summer 2011

summer 2011

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

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

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

made it through the far!

These two are trouble. Sweet, funny, trouble. If you call getting on the table and peeling all the bananas and putting them in the water pitcher sweet and funny. They dumped out baskets of toys in Charlotte Claire's room, they got into the soap, they went in my room and opened some Christmas presents (no, they weren't wrapped yet, they opened them from their packaging), they pulled clothes off hangers in there, they turn on the treadmill and run fast on it, which is not allowed at all. The dumped Special K in Evelyn's room, and they started ripping books. Why? I do not know. They filled these laundry baskets with books and toys, and since these pictures were taken, they dumped all the stuff in the cage, and now are coloring. At the table, on paper. For now. They love playing in Rosie's cage, it is so funny. To them it is like a little house. Rosie has been nice to Mali since I have been trying to be present when they are together, because Rosie listens to me 89% better than she listens to Mali.

So we went downtown today to get Joseph's permit, finally. I parallel parked the big van (well, sort of, I found a drive up spot), and we prepared to get out. I asked Joseph if he had his I.D. and s.s. card. Oops! He forgot it. So we had an hour to burn before the dentist app't. I didn't want to go get the milk and groceries because it might spoil. So we went to DunkinDonuts and got a medium coffee for me, with cream no sugar, yum, and $1.99 Coolattas for the five kids I had with me. And I ordered a 50 ct. box of Munchkins,(hey, if I'm putting coffee on the charge card, I may as well get donut holes, ouch) and the nice lady filled up with at least 75. It felt 19 dollars worth of frivolous, but it sure was a sweet way to pass the time. And they appreciated it.
After the dentist, we went to Walmart for the oil change. What an expensive oil change! I got milk and bagels and tortilla chips and chicken breast and some tank tops for the girls, and a few t-shirts for the boys and some socks for Jon. Everything I buy is cheap cheap cheap, but boy, things are expensive if they aren't on clearance. And even cheap stuff adds up and scares me at the register.
We got home to the roast beef ($1.99 a pound), baked potatoes, and roasted carrots being taken out of the oven. Mirielle and Mali put them in for me while we were gone. Now that was nice! It was such a yummy dinner on a cold rainy evening. And it was good to connect with everyone, too.
The evening has been sooo busy. Homework, notes to teachers for absences, bed-time stories, Charlotte Claire peeing on the kitchen bench, Rosie peeing on the floor because she had been in for a while, and I thought she should go out, and when Aaron tried to get her to go out, she just looked at him, so he picked her up while chastising her for not listening, and she peed. I have to go through these piles and pull out the burned stuff before the cleaning people come tomorrow. It seems wierd that they are going to wash all these clothes. I wish they had just replaced them. We have lunches to make, and clothes for tomorrow to find....
And I am tired. Mali is going to put Charlotte Claire to bed for me. Camille took a nice nap, so she isn't quite ready. But she magically turns into an angel when Charlotte Claire goes to bed.

my lucky day..!

Today, I get to meet with the claims adjuster. He is supposed to be here this very minute. So here I sit. And after he leaves, I get to bring Mirielle to drop her car off to get inspected (she is leaving tomorrow for Connecticut, rats!), then pick up a few girls from school, make a stop at Motor Vehicles so Joseph can get his permit, then take the girls to the dentist! Then, I get to get the oil changed on the big van. It was due in June. Oops. Paul keeps asking me when I am going to get it changed, and last night he handed me a coupon for the Valvoline place. Sorry, dear, but if I am getting my oil changed, at least I will go to WalMart where I can look around at good stuff while I wait.

Dentist and Motor Vehicles in the same day. Ouch. The good part is that Aaron and Mali have a half day of school today, so they can watch Camille and Charlotte Claire. I do love my little girls, and they are great fun on an adventure. But those places and little girls....hmm. Especially the dentist office. I have mentioned this before, but there is a nice cold water dispenser in the waiting room, which makes kids thirsty. Two year olds and three year olds are extra thirsty. And water in waiting rooms has extra gravity, and on the nice hardwood floor. It is not relaxing. And it has nothing to do with me wanting to read the People magazines, unless there are pictures of Jon and Kate.

I was starting to grumble last night, when I realized the line-up of my day. It seems like I don't live MY life, I just live the life that fits in with everyone else. Then I realized that Paul gets up day in and day out and goes to work. And he comes home happy, day in, day out. He doesn't really love work, he doesn't hate it, but he would much rather be home. But that is how his life is, so he does it and makes the most of it. And don't tell anyone, but being a stay-at-home mom, or as we called in the early days, a housewife, is the best kept secret of all time. It is wonderful. Those cold snowy mornings when the others have to get dressed and go out and face the day, I get to stay in here.....except for appointments and grocery shopping. And grocery shopping is my favorite hobby, especially when the cashier has to call over the manager because "this lady saved too much"....

The suspense is killing me, Ryan-the-adjuster isn't here yet. I am so curious as to what he is going to say about all the clothes. Does anyone else in the world have approximately 420 items hanging all nicely in their laundry room?

Okay, I am back after a break, which consisted of watching Ryan-the-adjuster taking pictures of my laundry room, the floor, the walls, the shelves and racks of clothes. ouch. Anyway, he will work up an estimate for the floor, (damaged), the sheetrock replacement, insulation, the dryer, ect. We will get a check for that in a few days. The clothes: they don't replace them unless they try to clean them first. So they will, if we decide to do it, send a company out to take out all the clothes, bring them to a laundry-mat, and or drycleaner, and bring them all back clean and tidy. And, they will clean all the surfaces of this floor of the house, clean the furniture, and wipe down everything. This cleaning will be covered 100%. After they do this, if there is still a smell to any of the clothes, then they will cover for replacement. And the clothes that are burnt and obviously damaged, they will cover. The shelf of jeans is right over the top of the dryer, so they are toasted.

Mirielle took some things to the laundry mat today, her clothes from her room, and a sweatshirt from the laundry room. The sweatshirt still smelled like smoke even after she washed it and used fabric softener. But the guy was adament that this is how they do it, they try to wash before they replace unless it is really obviously damaged. So I guess we'll play their game.

So now I have to get ready to go on my adventures, being thankful every step of the way.....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

cleaning up the mess....

