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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

goodbye 2009

By the time I get comfortable writing a year on my checks, it goes and changes on me. If I had the time and skill, I would write one of those neat little re-caps, complete with photos. I am up with only Sonja and Rosie right now, and my time on the computer is limited.

2009 started with Emily going to Norway for a year. It was a good year for her, she got to practice her nursing skills, learn Norwegian, and meet people from like 20 different countries, and all the year long attending super encouraging youth meetings and getting really established in her faith. But for me, here on the other side of the Atlantic, oh I missed her.

It has been a year of loss. My brother, my dear dear brother. (bear with me while I write about this, or skip it...but I have to write about helps...)....On March 6, 2009, Paul and I were having a wonderful time together. He left work early and picked me up, we went shopping for flooring for our livingroom. Just the two of us. Then we went to dinner. On the way home, my sister called. Paul answered, then gave the phone to me. She asked me where we were, and if I was driving. By then the hair was literally standing on my arms....then she said that Billy shot himself. There is no nice way to say that. And I asked, "Is he dead?" And I quickly thought of Paul, and told him, "It's only Billy.." I didn't mean, ONLY Billy, that is just what I said. I told Cheryl I would see her soon, and hung up. I then said some words I didn't know were in me, as I told Paul.....he drove me over there, and on that cold cold night, all my siblings and I huddled in the dark until they took him away. Billy had taken care of both of my parents when they were so sick. He treated them with honor and respect. My father got almost unreasonable at the end of his days, as his obsessive compulsive disorder took over, but Billy would just give us that smirky grin, and do everything the way Daddy wanted it done. All of that must've taken a toll on him. Billy's autopsy revealed very high levels of carbon monoxide, from the way he heated his place. We wonder if he thought he had a terminal illness, and didn't want to be a burden....I wish he had talked to me. I wish he had known there were other answers. Of my six siblings, he was right older than me. He was the fifth child, I am the sixth. We were friends. He was so smart, he was always right. He was a book absorber. He sacrificed alot when my father got sick to help take care of my mother, but he always seemed fine with it. It was hard for my parents to see him do that, but he did it. This loss of Billy is still an open wound, I cannot yet fathom it.

Okay, so then I found out right about that time that I was expecting again, and I think I just latched on to that pregnancy as something healing, it was LIFE. When I had that miscarriage, it wasn't just that I lost the baby, it was almost like I hadn't really grieved about Billy yet...I don't know. Life went on with the kids and school and ....well, fast forward to Rosie. To everyone else around here, Rosie is annoying and smelly. Well, some of them love her. I love her to pieces. I just do. When I got her, I put so much time and effort into her, it was therapeutic. I can't help but thinking sometimes how much my parents and Billy would love her....

Our swimming pool was broken until we replaced the liner when half the summer was over. But I did bring the kids to the beach several times. (this summer for sure, Martha!).Joseph was gone for the summer, wah, and Mirielle and Mali were traveling around Europe for three weeks or so. Aaron and Sam were in Norway for a while, so it was a bit lonely here for a chunk of time. Sending Jonathan to kindergarten was another interesting thing that happened this year, wah for me, but he loves it. My brother got three , yes THREE new grand-babies right when I was supposed to have a baby. But I am glad for him, and for his kids. They have been raised to appreciate and love babies. Then our honeymoon trip, oh looking forward to that was fun! Jamaica was amazing. I knew I loved Paul. I knew we have fun together. But I did not realize the extent of that love or that fun! We had such a good time. Oh, and the sun, and the tan...and now the cold and the snow.....but having Emily come home was pretty exciting.....right now is one of those periods of time that is just so special it is hard to explain. We are all here, all home. Emily has had some job interviews, and as an RN will probably get a job rather quickly, but for the time being, we are all home (except for Paul going to work). I know this will probably never happen again, this vacation full of family time and fun and fooling around and enjoying each other. Em will be working and probably moving out, Ab might go with her, (not too far away, but still), Ben will be enlisting in the Navy, Joseph will probably going back to Norway, Mirielle is going back to college.....

And so the new year will begin tomorrow. Come what may, I know God is causing all things to work together for my best, and I take comfort in this verse:"Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due time we will harvest if we do not lose heart", Gal. 6, v 9.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

aah, sitting in my chair....

