summer 2011

summer 2011

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

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

Saturday, October 31, 2009

happy halloween!!!

I am so stupid. So very very stupid. I have had this cold/flu thing, and probably should have gone to the dr. Especially because one of my eyes has been red and gunky. In my brilliance, I found some anti-biotic ointment in the medicine cupboard - it was expired. I cannot tell you the date, it is too embarrassing. Okay, I will. 2004. But I thought -well-, I didn't really think....and I used some. At first it seemed to help. Then I woke up in the night last night and it was much much worse. I look scary. My eyelid is all swollen, and my eye is red and yucky. So....I called my dr. just to see if possibly he had some Saturday hours. No such luck. Since it is Halloween and I want to be able to take the kids trick-or-treating tonight, I am going to take myself to urgent care and pay the fifty bucks to get my eye taken care of. I think I have a sinus infection too, my face hurts and ....never mind. enough details about this.

Jonathan is all excited because the 2009 Hess Truck is coming out soon and the picture of it came out today online. His Gramma buys him one every year. Samuel used to be the recipient, and now Jon regrets all the tires he chewed of Sam's collection. Yes, Jon used to be a tire chewer. Hess trucks do not just sit on shelves here, no sir, they get played with. Jon is a consistent battery juggler, he has access to Paul's tools, and knows just the right screwdriver he needs. He needs more "C" batteries for something, and is on the I told him maybe I would stop at the dollar store and get him some.

I wish I had taken pictures of all the kids last night. Jonathan was a knight, Suzanne was a princess with a dress I had gotten at the Salvation Army store for $3.50, and pinned and tucked.....she had black gloves and high heels, and she looked like a First Lady. Sonja was Little Red Riding Hood, with ribbons on her pony tails, she looked sweet. Kathryn was a pirate. The older ones seemed to be helping so much they didn't end up dressing up.

And Paul is right, I should get going instead of sitting here doing I go. Am I the only one who absolutely dreads going to the doctors?

Friday, October 30, 2009

friday fall feast fun....

Camille as a princess....she was so excited about wearing this! (Thank you, Kim. C.!)
Charlotte Claire and Camille...and that lady in the background with the tatoo on her hand...she is their mom, and also a hippie/motorcycle mama.

They were excited about dressing up but a bit bewildered to see everyone else who was dressed up. There were no scary costumes though.

Suzanne outside....

Mali with Charlotte Claire....

Charlotte Claire and Rosie-the-dog with Barney.

The kids came home with their candy bags, all ready to dump them and play...but it was after ten o'clock, and they needed to go to bed. I had a busy busy day. I went with Abigail to pick up some hats for our concession stand fund raiser at the Carrier Dome. Then we went to buy some sweet little outfits for a friend who is having her first baby. I also found myself a top, a blouse, and a dress for a total of twenty something dollars. Then we went to BJ's to get some things for the feast, and to Walmart to get 24 pizza doughs for the feast. To the bank, to TimHortens, and home again...with not much time to spare to get out the door with all the kids dressed in their costumes.. I made 4 cookies 'n cream cheesecakes with real whipped cream topping while Aaron and Margaret made a homemade layer cake with chocolate fudge topping. We somehow got out the door on time, well, almost on time.
And now it is certainly was worth it.
And tomorrow it Trick Or Treating!!! It is so much fun to go with the kids! I can't wait....I don't think I have ever grown up.

friday school skippers, and mexico!

Seven kids are here right now, in the kitchen and living room. Camille is still sleeping, Samuel and Mali are sleeping (I don't know about Sam, but Mali wasn't feeling well yesterday, Abigail had to go pick her up yesterday. Then Abigail left for Stephanie's house (she nicely brought both little girls with her), and the nurse called again for Evelyn...she had a low-grade fever. I got Benjamin to go get her, then the nurse called yet again, and said Suzanne was in Ben got her, too...)

So I told them they could all stay home today. In fact, the school doesn't want the to come back until they are fever free for 24 hours. Suze didn't have a fever, she was shivering because her class had a pool party, and she seems fine now. She likes going to the nurse. But Evelyn...she has a fever, and looks awful. I woke up this morning to several girls shrieking and screaming because Evelyn coughed and gagged and - and I will stop here, but the other girls did not like it one little bit. I told her she should try to head to the bathroom, but ...jeepers. Her sisters need to control themselves, the poor girl is sick. And, I decided I don't want to be a nurse.

Jonathan and Sonja could have gone today, but I told them they could skip. After all, they are having a Halloween parade, most parents go and watch and then drive their kids home. So....

It doesn't look good for all of us to go tonight....oh well. I can stay with Evelyn. And Mali.

The worst thing about this cold/flu or whatever I have is that I cannot smell anything, or taste anything. My coffee is good because it is hot and feels nice in my throat, but I can't taste it. The good thing is that I have no appetite at all. Nothing much sounds good. I don't think I would want it to always be this way though. Last night Joseph put 4 or 5 single serving pizzas in the oven. They had gone to cleaning, and had eaten just a quick bit of dinner. So he brought one to me, with a knife and fork. Wow. I shared with Paul while we looked at vacation places.....but I couldn't even taste it.

So we are thinking Mexico. The resorts we liked in Jamaica are pretty booked, the cheaper rooms anyway. Cancun, the coast of Mexico, very pretty beaches, and some of the places there are magnificent. We found two that we really like that have excellent reviews. Room service, beach waiters, all meals at nice restaurants included with no reservations. That was a big deciding factor for us, the reservation thing. In the reviews we read, some places had people getting up at 6:30 am to make them....and some people never got into the nice ones. That sounds like a major headache to me. Anyway, someone pinch me. This paragraph seems like something I would be reading on someone else's blog, not writing on my own. I cannot believe we are actually going.

The girls are picking up the living room so they can go outside to play. It is cool and cloudy and damp and windy, but it appeals to them. I asked them to please not get all wet and muddy. The washing machine has been flashing "F20" too much to accomplish much laundry. I realize that if I don't want them to get wet and muddy, I should make them stay in the house, but.....when I was little, we alway got to go out and play. Granted, there were seven of us, and mostly just Casey and I getting all muddy.....

Well.....things to sick day was nice yesterday....Abigail took the girls to Stephanie's house with her and I totally relaxed. Except for the calls from the nurse. And the girls coming in sick. But I had a nice cold glass of apple juice and a handful of almonds, and looked at vacation was nice. Now I need to snap to it and get moving.....

Thursday, October 29, 2009

sick me and life goes on....

and I see a huge load of clean clothes thrown in a laundry basket. If you know me at all, you know that will drive me crazy until I hang it all up. I like to take care of things as they come out of the dryer so they don't get all wrinkled. I especially like to take things out when they are half dry to hang, so they last longer and look nicer. But that doesn't always happen.

I have this cold, or is it the flu, the dreaded swine flu? If so, what was that awful flu I had last month when Paul missed almost a week of work? Does it have part one and part two? I have no idea. I just know I have a cough and am stuffy and miserable (physically, not mentally). Last night I started with a headache that ended up being the worst headache of my life, and I have had some migraines that I would have liked to die during. This headach was like a visegrip on my skull, and I was almost sick to my stomach from the pain. I took two ibuprofen, two more an hour later, then two acetominophen with decongestant. I went to bed, and if I so much as moved a muscle, it finally disapated....and now I am just plain ordinary sick. I never want to have a headache like that again. It was horrible. If I didn't have the stuffiness with it, I would have thought it was a stroke or anyurism or something. But my face and sinuses are painful, and my ears, and so on....and I am not complaining, or am I? hm...I am just thankful that the headache is gone. I always feel wrung out after a headache, and today is no exception. I just don't care about anything...wait, except for that laundry. Oh, and I would like to sweep the floor...but I won't .

Abigail got up and sent the kids to school this morning for me and she said they were excellent. I will have to praise them when they get home.

I am really hoping I am better enough to go to the fall feast tomorrow night. I am worse than a little kid.

Mirielle called me this morning. It was great to hear from her, and she should be home by Thanksgiving. Yay! I am glad she is helping the family she is with though. The mom gets to rest and get back on her feet. That is such a wonderful thing when you have a newborn and other kids to take care of. I remember one of my babies, I can't remember which one now, I think maybe Jonathan, or maybe Sonja, I didn't have any help at all after the first few days that Paul took off from work, and I had some of the kids skip school here and there to help me, but I never got to sleep in or rest up. That is tough. In my experience, if mommy can rest up lots for at least the first week, the recovery, both physically and mentally goes better.

When I was talking to Mirielle, she picked up the newborn. I could hear him making those sweet little noises, and Mirielle said he was smiling at her. Oh, joy. I asked her if I could have him. ha.

