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

Sunday, May 31, 2009

the school year is winding down....

The little girls have only 17 days left...and if they skip a few, that isn't too bad. Rosie was outside with a dead mole, compliments of either General Thunder or Kitten Force. Joseph took it from her and brought her in. She promptly peed on the floor, and now is whining to go back out. She is full of it tonight, and I, the tired and lazy mom, am ready for bed. Or at least ready to relax. We had 16 for dinner tonight, and at 5:30 I still did not know what I was making. When you have just a few people, it is easy to throw something together. Relatively, anyway. Evelyn and I ended up making english muffin pizzas, some chicken tenders,and broccoli/cauliflower. For 9 years old, Evelyn is very capable, and good company, too. She can be the drama queen, the victim of her sisters' meanness (just looking at her cross-eyed), and a huge whiner, but boy is she fun! After dinner, we had kitchen clean-up, the ever demanding take-the-puppy-out-to-pee job, and showers for all the little ones. Camille made her way through the gate and into the bathroom while I was showering the girls, saying, "Bath! Bath!", not for you right now. You had yours this morning. She got her clothes wet enough to justify walking around saying, "Allwet, Allwet.." It is pretty cute, good thing.

Tomorrow is a dentist appointment for Charlotte Claire and Sonja, and Suzanne doesn't want to ride the bus without Sonja, so I said she could come, and Evelyn doesn't want to ride without those two, so she is coming. They better not get all silly and crazy in the dentist office. I had better get out the door without giving in to bringing Mr. Jonathan-I'll-be-good-I-promise....who temporarily forgets that promise a few times each outing....

I will be taking the opportunity to go to one of my favorite stores, Wegmans. They have whole seedless watermelons for $3.99, cantaloupes 2 for $3, and strawberries, 2 packages for $3. And boneless skinless chicken breast for $1.99 a pound. Good stuff. And: baby carrots for 99cents a pound, bananas 49lb., eggs cheap, soft tortillas cheap, milk cheap, bread cheap. And their store brands are always good. Oh, and the muffins....they have these cranberry muffins with toasted walnuts on top....expensive, 99cents each....but oh, if I get a coffee (they sell some very fine coffee in there), the ride home is relaxing and lovely. They also have bialys (?), which are like a pizza dough with blueberry, or cherry topping....oh, yum.

Well, morning comes quickly....and since I have to be out and about in the afternoon, I should get some sleep.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

snowy day here up north....

Not real snow, but it looked like it a few times. Cottonwood trees, spreading their sneeze inducing fluff far and wide. I am thinking we should think about cutting down a few of those trees.

It took Paul all day to install the water softener. That left you-guessed-it to do everything else. Sam went do some work at our church, Mali and Aaron went on a bike ride that led them to their cousins' house, where Abigail and Margaret ended up too. Benjamin went to work. I took some of the kids in the hot tub, which was wonderful but made me sleepy. I actually took a rest on the couch this afternoon, which was a big mistake, because Sonja had some mighty important things to tell me each time I dozed off. Ouch. I decided to just get up and get moving, instead.

Mirielle went on a long run, took a shower, and cooked the burgers on the grill for us. We had some beans, tossed spinach salad with olives and tomatoes, watermelon, and onion rings. There were only 10 of us for dinner. I can't say it was quiet, Camille eats quickly and starts yelling, likes to get down, starts throwing food. A popscicle will hold her off for a while to give the rest of us time to eat before we get her down.

We had our evening snack again, the brownies Suzanne and Mirielle made, with ice cream. And cheese doodles for Camille. The puppy peed on the floor a few times. She seems to be getting a bit better. Sometimes she is just plain frustrating though: Paul took her outside this evening, and she just took off! She didn't come to him for the longest time! Why does she do that and what can we do about it? She listens to me when I call her most of the time....other times she just plain ignores me, keeps running, or sniffing what ever is interesting her.....I try gaining her trust by rewarding her with a treat when she comes to me....ugh, so frustrating. She hates the leash, is getting a bit better with it, but after she pulls one of those don't-come-when-we-call-her tricks, I use the leash for the next few times outside.

jon just stepped in more pee....

and I am getting a little sick and tired of it. Clean floors are very important to me. The puppy seems to want to sabotage that. Nah, she just can't hold it yet. She keeps that cage dry, so I know it's in her. It is only 8:45am and she has been out 4 times already. Twice with me, once with Joseph, and once with Suzanne. After she gets over her morning energy spurt, she will take a nice long nap.

So yeah, on Saturday morning, I cannot sleep in. Because I wake up, thinking about poor Rosie in her cage holding her pee. So I got up around 7:30. Joseph was out here on the computer eating cereal...and she was doing the dance in the crate...You CAN'T do that to her! The first one out her has to bring her out!!! Anyway, today it was hard to get up because Camille woke me up four times last night. I am not sure why. She doesn't nurse anymore, and I don't give her bottles when she wakes up, I just hold her for a little while, and she goes nicely back in her little bed. (After the third time of waking, I did consider getting her a bottle, then I thought of hopeful little Rosie, wanting to go out...and I was, I just held her). I hope she isn't getting sick or anything. All I could think of was, Today, I am getting a nap! I do not like wasting precious Saturday time on a nap, but......last night we watched Twilight. I read the book, and thought it was quite interesting in spite of not liking fantasy books so much. Kathryn was looking forward to watching it, and I randomly invited Evelyn to stay up and watch it too. She was more than thrilled. Mirielle and I , and Abigail, laughed our heads off about some of it, but Evelyn and Kathryn were entranced.

So, here I am on a cloudy breezy chilly Saturday morning, wishing I had gone to bed earlier last night, and thinking I shouldn't have had that last glass of, whine....hmm.

The sunshine-y faces of Kathryn, Suzanne, Sonja, and Jonathan do cheer me up, though.

Today we have a project on the agenda. We as in Paul. He is installing a new water softening system. We live out in the country and have a well. The water is very hard. The minerals build up on the dishes and the sinks and the counters, but worse of all, inside the pipes. Our existing water softener uses salt pellets, which are expensive, bad for the septic system, and bad for us. So Paul bought this salt-less system, to see if it will reduce the build-up in the pipes as it claims. Because the water is sometimes slow or non-existant when you need it, especially when someone is showering or the washer is filling.....(the outside hose works fine though, so it probably isn't the well going dry)....

Every year we do a "What We Want To Do This Summer" list. Evelyn is getting too smart. She said, "We didn't even do most of the stuff on last year's list!" oops. But, all optimistic, we are doing another list. Jonathan said, "Even if we can't go to Darien Lake , we can go to Darien!" Some of the things we are planning are bowling, mini-golf, of course the beach, a few different beaches in fact, out to lunch a few times, a few special playgrounds. I am tired already.

I have a sister and five brothers. Well, four surviving brothers. One one of my brothers, Bob, has ten children. 4 are married. He is expecting 3 grandchildren within 2 weeks in October. Two of them are girls, and the third we don't know yet. He is beside himself with joy. He is that kind of guy who loves babies and kids. Bob lives only 4 miles away, and we are very close. He is the guy who built our house. With my other brothers, and Paul helping. He also built his own house, and my brother Tom's house. That was with holding down a full-time job, and working on the houses after work and weekends.

Do I ever run out of things to blab about? Apparently not. I need to get up and do some things here, and also Charlotte Claire just showed her sunshine-y little face. She is so funny, sometimes she gets up really early, (her door is really loud), and if no one is up, she goes back to bed. I hear her door.....she did that this morning, which was another reason I felt compelled to drag my lazy self out of bed. Just to make sure she DID go back to bed....anyway....

Friday, May 29, 2009

telling it like it is

Kathryn and Margaret stayed home today. Margaret has had a cold, and figured she may as well stay home again today, and just get all her work on Monday. Kathryn missed the bus because I, the observant and capable mom, failed to even notice that she wasn't up with the first trip kids. But don't tell her that. When she came out here all blurry-eyed right as the second trip kids were leaving, I sort of pretended I thought she wasn't feeling well, because it seemed nicer than saying, "Oh Kathryn, I did not even notice that you weren't up!"

So because Kathryn is so nice, and because she felt a little bad that she had passed out pieces of Pop-Tarts to the little girls in the living room, (I sort of flipped out - I thought they were crackers), and I had just finished sweeping, she took the kids outside for about a half-hour. I did some laundry, washed my hair, cleaned up the sinks, swept up the Pop-Tart crumbs, and they were still I did what tired lazy mother would do: I sat down and put my feet up. I didn't go so far as make the cup of coffee, but soon as I sat down, in they came! Jon is full of the devil, as my mother used to say. He is being silly and crazy, and the dog is even crazier.

I talked to my oldest daughter, Emily, on the phone yesterday from Norway. She said it costs only a fraction of a krone per minute, however much that is. She was telling me that in Norway, chicken is very expensive, like the equivelent of $12 per pound. And beef: only ground beef in the casseroles is what she's had since she has been there, in late December. She is having a very nice time though. She should be home by Christmas this year.....

