summer 2011

summer 2011

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

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

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I walked!

The evil hill is still evil. But I will walk up that hill until it is just a joke. By the grace of God, that is. My knees are complaining, so I am praying they will sustain me.

Mirielle made some homemade kettle corn today, which is also evil. I did only have a very small amount, but oh my goodness, yum. It filled the whole house with the most heavenly smell.

I took the girls to the library today. They had fun doing puzzles and playing on the computer on the tiny little table with the tiny little chair. They got some Barbie movies and some Mr. Putter and Tabby books, and D.W. books. I got a stack of books too. I told myself that I would not start one until I went on the dreaded walk. Mirielle watched the girls while I walked, and I promised them they could watch their fairy movie when I returned...I had an evil plan, see....I put my feet up and read AN ENTIRE BOOK. I enjoy Anita Shreve, the book was called, Light On Snow. 305 pages in one sitting. eeks!

Tomorrow night we are going to the pool, so I might give my knees a break. We are going to Aaron and Mali's play on Saturday night, we have nine tickets. Paul and I and Mirielle, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, and Jonathan will go.

We haven't been watching American Idol this year, but it is on. Only eleven left, and two must go home. Too distracting.

not fair!!

My kids try to get me with those words, and sometimes they succeed. It is NOT fair, Mom.

Well guess what, honey, life ain't fair. Sometimes other kids get special times, sometimes you do.

I don't keep track of who went with me when or who got what or how many she got. I also reserve the right to change my mind. I have to do what seems to fit at the time, so I avoid promising things I may not be able to keep. If I DO promise, I carry it out, but sometimes it seems like I shouldn't have promised.

The kids are different from each other and have different needs. They have no idea how much I am in prayer about how to deal with each of them, and how much I really pay attention to who needs more attention and who needs more affection and who just needs a compliment.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I am raising a family of individuals.

I don't like to get so caught up in the little details that don't matter in the long run, that I forget what a blessing we have here in our home. I know I have to remind them about wearing shoes on the nice clean floor and not leaving their towels on the bathroom floor, but I don't like getting stuck in Nagging Mode. Because seriously, with this many people coming and going and relaxing and living here, there is more than enough stuff to complain about to last a lifetime. So I need to keep the big picture in IS written that "without a vision the people perish"(prov. 29 v 18) My vision for our home is peace and goodness, and for me to be a living example of what God wants to do in our lives. Come what may.

This is not always easy, but nothing that is worth anything ever is.

Patience is what I need, buckets and buckets of it. I wish it would just pour down from heaven. But no, the way to get it is through suffering.

The way to get everything good is through suffering, I suppose. I am realizing that just because I decide firmly that I want to lose X amount of pounds in a month, and by summer, this much, then by Christmas, WOW....doesn't mean it is going to happen without suffering and working at it.

I am not just going to give up though.

So it is the same with being a good parent. People tell me all the time that they don't have enough patience to have lots of kids. Well, WHO DOES? I do not magically posess an angelic smile that shines on my dear children when they are pulling each other's hair or when they decide to find out if their Mermaid doll's outfit is really waterproof and SOMEHOW use up ALL of the new purple hand soap.

Today is library day. If Camille's stuffy nose is any better, that is. She is nicely still sleeping. Not that I mind her getting up and cuddling with me....Ahh, speak of the she is! All sleepy-eyed and cuddly in her warm fleecy jammies....what the heck am I going to do when she gets too big for this? Doesn't ANYONE have an extra baby I can have?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

went to the pool...yay me!

I didn't plan to go bye-bye without the little girls today. I was going to take them to the library and to the store...but Mirielle did not want to go, I didn't want to just take the two little ones...and Camille has a stuffy nose. Mirielle said she did not mind a bit if I left them here with her. They actually got a tiny bit sunburned spending quality time with her out on the deck.

I called my sis-in-law, and she had some things she had to do today too, so we went off together. It was great fun and relaxing and rejuvenating. I was able to use lots of coupons in the grocery store, that to me is just plain fun.

Home again, home again...groceies to put away again, dinner to make, kids to talk to. I put chicken in the oven, made a huge salad with spinach and romaine and iceburg lettuce, tomatoes and green peppers and carrots and cucumber. I sliced up the loaf of fresh Italian bread I bought for 99 cents. I warmed up a bowl of corn leftover from last night, and opened two cans of green beans. Super yummy dinner.

Paul and I had plans tonight but they got cancelled. The friends we were to visit have sick kids. So, I got to go to the pool! I was so bad, I sneaked out the door. I whispered to Sonja and Suzanne if they got their suits and a towel in a bag, after dinner I would take them. I didn't even tell the other kids. Instead we left while they were watching, "Tangled". They were not too happy with me when I got home and they realized where we had been...but I simply didn't have the time to get them all packed and ready. And...if I want to get any excercise at all, I have to go without them. oh, it feels so mean.

So I am torn between feeling guilty and feeling good that I actually excercised two days in a row.

It seems to me that I should be really skinny by now.

That's why I am not buying a scale. I looked at them in Target today, and said NO. My girls don't want one either. I mean, do the best you can, but why be depressed by numbers?

Don't worry, I am not going to let this blog be a place where I preach against things like donuts and ice cream. Oh, did I just hear the "d" word? That is one of the lovliest words ever. Yum. But could it be possible that it almost feels good to say NO to junky food? It would feel BETTER to eat it, but it feels a little bit good to deny myself.

Ahh. No more talk about donuts. My kids are so cute. Camille is learning how to make jokes. She said today, "What if babies wore undies and pooped and peed in them, wouldn't that be so funny?" Not really, but hearing Camille wonder about it was pretty funny.

Couch monster. Floors need to be mopped again even though I did it yesterday. Hampers getting fuller instead of emptier. More toys are finding their way out to the living room. There is no such thing as getting ahead around here.

but, tomorrow is another day.

wednesday morning...

The kids got up and went to school.

I sat here and ate my oatmeal with crunchy peanutbutter in it.

The bank in town called and said someone found Mirielle's debit card in a parking lot. She did not know it was missing, as far as I know. She is still sleeping.

I have a stack of library books that are due today.

It is actually sunny here right now. It is only 31 degrees, but hey, we like the sun.

I haven't had one single Poptart, and I shall not have any.

It does get a teeny tiny bit easier to resist things.

Charlotte Claire was sitting with me, and we were looking at chocolate bunnies. Long ago, I used to have a big bunny mold, and made our own bunnies for Easter. I also made armies of cute little chocolate chickies and different shaped bunnies. I am thinking of doing that again, for the fun of it.

One picture we found was a "faux-bunny", made by Martha Stewart. Plaster, painted brown with polyurethane finish...looked like a real yummy chocolate rabbit. Why???! Why would anyone want that? Does this world not have enough junk, and Martha is making fake chocolate bunnies?

If it isn't apparent by now, I don't have much to say today.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

bedtime blah...

I am not going to complain. But I wish I could just eat whatever I darn well want to and still lose like fifty pounds. Or more. Just magically. By deciding in my mind that I want to. But nooooo, there is suffering involved. I went on my walk today! Joseph, who is on college break, gave the girls a snack while I set out. It was cold and windy, but I had sweatpants under my skirt, lovely, yes indeed. I wore only a sweatshirt, but I put the hood up and tied it tight, yes I looked lovely. Off I went. Oh my goodness I am out of shape. I looked at my phone: nine minutes had gone by! What the !!?? I had already used up all my pep talks to myself! Then came the big hill. I hate the big hill, I will never like the big hill. It was murder, torture, and suffering. I lived, barely. Then the way home...down the hill, not so bad. Then up another hill...blah. Suffering. I was just hoping none of the neighbors would come out to say hello because I really couldn't talk. I was huffing. How can anyone possibly like to excercise?

Okay. I do exaggerate. But only a little. Tomorrow I need to do battle with my mind to make myself go it gets easier. Because really, it is all in the mind. Sometimes I wonder why we humans like to self-destruct. I mean, why would my OWN MIND try to tell me not to go on a walk that is good for me?