Poor Sam was worried about me last night, and as I got into bed I prayed that God would bless him and comfort him. When I was sitting here with my eyes closed, I could hear him telling everyone about his band teacher's son going to the hospital for the flu, and how people could get really really sick, and he kept telling daddy that maybe mommy was really really sick....and I couldn't even tell him I was okay, because my head hurt too badly to talk....he was already in bed when I got up to go to bed....and he was gone to school by the time I got up. Poor kid. I can worry about them, but they cannot worry about me.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I survived a trip out and about...barely

Abigail and I took Charlotte Claire and Camille bye-bye today. Against my better judgement. Then, I guess I don't have any better judgement. So we dropped off some movies at B.Buster, then went to the Salvation Army store because Wednesday is 50% off day. Abigail got some cool costume items, and I got some books for the kids, and two pairs of snowpants. We made a quick trip through the drive-through at TimHortens because a large coffee on a chilly rainy day for a sick mama is just the thing. I also got some Timbits for the kids. ha, for the kids. I DID share. Then we went to BJ's, bought diapers, candy for Friday night, confectioners sugar and shortening, and three gallons of milk for $1.58 a gallon. It adds up so quickly there!

Then I ran into the dollar store while Abigail waited in the van with the little girls. They had had enough! I got some apple juice, some Hershey's kisses for Sam who has been wanting some, some fairy wings for Suzanne for Halloween, some cupcake papers, and some "C" batteries for Jonathan the battery boy.

We called home from BJ's and had Joseph put the chickens in the oven, and I put in the potatoes when I got home. I don't feel well, and cannot make myself cut up the squash. Just can't.

Okay, time for me to write one thing about each of the kids:

Emily Anne, 24 : I think Emily is taking a little trip to England right now. What a lucky girl. She is coming home from Norway in like 7 weeks, and I can't wait!!!

Abigail Marie, 22: Since Abigail lost her job, or should we say Got Fired, or is layed off better?, anyway, she has been home with me, which is wonder-wonder-wonderful, but I feel bad for her. She is looking for another job.

Benjamin Paul, 20: uncertain about joining the Navy because of a hip injury from long ago which will always plague him, according to the orthopaedic dr. (Ben fell off the front of a party boat when he was ten, went under the middle of the boat, and hit the propeller. The propeller hitting his hipbone was lifesaving (as opposed to hitting his tummy or his spine)....but his hip took a beating. He had 106 stitches....) He went to orientation today to be a door to door vacuum cleaner salesman. With this in mind, if any handsome young man comes to your door, at least be nice to him. He is someone's dear beloved son!

Mirielle Joy, 19: She is still in Connecticut. She should be home pretty soon, which isn't soon enough for me. I miss her.

Joseph Michael, 18: He has been sick. He wants to go to art school. He is also nice to have around these days. He is so easy going and gentle of heart and kind and funny. He also can play the guitar quite well.

Aaron Royce, 16: He is in eleventh grade, an excellent student, and he is sick today.

Mali Rose, 15: She keeps busy writing and taking walks and she eats healthily. She is funny and sweet and sometimes seems years beyond 15.

Samuel James, 14: Sam....he is such a dear. He is helpful and sincere but he likes to argue.....and I try try try not to argue with him.

Margaret Cheryl, 12: She is really growing up lately. She can be difficult, but she knows how to humble herself and say she's sorry, and she has a soft heart and can be SO helpful when she wants to be. She is also very talented on the piano.

Kathryn Grace, 11: She is still under youth age, so she is around alot, and she is very sincere and helpful, and can be a peacemaker. She is smart and diligent with her homework. She likes music and she likes to sing.

Evelyn Joy, 10: Evelyn is the drama queen of the girls. She is the middle child of the five-little-girls-in-a-row-in-five-years. She sometimes is friends with Kathryn, but sometimes Suzanne. She stomps off at the drop of a pin, and it is rarely her fault. But she can be very responsible and loving and helpful with the little ones.

Suzanne Eleanor, 8: Suze is a sweetie. She loves to draw and write notes and lists. She likes to clean the bathroom, and she does awful on her spelling tests. She still likes to play dolls and store and house.

Sonja Kathleen, 7: Sonja is like a sweet little puppy, she just thrives with attention. She likes to follow me around, too. She still likes playing pretend, and she does fantastically in school. She still likes to cry like a baby sometimes, according to her brothers, who affectionately call her, "Ginger", because of her red hair.

Jonathan Robert, 5: This guy is smart. He knows that cars drive on the "wrong" side of the road in England, and he knows more makes and models of cars than I do. He understands numbers and concepts and is sounding out words. He loves playing house, and it is not unusual for him to be the mom walking around in a pair of his sister's heels.

Charlotte Claire, 3: She has been playing dollies lately. She has ben much better about getting into things during the day, although her and Camille did cover themselves in someone's pink lip gel today. But she promised she would never do it again. And she says it SO sincerely. I almost believe her.

Camille, almost two: My baby. Where does the time go? She is learning how to talk, and she is so sweet and cute and she is also sick, but getting better. When the little ones are sick, they can be clingy and cry-ey, and I wonder where my good-natured little child went. She cries so easily these days, I can't wait 'til she gets better.

And right here, I should be writing about the baby....I was due to have number 17 in November. Oh well. Actually he/she would be #18, because of baby Robert, but that is another story that has already been told....(he was stillborn, between Sonja and Jonathan)....

Oh, there is also Rosie the dog.....KittenForce and General Thunder, sister and brother cats, and Chinchy, the Chinchilla.

And the reason I sit here is because the roasted chicken is almost done roasting and I have to go and serve dinner and I don't feel like it but I will do it anyway. Because I am the mom.

rainy cozy wednesday morning...

I am itching to go out and about today. Even though I am congested and feel tired and lousy. (that isn't a complaint, just stating a fact. ha.) It is pouring rain and dark and I love it. Charlotte Claire says her dolly likes the rain, too.

I had a heck of a time getting the kids out the door this morning. It brings out the bear in me, but that isn't their fault. I am thankful that I know that, but I still have to be awake to that fact when they are being defiant or moving sooo slowwlly because they probably are hoping to miss the bus. Or when Jonathan thinks it is nice to wait out in the rain even though I told him not to. hmm.

The house....the laundry....the floors....the sorting. ugh. But I realized this morning that I am thankful that it bothers me as much as it does, or it wouldn't get done at all. Last night I had the boys clean up after supper since the girls had to leave for girls' night. And I felt like I had to crack the whip....come back in here boys, yes the table is cleared, but you did not wash it! And the pans sitting here have to be washed!!! Come on boys, get back in here. Ben, Aaron, and Sam finally had it cleaned up. Joseph was so sick he did not eat dinner. I guess he had only had three cookies the whole day, but he was drinking water and juice. He just plain feels lousy.

I went into the laundry room after dinner to sort things. Sometimes when I take a load out of the dryer, things are going on and I end up making piles in there....and I don't want to end up with an unorganized mess like before, so I need to take time to go in there and sort things. I actually enjoy doing that, and having the clothes in order. I have noticed that having a two year old as the youngest and no nursing baby means more time and more things are getting done around here. But wah, I would take a baby any day over an organized room. I had dreams about babies last night. I want someone to just call me and say, "We have this newborn here, can you come get her/him?".....

Charlotte Claire is the only one up and she has a whole slew of baby dolls she is taking care of. She is in her own little world, talking to them. It is so cute, even if she IS using all of Camille's diapers.

I lost my BJ's coupon book, rats. I was going to go there and buy Nestle chocolate chips, and some other baking things. And some candy for Friday night, the fall feast (Halloween Party) at church. There is a dessert contest, and though I don't care a bit about winning or losing, it is fun to bring something decent. I wish I had all the time in the world to create something cool, but I'll do what I can. I have some ideas...

Oh, our water situation: it hasn't improved much. Paul says there is alot of pressure at the tank but something happens down the line and by the time it gets to the faucet, blah. Something like that. So we need it fixed. Still. He was glad to see the pressure switch, which was replaced, wasn't totally ruined by our hard water. Anyway, we are going to have Thomas or someone else look at it soon....we didn't make much progress, but ruling things out is good. seems like a good day for baking. I love how thankful my kids are when they get home from school and there is something special for them. I also have two chickens to roast today. These days, 79 cents a pound isn't too bad. I have baking potatoes, and three squash, too. I don't know what the future will bring, but we will have a good dinner today. I think. It is interesting how that niggling of worry about the economy, the future, the anxiety that is just there - tries to drag me down. I need to trust God. Not that we can't be smart, and stock up on things, or be careful with money, but that anxiety is straight from hell. If you pardon my French. (does anyone say THAT anymore?) 2 Tim., 1 v7, "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind"....that says to me that if the spirit of fear is not from God...hmm., who is if from? Could it be Satan? Good chance! So I say a resounding NO to that spirit.

