summer 2011

summer 2011

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I did not stay home today!!

I was all set to stay home. I had gone out for so many days in a row I lost count. I was GOING to STAY HOME. I got all the clothes put away from the couch, started a few loads of laundry, and was really in a good groove. Then the dr. office called.....Mali has been having some awful pain under her ribs, and has had lots of tests done...her bloodwork was fine, the e.k.g. was fine, and today he wanted her to have a chest x-ray just to rule things, out we went. We brought Evelyn, Sonja, and Charlotte Claire. The x-ray came out fine...and Mali was sort of upset. She has been having this pain, and now there is no explanation. I, on the other hand, was relieved that nothing awful showed up.

We then took a quick stop into the grocery store, one that has lots of good fruits and veges. Cherries, plums, nectarines....I like buying them when they are in season and affordable....I also got two apple pies, on sale, and Wegman's bakery apple pies are wonderful.....and some vanilla ice cream. Before I left, I told the girls they could invite people over for dinner if they wanted, so there are four friends here tonight. We had 18 for dinner, which is our normal...but with the three boys gone, and Ben at work....anyway, we had steak, marinated in Chicago Grill, cooked on our deck grill, baked potatoes, romaine salad with cucumbers and black olives, rolls, and then the pie and ice cream. And some cherries. Wow. It was so good.

So I was thinking today about things, how when we started having kids, and how our first eight kids were four boys and four girls. I was thirty years old when my eighth was born. My oldest was ten and a half. Then, we had 5 girls in a row. Then Jonathan, Charlotte, and Camille. Why was I thinking of that? I have a friend who has 6 boys and two girls. Her boys are, to put it nicely, very rambunctious. Bordering on destructive, very active. She commented to me that I don't understand, because I have mostly girls....okay. Then I thought, "Wait a minute!"....hmm. I used to have equal amounts. And having Joseph and Aaron 18 months apart with Benjamin only 2 and a half years older than Joseph, yes, I do know a little about boys. I also had 5 brothers. They had a lot of energy, too. But they were taught respect. Respect for the furniture, for others' things, and for my parents. We were taught, growing up, things like "Don't touch!" in stores, and "take the one you touch", and "don't take the last one!" Being a boy is a poor excuse for not behaving. No, my kids are not perfect. Absolutely positively not. Ha. Right now they are going pretty wild. But they are NOT jumping on my couch!

My two girls, Mirielle and Mali, are leaving on Thursday. They are going to Norway, where they will stay with their brothers and see Emily, then they are going to France. They will spend time with friends, and visit Paris. No fair. I told them they could bring me back a pram from France or Norway....just push it around with their stuff in it, then bring it to me. But they don't think I need one. They are probably right.

Kids are tired, so I must sign off...

Monday, June 29, 2009

they're over the ocean....

I took some nice pictures but am having trouble putting them up. was hard to get up so early this morning. I lost my trusty old Timex yesterday, so when I woke up I had no idea what time it was. It was too early, that's what time it was. Anyway, we got them there on time. We even had time to stop for some coffee and a few breakfast biscuits on the way. The airlines have lifted some of their regulations, apparently, as we were able to go through security and go with them to wait to board the plane. Mirielle had to give up some nice perfume and lotion, but the nice gentlemen at the security kiosk offfered to hold it for her. We all had to take off our shoes, which Jon did not understand. He sure liked seeing the planes, though. And yes, I did cry when I said goodbye to Joseph. It was terribly sad. Especially because he turned around and looked at me and waved right as he stepped out to board....I know it wasn't sad for him, but he understood how sad it was for me....

After we sent them on their way, we went shopping, of course. Mirielle, Jonathan, and I. Target to find Mirielle a new purse. Too expensive, only 30% off. After checking out the clearance racks and finding a few nice things, we went to the grocery store. Lots of groceries, and we were on our way home. Finally! I have been gone day after day after day......and I was home. But Mali reminded me she had a dr. appointment. We had to leave in an hour. Rats. I begged the kids to put away the groceries so I could sit and put my feet up for a bit...then we were off....After the appointment, we went to Blockbuster and got a stack of movies...(the shelf rentals, as opposed to the new releases, are 99cents, and Monday through Wednesday they are rent one get one free. Oh, the boring details.

I cannot concentrate tonight, as the movie, "Confessions of a Shopoholic" is on.....not as good as the book, but distracting nonetheless. And no boys here to protest!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

bye-bye to my boys...

Three of my boys are leaving bright and early in the morning for a trip to Norway. Joseph, 18, Aaron, 16, and Samuel, almost 14.....Joseph is probably staying for a year. Wah. He is out with Paul looking at laptops......not too last-minute....

And I am sitting here peacefully, while it pours and pours outside. It is dark and rainy and cozy and I love it. Especially after the busyness of the last few days and weeks. Yesterday's party...then today we went to the meeting, then afterward had a cookout and a swim in the pools....(Jon was so funny- he has this swim floatie suit that used to be like a one piece suit, but i cut the bottom part off so it would fit him for longer...and a piece of the foam fell out. I told Jon to try it out and see if he still floated...he said, "Well, I am drowning a little...")then home late in the afternoon....Camille is still napping, we should get her up soon...Charlotte Claire fell asleep on the couch....the little kids are watching "Ratatouille".....and the spaghetti sauce is simmering on the stove. Rosie the wet dog has more energy than all of us put together. She wants to play and run and we want to sit and rest.

The boys have to be at the airport by 8:30am, of course. So that means mommy has to get up extra early and bring them. It is less than an hour away, so it won't be too bad. I should get to bed early tonight. ha.

Tonight we are having the last dinner with Joseph here for a whole year. wah. I am glad he is going, glad for the opportunity, but man, I am going to miss him. One would think with so many kids it wouldn't matter so much if one goes off, after all, there are plenty left. But no, it is not like that at all. They are all my kids, I love each and every one of them. Individually.

So we are having spaghetti for dinner tonight. I would like to have had steaks or something, but who wants to cook on the grill in the rain? Not Mirielle, especially since she is out running. As long as there is no thunder or lightening, she is off.....

Well, I have things to do, and a Camille to wake up....which is not one of my favorite things, waking up a 19 month old. She will not appreciate it. But if I let her sleep too much longer, I am going to be up pretty late tonight with her...and I am already tired. I could doze right now, despite the coffee I just drank.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

nice party day....

It was a sunny, breezy and warm day for a graduation party. The cakes didn't look the greatest, as I was so distracted and tired while frosting them, but they tasted yummy. There was only one piece left when I brought the pans home....guess who ate it?

Here is Grace, my sister Cheryl's grand-daughter. Isn't she so sweet? She is spending the night tonight with Suzanne, Sonja, and Jonathan.
Margaret Cheryl....what she is doing, I do not know.

Here is my sister's son-in-law and her grandson, with Benjamin, and a friend.

Sonja and Suzanne

Aaron and Mali....they get along pretty well. They are only 15 months apart.

And here is Joseph with Rosie pup.
It was a nice day...and I am tired...

day out with the boys...

I had to take Joseph to open a bank account. Samuel came along with us. Abigail and Mirielle, Aaron and Mali stayed home with everyone else. We went to the AAA office to get a few debit cards, the bank, out to lunch, then Target and lastly, Wegmans, or the usuals. Milk and bread and fruit and veggies....and some Warheads for Joseph and Sam. (very hot or sour candy, yuck. Sam wants to give some to his Norwegian friends)...

Going out to lunch with Joseph and Sam was so much fun. Did you ever have such a good time that you didn't want it to end? Also, knowing they are leaving and I probably won't see Joseph for a year....ouch. My boys are so funny. Samuel told me more about military tactics than I cared to hear, they quoted movie lines from "HotRod" and "Napolean Dynamite"....our last stop of the day was Dunkin'Donuts, 'cause Joe had a gift card he wanted to check the balance on, I had one too. He had $1.92, I had $1.84. Good thing I had some one dollar bills too. My boys are good boys. They are thoughtful and kind, and funny and nerdy and content. They tease and make suggestions, but they don't ask or nag for things. Samuel suggested they starve themselves on their trip and use the money for a PS3.