Samuel got out some Legos to play with Jon. Sonja ended up in the room on the floor playing with him. The little girls got out the Megablocks/Duplos, and now Jon is playing with a different building set with Paul. Suzanne and Sonja are going wild now, and of course that drives Miss Rosie crazy, she thinks Playtime, Playtime. They are having a pretend fight with a plastic baseball bat. One of them WILL get hurt. I just know it.

Anyway, has anyone ever noticed that when you try to eat healthier you find yourself thinking about food even more? Again, though, a battle of the thoughts. Bed time looms....if there is anything worse than waking them up in the morning, it is getting them geared toward bed, especially when they are playing so nicely. I hate being the mean mommy.

um...uh..well...didn't get to that laundry room yet...

Paul gently reminded me that he still wants to replace the dryer vent hose...and...well, he has to move things in there...and it is not quite possible at this time....I just plain didn't get to the job yesterday. Here are my excuses: 1. I think it would be like seventy times easier if I do it when I have a helper or two...and I am not talking about Charlotte Claire and Camille. 2. I ended up going to the dreaded Doctor yesterday. I hate going to the dr. But...I have been having heartburn for months and months and months. I treated it with an over-the-counter med, pepcid....then it stopped helping. I would get acid reflux just leaning over to pick up a dirty sock off the floor. I decided that before I self-diagnosed, again, and moved up to a stronger over-counter med, I should probably be checked out.... So I called the dr office and was told their first opening was May 3rd. What??! I got off the phone, and decided to call back and say that was not acceptable, when the phone rang and the office lady said there was an opening...yesterday. So off I was to the dr. Big surprise: my blood pressure was 156/86. What!!!?? I have ALWAYS had low pressure. I felt really panicky. The dr. took it again after a few minutes, and it was down to 136 over 84. Still too high for me. I have always been 120/70. rrr. He didn't see too concerned about it, but I am!! He gave me a prescription for a high dose of a prilosec type of med, but when I asked the lady at the pharmacy at Walmart, it was $55! So I bought it off the shelf in the lower dose and will just take two instead of one..... This blood pressure thing has really sobered me up about my health. I need to eat better, and get on that treadmill no matter what. Actually eating better isn't such a difficult thing now, I don't eat in the evening anymore because of the heartburn, and tend to eat smaller meals. I have lost eleven pounds, the dr. beamingly told me! I haven't been there in a few years though, so that is dismally dismal. Then again it is better than having GAINED 11 pounds.... I was feeling rather weighed down by these things....blah, anxiety creeping in....then I read the new brunstad story ( about Jerry's blindness. Oh my goodness, it is good to be reminded that it is not our circumstances that determine our happiness, but rather how we seek God in our trials. So the laundry room is still in shambles, yet I am alive. I did match a huge basket of socks last night. Funny how that makes me feel like The Mother Of The Year. "Kids, there are plenty of matching socks here!" I mentioned the Great Treadmill Spectacle the other day....the girls decided they want it in their room. Fine. It looked awful in the living room. So..they struggled and toiled and got it down the stairs and as far as their doorway...and it doesn't fit. No way, no how. we have a treadmill in the closet under the stairs, sticking out into the hallway. The good part is the empty space in the living room. I moved the dog's crate into the space, now the bookcase is opened up again. The girls found lots of new books to read. I cleaned it up and threw away some stupid books and old phone books. (see, just because I didn't tackle the laundry room doesn't mean I didn't do anything!). I also looked at the photo albums of the older two and three kids when they were little. I was also little. And so young! I was 23 when Ben was born. Three kids. I had no idea what I was doing. I had eight kids by the time I was 30....what's interesting about that is that I had another 8 (or nine if we count Robert) AFTER I was thirty. Phew. I just hope my heartburn gets under control so that I don't have to give up my coffee. blah. I bought four shiny new red mugs the other day, and somehow it makes that coffee so much more enjoyable. The couch monster is creeping back. BLAH!! It isn't much, but it is growing. I should be smart and conquer it before it overtakes me again. Mirielle and Joseph are on college break this week. The have no jobs, no money, so no Orlando for them. The weather...cloudy and cold. But they are enjoying doing nothing. Joseph plays his guitar and draws and goes running and doesn't get bored. Mirielle plays the guitar and goes running and today, she is making cookies for Benjamin again. Benjamin Paul - he called me last night. That boy has the gift of gab, just like his mama. No awkward pauses with us, no sir. Where he is stationed (San Antonio, Texas) there are also AirForce and Navy guys training as medics. He said one of the Navy guys hung himself the other night. The next day they all had a suicide prevention lecture. He said the suicide rate in the service is three times the regular national average. He seems to be doing well though. Part of me doesn't understand why they don't just let the poor guys study and learn though. They have to get up at 4:30 am, and since they have so few guys in their particular "bay", they have frequent Fire Watch duty, which interupts their sleep, which is not enough anyway. He said learning and memorizing is so hard when all you want to do is conk. The good thing about him though, is his new attitude. He says there are no "likeminded souls" there. A few nice guys, friends, but he is alone in is desire to be faithful in all things. He is able to use his ipod in the evening hours though, and keeps in touch with some friends from church, one of them has just been deployed to Afghanistan. Anyway, I was talking to Ben and all of the sudden he said he had to go, and hung up. An hour and a half later, as I was trying to fall asleep, he texted me. Said the whole bay got in trouble and was "smoked". For that whole time, over an hour. "Smoked" is when they have to do intense excercise or stand at attention the whole time. I don't know who did what, but he said he personally wasn't in trouble. Said he would call me tonight. Poor kid. He was so tired. I guess he got tired-er! All nine of the school kids went out the door to school today, so it is another quiet day here. Camille is now awake too, so off I go to snuggle with her.

Monday, March 28, 2011

clean the laundry room? are you kidding me?

When I say that a week or more ago my whole house was clean...I didn't mean the laundry room, too. No, that room is my arch-enemy. The thorn in my side, my perpetual trial. I hang up the bye-bye clothes. I have baskets for matched socks and unmatched socks. I have bathing suit and underwear baskets. I have piles of stuff. I have five hampers, supposedly for whites, colors, ect. But they are all mixed up. Because a plan is only as good as the execution of the plan. So. I have a million excuses, but even to me they sound lame (it's not my fault! I never have time to put things properly away! I hate to bug the kids about putting things in the right hamper!) Then there are the legitimate excuses which have no solutions: too many people using one washing machine and one dryer, which has been taking half the day to dry a load. I have to wait my turn to use it, which is NOT fair. I then tend to wash the things that are most iminent to have clean, and things pile up that aren't so important....blah. Then it becomes time to clean out those hampers again, clean up the floor (seems like I JUST DID ALL OF THIS)..... If only I didn't have any bed wetters. If only I had a bigger laundry room. If only I wasn't so lazy. Wait, I think I found the REAL problem. So today I get to battle my horrible laziness and clean that laundry room up for once and for all, and this time I shall keep it spotless. If even a sock falls to the floor, I shall scoop it up and put it in its' proper place. It's a losing battle, I tell you. The kids' rooms, which I cleaned and organized and made nice...ha. I need a few more of ME. One to sit here and blog, of course. And a few to go into those rooms a few times a day and pick up those dirty socks and put duplos back on the shelf and scoop up the school clothes on the floor...... I was mean this morning. I nicely told the kids as I woke them for school that they need to pick up their room this afternoon before they do anything. It isn't what they want to hear first thing Monday morning, so I made the statement then just dropped it. All three of them needed showers as it was, so I didn't need to add any more stress. Hilarious stuff: my son Aaron is 18, and a senior. He is in the school play, which will be performed this coming weekend. Mali, 17 and also a senior, is helping with the play, doing lighting. Anyway, the drama teacher/play director is also the English teacher, and the mom of one of the younger girls' she knows we have lots of kids. Well....she offered that our family come to the dress rehearsal because it would cost so much money for tickets, which it would at seven dollars each. Mali didn't want Aaron to tell me of that nice little offer. But he did, reluctantly. I pretended it was a grand idea. He seemed mildy mortified. Can you imagine if our whole family sat in on that dress rehearsal, how embarrassing it would be to them? Not just because of the, "charity case" thing, but that we would be the only ones, I can't do that to them. Just can't. (but I do think the teacher was very kind and thoughtful to offer) So we have to decide who to take to the play. Lots of things are coming up....some of the girls are taking a youth trip to Detroit. My niece is getting married and we are going to her wedding shower soon. Another niece is having a special birthday party at a gymnastics place, I am making cupcakes for her. Paul is going to Boston again in a few weeks for 8 or nine days. I am making the WEDDING cupcakes for the niece who is getting married. Easter is approaching and I have zero candy in my closet. I want to paint the foyer. But today: laundry room. I wish I could just fast forward to the room being all clean. blah. There is no way around it, only through it. And the thing about doing a project like that is everything else around here goes to heck while I am so busy....the things I usually do on a Monday will not get, the things I usually do.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

is no post better than a stupid post?

