summer 2011

summer 2011

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

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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

what was i thinking?

I don't think I should write posts when I am tired...forget anything you might have read about my tummy, I was just kidding, it is nice and firm, almost a sixpack, my abs.

We are listening to Barbie Christmas songs, I just may go around the bend. blah. The living room is all picked up and mopped, again, because Rosie-The-Bad-Dog came in all wet. Charlotte Claire doesn't have a stitch of clothes on, and is playing Wii. She just took a bath with Suze. I just sent her to get at least undies on. Jon is playing with his Hess trucks.

We usually get our tree two weeks before Christmas, but this year I think we should get it early. That involves...

1. Getting one of the boys (or girls) to drive up near the lake where the good trees grow, and cut one down. (after paying for it, of course)

2. Rearanging the whole living room to put it into it's traditional corner. I suggested just putting it in a different place, and one would think I suggested canceling Christmas altogether.

Or we could just wait until we get home from vacation.

Paul asked me if I was going to talk about The Wedding the whole vacation. I said perhaps we should dedicate one whole day to it and not mention it the rest of the time.

I can feel it getting it bigger, the wedding. I need to talk to Paul, who is in Boston, and hopefully Ben before he isn't allowed to phone anymore, and decide who exactly we are inviting. It is already not in the living room anymore.....but at our church meeting hall.

I have bid on a set of train track for Jonathan so his train goes in a complete circle. He doesn't understand how ebay works, so he is going bonkers asking when the people will answer me. He needs something to be obsessed about. He got his Hess truck, now it is this track. He thinks he needs to set it up around the tree, and we shouldn't put any presents out until Christmas morning.

I am trying to pack for our trip. Every single time I go in my room, there is a calamity out here, usually quite minor, but within a few minutes I am joined by some of my fans in my room. I am trying to start early because I know this happens. I like to be prepared for everything just in case, because I know just as certain as I know that when my hair is dirty I will be heading to the emergency room, that if I don't bring imodium we will get horrible diarrhea. So I need ibuprofen and pepto-bismol, and aloe in case we get sunburn, and mosquito repellant, and of course something for the bites if we get them. And since I like my clothes until I try them on and see how I actually look in them, I don't have anything I really like, so I have to bring lots of options. Last year I only wore about a tenth of what I packed, but do I learn? I just wish I had been much better behaved these last few months, or rather years, as far as the donuts and treadmill sessions go.

Well, my dear little children need to be tucked into bed....Paul isn't here, and the big kids are still all at the basketball game, Margaret is doing homework in her room, Sam is in bed, so it is just Kathryn and Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille in here.

last night, i didn't get to sleep at all....

I woke u at four o'clock, and that was it...the thoughts and the plans and the ideas and the thoughts and then the "what ifs", and the thoughts....and why the heck is the bed so comfy when I have to get up and get out of it, but when I am trying like crazy to fall back to sleep, I feel lumps and bumps and aches and pains and cannot get comfy? Well, after confirming that it was five o'clock on my handy dandy cell phone, which is finally back in service, I decided not to look again. And then, after much battling and trying to think about absolutely nothing... I fell back asleep .....and thus slept twenty minutes too late.....

One of my worries was the security at the I drafted a letter in my head....

Dear Sirs or Madams,

I am going to be flying soon, and have some fears about going through security. I have not done anything wrong, but I always feel nervous and guilty even when I go through customs to Canada. Heck, I even feel nervous when I walk out of Walmart, since one time I set off the "YOU HAVE STOLEN SOMETHING " buzzer, even though it was only a pregnancy test that the cashier didn't de-buzzify at the register, which the nice door lady displayed to everyone who cared to know, and shouted, "I got it! It is a pregnancy test!", just in case the visual wasn't enough...and I only had like a dozen kids with me, so I didn't TOTALLY die of embarrassment...anyway, ....I do not like going through security, even though I am a nice mommy....yes, I am a mommy. I have given birth to sixteen children, well, actually seventeen even though Robert William was stillborn. So my tummy is like a big ball of pizza dough, all risen, with little rivers of stretchmarks on it. Now, I hate to be too graphic, tummy tends to infringe on the top of my thighs a little, so....the thought of being searched isn't just "don't touch my junk" for me, no, it is "stay away from my tummy".....I mean, come on. Even at the doctor's office, one gets to disrobe with dignity, and sit under the paper sheet. And I have read that I shouldn't wear a skirt, because one can hide things under a skirt. Well, Mr. Tsa, that is why I am wearing a skirt!! To hide my somewhat shocking thighs, and my previously mentioned pizza dough tummy. Then I read that one shouldn't wear an underwire bra through security. What??? I should be saggy and baggy? Shall I just put on a TweetyBird shirt and some leggings, and skip the bra altogether? rrr.

Anyway....I am not as anxious about these things in the daylight.

And wedding plans....what fun! Miss Ashely is heading to Florida to spend Christmas with her mom, so we are planning via texting and phone calls. Ben called me last night, he was issued his uniform and will probably be heading to "real" basic by Wednesday, so tonight, if he gets time to call, will be the last time we can talk until he comes home. So here I am, planning a wedding for two people who are not even here. Yesterday I took Miss Ashley to the town clerk to apply for the marriage license. She has her part all filled out, and Ben will go there when he gets home, and it will be all set for the Monday after Christmas.

The kids keep asking me if they can help me wrap presents so last night on my bed, there was Evelyn and Suze and Sonja and Charlotte Claire and Camille. I would pull a gift out of the closet, determine who it was for (kids not present, of course), cut a piece of wrapping paper, and hand it over to whoever grabbed it first. Evelyn was the labeler, and I kept track of what we wrapped for whom in my trusty notebook. Camille did nothing but beg to wrap one herself and waste stickers and tape. When Paul gets home he is going to wonder what happened on his side of the bed.

Suzanne's project is due on Friday. I am trying to pack....Paul already packed, he has a stack of stuff piled next to the bed, I think it is so much easier for guys.

Mirielle just left for college. The little girls are not up yet, but I have been talking to Mirielle. She is applying for nursing school, as is Aaron, and Mali. All the same school.

Sam didn't go to school, he says he doesn't feel well.

Last night we had cereal for dinner....I also made some eggs and sausage and toast....poor Aaron came home from work at the grocery store in town, all spiffy in his long sleeved white shirt and tie, and asked what was for dinner. ouchie. So this afternoon after our dentist appointment, I shall stop at the store and get a few things and make sure I serve better dinners this week.

Mali has an infection from her wisdom teeth removal. I have to stop and get her some antibiotics this afternoon, too.

Charlotte Claire is awake, she slept in her kitty suit again. I got her the one thing she requested for Christmas, a toy kitty. It is a Fur-real kitty, it meows and purrs. I cannot wait!

And I am blabbering, I know it, so I shall sign off before I put myself to sleep....funny how it was impossible to sleep last night, but now, I could conk right here.....

Monday, November 29, 2010

happy, sunshine-y monday, everyone!

I am like a kid at Christmastime anyway, but right now I am downright giddy. I am an idiot with happiness. And when I get so excited about things, there is always that niggling voice that says, "What if something BAD happens?" But I am not listening to that, I am just going to be happy.

It is busy too.....I had to laugh out loud this morning when Suzanne reminded me that her 4th grade Native American project was due soon....(we call it the INDIAN project...I mean, you cannot just change the name of an entire population of people because a hundred years later you want to be more respectful)...anyways, this is our twelth Indian project, because Suzanne is the twelth child. One year the teacher saved one of the kids' longhouse, and let another of our kids update and recycle it. She understands, I think, how it is here. Anyway, when Suze reminded me that she too chose "longhouse", I asked her if she would consider doing a cooking project instead...

I am mostly done with Christmas shopping...everything is stuffed with no rhyme or reason in my closet, I do not know for certain what I have bought for whom. Like usual. And like usual, I KNOW I will be more organized next year.

So now we have our wedding plans, too. Thankfully I have some nieces, my sister's girls, who are gearing up to help me. We shall clean this place from top to bottom, and decorate it nicely for Christmas....they are getting married two days after Christmas. We are keeping it small and simple, around 40 people, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if that number became 50. eeks. We are going to make some lovely cupcakes, and serve....chicken wings....Ashely's favorite. And some veggies and dip. No, not typical or traditional, but hey, they are in love and want to tie the knot, they don't have much money, so we shall try to bless them as much as we possibly can with what we have.