I would like everyone to suddenly decide they wanted to live in a clean organized house, and help me with all their hearts for just one day. Bedrooms cleaned and vacuumed and straightened, laundry all sorted and brought from said bedrooms, windows and windowsills washed and shined and sparkly....all bathrooms scrubbed and shiny....heck, if they even help for two hours, I would be glad. Maybe I will start begging.... Last night, we left for the concert before the older kids left. So, I handed Abigail 12 dollars, and told her if they cleaned up before they left, (swept living room and kitchen, dishwasher, counters) they could go for ice cream. They did okay, but in my humble opinion, it was no $12 job. (Am I the ONLY one who sees the stuff around the edges?)

I can dream right?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

elementary chorus concert night

Suzanne and Sonja were in the chorus concert tonight. The older kids (Abigail, Mirielle, Joseph, Aaron, Mali, Sam, and Margaret) went to the youth meeting, so Paul and I took the younger ones. The pictures I took came out really dark. It was a cute concert though, and it seemed like old times just bringing the younger ones. When we got home, they changed back into around the house clothes and pajamas, and we had some ice cream at the table. We have a good bit of fun when we gather around the table, and the kids like my attention. They obviously don't get as much of it when the older ones are here, though they don't really suffer, since the older ones talk to them and listen about their day, too. Anyway, here is a Camille with her baby.

So sweet! Margaret took these pictures, and when I saw them I thought of the baby I lost.....Camille would have loved a new baby brother or sister.

Charlotte Claire, all patriotic and ready for the beach. The thing is, it was a cloudy rainy day....
I counted how many pee pee puddles I cleaned up today, but I lost count at eight. No wonder we were running out of paper towels. Sonja is a riot, though. She seems to actually like cleaning up the puddles. I don't know why, does she just like to help? I think she is pretty proud of herself that she isn't timid when the dog tries to 'herd" her, like the the other little ones are. She brings Rosie outside, makes her sit, and gives her treats. Sonja is a spunky girl. Rosie, on the other hand....I read that one of the hallmarks of her breed (old English Sheepdog) is drinking like an elephant. Well, of course that has it's consequences. I hope she hurries up and grows out of this piddling. She can go outside, pee, then come in the house and pee again. She just runs around and goes every 5 or ten minutes. She manages to keep the crate dry somehow at night. So there is hope. And, she has never pooped in the house, so that's good.
Blah blah blah, is anyone sick of hearing about the puppy problems yet? Just wanted to write some honest info in case anyone sees the cute little puppy pictures and thinks, HEY, we should get one....

busy from the word GO

But I did have a bit of a break last night - I put Miss RosieWild in her cage around 10pm, and the little ones in around then too. They are on a late schedule, which is great in the morning, but when 9 and 10 roll around at night, and things are still going strong...ugh, I think they need an earlier schedule.

I read the paper every morning, somehow. Sometimes I don't get to it 'til afternoon, but I do get to it. I know the same news can be mostly read online, but I like reading it in the paper. It isn't as topical. I always read the obituaries. This morning, I read on of a 29 year old guy, no cause of death listed. I wondered if it was suicide. Then I read about it, what a horrible and flukey accident : he was part of a volunteer crew cleaning up an old cemetary, and the top section of an old tombstone fell on his head. 29 years old. Life is stranger than fiction, and sometimes so very sad.

I had to laugh at myself yesterday. I took Mali, Kathryn, Jonathan, and Charlotte Claire shopping. It seemed like it would be extremely easy, since Miss Camille was staying home and getting her nice nap with Abigail and Mirielle. Well, the first store was a big boring store, according to Jon. Kohls. We like to go in there and cruise the clearance racks. "We" of course does not include Jon or Charlotte Claire. They have one thing in mind, looking at the toys, which I save for last as an incentive. I came across a pretty pink sparkly purse, $3. I asked Charlotte Claire if she wanted it. Oh, yes mommy! I then told Jon we might find him something little. Short version: he was fine that everything in their toy department was too expensive, but Miss Charlotte Claire decided she MUST have a pretty pink princess chair. She dragged it off the shelf. I took it and put back. She fussed. She threw the little pink purse on a shelf, said she did not want it. She fussed. I simply said fine, don't get the purse, but we are not getting that chair. We finished up, went to the register, and she was still whining, so Mali took her out the van. She was not happy. She decided she DID want that purse. Sorry. No. As much as my soul ached for her, I knew she had to I told the whole thing back to her in story form, like this: "I saw a little girl in that store, and she was getting a purse!...", on and on....

I have told it to her a few times now, and how that little girl got greedy, and ended up without the purse. I don't know, part of me says just leave them home, but part of me says it is good for them to go out with me and learn things like this.

We then went to Target, where she did get a pair of seventycent sunglasses. Then to the grocery store, where they were in a race car cart, got balloons, and were happy and good. The reason I had to laugh at myself: they were pretty awful in Kohls. I can't really blame them. But Kathryn and Mali were off looking at things, so to the casual observer, I just had two small children who were being brats. It would have been just right if I had run into Logan and Madelyn and their mom......

Well, trouble is brewing here: Camille woke up, took off her diaper, Jon and Charlotte Claire are in there....Charlotte Claire just scratched Camille....

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

pictures of puppy and prams

I had nothing to do with getting these all out...but I DID buy them all....they are playing with seven now...
Oops, Charlotte Claire's baby fell over!
Rosie Bloom, looking so innocent. Is this the same pup who pees all over my nice new floor???

rainy cozy weather

but where are my good book, coffee, cookies, and quiet? Okay, I have my Bible here, and I have the coffee.....but we are out of flour, as I sadly discovered yesterday when I decided to make chocolate chip cookies amidst the chaos. And the quiet? Ha. I would have to set my alarm for the middle of the night.

I do like the cloudy rainy weather though. I don't even mind taking Rosie out in the rain. I call her Rosie Bloom when she is being good, and Rosie Wild when she's being crazy. She almost always listens to me, but sometimes she thinks it is a game, and will not come. I am trying to leash-train her also, but she pulls! I know it takes time and patience, the two things I don't have!

So on this rainy day, I have plans. We need flour, puppy chow, diapers, and some other stuff. Mali for some reason wants to go someplace, and wants to be picked up early and go with me. Mirielle has a big headache, but went to college with Abigail anyway....Ab says she has lots of stuff to do, so I may be bringing the three little ones with me today. Which will be fun of course, but occasionally efficency would be nice instead of fun.

Jonathan and Charlotte Claire are playing house again. Jon gives in to her alot to keep the peace. She will fuss for the doll she wants, and the stroller she wants. They have five strollers out right now. Hmm, wonder where they got that from?

Camille is sleeping still, which is so nice I feel guilty. I love her immensly, but she keeps me hopping. I need to do some work around here and plan my shopping strategy, which may fall through, depending what motives Ms. Mali has. I mean, she doesn't just want to come along and help, does she? hmm. I am thinking she wants a few shirts, or headphones or something....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

just saying I am sorry....

I had bad dreams about what I said about the couple at the ice cream place with little Logan and Madelyn. I don't know their struggles. I would rather help them than mock them, truly. I wonder how many many times people have thought things about me when I have been out with my kids. I was thinking about that young couple, with their kids all dressed up spiffy, and thinking that maybe they just don' t have any good role models. I had my mother. She always said, "mean what you say and say what you mean".....(which even that has it's variables....I sometimes speak too quickly, and have to retract what I threatened)...

Anyway, I wish those people all the best, and have thought and thought about this: how in the world could I possibly give them encouragement and perhaps a little pointer about being firm, without them thinking I am a crazy woman? And of course if I did, my kids would start being terrible, and they would think I was not only crazy but a hypocrite....oh well.

Well, the kids are eating breakfast, it is another school day. All the big kids went, which is good, and Mirielle and Abigail went off to college. When these three get on the bus, it will just be the three little ones and I, and the PUPPY! Little Miss Pee-Pee Puddles.

Monday, May 25, 2009

parades and sunshine and happy kids

and puppies! Sounds too good to be true! I am tired out, that's for sure. We went to two parades today, the first one in town, with Margaret and Sam marching in the band. The second one was much larger and Paul stayed home with Camille, who was in her nap, and Joseph, Sam, and Mirielle. And Ben. Mali and Aaron went on a twenty mile bike ride. They map it out with Google maps, take a cell phone, and go. So, I went to the parade with Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, and Charlotte Claire. Abigail met me there with Margaret and some of their friends. There was a lot of candy thrown to the children, and the usual scrambling to grab it. When we got in the van Sonja told me that the big tall girl (who acted like a little child, and was around 15) was reaching for a lollipop, so Sonja got it and gave it to her. Warmed my heart. When they practice what I preach, ooh, it is nice. Then we went and got icecream, which was great fun and so easy without Camille, and without the older kids who don't seem to like dawdling the day away with me as much anymore, and they complain and want to leave.....anyway, when it was time to go home, they started to run ahead. I very calmly asked them to stop and wait for me. Jon was the leader of the group, and he stopped right in his tracks. The other kids did too. I must admit I was totally proud of them. Especially because there was a youngish couple there with two very spoiled kids, the parents told them NO to things, then gave in, and seemed exasperated with them, yet acted like they were the most important kids on know the type, they talk very loudly like everyone is dying to know the kids' names (Logan and Madelyn)....(I wanted to say, "Look lady, if you said he cannot have any Goldfish crackers like 12 times, why in the wicked heck are you letting him have Goldfish crackers? Are you TRYING to ruin him? And you wonder why he is running around the grass, not even looking when you are calling him over...." But I didn't say that. Because I am nice. Or am I? hmmm....) Anyway, I try very hard not to brag too much about my kids, but I am officially bragging. Not that I am so proud, but just happy that some of my hard work is sinking in.....I told Jon that I had a huge smiley face right on my heart when he listened so quickly....