1. The dryer is not working. I ran THREE towels through twice before I alerted Paul. 2. It is cold cold cold here in central New York state. Spring, ha. 3. I gave Rosie a bath today and blowdried her. She still smells. 4. Suzanne wants me to help her with her homework. I think she just needs to find a quiet spot and do some thinking... 5. Paul is trying to fix the dryer. The laundry room is small, it is messy, it is unorganized, and it is my sore spot. He said I need to clean it up so he can get in there...on Sunday evening, really? 6. Mirielle and Margaret had the bright idea to take the one million pound treadmill down to their room. It won't fit through the door. It has a new home in the closet underneath the stairs. Now I have a little bit of extra space in the living room. 7. But, the strollers that were in that closet now have no home. People here are wondering why I still have them. 8. I am going to clean them up one by one, take pictures, and get rid of them. Does anyone who reads this want a pram? A side-by-side fold up Emmaljunga? 9. Why is it sad for me to get rid of them? 10. I am tired today because I let Camille take a musical dollhouse toy to bed with her last night...she rolled on it a few times during the night and it sang , "Happy Birthday". 11. I love my kids. Even when they slop up the kitchen and leave drinks on the end tables when No Drinks Are Allowed in The Living Room. Even when they go go go all weekend and get sick on Sunday night. Even when they have to get the last word. Even when they leave all the towels in their rooms and their dirty socks in the corners. Even though when I ask them if it was them, it NEVER IS. Even when they make themselves eggs and leave the pan and NO ONE did it. Even when they leave a full glass of water on the counter and it gets knocked over and NO ONE did it. Even when they get toothpaste all over the sink. Even when they have NO toothbrush, it disapeared, they have no idea where it went. Even when their library book is lost and they did not lose it. Even when they had ice cream without asking. Obviously, I could go on and on about how much I love my kids. But I really do love them. I love the sweet notes the little ones write to me, and when my older ones include me in their conversations and ask for my opinion. I hate Sunday nights...blah, a whole week of sending them to school....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

kathryn grace

Kathryn Grace just turned 13 years old. (I now have SIX teenagers!) Kathryn is a good girl. Here she is with Sonja K.
Kathryn is our tenth child. She was born 15 months and one day after her sister Margaret. Evelyn was then born 17 months later (ha, I thought of that as a "break").....
Yesterday I had to go shopping, and Kathryn was here because she decided not to go on her bowling field trip at school. So she went with me. And it was totally totally fun. She doesn't hurry me, she likes to dawdle around and look at all the clearance stuff. She isn't the kind of girl who asks for things, in fact if I offer her something, she will decline if she doesn't NEED it. She didn't say, "MOM!" like I was crazy when I filled the cart with 75% off miniture notebooks and journals. (25 cents each, they can be birthday party prizes). She was all for buying mittens for next year, 37 cents for two pair. She didn't even sigh or groan or outright complain when we went to the grocery store. Instead she helped me pick the produce and decide which shampoo to get and browse the clearance section. She didn't say we didn't need the half price Lindt truffles from Valentines Day, and she didn't protest when I bought every single Dannon Strawberry Cheesecake yogurt that were marked down to a quarter each. She was such a good sport that we ventured to a SECOND grocery store. And since she was so hungry and it was just her birthday and it was only the two of us, we ate some dinner at the Wokery in Wegmans. She kept talking about chocolate bunnies and saying we should buy some to eat on the way home, and she was totally kidding. At the register I sneaked a two ounce Baby Binks on to the conveyor, and she was delighted. It was late afternoon and chilly when we put the final groceries into the van...wait, it wasn't chilly, it was FREEZING. So we stopped at McDonalds for two small coffees with lots of cream, no sugar....and had a wonderful ride home. She gave me a little taste of that chocolate bunny, yum it tasted like Easter.
I made some omelets this morning with red and green and yellow peppers and onions and sausage and cheese. I read the paper, I went outside with Rosie, and I got playdough out for the kids. Camille is in another world playing with her new Mariposa Barbie I bought on clearance for her in the grocery store. Yes, they are spoiled. Sixteen spoiled brats. But they just went in the butterfly museum and a butterfly Barbie for only five dollars....I couldn't resist. And I did plan to save them for Charlotte Claire's birthday, but Camille saw them and started jumping up and down with could I say NO ?
Today we might go to the big library with Emily.

Friday, March 25, 2011


My sister and I had a discussion yesterday about the relationship between money and happiness. It seems that most people think that if they only had more money, they would be happier. Studies have shown this is simply not true.

The thing is, if we had more money, we could go on one of our new-found and delightful tropical get-aways EVERY YEAR.

And perhaps we could take all of the kids.

And on and on it goes...

Sometimes it isn't easy to be happy, despite how much I am blessed. Today I have a headache still. I simply don't feel great. Yet things still have to be done. I need to go to the store. (it is snowing out so much right now it is hard to see the trees in the back yard, spring must've been just kidding).....I am feeling kind of sad about some things that happened yesterday between myself and one of my daughters....a misunderstanding, yet she is so mad at me. I am either blind to myself, or just plain stupid, I do not see what the big deal is. It makes me feel uneasy and upset that she isn't happy with me. I am seeing more and more that I am the kind of person who wants everyone to like me. If a neighbor is upset about the dog, it makes me really upset. I also see that I don't feel "worthy" of praise or other's goodness. I have never felt that I am good enough....wah, I know, feeling sorry for my poor self...but I haven't really given in to total self-pity, I have noticed these thoughts and feelings, and told myself: Remember, it is GOD with whom you have to do. It is too easy to get dragged down by these things that have nothing to do with faithfulness.

Suzanne is home again today. I think we share the same ailment. I never did take my nap yesterday...I just did this and that and then it was dinner time. When the mom takes Downtime, someone has to take up the slack. Ashley is working full time, Mirielle is going to college full time, Aaron is in school and working and in the play....they are all so busy. The younger ones do help here and there, but wah, I want to take a nap! Maybe after school I will give them a snack and put in a movie, and take a nice nap...

Having Suze here is nice. She isn't really too sick, just a headache and a low-grade fever. She is lying on the couch dressing Barbies. The little girls have Barbies all over the floor. They are naming all their dolls now...Cinderella Celena Bo. Belle Roses Rose.

The sun is coming out and it is still was freezing last night. It is 25 right now, and going down to 15 tonight. Very cold, for spring. Especially because we had a tantalizing taste of the warmth.

I think I shall go lie down on the couch....

Thursday, March 24, 2011

images of a quiet and peaceful afternoon

Sonja Kathleen looked so bright and pretty when she walked in from school, I had to take a picture. Do not look at the bookcase behind her, which was neat and organized last week.....we just have too many books, I guess. Rosie-The-Bad-Dog....

Samuel James doing his homework.....

