the same time, if I was always a fanatic about housework, I wouldn't be able to go off on all my adventures. And I probably wouldn't sit here writing when there was laundry to do. So, all in all, I am glad I care to the extent that I do about the house, it could be worse. I mostly wish I cared a bit more. Maybe I need to have some company over, that gets things cleaned up for sure. We do sweep and vacuum and clean the kitchen every single day, kitchen is a constant cleanup. It just takes so much time and energy to keep a house at a really nice clean level, and I sometimes can manage, and sometimes not.

The state of the house is a source of a constant inner battle for me. I find I am very happy when it is spotless (hey, "my" spotless), and sort of depressed when I can't seem to get it that way. And every single day, it is the same thing. It doesn't just get cleaned and stay clean. Too many people with too much stuff. So I am really working on my salvation in it all. To learn to be content in all things.

But at the same time, I am thankful for that niggling, that niggling in the back of my mind that has turned to a scream. Thankful that I can focus some effort on getting clothes put away properly, so things run more smoothly. And I am thankful that the girls will be around this week to help me......if only someone doesn't suggest something that sounds really fun, because I am perfectly capable of ignoring that scream and walking right out the door....

I am thankful for a good many things lately....

1. My kids. Obviously. But when Charlotte Claire refers to Camille as, "my baby sister", oh it is so cute.

2. People who are good to my kids.

3. A warm day. If it was 50 degrees in the summer, we would be shivering, but yesterday felt wonderful.

4. Disposable diapers

5. Wipes.

6. My vacuum cleaner. I may have listed this in past thankful lists, but, I just love it. And I did not get a penny from the Dyson company to write the following message: It is the best vacuum cleaner I have owned, and I have had maybe 10 or 15 through the years. I use it almost every day. The way each piece comes off, getting stuck socks out is a cinch. (say that 10 times fast)....and, it is powerful. And the hose is so handy for getting in corners and cobwebs. I got it for half-price last year, and it was pretty hard to actually put a $250 vacuum cleaner in my cart. But it was such a good deal. I tell the kids to be careful with it, I couldn't replace it.

7. Oh, I have earthly things I could list that I like and enjoy, but I think I'll try to focus on the heavenly things. I am glad that God sent Jesus to make a way for me. I am glad that in the midst of the trials, I can be changed. There is a line from a song in our songbook, "while the world around you storms, God your inner man transforms..."

8. I am glad that God sends everything for my best. Romans chap.8, v.28.

9. In my living room right now: Paul and I, Abigail, Mirielle, Mali, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, and Camille. Charlotte Claire just went to bed. She had no nap, and was being such a drama queen about every stubbed toe....Jon got a Little Tikes camera for Christmas, and Paul put his picture on the computer, he is thrilled. Mali is playing Wii golf with Suzanne and Sonja. Camille is eating candy wrappers. She knows where some Christmas stockings are....she is no idiot, as Abigail likes to say....

10. My washing machine and dryer. I know, I know, somethings I get the idea that I really need more than one of each. But really, I am thankful that I have them and they work. Charlotte Claire peed on the couch today, which thankfully I keep a comforter/cover on, and voila: throw it in the washing machine. What in the heck did the families do, all through history? Just think of how blessed it is to live in these days. Between washers and dryers, and all other appliances, not to mention running water and electricity, and antibiotics and childhood vaccines (Okay, some may not agree, but at least my kids aren't plagued with diptheria or polio), I have way more than 10 things I am thankful for. But mostly: that God is near me, and cares for me enough to send the best for me, and lets me see how I really am. He is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

sunday morning

This is just a quick post, we have to get out the door for our church meeting in an hour. I have stayed up way too late every night, and with getting up with my newborn Camille several times some nights, although just once last night (yay!), I am a bit worn out. Emily leaves this afternoon, again. I hope she remembers to re-pack her bathing suit.

Yesterday, we went to a really fun pool. It has a kiddy pool that gets deeper ever so gradually, with pails and water toys for the little ones. Then a huge lap pool, and a medium sized pool, and a pool with a water slide. Emily decided that as long as she was home, we should do something fun with the kids. We have a membership to a closer pool, but it was closing by noon, and no way would we have made it, seeing that it took all morning to decide what to do. So, $$! One thing about having alot of kids, it is expensive to do things. We would like to take them bowling. Then I started thinking that if Paul and I and ten of them went, $2 shoe rental, then the bowling price.....hmm.

Last night 5 of my nieces stopped in after the youthgroup ice-skating trip. Between them and 6 of my kids that were up, it was a busy living room. They are a very nice group of girls, my sister's kids.

Well, I have things to do and kids to dress....