So Abigail was having a friend over last night, so she did a lot of cleaning yesterday, yay! When we got home, Joseph cooked burgers on the grill, I cut up a watermelon, and we had a nice dinner. Or should I say they had a nice dinner while I made the cakes for the graduation party today. I just couldn't bring myself to pay all that money for cakes when I can make them so easily. Easily, ha. I always think that BEFORE I make them....during the ordeal, I think I am crazy, and when I am done, I think I AM NEVER DOING THIS AGAIN! But now that they are made and frosted and decorated, I am glad I did it. I made three cakes, 1/2 sheet size. Not perfect, but with yummy buttercream frosting....I made one chocolate, one marble, and one yellow. I used cake mix this time, I just didn't feel like doing scratch. I was tired....I didn't get to sit and put my feet up 'til like 10:30 last night.

So, today is the party at my brother's house for his son, and my Joseph. I have to make some baked beans, and various other details, like bringing a grill over.....some of my kids aren't even going to the party. Mirielle is taking her Friday night activity club group on a special outing. Kathryn and Evelyn are in her group, with 4 other little girls their age. They are meeting up with some friends from Canada with their activity club group. They are going to either a waterfalls to swim in, or an indoor pool....and then to the church conference center to have a camp fire and spend the night. How could I say no to that?

Well, time's a wastin'......

Thursday, June 25, 2009

staying home today, ha!

I did think I was staying home today. I really wanted to. I got up before seven this morning, even though the kids didn't have school, to take care of the puppy. And the day went on. Charlotte Claire dumped her bowl of cereal accidentally all over the bench and floor. oops. She is one busy three year old - today she peed on the deck again. She is copying Rosie.

Anyway, I ended up going out and about. Here is how it started: My brother Bob called me. He is having a graduation party at his house on Saturday for his son Peter, and our Joseph. I am making the cakes, and the baked beans, and had some things to I had to go out. Joseph, who is leaving for a year, needed 4 sets of guitar strings and some extra pics. Aaron needed chapstick, boxers, sandals. Mali needed socks and sandals. I went to six stores with Aaron and Mali. Aaron got some jeans for $12 (ouch!), and Mali some for $4.....they begged me for Chinese food, so I settled on KFC, they each got a $1.49 toasted wrap. Then Mali told me that when she went places with me, she always got fast food, and she didn't want to eat it anymore. That is easy to say after you bugged me to take you someplace, isn't it?

We got home to a dinner prep in progress. The salt potatoes were made, and the chicken breast was marinating. Joseph cooked them on the grill, while Abigail and I made a tossed salad. The older kids, along with their cousin Luke and friend Nate, who were still here from the beach, had to get out the door for the youth meeting, so we got out some rolls, and Paul made them chicken sandwiches to go. Then we had a relatively relaxing dinner with the seven youngest. The kitchen is mostly cleaned up.

Tomorrow, I thought, tomorrow I will stay home. See, stuff does get done when I am gone. But the thoroughness is lacking. The counters need a really good cleaning off, the clothes couch is growing bigger than life. Apparently everytime they clean up, they put more clothes on there. So the floors have been swept and cleaned up, and things get picked up...but I need to stay home a day and get a bit more done....(maybe tomorrow I'll do a chore list and have someone clean windows, someone do the bathroom, vacuum the stairs and hall, mop the kitchen, straighten the shoes, neaten the bookcase....hmm) Anyway, it looks like I am going somewhere tomorrow after all. My three boys, Joseph, Aaron, and Samuel, are leaving on a jet plane...on Monday morning, bright and early. Hey, wait a minute! When does MY vacation start? ha. Anyway, I have to go and get a debit card for the boys to use in Norway. I have to go 45 minutes one way. Rats. I want to stay home.

Sometimes it seems like I am just not in control at all, just carried along by the current. So many needs to meet, with one or the other needing sneakers or shoes or sandals or headphones or earbuds (when those became a NEED is beyond me) or a jacket......or dr. appt.'s ....and we need milk and bread, and we are out of salsa again. Do we NEED salsa? Apparently we do. Anyway, I am thankful that we generally are able to get what we need, but I buy things only if they are cheap.

I cannot concentrate tonight, as Miss Charlotte Claire is still up and Paul and I have to talk about stuff....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

night in court, picking strawberries, and the beach!

Last night, I had to go to court with Benjamin. He had two unpaid traffic tickets, so his license was suspended. Did he stop driving until they were paid? Ha. He then got pulled over for failure to signal. Apparently, his friend said to turn, so he turned. A cop saw. He got a ticket, and another one for driving without a license. Great. Short version, he took care of the tickets, and had to go to court last night for the new ones. He was lucky enough to meet with the D.A., and got the tickets reduced to no points on his license, and a very minimal fine. But court was interesting. There are a lot of people out there possessing marijuana, endangering the welfare of children, committing criminal mischief, and of course speeding and other traffic related infractions. The judge seemed lenient on the traffic things, but the drug possessions, watch out. Jail time, no probation from him. I would think these people would consider dressing up a bit for court, or at least taking off their baseball caps for court, but nah. Anyways, I decided to take a picture of the kids yesterday....Mali was in the shower, Mirielle was running, and Camille was napping. But here are the rest of them that were home. Suzanne was upset about something...Samuel was trying to pull her back, Aaron was holding Charlotte Claire, Joseph was next to him, then Evelyn, Sonja, Kathryn, and Margaret, with Jon on his bike.... We did go strawberry picking yesterday, too....Mirielle was taking some of the kids, but too many wanted to go, and she can't drive the 15 passenger van yet, so I had to go. Camille didn't quite get the concept of not stepping on the plants, so her and I walked around a bit, then sat in the van....meanwhile, Joseph and Sam threw berries at each other. I was pretty mad at them. I raised them to be respectful....but they insisted the berries they threw were rotten ones.....hmm. Today was beach day. We had to take two vehicles, because apparently I told Joseph he could take some friends. I have complete amnesia on that one....So, we took 14 of our kids and three others. And me. We went to Lake Ontario, the eastern shore. It is as magnificent as the ocean, only without the crabs, saltwater, or jelly fish. The water was freezing today, but it didn't stop most of them from swimming and even going underwater. Not me, I just went in to my knees. Evelyn, Sonja, Jon, and Suzanne....

Kathryn,11, Jon,5, and Evelyn 9....

Camille, my baby, 19 months....(last year at the beach she was just a little nursing different this year was!)

Sonja Kathleen, 7 years old

Joseph Michael,18, surveying the food table. We had to keep the food covered so the seagulls didn't devour the background are Luke, Nate, (cousin and friend), and Samuel....

Margaret Cheryl, my little 12 year old.....

Mali Rose, my 15 year old...

Mirielle, burying Sonja K.

Aaron, my 16 year old...

Charlotte Claire and Camille took a nap in the shade....they actually slept. I guess the beach does that to you....

I don't have a picture of Abigail...I have a policy of not taking pictures of the older girls in their bathing suits unless I just get like a head shot...and I didn't get one of her today.

Here is one of me with the seven youngest....

Suzanne Eleanor, 8....

Charlotte Claire, 3
So we didn't stay until sunset tonight. We packed up and left around 6:30. I was getting tired, and the ride home is an hour and a half, so I didn't want to drive in the dark....we probably could have stayed, but it just seemed wise to get going before they fell apart. Uh-oh, I hope that doesn't mean I am growing up.....anyway, we stopped at McDonalds on the way home. Two things each from the dollar menu times some extra fries to share, so they didn't have to pick fries for one of their things...and we ordered icewaters....then I was nice and let all the big boys pick three things each....we had forgotten the bag of going-home clothes, so the little girls were all still in their bathing suits. We ate in the van, which was kind of easier, but I just cleaned and vacuumed it yesterday....I cannot wait to see how messy it got. Wait, yes I can. Wow, I think I am getting old. Rats.
So today when the little girls were napping, Abigail took Jon and the other girls for a little walk down the beach, and I actually was able to lay down on the blanket, and doze. I certainly cannot remember the last time I was able to do that. I had a few of the boys and Margaret watching the little girls while they, it was relaxing. And it was so much fun.
On the way home I started thinking about how it is when we get home from the beach....sandy tired kids, coolers to unpack, towels and suits to wash. Suze came in and threw up in a cool-whip bowl....must've been all the sun, then McDonalds food and a long van ride...yuck. And the sunburns: oops. I am very burnt. The kids aren't as bad, I did apply and re-apply the 45 sunscreen on them....thankfully Margaret noticed I was burning, and put some on me....Tomorrow is supposed to be 90 degrees.....we have no airconditioning, and our pool is still broken, and we are all sunburned....Aloe and popsicles, I guess....and the hose.
Thank you so much for the comments about the tricky subject of "being done"....I find it very interesting how others have it in that area, so thank you for sharing!!! If anyone else has anything to add, I would welcome it. Thank you again!!!!!