We are having some down time, the kids put a movie in. Margaret didn't want her picture taken. Sonja, Joseph, Jonathan, and Sam.
Evelyn Joy with her new flip-flops...she hasn't wron them outside yet, so she gets to wear them in the house.
Kathryn and Suzanne
It is naptime, so it is relatively quiet. I actually stretched out on the couch for a little while....the kids do not respect that. They think of very important things to ask me, like, "Mom, can we have ice cream?"
I decided to give up on the nap when Rosie noticed me and brought her big stinky face right up on my pillow.....
It has been interesting to listen to the kids' versions of what happened last night. Jonathan was in bed, all tucked in, and he said he smelled smoke, and when everyone started yelling, he KNEW the house was going to burn down. Suzanne had been tucked in already, too, but was getting a drink of water, one of her favorite tricks, and she was one of the kids who first started yelling about the fire. Mali was in her room listening to music, and she smelled smoke, so she took out an earphone, and heard the yelling and screaming. Yes, we proceeded out the yard in a quiet orderly manner, ha. Mirielle actually sort of chastised me this morning for FREAKING OUT. Well, next time there is a fire, I will try harder to remain calm. She said that Jonathan was so upset because of the yelling and shouting. Well...sorry, Jon. I do think it could have been done a bit more serenely. But I had ONE thought, to get the kids out fast. It was in the back of my mind that the propane could blow, or the oil tank. Their bedroom is right next to the laundry room....anyway, Mirielle got Charlotte Claire, and I got Camille out of bed. I felt like I was going in slow motion, like it wasn't real, and like I couldn't possible move fast enough. So we all found ourselves in the front of the house....I had glanced into the laundry room and saw flames when Paul said to call 911, and I was sort of a wreck. As we stood in the yard, with me counting and re-counting just to make sure, my legs were shaking and I could hardly talk. Yeah, calm cool and collected, that's me. And seriously, I did not care about the house at all at that point.
So......we are waiting for: The insurance adjuster! Big surprise! I called to file my claim, the nice lady took my information, and passed on to Ryan-The-Adjuster. He will contact me at his leisure. I mean when he gets to it. I mean as soon as possible. He will then arrange to come and assess the damages. Okay, Ryan, take your sweet time. 'Cause our laundry room is NOT the most important room in the house.....And we don't miss using the washingmachine. The kids stopped wetting their beds last night, just because we can't wash the bedding today, NOT! Anyway, all kidding aside, we have these huge piles of smoky clothes that we are supposed to keep here. And we can't use the laundry room until....I guess it gets fixed up. So....
I am still very thankful that the fire happened when Paul was here, and that we all got out so quickly, and are safe. Today we sorted all the clothes and counted what we had of what....they may be able to be cleaned, but I don't know. They smell pretty strong, and some of them are all sooty, and some of them are really burned. It seems impossible to live with things out of order like this, but I am sure it will be okay....
On the plus side, Paul's mom brought us over some dinner today, which is heating up in the oven. Homemade macaroni and cheese, and chicken parmesian. It is cloudy, chilly, rainy, and so cozy with dinner in the oven....I do have much to be thankful for. And thank you everyone for the comments, and concern. It does feel really nice to have friends who care!
Oh, and Rosie loves the piles of smoky clothes! She thinks they are fun to roll in and the burned bras are nice to chew on.....

Monday, September 28, 2009

call 911! the house is on fire!.

Always keep your hair clean, always keep your kids in cute pajamas at night, because you never know....what starts out as an ordinary day can sometimes turn crazy...

Abigail was teaching the kids a nice song from her songbook...they were all mellowed out for bed...

(I just had to sneak this one in here, Camille in the basket)
We got the two little girls tucked in, then the bigger kids....then! The dryer was on fire! It happened so fast, the black smoke was billowing out the doorway, Paul grabbed the fire extinguisher (ALWAYS have one on hand, it saved our home. We literally would be homeless right now if we didn't have them, he actually used two).....he yelled to call 911, and I started yelling for all the kids to go out the deck door to the front yard, RIGHT NOW! I ran for Camille in her little green bed, and flagged down Mirielle to get Charlotte. Samuel was downstairs pounding on the bathroom door, Margaret was taking a shower. He was yelling for her to get out fast, the house was on fire...and Benjamin was lying in bed, half asleep, thinking Sam was just mad. It is not unusual for Sam to pound on the bathroom door. Anyway, we got out to the front yard, and I was counting, and panicking because I kept getting 15 kids....who is missing? And all the kids were yelling things like, "I'm here, I'm here", and "MOM, we are all here!"....then someone reminded me that Emily is in Norway. Okay. We have the right number. The fire engines started coming, there were at least 8 or 10, and about 40 firemen, plus the ambulance. The first thing they asked was if everyone was out. It's funny, because I did not even think of one thing I wanted to grab. The kids were out, the dog was out, and I just didn't even care at that point about the house, (or sorry kitties, you didn't even cross my mind). I was just glad the kids and Paul were safe. Our across the street neighbors and our next door neighbor came over, glad too that everyone was okay. It took a good ten minutes for the firemen to arrive, we live out in the country. At least 4 different fire companies came. If Paul hadn't used that extinguisher, our house would have been engulfed by then. Especially with the number of clothes that were in that room. When the ambulance people arrived, they came over and got the kids to wait in there, and gave them Gatorade and little Beenie babies. Jon, however, was in Abigail's car with her, and was terrified. He was hysterical, and did not want to get out of the car. Benjamin sat in his truck with Rosie, or she would have been nuts.
So, now all that bedding that was stacked up to be washed is in the living room and kitchen, mixed with other hampers that were dumped....there were clothes in there literally on fire, and the firemen brought them out to the front yard and dumped them, smoldering. I think one thing was my good gray bra, just washed and hanging in there. Rats. So they moved the hampers out of their way by dumping them out....and they used the firehose in there...oh, what a mess.

Here is my living room....

And here is my kitchen....

This is my laundry room...

They chopped a hole in the wall to make sure the fire was out. All the clothes that are still in there, like those jeans, are covered in soot and smell like smoke. The whole house is covered in fine black dust....

Evelyn took a picture of this shirt...

So now we have our work cut out for us. I have to call the insurance company in the morning and see what our deductable is. Because our dryer is literally toast. And all the clothes that aren't ruined will have to go to the laundry mat. Or wouldn't it be nice to throw them all out and start over? I just bought the girls some things today at Target, 75% off, but really nice, and they are hanging in there covered with soot. fun. But when I started pointing things out, the kids all started in on me, saying, "Mom, just be thankful we have our house, be thankful we are okay." Oh, how quickly we forget. We are such hardheaded people, how quickly we forget.....

more school?

Read this article

It is disturbing to me, to say the least. More school? Less summer? Oh, come on. I don't even know where to start. Why should my kids go to school more because some people can't stay home with them during the summer? Why does the government, particularly the big O., think they, he, can raise children better than their parents? "Here, let us take those kids off your hands." And only the wealthy can enrich their kids' lives during summer vacation? Does anyone really think it is better for kids to be sitting in classrooms all year round? I am sorry, but I think the kids don't have enough free time as it is. In fact this morning, when I roused poor Jonathan out of bed for a nice warm shower, he started crying and crying....and I felt like pulling him out of school. It just goes against the laws of nature to drag sleeping children from their beds and send them out the dooor. Or against the laws of what I find comfortable, anyway. And Samuel, my 8th grade is such a smart kid. But he always seems to forget to do some part of the homework from one of his classes, so he has afterschool homework hall almost every day. He is gone from 7:30 to after 4:pm. It DOES help to teach him responsibility, hopefully he will catch on and be more diligent. But homework doesn't set well with me anyway, they are in school for so many hours, and if each teacher gives them an assignment, they have no life. Especially because for some of them, they are not really learning, just doing the work to satisfy the teacher. When a child already "gets" something, the meaningless repitition is well, meaningless. And that is my public school rant for the day.

Evelyn Joy is home today. She says she doesn't feel well. She is cuddled up in the chair under a nice quilt Mirielle made a few years back for Gramma. She is watching channel 24 (PBS)....she doesn't seem to sick, but she never had the flu-y thing we had, so.....

Charlotte Claire is up bright and early this morning. She does this thing during the summer where she wakes up when everyone else is still sleeping, and goes back to sleep in the hallway. With her blanket. She got up and got all settled in, and I went in the wake the little kids and she started crying, saying she wanted to go back to bed. But her night-time pull-up was soaked, she was wet, she needed a she's up. She is playing dollhouse on a small rug, a rug that Rosie thinks is just for her.

I am crying because now her bedding is wet and Jon's bedding is wet, and the pile is growing and growing. I need to go put in a load and get moving. I wish I wish I had two washers, but then I am glad I have one. Maybe I just need a trip to the laundrymat to get all this bedding washed. hmm. I wish there were two of me. Wait, three. One to just lie in bed and read. ha. With cookies. No, that would have to be on the couch, I can't eat cookies in bed. yuck.

