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

Monday, May 31, 2010

what? another dog?

We seem to have adopted a dog. Just what we need. He came here on Friday, and has shown no signs of packing his bags. He sleeps in Ben's room at night, and just hangs around here during the day like he has been here all his life. He is a black lab mix, he sits and shakes and lies down, comes when called, and hasn't gone near the road or shown any signs of running off. He gets along with Rosie like they have been raised together, and is gentle with the kids. He hasn't jumped up on anyone, or even growled. So Benjamin has been asking around to find out where he belongs, and tonight he talked to some people from down the highway a ways, and they think he the dog of an older kid who left the house when his mom left his dad. The people do not think the Mr. of the house liked the dog or was kind to it, and that is all I will write here because I don't know who reads this. The Mr. was not home when Ben checked, but it was before he heard the dog's now he is hesitant to go back again when Mr. is at home, because from all the neighbors' accounts, Mr. has not looked for dog or asked around for him, and is not a very good owner. we give dog back to Mr. anyways? Yes, I know, it all points to YES, it might all be heresay, and if it is his dog, then we have no right to keep him. But then again, we did not steal this dog, HE came to US. For all we know, they dropped him off, and he found our happy family before he found his way back home again. Our kids just love him, Glen Cocoa they named him....if you haven't watched the movie, "Mean Girls", the name means nothing....

Tonight, we have two doggies sprawled out on the living room floor, relaxing.

Anyway.....the weather here in the Northeast has been nothing short of glorious. Ninety degrees and sunny today. I went in the pool and passed out popsicles to the kids. The pool water is so warm they had to be careful not to let their popscicles go under.

Poplar trees grow fast, and there are several near our pool....that means lots and lots of tree fluff. It has been snowing fluff around here off and on for days. Our filter basket gets filled up over and over, and skimming the fluff from the pool is like a part time job. I would like to get the chainsaw and cut those trees right down.

We had a watermelon today. Oh, I love watermelon season. Especially now they make those nice little seedless ones, that are just enough for our family to eat up in one day. Yes, I know they don't really MAKE them, but almost.....genetic engineering is wonderful.

Camille insisted on going to bed at seven tonight, which was very nice indeed. Except for this one small thing: she woke up again after eight with too much energy. It was a cheaty little power nap. She was saying her leg hurt her, so we gave her some ibuprofen. She has not walked for a week now, but she can scoot around the floor on her butt. She has learned to say very sweetly, " I want you, Mama, and I can't walk!", so I will go pick her up. She is asking to go to bed again. hmm. I am tired, so it sounds good.

Okay, here's some sadness: Mirielle is most likely going away for the entire summer. wah. It is nice for her, it is a good job with good pay, and near some good friends. But what about me? And Aaron and Samuel are going to Norway for a whole month! And with Emily and Abigail working, when can we go camping? We might be able to go at the end of the summer when Mirielle gets back, and Aaron and Sam will be back, but Emily and Abigail still won't be able to go, except for maybe the weekend. And Ben will probably only be able to go for a few days, too. Strange the way things work, adding kid after kid into the camper each year, and now we are starting to downsize....

Camille may be helpless, but she just put Rosie in her cage and is trying to latch it. Rosie might be a pain in the neck sometimes, but a dog who not only listens to a two year old, but a two year old who cannot, she is a keeper!

Emily and Abigail and Mirielle and Mali and Margaret and Kathryn are going on a girls' trip this weekend to the ocean with like eighteen other girls. Emily and Kathryn are at Walmart buying a cartop carrier and new cooler. I am so excited for them, and wish I was young and I could go too.

I hope this week is a bit slower than last week was. But I don't know...Sonja did something to her LOOKS like it might be a sting or an insect bite, the way it is so swollen, but she says it doesn't itch, it just hurts. She hasn't walked all the way on it at all. More x-rays? More co-pays? The kids say I am mean to mention how much things cost and make them feel guilty, so I try not to. But my goodness, I got Mali two new inhalers the other day: $77! Of course I got them for her anyway. But. Oh. Dear. And Evelyn has a tooth that is growing in wrong and she keeps telling me it hurts. Okay, I will call the dentist. But do we have to actually go there?

Camille is turning off the power strip for my computer...she is telling me that "we hafta sposta have it off, okay Momma?" I think she needs attention.....

Sunday, May 30, 2010

whew, another quiet sunday, ha.

Camille-The-Helpless is in bed now......

Charlotte Claire is in bed now....

Paul is so tired he is relaxed on the couch, which is nice...he usually is the Energizer Bunny, even when he is tired.

This weekend has been so busy ...

1. I took Mali to the dr. Friday morning....then to Lowe's for plants for her garden....then to Walmart for a prescription for a new inhaler...she has excercise induced asthma.....

2. We went out to bake our cookies, all 786 of them, which took five hours from start to finish.

3. Saturday we went to the soccer tournament, lost each and every game, but jumped up and down and screamed with joy when the team made one goal. Yes, one goal for all the games. It is all relative.

4. I sold candy, and helped served the fajita dinners to almost 800 people.

5. We left to go home after the little girls almost fell apart, yet they asked WHY we had to go home....

6. This morning Paul left before we were even up to make and serve breakfast at the conference center...Mirielle brought the soccer players out for the "losers" tournament....I brought the younger kids out and opened the candy store for a few hours....

7. Our whole family(except Joseph and Aaron, who were working)
went to my niece's graduation dogs and burgers and coneys and chicken/mushroom/tomato kabobs and cake and pie and those little bags of chips. The kids loved those.

8. They have a tetherball pole, and it was so much fun. I played against Emily....and lost.

9. After the party, I was hot and tired, but mostly we went in the pool for a little swim......

10. Popcorn and stories.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day.....Margaret and Samuel will march in the small local parade, and perhaps we will pack up and go to the bigger parade a few towns over in the afternoon....

Yeah, so I am tired tonight. Tired but happy. I have found that friends are the most important part of life, and have realized more how lucky I am. I have also noticed, by the grace of God, that being faithful in my thoughts not to judge and criticize is what preserves those friendships.

Friday, May 28, 2010

going and going

Jonathan loves Charlotte Claire's birthday trike, even more than she does. Like all that cereal? There WERE three more boxes, but guess what we had for dinner last night? My newborn, I mean my temporarily mobility disabled two-year-old slept all night last night, in her own bed! Well, now, I cannot call it a "bed"exactly....her pack'n play-mattress-with-two-big-comforters-on-top-of-it bed. The first time she slept on it, after her little green bed broke, I asked her in the morning how she liked her new bed. She misunderstood me and asked excitedly, "Did I get a new bed, is it outside?" And Charlotte Claire answered, "No, she means your pile-of-blankets bed." Why does that make me want to cry?

As far as I am concerned, she is fine in the pile-of-blankets bed for a little bit...I am thinking to maybe add her to the Suzanne-Sonja-Jonathan bedroom instead of putting her in with Light On All Night Charlotte Claire....

This morning, in fact in like 45 minutes, I have an appointment in the small city for Miss Mali, because she hurt her hip running track, and has been walking around in pain....she took a week off from running, but it didn't get better, so off we go to have it checked out.

Yesterday I got all the ingredients for the 800 cookies we are going to bake today. Six 72 ounce bags of Nestle chips....and no, this won't make me sick of chocolate chip cookies. I tweak the regular recipe, adding half shortening and half real butter. I also use a 2 to 1 ratio of brown sugar to white, and use real vanilla.

So obviously I have sat here longer than I should have, I have to be out the door in eight minutes. Mirielle is staying here with the kids, I am so spoiled. I did take Miss Camille-The-Helpless with me yesterday though, and she was fine. She got french fries and Tinkerbell fruit snacks, so of course she was fine.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

they more than survived!