Charlotte Claire getting ready for the trip home...and no wonder we never have any bandaids!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

last day of school!!!

I took the little kids in the hot tub last night, and told them when they get home today I would sing the "No More Pencils, No More Books..." song with them when they get home today....I get as excited as they do, no wonder they didn't want to go to sleep last night. I have this idealistic idea that summer is an empty slate. Never mind that I still have to do the shopping, and those pesky appointments....

This morning Rosie rolled in her poop. I will kindly spare the details, but a somewhat busy morning got temporarily crazy as I had to bathe the stinky girl asap. I had to soap her up several times before she smelled yummy again. And of course on the way to the tub, she took a quick detour over to the couch to jump up and greet Sonja, so the couch cover has to be washed today. And I still have to go bleach the tub. I mean, we can't bathe a puppy out under the cold hose, can we?

Camille, not having a baby sibling, is maturing so quickly as she copies the older ones. Last night when we were in the hot tub, I was thinking how all the little ones were with me, and I didn't have to hurry or worry about if the baby was crying......when for years and years there is ALWAYS a baby, when there isn't one, it is strange. I have had babies who were 5 months old when the toddlers were Camille's age, or at least I was due to have another by now. I knew it had to end some day, but it is still strange. I feel like after juggling 3 balls all these years, I now only have two. I know I will get used to it, but I have the baby fever! Or as Cassie-Ann so sweetly puts it, I'm getting "clucky"....It just all brings me back to the question, WHY do I love babies so much? Why do I think nothing of the pain and suffering, just the blessing? Is it because God has put it on my heart to recieve the children from Him? I cannot for the life of me fathom having one or two or three, heck even 6 or seven, and just say, I AM DONE. I have never felt done. Honestly though, it is nice to have things a bit more leisurely, but I would trade it in a second for a new baby. Why is that? I would really welcome comments on isn't something I can go up to women in the grocery store and ask....and don't get me wrong, I have absolutely no judgement on anyone who has felt "done" , I am just curious.....I do believe that God has the babies for me all decided in heaven, if He called me before the foundations of the world, He certainly had the children all chosen, too. So I do leave it to Him. But I do peacefully and restfully yearn for just one more...or maybe two....hey, twins!

I have a stinky diaper to change, and some breakfast to make....but I am a happy mom this morning. I am so looking forward to spending more time with the kids. The receptionist at the pediatrician's office yesterday said something like, "Only one day left of vacation for you, huh?" I am sure she was just joking, but this seems to be the general attitude in the world. And yes, I do like to get them in bed at night....but to spend leisurely time with them, to get to know them more, to talk to them, give them attention, do things sounds heavenly to me. I am more of a spontaneous person than a planner, so I love to have the opportunity to just drop everything and go off on an adventure. Maybe I am too irresponsible to be a mother, I don't know, but I still feel like one of the kids in the summertime. And not because I have alot of energy, just because I like to have fun. I need to seriously disipline myself to get the basic things done around here first......'

Monday, June 22, 2009

it is not quiet in here...

and if it seems like my life is one big quest for quiet, I am sorry. It really isn't. It is just that after being up for 12 or 13 or 14 hours, it just sounds more and more delicious to have some quiet. The have been tucked in, but the four of them in that one room are bouncing off the walls. Camille is in our room in her little green bed, all nicely sleeping, and Charlotte Claire is in her crib in her own room, all nicely sleeping. Rosie, however, is jumping around like crazy. Joseph just put her outside. Jonathan, previously tucked in, is now back out here complaining that his toothbrush disapeared and doesn't want to go to bed without brushing his teeth. Never mind that there are like thirty toothbrushes in that bathroom, none is his. Some of the older kids are still up watching a movie.....

Today we got some things accomplished. Renewed my license, got Joseph's pictures for his visa application, took Kathryn to the dr. for her swimmer's ear, got her prescription filled, got Chinese takeout for Joseph, Aaron, Mali, Kathryn, and I....went to the dreaded Walmart, again, and got some things Jospeh will need if he stays for a year in Norway. Ibuprofen, new socks, bandaids.....and of course the inevitable things like bananas and puppychow. And milk and bagels.

We came home and had coneys and watermelon for dinner, then some of the older kids went to soccer, and I took the younger ones in the hot tub. It calmed them down a bit, but when they got their second wind, wow. I should have gotten them into bed right after we got out. They are just crazy tonight. I think it is the excitement of school getting out. Tomorrow is the last day. Ooh, and we have plans!! First day of vacation: beach! At least 15 of us will be going. Benjamin might go with us, that will make 16. If only Paul could get the day off....

Miss Rosie has to go outside....

running around day.....

I have these blissful ideas about summer. Relaxation, sunshine, happy kids. I am not thinking sunburn and tantrums. I am thinking about heading to the beach on Wednesday, the very first official day of vacation for the elementary kids, with the other kids already finished. I am not thinking about the big messy gas-guzzling van with no air-conditioning. Or the sand. I like sand at the beach, but only at the beach.

Today is a running around day. I need to call the dr. for Kathryn, she has an ear-ache, probably swimmer's ear, though not from our swimming pool, which is sitting there with only a foot of green water in it...we need to order a new liner....which we were going to do last night, where does the time go? Anyways, I have to renew my driver's license, yay, I love giving that $50 to New York State. And Joseph has to get pictures done to apply for a vista stay in Norway for a year. Wah. And we are almost out of puppy chow, and the nice Hartz dog shampoo that makes Rosie smell so delicious from the Dollar General. Some un-named little girl had a bubble party with it. Joseph also needs more stuff if he is going for a year, like a gallon of Frank's Hot sauce. Seriously. And we need some peanutbutter to bring for Emily. Apparently Norwegians don't survive on peanutbutter like we do. They think it is for children, and it isn't very good there. And expensive, like everything else over there. I am being very nice to Emily though, just in case she decides to bring me back a European pram, even if it is just a dolly pram. I told her when I was pregnant that she could name the baby if she brought me one. Now I just need to get pregnant again......anyway, today will be one of those days....but I hope I get everything done so I can stay home tomorrow.

Idealistic. Yes, that is me. I am thinking about going to the beach...I always say we are going to get up and leave! Ha. We never pull out of the driveway before eleven o'clock. But this time we will! Oh, I wish Emily Anne was here to go with us. She is one fun big sister. But she is in a good place, being a help and encouragement, gathering the English-speaking ones for gatherings that I have heard are wonderful.

Benjamin Paul is trying to join the Navy. He has to get some things finished up first, but he will be signing up soon. Joseph may be staying in Norway for a year. Mirielle may have some things she is doing, involving going to another country, (she hates when I tell her plans), and wah. Paul asked me how it is for me, having them grow up and leave. Wah. It truly kills me. I miss them! It hurts! They are my friends! Oh, when people see me with the younger ones, they say, WAIT 'TIL THEY'RE TEENAGERS!!!....and I think, You have no idea! I have 3 over teen age, and 5 teenagers, and they are delightful! Not totally trial-free, of course, but wonderful and funny and young and hopeful and pure and interesting and funny and adventurous. I would never tell them not to up and leave, no, it is good for them to pursue their goals, to travel, to go off. But OUCH!

My little Camille is learning to talk! She is speaking in sentances. She told Mirielle last night that she wanted a gink! A gink of water! She took off her diaper and peed on the toilet yesterday, too. She is only 19 months old, but she copies Charlotte Claire.

So, the party was nice yesterday. We were there for hours, and the food was out, heated on sterno, for the whole time. Meatballs, pulled pork, sandwich meat and cheese, salt potatoes, baked beans, pasta salad, homemade macaroni and cheese, fresh cut fruit, chips, candy, cake, soda, beer. Very good. Anyway, by the time we got to the van to leave, I was already hearing it. The inevitable, "I'm hungry" they had Capn'n Crunch cereal at 8:00 last night.

Well, the little girls are off to school, Jon, Charlotte Claire, and Camille are up, and I need to move it.....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

father's day!