Friday, December 26, 2008

bye bye emily

Emily Anne said her goodbyes, and we brought her to the airport with her big red suitcase, her other bags, and her guitar. Then we went to get some milk, a lightbulb for the Easy Bake oven, and some tripleA batteries. So, we got home, put away the groceries, settled in, and the phone rang. Emily's flight had been canceled. Ice and freezing rain in Chicago. And of course you have to go west from New York to Chicago to get to Copenhagen to get to Norway. Anyway, I had to go and get her. She flies out on Sunday, now. What a disapointment. But Jon will be glad to see her in the morning.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

so this is Christmas...

Wii, even daddy likes to play.....bowling, anyway... It seems pretty obvious what they're doing in this picture, wrapping the cat.

We didn't start opening presents until well after 10:00. The little kids of course were so excited. Jonathan with his new Thomas train.

Evelyn, Mirielle, and Sonja

Wow, Suze!

Suzanne wants to try this, now!


Evelyn and Mirielle

Margaret got a camera....

Daddy was the Santa Claus, passing them all out.

Samuel got a new air-soft gun, some nerf guns, and remote control helicopters. But his favorite gift seemed to be the Scorchers, really hot candies from the dollar store.

Dolls from around the world. (I got them last year after Christmas for 75% off, but Evelyn doesn't know that)

Camille with Emily

Charlotte Claire

Mali with her bear, Suzanne, and Camille


Aaron got a camera, too.

Camille had no idea what was going on.

It wasn't as chaotic as it looks.

No way was Charlotte Claire going to let Camille got on her presents....

The kids just sat in their spots, mostly, and daddy passed out the presents.

Charlotte Claire got a great present from Emily, the "Totoro" movie. Japanese animae, she loves it.....Emily kept telling her she would get it for Christmas, and she was just thrilled when she opened it. (they are watching it now)

Camille got a baby that cries and laughs....

Jon was a bit overstimulated.


Oh, just what I always wanted. One thing I like to do: after I buy something for someone, I point it out to them in the store, or online, and say how cool it when they get it, .....

Camille got a new ride-on...

So, after all the unwrapping, we had brunch. Emily made home-made cinnamon swirl bread, then sliced it up last night and refridgerated it with the egg mixture, and made baked french bread this morning. And bacon, fruit, and scrambled eggs. We sat for quite a while.

After brunch, Camille went in for her nap, and I sat down and put these pictures up. It has been a great day. Paul has spent the last hour fixing the treadmill, there was a scarf caught in the motor. Oops. Thankfully, he isn't the grumpy type. Or rather thankfully he doesn't give in to grumpy tendencies. I got two new table lamps, and a tall lamp. It is sort of a joke around here how the lamps get broken. Not cracked or smashed, just knocked into enough that the shades are on daddy got me some new ones. The movie is over, and the dinner has to be started. My girls are spoiling me, they made pumpkin pies yesterday for today....and this place is a MESS! Toys, wrapping paper.....oh, the joys of Christmas! And I haven't been doing my work properly for days, it is niggling at me that we need some laundry done, but I keep ignoring the niggles. I will pay for it one of these days, but hey, it is Christmas!!! So Merry Chrismas, again......!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

The excitement around here is loud and clear. Suzanne and Emily made gingerbread today. I made plates up of fudge and chocolate dipped pretzels, and cut up 4 pounds of cheese for crackers and pepperoni. All to bring to Uncle Bob's house tonight. Mirielle made peanut-butter fudge last night, and today she cut up the ham, so we can bring it, too. I am letting the kids wear what they find comfortable tonight, frilly dresses and tights are just too complained against. In former years, I pushed, and they wore....but now, it just isn't so important anymore. So, Suzanne and Sonja will wear their Dora Pajamas, and the little girls will wear cute little pant-sets......and other than that, I have no idea. It is funny how things change. They are clean, and their hair will be brushed and sweet.

I just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I have been thinking alot about why we celebrate, and how blessed we are. And I also want to say that outside of God, and how He has blessed us, we are nothing.

1. I like making lists.

2. Jesus said to, "Follow me".....and what did He do while on earth? He suffered, so that He never comitted sin.

3. Jesus made a way for us to follow, a way of victory over sin.

4. I personally can be freed from all that constrains me, : backbiting, complaining, coveting, thinking bad of others, judging, and on and this not exciting?

5. My older children, most of them, are living proof that the gospel works. When young people follow Jesus of their own accord, and choose to serve and flee youthful lusts, being around them is more blessed and good than can even be imagined.