Paul and I got married in his parent's living room....and I must admit I have been tempted to look back with longing for a more elaborate wedding, but we also saved my parents lots of money, and had minimal was small and sweet and simple....

Anyways, it is no wonder I am excited...but also feeling stressed already, a bit anxious, because I want to enjoy Christmas, and the logistics of getting everything cleaned up and having things in order two days later....but I shall not let this anxiety gain ground and ruin things. It WILL work out.

For this week, I need to make sure the laundry is caught up...I washed a mega load of socks the other night and matched about fifty pair. The sad part is about fifty socks are still single. I do not know how that happens. I also want to meal plan for when we are gone. Plus, Paul is leaving today for Boston, so that makes this week more challenging. The kids like him to tuck them in at night, and sometimes can be just crazy for me. They are also getting filled with the excitement of the I am going to try to get them to the pool at least once this week. We need like a trampoline in the livingroom for the winter...I should at least unfold the treadmill and be prepared to watch them on it....they like to put toy trucks on it and watch them go flying.

It seems that even Rosie has picked up on that "something is in the air" spirit. The other night when I just found out about the wedding, I told the older girls and Paul, and we were squealing and making plans, and Samuel came into the living room and stood there and said, "Something's going on. What is it?"

In the midst of the excitement and happiness, there is of course the strong hope that this is going to be a good marriage that lasts forever, and that Benjamin will keep seeking God in his life, and that Ashley will do that too. They ARE young. But being with them, it is apparent that they respect each other and try to bless each other, and just plain like each other.

Yes, I have noticed that worry and doubt and anxiety would ruin everything if I allowed them to.

And also in the midst of all these things, all these happy and festive things, I need to hear God still.....

And now I have to leave to bring Paul to he can go to Boston from there...blah, and wah, and poor me. ha.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

okay...i can tell now...

Well....Benjamin Paul is getting married!!! I am getting a daughter-in-law!!! He is coming home for Christmas, and is getting married two days after Christmas! Wow, I never thought he would be the first one! We are very happy for them. Ashley is a sweet and kind and lovely girl, and she has really brought out the best in Ben, and has been so very good for him.

As far as we know right now, they are getting married here in our living room.....we have some planning to do! And the fun part is that Ashley is leaving tomorrow to go to Florida to spend Christmas with her mother, and won't be back until the day before the we will be texting alot.

And now there is dinner to make...again.

i am way too excited to sleep!!!!

And I cannot say why...not yet. But I will give one hint, I am not pregnant, and we are not adopting a baby. Unless someone has one they want to give us. But anyway....

Here are SOME of the reasons I cannot sleep:

1. Our trip is coming up.....

2. It is Christmastime, and since I am still like 10 or 12 years old, I get SO excited....

3. Benjamin called last night, and it seems that he is getting some use out of that bible I bought him from Walmart. He opened it up to the verse in Romans, "The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us..." (Ben shared this with the guy on the top bunk, and he replied, "This will be the verse which shall get me through basic!") Ben is having a good old time reading his bible, he is surprised and pleased how relevant it is to his life.

4. I woke up before the birds this morning, took Rosie-The-Bad-Dog for a little walk, and it is quiet in here...I am all dressed, hair brushed, and am going to go to the little store in town for some bread and things for lunch, as we are eating together after church today.

5. I hate having secrets I cannot tell....but alas, I cannot tell until tonight.

Anyway, our house has seemed like a constant party lately. The Dome workers came home, Abigail settled in for the afternoon, I made pizza with the little ones....I cut the doughs up and let them make their own pizzas....even Camille made one. She ate more cheese and pepperoni than she put on her pizza, and she was licking the flour off her hands, then patting her pizza again....anyway, then Emily came over for the evening....(when I went to bed after midnight, I apologized because she was still here, but she said, "Mom, it is night time, people sleep at night, it is okay." She had to stay up all night so she could sleep today and work tonight.)

The older kids have some Amazon dollars that Paul got for a reward at work a while back. Five of them get $50 each, but I asked them to share if one of the other older ones wants something. They are having so much fun speculating what to get. Mali insists she is buying a polar bear hat with mittens attatched....I figured I would give it to them before Christmas, and they could shop for themselves, or use it for their Secret Santa gifts...which we are doing again this year....I have to do better than last year....Mirielle loves to remind me how I forgot to get her something (I had her name)(but hey, I had to help a few of the little kids, and somehow it just slipped my mind)...anyway, I forgot and when it was her turn to get a gift, everyone was asking who had her, and I just blissfully sat there, totally forgot it was me....when it was clear that NO ONE had had a present for her, I pretended I knew it was me all along, and went over to the tree and picked out her food processor....she KNEW I didn't pick it out for her Secret Santa to make amends, I bought her a new coat a few weeks ago for 75% off at Target....but she says she still gets to tell the story...

And I need to get to the store before the kids start waking up or it is going to become a big production....not that I don't like big productions, but.....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

suzanne and her puppet show

uh-oh, Charlotte Claire's mad..... oh dear, she squeezed Mr. Jon!
That was yesterday. She is wearing her favorite dress again today. Today Suzanne is putting on a puppet show with her.

Miss Suze.... Suzanne is very creative. She likes to make pillows, she draws and colors and puts on plays. She plays teacher and keeps the little girls busy. She likes to mother them.
Jonathan went over to his friend's house. We sort of did an exchange, Jon when there, and Caleb 14, came here to hang out with Sam, Phoebe, 13 came to hang out with Margaret and Kathryn, and Hannah, 8, came to play with Sonja and Suze. It is therefore peaceful and nice in here. The television is off, the girls are playing house, and Marg and the older ones are having coffee and planning to make some cookies.
I am just plain enjoying my day.

saturday with lots of kids...

Well, I should say lots of YOUNGER kids. Paul, Emily, Abigail, Mirielle, Joseph, Aaron, and Mali are all at the Carrier Dome doing fundraising work at a concession stand at a college football game. I am here with Samuel, 15, Margaret, 13, Kathryn, 12, Evelyn, 11, Suzanne, 9, Sonja, 8, Jonathan, 6, Charlotte Claire, 4, and Camille, 3.

On Thanksgiving night, we went around the table and each said what they were thankful for, and what they wanted for Christmas. Both Aaron, 17, and Evelyn, 11, asked for twin babies siblings. I told them to ask God, not me.

It is sunny and cold this morning, with snow on the deck and a dusting in the yard. I think I probably should get the winter stuff out today.

Our living room is a giant playroom. Why oh why does it bother me? It doesn't bother anyone else. Jonathan has his Thomas train track set up now, plus half of his Hess truck collection scattered around....we assembled a new computer chair, they cannot part with the box because it is way too much fun to play in. Of course the dollhouse stuff is out, not too much but there is a giant camp site set up. And the Little Tikes tractor trailer is here, then two guitars are sitting here, plus a three foot long firetruck in the door way of the kitchen. In the kitchen I see a dolly in a carrier bed, adndtwo sit'n spins. The couch monster is gone, but there are three or four items on the arm, it is trying to revive....

We might wrap presents today. We might make Christmas cookies. We are going to make our pizza for dinner. I would like to decorate for Christmas a little, it is so much fun. (see, this is one of those things where my selective memory takes over and I forget about how it REALLY is....) I also want to do fun things with these guys, I don't like to see them must play Wii and SIMS all day. (at least Wii is better than watching the Saturday morning cartoons...blah, I cannot stand when kids just sit in front of the tv....that is perhaps why my living room is full of toys...)

We heard from Benjamin again last night. Since he isn't officially in Basic yet, he still can use a phone to call home when he has time off. He is still in a processing center, he said 300 more guys arrived yesterday. He misses us but says mostly it is because he isn't really doing anything yet.

Paul is leaving on Monday for Boston, he will get home on Friday night, then we leave in the wee morning hours Saturday for the Dominican Republic. When we get home from there, there will be only two weeks 'til Christmas! That's why I feel more pressed to get things done now.