I just remembered it is Father's Day. Oops. I DID get Paul a few things, a pathetic few things. A bag of black licorice that was marked down in Target, and a pepper grinder. With peppercorns in it. I kept meaning to get him something else, but....he is sleeping right now, so any good mom would be tidying up and making the coffee. Our unspoken agreement through the years is that the first one up makes the pot of coffee. So I am hoping that I write quickly to get it out of my system, and get the coffee made, and perhaps a pan of nice scrambled eggs, with sausage or bacon....I DO have good intentions....but it is so nice to sit here in the relative quiet. Sonja is on the computer (she got up and took the puppy out this morning!), Suze is playing with Camille, and the rest are sleeping.

Today we are going to a graduation party for my niece, Liz, who just turned 18 (Happy Birthday, Liz!) .....she is the fifth child of 12 of my brother Tom and sis-in-law, Kim. She graduated with my Joseph, also the fifth child, and my brother Bob's eighth child out of 10, Peter. Tom and Kim throw very nice parties, and it is good to go and see my siblings. It will also be very sad, in a way, because my brother Billy lived have a party without him. The kids really like to go and see all their cousins, drink soda, and run around. There are 48 cousins, my parents' grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren, with three more on the way. As always with these things, I sorely miss my mother and father. My mother loved to see all the kids. My dad liked to buy all the soda for the parties, and lots of other stuff too. He didn't like to stay very long though. He always wanted to go home long before my mom was ready to say goodbye....anyway, it should be a nice day to go and bless Liz, and have a very nice time seeing everyone.

I forgot all about going and starting the coffee and some breakfast. oops.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

relaxing? ha!

We made candy today....when Camille was in bed. Jonathan liked the trains. Suzanne took this sweet picture of Camille...

Daddy brought home ringpops. I wonder if Jon notices that he is the only boy in the group when the older kids are gone....

Well, I cannot call today relaxing. No. But I can say it was fun. Fun in that "I-have-fun-watching-the-kids-have-fun" sort of way. We melted different colored chocolate wafers, painted the molds, and made candies and lollipops. I have recognized that I am somewhat of a control freak. I want everything done just so. I enjoy doing things like making pretty, summery-looking lollipops. So when Charlotte Claire wants to help - agh! I had to remind myself that it DOES NOT matter if the candy was sloppy, it was fun for the kids. And they really did have fun, they thanked me over and over again.....we cleaned up a bit, and went out into the hot tub in the rain. Now THAT was fun. We went around and each had to sing a song about rain. Jon made one up, which was pretty good.....about a little boy who couldn't ride his bike in the rain....then we went inside, got dressed and started on the pizza. I let Kathryn, Sonja, and Jon each spread out a pizza dough. (I had to confiscate Jonny's, it's one thing to have ugly candy, but pizza with holes in it, nah...)
Charlotte Claire did not pee in her undies today, not once. But she did poop in the toilet and attempt to wipe herself, which was not pretty, to say the least. Rosie did pee in here a few times today....Camille did take her clothes and diaper off a few times. Suze whacked Jon. They ran up and down the hall and around the living room over and over again. Suze got mad about something and sat out in a chair on the deck in the rain and pouted.
It is quiet in here now, finally after eleven o'clock. But I am too tired to enjoy it. I have been up for 15 hours and 45 minutes. I need to take a shower and go to bed, because, hopefully, tomorrow is another day.....

early morning....can I take a nap yet?

7:30 on a Saturday morning is nothing to complain about, but I will anyways. I would much rather sleep until 8:30, maybe nine. But hey, when you have a puppy who stays in her cage like a good little girl from 10:30 at night without peeing, pooping, or need to get your lazy self out of bed and bring that poor puppy outside. She is so totally overwhelmed with excitement when she sees me each morning, she can't help starting to pee in her cage....I get her outside as quickly as I can, and she, I took her out again about a half hour later. I just went out on the deck, told her to go and go potty, and she went down the steps, over to the side woods (hint: do not walk over there), and did her business. She then bounded right back up the steps. I was hoping this would happen, so I don't have to go up and down all those stairs so many times a day. Anyway, I made french toast and sausage for the kids this morning. It was relatively easy, because there are only seven of them home. Not counting Ben, who does not get up this early. The older kids are out at a youth conference for the weekend. They are going to have so much fun. One of their friends from Missouri is up, and it was her birthday the other day...they have a present for her, and a beautiful birthday cake.... This morning, pretty little Camille was sitting on my lap, when she did a little toot. She laughed, and said, "I bart!".....great.

This little girl doesn't get bottles anymore. Officially, anyway. It certainly looks like she's hiding with Camille's ba-ba. Oh, what a wonderful day!!! It is cloudy and chilly with a 90% chance of rain. Kathryn is cranking up the hot tub. We went in it last night while the kids were at activity club, just Paul and I and Charlotte Claire and Camille. The water was not overly hot, but it was still nice. Charlotte Claire is a little fish, swimming around and going underwater. It is just a pool for her.
Paul has to leave for the afternoon. I think we'll just stay here and relax. Relax. Ha. Well, it could happen. Just because Charlotte Claire peed in her undies three times yesterday, doesn't mean it will happen again today. Just because she spilled a cup of diet grape soda all over the counter, doesn't mean it will happen again today. Rosie might not pee in here, or chew up any shoes or nip Camille. Camille might not sneak into the girls' room and get the ink-pad and stamper off the high shelf. Charlotte Claire might not spill an entire bowl of cereal. The girls might not get into any fights, they might not yell or stomp their pretty little feet. Camille might not put puppy chow into puppy water. Or drink from puppy water. The washing machine might spin the clothes on the first try, and we might not run out of clean towels. Evelyn might not step in dog poop, and Suze might not get stuck up in the tree in the front yard. Camille might not take off her own diaper after she poops, and she might not slip in a pile of previously undetected puppy pee. She also might not get the pepper from the counter, or drag a chair over to the sink. She might not play in the powder. She might not get the box of Kix out of the cupboard, upside down. So it could happen. Today could be relaxing.

Friday, June 19, 2009

only 3 days left of school

And it feels like Christmas, because I thought there were FOUR days left! But their last day is next Tuesday, not Wednesday! Yay! Abigail is all done with college, except finishing up her online classes, yay! Joseph is done with high school, Aaron has an exam today, Mali has one today, almost done...Mirielle is going strawberry picking today. She will probably take Aaron and Joseph, and of course Jonathan.... Here is Ms. Rosie with Sonja K. They are both getting big!

This is one of Margaret's was taken at our church. It looks like a nice game of beach volleyball.

We sort of live out in the country. Sam and Margaret went on a bike ride, and this is their idea of fun. Sam with the cows.

Margaret with cows.

Here are some of Evelyn's disaster brownies. I do not know the whole story, but I was not home at the time. Apparently, she is celebrating her birthday in school today, since it is in they have a birthday party for summer birthday kids. She thought she could just make some brownies. Well, she made two pans, and somehow the math was wrong...they SMELL good, and that's about it. The consistency is like baked pudding. I hate to say it, but one pan IS gone already.....but she didn't bring them to school. I gave her some Chips Ahoy cookies and some candy to take instead.

This shirt is funny enough, but when it is on the pudgy princess, it is ridiculous.

Jonathan and Charlotte Claire were excited about their new swimsuits from Aldi. $4.99.

Rosie goes to the vet. Mali says she is a good puppy in the van. She is pretty relaxed. Rosie, not Mali.

I don't know what we're teaching him, but he LOVES to start the vehicles. If vehicles have only been around for a hundred something years, how come it seems like some little boys were born with an instinctive obsession with them?

This picture makes me sad. She really thought she was going to Darien Lake with us on Saturday. She was all ready. Swim suit and buckle shoes with no socks. Right. Anyway, we took the car seats out for her and Camille so Abigail and Mirielle could take them to the playground in the minivan. She was so bummed when she realized she really wasn't getting in the big van with us. I almost caved and took her....but I knew she wouldn't really enjoy it....and the way she never naps anymore and gets so tired and fussy in the early wouldn't be so nice for the other kids if we had to leave because Charlotte Claire was tired...but still, I felt SO bad....