The apple turnovers that Mirielle and I made yesterday were excellent, the best I have ever had, but I am not a good judge, I think every baked good is the best I have ever had. I will ask her for her recipe. It was very buttery and flakey. She cooked the apples up on the stove with the sugar and cinnamon. I rolled out the chilled pastry dough. My squares were rounded, they looked awful, only fit a little bit of apples, they seemed like a flop. But they taste so good. We had tons of apples leftover, so I made up some pie crust quick and we put the cooked apples in and baked them. I have not tasted a piece yet, but they look really yummy. We spent so many hours in the kitchen yesterday. Right now, the sink is full of dishes, the counter is full of dishes. The dishwasher ran after dinner, but I guess it wasn't enough. Talk about meaningless repitition, unloading and loading the dishwasher is getting OLD. But then it is better than washing them all by hand.....or trucking the water from a well 5 miles down the road in a jug balanced on my head. God has really blessed us so much. I don't want to be like the Israelites in the wilderness. God had given them freedom, and bread, and yet they complained. They complained so much, they did NOT enter the promised land. And look at me. Wah, wah, wah, laundry, dishes, buying more milk..........ouch.

Now that I have encouraged myself, I will start the day with thankfulness in my heart.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

rosie is fun fun fun

The boys like Rosie, here she is with Aaron... Aaron decided to turn her into a mummy....

Next to her are all the toilet paper balls Aaron was trying to antagonize her with before he decided to mummy-ize her.

She didn't even care....

I told Aaron he was a toilet paper waster, but he said it wasn't wasted.....he had fun.

So now the older kids are heading to bed, it is just Mirielle and I still up, and it is finally quiet. I SHOULD be going to bed too, but I need a bit of time. Rosie is settled down for the night, I still have to take her out to go potty, then put her in her cage with a few ice cubes and a treat. She is pretty good, when I take her out, I stand on the deck and tell her to go potty, and she goes down the steps, and goes, and comes back up. I am impressed. I tell her to go into her cage,and she happily goes in and sits down, waiting for her treat. She can be such a huge pain, she is just always underfoot, but she learns so much by just being around us all the time. She is pretty good with the kids, we just need to teach her not to bite Mali. I think Mali played so much with her when she was a tiny pup, she associates Mali with playing. And she bites her, not growly, but wanting to play.
I wish I could say I was staying home tomorrow to clean the house. But I am taking Joseph to get his driver's permit. And taking the big white van to get an oil change. And, surprise surprise, we need milk again. It disapears like magic. I was shocked when I went to get bedtime milk for the two little girls, and what? I bought three gallons on Friday. Two days later, it is almost gone. And, we already had a gallon in there on Friday. Well, we did make cookies today, and it is the weekend. So we need milk and bread and bananas. The staples. And diapers. And pull-ups, which a few kids wear to bed. I don't know why we bother, their bedding needs washing every day anyway, they would probably stay dry sooner at night if they just went without...oh well.
Mirielle is leaving us again. She is going for a few months to help a family in Conneticut. The mom is expecting #5, and needs a helper. Mirielle will be an exceptional helper for her. I am sort of proud to send such a good girl out to help someone. She is amazing, really. She helps me so much around here, I am going to miss her, along with all she does. She puts loads of laundry in without even being asked, and hangs things out to dry, and loads the dishwasher, and is always game for an outing with the kids. I am going to be lonely without her. I know she needs to go and live her own life, but still, I will miss her. But I am glad for the mommy that she is getting such a good girl.
I went in the hot tub tonight. Aah, it was nice. Abigail, Stephanie, Margaret, and Kathryn were in before me, and they got rained on. It is so cool to be out in it in the rain, especially when the water is really hot, like 103. I like living out in the country where you can see the stars at night, and even when it is cloudy, it is beautiful out. When the wind blows, the trees in the woods sway and the leaves crinkle, and is smells so fresh. Sitting out there is just so refreshing, except for the crazy puppy who seriously wants to get in, too. She jumps up on the side, begging and barking. Sorry pooch, but your paws are too dirty, this water is too clean.
So tomorrow I will try to get a few thing done before I go out and about again. I could wait and go on Tuesday, but then Paul will have to stop at the store. He doesn't like stores, but he will go anyway. I like stores, so I usually go. And now I am good and tired.....

lazy sunday afternoon...

I SHOULDN"T be so lazy, but....we went to church this morning, sixteen of us. We had to take two vehicles because the big kids are so big, it is pretty hard to squish into the big white van. We had a very encouraging message this morning, to really redeem the time, to be interested in what God is showing us.

Then we got home to the messy house. Ouch, how does it get so messy? I need to snap out of it and get busy. The couch pile needs to die, but no, it lives and grows. It is moving over to the second half of the couch. When I am the only one to uses the washer and dryer, the pile stays small, because I put the clothes away as I wash them. But whenever someone else takes a load out, they put it on the couch. Then when the living room gets picked up,it is like: don't know where it goes? put it on the couch! Sometimes the kids will even ask me where something goes, and I will just say, "put it on the couch..." So it is my fault too. As the mom of the house, I realize that most of this is my fault, but oh well, I am me.

So, we got home to the messy house. Did I clean up? Of course not!!! I made a triple batch of chocolate chip cookies!! Delandie, Caleb, and Luke, friends of the boys are over, and Stephanie, Abigail's friend, is coming over later. So we needed cookies!!! And me, being so smart and capable, tripled the shortening AND the butter, instead of combining the amount and then tripling. So they are extra thin and crispy. Oh, they are heavenly in a different sort of way. And tweaking (or messing up) the recipe doesn't affect the smells wonderful in here. And to top it off, Mirielle is making apple turnovers! She had the little girls all helping her, and it was so sweet to see them peeling apples and talking. I was tempted to take their picture, but decided not to.

And now I am tired from all that cookie making and cleaning up the cookie mess, that I am taking an nice afternoon break. It would be nicer if the living room wasn't so messy, but tired is tired, and I am tired. I am just plain jealous of people with lots of energy. I am glad that it bothers me when I have stuff to get done around here. It needs to be that way, so that I will get moving and clean up. I think the way it works is that everyone has a different level of comfort. Some people want everything always perfect, so they work to have it that way. Some people can live in total slobdom, and it is okay. But me: I want it perfect, but am so darned lazy, I have to live in slobdom and be ever wishing I had a maid. ha. Well, I guess it isn't THAT bad around here, but today....well, Aaron did the dishwasher, Mali swept, I cleaned up the counters....but the living room has some laundry baskets and the waffle town all over. And the baskets of movies are all rumpled and spilling over. And there are extra things on the end tables, like a roll of toilet paper (doesn't everyone have a roll of toilet paper in their living room?), a few empty cups (even though no one is allowed to drink in the living room except for Paul and I), and books and socks and dolls and hair ponies. And Jon's kitty suit. And the pile of bedding: oh, it is daunting. But I refuse to be daunted. I am so affected by the state of my house, I tend to get snappy and snippy and want it back into shape. But it isn't meant to be always in shape around here. People are playing and reading and baking and doing homework, they don't care that it isn't spotless in here. It is just ME. There is a time and a place, and this isn't the time to clean the house. I need to chill. Excuse me while I preach to myself here. But tomorrow, I am gonna clean!!! And do laundry!! And match socks!!! And straighten the books and videos and dvds and maybe wash the windows and mop the floors.....oh, I feel better all ready!

This afternoon, I am going with a few of the older kids to a fundraising meeting. Our church (look on to see about it) has the main conference center in Norway. There are conferences held there year round, ex. Easter conference, Summer conference, sisters' conference, ....anyway, there are so many people there that it is hard to find a place to stay. They are expanding and building more apartments and cabins, and we have a chance to buy one, as a fellowship. They are very expensive, things are just more expensive in Norway. So we are going to raise the money for it. (that is what the beer-pouring at the football game is for. Ironic for a church fundraiser....) I was thinking of making cookies on a regular basis and having people take them to work to sell....we did this years ago, and it does bring in a little bit of money. So with that thought in mind, I made all these cookies today, thinking I would bring some to the meeting...and I sort of ruined them. Oh well. We are trying to come up with some other ideas, it should be interesting. Like I need more to keep me busy.