Not to beat it with a dead horse, as Mirielle would say, but I am so so excited about our trip. And I am letting myself be, because, WHY NOT? It is half the fun, the looking forward part. The beach is supposed to so very nice, with fine sand and no rocks, the water clear and warm. The chairs around the pool are the comfy ones with cushions, and there are real beds on the beach and near the pools. Aah, a nap in the shade with the ocean breeze blowing. I can't believe that it is really ME that is going. These things do not actually happen to me. I feel like I am an imposter, a lady dressed up as a Carribean Tourist. (in super duper clearanced Carribean Tourist clothes) Especially now that we are staying in this upgrade hotel. The people writing reviews about this place complain about things like a few pieces of fuzz on the hallway carpet. Snobs, I tell you. One lady said she walked over to one of the less classy hotels, and felt very snobby because "the Grand" is so much nicer. I don't belong in a hotel with a butler in a white tux bringing room service anytime of the day. The butler also will
draw" a bath every evening, complete with rose petals and lit candles and a bottle of champagne or wine. They bring chilled towels to the poolside, along with fruit on sticks, and can also request to be misted with cool water. ha, is all I can say. I would rather stick my head in the toilet than have a strange man spray water over me. Anyway. This whole thing seems unreal. I looked it up, and this hotel they are upgrading us to is at least a thousand dollars more than we are really paying. The other ladies there probably wear pearls, and probably did not stand in line on Black Friday waiting for Kmart to open, to get a few $19.99 coats for their teenagers. They probably don't order from the dollar menu, because they probably don't go to McDonalds. They probably don't drive 15 passenger vans, and they probably aren't thankful for snow because it covers up the toys in the yard and makes it look nice.

I do not own a watch anymore. My last watch, I left at the Rec. center when I went for a swim last winter. The one before that, which was a really pretty gold Timex....I got into the pool and realized I had it on, so I took it off and tossed it on the grass next to the fence...when I got out and searched, it was nowhere to be found. I am convinced that Rosie ate it. If she did, I didn't want it back after...never mind.

Anyway, the other Hotel Ladies probably wouldn't agonize about whether to spend $8 at BigLots for a watch to wear on vacation....I use my cell phone for a watch now, so I can live without the wristwatch here....Paul says we do not need to know what time it is anyway when we are there.

Oh are up and they want to talk to me.....I miss having a baby....would someone please just give me a baby?!

Friday, November 26, 2010


"Those who desire to give up freedom to have security shall have neither freedom or security..."Benjamin Franklin.

That is my quote for the day.

Dinner is almost ready....taco salad. It snowed today, didn't stick to the ground, but the deck has a nice covering. It seems Christmasy in here, with the lights in the windows. Abigail went to her apartment for some sleep, but she is coming over in a bit to watch movies and spend the night.

Our family's big Christmas gift this year is to have Ben come home for Christmas. He will only have been gone for less than a month when he comes home, but we miss him already and he has only been gone for a few days! He knows he won't be able to come home for a long time after this, too. Plane tickets from Oklahoma are not cheap. He said he would take the bus, but it is over 30 hours one way....and since every day he takes as leave, he has to earn back, I hate to see him use them up on a Greyhound.

Miss Emily is still going to India, she comes home on Christmas Day, then has to go to work. So we shall proceed without her.

My goodness, I am worse than the kids, just so excited about Christmas!

Jonathan has his blanket sleeper on, and is humming and rolling around on the couch, Sonja K. is playing dollhouse, Kathryn is stirring the taco meat. Mirielle and I have everything cut up and ready to eat....we still have to set the table, we are hoping to find more paper/foam plates in the closet. Bad for the environment, good for the economy. And for lazy us, washing 17 plates after dinner every single night is okay, but we are sort of still celebrating the holiday of Thanksgiving, and we are getting tired of being in the kitchen all the live long day.

Well....dinner time for Paul and I, and Abigail, Mirielle, Joe, Aaron, Mali ,Sam, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire,and Camille.

could it have been any more fun??

I do not think so....we went to bed after midnight....then at three o'clock, we got dressed and went out the was dark and chilly as Abigail, 23, Mirielle, 20, Joseph, 19, Samuel, 15, Margaret, almost 14, and I arrived at Target. We usually go the Walmart Superstore first which is open 24 hours, but at Target we had to wait in a long long line in the rain....but it moved quickly. I sent a few of the kids to get the thing I wanted most, I picked up a few other things, and we got into line. (a lady came along and got in front of us with TONS of stuff. She had her daughter get in line as soon as they got in the store, then she joined her with all her stuff....she thought she was pretty clever....I was not as impressed, but hey, at least she was pleasant and kind, and she did let me go ahead of her...)

Then to Kmart....Kmart doesn't separate the specials like Walmart does, so it is hard to tell which things are actually the things to buy....I bought something that came up more than three times what I thought it was, so had to return it.

Walmart was next....they still had some of the things I wanted there. We were in the check-out line at six thirty a.m.!!!

We also went to a sporting goods store.....Abigail went in with Sam to get the air-soft gun of his dreams...he is pitching in for it for his Christmas present....the one that was advertised was sold out, so he called from Abigail's phone in the store and asked if he could spend ten more dollars for a different one....I said he could, then apparently the guy in front of them in line gave them a coupon for ten dollars off!

We got coffee and some $1 breakfast items from McDonalds, then headed to The Christmas Tree Shop....we were there in time to get a coupon for 20% off our purchase, so we got a few things. Then to the dollar store, where just Abigail and I went in and got a few things....then, to BurgerKing for free coffee. We didn't get anything else, just five free coffees. (Ab didn't want any). It was for some reason the most hilarious thing of the morning. Then...home. Abigail was falling asleep on the way, but The Narrator (Sam) was still in fine form. Mali didn't go with us because she had a fever last night, and Aaron had to work at the grocery store in town today.

I took a nap for a few hours when I got home, but I am still a ZOMBIE. But I am a ZOMBIE with most of my Christmas shopping done!

Sam is so excited about the ultimate air soft gun. He tried for a while to convince me to let him have it early, but I put my foot down and told him not to ask me anymore. He needs to wait, or he won't have anything to look forward to.

So for all the stores we went to today, I did not see any pushing or shoving, or hear any rudeness or fighting. There is a lot of criticism for us crazy Black Friday shoppers, but we are helping the economy!

I cannot write this right is too crazy in here.... good-crazy, nice-crazy, but distracting-crazy....Camille says she wants to go someplace, Jon wants me to check again for that elusive piece of train track online. Paul is taking some of the kids outside, and Sam wants to make plans for tomorrow.....and of course I haven't done a stinkin' thing around this house yet today.....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

warm and cozy thanksgiving

Brunch.....blueberry pancakes, overnight French toast, bacon, sausage, eggs, fresh pinapple, orange and grape juice, and chocolate donuts...and cinnamon rolls.

One of the kids commented that it seemed "lonely" at the table....there were only 14 of us there! Emily and Abigail came in a bit later, but Aaron didn't come for a bit, he was at work at the grocery store in town. That's the thing about having sixteen kids, when a few are missing, it seems empty.

Fifteen pounds of chicken wings are in the oven. I shall make some hot Buffalo, and some barbecued. We will cut up some red and green peppers and celery, and carrots. There is a package of eclairs on the counter, and we are going to serve hot fudge sundaes later.

The kids are watching, "The Karate Kid", except for Camille who is hugging my red slippered feet and telling me how comfy my feet are. She has been playing dollhouse, and with the new Candyland game I got out for them today.

The movie is over, and Camille said, "Why is this movie done, I did not watch it!" Oh well, sweetie.

I need to check over the ads for tomorrows big sales, and plan our strategy. Abigail, Mirielle, Aaron, and Mali and possibly Margaret are going with me. There is something about getting up at three in the morning and then by like ten a.m., it seems like afternoon, and we start getting silly.

Time to check on the wings and start preparing the veggies....

heard from my boy this morning....

He called me from his new friend's phone, as his doesn't get service down there. He had a few hours off for Thanksgiving. He is still at the processing center, he said there are about a thousand guys there. Next week he will start basic training. He said he is coming home for Christmas, no matter if it uses up all the leave he hasn't earned yet.

It is so chilly today! I took Rosie out this morning, and brr! I put some Pillsbury cinnamon and orange rolls in the oven, just 24, to warm up the kitchen and make it smell good in here. And of course because I wanted one with my coffee. Mirielle is the main Brunch Director, and she is still sleeping, and we are getting hungry.....

I got the dresses I ordered from Target. I ordered five, because there is free shipping on orders of $50 or more. They were all 75% off....I am sending only one back. But for less than $5o, four new dresses...two are sleeveless, one is a sundress, and one has elbow length sleeves. I am so glad I got them, now that we are going to the "nicer" hotel, I will have some things to wear.