Yes, I did stay up and finish my book last night. Only until about 1:00. And I slept until 6:30. Not too terribly bad. I like reading a book all in one chunk. It was basically a brainless read, but enjoyable. The main character bought 5 prams for her baby, and was going to have a pram room in her new house....does this author know me or something?
Today my big brother is coming for a visit. We are having Joseph's graduation party at his house with his son Peter. We have to do some planning. He throws the best parties. He has 10 kids of his own, and welcomes kids at his parties. He has cans of soda, which they love. My niece Liz is also graduating this year, her party is on Sunday. Her parents, my brother and sis-in-law, have 12 kids and also throw a very nice party. It will be fun. One of my nephews has a band and will be playing....
So my son Benjamin is trying to join the Navy. Wah. We are trying to tie up some loose ends first, like transcripts and credits. When he went to a communtity college, he stayed in the dorms. Short version: after a year and a half, he decided to transfer to a closer college and commute because dorms were expensive, and there was so much partying going on he couldn't study. He mistakenly told the college 3 days after the deadline that he wouldn't be in his dorm room for that semester. He did not register for classes that semester at that school, he did at the closer school. The rule is you have to register for classes to be in the dorms. Nonetheless, since he was three days late, they charged him for the dorm room. Even though they rented it out to another kid from the massive waiting list. They are with-holding his credits. He needs those credits now. It will mean a higher rank after boot camp. I battled with the college, begged and pleaded, but got no where. Now we have to open it up again. Do they realize how many potential students they are losing by being such stinkers to us? Anyway, all these things take time and patience....the two very things I lack!
on and on I go....I need to get Camille....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

grocery shopping.....

rainy rainy weather....I could just dive into bed with a good book...but no, there is Rosie to take out to potty, laundry, kids....which I love taking care of, really. I had to take Mali to school for a test, and I stopped at the library. I got a few books, one is "Shopaholic and Baby" by Sophie Kinsella. A light and fluffy book, quite entertaining. Especially because it takes place in England, home of the nice prams, notably Silver Cross...and since the main character is pregnant, she starts noticing prams....Why in the heck don't we have prams here in the U.S. of A? Anyway, I am halfway through it, somehow.

Mirielle and I went shopping with just Charlotte Claire this afternoon. Target and Price-Chopper. Oh, and a stop at the Dunkin'Donuts for a coffee for me, and iced latte for Mirielle, and an icewater for Charlotte Claire. Yum. I love driving down the highway drinking my coffee.
When we were almost home, I said to Mirielle, "I would like to go home, go in and take a shower, then climb into bed with my book..." We laughed and laughed. Then laughed again. When we got home, put away the groceries, had dinner, and were cleaning up, I told Paul my hilarious little story. He laughed, too. So anyway, when everyone was tucked in tonight, I started my book. I am a fast reader, I will finish it by tomorrow morning. I will be tired, though.

Charlotte Claire peed in the yard today. Oh, and Kathryn, who is 11, took all the younger ones except Camille into the hot tub in the rain...then they jumped on the trampoline....I looked out the window and Suze was out there in her underwear....the neighbors must love driving by here....

Well, I have to finish my book.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

aaron and mali

Are crazy. I suppose if I were 15 or 16 like they are I would be doing the same thing, riding 42 miles on a bike....there is a nice trail they follow for most of the way. They are in pretty good shape, but were still tired out when they got home. They stopped for pizza in town, too. What fun. I enjoy my life, but I have to admit it would be rather nice to be 15 again...

This afternoon I have to take Rosie to the vet again. She is 13 weeks already. She is having some down time in the yard right now....I don't like to tie a dog up, but she seriously doesn't mind. She was in here the whole time the school kids got ready, getting her love and attention. She has gone outside for a few potty breaks, and didn't pee in here, (she did not pee in here once yesterday)....she takes a morning nap, and doesn't mind taking it out in the shade in the yard. When she wakes up, we unhook her and let her run around a bit. I would say she is sufficiently spoiled.

Rosie gets so excited when each and every one of the kids comes out in the morning. Supposedly dogs are not capable of love, but it certainly seems like she loves us.

I won't be home for a while this afternoon, so I have to plan dinner. Last night we had our "cheaty" chicken&gravy over mashed potatoes, and broccoli. Three cans of cream of celery soup, with 5 pounds of chicken breast, cooked and simmered for a few hours. I take the pieces of chicken out and cut them up, put them back is very good, and very low in fat. I am thinking of keeping the kids out of the leftovers, and adding some veggies and making soup out of it. Maybe with Bisquick biscuits on the side. hmm.

Things I am thankful for this morning, not necessarily in any special order:

1. The hand held shower sprayer....

2. The four-slice toaster...

3. Coffee. Always thankful for coffee. I am not getting paid to say this, but Taster's Choice instant coffee is the best. I always buy it, always have a coupon.

4. Wipes and disposable diapers.

5. Spill-proof sippy cups...

I might take the kids to the library today, as I have to take Aaron in to school for a state test. If I get a good book, you may not hear from me for a while! To me, a good book is almost like a poision...(speaking of poision, The Poisionwood Bible is a very good book) I cannot stay away from it, and usually stay up the whole night and gobble it all up. I rarely have the patience to read a little at a time. I also don't like to know too much about the book I choose. I just grab some books, and read them. I rarely put them down even if they aren't too good. I don't read the little blurb inside the cover, since it gives too much away. If the book is really lousy, I will put it aside, but ususally I am too curious to see what happens. Wow, I made myself really want to go to the library!

Camille still is sleeping and I want to read the newspaper.....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

stayed home all day!

And it was a nice one. I sorted through Camille's clothes, which was very sad for me. What if she's the last one? I put away little bonnets and booties and tiny little outfits. I then decided it was too nice a day to spend entirely inside, so I did a half-effort job, to say it nicely.

I went in the hot tub with some of the kids. The sun was warm, and the tub temperature was in the low eighties. It was very refreshing, but I turned it up....after dinner Paul and I went in with some of the kids. Camille is so funny in there. They all think it is a swimming pool, and they go under water and everything. Which is NOT relaxing. But it IS fun. It also seems to relax them to go to sleep quicker.

So, we have a 30ft. round above-ground pool in the backyard. We had it put in right before Samuel was born, when I was 8 months pregnant....14 summers ago. Well, the liner has had some issues. We ("We" meaning Paul) drained the pool, cleaned it out, patched the holes, and refilled it. Well, we TRIED to refill it. I kept telling Paul it should be full by now...there is maybe a foot of water in there...obviously there are still leaks. So....a new liner....I am going to call a few local pool places to see how much they charge to install one. Paul is not up for trying to do it ourselves.

Abigail and Mirielle are done with college on Thursday. Abigail is done for good!!! She is done! Mirielle has a ways to go....

Paul is putting Camille to bed. Yes, I am a bad mommy and put her to bed with a bottle. It works. She goes to bed so willingly and happily. She just said night-night to all of us.

Rosie is being bad. Here I have all the kids in bed (except for Abigail, Mirielle, Joseph, Aaron, Mali, Sam and Margaret), and the puppy is barking and going beserk. No thanks! I think one more potty break, and it's in the cage she goes. I give her a few toys, and a chewy thing and she goes in without any protest. Some times she does whine a bit, but too bad. She gets over it.

I am tired tired tired....

poor charlotte claire...

She didn't feel well yesterday...she was sick to her stomach in the morning. She was kind of blah all day, and had a long nap on the couch...she just sat with people and cuddled. She felt a little warm, but did NOT want her temperature taken. This morning, she came out, sat down with me, and started to get sick....she waited until Jon got a bowl, but, ugh. I feel bad for, it is hard to see sweet little Charlotte Claire all sick and feeling down. But it is equally as hard to think of all the other kids here, going blissfully on their way, unaware that they are in for it too, probably. Abigail and Mirielle brought Charlotte Claire and Camille to McDonalds and a playground on Saturday, she must have picked something up. (It does make me think of a line from a church song, "Let come what may, upon my way, I'll give my life each day".....) Part of me says NO NO NO, I do not want trials...but then I really want to trust God with my whole heart, that all He sends is for my very best. No one really likes sufferings, but when we understand that that is when God can do a work in us, then we can be thankful in the trials.

Aaron and Mali have no school left, except for state they are taking a long bicycle trip to Lake Ontario. They are crazy. It is like 42 miles round trip. Joseph is done with school....Sam is almost done, he took today off because he said his finals are done and they aren't doing anything anymore....why are they still going then? Oh yeah, they need to comply with regulations that say how many days kids must be there.

Camille is awake now, so I have to go greet her....she is such a sweetie-pie. I love that little bunny-face first-wake-up with wide-eyed wonder look she has....

Monday, June 15, 2009

start of a new week....