But alas, they are not perfect. When I stopped for gas, before ice cream, there was a big fight in one of the way back seats. Evelyn and Sonja. Something about a lollipop that was already licked, and on someone's arm.....slapping was heard, and horrible murderous screaming. I simply muttered to Kathryn, who had the honor of sitting shotgun, Well, I WAS going to do something special today, but.. and then I got out and pumped the gas. I knew she would tell them to be good or mommy wouldn't take us, and she must have because when I got back in, they were all smiles and promises....

Well, Holly from asked me to mention that she is having a raffle. It is for a very important cause. She has eight beautiful children, and the youngest, who is two years old, has microcephaly. She describes a bit what that is on her blog. She wants to take her family to a microcephaly conference to learn more about it, and for her children to meet other siblings who are going through the same thing. She just made her blog public, and doesn't get much traffic. She seems like a very nice lady, so stop by there and buy a few raffle tickets!

Time to put the pup in her cage, I mean crate, for the night and hit the hay...I have been doing some eighteen hour days here, day after day, and I am spent....(and hey, does anyone have any good ideas to get a playful pup to know you mean it when you want her to come to you, and you don't mean you want her to run around faster than you?)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

sunny days and pictures....

Paul took some kids on walk today, and they brought me back some wonderful weeds, I mean wild flowers..... Joseph

Charlotte Clalire, Kathryn, Jon, Sonja K., Evelyn, and Suzanne holding squirmy Camille

Locks of Love, here comes Kathryn's hair....

Neat, simple, light, carefree...but still wah! to mommy.....

Suzanne and Charlotte Claire

Camille Anaya venturing down the dreaded deck stairs....

Charlotte Claire

We don't always give her a nap, so she fell asleep on Aaron....sweet or what??

And this is the end of my little break....

six kids in the kitchen

And here I sit. Sunday morning...ah. I actually slept until eight o'clock this morning, and when I got up Sonja had already taken Rosie pup outside. She had peed in her cage when she saw the kids getting up, and Sonja cleaned it up without even being asked! Sonja just turned 7 years old. What a sweetie.

So I wish I could say I made the kids a nice breakfast, but nah, today they made me a nice breakfast. They are microwaving sausage patties, toasting waffles, and daddy supervised Kathryn making some eggs. Here I sit, and they brought me some breakfast! Kathryn, Evelyn,
Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, and Charlotte Claire are out there eating. They are as happy as can be, sometimes they really like to do things on their own. And I am laughing because they are calling their waffles with sausage, "Patty sandwiches", and saying that McDonalds should make them...I don't have the heart to tell them that they already do.....I also don't have the heart to tell them that just because Kathryn is cutting up apples for them, it does not make that breakfast healthy. I do not buy sausage very often because it so terrible for us, but I don't feel like telling them that now. It seems rather cruel. Mommy bought that food, but it is terrible for you. Maybe I shouldn't ever buy it.....oh, the guilt.

Now Charlotte Claire just turned three, and she already knows the phrase, "My tomach hurts", when she doesn't want to finish her food.

We don't have church today, as many of our friends are visiting Ottowa to celebrate two 80th birthdays. It seems strange not to be hurrying around here like crazy.

Last night we (Paul, Mirielle,Joseph, Aaron, Mali, Samuel, his friend, Margaret,and I) watched "Valkyrie", a movie about one of the plots to overthrow Hitler during WWII. Disturbing. But it was heartening at the same time, knowing that the whole country wasn't brainwashed with hate. I am sure there were many many more who were just plain afraid not to go along with the propaganda. I just cannot believe that that many people were that stupid.

Oh, this is sweet, the kids are now cleaning up their breakfast. Kathryn is doling out the orders (hmm, she sounds familiar!), but they are actually listening to her. They are cleaning up the kitchen! I keep thinking that I should go out there, but they seem to be doing fine without me.

Our pool is almost comes the daunting task of cleaning it out and patching it. I just hope it works, so we don't have to replace the liner. I wish we could just bulldoze it and get a nice inground pool with a diving board....but even as I think that I see how greedy and unthankful it sounds...and the above ground does seem safer for little children. We have a fence around it, and the ladder is taken off when we are not using it.

Sam and his friend are now in the kitchen foraging. When they are all home, the kitchen is Grand Central station. There are still seven of them sleeping. By the time they eat breakfast, the little ones will be wanting lunch....that is just the way it is here. I have thought, for like 2 seconds, about waking them all up and making them eat at the same time, scheduling lunch, ha. Can you imagine how thrilled the teenagers, who have to get up for school early each morning, would be to get up with the birds on Saturday morning to eat together? ( I have also thought for like 2 seconds of getting them all up a bit early on school mornings to do a few chores before they leave. I do know some families that do that. I think my kids are a bit grumpy and sensitive in the morning, and I do not think it sounds like a fun start to their day. )

The movie, "Cheaper By the Dozen", the newer one, is so ridiculous. I remember after that came out, people would say about our family, "Oh, like that movie!", on school mornings we do not have juice on the table in pitchers. On school mornings, they eat what they individually want, except for the younger ones, I make something for them.

I have been thinking about this blog, I have been writing almost daily, mostly twice or sometimes three times daily for almost 2 years now. What surprises me is that I don't run out of things to say, boring as they may be. I write because I like to write, it puts things in perspective for me. Some blogs are very pretty and attractive, I do not care to spend time prettying mine up. (although I do enjoy reading others that are pretty and creative). I also don't have a sitemeter or feedjit. I have no idea how many people read this. I just want to write what I want to. I also DO want readers to find help and encouragement when they read this, because I am well aware that God has given me much grace in my life - I strongly want to share that, and if I seem to elevate myself, I do apologize. He deserves the credit. It would be pure joy to me if even one person who read this turned to Him in times of trial and got help. I also am very thankful for all the "bloggy friends" I have made in these last few years. I enjoy your blogs too, and totally love the comments. So thanks for bearing with me!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Well, it was zinging there up to ten for a bit today. Three things at once. One of the older kids took a huge load of nice light colored clothes out of the dryer and put it on the couch. I had to hang them all up, and in the process, I started weeding out some long-sleeved shirts, and did some other sorting in the dreaded and previously clean laundry room. Paul was taking a trip to the dump with Samuel and Jonathan, the big kids were all sleeping still, and the little girls were up and about. The three things: tangly hangers. I do believe that tangly hangers are one of the most frustrating things that exist. Then, Camille bit Charlotte Claire, and the puppy peed on the floor. The puppy likes to pee on the floor, I think. Whenever I catch her, I simply say NO, and take her immediately outside to where we want her to go, and say, "Potty!", and of course praise her to the hills when she goes. Sounds simple, right? Well....add in Camille, who also likes to go outside with mommy.....and then there's the puddle of pee left on the floor....last night, Camille and Charlotte Claire took turns not seeing the puddle and slipping in it. So they had to have their clothes changed and get all washed up. I cannot humanly clean up the puddle and take the dog out immediately....and when no one is here to!

So, I really don't mean to complain. Because when the crazy-ah-meter goes wild, there is something magical that can happen to me. I can partake of salvation. I never heard of this when I was growing up....then I heard the gospel. I do not like to preach, but the gospel is good news! Very few people realize the depth of what Jesus did for us. He overcame sin. Sin had no dominion over Him. He then left the holy spirit for us. To speak to us, to lead us. Jesus said, "Follow me!" So, we can! We then can have victory also, over all the sin that dwells in us....all the anger and impatience and jealousy and discontent. The fruits of the spirit are a wonderful replacement for all of those awful things....we just need to pray to God ....He does hear our prayers. And we need to endure, and not give in. This is not a rule-filled restrictive life. It is a life full of goodness and mercy and freedom from all that would bind us. There are always good articles on to help with this. So when life gets crazy, and we get tempted to anger, ect., we instead have opportunities to overcome! Then happiness is present where regret and sorrow is a good fight.

the new baby didn't sleep....

Poor Mirielle. That baby was just as sweet as can be, but as soon as she was laid comfortably down in a nice carriage bassintette that I just happened to have around, she would fuss. Mirielle would pick her up again. Finally at 4am, she decided to just doze holding Jasmine. When I came out here at 6:30 (life changes when you have a little puppy who is holding her pee like a good girl and wants to get out of her cage like mad), Mirielle looked hilarious. I am sorry, but I couldn't help but laugh. I have SO been there done that, and I am sorry again, but you have to live it to know what it is like, and of course I asked Ms. Mirielle: How would you like it if you had to go all day today without a nap, and have a few more nights like this in a row? Now do you sort of know what I have experienced??? No, I couldn't help it. She was like, Mom, I know....and she went back to bed....