And here I sit. Charlotte Claire and Sonja are playing something, where Charlotte Claire keeps running out here and telling me that Sonja is dead...then Sonja will yell out, "Not really!" And they laugh....okay, Mirielle wants me to roll out the dough for her...oh, it is nice to feel wanted.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Off we went....Kathryn Grace, Evelyn Joy, Suzanne Eleanor, Sonja Kathleen, Jonathan Robert, Charlotte Claire, Camille Anaya, and is the happy Camille with Sonja. And Sonja with Charlotte Claire

Evelyn Joy, ten year old co-pilot....
Here is Camille...she loved the big bins of apples. This is how we pick them, they are so cheap! Only $4 for a whole bag of McIntosh, $5 for the other varieties....I have no idea who that heavy lady is holding her....

Charlotte Claire.....and that lady again in the background picking out squash...

Jonathan loved packing the apple bags. I was going to buy 5 bags of apples, two of the Mc's and three of the others. Before I knew it, they had 4 bags of McIntosh being filled. I had wanted to bring some apples to my brother, and to my sister, so it was fine....Here is Jon, with that lady in the background again, with Camille, Sonja, and Charlotte Claire.

To Camille, everything is an adventure. She wanted to keep the squash.


And here is what we brought home, after dropping off a bag at my brother's house, and a bag at my sister's house. She invited us in, so we all visited for a while with her, two of my nieces, and her sweet little baby grandson, Will.

It is so nice to have all these apples. When I pay $2.50 or $3.00 in the supermarket for a three pound bag, and they go so fast.....I like to cut them up so they share. But they like them in their lunches. This apple place said they have SO many McIntosh apples, almost 100 of the big bins of them. Wow. I wish I knew a good place to store them, I would buy more and have them throughout the winter. We are also itching to bake now. I bought a whole bag of Cortland, they are excellent for pies.
Rosie is nice and clean. Apparently, Mali, Joseph, Aaron, Sam, and Kathryn went in the hot tub,and let Rosie in with them. She just begs and whines, she loves water. She just had a bath yesterday, so she probably didn't get the water too dirty. Anyway, they blowdried her afterward. I asked if she liked it and they said she did not, but Aaron held her down. They used the girls' hairbrush, but Sam washed it afterwards. She looks nice and fluffy and sweet.
Paul is at a fundraiser for church with Abigail and Mirielle, they are pouring beer for a college football game in the city. We had a nice pizza dinner without them. Well, I guess it was nice. The convection oven feature cooks the tops and bottoms of the pizza, but the middle was still soft. So as I played musical pizzas, serving the kids the edge pieces, while they ate and fooled around and played in the candles, Camille pooped. Oh, there is nothing more fun than a diaper change during dinner. Then she didn't want to get back in her booster seat because she had no nap today and was falling apart. She was also soaked because she insisted on a big girl cup, and the kids who were sitting with her gave her a whole cup of drink instead of just a bit....and she spilled it, of course. So the pizzas were finally all baked and out of the oven, and the little kids were done and getting down. It was so cozy in here though, on a chilly rainy evening.....we had only a soft light on and lots of candles. It smelled like Pizzahut in here, with bacon and peppers and pepperoni and black olive pizzas.....Jon and Charlotte Claire, and Sonja helped me make them. The kids all came back to the table for dessert, Nesquick push-pop ice creams. Yum. Then it was over, and the mess! 12 kids, one mom....Joseph did the dishwasher part, I washed pans and counters, the kids got the table cleared and washed....
Snack time after the little kids got in bed, Joseph, 18, Aaron 16, Mali 15, Sam 14, Margaret 12, and Kathryn 11 were raiding the kitchen for cheese, cold drinks, and apples. And chocolate. I realized very clearly in that moment how lucky I am. Those six kids, all getting along and happy and having a great time together on a Saturday night. My favorite kind of Saturday night, too, rainy and cozy.
The younger girls, on the other hand, have to learn how to get along. Evelyn and Sonja fought about something very important, so important that they had to hit and scratch each other. They were both screaming bloody murder (now that's an expression 'ya don't hear anymore! My mother used to say it...)Suzanne was crying because they were crying, and Jon, who had been all tucked into bed, was all upset and out here crying. So I told Evelyn and Sonja they have NO computer for a week. And everytime they fight from now on, they are going to sit on a chair. It is one thing for sisters to argue and disagree sometimes, but when they get physical about it, and scream like that, no way. I told them they are not going to act like animals in this house. They repented and apologized and I hope they mean it and really work on it....I would rather get them to the place where they can see themselves and work on being good beause they know it is right, rather than me having to get after them so much and have punishments. But alas, it is my job to teach them and guide them and help them choose the good.....

Here is their latest fort from my kitchen window.....I recognize that sheet as a good useful one...hmm.

beautiful day, full of promise....

Jon was so tired last night after a long day at kindergarten and then childrens' choir practice, this is what he did when they got home.... In our school, kindergarten goes all day. They leave at 8:30 and get home after 4pm. That is a long day for a little child. But they go on the track every day, and they get their little naps, and supposedly it is a more leisurely day for them. They do art and music and gym and everything the older kids do. But it tires them out, that is why I am not adverse to keeping them home here and there......

Jon, Charlotte Claire and Camille like playing with Rosie. Rosie is the mom, Jon is the dad, and the girls are the big sister and the baby. They crawl around behind her, they maul her and pet her and climb on her and call her, "Mommy"......and I watch and worry that she will haul off and snap at them....but she hasn't. Although she bites Mali like there is no tomorrow. Just look at Camille in this picture....she is so sweet and affectionate, but such a BRAT! She loves being sung to. Last night she did not want to go to bed, "No want it, night night!", she kept declaring. Then Mirielle offered to sing her a song, and she rushed over and jumped into her arms, saying, "Butterfly, Butterfly", which is what Mirielle sings to her. I sung the Teddy Bear Picnic to her three times in a row this morning, she just melts and hugs and sucks her thumb......but, she is such a monster!!!
They were all in the cage with Rosie.