Oh, I love a nice rainy morning, even when I have to take Rosie out in it. She saw the rain and doubled back, tried to go back inside. No way pup, have to go out to pee. She is a handful, but I do like her. She gets lots of things she shouldn't, the house isn't puppy proof. She is learning the "drop it" command. And NO BITE!

Evelyn did not go to school today. She has a field trip - walking to the library in town. And, her teacher is going to be absent, and Evelyn reasons that a field trip with a substitute teacher will be no fun. hmm. Sounds funner to me, if you can excuse the use of a word that is not really a word but should be because if you notice, people say it all the time.

Joseph is done with school, and Aaron and Mali will be home around noontime. Charlotte Claire is up, she got out a pair of sneakers that Sonja grew out of before even breaking them in, but they are still way way too big for Charlotte Claire. She is putting them on anyway. The rain is drying up, the sun is coming out. Right about now I wish we had a fenced in yard so I could just let Ms. Rosie out.

Sleep: why do I crave it so much? Camille woke up around 5am, and I just held her and cuddled her for a bit, then she went back in her little green bed and went to sleep. I however, was plagued with good ideas and interesting thoughts paired with an arm that kept falling asleep and aching hips. I should have just gotten up. But no, I kept trying to turn off my brain, and ignore my aches....the last time I looked at my watch was 6:50, I am supposed to be up by thing I knew, Paul was nudging me. Rats. 7:05......I really had to get up! And I felt just wonderful after that 15 minute nap....ha.

And no chance for a nap today, as I have afternoon plans. And evening plans. Our church has a "family week", or summer conference each year in August. People from all over come and stay in campers and the dorms, we have meetings and games and activities for the children. The children outnumber the adults, since there are many many larger families, and this conference is focused on them. We have two swimming pools, volleyball, soccer fields, a gym with basketball hoops, and there are waterslides and bouncy houses. Our local church is in charge of the snack bar/grill. It is very busy, as there are about seven hundred people at the conference, and we provide lunch, dinner, and evening snackbar each day. As in everything, there is more to do than there are workers....but it is rewarding work, lots of fellowship, and getting to know the kids. I really enjoy making snowcones and selling candy. Anyway, some of us are getting together tonight to plan for summer conference.

My house has the Monday-morning-blues. But by faith, I don't! I refuse to be weighed down by a messy house. It is one thing to feel a responsibility, it is totally another to be weighed down by it. I am thankful I feel responsible to clean things up and do some laundry. But to be upset by the ever-present clothes pile on the couch...why? The bench inside the door is for backpacks. And, apparently comforters that were hung to dry on the deck rails. And towels. And bathing suits. And of course those jackets that are too hard to hang on the hooks that are TWO feet away. It looks like the shoe shelves have thrown up shoes all over the entry tile. And the nice Fisher-Price Sweet Streets sets the girls got out are ALL over the living room. Not too bad, but mixed with a shirt, a pillowcase (?), one of Jon's blankets, a hair clip, a dvd, a few baby toys that the puppy chews on, a doll stroller, the sit-and-spin.....and of course a few wipes. My kids hate sticky as much as their mama, so they are wipe-wasters. The kitchen floor isn't too much different, a ride-on, an empty water bottle, a sandal, a sock, a napkin, an empty plastic bag. It will only take a few minutes to pick the things up and sweep, but until then, I certainly hope we don't have any unexpected company. Perpetual. Yes, that is the word. I could stay much more on top of things, but it wears me out and I just plain like my down time too much. Although I DO love a clean house. hmm.

Well, the kids are watching Clifford on tv, the puppy is napping, Camille is still in bed, and here sits the mother who has so much to do....

Saturday, June 13, 2009

day at the amusement park...

And no pictures! My camera batteries must be bad, they were just recharged, and don't work. So I will have to describe my day....

Abigail and Mirielle and Joseph stayed home with Charlotte Claire and Camille. Paul and I took 9 of our kids, and two of my sister's girls. Rides and rides and was very fun to experience the excitement with the kids. The weather was perfect, partly sunny, breezy, not too hot, not too cold......the older kids went off by themselves to ride the rollercoasters and scary rides, we met up with them every few hours. So Paul and I only had 5 kids with us. It was so simple and relaxing. We went over to the waterpark are and while the kids were splashing around, I sat in a lounge chair with my feet up. My hands felt too idle, my arms empty. It didn't help that a young woman relaxing in the chair next to me was nursing a baby. Jonathan was the youngest there, and he is 5 years old! It was nice to focus on him and the girls, but I missed the two youngest...and I miss having a little baby. It has been part of my life for so long. This is the first time since I was first married that I have been not pregnant AND not nursing, except for the six weeks after baby Robert died.

Being in the amusement park was more than just a good time. It was quite a learning experience. In my own sheltered little world, I didn't realize the extent of disrespect that exists out there in the big big world. While waiting in the long line for the giant ferris wheel with Sonja and Kathryn, I saw a teenage girl take a picture of herself in a place where the don't shine, and show it to the boys she was with. What an uproar among the slobby kids. It was very disgusting. No respect for my kids who were standing in the vicinity, and no respect for me, who was not amused. So many young people heading in a questionable direction. And it isn't their fault. Who has encouraged them to keep themselves pure? Who has been a good example for them?

Kathryn, Sonja, and I went on the highest ferris wheel! You can see forever from up there, at least the whole theme-park. It was terrifying, but after I got used to it, it was fun.

We did do alot walking, but it was okay. There are no coolers allowed in the park, and we parked what seemed like miles away, and walked to the van and ate lunch, and walked back in. Surprisingly my knees didn't start hurting until around 7:30 pm. And we left by 8:30, so I did okay.

We are all a little tired today. We got up and went to church this morning, and got back at 2:30. The older kids stayed after for a graduation party, so we came home and ate lunch outside in the shade with the kids. They decided to clean out the little pool and refill it, using a bar of Irish Spring soap. Camille had soap all over her, so I cleaned her up before she got it in her eyes. It was nap time anyways.

It still is nap much as I love my little Camille, I do enjoy nap time. It is down time. I SHOULD be doing things, but here I sit. I have laundry by the basketful to do, and the kitchen needs some attention, and dinner time is creeping up at an alarming speed....but here I sit. I want a full-fledge nap, but there is no time for that....and it is sunny and nice out, not a good day for napping. Charlotte Claire does not sleep for her naps much anymore. She lies down for a while, and then comes back out here. She wears a diaper when she naps, and she pooped in her nap diaper. So when I finish up on the computer, I have a special job to do.

saturday surprise!!!

Today we are doing something fun fun fun! Well, to be honest, fun for the kids, probably a torture for me. Or along that line. Any any anyway, we are going to Darien Lake! Kathryn got some tickets from school, so we are getting a discount. The kids' activity club was going to try to go, but it didn't work...and it just felt into place for us to go. Nice weather forecast for today, no other plans....even Paul is going. 14 of us are going.

I have to go pack my camera, make some egg muffins for breakfast, and make sure we have enough of everything for the day, as the food at places like this is untouchably expensive for us. Some of our kids have been to Darien Lake before, but we have never gone as a family. Oh, and why is it torture for me? Walking. Walking. I'll survive, I'm sure, but my idea of fun would be the beach....anyway, the kids are excited, and what could be more fun than a few hours on the road each way, in a big van with no air-conditioning?

Friday, June 12, 2009

cloudy and rainy morning, so cozy

And two of the little girls are staying home because it is elementary school field days. Now, they could go and have fun and learn some things....but if they don't want to, it is okay with me. Evelyn does want to go, so she is.

I went out and about yesterday to get some essentials, like bandaids and graduation cards. My son Joseph is graduating (we hope, he has some grade fluctuations, to say the least), my brother's son, my other brother's daughter, and two of their friends are all graduating from the same school. Joseph is having his party along with his cousin Pete, the older kids are going to a few of the other parties, and we are all going to my niece's party. I shopped for a few little gifts for them, plus some birthday gifts for some friends. I also had to stop at the bank, and go to Walmart to get Suzanne's disposable camera developed for school. 4 pictures of one girl, and two of the floor. Yes, worth $7.84.

I still have to go out with Benjamin and get a few things straightened out. He didn't end up going with me yesterday, he worked on the truck and thankfully it is running again.