And that is my sermon for today. It is another day, and I am alive and kicking. And doing laundry.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

evening again....

Joseph, who is still not feeling very well, and Paul, reading a bedtime story to Jonathan. I love Jon's blanket sleepers.
The picnic table in the middle of the living room looks so fashionably lovely, and it is also a nice cozy place for the kids to create masterpieces. The clothes on the couch in the background are lovely, too. As are the laundry baskets. Suzanne and Sonja spent a good part of their evening here. They colored while they watched, "The Great Pumpkin", or whatever the Charlie Brown movie is called. Sonja wanted to try on her costume. I made this Little Red Riding hood cape years ago, and someone wears it every year, it seems. She was not happy with her outfit for some reason, and wouldn't smile....

I told her I was going to send this to Emily, and she wouldn't want Emily to see her sad face, would she?

So she smiled. And I think she looks cute. Oh, and my sister Cheryl made the apron part years ago.....
Evelyn Joy grilled hot dogs outside tonight, and I made pasta salad with red peppers, cucumbers, and black olives. Then the youth aged girls left for girls fellowship night. Camille is feeling better, but she has cried at least ten times since dinner. Our water is not fixed, but Thomas came today and put in a new pressure switch, and now Paul has a better idea of what is wrong. So hopefully it will get fixed soon.
Abigail, Sonja, Charlotte Claire, Camille, Rosie the dog, and I went for a nice long walk today. Gorgeous, that is what it was. It was 60 degrees, sunny, breezy, and it smelled like leaves. And it looked like leaves, too. We got home and the girls watched Calliou at their picnic table and had strawberry yogurt, pretzels, grapes, and a raisin bagel. With apple juice in sippy cups. Then Camille went in for a nap....and I decided to take one too. I rested and dozed for an hour. It was sweet. I still feel congested, but not flu-y. And just sort of tired from getting up with sweet-pea so much last night again.
All in all, it has been another good day. When I am working around and cleaning up, I find so much to grumble about, and have to constantly be in that battle against it. It isn't my heart to complain, but it is in me nonetheless. But, I have lived another day. Is this not something to be thankful for? After all, no one of has the promise of tomorrow...(not that I am planning on checking out anytime soon!)

the day that the Lord has made....

I reminded my Evelyn that this is that day. The one that the Lord has made, the one we shall be glad and rejoice in. She has no skirts. None. None in that long line of hanging skirts matched the shirt and leggings she had on. Jonathan did not want to go to school, but did want to show his friends his lost tooth. Suzanne says she is skipping tomorrow or Thursday. Evelyn walked out in a pair of jeans, which I object to. I did not want to have a big fuss before she went off to school. I just told her she is not doing it again. This is an area for me that I am getting unsure of. Our girls have always worn skirts to school, and to everywhere. Until the last few years. Mali mostly wears jeans. Margaret always wears skirts. They are getting to the age they can decide for themselves. I know a few of my older girls look back and think wearing the skirts to school preserved them from a lot. I don't know. It would be easier, but easier isn't always right. And in my humble opinion, ha, little girls in skirts and skorts with tights and leggings look loved. They look clean and neat and respectable. Little girls in jeans and tight pants look just wrong to me. I am not saying they are not loved, but they just look that way. Again, just my humble opinion, ha. I don't want to make this a huge issue, up to now, the girls have been fine with this. But winter time comes, they have to wear tights, the tights are hot in school, hot in gym, and I do not want them to suffer unnecessarily. There is just such a spirit in the world, a spirit of growing up too fast for little girls. They wear make-up at younger and younger ages, and have boyfriends, and yuck. My older girls have been able to get through their teen years remaining pure and keeping themselves from these things. I'm sure it hasn't been easy for them, but they have chosen to. I just want to give the younger ones all the help I can to remain free from the snares in this world.

Anyway, Sonja gets another day at home. She is all stuffy, and I really need another day with her. She needs lots of attention to thrive. Today I will go for a walk with her like I wanted to yesterday.

Today someone is coming over to look at the pressure switch on the water tank. Yay! He is my niece's husband. I hope it takes five minutes and costs like fifty bucks. Hey, ya never know!

The house doesn't look quite as bad this morning as it did yesterday morning, but dear me, I do not feel like doing it all again. Last night Benjamin brought Joseph, Aaron, Margaret, Kathryn, and Evelyn to soccer practice and the boys were going to practice something surprise for our fall feast on Friday night. So they did not eat dinner with us. It was just Paul and I, Abigail, Mali, Sam, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille at the table. Camille ate like three bites of lasagna, then ate the butter off her French bread. And asked for more, ate that, and asked for more. I hid the butter after three servings and said it was all gone. A lie for a good cause. She didn't eat anything else, but she drank her ice water. As long as she is drinking alot she should be okay.

Well, the kids who were gone came home and heated up some lasagna (except for Evelyn who had a big bowl of Fruity Pebbles). And sort of cleaned up their mess. The salad bowl is still out, and the empty lasagna pan did not get washed. The living room is still pretty clean though. I don't know why I care. I tell the kids that one of these days I am just going to give up and let it get awful in here.

Paul and I have still not made reservations for our trip. I am thinking he wants to see about the water situation first. There is no particular hurry anyway, we wouldn't be going for like five weeks. ha. I will be truly surprised and shocked if we actually go. Part of me doesn't really want to go. I mean, Jamaica? Me? I don't exactly look like a babe in my bathing suit, if you know what I mean. I actually wear these big shorts, ugly shorts with stripes down the side over my suit to hide my thighs. I can just see me mushing through the water to get to the waterbar for an iced-tea, with my shorts billowing out in the water. oh my goodness. Has anyone here ever been on a Carribean vacation? Do all the women look like the ones in the ads? Are there any motherly types, or should I just say FAT People? I am sort of dreading it. It is one thing to not care what people think, it is another thing to try to lie down on a beach lounge and wonder the whole time if I am going to be able to get back up. (without tipping it over) Oh, this is the stuff nightmares are made out of. I wish we could just get our own private island.

Oh well. I have five weeks to lose like a thousand pounds. ha. I better go for that walk today.

Monday, October 26, 2009

evening at the zoo....I mean our house

Here is our baby...just kidding, she is plastic....this is the stroller that I have parked in the living room these days.

Suzanne and Charlotte Claire...

Abigail Marie and Sonja K....

Mali Rose and Camille....

Charlotte Claire wanted her picture taken.

Jonathan Robert lost his first tooth tonight!!! He was so excited. I think he is nervous that the Tooth Fairy is going to forget to leave him a treasure. So I got him a prize from my closet, a dollar store craft, lacing squares together. I wrapped it in a piece of foil and put it next to his tooth because he said to tell the Tooth Fairy to leave his tooth and the prize. Because he has to bring it to school tomorrow. I wish I was a kindergarten teacher, I would have a little parade for the kids who bring in their lost teeth.
Rosie the dog had another bath, and a nice brushing, she gets more baths than Camille does. I am tired, Camille is fussy, and I need to get her to bed.

mom, tomorrow do I have to go to school?

Yes, Suzanne. You have missed alot of school already. They are all out playing on the trampoline, and she came in crying because her sister hit her, supposedly. I don't know how to handle all of their little dramas. I think encouraging them to be good and kind when it is peaceful, and having them sit for a while away from everyone when they hit is enough, but why do they still do it? I guess they have the same nature I have.

I am sick. I actually took a nap today. I was up for five and a half hours, comforting the sick and fussy Camille, and doing some cleaning up, and I just felt awful. My head hurts. I feel tired and fussy, just like Camille. So Abigail held down the fort while I took a rest. I was so freezing, I hooked up my favorite thing, the electric blanket. I didn't really sleep, I just cuddled in there feeling guilty because today was Sonja's special day to skip school. I did drag myself outside to brush Rosie and play fetch with her and watch the kids rake and jump in the leaves. It is very pleasant and warm and sunny today.

Now Camille is sleeping, and I am thinking of taking another rest, on the couch. Dinner will be leftover lasagna. And maybe some salad. So I am thankul for:

Microwaves to heat up leftovers.

Warm fall days with leaves for them to play in.

Wipes. I go through so many wipes. Good for the economy.

Sippy cups. Especially when the kids are sick.

My comfy chair. Then again, if I didn't have such a nice comfy chair...hmm, this place would be cleaner...