Suzanne holding the Anne of Green Gables Continuing Story video set I got at the dollar store for 17 cents...and Kathryn Grace on the treadmill...(she ran two miles then did sit ups with cartwheels in between)
I DID go on the treadmill the day before yesterday....but I can't do it today...I just plain don't feel well. I have a headache and just feel tired and blah....Suzanne had to be picked up early, she had a low grade fever and didn't feel well. I don't even feel like eating, which means I really must be feeling bad. I did go out to the kitchen and prepare a scrumptious dinner for the family though...homemade macaroni and cheese....two nine by 13 pans, plus a smaller pan....with bacon on is in the oven now......Jon sampled it before I baked it and said it was super yummy!
Suze is having tea, Kap is sitting on the floor with her water bottle, Sonja is looking at her books from the Book Trade at school, which is one of the best ideas ever....the kids each bring in up to three books, and trade them.
And just for the record: I love our school. The teachers are nice and kind, the nurse is nice and thoughtful and caring, the cafeteria workers and aides and helpers...they are good to my children. I hope if any of them read this, they never get the impression that I am not happy with them or the work they do. I think most of the people over at school work very hard for not enough pay, and I am thankful for them. I just happen to love having these guys around!!! And it makes me sad that having them miss school puts me at odds with 'the school'.....
I think I will go cuddle up on the couch and close my eyes....what are the odds that I will really get a little nap? Maybe no one will ask me any questions. Maybe none of the kids will ask me if I am sleeping, just because they are wondering. Maybe the dog won't bark. Maybe no one will call about something super important. Yes, maybe I will truly fall asleep and wake up feeling refreshed and energetic with no more headache.....

winter again

Okay...yesterday I did something "bad". I let five children skip school to go to the Museum of Play. Margaret doesn't count, because the eighth graders were going to Washington, D.C., and she wasn't going. The school requires the students who don't participate in the field trip to attend school anyway. thanks.

Anyway....I took nine of them to the museum...three older ones went to school, two went to college, then of course Abigail was at work and Ben...he is in the Army. I always have to add up how many I have and where they all are.

Because it is easier than you think to walk away without someone.

So, I let the kids skip to do this fun thing, and it was FUN. But this morning rolls around.....and Suze has this headache...she says she really WANTS to go to school, but her head own head has been aching for a few days, so I believed her, but....I suggested that since I still have to do everything when I don't feel so great, she should go to school....was that right? Am I an awful mother? She looked so sad about it....but she is quite the drama queen. I don't know. Then Jonathan...he needed a shower. He was taking his own shower. He came out of the bathroom dry because the water would not co operate. He went in a second time. I tried to help him but he locked the door, said he was fine and didn't need help. Well, he came out with just the top of his head wet. Said he washed his hair. I told him he shouldn't lie to me, I can tell he didn't even get into the shower. So I gave him a shower, which he did not like one little bit. He started to cry.....he cried and cried, then it was almost time to leave, I was dressing him, wondering how this crying boy could get on the bus, and Sonja K. went out the door and let the dog out!!! rrr. I had to get my coat and boots on and go trick her. I opened the van doors and asked her if she wanted to go bye-bye....I let her in to eat a few pretzels and fries that my dear nephew had showered the floor with, (I also noticed several and I mean SEVERAL empty sugar packets scattered on the floor toward the back of the van....when I was driving through the snow, I thought I had heard them talking about eating sugar, but I decided not to process that particular information at that time....) then hooked the leash on her collar and brought her into the house.

The bus came, Jonathan was still sobbing. He is home today. I am not happy with him. Oh, I still love him to pieces, and I am thinking he is very tired...even though he got to sleep at a good time last night..I don't know. He is in his own little world playing with his Hess trucks. He told me he is sorry, but that he "can't help how his body reacts...", in regard to the crying. He said it is because he has a headache, and that he is sorry. He is also telling me that his brain can't control his imagination, his own words, when he is trying to go to sleep at night. He thinks of cars going off the road, then thinks of other things like roads breaking and crumbling, and he can't sleep. And it isn't his fault. He is telling me these things, because he is a good boy and doesn't want me to be upset with him. I tell him I still love him and I like him, but he has to listen to me in the morning, and that he has to go to school....not today though. He is staying here and having some time with the girls and I. Perhaps a boy with such an imagination needs a little extra time with his mom.

Yesterday at the museum I really missed having a baby in a stroller. It was so strange not to have a stroller at all! I was almost jealous of one young mom, she had the nicest PegPerego stroller and car seat...and a very sweet little baby boy to go with it. But to everything there is a season. I was glad to be there and enjoy my own kids, and my nieces and nephew. They all are so delightful. Even when they cry in the van.

quick update on the kids...although since six of them are teenagers and four are in their twenties, it is hard to call them all "kids"...

Emily, 26....she is still an RN, working the night shift at a very busy hospital in the city. She is thinking of buying a house. She was offering some of the older kids to come live with her and pay rent...and I said, "NO FAIR stealing my KIDS, Emily!!

Abigail, 24....she is still working in accounting at an insurance place in the city. It is SO nice when she drops in for a visit. She also likes having the kids over to her place to visit, which they love.

Benjamin, 22...he is doing well. He has a good attitude, he called Kathryn last night to wish her a Happy Birthday.

Mirielle, 21.....she is still in college, and is planning to go to nursing school. She made the yummiest homemade chocolate/vanilla marble three layer cake with chocolate frosting for Kap's birthday....

Joseph, 19....he is in college, he commutes with Mirielle. He still plays his guitar, and has been working out and running. He also eats only healthy things. He is looking good.

Aaron, 18....he is a senior this year, and has been accepted to nursing school in the fall. He is in the school play and he works at a grocery store. He is still a brat, he and Joe put ketchup on Rosie's head the other night.

Mali, 17....she is also a senior and is going to nursing school. She is still a vegetarian, and is on the track team at school. She keeps me on my toes, but she is a sweet girl.

Samuel, 15....Sam is hilarious. He has found he can make us laugh, and he does. He continues to learn and teach about all things war and especially WWII.

Margaret, 14....she is thinking her lucky stars she didn't shell out the money to go on that D.C. trip since they cut the Holocaust Museum trip out. She is very knowledgeable about history also. She played the piano so beautifully yesterday while were at the museum, I almost cried.

Kathryn, youngest teenager. She is just lovely. She is so open and bright and happy and good...oh, she has her moody moments, but she is just an optimistic girl. She does gymnastics whenever she sees open floor....

Evelyn, 11....Evelyn is eleven going on 20. She is so grown up already. And she is hilarious. But also that a good word to describe someone who stomps off and slams a door at what I think is a slight provacation? Yet she is so capable and helpful and funny and nice and so pretty....

Suzanne, 10....Suzanne loves to write stories. She loves to play "office". She has that little space under her loft bed, with her little lamp....she hates when it it time to go to bed and she has to stop writing or playing......

Sonja, 8.....she is spunky. She has the red hair and the freckles and she is something else. She is very smart and quick at school work, and very responsible. She is also needy and a bit whiney...she has Youngest Child Syndrome, because she is the youngest of the "Five Girls In A Row In Five Years", I think.

Jonathan, 6....Jonny is a sweetie...he is very sensitive and smart and he is like a little old man. It seems like he was never a little boy, just from a baby to a miniature grown up. He KNOWS things. He has his little break-downs like this morning, but he is usually very reasonable and easygoing. But he IS a worrier......

Charlotte Claire, 4....she is smart and well-behaved. She occasionally will smack Camille, but she is always sorry after...they play nicely about 95% of the time. Camille does not hit back, she just cries her eyes out and wants to be held.

Camille Anaya, 3.....she is my baby...she still likes to be cuddled. She is not clingy to just me though. She loves Emily and Abigail and Ashley...(I loved it when Ashley came in from work the other day and Camille just flew into her arms...) She also loves to play pretend. She sings her little heart out no matter where we are, and she is usually very agreeable and happy.

I know that is already the 16 of them, but I shall say a word about Ashley, my daughter-in-law and 17th child...

Ashley, 20....she is such a sweetie. She started her new job and really likes it. She is driving Abigail's old car which is pretty old. The driver's door doesn't open, and the passenger door CREAKS because of the dented front quarter-panel....this car doesn't always start, among other things.....but it runs and it is on the road and insured and she is so thankful just to be able to use it. She is happy about her new job, she is like a sunshine here. I am thankful for her, and I love her.