With all these kids, one would think that I would have plenty of help taking Rosie out to pee. Not necessarily. Sonja can handle her pretty well, but some of the other little ones are skittish of her. They like her, but they don't want to hook up the leash and take her out. Joseph, Aaron, Mali, and Sam will take her out, but they're never here. Abigail doesn't like animals very much, but she does like Rosie. Not enough to take her outside, though. And Mirielle doesn't care much either way, she likes her all right, and will take her out if I beg her.....anyway, Rosie is doing a bit better about peeing in here. She still does it, especially when she is really happy to see someone. When the kids wake up in the morning, she gets so happy to see each one of them, she sometimes will pee a little bit when she greets them. She is such a social puppy, she doesn't even care about her food in the morning.

Blah blah blah about the puppy, again....but hey, she takes alot of my time. I have had to get up about an hour earlier each morning since we have had her. Ouch.

I do love rainy days. But Rosie still needs to go out, and that means I get wet. I can't just let her out, she'll go under the van and get all dirty, or go in the road, or chase the cats who knows where......I wish we had a fenced in area, but we don't and it isn't even on the TO-DO list.

Hey, maybe the rain will fill up the pool for us! It has been slow going. It seems like every time we turn the hose on, we need water in the house, so we turn it back off. Add in some evaporation, and the pool is only a foot deep or so.

The kids have 8 days of school left after today. Joseph is already finished, Aaron and Mali are done soon...they have some state tests....the end of the school year is such a waste of time. They don't do much but have fun and parties. Which is nice, but we can do that here.

Our school does one project in fifth grade that I think is cool. It is the egg drop. The kids have to design and make something to put a fresh, uncooked egg into, in hopes that is survives being thrown from the top of the school, courtesy of a few teachers. I have gone to a few to watch, and it is lots of fun. The teachers just take project after project, and toss them off the building. Each one is checked, and if the egg survives without breaking, the kids gets a certificate. There are also prizes for creativity, ect. The year Mali had to do it, we put the egg inside a teddy bear's head, and put a bike helmet on the bear that said, "Be Safe!" was so funny to see that bear dropped off the building. But the egg cracked. Kathryn had help from daddy, they encased the egg in spray insulation in a box. But Kathyn doesn't feel well today. I wonder if she is just scared to do the egg drop, embarrassed or something. She got up and got ready, then just whined about how she feels awful. She seems fine now. I even tried to guilt her about how daddy took the time to help her with her project, ect. But nah, she wasn't budging.

I am putting myself to sleep, and also I need to supervise the kids, as they have decided to have pizza for breakfast. Benjamin brought it home last night.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

remembering poor little baby robert william

It's that time of year again....the end of the school year, summer is coming....6 years ago this time I lost baby Robert. It was the 16th of June, 2003. Well, I had gone to the O.B. on Friday afternoon for a routine check-up. I HAD sort of noticed his movement had slowed down, but he still seemed to be bumping around in there. I have written about this before, but the least I can do is remember him.....when the midwife couldn't find his heartbeat, I didn't panic. Ignorance is bliss. She cheerfully suggested a quick sono. Sure. Fine. Duh! I started to understand what was happening when she was moving the doppler around and not saying anything. She got the Dr. He didn't say anything for several hours, so it seemed, then just said very simply, "I'm sorry Della, but the baby has died".....Unreal. They should have just left the room. They didn't. They stayed there and made me hold back the tears. The shock. Oh, they were so nice about it. The dr. just stood there for a while, then suggested I come in Monday morning to be induced. What? All I could think of was I HAVE a dead baby in me. I couldn't believe it. How could he have died? I want him ALIVE. I WANT him. I NEED him. The dr. gave me some pills to take on Sunday night to start things....I did not want to start things. I do not know how I made it home. I had to tell Paul. I had to go tell the kids. What a weekend. On Saturday, my sister-in-law brought my mom over for a mom felt so bad for me....

Anyway, I DID take the pills to get things started, and went in on Monday morning, bright and early. I remember being in the waiting area, and another mom who was being induced was smiling at me. I just turned away. I truly wished her all the best, but PLEASE don't make me explain this....anyway, the labor was blessedly short and quick, and Robert William was small and sweet and sad and pathetic. He was floppy, and the kind caring nurse, who's eyes were also full of tears, wrapped him up so tenderly before she handed him to us. I'll never forget her respect for him. My memory of him has dimmed a bit, but that's okay, I want to remember him as beautiful. I told the kids he was beautiful. And he sort of was. But his eyes were closed...and I can't bear it still. One of the harder parts was during the night, after having had 13 babies aat that hospital, hearing the rolling of carts in the hall, I kept thinking they were bringing my baby in to me to nurse. I tossed and turned and wanted to be home so badly. In the morning, the dr. said I should go home and be with my kids, and I couldn't wait. Going home from the hospital without the carseat with the little baby in it was a rip-off, to put it mildly. I can't imagine how it would be for someone to be farther along or full term and go through such a loss. Time makes it better, and I have three babies since then, which has helped too. But it still makes me cry.

Well, I am sorry for such a downer of a post....but writing it out helps me, even if I have written about him a few times before.....

Margaret still remembers that the day he was "born" was her kindergarten graduation. My sister Cheryl went for her, which I am ever grateful for. Cheryl also took over Emily's and her Becky's graduation party that was supposed to be here that week.

When Jonathan Robert was born on April 30th of the following year, we were so totally and completely in love with him from the minute he was born....he was shared and held and spoiled and fought over. Jonathan was a blessing. All my kids were recieved with thankfulness and joy, but he ....oh, he was special. And in that context, I am thankful for the whole experience with Robert.

my sister's seven

My sister has seven daughters. Her oldest and her youngest were born on this date, 26 and 16 years happy Birthday Kate and Audrey! Kate is married now, and she is a teacher, and is a beautiful and wonderful niece. She is also a cancer survivor, childhood leukemia. I cannot say enough good things about what a fine lady she is. Audrey, born 10 years to the day later, after a very scary pregnancy for my sister, was a miracle baby. She is also a wonderful girl. She is good friends with my kids, her cousins, and she has the best sense of humor. So HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to these two fine girls!

I hate to admit this, but I let Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, and Sonja stay home from school today. BAD MOM AWARD. They all had good reasons. Benjamin apparently told Kathryn if she stayed home he would play with her. She convinced me she had all her work caught up, so does Evelyn. Suze says her throat still hurts, she does seem to have a slight cold. Sonja WAS NOT going to go alone on the bus. No, not if her sisters were staying home. So, here we all are.

Jonny was playing with his Waffletown and train set yesterday, in his own little world....I heard him saying, "Mommy is driving the train, but she isn't as good a driver as daddy, so you have to be quiet so she can think..." hmm. Where did he get that?

We are going to Walmart today. We have good reasons. Suzanne has a disposable camera from the school year, her teacher requests they are developed ASAP. For Suzanne's sake, I would really like to comply. I also have some banking to do, and I would like to stop at the dollar store for some snacks. We are planning a big surprise for the kids for Saturday, and we need snacks for the van trip.

Wait, I can't leave and go to Walmart! I have to take Aaron and Mali to school at noontime today! This time of the year, there are state tests and such, and I have told them to write it all down for me, when I have to drive them.

I also have to take Benjamin to the city this afternoon to take care of some things. All the little details of life. When people find out how many kids we have, they say, "But the older ones help, I bet!" Yeah, they do help. But they are also their own people with their own things we have to help them deal with. They may not be as much "work" as little ones physically, but mentally....just paperwork, insurance, college apps, tickets, car repairs....right now, the truck is broken down, and Mirielle's car is running awfully. (Don't read this, Em!) (It is Emily's car, Mirielle is using it while she is gone....)

Well, the kids are doing all sorts of things, and I have to move again. I have been up for 3 hours, with not much to show for it but some kids in clean clothes and Camille with a nice fresh diaper, and full tummies. And of course Rosie has been out for several potty breaks, and is now resting in the yard.....for her morning nap. Hey, she wakes me up at dawn and then takes a morning nap - NO fair.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

charlotte claire, puppy dog

See this innocent little girl? Well....yes, she is the one who bit me in Price-Chopper the other day...and today, she pooped on the deck. I will spare you the details,but it is good Rosie-the-real-puppy was tied up, or she would have been in trouble. I certainly wouldn't have been too quick to suspect the sweet little Charlotte Claire. I brought her in for a clean up and shower, and told her that it was not nice for little girls to poop outside. I told her even Rosie doesn't poop on the deck. Charlotte Claire said, "I know, I should poop in the woods!", honey, that is where the PUPPY should go. Not you.