Benjamin...when he puts his mind to it, he is amazing! (aren't the trees pretty out the window in the background?).....yes, I am easily distracted...anyway, Benjamin was the number one babysitter last night, he didn't go to his friend's grandmother's house after all. He was going to make the kids hot dogs on the grill, but SURPRISE, Mirielle had taken the gas bottle with her to the dinner the girls were putting Ben was the ultimate babysitter: he built a fire out back and they roasted their hot dogs. They also had corn and green beans, AND roasted marshmallows. When we got home, the first thing Charlotte Claire said to me was, "We had marshmallows!" Except for Miss C.C., the kids were all tucked into bed by a little after nine, and sleeping when we got home. And this morning they were happy, telling me about their fire. Benjamin, 21, Joseph, 19, and Samuel, 14, are good babysitters!!!

Of course there is a down side, which I am not complaining about, but just to keep it real...the house was a mess. Not just because of them, it was nice out yesterday, I hung lots of clothes out on the deck to dry, and didn't bring them in before I left so I did it when I got home last night, the floors HAD beens swept yesterday...but. The counters ...rrr. And so on. I seriously don't expect them to clean and take such nice care of the kids....somehow I am suppposed to, but I don't always do a great job either. So I have learned a little mercy. And thankfully, to hold my tongue a bit, so I don't come in the door and just see the things that are out of place and start growling.

Evelyn Joy skipped school this fine day. She says they aren't doing anything in school. I find that slightly hard to believe, but she has tons of energy and says she is going to help me today. She has already cleaned up the living room and is now preparing her fishbowl. I promised her two goldfish. She thinks they will actually defy the odds stacked against goldfish that enter our home, and survive. hmm. She is using a huge Snyder's Pretzel tub for her fishbowl, and putting all sorts of rocks and things in the bottom....I hope goldfish don't suffer too much when they expire.......

Our dinner was excellent last night. Grilled lemon chicken breast, lemon zest pepper red potatoes, mashed, and asparagus with some sort of sauce on it. We brought Camille-The-Helpless, and she was happy as can be. She sat in her stroller, she sat with me, she sat with Daddy, and she sat on the floor on a blanket. She visited the girls in the kitchen, and she ate gum.

I have to go out and see if I can turn the pool filter of the hoses disconnected yesterday, so we turned it off.....if we leave it off for too long the pool will turn green again....pools are so much work, but so much fun.

I finished getting all the wet clothes sorted and cleaned up, from the laundry room. It is hard to take when something like that happens and adds volume to the work load.

Getting the kids ready for school this morning.....frustrating! I found Jonathan matching socks, and a nice outfit to wear...they have lots and lots of nice clean clothes hanging on hangers, all their "bye-bye" clothes get hung up. But I am very behind in matching socks. Anyway, the shirt I got out for Sonja was "way too small", Jonny lost his socks, Suze didn't like her shirt, but she wore it anyway. Suze lost one of her homework papers and is going to ask her teacher for another one because this one "disapeared into thin air", according to Suzanne. Suzanne also needs another waterbottle, because hers "falls off my desk all the time" a new one will remedy that is beyond me. Anyway, they managed to get on the bus with clean teeth and brushed hair and clean clothes and matching socks and snacks and waterbottles.

My peeves for the day:

If the kids wear sandals to school, which are dear to this mommy's heart because they require NO SOCKS, they cannot play on the playground. Even if they are the nice comfy safe sandals with the strap around the ankle.

High school kids are not allowed to bring water bottles because last year a girl brought vodka in hers.

And that about concludes my rantings for this morning. I believe we are going on a shopping expedition today. We are baking those 800 chocolate chip cookies tomorrow, 24 batches. We will probably break it down into 8 triple batches. Wrapping is the hardest part. Individually. rrr. But it is fun to do, and they are so yummy. Today we need to get the ingredients. So I need to get out of this comfy chair and get moving.....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

life ain't all sunshine and rainbows. Or is it?

Sonja Kathleen....her hair is straight from her thick and curly and red....
Charlotte Claire and Camille

Anticipating going in the pool..

the water is warm, the sun is hot...and yay for waterproof casts!

Here is a nice picture of me with my nine youngest... Margaret holding Camille, Sam standing in back with Suze in front of him, Evelyn holding Charlotte Claire, me with Jonathan in front of me, Kathryn next to me, and Sonja K. Yes, we just sit in the sun and swim and have a good old time. Well, not really. I did laundry and swept and sorted through the wet clothes on the laundry room floor from the outtake pipe getting knocked out of it's socket, and flooding my clean this heat, one cannot ignore wet clothes. And then there is Camille-The-Helpless, who WANTS YOU, MOMMY!
The school kids got picked up early, and out in the pool we went....popsicles in the pool, heavenly. When we had enough sun, we came infor a movie and a rest and some cheez-its and cookies and pear and apple slices and carrots.
I do not have to make dinner tonight. Paul and I are going to a dinner put on by the youth girls, to help fund their trip to the ocean this year, and just so we can get together having a good time. Of course the kids here (Joseph, Samuel, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire) should probably eat dinner I should think of something for them....Ben went to his friend's grandmother's house, Emily, Abigail, Mirielle, Mali, Margaret, and Kathryn will be preparing and serving the dinner, and Aaron is at work. And I think I will take Miss Camille-The-Helpless with us....just because. I might as well spoil her all the way. No, really I think it will be too hard for Joe and Sam, because she needs lots of care right now....and because I love her and want to bring her with me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

maybe a little time to write?

Camille ended up in bed with mommy last night. She cried every few has been a while since I have endured that kind of interrupted sleep. Wow, it is difficult. Even when she was in bed with me, she cried and fussed several times...I finally gave her more Tylenol, and around six o'clock she settled down...and I had to get up at seven.

So despite feeling like a zombie today, I managed to be quite busy. I left before 8am to go with my brother Bob to buy food for the 700+ dinners that our church is serving on Saturday. I got home, snuggled fussy Camille for an hour or so, and off we were to the orthopaedic dr. The waiting room waiting was punctuated by taking Camille to the bathroom twice, and getting to know the old lady sitting next to me. She said she had five children, and she would rather have taken the first four shopping, than the last ONE....because the youngest was a "hellion". Hmm. sounds familiar. Even though I love my two little girls tremendously, they do give me a run for my money.

Since some of you kindly informed me that they do indeed make waterproof casts, which surprised me because I was totally kidding, I asked about it today, and yes, for a mere $25 extra, she can swim and bathe and play in the hose. As long as she doesn't walk on it, that is. It seems that she broke an important bone, a support bone, and if she walks on it, it is bad. "But," the dr. assured me, "It is hard to keep a two year old from walking, so if she does it will probably be okay."...hmmm. So far she hasn't even wanted to venture down....but I am thinking tomorrow she will be crawling with it, which I will be sure to video, the poor thing, but when Charlotte Claire broke her ankle, she started her mobility with crawling like a soldier, right down on her belly. It was pathetic and hilarious and her brothers delighted in it.

We went grocery-ing, just for a few things like milk and bread and bananas and popscicles and chicken and toothpaste and carrots. I let Kathryn, Evelyn, and Suzanne go to the bulk foods and pick out a little bit of candy...then we were off to their special treat....I had promised them I would take them to any drive-through they wanted to go to last night, for going with me and helping me.....but it was SO late when we left the hospital, we came home and had cereal, CinnamonLife. Today, I took them through BurgerKing. Slushies for $1, Suze got a salad for a $1, Camille got fries...but she got mad and threw them. Suze gave her hers, and she threw them too. uh-oh, she is getting monsterly.