So now the medium sized kids, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, and Sonja, are out in the way back yard making a fort. I saw a blue sheet structure from the window, and then I saw Kathryn with a lamp that doesn't work anymore. I was planning to take them all to the apple place, but they are having so much fun with their fort, I think I will wait. Fort-making is a wonderful thing.
This morning the kids wanted hot cocoa because it was chilly in here. I was nice and said yes. Then I realized as I cleaned up the mess that they hadn't had breakfast, only the cocoa with marshmallows. The mess Camille made was shocking, even to me. Oh, she wants a big-girl cup, and yes, she will be nice and not make a mess. Okay, to be fair, she doesn't really agree to the terms, she just wants the same cup as the other kids. And because I am nice (and stupid, or blindly hopeful, or just plain naive), I let her have it. After all, a marshmallow in a sippy cup is no fun.....
Anyway, I made eggs and sausage and toast, and omelets with cheese and peppers for Paul and I, and by the time I got out of the kitchen two hours had passed. And I still have to go clean up the second breakfast mess. Abigail took Mali and Margaret shopping, and to get her oil changed. Joseph, Aaron, and Samuel are going to a birthday celebration for their friend soon. So Mirielle might help me clean up. I don't want to call the kids in from their fort to help.
So it is a perfect autumn day. Sun shining, breezy, not too warm, not too cold, (in the sixties), the leaves are starting to turn. Our pear tree is literally heaving under the weight of the pears this year. They have alot of brown spots, but they aren't too bad to eat. Mirielle and I are thinking about baking some pear tarts. Our peach tree is producing small hard peaches that resemble miniture tennis balls. Which is what the kids are using them for. They also have spots. I don't know if we should be spraying them or something. We just planted them, they grew, and bore fruit. Is there more to it? It's funny to think that when we moved here 17 years ago, this was all corn fields, our land was raw brown earth in the midst of those fields. We planted the grass and the trees, and trees planted themselves in the land next to us....time goes by so quickly.
I have been thinking about marriage, and how often they seem to break up these days. Okay, two people fall in love, and get married. They like each other, they love each other, they like to spend time together. So, through the years, the trials come. In each trial, we have a choice. We can blame and be bitter and offended, thus hardening our heart, or we can choose to be good. We can admit that we have sin ourselves, and have mercy on the other. We can choose to be forgiving and overlooking and kind and gentle. These are choices we make in our thoughts. These choices dictate who we become. People who are old and bitter were once sweet innocent babies. They chose to grumble and complain and thus turned out miserable. Marriage is a gift from God. It is worth fighting for. I mean, we are not perfect. Somehow we don't see ourselves, but every single time HE does something or says something, wow. I am SO upset. Why is he so mean? Why can't he ask me first? On and on. To be forgiving and respectful is not just a worthless suffering that only hurts me and suppresses me. No, it is fighting for the marriage, fighting for peace. Fighting that sin in myself reaps peace with those around me. Paul and I have been married for over 25 years, and we still have so much fun together. We are very different people. He tends to be much more responsible and practical than me. But we have been good to each other, and there is a blessing over that. I have a brother who is not with his wife anymore, and they used to hang around with us when we were all young. They were crazy about each other, and had so much fun together. Communication is very important....when you think you know what he is thinking, it is usually wrong, because MEN think DiFFERENTLY than women. Oh, he doesn't love me anymore.....and since this is a family blog, I will not get into this here, but men equate love with different things than women do. I think women like to be talked to and listened to first and foremost. And hugged. is just something I have been thinking of.
I need to do some things, and maybe get the kids out for apple picking...or maybe wait 'til next week if they don't want to leave their fort....oh, the forts they love to build but hate to clean up.

Friday, September 25, 2009

friday night

Rosie and Camille... Charlotte Claire and Camille like to go play in my room, where the things I stock up for birthdays and Christmas are hidden in my closet. Camille found a treasure. I hate to admit it, but I was very busy, and said she could have it. That is not teaching her much, was only $1....

Tonight, there were 17 of us for dinner, everyone but Miss Emily Anne, who is in Norway. We had tacos and taco salad. 24 tacos, and lots of taco salad. It was such a fun dinner table, with Sonja showing us her spelling test and her neat writing, and Jon telling and re-telling the joke from his popsicle stick..and the big kids being very bad, fooling around and laughing. We had a roast the other night after dinner. Most of the younger kids had left the table. The rules of the roast are that each person gets a turn being roasted, and cannot defend him/herself. We also suggest not being too mean. So it went like this: Sam: I don't like when you have to do the dishwasher and you stand there complaining about every drop of food left on every dish, ect. And we go around the table, each person getting to give an exhortation. I didn't like my turn much. Aaron doesn't like it when I get too stressed. The other kids agreed. Ouch. I don't either. I couldn't defend myself, against the rules. The truth hurts. Oh, if I could live my whole life over again, I would be so much more careful about getting upset and mad. I really hate it, and my desire is that I can be patient and good when things get crazy.....

Well, Charlotte Claire and Camille are both in the bathroom, which is not a good thing. Tomorrow, apple picking! I hope I remember the camera!

ah, busy day again!

We were out of milk, Aaron needed contact solution, and we had no fresh veggies left. So off we went. The dollar store was nice today, I got Hot and Spicy cheese-its, Special K granola bars, 6 packs of soft pretzels, 1 lb. bags of frozen berries....all for $1 each. Then to a grocery store we hardly ever go to, Tops. We got fresh burger for $1.49 lb., and some interesting icecream novelties for less than half price. Peaches, peppers, bread, milk....then to Aldi, which has some good deals, like a 2lb container of grapes for $1.58. And the chocolate bars, being German, are pretty good for $1.29 per 5 ounce bar.

So we are home now, and I am glad we got an early start so we have the afternoon home. The two little girls are playing house on the deck. Mali and Aaron came home early from school, they skipped the Pep Rally. They are going to ride their bikes 4 miles down the road to visit their cousins.

I have heard a few comments about a squirrel in Margaret's room, but I didn't take much heed, I thought they just heard noises. Well, the story goes like this: The other day, Margaret saw a dead squirrel in the hall, so she went to get something to clean it up. When she got back, it had disapeared. She thought maybe the cat came along and got it. Well, it was still alive, and she saw it running around her room.....then it was in Abigail and Mali's room. Their solution: put the cat in there, too. First of all, Abigail has allergies, and she also does not like cats. Now the cat is in there, and apparently there are squirrel poops all over. Abigail is going to be so thrilled when she gets home from work today and finds all of this out.

So there is never a dull moment around here. I woke up with a trememdous headache this morning. I think I have something going on with my sinuses. It was pounding so hard I thought I was going to be sick to my stomach. Paul left for work after waking Mirielle to get the kids out the door for me. She apparently thought it was just a dream, because she didn't manage to get up until they were out the headache dulled after a few ibuprofen. So I could function. I really wanted to go back to bed but I couldn't because we needed to go to the store early to be home in time to pick the kids up early from school....So, somehow I got through it. Out the door to school they went, all clean and fed and brushed. But, right as I am typing this I am remembering that I totally forgot to study spelling with Suzanne. Rats. No matter how hard I try, I forget things. I started the school year out all on top of things, with things so in order. Now I am scrambling for socks in the mornings, and forgetting to look at papers....

Our toilets get backed up sometimes. The kids probably put things down there. Maybe they ("they "as in Charlotte Claire) like flushing copious amounts of toilet paper. Perhaps a barette or a matchbox car. Anyways, the toilets were not responding to plunging, and Paul needed to go to work today after taking those sick days last week, so he called our nice niece's husband, who is our nephew, I suppose, Thomas. Thomas is young, but he is hardworking and ambitious, and he has his own business. He so nicely came over today and got things cleaned out. It is so nice to pay someone who is good and kind and honest, and whom you just know isn't ripping you off.

Benjamin is heading for the Navy soon, I think. He went to talk to the recruiter today. He wasn't able to get his college transcripts, so he will have to go in without any rank. The college won't release his records because they say he owes them big money, because he switched colleges, did not register for the spring courses, and was a few days late signing the papers that released him from the dorm room occupancy. The college has a huge waiting list for dorm rooms, as it is a community college with brand new dorms, so they filled his place anyway. But that didn't stop them from demanding that he pay for the room he didn't even stay in for the spring term. Their own rules state that students cannot stay in the dorms if they are not registered full time for classes, which he wasn't, since he transferred schools. They wouldn't listen, won't release his records. Nice, eh?

Anyway, he has some physical limitations due to the boat accident he was in when he was ten, so hopefully he will pass the physical exam, and hopefully he will be able to function with his bum hip. (it sort of pops in and out, but there is nothing that can be done about it).....anyway, if all goes well, he will be joining. I have mixed feelings about it. I am of course sick about it, the thought of my little Benjy going off for so long, so far away, all alone. Then I wonder if he can do it, behave and work hard and get up and do all that is required of him. Then there is the part of me that knows he needs to be more responsible, and hopes this will be good for him. To give him direction and maybe get him into the medical field, where he has wanted to be since he got in the accident when he was ten. But if he is a medic, he will certainly be in combat situations with the Army. Ouch, my soul.

I am thinking to go take a little nap...these headaches just tire me started in the night, and kept me awake. So I will go and get Camille tucked in for a rest, and maybe climb into my nice comfy bed....oh, it sounds so nice.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

quick afternoon post....