I have to go to bed early tonight so I can get up in the wee hours and go shopping. Yes, I am one of the crazy ones who does that. I haven't missed a year for several years now, babies or pregnancies or whatever, I always went. The craziest time was when Miss Camille was a was snowy and freezing.....I stayed out of the crowded areas though. I bring older kids, and they go and get things while I stay with the cart in quieter places. We usually start at Walmart, then go to Radio Shack or Walgreens, then down to Target....and home for a nap. Perhaps Kmart, too. I do have some good stuff in my present closet already. Wow, I just re -read this paragraph and it sounds like I am a horrible mother.

Since it IS Thanksgiving Day, I shall be thankful for some things...

1. Jon's spiderman suit. He has it on right now, it must make driving his remote control truck over all the stuff on the living room floor more fun.

2. Charlotte Claire's pretty dress. I loved it the first time I saw it at Target, and when it went down to 75% off, I bought it. She wears it at least five days a week, it always comes out of the wash looking new and nice.

3. My new red slippers. I am specifically thankful that they haven't disapeared into the land of lost socks yet.

4. Mirielle's kitchen skills. She has that youthful ambition...because honestly, I am reaching the point where I want to do things the easiest way and keep it simple....she likes to make really good things, homemade and from scratch.

5. Orange juice. We used to have this everyday, but it seems so expensive now, and we go through it so fast, it is now a treat to have it in the house. We will have some this morning, and we will appreciate it.

And of course all the obvious things, like Paul and the kids and my friends, and my washer and dryer and running water and my comfy bed, and Rosie-The-Bad-Dog.

I suppose I shall get moving now....Happy happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

afternoon breather....

Well, what a day, so far! Emily took Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, and Sonja shopping. Mirielle and I brought Samuel, Suzanne, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and the Bass Pro shop to see the fish and shoot the guns and stare increduosly at the stuffed bears, moose, deer, and geese hanging from the walls and ceiling. Then on to Aldi, "for gummy bears!", as the little girls say. We got a pineapple, and some veggie chips, soy milk, bacon, blueberries.....then a quick trip to Wegmans for some nice fresh bread for the French toast....Sam stayed in the van with the little ones, eating their candy and fooling around. Sam was at the end of his rope by the time we came out of the store.

Home....Aaron and Joe are home from work, Aaron is making a chocolate/vanilla coconut pie. Just because he wants to. I don't know what earthly good it is to make ONE pie, but hey, we can cut it in small slices. the midst of all these things that go on in life, there is something else at work. It is called "salvation" involves hearing what God has to say to me during the day. I am so easily entertained, and I enjoy life so much, that I have to be careful not just to breeze through and survive on my own contentedness. I need to be gathering oil in my lamp while it is still the time of grace. I would much rather please God than get my own way or be right. I say this now, but when temptations come, it is very difficult to hold fast and humble myself. But not impossible. We need so much encouragement not to lose heart when things get rough. God doesn't send trials to punish us, but in gentleness, so that we turn to Him! "Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts...." (hebrews 3 v.12...)

And so, day goes on....dinner time is approaching, and I am very certain I won't have to look very hard for salvation!

every time i think a thought....

it goes away....I am distracted, and rightly so. The kids have no school, I am taking them all to the store for some good things for tomorrow's Thanksgiving brunch...we are having blueberry pancakes and Frenchtoast, sausage and bacon, fruit....and grape juice, and orange juice. Then chicken wings and fresh veggies with dip for dinner....

I have library books to return, a game I rented from Blockbuster that has to go back soon or I will have to pay big money for it (which Sam is hoping, that I will get charged the full price so he can own it), a bathing suit to send back, Camille's birthday doll lost her arm like five days after she got it, it has to be sent back for a replacement...and my broken phone has to be sent back or we get charged for it....but my new phone, which came so quickly in the mail, isn't activated yet because I don't know Emily's password for the account....blah....details....enough to make my head pound.

Jon wants me to take him to the Bass Pro shop today, there is a huge one in the small city here, with fish and stuffed wildlife and around Christmas, toy guns to shoot and remote control cars to play with....he wants to see if they sell the train track he needs.....

And in the midst of all this, I am just plain giddy. I am so excited about going to the Dominican Republic....the excitement IS mixed with guilt over how happy I am to be leaving....nothing personal, kids, I DO love you all! But to be able to actually THINK THOUGHTS without be able to relax my mind, to have NOTHING to have to take care of....and the most exciting part: I made a phone call the other day.....well, first I tried to email the hotel, to request a room with a nice view, but the emails came back I called the hotel directly. And yes, when the lady answered in rapid Spanish, I hung up. Then I stood there wondering what the heck is wrong with me....imagining Paul asking me if I called, then me saying, "Well, I did, but when she spoke in Spanish, I couldn't understand her, so I hung up." So I called back. This time I asked if she spoke English, please. (because let's face it, I know the words Fiesta and Siesta and Hacienda and Mon Ami but therin lies the extent of it) Anyway, I requested a nice room. I told her we stayed at the same hotel chain in Jamaica, blah blah blah...she said she would "make a note of it"....I had to ask her to repeat that three times before I understood her. Anyway, to make a long story even longer, yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from Expedia saying the hotel had contacted them and wanted to offer us an upgrade to the five-star hotel next door!!! So if you want to see the unbelievably luxurious place we are going to, check out Iberostar Grand Hotel, Punta Cana. (I figure at this point it doesn't hurt to say where we are going, if you read this and you see me there, we shall have a good time) I was excited enough about our vacation, but this place is can have grilled lobster or any cut of steak you want, anytime you want, 24 hour room service, butler service, a pillow "menu".....jacuzzi tub overlooking the balcony in every room...and the best part: free internet! So guess who is bringing her laptop? Guess who will take a few minutes each day to blog about this vacation? ha, don't hate me, please don't hate me...because it is just too good to be true.....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

enjoying the kids....even more

Jonathan, poor Jon...his track doesn't meet, he lost a piece. I have helped him look, but it has disapeared into the land of lost his train goes around, and has to be turned around again... But he has a nice daddy, who is looking online to buy him some more track....

Anyway, I sat here watching Jon play, and the next thing I know, you guessed it, I was crying my eyes out....because life goes by so fast....I just want to appreciate these moments, enjoy these guys....we put lights in the living room windows, so it is sparkly in here....I made some snowflakes with the girls, then sat at the table and colored with them...I drew Charlotte Claire a Christmas tree, and some little candy canes for her to glue on to it. I even let her cut some things....she loves to cut, as we all know. Suze is still sick, but she ate some ice cream and kept it down. Our dinner was simple, scrambled eggs and bacon and the Italian bread I bought today. And applesauce.

I went in my room to put away some clothes, and Kathryn was on my bed crying her eyes out. I don't know why it is hitting us like this, I never thought it would be so hard. And this is only the first day!!!! Again, I SO appreciate the comments and support from all of you!! Thank you!!!

more tears....but we got some donuts....

I do not know who took this picture, but I am guessing this is whipped cream....Miss Camille
Here is Ben with Ashley....he cut his own hair last night....he looks slightly scary.

Samuel with Ben....Samuel is obsessed with the military. He told Ben today, in all seriousness, "I am SO proud of you, Ben." He said it while giving Ben his last good-bye hug...wah.

Benjamin with Kathryn


Evelyn snapped this lovely picture of me, so I thought I would be fair and include it....up for hours with no coffee or breakfast....blah.

Evelyn and Samuel

Benjamin being sworn in. Those kids look so young and innocent....Ben had a roommate last night, nineteen years old, and married....I saw his wife today, was I actually that young when I got married?

Benjamin Paul, Private First Class, U.S. Army.....

Poor Ashley...I think she cried a bucket today.....she is a sweet nice lovely girl, and she brings out the best in Ben. I told her I was going to adopt her.....