It was in the high eighties this afternoon, so when we got home, we put away the groceries and took a swim. Heavenly....well, except for the leaves on the bottom. And that Camille didn't want to stay in very long, so nice Mommy had to get out and cuddle her, all wrapped in her nice warm towel.

I love love love her, but I must admit, when she went to bed tonight, I sighed a sigh of relief.

I think I will either send the kids an pick them up at noon, or keep them home. Low nineties, too hot for an hour -long busride in the afternoon, too hot to smell those awful lunches cooking in the cafeteria, too hot for chorus practice, and for gym class.

Well, maybe NOT enough time to write, since this is written today, and the first part was written last night! Camille started crying, so I had to go in and go to bed, and take her into bed with me. It is sort of hilarious, I have sixteen children, and have avoided co-sleeping for all these years, except for the occasional nursing newborn....but I usually put them back in the pram after I fed them, because I like my bed to myself, or should I say ourselves. Anyway, Camille "want you, Mommy!",so I offered her to sleep with me......even when she was sick in the past, she would usually want to go back in her bed after a bit, but not last night. I gave her some Motrin because she just kept holding her leg and saying her owie hurt. is supposed to be ninety degrees. I am letting Jonathan and Sonja stay home today, and picking some of the other kids up at one o'clock, so they can be here in the pool when it is really warm out. I know, I know, I spoil them and baby them.....

And Tereza, I DID keep my promise about the pool the other day, except I wasn't waiting by the pool with snacks, I was waiting IN the pool....oh, the water is so warm, amazing for May.

It is funny because I thought this was going to be such an easy summer compared to the last 25 years or so.....I have had summers where I remember having to get everyone out of the pool when baby woke up, or when I sat holding a baby while they swam and I wished I could go in was never impossible, but it was never just easy. I would of course take a newborn ANY day over having things easy, but since I haven't been blessed with one lately, I was starting to like the idea of EASY. Now, I have an already rather spoiled two year old who is hilariously funny and sweet, but even brattier because she is uncomfortable and doesn't understand why she cannot walk.....all she wants is me...more than usual, even. hmm.

She is still sleeping in my bed so I have to listen carefully so I know when she is awake....all I need is her to fall off the bed and break the other leg....ha, I better just shut up right now.

The piles around here are getting bigger, and when it is hot out, blah, I will not do much housework....maybe next week will be cool and rainy.


Benjamin and Charlotte Claire...

Aaron and Camille

Yes, I took her to the grocery store after she got her cast put on this afternoon....

She always wants to sit in the back, and today she got to.

She is heavy to carry....

Right after she got her purple cast

She was an angel while they put it on her.

Waiting in the dr office to get her cast....

Evelyn, Camille, and Kathryn

Suzanne sat in the corner of the closet....

We were in the office for two hours.

Charlotte Claire

And that is all...Camille is screaming for me....

Monday, May 24, 2010

yes, it is broken....

Camille Anaya, who is two years old, broke her leg. So she gets midnight cereal on the couch. It's a good thing I have learned a thing or two these years, like having emergency pretzels in my purse. We were at the emergency room for almost six hours.

This whole thing just proves my theory: When I don't wash my hair and I really KNOW I should, but try to skip a day, something like this happens. When I realized that yes, this child seriously is hurt, and I have to take her to the hospital, the first thing I said was, yes you guessed it, "My hair is dirty!"....but I lived.

She was on the trampoline with the kids....Jon ran and jumped on top of someone, and accidentally tripped her, and fell on her....

The resident dr. who looked at her first didn't think it was broken, he said there is a huge lump on the back of her calf, and sometimes bruises hurt badly. Well, she would not stand on it. Then the REAL dr. came in, and felt the leg, and said the same thing, but we should do an xray just in case...then, VOILA! broken right under the knee. She has a nice splint on it, and cannot walk on it, good thing there are plenty of carriers around here....I have to take her in tomorrow to see what the orthopaedist wants to do for her.....wah, probably no more swimming pool for her for a while...poor child...unless they have perhaps invented waterproof casts...

She is tired and we have to go to bed....but remember, keep that hair clean, and your kids won't break their legs!!!

oh heavenly day!

It is scrumptiously deliciously wonderful outside right now. I took Rosie out this morning, and we were out by the edge of the yard, where the grass is higher and the little creek runs. The birds of course were singing, and a bee was buzzing around. The sky is totally blue, and the leaves and grass are still that young tender shade of green. And this is what I thought: I do not want to send the kids to school today! It should be summer. It is going to be in the eighties today, what do they really need to learn?

I am thinking to keep them home tomorrow. I haven't said anything about it yet, but I am thinking. It is supposed to be near ninety degrees. I already told them I would be waiting in the back near the pool with snacks when they get home today.

Last evening, one of the things I had to do was to clean up from dinner and put away the pizza....well, Aaron came home and unloaded, loaded, ran the dishwasher, put all the pizza away in a big container, and cleared the counters....without even being asked. I was so thankful! Not for the work he had done, but the work that must be going on in his seventeen year old heart, to do something like that. Now no disrespect to Aaron, I love him to pieces, but he isn't what one would call a "big help". Usually, all I have to do is say his name, and he answers, "What???!" in that dreading voice, certain I am asking him to do something.

Well, they all got on the bus this morning. And I have tons of work to do. I don't seem to learn that when I am busy all weekend and slack off on laundry and housework, it grows to monsterous proportions, too big to shake a stick at. The kids rooms are messy, the bathroom needs a scrubbing.....the clothes pile on the couch is still a small monster, but this mommy better attack it before it is too late. Now that the swimming season is in swing again, I had to remind the kids to fold up their clothes and put them on their beds when they change into their looked like someone had played hip-hip-hooray with a big pile of clothes, they were so excited to try out the pool, they just got dressed all over the living room and skipped out the door. And the towels: I hate rules, but wrapping up in a towel and swinging on the swings, letting the towel corners drag through the dust and dirt under the swings? rrr. Leaving the towel out on the swingset?

Today I have a mental list of things I want to do. In no particular order:

1. laundry....towels, bedding, kids' clothes.....

2. clean up around here, sweep and mop and general picking up.

3. go to walmart for more pool shock.

4. go to walmart for milk.

5. stay home and get things done.

6. figure out what to do with Charlotte Claire and Camille and their bed situation...Camille's little green bed broke, she slept on the mattress with some comforters on the floor of our room last night. That was after we tried to have her sleep in Charlotte Claire's room with her. The were out here every twenty seconds, sometimes grabbing piles of books from the bookshelves. What? Bedtime means go to sleep! They thought we said it was party time, I think. Charlotte Claire has been sleeping with the light on for quite some time, and Camille sleeps in the dark....that light on meant playtime. One time Camille came out with a dollhouse van and some people....that's why we gave up and put Camille on our bedroom floor. I think we might have to get her a toddler bed and put it in the Suzanne, Sonja, and Jonathan's room.

7. wash my hair

8. brush Rosie.

9. figure out what's for dinner...we are having company, a nice girl from Norway who came for the wedding and is staying with friends for a week or so.

10. Hire a maid or two or three.......and some cleaning ladies, and a gardener and a screen repairman, and a hot tub fixer.....