6. Things around here are not idyllic. For example, today, I heard on of my daughters yell, "Which idiot did this?", she was answered by another daughter, "Why, is there a whole sequence of idiots here?".....oh, and one of my sons doesn't like to pitch in around here, and boy does he get teased. And last night, I got out a box with 8 or nine candy bars in it, to give one to Suzanne who is only 7, and picked up and vacuumed for a prize. She picked one, and later told me she didn't like that kind. Choose a different one, I said. Nope. Box empty. Who did it? No one did. And: Mirielle made peanutbutter fudge last night. This morning: cat prints across it so sweetly and neatly, I thought someone else did it as a joke. Nope, it was kitty. So, we are not bringing the fudge tonight. And, it didn't get hard enough. And: today I had one of my daughters wash a load of socks. Sounds easy. Well, first the socks need to be collected. Then, there were clothes in the dryer, and in the was a big job. She fussed. While I was cutting up the cheese, I was surrounded by a flock of hungry vultures. They want fudge. They have to wait. My hot tub doesn't have enough water in it. Proposed solution: go to the hardware store and get a fitting to fix a hose up to the faucet, then fill it from the bathroom sink. Hardware store man says they don't carry such a thing, which is either true or hardware man is too lazy to go check. So, second option: Dig hose out from under snow, hook up to spigot in front of house, run through house.......or tromp through snow around outside of house to the back.....because the water is SO low in the hot tub, the motor will burn out. Did we not know winter was coming? Could we maybe have prepared for this?

Anyway, sometimes I think I give the impression that it is hunky dory around here, and in one way that is true, those of us who are old enough, and know better, do know how to take things right, and don't get all angry and yelling about things. But the little ones have their fights, messes are made, things are lost.....clothes continually pile on the couch, matched socks are scarce, and the clutter on the counters is something that is a continuous battle. Continuous. That is the word to describe the messes around here.

Today I put my foot down a bit and made the kids wait until I was finished in the kitchen to have their lunch. They are having all sorts of things. We have to leave for my brother's house in 2 hours. Camille and Charlotte Claire are napping. I would like a nap too, but I would be too excited to sleep.

Any-any-anyway, Merry Christmas! And never ever underestimate the power of God, to help and give victory. He can do anything, and He hears our prayers. He wants us to live a happy victorious life. Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


and the presents are mutliplying. Suzanne is posing in her Dora pajamas. Today was the REAL pajama day, and since she had nice new pajamas, she wanted to go today. They had their Christmas parties, and present exchanges. Suzanne is in second grade, and Sonja in first, and they got the same exact Barbie dolls. And: Paul put up some shelves in their room today. And: I bought them some new valances for only $3 at biglots, and Paul already put them up. Tonight for dinner: Burgers cooked on the grill, courtesy of Mali. What's a little snow?

Today was a very special day. We left the house at 9:00a.m., and went to a city that we usually don't go to, and shopped. We finished up. Real Deals, Big Lots, Walmart, Price-Chopper...then to our real destination: Mirielle's road test! And: She passed! Finally. I won't get in to that, but it sure was exciting! Her test was at 1:30, and she hadn't eaten anything yet, she was so nervous. So after she passed, we went to lunch at a Chinese restaurant we have never been too, just her, Abigail, and I. Abigail and I had to wait out in the cold while she drove for her test, and my feet were cold. So the hot tea, and leisurely lunch was just heavenly. Then we went to Rite-Aid, and a quick stop for a coffee for the road at Dunkin Donuts, and homeward bound. I wrapped everything I bought today, and I am DONE......I hope.
Well, I need to help get the dinner on the table.....

Monday, December 22, 2008

oh, good dinner....

If it seems like I write alot about what we have for dinner, it is probably because it such a big part of my life. When there are 17 people eating, as there were tonight, you obviously have to have enough of what you want to have. Does that make sense? Well, our turkey dinner failed. Because I am Miss Organized, I didn't realize that the turkey from the bottom of the freezer was dated 2005. Oops. All thawed and ready to go, and I noticed the date, chickened out and threw it out. So, we were in the what-do-we-have-for-dinner dilemma. Emily decided to make chicken chili with brown rice, and some nice Italian bread that Emily brought for the girls' party and forgot to bring. Very tasty. Problem: Camille loved the beans so much, I don't want to be the one to change her diaper tomorrow. I only gave her about 10 of them, because I didn't want her to have a tummy ache. Then we had Margaret's homemade cake, boy, was it good. I was just going to have a little taste....oops.