Benjamin Paul, 20

Camille with Joseph, 18

What a nice big brother. Who probably won't kill me, but don't tell him about this just in case.

Jonathan Robert with a nice Kool-aid smile...
So much for staying home today. I have things to do tomorrow, so I decided to go shopping today. Mirielle was caught up enough on homework to go with me, and Abigail was nice enough to hold down the fort. So off we went, just Mirielle and I. We stopped for a coffee and an iced latte, went to Target, then the grocery store. Aaron made dinner when we were gone, 6 pounds of ground turkey sloppy joes. I brought home the rolls, and cut up some cucumber and carrots. Margaret had made some brownies while we were gone. Everyone was at the table except for of course Emily, and Ben who was at work, and Aaron who was doing homework. We talked a bit about how totally insane it is for Uncle Sam to have the power to close down car dealerships.....too much gov. power!
Well, I am tired and ready for bed but Rosie the puppy has been napping under the kitchen table for over an hour.....she needs to go outside again....

it is wednesday....

and I haven't left the house and yard since Saturday! That has to be a record for me! I have not put my sandals on in days! I have been outside alot, but shh, I like to go barefoot. Paul stopped for 2 gallons of milk and some bananas after work yesterday, and we are all stocked up on diapers and bread, so no immediate need for a store trip.

I would like to say the days are leisurely, but nah. But they have been good. It should be the easiest time I have had in years, as I usually have had a baby to take care of along with the 19 month old and 3 year old. Does a puppy count? She does take a good chunk of time. Charlotte Claire has had a few tantrums lately. Yesterday I was trying to do the dishwasher and take care of a stack of bowls and pans that apparently I am the only who's noticed, and a big fight broke out. Not really big, just dramatic. Charlotte Claire thinks that if Camille starts playing with her dolly stroller, she can just take it back. Camille does not appreciate this. Camille hits? bites? screams? any combination of the three....and Charlotte Claire does something back....and there is much screaming. I tell Miss C.C. just to let her keep the stroller and I will get her out another one, I mean we have like 10 more. No. She wants HERS! So, she ends up sitting in a kitchen chair. (Meanwhile, the smart mommy is wondering if she made the right decision)...and while she sits there, she is doing this screaming thing. Over and over. (Charlotte Claire, not the mommy) Now, this mommy does not like to spank. This mommy does not really like to send them to their room, either, as angry children like to dump things, and a bedroom should not be used for punishment, especially if the child goes to their nice bed so good for mommy at night. So here's the thing: the mom thinks she HAS to get this job done. She is frustrated. She thinks, "I am just trying to get some work done, I am not sitting around eating bon-bons..." Thus she is justified in her frustration. But wait. Stop. The mom is not frustrated because of the child. She is frustrated because SHE WANTS. This mom needed to pray about her own impatience, and ask God for help. Which she did.

When we see ourselves, and acknowledge that we are the problem...oh, it goes so well. Not that the kids can just tear each other up and we sit there praying, no, we have to take care of things, too. But we have to come to rest in the situation, give up our will, so that God can speak and give wisdom. It is humiliating to see how much impatience and anger I am full of, but it is a good place to be, since God gives grace to the humble, and I certainly need that.

So the question is: what do I want out of this day? Do I want everything to go smoothly, the kids to just behave and let me get things done? No fights, no pee-pee undies, no full cereal bowls elbowed off the table? If this is what I REALLY want, then I will certainly be frustrated when things don't go my way. But deep in my heart, today, I want to be saved. I want to be faithful in each and every temptation, so that goodness and mercy can come out of me instead of snapping and growling. (can you tell I have a puppy?) I want God to do a work in me. There is a line from a song we sing in church, "Let come what may,
along my way,
I'll give my life each day..."

Anyway, it is nice in here right now. Charlotte Claire was sleeping on a pile of blankets in the hall when I got up at 6:30 this morning. She got out of her crib, and must have discovered no one was up yet, so she went back to sleep. I sneaked by her, took Rosie out, came back in, changed Charlotte Claire, put her back to bed, came out and made 8 or 10 plates of cinnamon toast, got clothes out for the girls, woke them up.....Suzanne did not go today. She says her throat hurts. She is playing waffletown with Jonny, it is spread all over the living room floor. Camille is still sleeping, and Rosie is down for her first nap of the day. No, I didn't tuck her in, she just sprawls under the kitchen table every morning for an hours or so after 2 or 3 trips outside and some playing with the kids.

Okay, here are some of the best and worst things...

Best: When my period is done for the month. Over. Phew. (Of course I have had like 22 pregnancies in the last 25 years, so I haven't had to deal with it as much....)

Sitting down with a hot cup of coffee....or stopping at Dunkin'donuts for one....

One of those nice little notes that Suzanne likes to write to me, how much she loves me...

A phone call from my sister-in-law or my sister, or one of my brothers.....just to talk, or
even better, to invite me somewhere....

Worst: Picking up my coffee cup for that last little sip, and wah. Empty.

So confidently changing a pee-pee diaper, only to whip it off and discover, oops! It
was more than pee.

Last night I thought Margaret made no-bake cookies for us for dessert. How nice of
her. I didn't realize they were going to a girls gathering. After dinner, I picked up the
tray and started to pass them out and all the girls yelled at once, STOP mom! The poor
little kids! The girls were nice and let the little ones have one anyway.....

Finding one of those nice Avent or Soothies bottles with chunky milk in them. Yuck.

Well, the day is starting....wait, I have been up for almost three hours.....anyway, here I go.....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

wow, tuesday morning....

the days just fly, life is going by tooooo fast. And the perpetual underlying element of my days is being tired. Even with Camille mostly sleeping through the night, I somehow don't get enough sleep. This morning I thought it was 6:45, and I got up and went in the bathroom. I turned on the light, looked at my watch, rats, it was 5:45! Wait a minute, yay!....back to bed I went without even going to the bathroom. And would sweet sleep come? ha.....

So, here I am. Rosie has been out three times and hasn't peed in here yet, which is nice. She is also getting much gentler with the nipping, and the kids are warming up to her more. The cutest thing ever is little Charlotte Claire, getting a treat out of the bag, and making Rosie come and sit. And Rosie listens to her!

I did make cookies last night, but I didn't feel like doing the chocolate covered cranberries , so I just did chocolate chip. I doubled the recipe, used half shortening and half butter, and instead of equal amounts of brown and white sugar, I used 2 cups brown, 1 cup white. Then a bag of mini hershey-bar baking chips, milk chocolate, and a few cups of Nestle's chocolate chips. ( we buy them by the huge bag at B.J's)....I baked a few trays in time for them to have one before bed, hot and gooey. I put some of the dough in a glass baking dish because I didn't have time for more cookies, and the rest in a storage baggie in the 'fridge, for Joseph to eat. Not really, but I may as well just give him permission.

My dear daughter Emily wrote a very encouraging short story recently, and I asked if I could print it here. She is thinking about it. The basic message of the story: we have our time here on earth, and we need to get oil in our lamps. I can clean, I can dress this way or that, I can be on time, or I can be thrifty. Great. But faithfulness in the hidden, obedience in the thoughts, humbling myself before God, that will bring oil. I can't borrow from my husband, I can't grab some at the last minute when the trumpet sounds. I can only work on my salvation day in and day out to get those precious drops. It doesn't matter in the least what others think of me, if I have a reputation for being a good mom, or if I am all organized (thank God for that!) is the virtue I attain here in my daily life. The virtue is a result of faithfulness.

I had to take a break and go get the puppy. The kids took her outside without a leash, then the bus came and Rosie wanted to go to school. She was coming back to me fine, but then Sonja was a straggler, trying to get a day off I think. When Sonja went running toward the bus, Rosie changed directions and went with her. So I had to do what I try not to do: go out in the driveway with barefeet in front of all the kids on the bus. And Rosie was filthy. She must have been under a car. I carried her in and gave her a bath, which she was thrilled about. Too bad she is going to get so huge, it is kind of fun to carry her out in her towel, and sit with her on my lap and brush her out so nicely. She tolerates it, but when she gets bigger, I don't know.

Well, never a dull moment around here. I do believe that all things happen for my best, and that God never sends me too much. Now I shall go on with my day and be tested in these things.....