My kids...there are 8 here in the living room right now. They are talking about what they are going to be for Halloween. Oh, the fun begins....

God's word. The verse that helped me today is in Psalms 46, "Be Still and know that I am God", there was a sticker on the floor, and I hate leaning over and peeling up stickers. I found some grumbly thoughts, and then I thought of that verse. Because those thoughts can SEEM so right. ( More rules. Put my foot down. No more stickers.) But what is the REAL problem? Anyone? ME. I need to be cleansed! I was thinking about how the Israelites were freed from Egypt but they did not get to enter the promised land because they COMPLAINED. That says to me that God hates complaining. He gives, He blesses, and what do I do? Ouch, it hurts to admit how much I do it. And I truly want to be free from that. I know it is possible, and I know it will be a suffering. But I am thankful that I can be free from the chains of discontent.

our happy household.....

Yesterday I saw so many things I wanted to take pictures of, but couldn't because my camera was - well, it was right here, but I thought Margaret had I missed those pictures. Pictures of the kids jumping on the leave-covered trampoline. Suzanne brought the lavender Emmaljunga outside, and was pushing Camille around in it. Oh, I wanted to take a picture of that.

They have been playing dolls and house alot around here. They have their doll strollers but they have been enjoying this real one, because they can have Camille or Charlotte Claire be the baby.

Babies....Camille is acting like one. Is it because we treat her like one, or is it because she is sick? She woke up so many times last least she was fine with lying back down in her little green bed after a hug. Saturday morning she was up at dawn, and did not want to go back to bed, so I took her into bed with me. Eeeks, 16th child, almost two years old, what was I doing? But she had woken up SO many times during the night, I was exhausted. She snuggled happily up to me and we both slept fine. I am glad she has seemed to have forgotten about it....that is one thing I have been firm about through the years, our bed is for us, not for the kids. I share my mornings, days, evenings with them. If they want to pee or barf, they can do it in their own beds. Except for tiny newborns who nurse all the time. I have sometimes flexed there....but I usually got up and placed them back in the carriage. This is just my opinion, if everyone else and their grandma sleeps with their kids, that is fine with me.

Sonja is having her stay-home-with-Mommy day. She is going through her folder right now, the Friday folder that I never looked at on Friday when I was at the dr. with Camille then hurrying off to the enchanted pumpkin walk. I didn't look at it on Saturday because it never even entered my mind. I looked quickly at Jon's this morning. His teacher said they are not having a Halloween party, just a costume parade and some cider and donuts. I might not even send them. Everything just seems so rules-y. (that SHOULD be a word). No swords, nothing scary, nothing worn to school only changed into, no candy unless it is eaten at home. Blah. My older kids never went to school on Halloween. I don't care for the scary part, or the graveyard/death is such a serious and sad part of life, and Halloween just twists it. But like everything, there can be a good side, and that is to have fun with the kids and make good memories. We have a really fun Fall Feast with our church every year, too. We bring tons of candy and dress up and play games with them. Actually, most of the adults don't dress up, but I do. I don't care if I look like an idiot (well, that is not entirely true), but I like to have fun with the kids. I love the LOOK my kids give me when they see me dressed up. It is hilarious.

I also think costumes should be things that are put together from stuff around the house. The only time we ever buy any costume is if it happened to be like 90% off after the 31st.

Laundry is calling me. I had that brief moment last week of being "caught up", and it felt so good I want to recapture it, but I fear that it is un-attainable. Or that it is not re-attainable. There are too many loads now. Bedding. blah. The water problem. blah. When someone so much as flushes the toilet when the washer is filling, it stops and displays "F20", which must be washing maching language for "someone just used water, so I stopped". It has to be unplugged and replugged, and restarted. And if you think I fit behind the washer to unplug it, ha. And no, that is not why I kept Sonja home today.

We are having someone come and look at the water problem this week. I think that is why Paul is reluctant to book our vacation. These expenses that are not part of the monthly budget are eating us up. But we have to have water, don't we? It is getting worse and worse, I have had showers under just a drip of water, then it disapears altogether, and I stand there hoping and wishing it will turn on again. Sometimes for several minutes. We have to have much communication about who is going in the shower, and not to flush or run the dishwasher or water at the same time. This hasn't always been the case, and I don't think it is our well, which is very deep. I hope not anyway. Paul thinks it is the pressure switch on the pump, which is fixable. I hope it gets fixed soon. It is frustrating!

Sonja just went into the laundry room and the lightbulb blew. Ugh!!! I cannot get on the ladder and change that lightbulb! Can I do laundry in the dark? I think I had better go and find out.....before I complain about anything else, like my camera that Sonja just brought to me: broken. Oh, it still takes pictures if you stick a pen down onto the on/off looks like it was dropped. I am just too nice, that's all there is to it. I say NO ONE can use my camera, I need it, and the next thing I know, I am letting someone use it. RRRR! Then sooner or later it gets dropped. My cameras have extra gravity, I guess. And this morning, my rear end has extra gravity, too........

Sunday, October 25, 2009

sunday...lazy sunday NOT

Oh, but it would be nice....I stayed home from church today with Camille. I put some laundry in, and made three pans of lasagna, one with hot sausage. All with peppers and onions. I puttered around doing as much as Camille would let me. I even gave her a tiny tea pot and a little tea cup so she could have more fun playing with the water spigot in the front of the refridgerator. I was just saying recently that she didn't play in that water. ha. I just put a towel on the floor in front of the 'fridge, and let her. I knew if I put my foot down and made her cry, I would have to stop what I was doing and hold her. I like doing that, but I had things to do today!! I also made a big and yummy pot of soup for everyone for lunch. I didn't want them to come in and have all sorts of different things and get filled up too much to enjoy the nice dinner. So I opened three cans of cream of celery soup, added the water and stirred it up, added the leftover grilled chicken breast, all chopped up, and a bag and a half of mixed veggies. After it boiled, in went about 2/3 bag of egg noodles. It was really good, sort of home made, quick, and it fed lots of people. I ate my soup, and went out the door with Abigail...

Because we were out of dishwasher soap, crackers, chinchilla food (we feed her bunny food and add raisins), and eggs. I knew Camille wasn't feeling so great, and didn't want to go tomorrow and take her, so I left her with daddy and the kids, and off we went. We did go to the dreaded Target because they had Purina puppy chow on sale, and a $5 gift card if you buy two bags. I was a good girl in there, I hardly bought anything. Then Price-Chopper....I was good in there, too. ha. They had French bread this week for $1 a loaf, just out of the oven. We bought four.

We lucked out and they had some really good white chocolate macadamia nut cookies reduced, 8 cookies for a buck. Guess what I had on the nice long ride home? How many did I eat, you ask? I am not telling. Because I don't know. There were some left in the bag, though. And Abigail had some too.

We came in the door, and Paul was holding Miss Camille Anaya, temperature: 102 at least. She wanted MOMMY. So Mommy sat with her. We let the kids eat their lasagna at the picnic table, and had a very informal dinner, which I hate, but Camille didn't want me to put her down. Paul put away the cold stuff, and I have lots of groceries in the kitchen on the floor in bags. Sam has a fever, Joseph has a fever. The swine flu didn't scare me before, but when I have little Camille burning up, it sobers me. She doesn't like her Zithromax, takes barely half the dose, but I did give her a little bit of Tylenol drops, grape flavored, and she liked it. I finally put her down in her bed. I SHOULD be cleaning up and putting away groceries, but then what would I have to complain about tomorrow?

No, I am not the Energizer Bunny. I can go and go and go, then I reach the point where - well, I cannot do another thing. I have not even gotten the kids clothes out for school tomorrow. Sonja is having a day off. If you are reading this and you are Sonja Kathleen's teacher, she is very sick. If you are not her teacher, she is staying home to have some nice attention from Mommy. She absolutely thrives with a day off with mommy. I didn't let her go to the store with me because it was almost 60 degrees, sunny, leaves all over to rake and jump into....all her sisters and Jon to play with....she just didn't need to go, and she was so upset. I realized she just wanted to go and be with me.

So I lived for another day. It was a good one. When I get in bed tonight, I will think about my day some more...and I will no doubt recall lots of things I could have said nicer, or done better. Well, Camille is crying for me....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

pumpkin pictures....

Charlotte Claire got to be my baby for the evening. She did not want her picture taken. She stayed nice in warm in the stroller because of the nice weather boot I bought on ebay. This stroller has only small wheels, but it pushed so nicely on the trail. It is an Inglesina, and it is nicer than any Graco I have owned. I am probably the only one who cares about this little stroller trivia, except for Cheryl, and she already knows. Oh well. Here is the young girls' activity club, with Jon as a guest. Suzanne and Sonja are the third and fourth in line, and my niece Grace is the last one.
Here is the whole group.....eight of them are my daughters, and then there is Jon.