I found my camera card. Apparently Mali doesn't have one, so she thought it would be a good idea to borrow mine. Great idea, but then I couldn't take any pictures today. And I would have liked to get a picture today of my sister and I. Because we looked oh-so-funny. Oh my goodness, I have heard the stories of the identical twins who meet for lunch and have the same kind of dress on, and had no idea each other even had that dress, ect. Well, today my sister picked me up, and when I climbed into her minivan, she was laughing her head off...yes, we had on the same exact shirts. I may have been vaguely aware that she had one like mine, after I got in the van I sort of remembered that she wore it before. But as I put mine on this morning, it did not even cross my mind. Since we were of course running late, there wasn't even the question of me going in and off we went, to the church mass, in identical shirts.

My brother thought it was hilarious. He introduced us to his relatives, "These are my sisters, the girls with the matching shirts..." I had sort of hoped no one would notice, ha. I felt like such an IDIOT!

After the mass, we went to visit Uncle Jerry but he was at dialysis. I had thought he was on a Monday/Wed. schedule, but he wasn't there. Rats. We brought him a bacon cheeseburger and a small order of fries. We left the treat with the receptionist with a note, hopefully we will get back there soon for a real visit.

We then went to our favorite bakery (everyone has a favorite bakery, right?), the one that smells like I am certain heaven must smell. It is a treat for the eyes, too. Chocolate cream pies and cakes and halfmoon cookies, cannoli and turnovers and pastries....they all look so good. The donuts there are only $6 a dozen, they are huge and fresh and yummy. Mirielle tried a chocolate chip cannoli today, and was pretty impressed. I forgot to sneak a bite. Then we went to Dunkin Donuts for some coffee to go with our donuts. Then a stop in Target. Ha, a stop. My sister and I together are so slow we go backwards. In no particular hurry, that is us. We looked and we talked and we fooled around and laughed and walked around and found bargains. I got backpacks for next year for 75% off, some school supplies for 75% off, a nice rug for in front of the sink, $9.98 instead of $39.98.....some flip-flops for the kids for 75% off, some nice baskets for their room, all hidden away for Christmas. It was really really fun, especially because Mirielle came along, and two of my sister's girls, Becky, who is 24, and Janet, who is 19 (she is only 18 days younger than Mirielle, and they are best friends)......

So now I am home and I am going to give these kids a bowl of cereal for dinner, I think. They polished off the donuts pretty fast, what was I thinking buying one dozen? Oh well. They aren't good for us anyway.

Tonight is Open House at the elementary school. Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, and Jonathan are in elementary school. So we have to leave in an hour or so to go to that. It looks like the girls all need their hair brushed again, and they have changed out of their school clothes. So I had better get moving, again....

leave my stuff alone already!

I haven't come out and said that, but....I just got my camera, thought I'd load some pictures..and: ta-da! No memory card. So I felt the little place where I was sure it would be in the side of my laptop. No memory card. The older kids are already headed to school, the younger kids have no idea where it is.

This morning I have no time to sit here blogging. My sister is picking Mirielle and I up in less than a half hour. We are going to mass for my brother's mother-in-law, who died last week. This brother is my younger brother, Casey. He has been hard hit by the passing of our parents. He lives five miles down the road from where they lived, and he was close to them, especially our mom. So I think losing his wife's mom is bringing back alot of memories. It is just a hard thing to deal with, so my sister and I thought it would be nice to go to the services.

After the mass, we are going to visit our Uncle Jerry. He is my father's younger brother. My dad had 11 brothers and sisters, some have died. I worked with Jerry's wife, M., several years ago when I was first married, for a year, in an insurance agency. I got very close to her that year. Well, two years after I worked there, she ended up dead. My uncle was charged with her murder. Apparently there was drinking and jealousy and a strangling. Horrible. My poor father was pretty upset. I mean, who wants to see their brother commit such a crime, and be sent to prison? My dad was the one who visited Jerry through the years, brought him money and ciggarettes. Jerry got out of prison a few years back, and now is doing very poorly. His son has never spoken to him all these years, and he has no one, nowt hat my father is gone. Jerry is in a nursing home on kidney dialysis. So, in honor of our father, my sister and I are going to visit Uncle Jerry. I just feel so sorry for him. I know from working with my aunt that they loved each other and had tons of fun together. Then at 36, she was gone. I am sure if he could go back and re-live that awful day, he wouldn't have done it. His anger won that day, and he has suffered his whole life for it.

So, I need to be brushing my long tangly hair and polishing up my shoes.....I have not worn anything but sandals and sneakers since like April....

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

17 under the roof

It was so good to welcome Joseph home last night. His flight was right on time, and there he was, with his guitar on his back. When he got in the van, it was like he was never gone at all.

Our plan to surprise Joseph with a cheeseburger when he got in the van failed miserably, well not miserably, hilariously. We chose the McDonald's drive-through. We were greeted by a friendly voice, asking if we wanted to try some sort of hot drink. No, thank you, I said, and I proceeded to give her our order, which had gone from one cheesburger for Joseph to 3 hotfudge sundaes, two orders of fries (one for Joseph, one for Kathryn, Mirielle and I may snitch a frie, but we NEVER order our own), and one cheesburger. After my order, nothing. The screen was blank. Hmm. Did it not work? And the lady wasn't telling me my total. So I drove around to the first window, the lady was not there. I honked. It was SO loud. Then a girl came over, opened the window, and told us they were closed....why then did the lady take my order, I asked? "Oh,"said the girl, "that was just a recording..." Okay. Needless to say, we laughed our way out of there. After we got Joe, we went to Tim Horten's and got a few Timbits. I actually had a coffee at midnight, which helped me to stay up 'til 2:30 catching up with Joseph with Mirielle.....I still fell asleep right away. But the night was short! And, I was a good girl and had only two Timbits. The kids were pretty happy to have them this morning. 40 seems like a lot until we get them home.

Today: laundry. There is a huge load in the dryer, the kind of load that needs hanging up. All nice lights, little girls' clothes. There is a load in the washer, too. And a wet load on top of the washer that needs drying. And the hampers are full, and there is a pile of bedding waiting it's turn. There is no way around it, just through it.

The kitchen doesn't look like a bomb went off in there, just maybe some firecrackers. Some idiot made tons and tons of stovetop popcorn, and a batch of kettlecorn on a school night. But I wanted some, and the kids had an early dinner. And their friend Delandie was over. So all the popcorn takes lots of bowls, and lots of cups for drinks, and the pan is dirty on the stove, although I did put some water in it because I slightly burned the kettle corn. Oh well. I probably will never learn. It would have been perhaps wiser to clean it all up last night, but last night it was fun to sit in the living room with the kids.

I need to do some serious sock matching around here, too. My laundry room is getting away from me again. Charlotte Claire thinks the best way to find undies is to empty the whole basket on the floor, and leave them there. The older kids keep their clothes in their rooms, but for the younger ones, I just keep their stuff in the laundry room. Baskets for undies and socks and playclothes. I hang up all the school clothes and bye-bye clothes. The room is lined with hampers of dirty clothes, all sorted by whites, lights, darks, towels, socks, ect. When I go in there, they all scream at me to go first.