One thing I REALLY have to do is soak some of my clothes...the strangest thing happened: On Friday night, we had a really nice bonfire in the back yard. Emily came over, Abigail came over, Ben came after work, Aaron came after work....anyway, most of the kids were there, and it was too much fun. Then Paul was whittling the leaves off a nice marshmallow stick and he cut the top of his finger, a nice deep slice. There was a LOT of blood, and the kids were just shocked. Jon was flipping out a bit, but Emily-the-nurse was there, and she helped him wrap it up. She advised him to go get a stitch or two, but nah, he was fine. Fast forward. He got up in the night to use the bathroom, and must have bent his finger enough to open it back up, and he bled all over my clothes. (he didn't realize it was bleeding again until it had dripped and dropped all over....) I hang lots of things from the lavender pram in our room, and I had all the possible outfits for the wedding there, along with a few things hanging in the bathroom....when I got up in the morning, and started going through my clothes and discovering that he had bled on every single possiblity, I did what every upset wife would do. I got in the minivan with Sonja and went shopping before he even woke up. I bought a new shirt and new skirt, and a new purse. They were on sale, but much more expensive than I ever pay. But I had to have something and didn't have time to go all over town. Now i have to gather those other clothes and try to get the stains out.....rrrr. But the funniest thing was right after it happened, when Suze picked up the stick, which was quite bloody, and asked, "Can I still use this stick?" I said, "The bloody marshmallow stick?" We laughed our heads off, for some reason it was so funny to see her sitting there in Gramma's nightgown with that stick in her hands....we laughed so hard probably because that comes easily after a shock like that...and Suze started crying because we were laughing at her, which wasn't true at all....oh, life is stranger than fiction.

Now my procrastination is over....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

sunday, a day of rest....

after the amazing feat of getting out the door for church with all the other people who live here, except Benjamin, along with sandwiches and drinks and little baggies of chips and pretzels, since we were staying after for a soccer pep rally....and coming home to the pool being ready to swim.....and swimming with the little ones, which really consisted of me skimming the bottom for leaves and solving the hog-the-ladder-top fights.....I am tired. I sat in the sun after the three youngest were done with the water, pushing Camille on the swing and singing her songs and talking to Jonathan and keeping an eye on Suzanne and Sonja, who were still swimming. I was planning on making chocolate chip cookies for the girls gathering this evening, but Mirielle ended up doing it. I did make three pizzas, no sauce, just butter and garlic and cheese and diced tomatoes and bacon, with bacon on one too. Unbelieveably good. I gave the kids their pizza in the living room at their little table, while watching "102 Dalmations". Joseph, Aaron, and Sam are with the boys from church, and all the older girls are at the girls gathering. Benjamin is at work, so just Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, Camille, Paul and I are here. I am resting with my feet up, and I could seriously fall asleep.

It is warm out today, very pleasant and sunny and breezy, probably around 80 degrees. I am thinking that I have to send the kids to school this week, and no fair, I want summer vacation to start now! We just plain know how to have fun. And I don't think they would be any less smart if I just pulled them out right now and started on with vacationing. Too bad I would get in trouble...they learn so much just being here. Camille was making "teeny tiny baby "c"s, Mommy" today with a red crayon and a piece of paper. And lots of "ones", too. Of course, she made one squiggle and said it was an "f", and it didn't really look like one.

Life doesn't always go like I think it should go, and sometimes it is downright painful. But I can always, always, no matter what, be faithful to God. Sometimes it is just a matter of standing firm in my thoughts, so that I don't give in to critical thoughts, or getting offended about something. Faithfulness is the most important thing. And it is possible no matter what circumstances I find myself in. Just think to be free from blaming others!

I am thankful today, for many things.

I am thankful for Paul and his goodness. He broke a part off the pool filter while getting it fixed up, so he ordered another piece, and got it going. He is trying to fix my hot tub, which to be fair, he DID break. He turned it off back when it was still cold out, and a pipe broke underneath. He doesn't care for the hot tub, and wasn't too thrilled when I bought it, but he is fixing it for me because he is so nice.

I am thankful for Camille. I held her today and she hugged me and sucked her thumb, and I sang her songs, and she cuddled up and I wondered how on earth I could possible love someone so much. She is snuggled up to me right now....

I am thankful for Rosie, even though she did take off and visit the neighbors this afternoon while I was swimming with the kids. She is so funny, she understands so many things. Her favorite thing is cold water running from the hose, and when I ask her if she wants some, she goes right for it. She also likes going with me when I pick Mali up from track, she sits right on the front seat and looks out the window.....

I am thankful for Jonathan....he brought two grocery bags full of Hess trucks to the meeting today.

I am thankful for my older kids who help me when they can, and say the things I need to hear, and help me seek God in much need.

The thing I am most thankful for though, is God's grace over my life.

And now I must remove myself from this comfy chair and take care of some things. I have sleepy little creatures here, a puppy dog who wants a walk, and clothes for tomorrow to get out. I have to put away the pizza and clean up the table, and I should do the dishwasher again....Joseph and Aaron and Sam are home now, but they ate at Panera Bread with the boys. It doesn't seem very nice to ask them to help clean up a dinner they didn't even eat......

Saturday, May 22, 2010

beautiful wedding

Joseph helped do tons of dishes after the wedding... Esther and Tim.....young and lovely.

Abigail with Charlotte Claire

Emily Anne taking a little break from preparing the food. She likes being in the kitchen.

Kathryn, Emily, and Joseph

Abigail, Kathryn, Evelyn, Margaret...and the flower girl, Charlotte Claire

Charlotte Claire with Esther and Tim in the recieving line...

It was a nice day, nice wedding....very encouraging and sweet.

Friday, May 21, 2010

just lovely....

Mali and Samuel

Jonathan didn't seem to notice that Samuel had a nice tux on...he brought out all his Hess trucks to show him.

And speaking of lovely, Miss Camille Anaya

Miss Charlotte Claire

And the lovely Miss Rosie-The-Bad-Dog...

She's lucky she's cute.
Leaving for the prom time sort of sneaked up on me, so when Sam came over....the deck was messy and the shoe area was messy, the dog wouldn't stop barking...and Mali wasn't ready yet. Sam was nervous, and Mali's hands were shaking...we took our pictures and off they went.....phew. There is NEVER a dull moment around here.

summery day...

Now that I have cried and cried about my mother, I feel a little better. I have stayed home all day, except for going to pick Aaron up at school. No, he isn't sick, but it is prom-night day, and the high school tends to be quite empty in the afternoon. I had just put my bathing suit top on to sit in the sun when Mirielle informed me that I had to call to pick him up. The school secretary was hesitant about me picking him up when he wasn't going to the prom.....she put me on hold. I decided while I waited to be nice no matter what, but to insist on bringing him home, because it is no fair that the promgoers got legal excuses to leave halfday....but she just said "Okay, just come in and sign him out." Mirielle couldn't go in, I had to get dressed again and go....

We spent most of the day on the deck talking and sunning and watching the kids play with the hose, now that it is fixed. Their little pool is cracked, we have had it for at least 10 or 12 they had just pails of water to fill and dump and play in. And the sprinkler. It is 81 degrees today, and just lovely.

Camille came into the house at one point, and took off her bathing suit and put on a giant pair of undies. Next thing I know, she is back outside playing in the water in the saggy baggy undies. Okay....but then she took them off! No, no little butt cheeks out in the front yard!! It was time for a pull up and some chocolate milk and a nap. She is not sleeping, but she is singing some nice little songs...hopefully while lying nicely in her little green bed, and not while getting into my stuff.

It is a popscicle day, a grassy feet day since the lawn was mowed yesterday, and the neighbor is mowing so it sounds summery, too. The kids are having some downtime with ice cream sandwiches and "Curious George."