Today was fun!!! We went to Target (I bought Sonja and Suzanne new winter coats, and I felt guilty because they were only 50% off, not 75....but their old ones were looking shabby)....and I bought myself two 5lb weights. Then to Price Chopper and Aldi and Wegmans and B.J.s. Then to McDonalds for a coffee for the ride home. Then out to our church to unload the feast fixings, then home, at almost three o'clock. All the older ones are at the Carrier Dome, doing concession stand work for fundraising. So for dinner there was just Paul and I, then Benjamin, Mali, Samuel, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. I made some chicken soup, and we had fresh Italian bread, $1 a loaf from Price-Chopper. Simple, nutritious, and good. Of course getting Sonja to eat the vegetables is....let's say "challenging"....

Questions....first Tereza: What do I do when I first get up in the morning. Well, I always get dressed. 99% of the time. I sleep in my jammies, I don't like living in them. I put my long tangly hair up in a clip (when I brush it, the kids think we're going bye-bye). On school mornings, I make them breakfast, make my coffee, get them ready, then blog. On non-school mornings, I usually at least check my mail, and usually write a post. A few years back, before I was addicted to computer time, I always cleaned up the kitchen first thing, and tried to do as much work as possible before the baby/toddler/both woke up. Sometimes I still do that if I am behind. Then the questions about how Paul enjoys the signs of "life"....ha. He is pretty easy-going, but honestly, I think everyone gets a bit frustrated when or if it is messy and chaotic all the time. I try to keep things here at a level that both he and I can live with. Which isn't saying much. I would like it cleaner and more organized, so would he, for the kids fooling around and going crazy, we both can stand that for only so long, and we stop them. Let's see, I try not to nag Paul too much about things that need to be done around here. He is very responsible and quick to take care of things, but he is not overly concerned with the more "surface" things, or things just for looks, like the molding in the foyer...we have lived here for almost 18 years now....and the new window he installed....still isn't trimmed....if it functions, and doesn't look too bad, he's okay with it. So I try to be more like that too. For us, it just hasn't been possible to live in a perfect house with all these kids.

Well....I do not know very much about the Duggar family. I HAVE however, viewed photos of their home, and I love their laundry room...4 washers, 4 dryers. Their house is so nice and roomy and huge and spacious. I would have no trials at all if I had a house like that. ha. Seriously though, I haven't even watched their show because we don't have cable. I did see them once on a morning t.v. show, and I thought Michelle was sweet, sincere, and kind. I have read a few articles on their family, the way the older ones help the younger ones, and they all have responsibilities. When people find out how many kids I have, the most common comment is: Well, the older ones must help you out!!! or different variations of that. Which is partly true, partly hilarious. My older kids are pretty busy, mostly with church activities, but also with college and jobs and volunteer work. And homework. They do help me when they are here though. But older kids come with different trials. 5 of mine have driver's licenses now, and one a learner's permit. GREY hair, that is grey hair. But when I read that baby Josie was born so early, I felt so bad for the whole family, as I could just imagine how difficult it would be for us, to have such a tiny infant struggling to live.

When do I step in, and when do I let them duke it out...hmm. When it is persistent, I make them sit in a chair for a bit. We don't actually have very many punishments, but when they are mean, I try to make them feel bad for it, and I am constantly encouraging them to be nice and forgiving. If they are really rough, or hit each other, I will make them sit for a while. When they are ready to apologize, they can get up. I have to be consistent, though. If I am too lazy to enforce what I have said, they won't believe me. I try to think before I threaten, to make sure it is something I will really do if they continue doing whatever it is they are doing.....I just don't like putting too much emphasis on bad behaviour. In the "Little House" books, Ma would say, "Least said, soonest mended..." Screaming fits are interesting. Camille likes to have two or three a day these thing I like to do when she is crying and screaming, "NO, NO!!", is to ask her if she can please say NO for Mommy. She screams, "NO!", and I say, "good girl!"...we keep doing that and she is so clever, she starts saying, "unh-uh,", and every other sound that means NO. Kids have tantrums, some more than others. Hopefully most of them are at home, but even if they do it in the store, oh well...people stare. And act like maybe their kids would never do such a thing...or perhaps they give an encouraging smile. Anyway, tantrums are just their way of expressing frustration, and they would be more frustrated if mommy gave them their way all the time.