I guess the whole laundry problem is like everything else around here. I do it because it is part of the job, and I do like the kids to be clean and neat. But to me, the best part of the job is the kids and talking to them and being with them and doing fun things. I wish I had a housekeeper. Oh, once in a while I get satisfaction from cleaning the bathroom sparkling clean, but when I go in there two hours later and see the toothpaste in the sink and the liquid soap squirted all over the counter, and the dirty undies on the floor, with maybe one lone just doesn't last. And I don't seem to have it in me to jump right back in and do it again.....the living room is one room I love to have clean and neat. But the natural order of things is against me. Books somehow belong on the floor, and always a hanger or two, and a stuffed animal. And a towel. And the FisherPrice battery operated piano is out now....and the waffletown. And since Jon was home a few days from school, his train set. They are picked up in the bins right now, but until they get safely back on the toy shelf, they are bound to get dumped again. There are always a few blankets out here, too. It doesn't take long to pick it up and sweep every day.....but....I would still like a housekeeper. I can get the kids to all pitch in sometimes, but honestly, when they spend so many hours in school and have so little free time, I don't like to hog it all with chores. But today might be a good day for a surprise chore list. The surprise chore list gets a whole load of things done in one half hour. hmm. They HATE when I show them that list, but they all admit they like the results.

Well, since I have no schedule at all, today is a blank slate. I will probably of course do laundry and clean the living room, and maybe go in and pick up the other bedrooms. And maybe I'll pick up the dishes box that Rosie shredded all over the deck. She likes to tear things into shreds. Which makes the deck look extra wonderful these days. Oh well....

I am starting to come to terms with the the realization that Camille might be the last baby. As much as I hate it. I really really want another baby. My arms actually ache for a baby. As busy as it is around here, it seems so easy without a little nursing baby. For all these years, I have always had a baby AND a toddler,and at times it was seemingly impossible. Camille is getting more independant, and I actually have time in which I can decide what I want to do next, instead of just being constantly busy with a baby, then everything else. Now, I am happy with my life and the kids and Paul, but I would like just one more. How crazy is that?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

back from the doctor

Margaret's face was so swollen, she couldn't see. The dr. gave her an antibiotic for her cough, and some prednisone for the allergic reaction. He thought maybe the same germ that gave her bronchitis may have caused the rash on her face. hmm. I don't know, but she looks better already.

We had almost no milk left at home, and no fresh fruits or veggies, so Margaret was okay with stopping at the store after the dr. appt. I just quickly got some bananas and apples and carrots and lettuce and bread and burger and paper towels and cookies and milk and a new fan (it is a good time to replace fans, summer clearance).....
Tonight, we played restaurant. I stood at the counter with some leftovers, and let the kids choose what they wanted on their plate, then I warmed it for them. But we ran out, so 3 of the older girls, and Aaron, are having grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.
Well, we have to go to the airport tonight, and I have clothes in the dryer, and clothes to get out for tomorrow for the school kids.....

off to the dr we go...

I have to call the dr for Margaret. Her face is so swollen she can't see. She wants to take more Benedryl, but I want to make the appointment first. I don't want to have to drag a half-sleeping 12 year old. If I can't get in 'til later, then I'll give her more Benedryl.

Today I have Margaret, Kathryn, Sonja, and Jonathan home from school. Charlotte Claire and Camille are up now, and just the older ones have had breakfast. The little girls had their orange juice though.

We had a nice meal of spaghetti and garlic bread last night, and the boy who was supposed to wash the pans never got to it. Do I leave them all day for him? After all, he was doing homework. And I cannot stand dirty pans sitting around. Maybe I'll just wash them and remind him next time to do it when I say, NOT "Later, Mom".....

It is a nice warm cloudy day. I really like the coziness of a cloudy day. It is so much better to be in the house doing general picking up and cleaning and taking care of the kids when it is cloudy. Sunshine demands that I go out in it, and causes me some discontent. Yes, I know the discontent is not really the sun's fault. But anyway, I enjoy the cloudy weather. When Charlotte Claire got out of bed this morning, she asked, "Mommy, is it going to kno today?" No honey, no snow yet, I hope.

Mirielle and I are going to pick Joseph up at the airport tonight at midnight! I am thinking of asking her if we should go early and go to the store to get something for a nice meal to make for Joe tomorrow night, as I don't think he'll like going to the store after his long flight. He has been gone since the end of June. He might go back for a year if he gets his work visa, but I don't know his plans yet. Whatever he decides is fine, but between you and me, I would rather have him here, thank you. But then that is just me and my selfishness. I really want what ever is best for him.

Camille is having a tantrum....time to go.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I should be in bed.....

But sometimes the tireder (now, I know that is not a word, but it should be) I am, the longer I stay up. It is relatively quiet. Camille and Charlotte Claire are in bed, Paul went to bed, all the kids except for Aaron and Mirielle, who are working on one of Aaron's school papers...and Evelyn who just came out to tell us that their fan burned out. In our house, that is cause for a sleepless night. We have fans in every room. That is why the kids sleep so well, they don't have to hear each other sniff and snore. Anyway, Mirielle gave her one from her room. Margaret is sleeping, and probably won't wake up without the fan because she took Benedryl tonight before bed. She has a strange rash on her face, looks like a reaction to the sun. It looks sort of like a bad sunburn that got swollen and itchy. Tomorrow it looks like I'll be taking her to the dr.

Rosie is still up, too. She is annoying, but I just love her to pieces. She is big and clumsy and beggy (is that a word?) and intrusive. But I truly love her. She is very high-strung and needy and high-maintenance. But, I love her. Good thing. And, I have been tempted to put her on craigslist a few times.

I have been looking at vacation packages!! Paul and I never went on a honeymoon. We got married on a Friday night, went to a nearby city to a Holiday Inn, then the next night in a different city to a RedRoof Inn....then back in time for church....oh, we were idiots, going to church that Sunday. And back to work on Monday for both of us. Ten months later we had newborn Emily, our own used mobile home, over $500 a month in college loans, Paul working a rather low paying job, and me at home with the baby...oh, but what bliss. Seriously. Anyways, we have gone on a few trips through the years, but through his work. A few days in Florida with Joseph as a baby, a few days in Washington D.C. (at the Grand Hyatt, which was beautiful) when I was 6 months pregnant for Ben...but Paul had meetings and classes, so it didn't really count...although I did enjoy myself....then one trip to Norway with my mom, and 4month old baby Mali. Nice, but certainly no honeymoon. And we have gone on weekends away through the years. Which is a very good thing to do. Mom and Dad have to be wife and husband, not just mom and dad. Anyanyanyway, we are going on vacation this fall. Only for five nights, but we are thinking Jamaica. White sandy beaches at an all-inclusive resort. Honestly, if we won the lottery or a free trip for the whole family, I would rather bring all the kids. I would love to see them enjoy it. The whole time we're there, we will both be thinking and saying how much Mirielle would like the beach, and Aaron the hammocks, and Joseph the sunsets....and Jon the boats, and Sonja the desserts....oh, it will be sort of torture. But we really can use a bit of time alone, and it sounds so nice. We never did really camp this summer, just those nights at our church conference, with the days full of responsibility and busy-ness. I went to the beach with the kids several times, but Paul never came with us this year, not even once. Poor guy. Anyway, we are still looking. It is hard to figure out where to go just from pictures on the computer. If anyone out there who reads this has any experience in Carribean vacations, let me know.

I have to put Miss Rosie-the-crayon-eater in her cage. We have a ritual, I give her a few treats and a handful of ice cubes everynight. I figure she gets thirsty after her treats, and I can't give her water in there, or she'll spill it for sure.....she is a big spoiled baby. I ask her if she wants to go in her cage, and she walks towards it happily. It keeps her out of trouble in the night. I don't call it a crate, that is a name for people who don't like to say they put their pets in cages. Makes them feel better to say "crate".....oh, I better get the kids' clothes out and get in bed before I fall asleep right here....besides, I need some good sleep because:::::Tomorrow night I go get my son Joseph from the airport! He is coming home from Norway!!! Yay!!!

well, I HAD to go to the bathroom...