Yesterday was an adventure. I went to school to talk to Sam's teachers, and we think he will do okay. He knows his stuff, he just has to do the work. Then I went into the cafeteria and visited Jonathan at his lunch table. He pointed to the girl across from him and said, "This is Christianna, she is always on red light or yellow light!" Nice, Jon. How nice of you to point this lack of good behavior out to me! The girl didn't seem to mind though. Then I ventured into the next cafeteria to visit Miss Suzanne, whom I was stealing from school. I signed her out and off we went on our journey....first to Kohl's to look for sneakers. Nope, too expensive. But I did get Sam some shorts and jeans. Then to Target, where we found some cute ones for the exorbitant price of $12.99. I rarely buy things at regular price, so OUCH. She was so sweet and thankful that I made sure I didn't say anything about the price. I found some cheap sandals for Mali, for Mirielle, and for Kathryn. And swim trunks for Jonathan, a card for the wedding tomorrow, and some off-white socks for the flower girl, Miss Charlotte Claire. She is at rehearsal right now, Emily took her.

Suze and I had too much fun together. I enjoyed her immensly. She didn't eat much of her school lunch, and I had only had Apple Jacks in the morning, so we went to McDonalds for two sundaes, a double cheeseburger and one order of fries. We chatted and shared and wiled away the hours.....then after the grocery store we agreed we needed coffee for the ride home. I got hot with cream, she got iced with cream and sugar. I told her she was going to have to pee, and sure enough, she was dancing by the time we got home. Sorry Suze, if you are reading this. But it was a huge iced coffee.

We had dinner out on the deck last evening, the kids ate quickly and got on with the important things like riding their bikes and swinging. Sonja K. , 8, got stuck in the Little Tikes baby swing, and needed rescuing. Camille shared her Dora fruit snacks, and we stayed outside until the mosquitoes visited.

It seems like summer so it was hard to get them into bed. Life is so short, I hate rushing them into bed when I am still enjoying them. It didn't get remotely quiet in here until at least ten o'clock. Then today was a day off!! Well, not officially. It was a half-day, for the teachers to sort out who goes in what classes next year, Articulation Day. Of course I requested specific teachers even though it isn't allowed. What are they gonna do, shoot me? Ha, probably, one of these days. Anyway, half-days = long long bus rides, not worth it for just a few hours of that is why it seems like summer.

Steak on the grill for dinner....and maybe a backyard fire and marshmallows.

Mali is going to the prom tonight. Our other girls have never dated, but Miss Mali has a boyfriend. He seems like a nice boy, very respectful. He is in track and band and works as a life guard at the school pool. I don't like this one little bit, but sometimes we have to let go of what we want for our kids and let them make is quite interesting to find my way through all this, and I don't really understand how to deal....but I do know that God gives wisdom to those who seek it, and I am thankful when I find how little I understand. Because then I am in a good place, where God can work with me.

I wish afternoons were is so lovely sitting here with the mower going, and drinking the coffee that Kathryn made me without me even asking....

happy birthday to my mommy

May 22nd. The last time she had a birthday was four years ago, when she turned 69. It makes me mad sometimes, that she only got to live for 69 years, she enjoyed life more than anyone I have ever met. Waiting in line, sitting at home, she did not get bored. I am crying alot lately, even though it has been so long since she died...because it is springtime, and Lilac time, and she loved Lilacs. I have a Lilac bush in the front yard, and every day I stop and bury my face in it, and remember her. I keep bringing in fresh sprigs for the vase next to my kitchen sink.

How can one stop missing someone? I talked to her every single day after the kids got on the bus for all those years. I called her when I got home from the store, because she cared what I got for 75% off. She cared about the old lady who was giving out lemonade samples, and the cashier who remembered Casey. I called her sometimes when I was making dinner, she knew if a dented can was dangerous or how long to soak the beans. I called her when Paul was at a meeting in the evening, or if one of the kids bumped their head or fell off their bike. Whenever Paul was away at a conference or had to work on a Saturday, I was at her house with all the kids. She was the best garage sale companion ever! Once she bought the whole remains of a garage sale that the guy just wanted to get rid of. She had all this stuff at her house, happy as can be to give it all to, I wanted to be getting RID of stuff, not getting more, but I let the kids take messy-haired dolls and old board games with scrunchy boxes and some of those much-loved stuffed animals that every mother wants more and more of....I just remember how happy she was that she had all that stuff to give the kids.

I thought it would get easier with time. But it hasn't. I wear her wedding band on my right hand, (and it really messes me up because for years I knew LEFT was the hand I had my ring my goodness, am I the only adult in the world who just blanks each and every time? I blame it on my kindergarten teacher, who used to quiz us. I was terrified to be called on, so now I have that panic-y reaction....I hold up both my hands, and they BOTH have rings. My mother would think this is very funny.)

So I still miss her so much. She hasn't met Camille, or Rosie-the-bad-dog. I wonder sometimes why some people who are so miserable and unthankful just live and live, yet my mother had to fight and struggle for so many years. She had breast cancer and a triple-bypass before she was sixty, then kidney failure from the heart surgery, dialysis for nine years. Nine years! Three times a week, feeling awful afterwards, for nine years.

If I could just dial her number and ask her if she wanted to go shopping.....

If I could just pull into her driveway and see her standing there with her purse.

If I could come out here from a nap and see her sitting in my chair with two or three kids on her lap...

Tomorrow we are going to a wedding for some friends, they are young and happy and in love. But I cannot help think how the wedding is on her birthday, and they probably have no idea. I will be there with them to celebrate their happiness, but inside I will be thinking how much my mother would like to be there, and wondering how everyone can forget that it is her birthday. How can the world still spin without her?

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Things that test my patience:

1. Chapstick in pockets in the laundry.

2. Eating while walking around, dropping crumb trails.

3. Unattended drinks left in dangerous places. (like on the table where the Wii and dvd player are)

4. The dog's leash not being placed in it's usual spot.

5. Those who think it is okay to wear their shoes across the floor because they are in a hurry.

6. Dirty socks found in various places. What, are they planning on wearing them again? Why oh why can they not just go straight to the hamper? Do they think dirty socks look NICE on top of the rolltop desk?

7. Sharing my vacuum cleaner. I seem to have a special talent for emptying it and wrapping up the cord properly.

8. Dishes placed into the sink without getting rinsed off.

9. Clothes taken from the dryer and plopped on the couch.

10. Unflushed toilets.

11. Uncapped toothpaste.

12. Toothpaste all over the bathroom counter and in the sink.

13. Eating or drinking at the computer table.

14. Jackets and backpacks strewn mindlessly. Okay, one or two would be no big deal...but 6 or 7....rrr.

15. Empty cereal boxes or cardboard put on the kitchen floor next to the garbage can instead of in the bin on the deck.

16. Sections of the newspaper left in the bathroom.

17. Being told the cat has no food. Hasn't had any in one or two days, perhaps.

18. Ice cube trays with one ice cube.

19. Playing "find the phone".

20. Playing "find the tv remote".

21. Playing "find the hairbrush".

22. Discovering there is only one egg in the carton. Or none.

23. Having 5 open tubs of soft margarine in the refridgerator.

24. When one teenager rolls his eyes at me and another teenager gives that subtle nod of agreement that Mom is being ridiculous.

25. When they say, "I HEARD you!", yet they do everything wrong.

26. Hearing, "My shoes are to small, I don't have ANYTHING to wear today!"

Obviously this list could be very very long. So I must balance it out...

Things I love....

1. When one of the kids apologizes.

2. When Rosie actually comes when I call her.

3. Seeing someone take out the garbage without being asked.

4. The older kids taking the little ones outside. Happily.

5. One of the kids offering me a cup of coffee.

6. That sleepy look the little ones have in the morning.

7. The excitement and rebelliousness of letting them skip school and have fun at home.

8. Dressing them neat and clean.

9. Cute little girls with nicely brushed hair.

10. Kids who start to grow up and take their own showers. (Jonathan took his own this morning.)

11. Hearing, "Thanks for dinner, Mom."

12. Also hearing, "It was good."

Why is it that I can think of more things that bug me than please me? Oh well. Miss Charlotte Claire is up and she wants a bath. Miss Evelyn Joy is home from school because her tummy hurts, which means she has a good book that she wants to read.