Tip-toe. I do not like stomping. I don't like door slamming, cupboard slamming, chair tipping, or loud smacking. (or licking fingers off, or elbows on the table).....running and plopping down on the couch. I think these things fall under the category of disrespect. I try to teach these guys to respect each other, respect me, respect their house and the furniture. Then they are not a burden when they are let loose on society, or perhaps when they visit other homes. I try to teach them not to touch everything in the store, ha, in the toy department they think it is playtime, but I do try. I noticed recently I had several kids over, and they stomped! They slammed doors! ouch. I do love them anyway, I just have to look the other way. It seems though that some parents don't realize that children are capable of learning respect, whatever specific things that seem important to the parents, the kids can learn. So then the kids just are wild and the parents are at the end of their ropes. Now our house is not a "rules-y" house. At least it doesn't seem like it. It is just natural to give guidlines about respesct. I am not so firm on things like bedtimes (the American Idol finale was a good reason to ignore bedtime) There are certain things I mentioned that we just don't tolerate, but the kids have ride-ons in here (but they don't bang into the walls or the cupboards), they have lots of toys, they are free to clear the living room floor and dance....

It's funny because my kids have picked up on my dislike of "sticky" (I always say I am the last person in the world who should have sixteen kids, I HATE sticky, hate crumb-y floors.....)when their hands get sticky or dirty, they come for a wipe or ask to be washed. Even Camille will hold her hands up to me when they are sticky.....although this did not stop Charlotte Claire from painting her arms with her cherry popsicle yesterday.....I told her I realize that must feel nice when it is so warm out (yuck!), but mommy and daddy have enough messes without having to wash her all off, so please just eat it next time....ha.

Boy, that puppy took a back seat fast when that baby got here! Oh my goodness, what sweetness. I guess she was born on April 1st, but was a month early. So really, she would only be 3 weeks old, which was what she seemed like to me. When I got her in my arms, I was like, Okay everyone, you take care of everything else now, just leave us alone.....but Camille was not fond of that sudden plan, and I certainly couldn't have her biting someone else's baby!

I think Rosie is wanting to go out again....

Friday, May 22, 2009

a new baby!

But we can't keep her...we are babysitting. By we I mean Mirielle. She is watching her until seven in the morning. Her name is Jasmine, and her mommy is a nurse and working the twelve hour shift. Benjamin is friends with her uncle, and when he heard they needed someone to watch her, he suggested Mirielle. Mirielle hasn't even met the mommy. She picked Jasmine up at her grampa's house....she asked what the baby's name is, and the grampa yelled to the person on the couch, "What's the baby's name?''...
She is very sweet. I sort of hogged her for a while, hugged her and rocked her and fed her her bottle. Mali has her now. I sure hope she sleeps for Mirielle. She is under two months old, we are not sure exactly.
I sort of secretly hope her mom says we can keep her for some reason. She just feels so right and cuddly.

ooh, long weekend....

Sonja wanted me to take a picture of her playing with Rosie. Mali and I think Rosie is a perfect name for her, but Mirielle thinks it is awful.... the boys are awful about it...
She is growing fast. We have had her for 10 days now. She has adjusted quite well. She goes in her cage at night, and settles right in. She hasn't peed in there in days.

Suzanne Eleanor, Sonja Kathleen, and Evelyn Joy, all ready for school....

Suzanne and Sonja. They are only 14 months apart, best friends. They used to look like twins, but Suze decided to grow like a weed. Or as my dad used to say, like a flower.

Today is my mother's birthday. She would be 72 years old today. But sadly she passed away 3 years ago this July. Charlotte Claire was just a tiny newborn when I went to see my mother on her last birthday. I remember I hadn't gotten her anything yet, but I promised her a nice outing. Which never happened. She had some wonderful lotion from Bath &Body Works that
she got from a friend for her birthday, Cherry Blossoms. She was thrilled with it. I have it now. Yes, I still have it. I can't bear to use it, I can just remember how happy she was with it...and the smell just makes me sad. I don't know if I should still be this sad three years later, but I miss her so much. The kids were just saying yesterday how much Gramma would love this new puppy. And she would love the child Charlotte Claire turned into, and she would love Camille, with all the affection she has to give. I see the lilacs everywhere, which were her favorite, and I still think, "I need to pick some of those for Gramma..." She was just one of those people who loved and cared about everyone. My friends liked her more than they liked me. Seriously, I would be like, "Lets go into my room, and listen to music", and my friends would hem and haw and want to sit in the living room with my mother. Because my mother cared. She listened. She remembered. We used to tease her that she was nosey, but she really did care. She was so hopeful for so many people, she really bore them on her heart and prayed for them and saw the good in them.
Well, a long weekend! Our weather forecast for here in the northeast is pleasant: partly cloudy and mid seventies today, 30% chance of a shower tomorrow, seventies Sunday and Monday. Perfect. Our big pool is almost empty, so we can clean it out and patch it. I need to go buy a patch kit. And a new dog leash. Dollar store...we could use some snacks for the long weekend, too. hmm. I would rather stay home.
Jon and Charlotte Claire were playing house this morning. Jon asked Charlotte if she wanted to be Katie (Katie and Dave, my niece and her husband), or Della.(me)....Charlotte Claire said, "Dewwa"....Then Jon asked me very politely if I could leave them alone so they could play. It looks like they are having so much fun, I want to play too......

Thursday, May 21, 2009

incredibly busy....

I thought supper would be simple tonight....ha. It took over an hour to cut up the fruit and the cucumbers, tomatoes, and sweet onions....Camille woke from her nap grumpy, did not want to get into the highchair, did not want a bib on - so I gave her a popsicle. (and I made her wear a bib) See, Charlotte Claire pooped in her NEW bathing suit right before dinner (and yesterday, I saw her still-nice old one in the garbage, and I pretended I didn't) so, I had to clean her up and clean up the bathing suit (fun!), and she was so mad that she couldn't put it back on.....I told her at first I would throw it away, and she was so I washed it out...(I wasn't really going to throw it out)....anyway, she wanted it back on! It still had to be put through the wash....she could NOT put it back on yet. She did not like that. She had not had a nap, so that added to the fun. She wasn't going to be allowed to come to the table naked, and all she wanted was her suit....she finally got some undies on and joined us. My point is, it was busy. Sometimes when the kids are fussy and bratty it seems like it would be easier to give in and give them their own way, and sometimes I do. But it just makes them brattier in the long run. "Start as you mean to go on", is a good saying. Like for the bib....if I don't make her wear it, that will be it. No more bib, more ruined clothes.

We emptied the hot tub, cleaned it out nicely, Joseph put some spa polish on it, and we refilled it. Paul put the new cover on it tonight, and: it is too small. He is going to try to make it work, since it was custom made, and he was the one who measured....and it took 6 weeks to get here. It is not the regular kind with the foam inserts in vinyl, it is inflatable and domeshaped so the rain and snow don't settle on top. It floats on top of the water, and seems lighter and easier to take off. It is too small, but he is going to try to make it work....why do these things always happen? He doesn't even care for the hot tub, he is just being nice to me.

It is too late at night, but since I can't seem to find any quiet time during the day, I am reluctant to give up my time now. Not that it is too quiet yet, Margaret is skipping school tomorrow because it is spring olympics, and she has a friend here. A very nice girl from a family with 14 kids. Mirielle is also still up, reading her Anne Of Green Gables book. Joseph, Aaron, and Mali just went down to bed.

I was thinking the other day that I would enjoy a nice rainy day home alone with a really good book and some coffee and some cookies. Really good cookies. Dark and rainy, with some wind and thunder, too. Not that I am wishing for that, it just came into my mind and it sounded lovely. Lovely and it ain't gonna happen. I have not read a good book in a while, besides the Bible. I end up staying up all night because I can't read during the day.....

I am has been a long day...

phew, it is warm out...

And of course no one knows where my camera is. I am wondering if Benjamin Paul borrowed it to take pictures of under the hood of his car - he is attempting to put the engine from his smashed up car into another pontiac that is the same, only not smashed up. Yes, these two vehicles have a cozy home in our driveway. He might have been taking pictures, to help remember how things my humble opinion, he is crazy. He should have someone who knows what they're doing help him, but it comes down to $.....

So, that is why I have not taken pictures of the kids in the front yard playing in their pools. One of the pools has an inflatable roof thing on top, which keeps them shaded. It was nice for Camille....not that we have been in the front yard much today, no, we went shopping. I had a great idea this morning. Not a responsible-real life - adult idea, but a great idea nonetheless. Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja could skip school and go to Target with me!!! (Sonja and Jon got giftcards for their birthdays, and Sonja wanted a new bathing suit, and they are on sale this week), I got them all ready for school, and asked them if they wanted to go. Of course, since they are not responsible adults either, they agreed that it sounded like fun! So after getting Jon and Charlotte Claire and Camille ready, and the pup fed and pooped and peed and caged, off we went. I left a note for Mirielle and Abigail to take her out when they got home from college.