The sad part is that we found out today that if Ben comes home for Christmas, he goes "in the hole" with his leave time. If he comes for eight days, it will take until the beginning of May for him to have two days saved if he comes home, he won't be able to come home again for quite a while....six months at least. He would be allowed to stay on base and work....I don't know how it will work out. He gets to call home tomorrow night, but not again for a few weeks.....
Yes, I am a big girl. I will be okay. He will be okay. 1% of the population of the U.S. is in the military, so I know I am not alone. But today he just seemed so vulnerable. And young. I guess no matter how old he gets, I am still his mommy, and I am a wimp. So with all this in mind, I declared this day officially: Cry Day. You can cry all you want, and no one can ask what's wrong.
Well.....we did try to make ourselves feel better by stopping at the Best Bakery in the World. I bought two dozen donuts, (glazed, chocloate frosted longjohns, vanilla frosted, lemon headlights), and an apple fritter and a cinnamon swirl for Mali, an apple turnover because it looked so good, a half-moon cookie for Sam, and two loaves of warm Italian bread for dinner. All for twenty bucks. Then, we went to Dunkin Donuts for the coffees and Coolatas.....I have a giant headache from waiting so long for coffee....almost five hours.
Suzanne is sick, throwing up.....she got up several times last night to be sick, but didn't wake me up. For that I am thankful. But I also feel bad....I SHOULD get up with a nine year old.....she is feeling horrible right now....blah, I HATE the throw-up bug. (especially because of how many kids it can go through....blah!!!)
Now, since i have been blah blah blogging about Ben so much, I shall write some things about him....
1. When he was little, I called him Benjamin Bunny.
2. When he was a little bigger, I called him Hurricane Hugo. Because he knocked over all of Emily's duplo and waffleblock towers.
3. When he was three years old, he would pick up all the toys in the living room and vacuum. All by himself. Because he liked to.
4. Emily and Abigail were sweet and well-behaved. Then I had Ben. He was the terror of the Mother's room at church. He jumped off the couch, and could never sit still.
5. Benjamin put silly putty on his head, got a school-band pin stuck in his knee, and got himself tangled in a six-pack plastic.
6. Ben fell off a boat when he was ten, and almost died. He hit the propeller. He had 106 stitches. When we went to school for a Reading picnic at the end of the summer, he pulled up his shirt and told the teachers he got attacked by a bear. His scars were still fresh and I think he still had some stitches in. The teachers almost fainted.
7. Ben got in a four-wheeler accident when he was fifteen, and again almost died.....he a severe infection in his leg from the tree branch that got stuck in there.....
8, Benjamin smashed up our truck, causing $7000 in damages, because he was changing a CD while going around a curve. Sideways in the ditch.
9. He went through a red light while delivering pizzas, totalling his car.....
10. Ben went to college three times, earning almost 40 credits but not getting a degree in anything.
And that is all for is busy in here...nine of us are here in the living room, someone is playing the drums, someone is playing goes on.
Thank you all so much for your kind comments and prayers for Benjamin. I warms my heart...and yes, I am going to start crying again.....

Monday, November 22, 2010

i cried....he cried....and she cried....

And Paul cried....and his sisters cried....

And yes, he will be home for Christmas...but still. We cried.

I dropped him off at the recruiting office, he told me he loves me, and away he went. I drove away. And I cried. I then went to the grocery store for milk and ice cream for Mali, (which came to $98, I got carrots, peppers, bananas, eggs, biscuits.....oops).....and I told the cashier about Ben.....she said, "it is not a smart time to join the military"....oh, that helps. Anyway....

Tomorrow morning we have to get up bright and early to go watch Ben swear in. I am hoping I behave myself, I tend to get inappropriately silly during solemn occasions. I have had to leave services and weddings, I am not proud of this. It happens. Especially if something funny happens when I am sad.

We gave Ben a bible last night, that we all signed with encouraging words and verses.

I hope he reads it.

Thanks for the kind words from everyone regarding him.

Oh, and parent teacher conferences were delightful. Jonathan has let his teacher in on his Hess Truck obsession, Sonja is doing well and fine, and Suzanne has apparently taken a girl in her class with special need, under her wing and takes good care of her. Her teacher got teary-eyed telling me how it blessed her heart to see how good Suze is with little Hannah.

I am too distracted to write...three girls still up....

monday, again???

The days and weeks and months just fly by....the older I get, the faster it goes....

Emily's three-days-off-work-in-a-row are over, our Thanksgiving celebration is over, Mali's surgery is over....

And today is the Dreaded Day of: Parent Teacher Conferences!! The dread? The tiny chairs.

As soon as the last conference is over (we have four today), I have to get Benjamin to the store quickly on his way to his overnight MEPS visit....he officially swears in and ships out tomorrow morning. But he has to leave this afternoon. He told me last night around midnight that he needs some black flip flops for the shower. Now, here in central New York state in November, finding flip-flops, especially a specific color flip-flops might be challenging. And he needs non-aerosol shaving cream...a two-day supply, apparently. And it is suggested he gets his hair cut before he goes, because the cuts given in the Army are...well, QUICK. Anyway, he needs a few stops before he goes....

Then tomorrow, I am going to do whatever I can to be there when he swears in.

Then....Thursday is "real" Thanksgiving. We are having a big brunch, then either Mexican food or chicken wings later. Emily has the day off, so we should all be here except for Ben. (Kim, he looked on Mapquest, you live an hour and a half away from the base, and he probably won't be allowed to leave, unfortunately). Then Friday morning, around 3am, I shall be getting ready to leave for one of my favorite days of the year.....Black Friday.

Technology is interesting.....I thought cell phones were bothersome, excessive, and unnecessary. Until I got one. I had a Track Phone for a while, that was not so fun. But when I got one with unlimited texting....I was hooked. It is a good way to stay in touch with the older kids, and with Paul, and I really really like it...well, my screen broke. I am lost. No cell phone. Not for long, the company is sending a new one, but my goodness, I can't believe how lost I am without it. Not as bad as when my laptop was broken, but almost.

I went for a walk yesterday with stupid Pulling Rosie. She tries to drag me down the road, and she is strong. She is also the Boss, and there is nothing I can do about it. Yes, she is the Leader of the pack. I saw a show once with a guy named Ceasar-something, he was "The Dog Whisperer", and he suggested stopping completely each time the dog pulls. That results in Rosie-The-Bad-Dog and I standing in our driveway. He says not to go until the leash is relaxed. ha. Even if that happens, I take one step, and she is dragging me. So I stop. Rosie just sits down and starts scratching. I tell her Come On, and she shoots out in front of me, all excited and draggy. rrr.

The two little girls are still sleeping. Margaret, Kathryn, and Evelyn, my three middle school girls, are all home sleeping. It is a half day, and apparently they told their teachers they wouldn't be in school today or tomorrow because Ben is leaving. They weren't doing much anyway.....

It is quiet in here. There are pies in the kitchen, I can hear them calling me. Emily's lemon merangue pie didn't firm up, but it was still yummy. The chocolate pudding one that Mirielle made was bitter and rich and not very sweet, but it was so good. The pumpkin was perfect, the peanut-butter chocolate fudge, I did not try, nor did I have any of the apple. I know if I hold out and just stay away from the pie, the kids will eat it up and it will be gone and I won't be tempted by it. Or perhaps I shall just have a piece of pumpkin pie for lunch.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

our thanksgiving pictures.....

Sonja and Kathryn, Benjamin, Suzanne....on Ben's last night home.
Joseph and Aaron were put to work peeling potatoes. Joe and Mirielle

Kathryn and Ben

Camille joined me for a little break....

She is still my little cuddly baby...

dinner table....for twenty.

Kathryn and Mirielle

this is the part they hate....

Sonja, Kathryn, Suzanne, Aaron, Margaret, Mirielle, Charlotte Claire and Emily

Jonathan got his own whipped cream....


Today is our thanksgiving celebration. The turkey is in the oven. Camille helped me give it a bath first. Sonja is torturing the cat, she dressed poor General Thunder in a dress. But she IS giving him kitty treats.

I just read some of Drudge Report, and it is depressing. These airport screeners are crossing lines and disrespecting people, and they do not have to answer for it. (well, they will someday, but anyhoo...). A little boy strip-searched, a cancer survivor having his ulostomy (?) bag burst, a lady having to remove her breast prothethis for security....and here is the scariest one: a young woman in a skirt was chosen for pat-down because of the skirt. rrr. She said she was searched so roughly all she wanted to do was get on the plane and cry. Human nature being what it is, these jobs of airport security screeners are going to be filled by people who like power, and who are low and base. Oh, not all of them are like that, but jeepers. When a six year old boy is in tears and pleading for his father to help him as the father watches helplessly as the screener thouroughly checks the childs made me cry, not for just this child and his dad, but for the direction this world is going. Stripping citizens of their dignity and self-respect, in the name of safety....I just don't know.