I am going over to school to talk to some teachers about my dear Samuel. With all my kids older than Sam, (Emily, Abigail, Benjamin, Mirielle, Joseph (well, not always Joseph...but if he actually WENT to school, he did all the required work...with him, it was getting him to school), Aaron, and Mali), I have had absolutely no problems with them being self-motivated and doing all their school work. So this sort of snuck up on me, having Sam not be able to handle all of his classes. He can ace one, and fall behind in another, then catch up in the one and fall behind in a different one. I can totally relate to this because it is exactly how it is for me around the house, but anyway....sometimes I wonder where I have been and what I have been dealing with and all of the sudden I wake up and see there is a problem with something or someone. So I am meeting with the teachers to see if we can work together to get him all caught up in all his subjects so he can pass the grade. He is a brilliant boy, but he does have his issues. Once we get him through this grade, I will be making some changes...we have already asked him not to play any video games during the week, even if the homework is caught up, and he is agreeable to that. It is nice to work with him and let him know that it is not ME against HIM, but that I love him and want to help him succeed. We have had much fellowship and closeness in all this, and I am thankful for that. He is a good boy with a tender heart, and I thank God that He can help me be patient and get past Sam's gruffness and defenses to work with him.

I admit that sometimes it seems overwhelming to deal with so many different things around here. I need to let go of how I think things should go, and just deal with what is before me. Life isn't a competency test, thankfully.

I am trying to tell Rosie that we WANT those men to come take our garbage, they are not stealing it, and she needn't bark and growl at them. ha. She does not believe me.

Well, now Miss Camille is up. I put my diaper bag in my room the other day during the Great-Clean-The-House-For-Company event. Miss Camille likes this because she can change into the spare diaper-bag outfit, eat some gum, find the baggie of keep-busy-during-the-meeting crayons, and also the emergency crackers. All in my room without me even knowing she is awake yet. I think today I will remove what is left of the diaper bag from my room.

The longer I write the more apparent it is to me that I am putting off all the things around here that are calling me.....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

afternoon coffee

I did something today that I haven't done in a while: I took a nap. I fell fast asleep, well, after the kids stopped crashing into my door and slamming around in the hall. Mirielle took them outside, and I slept. I woke up and was surprised that only an hour had passed, so I fell back to sleep....after a half an hour, Emily called my cell phone to make sure I sent notes to school, as she is picking some of her sisters up early for some fun. I decided I better get was a very yummy and worthwhile nap.

Mirielle and I gave the kids lunch on the deck, but the sun just wouldn't come out and shine on us. The clouds would move by and let the sun tease us just a bit, then back they came.

I had prepared a hamburger with lettuce and tomato, to eat on the deck. We were streaming out the door when UH-OH, Camille peed a nice big puddle on the bench and onto the floor. Okay, cleaned her up and cleaned up the mess.....and RRR! Rosie-the-bad-dog reached her little face right up on that shelf near the door and stole my burger right off the bun! She KNEW it was bad, she just couldn't help herself. I yelled NO, and she settled down to the floor with her head down, oh-so-sorry.....ha. She would do it again in a minute, sneaky dog.

It has been nice having Jonathan home today. They have been playing one continuous game of "house", they had babies in their tummies, they pretended Charlotte Claire was the maid, they are here yet in another world. I love it when kids do this.

Camille is taking a nap, or at least she is all tucked into her little green bed. Whether she goes to sleep or just comes back out here in a half an hour with all her clothes off is anyone's guess.

I am going to make some homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner.

Suzanne needs sneakers for gym. She has some of those nice shoe/sneakers, that I think are fine, they have traction on the bottom and fit her nicely. Her gym teacher says they are NOT sneakers, and makes her wear sneakers from the gross sneaker box. She has been stuffing her feet into her older floral Converse, but they are too small. So...she has just a few weeks of school left and I am supposed to go buy more sneakers for her even though her shoe/sneakers are fine for around here....actually, she is barefoot or flip-flops around here. Just to make it clear, I am doing it for Suzanne, not the stinkin' school. Everything at school is so "safety"...Samuel is in eighth grade. He has a cousin who is autistic. This cousin doesn't interact with everyone, but has always liked Sam. Sam has been playing tag with him every day on the playground. When this cousin gets excited about something like this, he is just obsessed with it. Sam said he just loved loved loved running and playing tag. Anyway, Sam said running is now banned on the playground. WHAT?? How can that be? Is there not a serious obesity epidemic? How can those children burn calories and get their energy out just walking on the playground? I am stunned. Childhood has it's dangers, but running on the playground is now one of them? rrr.

I hate how the fear of lawsuits has made this world such a safe place.

Anyway...tomorrow I get to go to the school and meet with Samuel's teachers. He does great in one class, then in another, but he cannot seem to get it together and do great in everything at the same time. It is never far from my mind to homeschool this child of mine, but I am still openminded, and hope the teachers can be helpful. The guidance counselor has been lovely. I just hope the teachers aren't on the defensive. I just want what's best for Sam, not to try to place blame or accusations.

Yes, life is interesting. I am like Sam. I cannot keep up with everything all the time. When something is shining, there is surely something piling up somewhere else. But life goes by, and does it really matter?

the aftermath...

So we had three guests for dinner.....then the evening invite was open, so our friends from church could come over if they wanted to. There were 21 for dinner, then six more friends came for the evening. We fit easily into the living room with some of the younger ones sitting on comforters on the floor. The gathering was casual, yet very encouraging. The kids sang a song, and we heard a really good story....

A seventeen year old girl who was in the middle of many struggles, including whether to follow her own way or follow God, was in school one day. The math teacher asked the kids to close their books, and asked them a random question. He said, "Raise your hand if you have never seen your parents fight." This 17 year old girl was the only one who raised her hand. Her teacher asked her after class if she realized how blessed she was to be raised in a home where there was no fighting. She thought and thought about that....and that night, she came to the conclusion that that was the life she wanted to live herself, so she went to her parents, apologized for the difficult times she had given them, and decided to be converted. A boy in her class was so impressed with the change in her, that HE started to come to the church and HE was also converted, along with his father and a few of his brothers. All because of a question from a math teacher....

Our children don't fully realize how good they have it, to be born into a family that WANTS them, loves them, and to parents who lay their own lives down for their children. And also they are born into the church, where there is goodness and help and warmth and love and fellowship.

So our evening was fun and warm and the kids stayed up way too late.

I tried to sleep, and even though I am so tired I just couldn't sleep. I think it was because I knew Miss Emily was still here, talking to I got back up and talked to them for a while, 2:30 again. They are planning a youth girls' trip to the ocean, and are doing a dinner next week to raise some money to help defray the cost. I was trying unsuccessfully to keep my two cents out, but....

So this morning the house is still clean from last night, Emily ran the dishwasher before she left. I do have lots of laundry to do, and I really would like a nap. Yes, it is eight in the morning and I am thinking about my nap. I don't actually take naps anymore.....but today, I might.

I let Jonathan stay home because he stayed home so late last night, but the other kids all went.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

getting there!

I washed my hair. I washed the couch covers, but haven't put them back on yet. I vacuumed under all the furniture. I washed the screen door, inside and out. I washed one of the throw rugs, vacuumed the kitchen, and over near the door, and ate some cake. I just realized all I ate today so far was cake. So I took a pear and some cold sausage in a baggie, and sat down and put my feet up. Aah, it feels nice. The little girls are watching "Calliou", Mirielle is making the shortcake for strawberry shortcake...and I am planning what to do next...I don't know whether straightening the bookcases or mopping the floors is of priority. I would rather do both, but....