We got in the van, and I realized it had been over three hours since my bagel. I knew I would start getting shaky in the store, and we decided to go to McDonalds for 6 one dollar chicken sandwiches. And two orders of fries. I only had two fries. Well, maybe three or four. But no more than four.....anyway, as soon as we got into the store, they had to go PEE!!! I did what any responsible adult would do, I waited outside the door with Camille and Charlotte Claire and sent them all seems more logical than bringing the little ones in to collect germs and play with the hand dryer.

Then, Jon magnanimously let me look at the clearance clothes before we got to the main reason for shopping, the toys. He learned to recognize the "50% off" and "75% off" signs. I have noticed that if I talk to them and include them in what I am doing, they don't get bored as quickly, and they are much better behaved.

On to the toys. Oh man, what did I get myself into? Suzanne has birthday money. Evelyn has no money, but can she please get a Barbie too, and pay me back when her birthday comes in August? Charlotte Claire was walking, and she just kept picking things up and showing me...and the two with the gift cards were overwhelmed with options....and of course I am such a cheapie, I don't buy toys at regular price. I found myself discouraging their suggestions....I mean, $15 for one Barbie? Crazy. Jon settled on a Fisher-Price bubble mower, which is just his thing. Sonja got some sort of Barbie, and the other two didn't get anything. Suzanne didn't want to get something I wasn't thrilled about, so she was pouting and feeling sorry for the time we got into Price-Chopper, she was regressing to how she used to act in stores, falling on the floor, and moping. I do not allow hands or butts on store floors, so she had to get up an walk. When we got cookies at the bakery (they give them free to the kids), she just kept her head inside her shirt....I just ignored her and took the cookie and Jon ate it. The kids solved it themselves by pushing her in a cart. She was much better, especially when she found some good stuff in there to buy with her birthday money. I told them that when they get their hopes up about getting something, they are just opening themselves up to spirits of greed....then they are so unreasonable when they can't have somesthing. I can see them struggle with wanting to please me, and wanting to have their way.

They got their helium balloons, then we got in line....ooh, fun, six kids and lots of groceries. I didn't mean to buy so much. Jon's balloon went up to heaven, but he wasn't too sad. Home we went....brought in the stuff, took care of pup, put on their suits, and went outside. I brought them out their lunch, and most of them are still out there. Camille is sleeping though. I needed a break from the sun. I have lots of fruit to cut up for dinner. Mali did the dishwasher, and Kathryn cleaned up the livingroom for me. I still have a lot to do, though. And here I sit.

Kathryn found my camera. Sorry, Ben!

Dinner tonight: fresh rolls (24 for $2.99), olive loaf and sliced turkey. Tossed salad, and fruit, if I ever get my lazy self out of this chair and go in and cut it up....I have a cantaloupe, a honeydew, strawberries, and grapes. I think it is good all together.

The older kids are going to the youth meeting tonight, so it is good to have an easy dinner. If there is such a thing with all of us. I notice the kids are eating bananas. It is almost time for dinner. Great. Now I will hear, "I am just not hungry, mom!!!' And gosh, when you read all the articles about eating disorders and such, you can't just MAKE them eat. So you let them go, and then hear all evening about how starving they are. And you feel so mean if you don't let them have something. Okay, have a banana...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

warm weather....

Camille wanted to play dollies she started grabbing...
Charlotte Claire goes into her own little world with her babies...Camille doesn't quite fit in to that world yet...
We took puppy to the vet this afternoon, and now she has a name. The name she had all along - which I dismissed without even thinking, after all, we wanted to name our own puppy...when I gave her papers to the vet today, I saw again her original name, Rosie. It seems to suit her. Mali was with me, and we agreed it is a good name, easier to call a pup than Wellington. Of course some people at home didn't like it, but like my mother used to say, "You can please some of the people some of the time..."
I asked Mali if she thought the people at the vet tell each person that they have such a beautiful pet, or if our puppy is really like the cutest puppy in the world. (I always wondered that about my babies, too...) The vet has a sheepdog, and insists that ours is purebred. She also gave us an idea of what to expect: a big dog, not the smartest dog on the block, but not crazy either. Calm, but playful....she weighs 12 pounds something, and she looks healthy. I am not thrilled about the vet bills, but what can you do? She has to go back in a month, and then again in a month, then spayed by six months. $$$! She had better not get hit by a car...that is what happened after we got one of our cats spayed...ouch.
Well, I need to sign off....
American Idol is over for the year. I let my school kids stay up and watch it...they got all ready for bed during the commercials, and got tucked in after the final results...they will be tired tomorrow, but it was kind of fun to watch with them and speculate. I couldn't care who won, really, but it was a fun thing to do together.
I think Rosie needs to go out again before she goes into her cage (I mean crate) for the night....wah. I do not feel like it....oh well...

sunny skies

Remember the Sesame Street song? "Sunny day, everything's A-okay.." That is how it is for me today. I have already been up and down those deck steps three times. We have the pump going to empty the big swimming pool, so we can patch the leaks or replace the liner. I have washed out the little pool and started filling it up, as is going to be 84 degrees and sunny today. I got the little girls dressed and helped them bring their cereal outside to the picnic table this morning. That way Wellington could run and romp and we could all be together.

I have to take Wellington to the vet this afternoon for those expensive puppy shots. But we love her, and want to take good care of her. I have been telling the kids that I love them Waaaaay more than I love the puppy, but right now the pup takes a lot of time. I tell them if I spend a lot of time training her, she will grow up to be a nice dog and keep us safe.

I have spent the majority of the day outside today. Toasted peanut butter and grape jam sandwiches, apple slices, milk for breakfast, (Camille threw her entire bowl of Apple Jacks on the floor, so it was her breakfast) leftover sloppy joes and cold lemonade for a snack of water and cheez-its out in the shade. The kids have two pools filled out there, and it kept them busy. At one point I heard a lady yell, "If you spray her with the hose one more time, Mr., I will hold you down and spray YOU!" It sounded just like my mother. Oops, it was me.

Spending the day outside is lots of fun, easy to take care of Wellington out there, too. She just hangs around, takes lots of naps, and gets right into the pool for drinks, which makes the kids just screech with delight. She is the sweetest little pup, I just can't wait for her to stop peeing in the house. I found out that Benjamin takes her outside when he gets home from work at like 1pm each night. She has kept her cage (I mean crate) dry for two days now. So pretty soon she'll stop peeing. Today at lunch, she was wandering around like she wanted to go out, so Jon was going to bring her out....I thought maybe if he was willing to do that, it might work...but he was too slow, and she peed on the tile right inside the door....rats. Then Charlotte Claire yelled: I peed too!! Oh joy, two puddles to clean up. I am thankful for paper towels. I wasn't yet finished cleaning the messes when Charlotte Claire emerged from the bathroom wrapped in a towel.....I could see the bubbles all over her legs...she said, "I washed myself up, mom!" Now how did I lose track of her when I was cleaning up that pee?

Fast forward to this afternoon: I got Camille tucked into bed, Jon and Charlotte Claire were outside playing, Mirielle and Abigail were lying in the sun.....I decided to sit down here in my comfy chair, put my feet up, and write....well, in come Miss C.Claire, and oh joy she pooped in her bathingsuit. Now, a pair of under wear I can throw away, but a cute little blue checked bathing suit with yellow bows? I mean, she has a little sister to pass it down to. So, I cleaned her all up, gave her a huge suit to wear, which she hasn't stopped complaining about, and sat back down. Somewhere out there is a poopy bathingsuit waiting for the nice frugal mom to wash out.

I try to eke out these little times during the day to sit and put my feet doesn't really work, but I am a slow learner, and I just keep trying.....

Well, I need to go wash my long tangly hair and get ready to go to the vet. I always say that it doesn't matter if my clothes are new and fashionable, which they are not, but when going out and about: be clean and neat. Hair and clothes. I can't go mail a letter without brushing my teeth. What kind of neurosis am I passing on to my poor children....? Today, my niece pulled a chair over to the microwave and pulled out her mom's hot water, not only ruining my sis-in-law's potential cup of coffee, but getting second degree burns on her chest and her arm. (I felt mighty guilty because we were talking on the phone at the time, and we all know kids do more bad things when their moms are on the phone)....anyway, she had to go immediately to the doctor, she will be okay, but lots of pain....and I was thinking, "I wonder what Kim had on....I wonder if her hair was clean...." because that would be what I would be thinking. Once, and I am truly ashamed of this now, Sam got whacked in the eyebrow with a baseball.....I waited until Paul got home because my hair was dirty. (to be fair, he WAS due to be home any minute).....anyway, it wasn't too bad an injury, just a butterfly bandage. Anyanyanyway, I am sad for my little niece, she will be okay, but it is hot out and burns hurt....

Mali is giving Wellington a bath so she can also be clean for our trip to the vet. I just hope she keeps her pee and worse to herself on the cartrip....

Rats, dinner!! It must be had whether I am at the vet or not.....I better go foraging....rummaging....digging through the freezer....I wish I had a huge supply of dinners...just add water or something....or maybe I should stop wishing and start planning. hmm.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

joyful day....

for no particular reason. Just nice and mild and sunny. My friend and sister-in-law, Kim, came to visit me today. She was my friend first, then she met my brother, and she married him so we would always be friends. Anyways, she came over today with Wellington's brother, Oreo, and they played and tumbled and growled and wrestled. She also brought her 3 year old, Charlotte Claire's best friend, and her almost 2 year old, who played very nicely with Camille - only a few pinches and pushes, but they really like each other.