Showering....well, I just take them before bed. I cannot go to bed without a shower first. Even when we are camping. I don't always like to wash my hair in the shower, then go to bed, especially in winter, so sometimes I wash my long tangly hair in the kitchen sink. But there have been times and seasons when it was seemingly impossible just to use the bathroom. Honestly, now that Camille is two, my life seems easy and leisurely. Those days with a newborn - well- I remember, but it is much different now. I remember how I would put the baby down, and have to decide...hmm. Change the toddler, eat something, go to the bathroom, wash a few dishes....hmm. It was always the mental prioritizing, and sometimes I would figure out what I was going to do when I got the baby down, and then baby would have other ideas....and I would just have to give up trying to do did I survive? How do any mothers survive, with newborns and other kids? It just plain seems impossible. But for some reason, I would do it again in a heartbeat, given the chance. I would LOVE another baby.

Well, this has taken such a long time because I have put Camille to bed, put Charlotte Claire to bed, prayed with Jon, Sonja, and Suzanne, brushed Rosie, read a story, (Princess Baby, Martha) I just need to put it away....for good for the night....

shopping for New Years

Mirielle and I, and Sonja, and my sister Cheryl's daughter Janet (who is 18 days younger than Mirielle, and they are best friends) are going shopping for the church New Year's celebration. There are approximately 100 people. We have a tight budget, and of course want to get as much good stuff as we can with it, so we are going to like 5 stores. We are going to make chicken breast strips (cut the meat into strips, add olive oil, bake into crispy, add Frank's hot sauce to some, and barbecue to the rest, and let it sit in the warmer trays for a bit) We figure this has to be healthier than wings, go farther, and is much cheaper, ironically. I am old enough to remember when the wings were just thrown away....I remember my brother scoffing, saying he wouldn't PAY for the chicken's wings. ha. Who woulda thunk?

Mirielle has appeared, not too surprised that I am BLOGGING, when we are supposed to be LEAVING....

I don't have time to get to the questions right now....I don't mind answering though, so if anyone else has any....I seriously don't want to give any advice though. Well, she is gonna kill me....

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Camille has some nice big brothers. Joseph, Sam, and Aaron (and Ben, and Jon, but they aren't in this picture).....they like to draw on Camille, and she likes it too. She has a big buggy on her tummy. I am guessing it was Joseph. Emily is in the background holding Charlotte Claire...see, these kids get plenty of affection.

Sonja Kathleen went out to play with lots of her sisters, I think 5 of them at least, and it was so cold, she had ice in her hair. They shoveled the driveway for daddy, so he could get in.

While I was cleaning up from the CoffeeShop day, I decided for some reason to let Charlotte Claire have a nice warm bath in the sink. She sat in there while I rinsed and loaded the dishes from the other sink....of course Camille came along and wanted a turn too, so she got one.

This is what the table looked like after they all decided to go out to play and shovel....The pumpkin pie was good, by the way. Some of them had mocha milkshakes, with the snow swirling around the windows, brr. My cafe au lait was yummy, and warm.

Evelyn Joy playing Wii. And yes, under the tree has become "the place to put things"....

Camille thinks it is nice to get in her new dolly's new bed. Charlotte Claire thought it would be nice to give them a ride....
I have been on the computer too much today...but I will mention we had a yummy dinner. Roasted chicken and mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beens. Then after dinner, some dark chocolate non-pareils.....

more answers...

That is, if I can remember the questions...first of all Martha, if you dropped by accidentally for dessert, you would be barked at, climbed on, and fallen in love with. And that's just Rosie! Aaron and Mali are making driedal cookies right now, because they are convinced we are part Jewish, which I cannot prove or disprove, but I did buy them a marked down set of mix, complete with cookie cutters. There is always some sort of dessert here. And the beach: this coming summer, we shall set a date.

Grace: I think the empty nest is something that Paul can invision a bit, but as for me.....I rather dread it. I like always having someone around to talk to.