I tried to sneak. I just don't always want company. So I gave them each a piece of Mirielle's yummy cake, and off I went. When I came back, Camille and Charlotte Claire were stuffing their frosting covered hands into their mouths....and Jon was telling them to stop. Poor sweet boy who doesn't feel well.....the look on his face says, "Mom, I told them not to..."
Ooh, yum.
Poor Mirielle when she got up and saw her cake....

6 kids went to school

Camille likes Rosie....Rosie likes Camille. Camille is the source of yummy things for Rosie. She feeds Rosie chips, and is an easy target if she has a pretzel or something. Camille hugs Rosie, and pats her hard on the head. I have to watch and make sure Rosie doesn't bite Camille. Camille likes to wear her froggy boots.

Jon has a fever and feels awful.

Margaret, Kathryn, and Jonathan stayed home today....the girls seem to be coming down with the headache we have had. They are also probably tired out from such a big weekend.

Here is the cake Mirielle made last night. She uses alot of chocolate in her baking. We buy the huge bags of Nestle chips from BJ's, they were on sale the other day, so I picked up three. Three 72 ounce bags. Camille asks for some almost every night, when the other kids go to bed.

Since I am so nice, I let the little girls have some cake before school. I promised them they could have some when they get home instead, but they didn't want to take the chance. I don't blame them.

It is supposed to be sunny and in the high seventies today, just gorgeous. It is chilly this morning, though. It is hard for them to get out of bed when it is so cold in the morning. In the winter, at least the heat is on. Today is the first day of fall....I absolutely love the fall, but there is this thing about it, this threatening-ness, like a foreboding spirit about it....the shadows get long, and when the trees get naked and the wind is eerie. But so beautiful. But hey, I am the one who loves cloudy dark days....
So today is Monday. Catch-up from the weekend day. I did two loads of laundry yesterday, but it is still stacked up pretty high. The bedding alone is several loads. And sitting here writing about it isn't getting it done.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

jonny's staying home tomorrow....

He is still feeling awful...he has a headache and a slight fever. I feel bad for him, but I am glad he is staying home tomorrow. I don't have to wake him up and drag him out of bed. He really really likes school alot, Mr. Jonathan. He is especially fond of the long bus ride, dreaded and hated by his siblings. Jon says the bus driver doesn't put the bus into "park" when he lets people on and off, he just puts his foot on the brake. Good to know, Jon.

Paul's mother came over this afternoon, unexpectedly. If she called before she came, I would have cleaned up twenty or thirty things quick, and it would have looked okay in here. But instead, ouch. We have had a super busy weekend, gone all day yesterday, and I got up this morning and went to the church soccer tournament, day #2, with Camille, Charlotte Claire, Sonja, Suzanne, Evelyn, and Abigail. Mirille had already taken Samuel, Margaret, and Kathryn out there. I sold candy and helped my brother Bob with the grill. The kids lost their game, again. But they had tons of fun. When I got home this afternoon, I actually took a nap. I had stayed up sooo late last night, I was just worn out. I woke up from my nap with a wicked headache. So things were obviously piling up around here, but when the old head is pounding, who cares? Then Rosie started barking, and I went out to quiet her....and there was Gramma, coming up the driveway. Oh, I love her, and love seeing her. But, oh the five minute notice would be nice. The nice thing is, though, Gramma got new dishes and brought me over her old ones. A whole set of Correlleware. Oh, I am such a housewife, because I was truly excited! She brought us a whole stack of Corelle bowls, too!

Abigail's friend Stephanie is over for a visit. The hot tub is cranked up, and Mirielle made a homemade chocolate peanut butter bundt cake, which is baking right now. It smells heavenly. Camille is sitting on one arm of my chair, with,"Go Dog Go", and Jon is dressed in a furry lion suit on the other arm of my chair, all warm and feverish and I have to put this computer away.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I don't feel like writing about today, although it was a good day. Soccer tournaments are always quite nice, except for the spring one this year, when I had the miscarriage. The kids lost all their games, Jonathan doesn't feel well, and I had to leave early.

But that is not what I am thinking of. I am thinking of how the important things in life are so easy to overlook. Sometimes the most important things seem like just interuptions. For example, I have a hard time multi-tasking sometimes. I might be trying to get a few things taken care of, then a child, say Sonja, comes along and tells me about her dream. Uh, Sonja? Can you tell me about this later? I am trying to think. I cannot think about what I am doing and listen at the same time, and we have to leave.....

Later, these things haunt me. I wish I could go back and hug her. With so many kids, I am being talked to and told things continuously, and it doesn't magically stop when I am trying to remember everything we will all need for the day on soccer day. I guess guilt is a mother's best friend, but I still feel guilty. I feel guilty when I am overcome with frustration, and I get snappy. It was interesting this morning, because Evelyn, who is only ten, is already acting teenager-ish. The whole stomp down the hall thing. The everyone-is-so-mean-to-me attitude. And I don't intend to let it go. So I call her back out. While I am brushing Charlotte Claire's hair. Aaron was sitting on the couch, and he whispers, "Don't take it out on her (C.Claire), Mom" Wisdom from the 16 year old. Because I noticed that yes, I was brushing too roughly. Thank you Aaron. There is so much to learn in the day, so much much more patience needed to help things run smoothly. Yes, it all seems to fall on me. But God has made it that way. "He has granted us all things pertaining to life and godliness..."(2 Peter).....

It can be so easy to see how others should be. How they should be nicer to their kids, or more helpful, or more respectful. But what I can't see so clearly is how I am. And I do want to see. I want to be more interested in that, so I can be purified. I don't want to be rich and satisfied with myself. So whether I call it guilt, or judgement, or whatever, I am thankful to God for those afterthoughts.

I had the thought the other day, " I am way nice to Paul than he is to me." Then I thought a bit more, and came to the conclusion that I just don't see it, how I am to him. And I started paying more attention, and sure enough, I can be a witch with a capital B without much effort. ouch. And upon more consideration, he is also very very good to me. (he is just not a woman, so he doesn't like to talk things to death, like I do. He thinks, "I don't know." is a good answer. He thinks , "Whatever." is a good answer. Not because he doesn't like me, that is just him.)

Well, I am rambling on and on....Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille are all tucked in to bed, and the older kids are all still out at it is just Paul and I.....time to put away the computer and talk....

Friday, September 18, 2009

emergency room.....but she's okay.

Camille dislocated her elbow. I am not good in these situations. I felt so sorry for her I started crying. Poor sweetie....I thought it was a broken wrist the way she was holding the arm...she was hysterical when she moved the arm at all...the bad thing is that today we went shopping at three stores, and she only napped a bit in the van, and was a big fuss this afternoon. She would cry about everything, and wouldn't go to sleep in her nice little bed, I tried twice. Her arm wasn't hurt then, she was just tired. Then the girls took her outside while I did got dinner ready. Next thing I know, it is dinner time, and she just wouldn't stop crying. Apparently she had fallen on the trampoline. Mirielle said she thought something was wrong with her arm, so I took her out to the living room to hold her while the others ate dinner. It seemed like a broken arm or wrist.... Mali volunteered to go to the hospital with me. We broke the law and had Mali hold her in the back seat of the minivan.
I think she was almost going to go to sleep here....Mali's arms were getting tired, because if she moved Camille, Camille would cry....

Anyway, the doctor was so calm cool and collected as she manuvered the arm back into place. She then offered Camille a popsicle, which she held her hand out to accept. Just like magic. I was going to call this post "The Fifty Dollar Popsicle"..., the co-pay. So, just another reminder to always keep your hair clean and your kids dressed cute, 'cause you never know.
So the lemon-pepper marinated baked in seasoned breadcrumbs chicken breast with fresh sweet corn dinner I made was enjoyed by all, all but Mali, Camille, and I. They nicely saved us some.
Well, another busy day here in busy town. (Richard Scarry)