The older girls's group...

Mr. Jonathan....
Today was not a typical Saturday. The clothes delivery guy came with 9 or ten trash bags full of clothes, plus a bunch of things hung on hangers. He thinks he is so funny, he asked me if I had any more kids since the last time he was here. "Unfortunately not!", I answered. I think he was surprised at that. But then maybe nothing surprises him about me, since he obviously already thinks I am somewhat crazy.
I spent the whole afternoon sorting and putting away the clothes. The kids have two cousins here, and they made the macaroni and cheese that we didn't have the other night, and Aaron made some vegetables to make it healthy. They served it, ate it, and cleaned up while I sorted away.....I didn't even take a break to eat, later I had a quick bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, which I am not getting paid to say that I do love. Anyway, there was pizza dough thawing on the counter....and I mentioned they could start to make the pizza....they didn't move on it...then Jonathan went out there and started on it. He is so funny. Mali, Aaron, and Margaret joined in, and made them. They did it how they wanted....even grilling some chicken breast outside to add to a Buffalo pizza. They are in the oven right now.....we are having lots of people here for dinner, as Sam is having a friend over, who is also his cousin. So I think that makes 19.
The kids have had a bonus day today...they played outside in the rain, but after the second set of dry clothes, I was mean and said no more. Then they went in the hot tub. The cousins are spending another night. It has been a little bit loud and crazy today, but it is fun. Benjamin made a nice pot of coffee this afternoon and brought me a cup while I sorted clothes. I am impressed with the way the older kids have pitched in around here to let me get this job finished.
Well, pizza is almost done.....and the kids just told me another friend, Delandie, is coming over, too. I am thankful that I have a package of paper plates tonight.

Friday, October 23, 2009

ahh, quiet...

I don't seek quiet, but when it arrives, I welcome it.

I don't have any pictures of the enchanted walk because Margaret has my camera. But it sure was fun. Dark and rainy, chilly but not actually cold, the path lit only by the hundreds of uniquely carved jack-o-lanterns. I could barely see the kids in front of me, but I could certainly hear them. They had a grand time, singing and exclaiming over the different pumpkins. We took a break inside the building, with animal crackers and drinks and peanut butter cups, then on to another trail. It was so much fun.

Paul was home with Camille. I took her to the dr. today, and her temperature was 104.4. Not too bad. ha. He said she has bronchitis with maybe the flu. He seems hesitant to label anything "swine flu", or the other government approved name. I think Paul and I already had it over a month ago. But who knows, it could have been a different one. My kids seem to be prone to get croup, and October is croup month for some reason. 18 years ago, Mirielle was 19 months old and Joseph was five months old, and they were both hospitalized for croup, one then the other. The simply could not breathe. (Mirielle went in the ambulance, but that is a story for another day) Anyway, the dr. gave Camille some generic Zithromax and some prednisone for the croup. She seemed a bit better this evening, but she coughed and threw up, which is lovely I know, but we had just put dry clothes on her after she spilled her water all over.....I won't even mention Rosie's part in the whole mess.....ugh.

So tomorrow, on Saturday, the rest of our clothes are coming back. I don't know where my brain is, they called when I was going out the door to the Enchanted Pumpkin walk, and I wasn't thinking. I should have said I was busy tomorrow. Rats. I mean, I want the clothes and everything, but I will feel compelled to start putting them away.

The girls have their two cousins over spending the night. (one is the sweetie who had the awful birthday party)....I like those two girls, they don't cause much girl drama when they come over. One of them likes to clean the kids' room, too. I told them when they went to bed that if anyone wakes up early, to just sneak out and watch cartoons, don't wake anyone up. That is the major drawback of sleepovers, the earlyness of them. But they went to bed so nicely tonight, they must have been tired out from the trail-walking.

I am tired too...tired enough to go to bed, although I probably won't yet....

well, so goes the day....

Camille is really sick. She woke up repeatedly last night, and when she got up this morning, she was 104 without really co-operating. She is whiny and doesn't want me to put her down. So I am not putting her down. So much for the laundry. Camille comes first.

I am headed to the dr with her in a little while. She is so little, with a high temperature like this, they want to see her. And because they get paid when people bring sick kids in. I am just sitting here with her, looking at the messy house. Oh well. It will wait for me.
Oh, and I am glad my hair is clean.....

yay it is friday....

Yay yay yay! I love the weekends. Yesterday, when I went into the room shared by the four little school kids (as opposed to the five older school kids who go an hour earlier), I just stood in there looking at them, struggling with the thought of waking them from their warm peaceful slumber. I wanted to let them all stay home. But I turned off the fan, and sang the Good Morning To You song to them. Now that all four of them go to school, I don't have to wake them up silently like I used to. Today, it was easy for them to get moving. For one, I bought some glazed donuts yesterday and promised them to them for breakfast today. And tonight is activity club, so they don't want to miss school and have to miss that!

And I am excited about the weekend because I haven't spent much time with Paul at all this week, and we are going to look at vacation destinations tonight. Just planning it is unbelievably exciting. We have been talking about going on a trip for years. When we got married, we went to a city an hour away for the weekend (it was March, and there was a snowstorm during the night and the car didn't start on Sunday.) We were back in time for church on Sunday (what idiots we were!), and back to work for both of us on Monday morning. Our 25th anniversary this year was awful, back in March. Just horrible. My brother Billy died on Friday night, and our anniversary was the next Monday. I had sort of forgotten about it, and didn't think Paul cared too much anyway, and I spent the day at ChuckE.cheese with my sister-in-law Kim and lots of our kids, trying to celebrate her daughter's 9th birthday, was awful, my brother lived with them, and he died right during her party on Friday. There we were, all gathered over there with the ambulances and police and everything, and her birthday cake was there in the house....the poor poor sweet girl. All I could think of was to try to make a new memory for her that could possibly help displace such a sad experience, as she loved her Uncle Billy like crazy. So there we were, trying to have fun with the kids and we were just bewildered. Shocked. And then I got home, and Paul had thought we were going to be togther for our anniversary, and he had bought me a nice camera, and I, at the time, was sort of indifferent,.....anyway, it wasn't much of a 25th anniversary. So, now we are going that I have made myself cry, it is hard to recapture that excitement I was just writing about ten minutes ago.

So, I think we are going to Jamaica! He is getting a passport today. Yay. We are only going for five nights, we think we would miss the kids too much if we were gone longer. I seriously wish we could bring them all. Some of the places we have looked at, I think, oh, the kids would love that! And I know the whole time we are there, we will be saying things like, "Mirielle would love this beach. Joseph would love this sunset. Sonja would love these soaps." And so on.

I am looking forward to spending some time together though. It will be nice. And now, there is lots and lots of laundry to do....I was all caught up until we cleaned those rooms....Evelyn's closet had a whole basket of clothes in it....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

camille is sick now.....

Camille Anaya. She is sick. She woke up from her nap with a fever of almost 103 with her mouth open, meaning she does not exactly co-operate with having her temperature taken.

Evelyn, Kathryn, (with Camille),Sonja, Suzanne, Charlotte Claire, and Samuel with Rosie.

Jonathan is going to lose his first tooth soon. I almost yanked it out, but...I just couldn't. It is very loose and he is very excited!

Charlotte Claire and her dollies with Kathryn.

For dinner we had grilled turkey and cheese on sourdough, but I had ham and cheese on rye with tomatoes. And celery and carrots. And ice water.
Now I am sitting with Camille. I reluctantly gave her a half-dose of childrens's ibuprofen because she pointed to her open mouth and said, "Hurts, hurts." I don't like ibuprofen for babies and kids because it makes my kids hyper. But if her throat hurts, I have to give her something. She isn't eating anything, but she did drink some cherry juice.
I hate seeing my kids sick, but I do like how cuddly they are. Camille is a snuggle-bug anyway. Jon seems like he might be getting sick, too. He is also very snuggly. Well, Camille wants me to READ IT READ IT....

home from shoppin'

and I never remember how crazy it is when I walk in the door with groceries until I am actually in the door with groceries. But sitting here taking a breather, I am remembering all the years I did it with a nursing baby. The baby always needed mommy as soon as we got home. How did I manage? The baby always had to be fed before the store, and after the store, too. We went to Target today, returned $18 worth of things and spent $31 on more things. I couldn't resist. I got Kathryn a skirt for $4.24, one that she had her eye on and we were waiting for, Aaron a pair of those long plaid shorts he likes for $4.98, two sweet little pairs of pants for the two little girls for $2 each, a nice shirt for Sam for $4.24, some C batteries for Jonathan, the battery freak, and a FancyNancy game for Sonja K. for Christmas. It was half price.