I also cleared in front of the laundry room door so it can close.

I wish I liked excercising more. If I was in better shape, this wouldn't be a big deal. But I could crawl into bed and sleep like a baby for like three hours right now. And my feet hurt. And my knees, and my back. Ha, poor me. The thing is, I am very excited to be having company. It is always worth it, although I must say as I get older, it does cost me more to get ready.

Well, as much as I like to sit here and relax, I think I will straighten the bookcases....I cannot mop until the girls are otherwise occupied or napping, they will slip and fall.

another day and I am still alive and well

But I am tired!!! I went to bed at a decent time last night like a good girl.....even fell asleep somewhat quickly, then I heard Rosie bark....once...twice...I came out here to see what was wrong with her....Aaron and Mali were sitting on the kitchen floor talking and playing with her. It was midnight. Emily and Mirielle were on the computer trying to figure out where they are going to go this summer, the four of them and maybe Abigail or Sam....Maine, or North Carolina, or Chesapeake Bay.....they are so funny.

I got Aaron to take the dog out one last time for me, and I rested on the couch for a few minutes. Benjamin was playing video games, and listening to the five of them talk and fool around was more than heart-warming. I simply wasn't tired anymore, and didn't want to go back to bed and toss and turn. So I stayed up and talked to Emily and Mirielleand Benjamin after the other two went to bed. For Emily, it is daytime. And it was Mirielle's very last day of finals for the semester, so they COULD stay up. We solved all the world's problems, and I got in bed at two thirty. ugh, I woke up at 6:58, and I was sorely tempted to just roll over and go back to sleep and forget all about school this morning.

So we ate the chicken nuggets last night, with some nice salad and carrots and celery and dip, and pop fresh biscuits. Then we sang the birthday song to Joseph with some candles, mostly because Camille absolutely delights in it!

The older kids were pretty thankful when Benjamin came in from work with a pizza! Needless to say, it was history pretty quickly.

It was so nice to have some time to visit with Emily without the little kids monopolizing her! Oh, they love her so much. She never tells me details or names or specifics, she is very careful about that, but sometimes she tells me about general situation in her life as a nurse on the critical care floor....the other night, two people died on her shift. They were a man and a woman, with eerily similar deaths as my parents.....the man was dying and was extubated and lived for a while....and the woman was in end stage renal failure...I know Em has to talk about things sometimes, it must be rough on the soul to deal with death like that. And like I said, she doesn't give me details, so she isn't violating any government privacy laws, or any moral standards either.

Abigail is enjoying her new accounting job downtown. She is doing what she loves, and getting paid to do it.

We are having company for dinner tonight, a friend visiting from Norway, and another friend from Ottowa. Then after dinner, our home is open for fellowship. We have no idea how many people will come, hopefully not like 40.....We are planning to move the dog cage out for the evening, and move things around to fit chairs in. I want to get to cleaning out under the couches, because it has happened before that we have ended up moving things around to fit more people, and ugh, tissues and matchboxes and is so much fun though, and our little kids love it. They usually sit around on the floor or at the kitchen table, or snuggle up on some laps, and listen.

So things I want to do today....

1. Wash my long tangly hair.

2. Wash and dry the couch covers.

3. Move the furniture and clean under it.

4. Mop the kitchen and living room floors.

5. Vacuum the stairs and downstairs hallway.

6. Straighten the bookcases...why do our kids always put the books back horizontally?

7. Close the laundry room door. Ha, that sounds simple.....but first I have to pick up the dirty clothes that are perpetually in the is probably completely redundant to close the door anyway, because it is inevitable that one of the kids will need something out of there when everyone is here, and go in there and turn on the light...probably when there is a big silence or something.

8. Clean up the bathrooms.

9. Shine up the faucets and behind the kitchen sink, where the hard water makes it look yucky.

10. Try to clean up the window sills and the wood window frames.....they are defective, and moldy and no matter what we do, the blackness comes right back...the only solution is new windows, ha.

11. Finish all the chocolate cake so the crumbs stop getting all over the floor. I already had a piece for breakfast, so I am doing my part.

12. Give Rosie a bath and brush her.

13. Take a huge nap.

14. Make the burgers, cut up fresh fruit...

15. Get more propane for the grill.

So far, only numbers one, eleven, and thirteen are looking likely.....

Monday, May 17, 2010

ha, so much for cleaning up!!

I changed my mind, and went to the store instead. Well, two stores. But first a trip to Gramma and Grampa's house. Both their cars were in the driveway, so we stopped in to bug them for a little while, and they seemed very pleased. Charlotte Claire and Camille were well behaved, and of course had to pee in Gramma's bathroom, it is just too exciting. I enjoy Paul's parents so much these days. They are SO funny and so sincere and their house is nice and clean and clutterfree...

Next stop was Aldi, mostly for those fresh fruits and veggies, and frozen orange juice. Then, since my gas light was on, I stopped for gas...ouch, three bucks a gallon. I only put twelve dollars in....

The whole time, the little girls were begging to go to Kohl's so they could use the little toilet again.

We went to Wegman's, where we got lots of good things for our company tomorrow night. We are having grilled burgers, (I have to remember to get more propane for the grill...), coneys, salad, and maybe some fries. I bought 5 pounds of strawberries, Mirielle said she would make shortcake. I also bought two cans of spray whipped cream...yum. And M&M's.....and chips and dip....I was quite bad, I guess. And cheat-y, too. I bought a one-hundred pack of Dixie plates, and a package of the non-tippy clear plastic cups. Because: we could possibly have 20 of us for dinner. Do we have twenty matching plates? ha. Cups? ha..ha...our cups look awful, too, because of our hard water...they have that stuff all over them...anyway, this will be way easier.

We made a stop in the bathroom in the grocery store, Camille loves using "bye-bye toilets"....but she still pooped in her pull-up while we were unloading the groceries at home. At least it was a pull-up and not undies again. She is not my best potty-trainer, but I don't mind so much. At least I say that NOW, when she is napping and I am sitting here writing...but when she poops in her undies and the poops fall out.....or when she pees on our nice little isn't all happy and fact, it seems that she does that when I am the busiest...hmm.

I have no idea what we are having for dinner tonight, but we should probably eat all those nuggets I made last night, thinking we were having four extra boys at dinner....yuck. I do not like chicken nuggets. They are unhealthy and gross, but they are cheap and with a little barbecue sauce and some hot sauce, I will live.

Well, in all these boring details that make up my life, I am thankful that I can partake of santification....(Hebrews 12: " Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord") So as my day turns to evening, and so on, there will be trials and testings...things will happen that do not please me. But I will not be miserable and complain-y because I believe God! He will bring what is best for me, and He will give me the victory over my sin!!! Jesus made a way for us to follow Him....may His grace over my life not be in vain!

monday morning clean-up

I have lots of pictures to put up, but not much time this morning. We are going to clean up the house a little bit. "We" being Evelyn, who somehow missed the bus this morning, and Sonja, who somehow didn't get up until the bus left. We are having company for dinner tomorrow night, and need to go to the store. While I have these enthusiastic helpers, I want to get a few things done around here. I spent many hours Friday cleaning and polishing and dusting around one would never know it. The window behind the bench where the well-mannered children sit is smeary again. ??? There are clothes on the couch again, a few towels draped around, the girls' new raincoats are on the dog-crate, along with yesterday's newpaper, two hairbrushes, and a bible. And my purse. Any surface is game for clutter, and I do not like it. It is a continuous battle, and sometimes I just feel like giving up and saying, "Okay kids, you want to live in a slobhouse, fine..." Okay, I HAVE said that.