Was my house actually really clean last week? It seems like I remember saying it was...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

museum day birthday pictures....

Princess Charlotte Claire.....
Queen Emily and her royal mom

13 year old birthday girl Kathryn Grace with Camille

The Royal Mother.....

Nine of my kids went to the museum with me today....

Evelyn Joy and Kathryn, Margaret holding Charlotte Claire, Sonja K., Emily holding Camille who was having a fit because she didn't want her picture taken, Jonathan, and Suzanne in front....

Emily with Camille and Jonathan....Emily and I are closer in age than her and Camille...we are 19 years apart, and they are 22 years apart....

Camille liked seeing all the dolls in the museum....

And: it snowed today...blah...on the way home from the museum, we saw EIGHT cars off the road....there was a police car with one of them, with the lights flashing...Jonathan just started crying.....then the ice built up on my wiper blade, I couldn't see out the windshield...tractor trailers still passed me, there was no place to pull over...but I had Kim, my sister-in-law (she had four of her kids with us too) as my co-pilot, she suggested I crank the heat and the blower, and it worked...phew. The road was not good, slippery and snowy....but fun was being had....we had brought our own lunch, but on the way home we stopped at McD's, as per plan, and spent $35 on dollar menu items....there WERE fifteen of us....

When we got home, it was Happy Birthday To Kathryn.....

Kathryn wore her Birthday Crown....Camille thought this was great fun, and Aaron thought Camille was great fun.

And now they are mostly tucked into bed, except for Aaron and Margaret, who went with Ashley to charge the car battery because it had to be jumped...they decided to go to DunkinDonuts....Mirielle is playing the guitar, and Mali is doing homework.
Tomorrow the kids go back to school.....I have to write five excuses for absences.....blah.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

morning blues...

I didn't start this day out crying...but then I checked facebook and my dear daughter Emily left a poem there for me that she thought I would like...and I did, but it made me cry. It is called "The Miscarriage", by Amit Majmudar. I guess you can say it Spoke To Me. I never wanted to end my baby career with a was two years ago now, but that poem brought back that empty feeling. Those were dark days, losing my father and my brother and then that baby.

But there is no reason to dwell on the past, and in sad things. There are too many things to be glad about....easy to say now that I have had a good cry.

Yesterday's shopping excursion with the two little girls was quite an adventure. First I had to get them ready and bring them out. I had them sit in the minivan while I went back in for their Barbies, which they had forgotten. By the time I was heading back out the door, one of them was honking the van horn and I could hear shrieks of laughter. rrr. I brought them the dolls and told them it was NOT NICE to the neighbors to honk like that. Then I got the car seats from the big van....and oops, forgot to look where I was walking while carrying that giant car seat, and woosh, I almost fell after stepping suddenly in the huge mud rut from where I got the big van stuck in the yard last week...the rain had nicely filled it with water....oh, muddy boots! Then getting the carseats buckled into the backseat of the's a good thing Charlotte Claire knows how to reach a buckle and hold it for me....I put the girls in the way-back because the middle seats are bucket seats.....they can't share dolls so nicely there.....

They were actually good in the store. Their dolls danced on the shelves while they played and went so well I decided to stop at the dollar store, too. Camille had to go pee as soon as we got in there, and of course there are NO public bathrooms we hurried through....not before getting Camille some bubble gum and Charlotte Claire some lollipops....sometimes I just hate myself. I don't really want them to have that stuff....Camille was really good though, she had only one piece on the way home, just like I told her. But later...she got a piece stuck to her neck...on the back, and front, and some in her hair....I don't know how this happened, but it was difficult to remove....I rubbed lotion on it, then washed it with a cloth, over and over until it finally all came off. I told her No More Bubble Gum. blah.

As I attempted to start making dinner, I got a call from Ashley, who had taken the blue car up to the gas station to get air in the tires, and generally make sure it was running okay because she starts her new job today. Seems she had locked the keys in it. Ooops. The funny part was that she had taken Rosie with her, so there she was, at the gas station in the rain, with the dog locked in the car....I hopped into the minivan and went down there...we went over to the garage in town and the guy there came over and unlocked it for us....we gave him a twenty, and we were on our way....I must say though, it was tense there for a few minutes, with me wondering if Rosie was going to bite that nice man's hand off when he was opening the door....

The car started fine this morning, and Ashley has started her new job in town at the gas station/eatery. I promised her I would not bring Jon to visit her at work until she is trained and used to the job. And that we would behave ourselves. I am glad she found work so close to home. It will be good for her to keep busy, to get her mind off being away from Benjamin. She can't be with him until at least July, and I am sure that seems like forever and a day to her.

Paul had to go to a board meeting at church last night, so I was on my own for dinner and homework and getting them to bed, again...he was in Boston last week and the week before.....I always ask the older kids to help me help them with their homework...then I remembered one of the wet beds hadn't been changed, then the stories and teethbrushing....blah, by the time I sat down and put my feet up, I could have fallen asleep right away...but the night wasn't over yet...there was Aaron and Mali and Mirielle and Kathryn to talk to .....

We are trying to plan our camping trip for the summer...Adirondacks! Oh, it is so beautiful up there!

Then, once again, morning came too soon!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

what will today bring?

As I sit here with my coffee listening to the rain fall and to Rosie snuffling contentedly in her cage, Charlotte Claire comes out in her one piece fleecy monkey more quiet....

Today I need to go to the store, again!!! I didn't get too much last week because of the refridgerator, but now it is working A-Okay, but it is almost empty. I do not want to take the little girls shopping all by myself on a rainy day...but I might. Ashley went to a friend's house, all the rest of the kids are at college or school.

It is one of those lazy mornings....sometimes Monday mornings just come so unexpectedly. I signed Jonathan's reading paper this morning, and directed him to take a shower....he does NOT like when I help him. He finally relented, came out and got dressed....then I found out he didn't use soap. rrr. There was no way I was going to get the kids back into the shower when he didn't want to take one in the first place. His reason for not using soap: "You didn't tell me to!" Now, we all know that if I HAD told him, he would have said, "I KNOW, Mom!" Then he grumped that I didn't get him out any socks....I told him there is a whole basket of matched socks in there....he came out with a green one and a white one, because he likes them and they fit him. He stayed up too late with his sisters singing songs and laughing last night in their room, so I wasn't going to put my foot down about his socks. I just hope his teacher doesn't see them. Then Aaron and Samuel came out here just in time to catch the second trip bus. I had to write them excuses for being late. Aaron is 18 years old, old enough to vote and to be in the military, and yet I have to write him an excuse for being late to school.

Anyway, they are gone off to school. I gave Charlotte Claire a shower, she put some clean fleecy jammies on and is sitting with me. She just asked me why her hair is cold after her shower, and before I could answer, she is asking me what "growing" means, and why my arms are so big. She is at that stage where she wants to know everything about everything.

It is truly dark and rainy out there. Rosie didn't even mind when I turned back towards the house instead of traipsing down the road this morning. brr. The yard is already soggy. It is getting soggier.

Springtime is nice, but it also brings many trials. Mud. Muddy dog feet, muddy kid feet. And when the kids play outside all the time, they leave things out there. rrr. They decide it is too warm for their jacket, so they leave the jacket on the swingset slide. They decide to do some gymnastics with bare feet, so they leave their sneakers out there. rrr. Then there is the whole Rosie Thing. They have to be careful not to let her sneak out. They will come in for a drink of water or for a different coat or some other really important reason, and Rosie will slink right out the door. much as I like the warmth and sunshine.....

Spring is on hold this week anyways....Wednesday, Museum Day, is only going to be in the thirties with snow. Snow is forecast for Thursday and Friday too. But we have had a taste of the warmth and know it will come back eventually.

I feel a little bit bad that none of my kids has gone on the annual eighth grade Washington D.C. trip with school. But Margaret is glad she isn't going. She said they decided not to go to visit the Holocaust Museum. If she were going she would be very upset about that. She really wants to plan a family trip to Washington....well, perhaps not the WHOLE family.....