Now, it is after dinner, and Joseph is doing the dishwasher while Sam sweeps. The crazy little kids are playing Wii, I think they are addicted. We have only had a few dozen Wii collisions, where the player swings their arms into a sibling. And Evelyn says her back and arms hurt. Abigail is now vacuuming for me. I asked for a clean house for Christmas, as if I don't ask for this every day of the year.....Mali picked up the shoes, Aaron swept and mopped, Kathryn and Sam cleaned bathrooms, Joseph cleaned and vacummed the hallways. With all of us here in a relatively small space, there is constant picking up of clutter, but otherwise, it looks pretty nice in here.

Abigail and I went in my room with all the stockings, to fill them. We dumped all the goodies on the bed, and were lounging in there, laughing our heads off....I had bought so much candy it isn't funny, wait, actually it was. They read this so I can't get specific, but there is enough. All of it in a huge pile, with me having a few of the extra pieces, and Abigail said, "This is why we can't be on reality tv...." Oh, it was funny. I was literally laying on my side laughing, surrounded by candy. We decided not to use it all, to save some for New Years or something.

I wrapped everything I had to wrap today. Problem: I am going shopping again tomorrow. We need some basic groceries for over Christmas, like milk, to begin with. And I cannot say what else, as kids read this....but not too much.

I think Margaret has had a nice birthday. She didn't want candles, but Charlotte Claire did, so we had candles. I asked her if I could take a picture with her cake, and she declined. So I respected that. They know darn well when I get the camera out the pictures will end up on my blog. And they might get their own blogs someday and get me back. So I have to be respectful.

Our kids have school tomorrow. They had a snow day Friday, and one today, so after a 4 day weekend, and before a huge vacation, they have a day of school. The temperature is supposed to go up to 25 or so, and the snow is going to calm down, so they will have school. I am sending them because they will have their Christmas parties. It seems strange, because it is so vacation-y around here.

Well, Camille is really bugging her big sisters. She keeps going into their room, and they keep bringing her back out. Kathryn is making a barricade......but she is crawling right through it. She is smarter than Kathryn. The girls are going to let her in. Phew.

I need to give some attention now...

quick morning post, happy birthday margaret!

Well, today Margaret Cheryl is 12 years old. I just gave her a present, a nice hair dryer with a diffuser. She has super-curly hair. (One of the fun things about having so many kids - how many different varieties can you possibly have? Kathryn has straight thick hair, Margaret's is so curly, so is Ben's, Joseph's, Samuel's, and Sonja's (Paul has very curly hair, and so did my mother)....and Evelyn and Suzanne have wavy hair, Charlotte Claire's is soft and fine and kind of curly....on and on, but very interesting, to me....) Anyway, she is making herself a cake from the one of the cookbooks. She likes to bake. Oh yeah, it is a SNOW DAY! I woke up to Sonja bringing Charlotte Claire, crying, into my room, as C.C. wanted her mommy. She refers to me not as "mommy", but as "my mommy"......Which woke up, off to the races.....Evelyn told me as soon as I hit the living room that we had a two hour delay, which I couldn't believe, seeing the blowing snow. She checked again, and it was closed. Yay!

I finally put on a pair of boots and went out and got the newspapers for Saturday, Sunday, and today. I am the #1 newspaper fan. Paul just reads news on the computer, but I like all the local stuff. And I am a huge obituary follower. I don't know why. If these people died, at least someone can read about it .....anyway, I trooped through the snow to get the papers. It is so cold out there, the wind is bitter. But the way the snow buffers sound, it just sounds silent. The cold didn't stop Kathryn, Evelyn, and Suzanne from bundling up and going out to play. Their cheeks were red when they came back in, and they needed hot cocoa. Then I made some pancakes (yes, they were out there before breakfast).

I told the kids they can give me what I really want for Christmas, today: a clean house. (one of them guessed I would like a nap, which would be a close second. A nap where the kids didn't get in any screaming fights right outside my door, or decide to have a door slamming contest, or wake me up for some imporant phone call about an overdue library book) I told them it would be so nice if they just cleaned up without me asking specific things. Emily took to the idea, and if she gets them motivated, I am set. They love her, and listen to her better than they do me. I haven't set eyes on Mirielle yet, but I think she has plans to make fudge today. We always bring lots over to my brother's house.

I have not quite finished my shopping. I didn't get much for Paul, as it seems wierd to me to buy him stuff with his money. I'll just be really nice to him.

What can be more cozy than having everyone home (Paul took some vacation time, so I can hear the guitar strumming) , cakes being made, and we have a turkey ready to cook today. Do I have trials? Of course. But there are some times in life, where you can just see how blessed you are. Times to slow down and enjoy life. We can't really go anywhere today, the roads are terrible because it is so windy, and the snow is blowing across the roads, making them slippery. So here we are.