My camera batteries are charging....I hope we can get a new family picture today. All the kids are going to be here, plus three guests.....we will have to squish to fit 21 at the table.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

so many things....

I am so excited about our trip to Dominican Republic, I can barely stand it. I can't believe we are actually going. I remember last year when we were going to Jamaica, I was excited about it, but now that I know how much fun it actually is to go away with Paul to a warm sunny beach, I am just about going crazy......for one thing, it seems just too good to be true, so I am thinking something might happen so we can't go....something like....a cholera epidemic...blah. Although I did read that the hotel industry is probably cracking down and practicing better sanitation than ever.

The holiday season is also here, and since I have not grown up yet, I love it all. I can't wait to get the Christmas stuff out, and wrap the presents, and buy the presents....Margaret and their cousin Jake just made two pans of fudge, and I just tasted it....oh, I wish it tasted terrible, but no such luck. It is creamy and delicous and is for tomorrow, but if everyone tastes it....

I am also apprehensive about sending Benjamin off to the Army. I know he is a big boy, but....he is my little boy. I know it will be good for him, but....he is being sworn in early Tuesday morning, then he will "ship". Of course I want to be there when he is sworn in, so I shall allow the kids to skip their half day of school, and come with me.

Lately, though I am happy, I find myself crying about things at the drop of a pin. Two old people in the waiting room of the oral surgeon's office made me all teary-eyed...the lady was 74....and I thought of my mother, who died at 69....the husband was helping this lady fill out her list of medications, and it brought back so many memories....

Well, my kids put in "The Office" dvd, and made popcorn.....the younger five are all sleeping....I am distracted.

is it crazy in here, or is it just me?

Paul and the older kids are working at the Dome. I am here with Mali, who feels awful, Samuel, his cousin Jake, Margaret who is not happy because I won't drive her 9 miles to her friend's house, then pick her up later with all the kids in the van, Kathryn, Evelyn, their cousin Olivia (sister of Jake), Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille.

Today has been busy already.... I took Ben to a mandatory pre-sign in class with the Sargeant, went tanning, which I wish was 100% healthy, and free, because it is fun and it feels nice....(but I still am not very legs are still awful...oh well) anyway, then I went to Wegman's and wandered around by myself....I was tempted again by the thermal gravy pitcher, but reminded myself that it hasn't killed us to use the glass measuring cup for the gravy yet, so it isn't likely to in the future. I did get mozzarella cheese and tortilla wraps and crackers and celery and green peppers and two new glass pie pans. And another bag of stuffing cubes, Ben is afraid two bags won't be enough.

Now I am home. I have washed a load of towels, cleaned up a bit, and am taking a little rest.... dinner time is approaching, but I know what we are, again. I don't think I will hear any complaining about it though. Perhaps if I am feeling extra patient I will let them each have a small dough to roll out and make themselves....

Okay, I have totally taken leave of my senses to write about this, and girls of mine, I apologize in advance.....but, as one of you is known to say, "half of the population gets it, so too bad..." Okay, here goes....

1. Every month, girls between the ages of about twelve to somewhere in their forties, get their periods.

2. I won't say how many girls there are here who are afflicted with this monthly curse, but I will say that WE ALL GET IT AT THE SAME TIME.

3. This might be a good explanation for why we were ready to slap each other earlier in the week.

4. If you are the parent or sibling of several girls, please be awake and aware and remember that getting through these times without any murder IS possible, but it takes biting the tongue until bloodshed, and perhaps leaving the room a few times to save yourself from joining a war.

5. So....forgive, forget, and don't take the bait....the argument know, things like, "Mom, you never let ME wear those...", or "Mom, how come you ALWAYS have to say that?" is better to let them just get away with things during those times, then talk to them later....

6. It isn't all misery, after all - misery loves company, and company in these awful days is better than suffering alone.

7. Paul...poor Paul, is learning great patience through these trials.

And so now that my girls are going to kill me, I shall sign off and get into that kitchen....

Friday, November 19, 2010

warm and crazy, and pain for Mali....

Miss Mali just had all four wisdom teeth removed....apparently, they were quite deep.....the dr. said he had to "dig"....blah. Poor girl. I got her a milkshake on the way home, and stopped at the drugstore for some prescription pain took the standard 15-20 minutes, so while I enjoyed browsing around the store, I was conscious of poor Mali sitting out in the van...but she really needed the meds, and didn't want me to bring her home first....

This was my second excursion out and about today....when Emily came over this morning, she had to go get an oil change and stop at I got the little girls dressed quick, and went with her in her little car....I finally got some new red was nice to spend some time with Em.

Anyway, when I came home with Mali after her surgery, the kitchen was humming....they are making pies. Emily is also making a pot of chili for dinner. There are fifteen of us here right now, and it is too cold and damp to go outside. So it is noisy, and a bit loud. Jonathan is all excited because his nice big sister Emily told the kids that "whoever wants to" can spend the night at her house tonight. I am amazed at the pie production in that kitchen. Can it be possible they can do this without me? The nice thing is that is peaceful in here....

snow already? mittens, hats, boots?

Hard to believe I was just sitting in this chair soaking up the sun, a few days ago.... The pear tree looks so sad and lonely...the pears were delicious this year..I wish I had done something with all the ones we didn't eat.

Snow on the van.

Snow on the deck....

Abigail joined us for stew and Heart Biscuits...(I rolled out the Bisquick biscuits). I asked the kids at the table if they knew why I chose the heart-shaped cutter. Suze was the winner. She said, "it was the only one you could find, and you love us all." Abigail had things to do on her computer after dinner, so Camille got some crayons and got busy right next to her. Why she had her bathing suit on is beyond me.

Mr. my chair.
Miss Sonja K., also known as Ginger. I told her this morning as I brushed her tangly hair that if anyone ever teases her about her hair, it is for one of two reasons....
1. They are jealous because the color is absolutely beautiful.
2. She is so pretty they can't think of one other thing to tease about.
This pleased her immensely. She is a sweetie pie, but being the last girl in the five-girls-in-a-row, followed by Jonathan, she sometimes acts rather babyish, and not so endearing....she needs extra love and attention.

And this Wii-Playing Kitty....this four year old girl LOVES to play Mario Cart.

Sam with General Thunder. It is hilarious because this kitty with the tough-guy name hardly even shows his face in the living room because he is terrified of Rosie. General Thunder hangs out in Joseph's room.

The girls got crazy silly when they were dismantling the couch monster. Suze put like twenty socks on one foot.....

Kathryn and Suze with Miss Camille

Kathryn and Camille....the hair cut is just AWFUL.