On to the grocery store. I got sourdough bread for $1 a loaf, three of them. We are having grilled cheese for dinner, I think. (it is only 5:07, there's no hurry to decide, ha.) Joseph and Samuel were with Abigail and I and Jonathan and Charlotte Claire and Camille. Samuel missed the bus because his alarm clock fell and the batteries fell out, and I didn't know he didn't get on the bus because I slept through the first trip kids leaving, oops. Camille was up for a long time last night, and when I finally fell back to sleep, it must have been deep. I don't use an alarm clock because I always wake up on my own when I need to be up. Almost always.

I never got around to cutting the coupons today, I went through them and ripped out three of them. I need to get more diligent again. Mirielle always gets good deals with them. We use good shampoo and conditioner for cheap. Kerry, if you have any suggestions, email me at Thanks! One of the good deals I got today was this: 4 boxes of cereal for $6, then a dollar off three. So 4 boxes for $5. $1.25 a box is not too bad. About what it is worth. But they were a store special item, so I could only get four, that is like one day's worth.

Well, the natives are getting restless (is that politically correct?), they are rummaging in the kitchen, so I had better make some dinner. I don't feel like it. I feel like sitting here in this deliciously comfortable chair with my feet up. Or perhaps I could lie down on the couch and fall into a refreshing 20 minute nap. And wake up energized and happy. ha. I'd better stop with the dreaming and get moving.

goin' shoppin'

And I let Jonathan stay home today. He is just too little to go to school everyday, getting home after 4pm each day. All day kindergarten. Ridiculous. Anyway, he has a cough and he started crying about something silly this morning, so I gave him a big hug and said he could stay home today. Sonja took it hard. She really wanted to stay home too, and so did Suze. They have already missed a fair amount, so I explained to them that Jon is still so little, he needs to be home a bit more. Suzanne was okay with it, but Sonja.....she couldn't find her shoes, she dragged those feet, she just made it to the bus with a sad face. Oh, if she only knew how close I as to being suckered into letting her stay home too.

Today we are going to Price-Chopper. I stayed home for two days! I was going to wait until tomorrow to go, but tomorrow night I am supposed to go to the enchanted pumpkin walk and I want the girls to get their naps. And we are almost out of milk. I am going to Target, too, because I have two pairs of jeans return, and a pair of sneakers. They only total about $15, because they were all 75% off, but still. They do not fit the intended recipients, nor their siblings. So back they go. Hopefully I won't find anything too wonderful and cheap that is more than the $15, because I am trying not to spend money.

Mirielle isn't here, so I am going to attempt to cut the coupons myself. And try a little harder on the meal planning. Last night Abigail made spaghetti and some mixed veggies. I don't know how much she made but every bit got eaten. I left the table right after dinner to help Evelyn finish cleaning her room. We took everything out of the closet, and oh, the little things that were on the bottom! Hair things and Barbie shoes and so many crayons and pencils and beads! Game pieces and Hotwheels and puzzle pieces. When Paul came home from work, I heard him ask, "Where's Mom?", and the kids told him I was in the closet, because I had literally moved all stuff aside and was sitting in the closet sorting through it. One thing I love to do is sort. Jon came dancing into the room and said, "Dad doesn't think it's weird that you're in the closet, Mommy!"

Their closet was a mess because a certain daddy cleaned up the hall a few months back by taking all the stuff and putting it in the closet. Now it is spotless, with a basket of play clothes, a basket of dress-up clothes, and just an empty space. Just a small empty space, but I wasn't the only one who was excited about it. Jon loves playing in closets, so I know what he is going to be doing. As long as those two crazy little sisters of his don't pull down all the hanging clothes...

Now all this room cleaning and closet cleaning does have a huge side affect: laundry. Lots of laundry. Ugh. I went from actually being caught up to being at least 8 loads behind. Oh well, it feels nicer than it should to have that closet clean. I am thinking of the closet in Charlotte Claire's room now, filled to the brim with baby things. Paul said last night that getting rid of it all would be the surest way of having a new baby. hmm. Sounds win-win, I could have a new baby AND get all new stuff......

Last night I assembled my lavender Emmaljunga Viking stroller. Charlotte Claire and Camille were taking turns being the baby. Oh MY Goodness - I don't think I have ever watched anything so hilarious as Camille, fresh from a little splash in the hot tub with Kathryn, dressed in just her diaper, in all her chubbiness, being the mommy. Charlotte Claire was the baby, and she was crying like a newborn, and throwing all the baby toys that Camille had gotten out for her, over the side of the stroller, then fussing for them. Camille would pick them back up, and say, "Here, baby. Are you okay baby?"....oh, it was funny, and so adorable. I need to get some pictures of them today.

Well, Miss Charlotte Claire is up now. Her sister is still sleeping, which is nice, but I should be getting things done while she sleeps. Like putting in another load of laundry, washing the pans they somehow didn't see last night, and washing my long tangly hair. I have had trouble washing it in my nightly shower because going to bed with wet hair when it is chilly doesn't sound fun. I know, I know, there is such a thing as a hair dryer. I really haven't used one since I was a teenager though.

Well, I can tell when I start to blah-blah blah.....Oh, this is funny....Charlotte Claire is in the stroller, and Jon is the dad.....the mom died, Jon, he says, he never met the mom and he adpopted Charlotte Claire. And he bought the stroller when he knew he was going to adopt her. Okay. He says it pushes very nice.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

my day....

Charlotte Claire thought this was great fun, to snap lots of pictures of ourselves. Unfortunately she had her finger in her nose for most of them which was pretty funny.
She is sleeping on the couch right now. Margaret and Kathryn went out side with her and Camille and played on the trampoline in the leaves. They must've used up alot of energy. Camille is napping now, too. Abigail was helping me do a very sad thing: pack up the baby clothes. My lavender Simo pram is still in there, I don't have anyplace to move it to anyway. There are still some things I didn't pack away....babies have been such a part of my life for so many years, but I am 44 years old. I left the booties that my mom made, and lots of little shoes and bonnets in the drawers. As I sorted through the little things, I had to decide whether to save or toss each thing. Save for what I don't know. But I saved lots of things.
The five little girls (Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, and Sonja) just got a package in the mail from Gramma, who is in Florida for the winter. They got Christmas watches! Snowmen for the youngest two, and Christmas trees for the other girls. How exciting. If I had gotten a watch in the mail when I was a little were expensive then. I got my first one in fifth grade, and before Christmas vacation was over, it fell off my wrist and broke. It was a regular watch (not digital) with a clear plastic strap. I just remember how devastated I was about that. I don't remember getting another one until 7th grade. It was a Texas Instruments digital watch with a calculator and alarm clock, just the latest technology.
Kathryn traded with Evelyn, and then changed her mind, now they traded back, and are wishing they got the one that Margaret got. I am trying to get them to go out and clean out the van. On Friday night for activity club, a few of the groups are going to a fun fun place, an enchanted walk. It is at a nearby nature preserve, and it features hundreds of carved jack-o-lanterns, games, ect. I had told the leaders (my nieces) that I would drive the 15 passenger van if they wanted to go, so they talked about it and decided to take the girls there this Friday night. And I get to go, and bring the two little ones if I want to. I am glad they asked me, because that means I must have behaved myself last Friday night, if they asked me to be along again. Believe me, I had to work at it. I had to bite my tongue and remember that those young girls, whom I remember being born, and are now in their twenties, are the leaders of their groups. I am just the guest.
Charlotte Claire is sleeping away on the couch, all the kids are home from school having snacks and taking turns going out to clean the van. It is not quiet in here. Mali just came along and said, "I have to check to see if she's dead.", and she touched Charlotte Claire's nose. She moved. "Nope.", said. Then she turned to me and said, "Wouldn't that be awful?".....and off she went. Of course that would be awful. I hadn't even thought of the possibility, thank you Mali.
I am being the mean mommy and not letting them turn the t.v. on for even just one minute today. I was not born yesterday, and I happen to know that kids do not watch tv for just one minute. And yes, I am mean.
Mali just broke a glass. I asked her, from the living room, why she did it. "Do you think I did it on purpose?" Okay, good, just checking. 'Cause the day they throw a glass on the floor on purpose is the day I start thinking about some disipline. And I am glad it wasn't my favorite coffee mug. This reminds me of a long time ago, when I was visiting a family that had 14 kids (at the time, they had one more later), and I was sitting with the mom, chatting. I had only one child at the time. Several of the kids were in the kitchen cleaning up and doing the dishwasher. Then we heard the crash of a breaking glass. One of the little girls came in, all serious, and said, "Mommy, we are sorry, that was one of our really good glasses. From the gas station." " Oh dear', said the mom," just clean it up." Oh my, a gas station glass. And the mom did not even get up. She kept talking to me, as the kids vacuumed and swept up the glass. I was totally surprised. But, NOW I understand. Although Mali is fifteen, plenty old enough to clean up a broken glass....I think. I think I will double check. In a minute.
Yes, I am mean. I made the kid go outside and play in the leaves. Not because I wanted peace and quiet but, hey, it is nice. Only Aaron, Margaret, and Sam are in here right now. Abigail is in the shower....we have strict orders not to run any water so I can't start dinner yet. Benjamin just came in and looked at a notebook I had been writing in the other day. The day I tried to do some meal planning. "Oh good, it says we are having homemade macaroni and cheese and pork chops tonight", he said. Oh. I never made that. Sorry. He was laughing. He knows me. I have some boxed macaroni and cheese, and it probably isn't real food, but they like it.
I went into my nice almost-finished laundry room before I sat down here, and there were puddles of water all over the floor. What the ??? Aaron went in there and checked behind the washer, and a hose was undone. Great, the downstairs is pretty wet. I think my new linoleum is very wet underneath. eeks.
Well, my room is all clean and vacuumed. All the rooms in the upstairs were pretty decent, which makes me happy, because I want the whole house to be clean at the same time one of these days. I cleaned the hall, which tends to get things piled in all the time. Then: Evelyn Joy decided to clean her closet. Her closet is not that big, thankfully, because it was like four feet high of stuff, mostly clothes. And one of my carriages, a Silver Cross seat, and an Emmaljunga frame, stored in there. Taking up room in their little closet. It is now in my previously clean hall. Rats. Anyway, instead of making dinner, I am going to go help Evelyn clean up her room. The stuff that was packed into her closet is filling up all the room in the already cramped room. I have to pick someone to make dinner. hmm.....