Evelyn has already started cleaning under one of the living room chairs....okay, a refridgerator magnet, the empty garlic powder container - all chewed up, a baby shoe, some Thomas train track, a circus coupon, a small plastic hanger, a dolly, a naked Barbie, a Fisher-Price Little People car, and a pretzel. That is just under ONE chair. We have my chair, and two couches to go....and it could take a while because Evelyn is just sitting there reading the circus ticket. She is like me, easily distracted.

Charlotte and Camille are eating breakfast with Sonja, and I should get moving....this thing is a time burner.

But oh, I have so much to say!! Maybe later.....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

happy birthday joseph michael

Joseph invited four friends over for his birthday. I hadn't planned very well, so I found burgers in the freezer. Paul grilled them and they were too freezerburned. Tasted awful. So he grilled the three pound bag of coneys, which isn't enough, so I got out three bags of chicken nuggets.....I couldn't put them in the oven yet because I had put cakes in there....anyway, this story DOES have a point....the boys took a coney and some wafflefries, and left to go to a movie! Now I have two full trays of nuggets baking, and a cake cooling on the counter, and Joseph and his friends are gone....

19 years ago today was my due date for my fifth child. ....anyway, that day was hot...we were in the middle of a rare May heatwave, 90+ degrees out, and humid. We lived in a mobile home, and it was just too hot in there for a pregnant, we decided to go to the mall. The big mall in the big city. Emily Anne was in kindergarten, we took Abigail Marie, 4, Benjamin Paul, 2, and Mirielle Joy, 15 months. Cheryl's Katie and Becky were also in school, so she brought Susan, just turned 5, Claire, 3, and Janet, 14 months. (she was 4 months along with Ellen, her number six)...and I had a "helper", who was 18 or 19, named Irene. Off we went...well, we were halfway there when I realized my contractions were 5 minutes we turned around and went to the hospital, all of us! We walked in with those six kids, I was 4 centimeters with steady contractions, so I was staying. Cheryl and Irene left with the kids, Paul came from work, and by the end of the day we had a baby. He was 8 pounds ten ounces, and he was born in two simple pushes, just like magic. He was so beautiful....he was as relaxed at birth as he is now. He stretched right out and I couldn't keep him swaddled for anything. He was a good baby...which was a good thing....we started building this house when he was newborn, and moved in when he was eleven months old...Paul used to go straight from work to the building site, so we didn't see him much. I had to fix up the mobile home to sell, keep it clean for people to look at, and buy the appliances and flooring and light fixtures....ugh, what a year. But I was young, and in retrospect, it wasn't too impossible.
Anyway, we finished our dinner sans Joseph....I didn't bother frosting the cake. We can just have it tomorrow. I don't mind. It is HIS birthday, and if he would rather go to a movie with his friends, it is fine with me....after all, we have so many birthdays here....18 a year, to be exact.
I am tired, it has been a busy weekend....Mirielle is back from Detroit, Abigail is over visiting, and I have lots of tired kids to tuck in....

Saturday, May 15, 2010

my sweetie pie

"There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead.... When she was good, she was very very good....

But when she was bad she was horrid!" (I do not know who wrote that, but whoever it was: Genius!)

This morning was pleasant enough....a walk with Rosie in the breezy cloudy warmth, enjoying my lilacs in the front yard. I always stop to smell them, I just close my eyes and smell and smell and makes me think of my mother, very powerfully. I wish they bloomed all year long, they just blossomed and are thinking of fading already.
I made omelets and eggs and sausage and juice and English muffins for breakfast for those of us who were home. Abigail went shopping with Mali, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, and a few of their friends. Benjamin is still sleeping, Mirielle is in it was a smallish crew. Just Paul and I and Joseph, Aaron, Samuel, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille.
We have lots of things to do around here, and when I say "we", I mean Paul. The hose doesn't work...well, it works, but it gets more water down in the basement than it does out the hose. He is working on that today, which means he is at the hardware store with Jonathan. I have been bugging him a bit about the hot tub, but he says he will get the pool going first. Those are just the ones off the top of my head, without getting into the edging of the window he put in a few years back, or the screen repairs or the automatic ice maker.....Paul has so very little time, that I try to really not sweat the small stuff, and just be glad for what does get done around here. I do love him and don't want to give into that nagging and pushing for things. I like to see him be able to relax with his guitar sometimes. One thing I have found is when I keep it more organized and picked up in here, it is less stressful, and he is more relaxed.
Today I am going to my nephew's wedding. I didn't find anything nice to wear while shopping yesterday. Well, I found lots of nice things, but nothing cheap enough. The weather has been so cloudy lately, I haven't been able to sit out in the sun, so I feel pale and ugly. Vanity goes deep. I do not want to be a slave to it, though. I don't wear makeup or do anything to my long tangly hair, except to wash it and put up in a clip. But that doesn't mean it isn't still in me to want to look nice. God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. I would much rather choose humility and have grace.....but it is a battle!
Well, as the Saturday morning turns into Saturday day, I can think of lots of things I could be doing, rather than sitting here blissfully. And I do mean blissfully. Joseph brought me a second cup of coffee, and reminded me of the Lindt truffles that Abigail had bought me for Mother's Day, still sitting up on top of the refridgerator. There are only twelve in the bag, so it seemed like a good time to crack into them...I like the white ones best. Camille had a white one, too, it is child-friendly.....they are all gone, except for the two we put aside for Paul and Sonja can stop asking me when we are having them....

Friday, May 14, 2010

out with the girls...

Because I am insane, or because I just wondered what it would be like, I took these two shopping today all by myself. Now, there was a time I took my kids everywhere by myself, but now I am spoiled and usually have at least Sonja or Suze to help me buckle carseats. Anyway, they were excited to go. They had a bath first, which turned out to be the bubble bath of their life, as they used a few bottles of shampoo and all of the baby soap. Then we waited around for Camille to poop first, which did not happen. As soon as we got on the road, they started wondering if Kohl's had a bathroom. As soon as we got in the store, they wanted to find it. Imagine their delight when we entered the "Family" bathroom, and found this: A tiny little child-sized toilet!!!
Yes, I know she will kill me when she grows up, but it is just SO cute. I never saw a kids so happy about a toilet before. It WAS cute. Charlotte Claire couldn't wait to have a turn on it.

So we shopped...I found a shirt for Joseph, one for Sam, and some things for the girls...but nothing for me...then we went to Aldi for gummy bears and apples and juice and milk and veggies.....back to the van to head home...but UH-OH, Mommy made a big mistake: Mommy OPENED Camille's gummy bears, and CAMILLE WANTED TO OPEN THEM!!! Oh dear!! She took the bag and threw it, so I just started to drive. Charlotte Claire started screaming that Camille took her arms out.....and at that very moment, a HUGE spider came into my view, right on my sunvisor, moving fast....panic!!! I pulled over, grabbed a napkin, squished it, and threw it right out the window, napkin and all. Oops, I really broke my own rule here. I NEVER litter like that. Maybe an apple core on a country road, but.....a McDonald's napkin? There is an exception to every rule, however, and this was an EMERGENCY. I cannot have half-squished spiders inside the van, I wouldn't be able to drive! I would be glancing down for wiggling legs...ugh. Anyway, I had to climb back and get Miss Temper Tantrum's arms back in her straps. She still was screaming and crying, and even when I said I was going to call the cops, she didn't stop. (oops, I broke another rule...threatening the children....)....
I had to pull over again a few miles down the road, at the fire station, to put her arms in again....this time she said she was going to be a good girl, and she was all done fussing. hmm.

Now all the kids are home from school, having yogurt and apples. Aaron went to work, and the girls are telling me how Jonathan fooled around on the bus....they have lots of things to tell me, and I need to make sure Charlotte Claire and Camille are all right....