My girls are planning a trip to the ocean. All my girls except for Camille. Ashley, and ten of my daughters. I meekly requested that I be included, after all, I told them, I suffered and toiled and raised them all, the LEAST they can do is let me enjoy them all for a weekend. I promised not to be any trouble...they said I could go if I behave myself, and that I cannot bring a huge mattress to sleep in the tent on. I was non-commital on that one. They say they are packing extremely light, like bathing suit and towel and one outfit. I agreed, saying , "We can always find a Walmart if we absolutely need something..." That statement almost got me kicked out of the trip, they practically shouted at me, "We are NOT going to Walmart on our ocean trip!!!" okay.

Remember how I said last week that the house was clean? Oh, I have fond memories of that.

Two little children, no THREE...wet the bed. So....I have some laundry to do this morning.

I am glad I don't have a really good stack of library books right about now. It is that kind of day, the crawl-into-bed-with-a-good-book kind of day....not that I could anyway, with these two princesses.....Camille is up now, in her cozy butterfly jammies, cuddled up to me in my chair. Charlotte Claire is setting up the dollhouse stuff.

Camille says she thinks she should eat bekfrest.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

mom, mom, mom, mom....

"Will it be too warm for this jacket tomorrow?" "Can you read this book to me?" "What's for dinner?" "Can I use your phone? your computer? your camera?" "I need more underwear." "I need new sneakers." "I want a new sports bra." "When are you going to the store?"

My head is spinning. so many questions, so many requests....

In my heart, I am not sick and tired of my children....but oh my goodness I find myself getting irritated!

Just think to be patient and longsuffering, so that Mom doesn't have to yell, "OKAY! I HEARD YOU!", or "if you MOM me ONE more TIME!..."

Sunday evenings mean making sure I look at school folders that were brought home on Friday, all fat and full of important papers. I have been known to look through these folders on Monday morning though, and the world didn't end.

Sunday evenings usually mean showers for little ones. And earlier bed times to try to make up for the late bed times on Friday and Saturday.

Tonight we had a delicious dinner. Marinated chicken breast cooked in Teryiaki sauce, stir fried veggies, and basmati rice. Oh, it was good. There isn't enough for another dinner, but Abigail and Paul have enough for lunch....We had quite a table full for dinner tonight...Paul and I, Abigail, Mirielle, Joseph, his friend Nate, Samuel, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, her friend Irene, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and Ashley. And we saved some for Aaron, who is working at the store in town.

I am going to do something bad this week. I am going to let my children skip a day of school to go to the museum of play. Can you believe that there really is such a place? It is close to my heart, this museum. I LOVE it there. Well, here is the letter I won't be writing to the school...

Dear Nurse and Teachers,

My children were not sick yesterday. I know it illegal in the State of New York to let children skip school to go to a museum with their mom and have tons of fun and dress up in American Girl clothes and play old fashioned house with their sister Margaret playing the upright piano in the pretend parlor, and put on plays on the miniture stage and cross the bridge in the Land of Make Believe and make crowns in the craft corner and shop at the miniture grocery store and try to make the totals as large as possible, but I did it anyway. I let them race miniture cars and go in the sideways house and take the time capsule upstair to see the collection of toys and lunchboxes that were familiar to me in the 70's. I let them play with Duplos and Dance Revolution and go on the little choo choo train. I let them sit in Elmo's taxi and look at books and see the huge fishtank full of tropical fish. I let them explore the airplane replica and send letters in the pretend post office and dance in the shadow room.

There was a really good reason, Nurse and Teachers, for me letting them skip school yesterday to do this fun thing. See, I was GOING to take them last Friday, on Staff Development Day, a legal day off from school....but...I got my van stuck in the mud next to the driveway. And my niece's husband was going to come tow me out, but a lady went right on red and hit the back of his I had to wait until Paul came home to help push the van out. I have too many children to have taken just the minivan, Nurse and Teachers, so we didn't get to go. Our membership runs out at the end of the month, and the weekends are SO busy it is hard to find a parking spot for our huge van. Margaret doesn't have school on this particular day because she isn't participating in the field trip to Washington D.C., which costs $400, so she won't be really skipping school. Ashley also has no work that day, so it will work for us. I promise you the kids will learn a lot....And I am sorry that this is an illegal excuse. Please do not call the cops on me.


Della M. W.

Think I'll get arrested?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

saturday at home

Paul is home. He got here and rescued the refridgerator. Right in the middle of the girls' waffle party. My nieces didn't seem to mind. I minded a little. He pulled it out from the wall and oh my goodness the dust and dirt and refridgerator magnets under there....he used the hair dryer to melt the chunk of ice that was blocking the air from getting to the fridge is a temporary fix, but the defroster in the freezer needs fixing still.

The girls are all outside playing and doing gymnastics and swinging on the swingset. It is only 34 degrees out, but it is partly sunny. The little girls have nice warm jackets and boots, but the older girls say gymnastics have to be done in bare feet.

Waffles...oh they were good. Mirielle saved some batter so the two little girls could have some this morning...I made another batch so the rest of them could have some more....why oh why couldn't simple carbs be totally and completely healthy and non-fattening? I could live on waffles and bagels and toast and potatoes....

Tonight the moon is going to be Super. A Supermoon. Really. It is going to be close to the earth in it's orbit, closer than it has been since 1993. At the horizon, around 7:30 here, it should appear extra large. I hope it is clear enough out here in central New York to be able to see it.

The things I don't want to talk about: Libya, Japan and the nuclear reactors....

Benjamin is doing well. He got an 88 on his latest test, so he now gets to wear civilian clothes on the weekend and leave the base. He says he is going to be smart and not go out and get drunk. He doesn't want to lose any privleges or waste any money. He has a future and a hope, and he knows it. Finally!!! It just makes me so thankful and glad that he has his head on straight and is trusting in God!

Kathryn is making peanutbutter and jam sandwiches for a picnic lunch outside. She says it is nice out there, no wind and sunny. I guess it is all relative. It has been such a long harsh winter, they didn't get out there so much. It is now 38 degrees, so they are enjoying it.....

Today is another Dome day...Paul is not going this time, which is nice. Ashley and Joseph and Aaron and Mirielle are going though. They are going to Starbucks first, which for some reason makes it all worth it.

I am going to go for a walk. No excuses, I am going right now.

Friday, March 18, 2011

happy friday!!!

Our living room walls now are Teastained. Today I stopped at HobbyLobby for the first time today....yeah, I like that store. It is rather expensive though. It is one of those places that has everything 50% off, but the original prices are so high that it is still too expensive. I wanted some red flowers to offset the walls and match the couch, then I found the 90% off aisle....these vase things were $2.80, regularly $28 each...I didn't know what to do with the tops, so I just put them on the bookcase with them....

It was a surprisingly nice day here...but the cold front is moving in. No more 56 degree days for us in the near future...blah, cold again....the kids have had such a good day. There was no school today, for the whole district, not just our family. So they have enjoyed the day. Margaret, Kathryn, Sonja, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and I took the minivan to have the oil changed, and went to get some things at Aldi....fruits and veggies and some whipped cream for the waffle party the girls are planning for tonight.

Our refridgerator is not working properly. The freezer part is fine, but the 'fridge just isn't cold enough. Paul is coming home tonight, so perhaps he can figure it out. (Cindy, Cinnamon- times like this I think of you and how difficult it must be having husbands deployed) (it has been so hard for me just having Paul gone all this past week and last week...I have kept you in my prayers)

The house is clean. Not spotless, but clean. My room is clean and vaccumed, the bathrooms are clean, the living room and kitchen are swept and mopped...there IS a load of unmatched socks on the couch. and the laundry room is still sort of spilling out into the kitchen. But the hallway is clean, the kids room are clean.....the foyer is vacuumed and clean....but it won't stay like this. I wish it would, but it is too hard to keep it like this.....

Taco salad for dinner tonight. Someone has to make it. I guess that shall be me. My break didn't seem long enough. It is hard work to clean the house. My two little girls think it is too neat in here, so they are doing their part to make it look more homey by getting out tons of dollhouse stuff. Margaret took the treadmill out to run, and left it out in case anyone else wanted to use it.