They all went to school except for Mali Rose....she gets to have four wisdom teeth pulled today. Her appointment is at one o'clock. The plan: Stay up really late and get up at noon, because she needs to have an empty stomach. Well, around one in the morning, as I sat with her while she watched, "Lord Of The Rings", I realized that while she gets to sleep as long as she wants, I still have to be up in the morning...blah.
Sleep is lovely and delicious, but such a waste of time....
Emily Anne is coming over around eleven-ish to help make pies. Mirielle is stopping for some apples from the AppleLady on her way home from college. We shall have pumpkin and apple, and perhaps some chocolate. I really wish I didn't have to leave to take Mali right after Emily gets here....but I do.
Dental surgery is gross, but I hope Mali feels better when she heals up. Her jaws have been aching for a while now. The surgeon's secretary called yesterday to let us know how much it was going to cost....she said, "Good news! Your insurance is covering so much, you only have to pay $434!" Wow, I thought, if that is GOOD news, ......But Mali is worth every penny. I hope she doesn't read this. I wouldn't want her to feel bad. I remember when I was a teenager, I used to get frequent severe headaches, and my mother brought me to the dr....I had lots of tests done, and knew darn well how expensive it was....I don't want my kids to ever feel bad about these things, it is only money and it IS written to seek His kingdom first, and all these things will be added to us....
Sometimes I think that no matter how much money we have, things break and happen to use it up......last week we paid over $600 for a wheel bearing and new brakes on the minivan. The pediatric cardiologist bills, and Ben's plane ticket home from Oklahoma, and on and on....I am not complaining, just sayin'.
I DID go on a really fun shopping trip to B.J.'s yesterday after my eye dr. appointment (which was a huge waste of time....blah....I will spare the boring details, but he didn't do anything for me)....anyways, I called Benjamin while I was in there shopping (because I thought he had called me), and told him I was having a great time all by one to apologize to for taking so long, no one to tell me not to buy something or to ask me to buy something....but also no one to run back and get something for I told Ben that I kept asking strangers to go get things for me....
I got Christmas presents there, and it feels nice to get started. I got something for Aaron, and for Samuel, and for Joseph, and two little princess Barbies for the little girls...(there was a coupon for a free one if you buy two boxes of cereal for$6.99 each) (so I bought four boxes...Sam thought he had died and gone to heaven when he saw all those AppleJacks and CornPops....) (Paul calls him CerealSam).....
Christmas is NOT just around the corner, but we are going on our trip in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so when we get back, it will be only a few weeks away....stores are crowded then, and the kind of bargains I like to get are harder to find.
Here is a list of the things I hate.....
1. I hate getting my period. I hate hate hate it. I don't know if it is my age, or having so many babies, but the first few days are HORRIBLE! If I could choose, I would stay home, but one cannot cancel dental surgery for this reason....blah. And of course each month it arrives, it whispers, "No new baby!"...but this is progress....I am coming to terms with it, it used to SCREAM, "NO NEW BABY!"......
2. I hate cold feet. I have been wearing Emily's old Crocs, which she gave to Margaret, but they are not doing the job this morning. I think I just need to go to Walmart and buy some slippers.
3. I hate waste. If you don't want more, don't take more. If you take more, eat it!
4. I also hate making the kids eat when they say they don't want it. I remember sitting at the table when I was a kid, all alone,with cold potatoes and gravy in front of me...blah.
5. I hate unthankfulness. If I could eradicate it in my kids, I would.....I certainly do my best to get them to be thankful.
6. I hate when the kids contradict me and argue about everything. I have to keep my wits about me not to argue back.
7. Because I hate arguing!!!
Well the good news is that I am running out of things I hate!
Now, the things I love:
1. Camille in the morning, in her fuzzy blanket sleeper....
2. Hearing the awful things they did when I was gone...yesterday, they took off all their clothes, got into the tub, and soaped up, then told Mirielle they needed to be rinsed.... they also played "store" again, and I came home to canned goods and cereal all over the coffee table and couches....
3. Knowing what is for dinner on any given today. Unfortunately, today is not one of those days.
4. When Emily comes over! She just walked in, and it is like sunshine!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

ahh....thursday...will the garbage man arrive?

Such an exciting life I lead....

If the Garbage Man doesn't decide to take away our overflowing heap of trash today, we will have to go to the dump on Saturday. Which means I will have to go to the town offices and get a new permit, since we can't find the old one.

I am going to the opthamologist today. I had a small bump on the inside of my lower lid for years now. I thought it was a stye, because once I tried to break it, it was bothering me, and I got myself a nice I have left it alone, and there it sits....well, for the last several weeks it has just bothered me, scratching my eye, and making itself known. I finally called the dr. yesterday.....I do not like calling the dr. Not just because of $, either. I just always want to be sure I really have to go in, so of course as soon as I make the appointment, I start thinking this little bump is nothing, it isn't that bad, ect. I imagine the dr. saying how much I wasted his time, that they fit me in their busy schedule, blah.....okay, he would never really say any of this, but he could be thinking it!

Mirielle is so kindly leaving class early so I can go to the dr. I cannot tell you how many times I have visited this particular office through the years with the baby, toddlers, pre-schoolers, ect. It takes a few hours all together to go through all the tests. So today I will fondly remember those crazy times, yet enjoy the lack of sippy cups and crackers and trying to keep them from jumping all over, the trips to the bathroom and nursing the baby in the waiting room...ahh, good times. But I would do it again!

I can say a million times that I am not superstitious (just a LITTLE stitious, as my kids like to say, ha)but I find that I really am....for example, this morning I asked the kids to remember Daddy during the day, to pray for him, because Paul's back has been bothering him. I think he has a pinched nerve, he gets pains down his legs. And no, he does not want to go to the dr. (another reason I feel guilty for going in for this little bump)...anyway, one of them asked if we are still going on our trip. I said we are. She said, "what if Daddy breaks his back?" blah! Do not say that!! Wait, that is pretty superstitious, isn't it?

Another thing....cholera in confirmed case in the Dominican confirmed case in Florida.....but the health dept. in Florida said that because of good sanitation in the U.S., it shouldn't become an epidemic. I am hoping that the resorts in D.R. practice good enough sanitation that it won't become a has crossed my mind that perhaps several cases will show up and the U.S will issue a Travel Warning...then I feel bad because I am only thinking of myself and my vacation, and these people are suffering and dying.

But...with all the obstacles to actually booking a vacation, it is hard to wonder if it will be okay, and of course the airport security scares the snot out of me. I torture myself by reading the passenger's accounts of the pat-downs.....the scanner part doesn't bother me too much, someone in a booth somewhere will get a good laugh, but those scary Airport Patters have the authority to randomly select victims to pat down....I will do my best to look unattractive, but when you've got it you've got it, and I know they are going to select me....ha. The Government released an official statement that NO ONE shall escape this process, even on the grounds of religious objection. hmm.

A miracle has occured at our house...our couch monster has been slayed! Dismantled and put away. Kathryn was the boss, she sorted and folded and gave orders, and the couch is now clean. Last night the dryer beeped and I put the load away immediately, because I do not want to see another baby clothes monster start to grow, especially right before Thanksgiving....Ben has invited a few of his close friends over, we will need lots of places to sit (ha, as if it doesn't completely have to do with my sense of honor.....)

Miss Suzanne is very happy and excited. I bought her a new package of sewing needles because it was getting challenging to find one, and she has all these fabric pieces ready...she is a pillow making machine.

I bought Suze, Sonja, and Jon a $1.99 string of Christmas lights for their thing I know, they had raided the supplies and have like four sets strung all around their room. It looks very cool in there....Jon wanted to sleep with them on, but I told him that wasn't a good idea. He kept objecting and arguing, he really wanted to leave them on. He doesn't like the dark. I finally mentioned that it might be a "fire hazard". He is terrified of fires, so I didn't want to say that...poor kid.

Bonnie....I am sorry that turkeys are so expensive in New Zealand!!! We just take it so for granted here that they practically give them away around Thanksgiving. I shall be double thankful! And of course I dug for the biggest one...I told Mirielle that whoever found the biggest one first was the is about 23 pounds. And the one in the freezer is that big too. I might just get one more.

I already know what is for dinner, so I feel very organized. There is a whole bowl full of leftover roast beef and gravy. I will add water, potatoes, carrots, and an onion, and we will have soup/stew. Perhaps with some Bisquick biscuits.

Everyone went to school today, so I am lonely. The girls are both awake, I can hear them talking and singing. Camille takes a whole slew of dollhouse people to bed, plus a few big dolls, so in the morning she plays for a while in her bed....Charlotte Claire sleeps in the room where we keep all the toys, so she sometimes plays for a bit before she comes out. What am I going to do in a few years when they go to school? blah.

I had another dream about a huge house last night. It had a massive family room/living room, with tons of room to stretch out in. And bedroom after bedroom.....All thankfulness aside, it would be sweet to have a house like that. My sister was watching the Duggar family on television the other night when I stopped in, their house is unbelievable. We agree that life would be easy with a house like trials at all. Just kidding, but....

The least I can do is work with what I have, and straighten up around here a bit....I am thinking my little girls would like some hot oatmeal this morning, so off I go......

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

tiny little break....

We shopped. Joseph and Samuel, Mirielle and I, and the two little girls. First Kohls because I had ten bucks in Kohl's Cash and a 15% off card.....I got Jonathan a Christmas present, a small rug with roads on it, and three cars. It was regularly $40, I got it for $9.

Then to Target, I wanted a new bra....rats, they didn't have what I wanted in my size, so I got a blue one. I should have just gotten the one I wanted a while ago, because when I wait for a sale, my size is always gone. I also got some Christmas lights, some cute little fleece jackets for the little girls, a nice fall jacket for Mirielle for 75% off, a few kindergarten shirts for Miss Charlotte Claire, a polo shirt for Jonathan for $1.98....

Then to the grocery store....I got the turkey, 9 boxes of cereal, three pounds of baby carrots and some dip and cucumbers, bananas, bagels, juice, milk, vanilla Chai tea, body wash and shampoo and razors and other goodies Mirielle had good coupons for, milk and bread and eggs.....