We sat in the sun, we jumped up and chased kids and puppies, we had coffee, we jumped up and chased kids....

I went for a teeny little walk this afternoon, since my nap attempt failed. Miss Camille decided to fuss like crazy and not take a nap today. Rats. I really wanted just a short reprieve. I realized I have been putting in some really long days, yesterday I was up for 18 hours. That is too long without a little rest. So, I put her in one of my nice carriages and took her for a little walk when the girls got off the bus.

We are having sloppy joes and broccoli and carrots for dinner tonight. A few of my kids don't like it, the little girls. They want to know why I make food they don't like. Well girls, this isn't the Holilday Inn. They are asking for cereal for dinner. I said no. I am mean. If I let them have cereal, it will spread like wildfire. But I certainly won't starve them. They can always have some bread and butter, maybe peanut butter. Or a banana.....oh, to be merciful, yet firm. One thing though, I have to remember to let my "no" be "no".....or I'll have a bunch of begging naggers - they catch on quickly if mommy is a mind-changer....

Mali on one computer, Suzanne is playing keyboard, Mirielle, Margaret, and Abigail are sitting around talking, Charlotte Claire and Camille are playing with baby dolls, Jon is outside with puppy....Kathryn is having her hair cut and sent in to Locks of Love. It is long, and hard to take care of. It will feel so light and easy for her to begin the hot weather of summer with.


a fresh new morning

I have many many things to be thankful for today. I am thankful for my husband for quite a few reasons. Here are some of them:

1. On Sunday, he rearranged the pantry/closet. At the time I was slightly annoyed because that's how I am, I don't like people just doing things without my input.....but now I am very glad, because now I can look in there and see exactly what we have, the pasta is all together, the cereal together, ect.

2. He had the 8 younger ones here last night while I went to the concert. He fed them pancakes, gave showers, and had the school kids tucked into bed when I got home.

3. He took the puppy out for me this morning before he left for work.

4. He was reluctant to get a puppy because of the time and work and effort, but he let me get one. He has not even once said, "I told you so!"....and believe me, he WAS right.

5. He loves the puppy!

6. He stayed up last night and tried to fix the dvd player so Mirielle and Abigail could watch a movie. He took it apart and found THREE lost dvds. He couldn't get it to work, but he did try.

7. He let me get the hot tub, even though he doesn't really care for it. He ordered me a new cover, which comes today.

8. He is patient and kind and gentle because he is faithful to God.

9. He has a sense of humor that I "get"...

10. He is giving. He doesn't care for things for himself, but he gives to our children, and to our church. He gives his time, his effort, and his money.

And of course I am thankful that he loves me. Sometimes when I see so glaringly what I can be like around here, I don't like myself very much, so he gets a lot of credit for that. I am glad we never hold anything against each other, and work to have it good together. I can honestly say that I love him more and more and more.

Well, the puppy is waking up. She needs to go out when she wakes up. Her name, Wellington, is now being rejected by the kid who wanted it in the first place, Joseph. He says it doesn't work. They all call her Binamon, which is a way to say Bittermin from a dumb tv show. They all call her that. I hate it, but what can I do?

Monday, May 18, 2009

daddy made pancakes for dinner

But first, here is Ms. Wellington, walking around the backyard today.I went to the high school chorus concert tonight, and Paul stayed home and held down the fort. It was a bit crazy here because Mirielle was gone babysitting, Abigail was at a meeting, Joseph, Aaron, and Sam went to a boys gathering, and Mali was in the concert. So Paul was here with the younger ones. Pancakes and fruit for dinner....and when I came home, Camille and Charlotte Claire were playing with playdough in the livingroom. Wellington was trying to eat some.

Oh, what fun.

Camille also had marker all over her....daddy is fun!

This is random. Evelyn holding Camille, Margaret with peanutbutter, Jon....

Tired puppy.

The concert was good, but there was a little girl there, about 3 years old, who seemed to be tired of the singing. Her mom was not tired of the singing. The mom seemed to be doing something to the girl to make the girl say loudly, several times, "that hurts me, that hurts me..." The mom finally left at the end, dragging the girl by the arm. Of course I had tears. I cannot bear it. It was like in that movie, "The Sixth Sense", when the boy said, "I see dead people"....I could just suddenly see the the suffering of children everywhere. How can God bear it? We see just the tip of the iceberg.
Well, enough of those thoughts for now, I am tired and Wellington is not tired. She wants to get out of her cage and go out to the bathroom....

guilt is my best friend

here are the things I feel guilty about....

1. The puppy has been sleeping on the floor while I am here on the computer. She got up and stretched and walked around, and I think she might have peed, but I don't feel like checking....she is sleeping again.

2. The school called and I let the phone ring and ring. I mean, how do you tell the school nurse that you kept all the kids home because it is a HALF-DAY?

3. There was a six-pack of glazed donuts in the van from Friday's shopping trip. I brought them in last night. I was alone for a long time this morning with my coffee and my computer. There are only four left. And how many kids here?

4. Just the fact that I LOVE the quiet so much!

5. I gave the little kids' birthday money to Aaron yesterday for his day trip to the Adirondacks.

6. The cats need their rabies shots again. Who wouldn't want to procrastinate taking two 2-year old cats to the vet?

7. I am glad the kids are finally waking up so they can help take the pup outside.

8. I threw away a small dolly from puppy's cage (I mean crate) because it had pee on it, and I didn't feel like washing it.

I feel guilty when I hurry them to bed, and when I hand them a pair of undies that are a tad bit too small because I don't feel like going and getting different ones. I feel guilty when I forget to study their spelling words with them, and they come home with a 60%. I feel guilty when I scrape their plates, but guiltier when I eat it instead.

Well, the "f" key on my computer is broken, and the kids are all up, and I am taking another break, and I should be working. I feel too guilty to just sit here....

wellington it is!

Back and forth we go with puppy names....the kids call her Bitterman, I hate it. I called her Elliot, they hated that. Mali wanted something Japanese, Tashi or something, I said she is an ENGLISH sheepdog. I mentioned Wellington, as in boots, and they said that was a great name. It is a mouthful, but Welly isn't too bad. I just call her Pup anyway.... The kids had their tea party is Suzanne's cookie arrangement.

When the party was over, this guest got a prize: the little sugar bowl, still full of sugar....(I was NOT the one who gave it to her, but far be it from me to TAKE it from her...she looks sweet, but if I were to make a grab for that sugar, she would growl and bite....wait, I am getting her mixed up with Wellington)
Suzanne loves salad, so she made some all by herself for their party. Daddy found a huge bag of peanut M&M's in the pantry closet. (I KNEW they were in there)
Most of my kids have the day off from school. Not officially. It is a half-day. On half-days, the bus is so crowded, and I think it is a waste of time to get them all up and dressed for just a few hours of school. So, here I sit in the quiet while they sleep and sleep.
Not that I have been sitting for long. I have been up for a hour and a half, taking care of Wellington. She needs to go outside first thing, of course, and then run around a bit out there. Then she had to eat, and go out again. She played for a while then out again. Up and down those deck steps...but it is good for me. The last time we went out, I leashed her, and she did not like it.
We ran out of eggs yesterday. We were dangerously low on diapers. I do still have a bag of cloth diapers from years ago, deep in the closet, but.....anyway, we needed milk too. So, at 8:00, Abigail and I pulled out in the mini-van with Sonja, Jon, Charlotte Claire, and Camille, and went to the grocery store. I got a seedless watermelon ($3.99), some strawberries, and a cantaloupe. I plan to cut it all up and put in an container in the 'fridge. I bought carrots, bread, eggs, milk, cereal, frozen veggies (89cents a pound, and we eat 3 pounds with a meal now), applesauce, toilet paper (we should grow our own, at the rate we go through this, with all the girls here)....I bought some cherry Twizzlers for the ride home. So, at bedtime, I took the kids shopping. It was a very quick trip, and the store is only 20 minutes or less from here. They were big helpers, and went to bed nicely when we got home. We got home to a puddle of puppy pee in the kitchen....oops. So, pee, kids to put to bed, groceries to put away....then it was bedtime. The days go too fast. I am immensly enjoying this quiet time right now. It is delicious.
Aaron, that little rascal, went up to the Adirondacks yesterday and climbed Bald Mountain. Some friends from New Mexico are visiting, they are Dutch, and one of the older boys wanted to see the mountains. So they went. He got home at 11:00 last night, and still got up and went to school today. He is a good, responsible boy. He and Joseph were the only ones who went today.
Mirielle and Abigail made a mistake. They thought their summer classes started today, and discovered they start on Wednesday. What a nice mistake! My two big girls around for two days! It isn't just the help, they are lots of fun, too.
Mirielle and Aaron have tried very hard to get jobs, and have had no calls. It is obviously a tough market right now, but if these places knew what good, honest hard workers they are...I wish I could call them all myself and tell them.....
My new hottub cover is coming tomorrow. We have not been able to use it, because the old cover got ruined. It wasn't properly strapped on, and the winds would blow it half off....then we would put rocks on top to keep it on...and then it got some rips in it...then it got it sags into the tub....the top is filled with rainwater. The water in the tub needs to be emptied, the tub cleaned out, and refilled. I cannot do that until we get the new cover, which we will restrain properly this time, not with rocks. It isn't entirely our fault, the hot tub cover straps were missing when we got it home. I called the company and was on hold for like an I never called back. Our swimming pool is very sick, too. It sprung a leak last year, and we decided to wait until spring to fix it. Well, now it is spring....we have to drain it and see if we can fix the tear. Hopefully we don't have to replace the whole liner. I want to put the hose in and start draining it, but after Saturday's rain, I am wondering if the ground can bear rained so much that the mud from the fields ran into the road and all over our yard. In the front of the yard, there are old corn stalks and mud all over. The fields are not even directly across, there is a house with a yard and trees, it washed right through there, across the road. The road is covered with a few inches of dirt and mud.
Anyways, blah blah blah....I wish I had something interesting to say, like hey, "We are going to the Caribean," or "I am expecting twins!", but not today.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

way too early in the morning....