Mali and Aaron are at play practice, but they should be home for dinner. Ashley is spending time with her step-sisters today. Jonathan is with my niece Susan who is picking up a car today. Everyone else should be home for dinner. I won't count Paul for dinner because he probably won't get here in time, so that makes 13 unless Emily and/or Abigail comes over. I had better get moving. All I have eaten today is wheat toast with peanutbutter and coffee, and a sugar cookie. Oh, and a handful of licorice all-sorts. I was going to eat an apple when I sat down but I forgot.

Paul is on his way home from Boston, and I can't wait to see him.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

happiness is....

When big sister stops in with an Old Navy bag full of things for her sisters.... Emily takes after her mother....she got tank tops for forty-seven cents each. They were cheap anyway, but she also had a coupon....

nice day...

This was taken this morning...still a little bit of snow left.... The girls had lunch out on the deck today: 59 degrees! It was sunny and sweet and we were out there for almost two hours. It was every bit as wonderful as I hoped it would be....

yummy delicious warm weather...

A warm sunny day after months of snow is almost as good as a nice nap on a drizzly afternoon. It hasn't been as warm as it is supposed to be here today in over three months. Sixty degrees! I am going to get off this computer as soon as I finish this and get some work done quickly so that I can spend lots of time outside later....because this is like the one and only nice day for now...tomorrow, rain. The next day, only 40 degrees....and so on, a chilly week is forecast....of course the kids have tomorrow off from school for staff development day...they wanted to stay home today so badly...but I was mean. All nine of them got the bus.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! My mother's grandmother came straight from Ireland. So we felt quite Irish growing up, and had our corned beef and cabbage dinners, wore our green. Last year I decided I should start that tradition when we went shopping last night, I bought the potatoes and carrots and cabbage, and of course the corned beef. (last year we thought the corned beef was way too salty, but I read to boil and drain first to reduce the salt)

Today is Garbage Day, so we have to make absolutely sure to keep Rosie inside.

Ladybugs are upon us. They aren't actually real ladybugs, just paler and ugly look-alikes. They are everywhere. And, just to celebrate that spring is near, I killed an ant on the counter the other day. Then Mirielle said she had killed one the day before...ugh, I hate dealing with ants. I bought a dozen ant traps and set them out.

Paul is coming home tomorrow night, finally. I can't believe how much I miss him. I find that I am a bit jealous that he is having fun without me. I feel like I don't get nearly enough time with him, especially "fun" time, responsibility-less time, yet he goes away and goes out to dinner with these co-workers....blah, no fair.

I wish I were young and beautiful and thin. The thin part, Oh, I know I could work much harder on that. I have been doing better. I haven't bought donuts in a while. I keep apples and bananas in the house. Yesterday for lunch I had brown rice and an apple. But later...blah...we had some Chinese food in Wegmans, Aaron and Evelyn and is sold by the pound, so we were careful, but later when I figured out how much my food cost, and how much it must have weighed,(about 10 ounces) and how many calories were probably in that yummy General Tsao chicken, blah. But it was so good....

And exercise. I haven't given up hoping that one of these days I shall excercise.

Things don't always get done when I am gone. Last evening, I had to take Aaron to get his contacts, and to the grocery store. I came home a little after nine (his appointment wasn't until 6:45, I picked him up after drama)...the kids were tucked in...they had had the soup I had set out for dinner, which was evident from a few bowls still sitting on the table and the pan on the stove...rrr. But they had fed the kids and gotten them into bed....Joseph said he had a chemistry test to study for and didn't even eat dinner. Margaret said I should be more specific in delegating the responsiblities so things get done. Or perhaps I should just take all the kids with me everywhere I go, like I used to. Or better yet, I should just be thankful they are willing to watch the younger ones and that they are good to them and make sure they brush their teeth and say their prayers, and not just see the things that aren't done.

Because life is short. We KNOW this. Yet...there is this never-ending compulsion to get things in order, to make things better, cleaner, more functional, me, anyway. And it is sneaky and tricky. I can think I will feel better when the dishes get done, but then I look at the floor and think I shall feel better after I mop....yet....there have rarely been times when I have been content that everything I want to get done is done. So what can I do? I mean, it IS good to have that drive to do things, I am thankful for that....without that this place would be awful. But I need to find the balance. I can't be a slave to that "drive".

I am encouraged this morning to have a good day. A good day isn't one in which I accomplish things around here, but rather when I am faithful to hear what God has to say to me in whatever I do. There is so much wisdom to be had in dealing with kids, especially the TerribleTeenagers. They are SO much fun and such a joy, but there is so much I need to learn in dealing with them. Mostly, I need to be humble. And that comes at a price, which is that I need to suffer. I need to be peacable and quiet and bite my tongue. Love covers a multitude of sin. Yelling and demanding have no place here, I hate anger! If my son or daughter is angry, shall I also get mad and demand that they stop being mad? NO!!! I am in much need of more patience. But I know that God is good. He sent these children to me, He won't just leave me now. He hears the prayers of His people.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

yes, Virginia, I WOULD believe it....

The elbow grease I put into this place sometimes is a total waste of time, as far as getting my effort's worth. Doesn't last, because all these people, all these kids, they LIVE here. They have things like Nerf Guns and bike helmets and school folders and projects and purses and boots and hats and guitars and flutes and clarinets and cameras and phones and wallets and keys and towels and gym bags and dirty socks and sweatshirts that can't go in the dryer and combs and books they are reading....and do they ever put these things where they belong? Or rather, where DO they all belong? Is there really a good place for everything or are we just doing a room to room shuffle with half the stuff? I don't know.....

And this doesn't even include the dishes they dirty. while I was vacuuming my room, Ashley decided to clean out the refridgerator. Virginia, you would not believe it. Blah. If a child can open a package of cheese, why can't the child close the package of cheese? Anyway, Ashley took out each and every glass shelf and cleaned it and wiped the whole thing down, inside and out. I was SO thankful. And of course now that we chucked the half bag of questionable carrots and lunchmeat and the partially wilting lettuce....and the hot dogs that have been in there too long....and some leftover chicken that didn't get eaten....and the half jar of sauce that we don't remember opening....I need to go to the grocery store.

I am picking Aaron up and taking him to his appointment, won't he be thrilled that we are going grocery shopping? What kills me is that the teenagers are the ones who eat the most food, yet they complain the most about going with me to buy it.

This day flew by too fast so far. My two little sweetie-pies played princess Barbies for hours.....sometimes I will just go flop on the couch and Camille will scramble right up there and cuddle with me, and sometimes Charlotte Claire too, and it will be so hard to get up and get moving again....

I miss Paul. At first it was kind of okay to just be on my own with the kids, a bit relaxed, breakfast for dinner......but he was gone all last week, and it got old fast....I really missed he is gone all this week too, and wah. I am SO looking forward to the weekend. He isn't going back to Boston again for a few weeks.....

Well, my kids are going to be getting of that school bus in a few minutes....time to be ready to give them some undivided attention...

if you can't beat 'em...

My kids love chocolate chip cookie dough. I made a triple batch of it the other day, and baked a few batches of cookies. The rest of the dough was supposed to be baked and sent to Benjamin. But Mirielle decided to wait for the boxes she had ordered from the post office to arrive before sending Ben any more cookies. Apparently the first batch she sent him was well-recieved. They aren't allowed to bring any food to their room or bunker or bay or whatever they call it, so he opened them up and shared them. She had baked them on a Tuesday and sent them priority mail, so he got them just two days later, still fresh. Anyway....the cookie dough. It is in the bowl in the 'fridge, covered with foil. With a spoon in it. Everytime I opened the 'fridge, there would be less in the bowl. Well, last evening, I wandered into the kitchen and started opening cupboards, then I remembered the cookie dough....MOM!! yes, I had two spoonfuls....and it is almost gone....