Beth: I am not very computer proficient, just ask my kids who tease me to no end, so I am trying to remember your questions....I know the first was whether we were "done" yet. Well, I am 44 years old, but we would love another baby. We have Camille-the-cuddle-bug, she still is very sweet and huggy, but when my 1 year old great-nephew was here, we were all ready to keep him. Seriously though, it seems the babies get more and more precious, and I would LOVE another one.

Keeping up the relationship with Paul, and with the kids individually....well, with Paul, I suppose it is to really make an effort to touch base with him about things, even when it is crazy in here...and then when we get more time, try to talk can be challenging to connect with each other, especially mom is tired. But I have tried, through the years, to never be too tired for him. As for the kids, I try to take them with me when I go places, sometimes just a few of them or just one. I try to keep in mind who seems to need more attention. They do have each other, and it doesn't seem to me that they are lacking in attention from me. These vacation weeks are wonderful for just spending time together......

The best part of being pregnant/having babies: the excitement of finding out, the baby kicking and moving, the anticipation of meeting him/her, the can one decide?

Potty training....oh, don't ask me. I just wait and let the kids train themselves. Really. It took several years for me to get free from my mother's early potty training opinions, and just let the kids train when they were good and ready. Actually, if I had only Emily, I could write a book on potty training, and everything else, too. She was so easy....I have found through trial and error that chilling and waiting has worked wonderfully. Oh, they have a few accidents here and in the tub and when they get out of the tub, and sometimes when they wait too long....when Sonja was little, she peed in the dollar store, and in Walmart. Now THAT is embarrassing. Especially because I had SO many other kids with me......anyway, waiting has worked for me. Camille goes pee on the toilet at least once a day. She is very ready to train, but I'm not. I tell her that one of these days she can wear just undies and always use the toilet.....and when the time comes, she will just do it. Not because I am pressuring her, because I personally would rather change a diaper than have a ticking-pee-pee/poopie bomb sitting on my couch.....usually when a two or three year old decides something, they are pretty sure about it.

some answers....

Well....did we ever question accepting the children because of financial reasons. Well, yes. When we got married, Paul made very little money. And he had huge college loans to pay back. We lived in a very interesting trailer park, if loud fighting and barking dogs are interesting. So we had our trailer payment and our lot rent and a car payment, and all his loans. And then we were having a baby! I quit my job when I was 5 months pregnant because we lived close to Paul's job, and I didn't make much as a receptionist at an insurance agency. When Em was a few months old, I wanted to get a part time job, but we decided not to do that, it would be better for our little family to have us there in the evenings. Then before Abigail was born, we moved to a three bedroom trailer in a nicer park. We had decided to just trust God to send the children. And He did. We had four more children while living in that second trailer. We built this house and moved in when I was expecting number 6. This house is big, practical, plain, and functional. My brothers and Paul built it while working full time, in the evenings and weekends. And not big enough anymore, but that is another story. Most of the bedrooms are in the basement, but it is a walk-out basement with full windows in the back. Still, it is musty. But we survive. Anyway, we have second guessed ourselves a few times through the years. Mostly because we wondered about me, about if it was crazy for me to have so many babies. But year after year, baby after baby, things went well. I did have some miscarriages, and a stillborn baby, but overall, I was healthy. I guess we just continued to trust God, and when things were tight, that was just part of the trial. It does make things difficult when there is not enough money. If it is any comfort, I have never felt like I were done with babies. When I lost the last one, it was harsh. I don't know if this answer helps....