When you stay up late on a Saturday night, you do not like waking up at seven o'clock. But if your 3 year old gets out of her crib and starts opening and closing your door, which might wake up your 18 month old, you get up in a hurry.

Puppy needed to go out anyway. I put Princess Charlotte back to bed with a clean diaper and some more milk, and outside I went. The early morning quiet IS sweet, but ugh, I am still hungry for sleep. Just a little more.

Yesterday: the soccer tournament. Our team didn't win any games, or score any goals, either. Poor kids. But they did have fun, and get soaked. We had a huge rainstorm come through here, torrential downpour. It hit here at home quite badly. The road in front of our house is covered in mud that washed down from the fields, and our yard is too. And soggy.

All of the kids stayed up way too late again last night, so we are not going out to watch today's games. Just a few of the older kids are taking the 4 kids who are playing. Bad mommy award, but mommy is just tired out too. And when you have younger kids and older kids, that is just how it goes.....besides, the poor puppy was so good in her cage, I mean crate yesterday. Benjamin had her out a bit, then Mirielle and a few of the girls came home for dry clothes and let her out...but she was crazy with excitement when we came home last night.....I was tired, the kids were tired, and she was ready for some playtime!! And she was also having to pee every 5 minutes. I was tempted to put newspaper on the deck, so I could just open the door and let her out, but that would sabotage my efforts of bringing her right to the sidewoods all these days. I went down those stupid stairs so many times last night...ugh. When she finally got tired out, I was pretty relieved. Sometimes I ask myself what I am thinking, training a puppy right now.....but I want a nice family dog, and this is the way to do, yes, I guess I am crazy.

Friday, May 15, 2009

what a night!!

Wednesday was busy. Very busy. Cooking, cleaning, taking care of a puppy that we had just gotten the day before. And having 35-40 people over for a cookout. So, Thursday, I sort of chilled a bit. As much as one can "chill" with all these kids and a housebreaking puppy. Anyway, while my dear friend Angela and I were shopping in Kmart, my daughter Abigail called me...Brother Olstad, from Norway, is visiting our church for a week, is coming for dinner. And all the youth are coming over after for fellowship. 30 or so. Okay. As long as you guys will clean up, and she promised they would. Fast forward a few hours. I was in the grocery store, after a quick trip through Target (as you know, there is no such thing as a quick trip through Target for me - I go through like a rat in a maze, stopping at all the clearance spots)anyway, I was in the grocery store and company was supposed to be arriving at my house....Angela and I are dawdlers. She is worse than me, and that is bad. We had way too much fun together, and we stopped to talk about everything under the sun when we were supposed to be picking out yogurt.....anyway, I got home at the exact time the company was supposed to arrive. Thankfully they were late, and I had time to wash my face and brush my teeth and put away the groceries. My wonderful kids had the dinner all made, the house all clean, and the table all set. I guess I can move out, they can run the place without me. ha. But they did. And they had the nerve to tell me it was easier without me here, because I stress too much. Ouch. Truth hurts.

It pays to eat dinner together at the table every night as a family. It is very very important, and that is one piece of advice I would give to each family everywhere: eat together with no tv, or computer, or texting going on. It is fun, encouraging, crazy, and the kids learn excellent manners along the way. Then, when company comes, they don't need the pep talk to behave and say please and thank you.

After dinner, which was barbecued chicken on the grill, grilled coneys, mashed potatoes, fresh steamed broccoli with cheese sauce, and brownies with ice cream for dessert, all the youth kids started piling in the door. The thing about our youthgroup that is so special: they don't just learn the gospel, they do it. They are so sincere about seeking purity in their lives, it is a joy to be with them. We had a nice evening, songs and fellowship, and our younger kids were along in it and enjoyed it immensely. When Evelyn was tucked in tonight, she prayed that she would not think her parents were the wrong parents for her, but just right! She was listening. There was a good warm spirit here.

The kids are going to be tired tomorrow for the spring soccer tournament, but it was so worth it to let them stay up late and enjoy being with all the youth kids.

I had better head to bed soon too, because Elliott/Binnamon will be up early. When we leave, we have to put her in her cage, I mean crate, and Benjamin will take her out when he gets up and take care of her for a while before he goes to work. A cage, I mean crate, is a great help in housebreaking puppy.

What I am thinking about tonight: just think to have your name written in the book of life. As soon as we seek to do His will, He becomes very interested in us. We all have the same flesh, the same temptations, though our circumstances differ greatly. And we all have the opportunity to be freed from our sin, by standing firm in those temptations. We are not debtors to the flesh. And I will stop preaching now, but if life seems hard or difficult, you can blame it on whatever you like, but the problem lies within. The way we take things is the key. We can either blame, or we can acknowledge. And when we do the latter, God will bless us. He wants us to see how we are, so He can work with us. He gives grace to the humble. And now I will stop preaching , this time for real....

I have a date today....

with my dear friend Angela. She has eight children, and her husband is a two year cancer survivor, esophogeal cancer. He is still not 100%, (feeding tube at night), and Ang has some horrible knees, so they make quite a pair with their eight kids, aged 15 and down....they deal with their trials with faith and humor, and are both delightful to be with. This morning we will be going shopping, and then out to lunch. With NO CHILDREN. Now I love my kids. And she loves hers. To pieces. But ahhh. Some conversation about anything we want without interuption...ahh.

At the risk of over-talking (is that a word, no, probably not) about my puppy, who is still un-named (the kids are calling her Binnamon, so I guess I am defeated....that is a stupid name), anyway, Ms. Binnamon is doing quite well. She adjusted to her cage, I mean crate, already. It is right here in the living room. We put her in last night around 11pm, and I did not hear her whine until people started getting up at 7am. Paul, who didn't really want another dog, took her out to potty this morning. What a guy. It is no secret that he is totally smitten with this pup, how could he not be? She is a sweetie. She did pee in her cage, I mean crate, but no poop in there or anywhere in the house that is good. She likes to play, and does bite and nip, which we are really working with. She just seems so promising, like she wants to please us....I am trying to eke out the time to train her properly, so that she is gentle with the kids and a good listener. I am working on getting her to come when I call her. Ha. This morning I sat on the floor with her food before I fed her, and called her over and gave her a piece everytime she came to me, along with plenty of praise. But I had kids to get ready for school....

I know, I know, puppy puppy puppy.

Today is Sonja's day to stay home. I promised them when we got a puppy they would get a day to stay home with her. Sonja is only 7, but she can carry that pup out to potty, and watch her play outside.

Mirielle is done with college for the term, but starts a new term on Monday. Abigail is DONE at her state school, with the long commute, she finished yesterday. Now she just needs one term of classes to get some credit hours, and she is DONE for good. Her and Mirielle will be commuting together, they planned their schedules and have the exact same hours. So, today is Abigail's only vacation day. Benjamin....oh, he is a long story. He dropped his classes. He is thinking of joining the Navy. It may be good for him, but it breaks my heart to think of him being gone so much, and when he comes back, he will be different. I know he needs to do something, and maybe get away from some friends here.

I am supposed to leave soon to go with Angela, yay! This weekend is a huge weekend for us. It is the soccer tournament in our church. Each of the fellowships has a team, and we have games all day tomorrow, and a few on Sunday. This year, I have Mali, Sam, Margaret, and Kathryn playing, as it is up to age 16. Our church also does the grill and snack bar for lunch, and we will be doing a fundraiser dinner for all 700 people in attendance. It is a lot of work, but it is always good for fellowship.

Yeah, I could write more, but I am boring myself now.....

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I took a nap.....what a waste of time...but I had a headache. Today has been so low-key compared to yesterday. I brought Jack's things back to their house. I hope that helps him to settle down. I ran down the deck steps only 2 or 3 times with a puppy that started to or already went pee on the floor.....Sam stayed home today, says he hasn't missed a day in a while, so he took her down a few times, and Evelyn took her a few times...