Then, since it was a freezing rainy windy afternoon, I gave in to the requests of four children for McDonalds. Because I wanted that hot one dollar cup of coffee...oh, it was good. I put it on the credit card, blah, it is getting too easy to do that! We still only got things from the dollar menu...anyway, the coffee was so good, and it made me happy that Sam and Joe enjoyed their little snacks.

Next stop was the gas station, where I got $66 worth of gasoline for only $13 with my PriceChopper card. That is what I call FUN!

Margaret had put the roast in the oven for me, so it smelled good in here....I made some potatoes and broccoli, and Suzanne put some Pillsbury crescent rolls in the oven (we had a coupon).....I also put some pies in the oven, which are almost done smells so good in here...we will make home made ones for Thanksgiving, but when the pumpkin and dutch apple crumb and the coconut cream are buy one get one free, we shall have some. We also don't run the heat so much, so it warms it up here....

So dinner and clean up and some laundry, and now my little break is over....(the girls cleared up the living room and are turning around and spinning in circles...they are going faster and faster and I sense a crash coming....

shopping for Thanksgiving....

Our Thanksgiving dinner is going to be on Sunday, so I have to get moving. I have one 23 pound turkey in the freezer, but this is the last week for cheap turkeys (38 cents a pound) and I would like to get a second one for later...(I was planning to defrost our big freezer so I could fit a few in there, but ...well, I just didn't get to it...)....anyway, I have to go to Wegman's and get some potatoes and a turkey and some other stuff. We are having twenty or twenty-one people for dinner, which honestly is just a few more than normal, and we have big dinners pretty often, so it isn't daunting. But it IS exciting. Emily has THREE DAYS OFF! Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!!! So she will be helping with the pie making....

I really do need a day at home to clean up some things. I walked through the fabric store in the mall yesterday with Ben, he had to exchange a sweatshirt at the Aeropostale store...anyway, I walked through there and saw all the fall decorations for 70%off, and then all the Christmas spite of myself, I got all excited....there were cinnamon scented pine cones, and the twinkly lights and wreaths and ribbons....I had to steel myself to walk right through, because we seriously don't need any of this stuff. But that's the point, it isn't all about "need", it is about "want".....

Samuel didn't go to school because he has a cold...I am secretly glad, it is nice to have him around, and when there are few others, he opens up more and he is hilarious and kind and special and just plain good company. I said to him this morning, "I don't know why people read my blog...", and he said, "Well, it is probably because you are not Hollywood-y, just a normal person with sixteen kids, well, for having all these kids you are sort of normal." Coming from Sam, this is a compliment.

So unbeknownst (is that a word?) to him, he is going to Wegman's with me today.

Right now, he has Rosie out for a little run around the yard.

Well, as I mentioned the other day, I am working on getting along better with a few of my daughters. And getting them to get along better among themselves....I understand that progress involves trials, and trials there have been....

1. Yesterday, one of my daughters made comments that hurt my feelings, three in a row. I did not say anything back, just left the room, but as I was leaving she stated loudly, "Mom is offended again!" Ouch. Ouch. True, and ouch. I DID have a little talk with her later, after I confirmed with God that I was indeed offended, and I was sure I was in a good spirit.

2. One of my daughters got scratched while trying to defend her sister from her other sister. Caught in the middle. Not two minutes after she stopped crying about this, she got punched by a different sister for a misunderstanding about the Chinese takeout food that I was saving for Sam.

3. No one ever said it would be easy to have five girls in a row in five years. When they were little sweeties, all dressed alike with their little pony-tails, I was guessing it would get more difficult as they got older...and it did.

4. They are not always fact, they are such good friends. And I know there is hope for them, after all, my older daughters are wonderful and respectful and kind....

5. One thing I have learned it to be slow to speak. No matter who is at fault, if I am awake and aware and humble, I can be certain to find some sin in me that can be dealt with. When I acknowledge that, it goes blessedly better when I have to work with the kids about themselves.

6. One can bear much more than one THINKS one can bear. God likes us to trust Him, so things always seem more than one can handle, but He has promised that with each temptation He will provide a way out....

7. Life goes by too fast to be offended or to hold grudges...and seriously, when we take care of these things inside of ourselves when they happen, we aren't storing up that wrath for ourselves...just think, to stand before God someday....and know that we did our best to love and forgive.

Rosie is now tired out and very muddy and in need of a bath, again....blah, she is more work than a two year old. I did pull the tick off her yesterday....she very patiently let me do that. It was YUCK. And of course I forgot to go to the pet store for the flea/tick stuff, so I have to do that today...if Sam goes with me, we can take the little girls to see the puppies....I wish Rosie was one of those Good Dogs who get to go there with their masters....the ones who just walk nicely on their leashes and don't bark at everyone. Oh well....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

another day, another bale of hay...

That's what Mr. Ed The Talking Horse said...instead of "another day, another dollar"...okay, that was an old show.

But it IS another day, they go by faster and faster and we take them so for granted.

Mali so nicely made a huge batch of chocolate chocolate chip cookies last night so she could bring some for her friend's birthday. Oh, what a plague to me! I have not eaten one yet, and I have been up for almost two hours. I think I will go pack them into a container and put them in the cupboard, then I won't be able to hear them calling me so loudly. For most people, out of sight would be out of mind, but I cannot forget about chocolate chocolate chip cookies. ha.

Benjamin and I have another date today.....our dance card is just full. We have to go talk to the Seargant again (his last name starts with the letter "M", so I call him Seargant Murphy (not to his face)(from Richard Scarry))....and to the Department of Motor Vehicles so Ben can find out exactly how many points he has on his license. This is pertinent in our plea to the District Attorney. Oh Benjamin, you alone have given me more gray hair than all the others put together, but I love you to pieces anyway.

We shall take two little girls with us on our excursions because today is another Dome Day. Another basketball game for our church to do concessions at...Mirielle and Joseph and Aaron and Mali will be going. Paul is skipping this one. He did something to his back, I am hoping and praying it gets better soon.

Some random no special order....

1. I think Rosie has a tick on her back....I am not looking forward to removing it, so I am procrastinating just a little. I also need to stop at the pet store today and get her some good flea/tick prevention. The Walmart stuff just doesn't cut it. Obviously.

2. Charlotte Claire is the only little girl up, and one could be amused all day just listening to her with her dollhouse people...

3. The couch monster is alive and well.

4. The garbage man never came last week. I wasn't home on Garbage Day, and I think Mr. Joseph let Rosie out without tying her up. So our garbage is overflowing it's happy home, and we look like slobs to passer-bys.

5. I scraped the hard water deposit from our dishwasher with a butter knife yesterday...chunks and piles of stuff came off....then I vacuumed it up and it clogged up the hoses of the vacuum I had to wash them in the bathtub.....then I ran the dishwasher with IronOut. The next load of dishes had to be washed twice, and there still are pieces of stuff flying around in there...ugh. We need one with a filter on it.

6. I still haven't gotten out the coats and boots and mittens. I did go through the jackets and sweaters on the hooks, but most of them are still keepers so I didn't make tons of room for winter coats....oh well, there isn't snow yet.

7. Our trip is getting closer and closer, and I am getting nervous about the new airline screening programs...blah, full body scanner or pat-down....hmm...what will I choose?

8. Camille cannot sleep without having at least ten dollhouse people in her bed with her, along with one of my battery-operated candles......she must know that at bed time, Mom is willing to let her do most anything, as long as she goes to bed......

9. It feels strange to never change diapers anymore. If anyone has a baby they don't want, I will take it.

10. My little Camille is singing in her bed now....these two little girls are having such a good year together....playing and getting into things all day long. The do fight sometimes, but usually just a quick punch or scratch and they are friends again...

11. I cannot wait until our vacation....oh, sun and sand and warm ocean water and having Paul all to myself....I just wish I could skip over the travelling part and just be there. (planes are nighmares....narrow aisles, tiny bathrooms, and truthfully, I do not like is scary.) Airports are scary too, I am one of those people who feels guilty when walking past the Walmart greeters on the way out the door, hoping the beeper won't go off, even though I did NOT steal anything....I try to look innocent. Same with crossing the border into Canada....I am not smuggling anything or anyone, but all the same, I get nervous.

I need to go wash my long tangly hair and start on the laundry. Two wet bedding sets today. And who in the heck took all of our socks again? No matter how many I buy.....