okay, now it is wednesday..

I lived another day. Is that something to be thankful for or what? I take SO much for granted. The water SHOULD run when I turn on the tap. And Paul says that soon it will, when he replaces the pressure switch. It will get better anyway. He is hesitant to get into digging up the well pump. For now, it is quite frustrating. If someone just flushed, I can turn on the faucet, and nothing. la-de-dah, nothing. Sometimes I stand there for literally 10 minutes, and no water. Showers are the worst. We have three, but if someone else is taking one, you are only going to get a cold drip. Or nothing. We have kids coming out of bathrooms with towels wrapped around them, with shampoo in their hair, demanding, "Where is the water? Does someone have the dishwasher on? Or the washing-machine?" (as if it is a crime). We are going to try to fix it again, our water softening system didn't do the trick, but for the time being....I am determined to really use the opportunites to be faithful. After all, there are no loopholes in God's word.

Camille wants me to read her a story. She is too cute. She also wants to see pictures of her. So I will try to write about my wonderful and exciting life after I read ,"Just Me And My Dad", and "Report Card Trouble"......

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

they are a blessing....

I had a revelation this past weekend about the children and the craziness and the pressure. We had an excellent conference at church. A conference is where the people from the other churches in our church come together for meetings and fun. Our conference center happens to be where we have our regular meetings, we rent it and do the cleaning. Anyway, our meetings consist of the first few brothers bringing God's word, speaking, teaching, exhorting - then testimonies from those who were encouraged. One sister got up and spoke about back when the kids were all younger (she has twelve), and there was always pressure. And it was like a lightbulb went off for me, what a blessing that pressure is. That pressure, that craziness, that does NOT create sin in me. It does not create irritation. No, it just helps bring out the way I am. That is a blessing! No one can be cleansed of sin they don't acknowledge. I need to see myself! Rev. 3 v.17, "Because you say 'I am rich, having become wealthy, and have need of nothing' -and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-" (I suggest that you look up this verse, and read the whole chapter. It is so very helpful)....So the craziness and busyness and chaos are such a blessing! Because when I see my wretchedness, then God can help me. He gives grace to the humble.

Evelyn Joy is home today. She doesn't feel well. Kathryn Grace is home today. She has a fever of 101. She really didn't feel well yesterday, and I thought she was dramatizing. It can be hard to tell around here. They like being home, which is a not the greatest thing when they are supposed to be in school. Charlotte Claire just woke up bright eyed and bushy-tailed. I guess the antibiotics are doing their job. I remembered this morning what she was saying yesterday in the store. "I like gickles." The doctor had suggested for her to eat pickles, hot sauce, or other salty things to help kill the germs in her throat. I thought, "ouch", but she must have thought they sounded good. So she said that in the store like 20 times. I like gickles.

I am going to try to start staying home more. I spend too much money, even though I buy things on sale, it all adds up. And I really want to take the kids on our third annual two day getaway in February or March. So we need to save up. It gives us something to talk about during the winter, and look forward to. The first year we went to a nice small city a few hours south of here, and there was a mall with a Target at the end! To me, it was like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. That hotel had dinner included (well,they called it the businessmen's reception meal, we called it dinner), and had a nice pool and hot tub. It was the first hotel stay for the kids, except for a few of the older ones. Then last year we went up to Canada, and stayed in a hotel right across the street from McDonalds. But it was a CANADIAN McDonalds. Apparently that is important. According to the kids. Anyway, it was an adventure, and we want to try to do something like that again this year. (I remember when we went last year, I was pregnant, and just having the first inkling that something might be wrong..wah. I am so conscious that I would be having a baby soon. My brother has two brand new grand daughters this past week, with a grandson due any day, and it is hard for me. I thought I would be having a baby with them. I know I have to get over it already, but still. I have had my share of babies, that is for sure. But still. It is there, that feeling of loss. It doesn't overwhelm me, it is just there. I don't want to feel sorry for myself, but it is still there. It doesn't help that I thought when I found out I was pregnant, my brother had just died, so I latched on to the pregnancy for comfort. I know I did. The loss of it was harder than any other previous miscarriage. Wow, I can go on and on. oops.)

Since the kids aren't feeling well, I am going to let them watch a movie during the day, as in right now. I let them watch some shows on channel 24 (public television) during the day sometimes, because they are half-hour shows, and they don't just leave it on and watch them all. Jon like Calliou, but he is in school now. Sometimes the little girls will watch it. They don't really love Sesame Street. We usually reserve movies for the weekend, or occasionally during the afternoon. But when they are sick, it is different.

Today is a dark and dreary day, my favorite kind of day. Except for the bright sunny ones, of course. All I have is today. That is all any of us has. So use it well. "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."(psalm 118)

Monday, October 19, 2009

to the dr. with Charlotte Claire...

I never know when to take them to the dr. I once neglected to take Benjamin for a finger injured in basketball, and the dr. was not very pleased that I waited so long, and I felt like an idiot. Or rather an uncaring mother. In truth, when Ben was 16, he had eleven younger brothers and sisters, and a hurt finger seemed like, well - a hurt finger. Apparently if it had been splinted immediately, it would have healed properly, now he has permanent trigger finger. Oops. So shortly after that, one of the little girls jumped off her dresser and was limping so I took her in right away, and she walked fine for the dr. He was a different dr, and he thought I was an idiot too. Good thing I don't care what people think of me. In theory anyway, if I am honest, I find that I do I do I do care.

Anyway, Charlotte Claire has had a cough for a while, and a runny nose on and off. Today she is complaining that her ear hurts. Her temperature is 99.4, which is not really high, but I decided to call and make her an appointment. She is so little. So that has determined what I am doing today.

Apparently my friend Gwen isn't up for company today. I will have to try again another day.

Our furnace is fixed! Just in time, too, it is going up into the high fifties today. It was nice last night, though, it was 28 in the early morning hours. I still need to get some new slippers. My slippers seem to disapear during the summertime.