Tiphaine, about faith. We don't have any formal prayer meetings here in our house, but we do pray with the younger ones at bedtime, and for meals. Our church has weekly youth meetings that really build up and encourage them in their faith. (youth age is 12-35) We also go together on Sundays, and have many special occasions together where God's word is spoken and we are strengthened. We do have alot of fellowship with the older ones, as we fight the same fight against sin. As I have said before, Benjamin doesn't choose to go to the meetings anymore, and ironically, he is the lost soul. He has been around alot lately, though, and he does have a very kind heart. One of the other girls isn't so enraptured with living a life on the straight and narrow right now, but I still of course love her to pieces and am praying for wisdom how to deal with things. They grow up and have to choose what they want in life. It is pretty clear to me that following Jesus brings peace and happiness and a life full of goodness and mercy. We raise them with the hope that they will also choose this, but....Anyway, we all know that living a life speaks volumes, and that is the hard part, speaking about it is the easy truly humbles me when I realize the responsiblity I have here.....yes, I can tell them 'til I am blue in the face, that it is wrong to return evil for evil, but ultimately they look to see how I react in when Paul and I both live this life, truly, even when things get crazy here, well, it speaks volumes. And trust me, although I must say it is getting better, there have been times that I would have given a million dollars to do situations over again, but all was not lost, afterthoughts can be good too.

Mirielle is taking drink orders. I chose a cafe au lait, she is offering tea, hot chocolate, ect. Aaron is looking up a waffle recipe, Joseph is playing the guitar, the kids are bouncing around on the excercise balls and eating their BabyBottlePops from their stockings. (what was i thinking???)

So off I go to join in the fun....Rosie has been bad today, she keeps biting everyone. Not hard, but still. She has Camille's empty BabyBottle, and is chewing it much plastic can a dog ingest? Just kidding, I have to get it from her....


Okay, I have slept in too late today. I rolled over and looked at my watch: 9:30. And Camille only woke up once in the night, I just had to tell her it was okay and cover her up, and back to bed I went. I am getting so spoiled....after years and years of nursing and being tired and never sleeping through the night....I know there were a few times I weaned one baby when I was three or four months along for the next, but then still had to get up in the night for bottle feedings, which I swore I would never do. ha. Anyway....I think my blog is getting boring, or maybe I think my life is getting boring, I don't know. But I wondered if there were any questions I could answer....does anyone have a question?

I stayed up way too late last night. When Paul said goodnight to me, I was surprised - "You're going to bed already? The night has just begun!" Emily and Abigail and Benjamin and Mirielle and Mali and Samuel and Margaret and Kathryn and Evelyn were still up. We have a new computer game, Sims3, which belongs to Mali, but they all like to play it. And they have new phones, so they text each other all the time.

Today is Coffee Shop Day. The temperature is supposed to stay below 14 degrees, with the wind it is just bitterly cold. It is snowing out, and windy. So we decided we would stay home and do something cozy. Coffee, tea, and Mirielle's pumpkin pie.

Right now Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, and Charlotte Claire are playing house. We have two giant excercise balls in the livingroom, and they are always in use. They bounce on them while they play Wii, and they fight over them. Oh, Suze is playing house, and she has a house set up in the corner, and she just mopped her floor. She had the phone, and was pretending that she was telling someone that when she was done with the floor, she would be going for a walk in the park. Charlotte Claire loves playing with Suzanne because Suze gets SO totally into the pretending.

Well, it is gettting later, and now Camille is up....she is on a late schedule too, she stays up 'til eleven and today slept 'til 10:30. She needs to be changed and fed.....oh dear, she just fell with her baby....

Monday, December 28, 2009

1,101st post

Dinner. I wish I could just video our dinner table. But the older kids wouldn't let me. I also thought of taking some pictures tonight, but it makes them feel a bit invaded, and they would tease me and ask me if I was putting them on the blog. On one side of the table, on the bench side near the wall, were 8 of the kids. Paul and I and five of them sat on the chair side. Then one on each end of the table. Benjamin didn't eat with us. We had burgers and salad and sweet potato fries, plus the chocolate cupcakes with homemade frosting that Margaret made today. Jonathan wanted it to be a "candle night", so we had only dim lights and candles. Joseph played in the candles. He lit a match and stuck it in his burger. Mali ate vegetarian chili that she made herself. Sam came late and had to have everything that was already passed, passed again. Jon dropped his burger on the floor, and fussed because he wanted to pray and daddy already did, so everyone had to be quiet so Jon could pray too. Benjamin came along and scared Rosie and she peed on the floor, and Camille tried to stand in her booster seat to eat her cupcake. Benjamin did the dishwasher, Joseph swept, Sam washed the table, everyone cleared it, and Aaron is going to wash the pans.