I am going to give the little girls a big present today, since they cleaned up their room: a new rug. They have carpeting, but it has gone through a whole parade of children who use markers, paints, glitter, have fishtanks, leaky sippy cups.......and it is very light beige. So, I bought them a rug for Christmas. But Christmas day will be busy enough without putting a new rug down. (I hate opening all the toys, with the twisties and staple-y things. ) (but on the other hand, I love toys, so opening them and setting things up and playing, it is as much fun for me....)

Any-any-anyways, Margaret was born exactly on her due date, and the labor and delivery were quite quick and easy. I experienced a new thing with her birth, that I didn't really know about until then. When I was fully dilated, I didn't have the urge to push yet. Usually, the nurses would just say go ahead and push anyway, and stupid me, I did. But this time, I was fully dilated, and the Dr. said to just rest. So, I rested. I'm not sure how long it was, but then the contractions resumed, and I pushed her out with very little effort. I later read about this, it was referred to as the "rest and be thankful" stage, I think by Sheila Kinsinger. She was born in the early afternoon, and she was very fussy. I remember that first night, how I hated "rooming in" that night....she fussed and whimpered.....and I was SO tired....and Paul went home to take care of the eight other kids.....Emily was almost 12, and Abigail had just turned 10. We had a 17 year old girl there to "help" us, but believe me, we helped her as much as she helped us. Maybe more. Anyway. We lived. I don't know now how I managed Christmas this year, but I do know this: we brought her home from the hospital on the 24th. And planned to go to my brother's house. Then, as we were getting ready to go, Mirielle, who was 6, threw up. So, Paul stayed home with her, and I took all the kids to my brother's house. With the help of our 17 year old "helper", of course. Who absolutely abandoned me to play foozeball as soon as we got there.....people helped me though, I mostly sat with the baby. Somehow. Samuel must've been only 16 months old, and Mali would have been 3 months shy of three....oh, and Aaron was just 4. So Joseph was 5 1/2, Mirielle 6, Benjamin 8.....oh dear, what was I thinking? Sorry, trip down memory lane....

Sweet little Camille is getting tired, ready for her nap. She is so pudgy. She likes crushed ice. When she hears someone dispensing some, she holds her hand out and whines for some. I need to go get her into bed....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

cold and getting colder

Tonight is very cold. Tomorrow's high: 16 degrees, with wind, below zero windchill. A possible foot of new snow. Fun. Maybe, another snow day. Here is Mr. Jon with the Cars car he got for a gift at the feast today. What I am wondering is, what is going on in the back ground. Kathryn is holding onto both Sonja and Suzanne.... Yes Jon, it is very nice. And what are they doing back there?

New pajamas. No, not really new. I bought them after Christmas last year for $3, and put them in the closet.

This one is blurry, but sweet. I told Paul I would choose this if these were our only kids, for a Christmas card....

Kathryn Grace with her gift at the feast....

Evelyn Joy with her new stuff. I didn't notice her nice footwear before we left....and she had taken her nice sweater off to run around and play....

Charlotte Claire got the perfect gift, a new baby. Hey, I want one too!

Sonja and Grace.....friends, and second cousins.....

Emily and Aaron....Aaron is holding Camille. What a nice boy.


Aaron with Camille. What a face!

Evelyn Joy playing, "duck, duck, goose".....

Camille. She took a huge nap in this pram today. It was so nice.....

And, now we are all home again. After the feast, Paul went to a special meeting for the activity club leaders....and I was home with Aaron, Mali, Sam, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jon, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. Aaron and Mali weren't hungry, so didn't join us for dinner, which was kind of crazy, but also kind of nice. When daddy's not there for dinner, I must pay more attention to them instead of trying to talk to Paul, so they are much better behaved. And we had fun. After we ate, I loaded up the dishwasher, they helped clean up, and I scouted my room for presents that I had to wrap. I found a few more in the closest. Sonja and Evelyn helped me wrap them. As much as I love my little Charlotte Claire and Camille, it is such a relief when I get them tucked into bed. It seems like a piece of cake to take care of the rest of them. We got in to a box of chocolates. I let them choose in order, oldest to youngest, but then youngest to oldest. Jon, poor Jon. He didn't quite comprehend the order. But he was okay. I let him have extra....Now, it is quiet in here. Paul is home, Emily, Abigail, Joe, Mali, Margaret, Kathryn are up. Mirielle is on the treadmill. Aaron and Sam are on the computer. The younger kids are all quiet now.
I won't be going out into the cold wind tomorrow. I hope. We haven't even brought in the morning paper. And it's the Sunday one, my favorite....I can't convince anyone to go get it, and I certainly don't want to .....well, goodnight!