Well, Miss Charlotte Claire just scared the heck out of me....she said again that her ear hurts really bad. I asked her if there is anything in there (we had to take Mirielle to the emergency room once when she stuffed a peanut butter cup wrapper in her ear. She said she didn't know where else to put it. (ha ha Mirielle, I got you back for that video))anyway, Charlotte Claire, said, "Yes, there is a nail in there." "What? In your ear? There is a nail?" "Yes, Mommy, I put my nail in there and it hurt"....and then I realized she meant fingernail. Okay. 'Cause for a minute there I thought we were heading out the door lickety-split. And my long tangly hair IS clean today, I just washed it. But it is not brushed out yet. I have written about this before, but one time I seriously made Samuel wait to go to the E.R. because my hair was dirty. In my defense, Paul WAS due to come in the door at any minute from work, how was I supposed to know he was going to be so late? That was before cell phones. Back when you didn't know exactly what road a person was on at any given moment. Back when if you called Daddy at work, and he didn't pick up his phone, you thought he had probably left for home, but he might just be away from his desk. If I had known he was going to be so late getting home, I would have just swallowed my pride and taken Sam myself. Poor kid, just remembering him sitting there holding a wash cloth over his eye....his sister (hmm, was it Mirielle?) (or Mali?) pitched a baseball to him, pretty hard, right into his eyebrow. Eyebrows DO bleed alot. In my defense.

So I don't always know when they need to go to the dr. These days they don't dispense antibiotics withoutthroat cultures, which is a pain for me because we have to pay for the culture, and wait for the culture, and then take another trip out for the medicine. Overuse of that like global warming?

Margaret is also sick. She has a cold, and is coughing. Kathryn is home...I do not think she is sick. I think she was in the bathroom when the bus came, and was too scared to run out and get on after she realized the bus was waiting for her. She stood still and wouldn't move, even when I yelled at her to just run out! She said, "But I don't FEEL good!" I actually tried to push her toward the door, and she must have dug her heels right into the tiles. I have been trying to talk to her about it today. She is so self-conscious, and to walk in late to school to her is unthinkable.

Well, I wrote this post this morning, and our internet didn't work, so I am taking a little pre-dinner-rush-break, and the internet is working again. Margaret said today, "Our water and our internet never work." I guess that goes with living out in the country.

I am so glad that I brought Charlotte Claire in to the doctor today. She has a bad ear infection. She had a slight fever, red throat, but her lungs were clear, which means the cough is more of a bronchial thing. There is a little privately owned pharmacy next to the dr office, in the same building. They fill prescriptions there in under five minutes, plus they sell all kinds of candy and treats for very reasonable prices. I let Charlotte Claire get a bottle of orange juice, and some chewy Sprees. She was a happy camper. And I felt sorry for her. She felt lousy, but was happy to go and be just with Mommy and Abigail. She was just totally sweet and cute. We took her into Wegmans, one of my favorite places, because we were out of milk and bread. I was thinking of taking her home first, but she really wanted to go there. She rode in the cart, chattering away. She had to go "kee-pee", and Abigail took her for me. She said next time we have to bring Gamille. She had one dose of amoxocillin, and two ear drops in her ear, and she is literally jumping from the red chair to the red couch, which is NOT allowed. The weather has warmed up considerably, so most of the kids are outside. Camille has her froggy boots on, and Kathryn is taking her outside.

The cashier in the grocery store was making converstation about how much stuff I was buying. She asked me if I was going to do some baking. Huh? Oh, no, I am just buying all that stuff because it is on sale. 99 cents for two pounds of brown sugar, or confectioners' sugar. And cake mix for 88 cents, which is great to have on hand. And marshmallows because Jon's snack day is coming up and we have Rice Krispies. So, just to let her know that I am not going to go home and eat it all by myself, I told her how many kids I have. I told her that we just plain go through alot of stuff, and I stock up when the prices are good. She totally couldn't believe that I was serious.

My afternoon break is over....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

another day of blessings and mayhem

Tonight was General Thunder's turn to be a devil. They also dressed Rosie up again. They put the strip of pink bubble wrap around her and tied it in the back and called her Breast Cancer Awareness Rosie. The kids have a small pop-up tent, maybe three foot by three foot. They can fit three kids in it, and Rosie, and a pumpkin.

Nice and Cozy.

Today has been good. I sorted clothes for a few hours this afternoon, blissfully aware that dinner was all ready to go in the oven. Evelyn had the idea to make a cake, and she looked up a recipe, but I did not want to stop the clothes sorting to help her follow it, so I suggested cake mix. She made chocolate cake in two tart pans. Then she needed frosting. She wanted me to make some because the only can in the cupboard was opened up with a fingerpath in it. I did not even try to find out who was the guilty one. I made frosting like this, because we had only a half bag of confectioner's sugar: melted a spoon of shortening with a half stick of butter, stirred in the sugar and some vanilla, and added some milk. I whisked it up, warmed it a bit in the microwave, and added a whole 5 ounce bar of German chocolate from Aldi. I stirred that until it was smooth, and poured it over the was delectable. Evelyn put sprinkles on, and we enjoyed. There were 15 of us at the table, so the cake was gone quickly. I am thankful for that, it tasted so yummy it would have tortured me if there was any left. That is one really nice thing about having so many kids. There usually isn't much leftover.
Mirielle is back in Connecticut now. It was very nice to see her. I hugged her when she got home! This afternoon when I looked at the new Price-Chopper ad, I missed her. No one else cares that sourdough bread is $1, or that grapes are $1.28 a pound. Or that we have a $2.00 off a Pert shampoo coupon, and it is on sale for $4.99. Abigail is home now, and she is so sweet and fun. And she is nice to shop with, too. But Mirielle is my coupon cutter and she knows a good price when she sees one. I know they grow up but I don't have to like it.
We might go and visit our friend Gwen tomorrow, she is in her eighties and has cancer. If she is feeling up to it, we will go. She is an amazing woman.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

cold and chilly.....

I cannot get warm, even sitting here under a blanket with a glass of wine. I am cold. I was outside for a good part of the day today. We were at a church conference, 14 of the kids and I. Paul couldn't go because he had to work today.

Charlotte Claire took a nap on my lap today during the afternoon meeting and it was sweet. Mali took Camille for me, so I got to sit and listen, which is a blessing. We heard about sufferings, how we need to endure in them. How we need to humble ourselves so we can be in God's grace. The Israelites in the desert complained and murmured, so they did not see the promised land. We get to choose during the day to believe God that all things work together for our good, or to harden our hearts and grumble. What a life we have been called to!

The older kids are still there at the youth meeting. There is a snack bar afterward, so they will be pretty late. I am sure they heard good things at the meeting, too. I brought the younger kids home tonight and Paul had gotten home and he made dinner for tomorrow night! He said he thought it would be nice to not have to make dinner tomorrow. Yay! I let the little girls sit at the picnic table that is still in the living room and have a popsicle. It is cold, but that is what they wanted. I wonder if they were thirsty, they did have pringles today. Anyway, it gives me at least three gray hairs to give Camille a popsicle. She makes such a mess! She drips and drops and gets her elbows in it. But she is so funny, when she was done, she read the joke on the stick. The funny part is that it wasn't a real Popsicle brand, and there was nothing written on the stick. But she remembered the other kids doing it when we had Popsicles.

They were pooped out (my mother used to say that, does anyone say that anymore?), so they went to bed so nicely tonight. And now it is just Paul and - so long for now!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

almost midnight...

I went to activity club with the kids tonight because they needed me to drive the big white van. (Paul had to work). So I was the only old person there. The youth kids run it, have a meeting and sing sweet songs with the kids, and then divide into age groups and do crafts or activities. Tonight they carved pumpkins. Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, and Charlotte Claire brought one home. Jonathan was supposed to play dodge ball with the boys group, but he started to cry because he wanted to do pumpkins too, so he and his friend Toby got to stay with the girls and share a pumpkin. Since Jonathan was determined more likely to take it right, Toby got to take the pumpkin home. So I am going to buy Jon a nice big pumpkin one of these days. Last year, much to my shame, we, (meaning I), never got around to getting them some. Here are the kids in activity club. The kids are ages almost five to eleven.

This is Grace....she is so sweet and lovely. She did this pumpkin all by herself.

Sonja had the biggest pumpkin.

Suzanne did hers all by herself, too.

Charlotte Claire had some help from her cousin Claire. Doesn't it look just like her?

Rosie is a little devil. No, a big devil.

So a busy day and a busy evening, and the clothes are still in piles in the living room...and I am still alive.

Camille .....

Happy happy to be going bye bye...

Kathryn Grace...

Kitten Force is a little devil, too.

Or perhaps Aaron and Joseph are the devils...they enjoy bugging the kitties, but they also love them to pieces. Joseph made me buy this costume for one dollar today at the dollar store.

Oh, and this is our brand new septic tank!! Wow, we liked our old one fine, but this new one will be so nice to have. I am sort of glad the old one collapsed so we could get a clean new one. I am sure it will cost a few thousand dollars, but it is worth it!!! I am going to tell the kids not to flush so we can keep it clean and new.
We are getting silly now..Abigail. Mirielle, Joseph,Mali, and Margaret are all still up and we are laughing about everything. I need to get to bed....