So my life is perfect. ha. I DID go on the treadmill this afternoon, but had to cut it short because the guy down the road was plowing the across-the-street neighbor's driveway, and Rosie-the-bad-dog was barking and chasing the plow. And my kids....oh, my kids. One of them likes to be funny, and this child hurts my feelings something terrible sometimes just trying to be funny. And if I could re-live the dinner prep, when I was standing at the stove cooking 21 hamburgers, I would not have gotten so offended at this boy and told him to go to his room. I know they don't mean anything by it, but they tease me about not knowing what button to push when answering my cell phone (which IS true, but that was quite a while ago, and I have learned since).They tease me about the way I cook, that I am stuck in my ways, ect. Now, I let these kids make what they want when they want, they never have to do things "my way"....(well, I DO make suggestions.....)Anyway, so may adults in one home....I love them dearly, and don't want them to leave or anything, but it can be a bit interesting sometimes. For instance, I think dirty dishes and pans belong IN the sink. One of my daughters will come along and huff and puff about a dirty pan being in the sink. Well, dear, I put it there, because that is WHERE DIRTY PANS BELONG!!! I don't want to be just like," sorry, my-house-my-rules".....I really want there to be peace. I sincerely don't really care how things get done, I want to be able to humble myself so it goes well here. Most importantly I want to take it right inside, so I am not fuming and stomping. Even if I don't say anything, if I am offended and angry, it stinks. I must say I have plenty of opportunity to find salvation these days, surprise surprise, even with all this help that I have around here. And I am thankful, truly thankful, that I can see that there is sin in ME. Even if sometimes I don't see it right away.....God, He is good.

Camille has a book, and she wants me to read it to her.

our Christmas eve awards....

Christmas Eve is Stine with Emily. And a ride-on race, which Camille won.

Charlotte Claire and babies are growing up.

Uh-oh, daddy fell....

he just couldn't race like Charlotte Claire....

Suze won the fit-in-the-basket contest.


And the awards: Paul got "The Richest"....

I got the "Most Likely To Get Pregnant"....hmm.

Stine got the "Most Norwegian".

Emily got the "Most Converted", and Joseph got the "Most Caveman-ish"

Mali got the "Chinkiest", and Aaron got the "Europeanist"....

Samuel got the "Angriest in the Morning" award....

Mirielle got the "Most Eligible", and Margaret got the "Smiliest"....

Kathryn got the "Most Angelic"...

Evelyn got the "Most Blondiest"....(the boys call her "Blondie" all the time)

Suzanne got the "Prettiest"....

Sonja got the "Gingeriest", the boys call her Ginger.

Jon got the "TipToe-ist"....

And Charlotte Claire got the "Gunniest", because that is how she talks. Her name is Garlotte, and she is gunny! Camille's paper is backwards on purpose because Aaron and Mali, the givers of the awards, thought they were funny and wrote something inapporpriate on hers. It was very funny, or gunny, but not for a family blog.

Yes, our Christmas was fun this year. The very best part was having everyone here, and celebrating in such a way that involved everyone. The weather has gotten cold again, and snowy, and tomorrow will not get over 16 degrees, well below zero with the wind-chill, since it will be snowing again. An arctic cold front is moving over Lake Ontario tonight, bringing more snow. So tomorrow we are having "Coffee Shop Day"....I got some treats today, 1/2 price Christmas candy and cookies, and we are going to make lattes and tea and pumpkin pie. It sounds like a cozy thing to do on a freezing day. Then Wednesday, I am planning to go shopping for stuff for the New Year's Feast at church. We rent a bouncy house for the kids every year, and get together and have good food and good fun, like karaoke, skits, and other games that include everyone. And of course some encouragement to be faithful to God in our daily life!
The workload with so many people here all the time is incredible. I do have lots of helpers right now, so I cannot complain. But the dishwasher runs three times a day, and the washer runs all day, it seems. With us all home all day, except for Paul, we go through so much food. I made grilled cheese for lunch, and we had oranges and grapefruit and grape juice and some pretzels. Dinner is going to be hamburgers and salad. I got two chickens to roast tomorrow, since that sounds like a warm and comfy dinner. Wednesday, some of them will be gone for dinner time, since our church is fundraising at the Carrier Dome again, this time for the professional wrestling. But I am planning pizza for dinner. Thursday we will have pizza again at the party, and lots of other good stuff. I did not plan for New Year's day yet, maybe just some chili......
I read a whole book yesterday, in between everything else. I read the whole thing. Rats. I wish I had saved some for today, but no, I had to read the whole thing. It was a Jacquelin Mitchard novel, pretty good. But that's why I don't like reading books, I either read the whole thing in one day, or I stay up all night and read it. I have read literally hundreds of books through the years while nursing babies. But now, I don't have a baby,....
In fact, Camille is very ready for potty training, and this will be a first for me. ....for almost 25 years straight, I have had someone in diapers. Usually two, sometimes three....and to have NO MORE DIAPERS makes me downright sad. I know, I am silly. But wah anyway.