Now it is supper time, again. The daily dilemma. Today, however, I have at least a start, lots and lots of hamburgers leftover from yesterday. The bonus is that we have buns, too. And dill pickles. I just need to make up some veggies, and we are all set.

The skies have cleared up, the kids are outside with the puppy. Her name is Elliot but it hasn't really stuck. They call her all different things.

With this new addition to the house, the crazy-o-meter has hit "10" a few times a day. A score of ten means at least THREE things that require immediate attention are happening at the same time. Things that require immediate attention are things like the following:

1. The puppy squats.

2. The puppy waddles away and there is a puddle.

3. Camille takes off her diaper with poop in it.

4. Charlotte Claire takes off her diaper with poop in it.

5. Camille climbs up onto the table and gets the cute little lambie sugar bowl, and sits there licking her thumb and sticking it back in....(what makes this require immediate action is the very good possibility of her throwing the cute little lambie)

6. Camille gets the little pink chair and drags sink, counter, table....many possiblilities.

7. Camille gets into the bathroom.

8. A broken glass...

9. A spill on the kitchen tile, as it is very slippery.

10. The phone ringing doesn't really qualify, but it does add to the fun when I hear someone like Sonja or Jon answering it....

11. Fights between Kathryn and Evelyn, Evelyn and Suzanne, Suzanne and Kathryn, Sonja and Kathryn, Evelyn and Sonja, Margaret and Sonja, Mali and Margaret, Mali and Kathryn, Kathryn and Evelyn, Sam and get the idea. If it escalates to loud screaming, it requires immediate attention.

12. A loud thump followed by loud screaming. Generally this is Camille, but the other kids fall, too.

13. Company pulls into the drive-way, as this calls for frantic clean-up action on my part, and me screeching orders to the kids, QUICK PICK THIS PLACE UP!!!

Now, whenever I have to grab Ms. Elliot, or Mrs. Bags as Abigail calls her, and take her out to the side woods to potty, Camille cries broken-heartedly. Does she think I have time to put her shoes on and take her too?

But thankfully, that crazy-0-meter usually only hovers around 3, and once in a while I sit down and relax and notice that the needle is on zero!!! Ooh, that is sweet....

such a sweet special puppy...

It is no secret that I do love animals. Even if it is a little yippy yappy annoying dog, I will love it if I am around it long enough....but this new puppy: oh, so sweet. She has not pooped in our home yet, and we have had her since Tuesday. Not bad. We put her in the cage (I mean CRATE) last night, and she protested for ten minutes or so, then she went to sleep....a few hours later I heard her fussing for a while, then nothing else for the rest of the night, unless I just slept through it....the important thing is that the KIDS slept through it....we can't have a puppy waking them up....anyway, at 7:10, she wanted out!!! She had peed a few times in there, but no poop! I brought her outside, and she went! Evelyn cleaned out her cage, and cut her a clean square of an old comforter....(I want to make sure the blanket she sleeps on is clean, fresh, and pee-free, so she doesn't get used to sleeping in pee)....I just there was a magic pill to get her not to pee in my house. Good thing we got rid of the carpet.....

She seems to be a really fast learner, though, and very smart. I am trying to encourage her to come to me when I call, with lots of pets and encouragement when she does, and to sit down...oh, it is fun. But so busy! I am thinking though, if I can get through these next few weeks....if anyone has any housebreaking suggestions, I am all ears....

Enough about puppies. Jon got a battery operated bubble gun....he was out on the deck on this rainy windy chilly morning in just his undies, blowing bubbles, since mean mommy says they make the floor too sticky. He is now playing his Police Car game with Evelyn.....Evelyn who got to skip school today because mommy thinks getting a new puppy qualifies for a day off. Plus, she helps me tremendously by taking her outside. Oops, so much for enough about puppies.

I told Joseph I would take him for his learner's permit after school today. He turns 18 on Saturday......I remember his birth so clearly (don't tell my kids, but some of their births are kind of a blur, or the details are mixed up) but Joseph, he was born right on his due date. It was hot hot hot that week, unseasonably hot, and humid too. We lived in a mobile home that heated up like an oven.....I had four small children, Emily was 6, Abigail 4, Benjamin 2, and Mirielle was 15 months old....Emily went off to kindergarten, and my sister Cheryl and I decided to go to the mall with my three little ones, and her Susan, Claire, and Janet....and Irene, and 18 year old friend who was helping me. It was my due date. Off we went. To make a long story short (as if I am capable of that), we turned around on the way to the mall, because I had contractions 5 minutes apart. We went to the hospital, Cheryl and I, and Irene, and six of our children....they decided to keep me, as my contractions were regular, strong, and I was 4+, Cheryl and Irene took the kids home....that was 12noon. He was born at almost midnight. At one point, around 5pm, the dr. asked me if I wanted - A: go home and come back when things picked up, or B: break my water....I chose B, because it was 95 degrees at home....anyway, Joseph was my fifth child, and almost the easiest....he was born so effortlessly, or so it seems now...and: he was so beautiful. He was long and slim and he always was stretched out, no cuddling up for him....his feet always stuck out of that recieving blanket, no matter how many times I re-wrapped him. It is hard to remember the babies of my youth, because the memories are so woven with memories of my mother, the proud grandmother and fellow baby-holic. She was there.....she knew and loved those babies. She delighted in each new grandchild like that baby was the most wonderful one ever born.

Anyway, Joseph is a fine boy. He is honest and good and kind, and he is my creative child. I sometime worry because he cares nothing for school, it is boring, he probably will graduate this year....then, I don't know....all he does is play that guitar. And draw, and play video games. But he does have alot of talent, and he is a good God-fearing boy, so as long as he keeps seeking things above, God will take care of him...

Things have to be done around here, and this is getting long and boring....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

birthdays and is good.

Mali has a new baby.....she does look like a stuffed animal...
Camille has grown out of this toy a bit, so Elliot has dibs on it....that is what I THINK her name is ....the kids can't agree, and I gave the pup to Charlotte Claire for her birthday, and she named her....

Mali gave her a bath tonight...

She likes the frisbee....
Chew. That should be her name, Chewy!! She DOES look like Chewbacca!
We had a pretty big birthday party here this afternoon evening. I picked 9 kids up from school, 3 of mine, and 6 friends.....they played, they ate, we had burgers and hotdogs, sausage, macaroni salad, fruit, baked beans, chips, and of course cake. Mirielle made two sheet cakes yesterday, and I made some buttercream frosting today...and spent a ridiculous amount of time decorating them...they were pretty, and pretty good. And now are mostly gone. My brother, my sister, my sister-in-law, and several of my nieces and one nephew came over, in addition to the little friends. I don't know if they came to see me, or the puppy.
Jon was thrilled with all his gifts...he said, "Aunt Kim must know I stay up 'til midnight everynight in case the power goes out, that's why she got me a flashlight..." he got a few dollars, some trucks, a bubblemaking gun, a Police Chase board game, and some snacks....
I always feel sorry for the non-birthday kids when it is present opening time...I did have some gift bags with a few candies for the little ones to take home...
And, after I drove some children home, I finally sat down, but Ms. Puppy was still wide awake and full of energy, and so were Camille and Charlotte Claire....and Jon was just so into his presents....we finally got the kids in bed....and I checked my email: Jack was finally caught!!! I am so glad.....the previous owner, Jeff said that after spending lots of time and $ on spotlights, binoculars, and people to help him, he spotted him in an old dog bed he had planted.....what Jeff did was go lie right down on the ground, and Jack came to him and licked his face. He got hold of him, brought him home, and said he was quite stinky and wild. To make a long story short, Jeff feels better to keep Jack at least until he calms down, and I told him I honestly did not want him back, because I would always worry he would run again. I think he will understand. Jeff is a very kind and Godfearing anyway, Jack's things will be returned in the morning, and Jack will stay with Jeff. I am glad now that we said yes to this new puppy....although I have wished otherwise several times....puppy housebreaking is awful. Worse than potty-training a child.....our house has a front door with seven stairs down, or the deck door with a whole flight of stairs...I have run down those stairs with her so many times in the last few days...everytime she squats, I say, NO, and take her outside to the edge of the yard, and tell her "Potty!" is time-consuming, and doesn't seem to be working yet, although she has not pooped in her yet. Last night we locked her in the downstairs bathroom for the night, and she peed on the newspaper we laid down, and did not poop until I brought her outside....I am thinking of putting some newspapers down near the door, and bringing her there, but then I will just have to train her out of that sometime down the road.....
Today, I sent Mirielle to Walmart with my credit card for puppy chow and a new crate, which is a humane way to say: cage. It is a huge cage. She is in there right now, whining her cute little butt off, and I am ignoring her. I just hope she doesn't get too loud, the kids are sleeping down the hall with their door least she is confined, and cannot chew up the furniture and poop anywhere...
Well, I need some sleep....I had a horrid headache last night, that only diminished slightly after three ibuprofen and an Excedrin. Not all at the same time....but it kept me away for hours....and today was as busy as they come......although I did sit in the sun while the kids played in the dreaded dirty sandbox, and the puppy frolicked around the yard....all work and no play make mom a dull girl...