ooh, snowy monday!

Camille Anaya, yesterday. Rosie-the-bad-dog, yesterday.

Camille, Jonathan, and Charlotte Claire, yesterday.

And this is from the deck, today.

Snowy playhouse.
So out into the snowy day we go. It is still coming down. We need milk and bread and butter and margarine and bananas and lots of other stuff. We had so much food the other day we could barely fit it in the refridgerator. But, I guess we ate it.
So Mirielle is waiting for me, and I had really better get moving, since I teased her last night that I didn't want to wait for her to sleep 'til noon. She is all dressed and ready and I am sitting here with my coffee.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

lazy sunday.....

I got up this morning and said a very sad goodbye to Stine. She is such a nice girl, so sweet and sincere, and she is going back to Norway today. Wah. She says she is coming back someday. After going online for a bit, I decided to treadmill. (I know, treadmill is NOT a verb. Or is it?) Breakfast: oatmeal with apples. And eggs and toast. Clean up kitchen. Vacuum livingroom and kitchen. Do some laundry, because Camille peed through her jammies and cuddled with an unknowing mama. It was a nice shirt, not an "around the house" shirt, but I decided since it is the last day of Paul's vacation, I would try to look nice. Well, not for long. Then I took Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille outside since it is comparatively warm out there, compared to last week anyway. But it is still chilly and damp and when the sun is behind the clouds, downright cold. We explored around the yard, I found a sippy cup, a regular cup, and two towels that they used to dry out the wagons, then left in them. We were cold, and under the swings so muddy, I brought them in before they wrecked their cute little snow boots.

Lunch, and now this break. It is semi-quiet in here. Emily took Aaron, Mali, Margaret, and Kathryn with her to a city a bit north of here to meet up with two Canadian friends who are in Ottowa. They decided to meet half-way and have lunch together. The girls were in Norway with Emily, and they got to be friends. Aaron is taking the other sisters to the mall up there. hmm. I hope they behave.

So that has been my day so far. A few fights, a few owies, a couple of spills, and overall quite vacation-y.

Abigail is going to take Joseph driving, and Sam is going along too. Oh dear, they are having some sort of party that involves blankets and comforters and pillows. They bring them out so effortlessly, but getting them to put them back....oh great, they are jumping from the booster seat into the pile of blankets. Oh, they have perfected the game: they are jumping from the couch, instead.

Well, Camille needs to be changed, she stinks and is jumping into the pile, so my break is over.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


I am sitting here in the living room with just Rosie-the-dog, Benjamin, and Paul. Rosie is taking a nap, and the other two are watching basketball. Camille is sleeping. Joseph, Aaron, and Samuel are over at Susan and Thomas and Will's house watching a movie. Emily, Abigail, Mirielle, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Stine went to the library, and to a Christmas Lights display, and to use the last of the free fries coupons from BurgerKing. So it is quiet.

I have to get dinner made for when they come back, but it shouldn't be too hard. I am just going to heat up the jerk chicken and make some olive oil-parmesean-garlic pasta and some broccoli. If Joseph, Aaron, and Sam don't come home for dinner, we will have 16 for dinner, since Stine is here. I am thinking foam plates, since we have some leftover. The kitchen is all cleaned up from the massive food prep and serving last night. Benjamin was a very nice boy last night, cleaning things up. I was pretty impressed when I got up this morning. I ran the dishwasher again and washed up the counters, and it looks good. But I have to go make another mess, I mean another meal.

One of the kids asked me today if I were going shopping. Excuse me? Shopping? Nah. I am not going Day-After-Christmas-Shopping. Not this year. Ouch, I feel like I should never shop again. I only buy things that are reasonable or down right cheap, but still. It adds up. We have had such good things to eat lately, I feel like we should just wait 'til we run out of everything, and then when we DO go shopping, just get really cheap plain food. Is that called saturation? I have been thinking of the proverb 27, v. 7 "A sated soul loathes honey, but to a hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet." We get spoiled too quickly. For example, when I was growing up, we went shopping every other week when my father got paid. Kielbasa, or polish sausage, was a super favorite for us. My kids are like, "blah"....they are too spoiled. (funny, isn't it, that I managed to spoil 16 kids?) No, they are thankful for things, but pretty picky eaters.

I am thinking of going out to the kitchen and making something nice for dessert tonight. Stine is going back to Norway tomorrow, so maybe I can make her some brownies or something. hmm. That means I have to get up and stop writing in this lovely quiet....

what a Christmas we had!!!

On Christmas Eve, we packed up in our big van and our little van, and all 18 of us went to my brother's house for a few hours. It was nice to see everyone, especially my brother's sweet little grand-babies. We got home....and put out some food. Emily had baked bread, and made bruschetta, corn dogs for the kids, kielbasa, chips and dip, cookies, fudge....

Do these kids look like they need presents? Christmas Eve Secret Santa....(most of the pictures are on Mirielle's camera (I am just SO batteries were dead)...this is Suzanne, Sam, Evelyn, our friend Stine from Norway holding Camille, and Sonja.
Benjamin, Mali, Mirielle, Charlotte Claire, and Aaron. And Rosie.

Evelyn giving Charlotte Claire her present.

Jonathan, Emily, Ben, Mali, Miriellel, Charlotte Claire...then my batteries went dead. We did gifts, then played charades and did ride-on races and was great fun.

Christmas day we had brunch, homemade waffles with fruit, and scrambled eggs and bacon and juice and coffee. But before that, we had cinnamon rolls, so the kids could get to the good stuff:
Waiting for everyone to get up....we started opening presents at around 9:45.

Emily, Mali, Charlotte Claire, Paul, Sonja, and Kathryn....

Jonathan was pretty excited about his romote control car.

Camille got a dolly with a stroller, highchair, and bed.

It actually wasn't too crazy in here at all.
Joseph wondered why I got him StarWars Pez.

Sonja got her Fancy Nancy doll.

One of the nice things about Christmas this year was the "down time" with everyone around. Benjamin can be the nicest boy. He helped open Barbies, and put batteries in things.

Sam and Joseph (with his new Batman comforter, which he DOES like)

It was a bit crowded, but we kept most of the paper picked up....

Evelyn got a Barbie game for the Wii.

Abigail was the self-appointed wrapping paper picker upper.

Joseph and Mirielle

Charlotte Claire and Camille's new doll.

Camille has a thing for bras.

hmmm. She DOES have 10 older sisters.

What can I say? It was just plain funny. I had found these bras for 75% off at Target, and bought a bunch of them....I wrapped them up, and told them to trade if they got the wrong size.

Sonja and Suzanne with their dolls.

These guys got what they wanted for Christmas, finally, PHONES! They were sitting there texting each other. Aaron and Abigail.

Last evening, my sister and her husband and her seven daughters and two-son-in-laws and her two grandchildren came over for dinner and games and fun. We had jerk chicken, which was very good, hot wings and barbecue wings, shrimp, Greek salad, carrots broccoli celery green peppers black olives and dip, chips, homemade cream puffs and elcairs, cookies and fudge, crackers, cheese, pepperoni, kielbasa.....We played What If - Then, and charades, the girls sang, Paul and Joseph played their guitars, we wrote poems, did some improv, it was just too fun to explain. Jonathan pretty much summed it up when he said, "This has been the best Christmas"....we asked him why, and he said, "It has just been SO much fun!"