The living room is all painted. From start to finish in less than 24 hours, yay! Not including the spackling and sanding. The furniture is all put back and the mirror and pictures are hung up again. I like the color this time. It is rather darkish, but it is cozy and warm. Ashley was such a help to me. She is tall and thin and graceful and she can just hop up on a chair and reach ......she had a good attitude about it, too. She has a job interview today, too. She was planning to go back to college, but then thought she would be able to go be with Benjamin before the semester would end, but that didn't happen. One thing we are learning about the Army is that you can hear alot of things, but that isn't how it alway goes.

I have to pick Aaron up from school this afternoon at six o'clock to take him to get his contact lenses. He is in the school play this year. He takes drama class, and his drama teacher asked him to be Mr. Salt in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", so he said he would. I think he is having fun with it, but between working at the grocery store and staying after when he can, he is pretty busy. He is also filling out paper work for nursing school and he has his nose surgery coming up...

I feel like taking it easy today. Painting the living room isn't just about rolling on the paint. (also, it isn't just like dinner cooks itself, or the bedding washes itself....other things have to be done, always still need to eat and be watched and be comforted when they trip in their princess high heels) (and Rosie doesn't just automatically behave, no she still does things like break the chain and visit the neighbors and escape from the deck and run out the door, just to see if we are paying attention) It is about moving everything away from the walls....then when your arms are sore from rolling, and your back is going to break, putting everything back. The older girls went to girls' fellowship last evening, and I was putting the room back together, and asking Sam for help here and there, and he asked why the heck I couldn't just "wait until tomorrow" to do it. I can't do that. When I start something, I like to get it finished and all back in order. Just the fact that I was able to paint yesterday when the kids were around is something different for me, when I had crawlers and toddlers, I had to wait until they were in bed.......anyway, it is nice to have it all done.

As much as I am enjoying actualy being able to do these things around here, I need to clarify that I would rather have babies and toddlers than have a freshly painted room. I wish I could go back and live through all those years over again. I would take things better. I wouldn't mourn the loss of sleep so much. I wouldn't care as much if things got messy. I would hug them even more and listen to their silly dreams and smell their hair......wait, I can still do THOSE things. But all the years I was so tired....the days I longed for naps....little did I know how fast they would go by and how much I would miss them.....

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

things to be thankful for....

1. Ashley. She is such a nice girl. She took my school skippers on a long bike ride today, which is like the nicest thing anyone can do for them. They got back all hot and tired and started talking about fountain drinks from the gas station in town for 69 cents, so she took them for fountain drinks.

2. Samuel James, my 15 year old. He helps me with Rosie, who broke her chain, got loose, and rolled in something horribly noxious.....she needed ANOTHER BATH. rrr. She is SO bad.

3. My comfy chair. After painting for another two hours today (it is all done except for some trim that Ashley is going to reach for me later)....Anyway, my chair feels so nice after doing so much stuff today....

4. Paul. I miss him so much! He is in Boston again for the week for work. It occured to me that it really nice to miss someone so much after being married for 27 years.

Today wasn't as warm and sunny as I thought it was going to be. I sat out on the deck for only a few minutes, and I was cold. The kids, however, had tons of fun. The little girls had lunch out there and rode their little bikes around the driveway. Suzanne used chalk to make a 160 square hopscotch game.

Our living room is still pretty crazy. The couches and my chair are back where they go, but the other end of the room still needs to be finished, so everything is shoved to the middle of the room. When I start something like this, I like to get it finished right away...

I decided not to paint the stairway and foyer this same color. I am thinking some pale yellow so it is brighter. And I do not have the energy to do that this our stairway is spackled and sanded and....oh well.

Wow, all that sleep I had this morning is wearing off. I just had a nice hot cup of coffee, made by Samuel James. I need to get up and start hanging things back on the walls and thinking about dinner. The kids are all back from town with their drinks....they mixed them all up and have some yummy creations. What a fun day.....

bad mom award....

Well.....we spackled and sanded and got the living room and hallway and stairway ready for paint. We moved all the furniture away from the walls and stacked up bins of dollhouse stuff all over the kitchen is total disarray here. Picking the color is the hardest part: I got to Walmart and collected the paintchips and blah! I didn't want to go with blue again because it clashes with the red furniture, makes it look like a continual fourth of July celebration. But I am oh-so-attracted to blue and blue-gray and deep blue.....then there are the greens. The green that we had here I hate. Hate. It was fresh and new, so I lived with it, but I never liked it. It was like the cheap mint toothpaste we grew up using, from Kmart. Yellow...the kitchen is already English Ivory, which is a very pale yellow, which I love, but wasn't sure about bringing that into the living room too. So...onto the browns....I must've been in the mood for a coffee, because the colors that were appealing to me were the Coffee with Cream and Cafe au Lait...and I finally picked Teastained. It looks like tea with milk. I couldn't wait to start, then when I actually started, I wondered why in the world I thought this was a good idea.....I had a few helpers, mainly Ashley. After two and a half hours of painting, I was done. Blah, more than done. A nice hot shower, I crawled into bed after midnight, and oh my aching back.....I couldn't, when I finally fell into a deep sleep, I could not get up this morning. Well, I could have, but I decided not to. It is forecast to be 49 degrees and sunny today....

So....we have lots of kids here, riding bikes and just plain reveling in being able to be outside in some sunshine without mittens on. It is good for them to get their vitamin D and some excercise. Shall I tell that to the school nurse when she calls? Is that a legal excuse? I don't feel one bit bad about it....I got to sleep to ten o'clock. I cannot recall ever sleeping that late. It was delicious.....of course there was just the Time Change, so it was REALLY nine o'clock....but it was still nice.

I think I am going to try to finish painting today.....even though my muscles are protesting. I would like to get it finished, then go out on the deck and soak in the sunshine.....

Monday, March 14, 2011

stuck at home...

Literally. Last week, when it was still winter, I so responsibly backed the big van into the drive way, they way I always do in the winter, so it is easier to get out with snow and ice....well. The snow and ice melted, and where is the van parked? Three wheels on the driveway, and one....on the YARD. The yard is not snow and ice anymore. It is MUD. So....when Kim and I had our bright idea to bring ten of our children on a little adventure last evening, blah, that one van tire could not find traction, so I brilliantly backed up a little, thinking I could then pull go. I was stuck. Sam and Kim pushed while I tried to go forward more, but all we did was spray mud and get the van in a little deeper. I hate being such a girl. If you are reading this, dear Paul, do not shake your head at me. Just think, we didn't go on our adventure so we saved money!

So I am stuck here at home, which is fine with me. Mirielle and Joseph took the minivan to college today, and I only have the Old Goldie, who still hasn't had her power steering fixed.

Not that I don't have anything to do. I am planning to stock up on lightbulbs soon. Here in the good ol' U.S. of A., land of the free, regular old lightbulbs are soon to be outlawed. 100 watt bulbs first, then down the line. We can still use them, we just won't be able to purchase them. No, we shall be forced to buy the new expensive energy efficient ones, that contain small amounts of mercury, but we are reassured that they aren't dangerous unless many of them are broken in an an enclosed space. Well obviously these experts have not been to my house. The leading cause of lightbulb replacement here is when the lamp tips over and breaks the bulb. We have zoomed through several of these newfangled expensive longlasting bulbs this way. So for us, the new law just means it will cost way more to tip over the lamp.

And, the federal government wants to limit how much the banks can charge the merchants to swipe cards at the register....blah. Banks will lose millions. Leave well enough alone, please Mr. Government. The merchants already pass the costs to the consumer. What's the problem?

Oh, the problems in the world. Just think if each and every single person suddenly had a desire to be truthful and good and bless the others first and be giving and caring and thoughtful and upright. No more war, no more theft or murder or divorce or unfaithfulness...

The time change is killing me. Well, making me tired, anyway. The kids were zombies this morning. They all went to school, but they were dragging. They got up at seven thirty, but it was like getting up at 6 thirty. I almost always wake up at six thirty, then I get to fall back to sleep for a bit...but this morning, I woke up and had to get I missed my little nap. I don't use an alarm clock, I just wake up when I am supposed to somehow. Most of the time.

March is my least favorite month, thanks to the school. They have this reading program...not that I don't like reading to the kids, I just don't like having to remember to document what we read and for how long and sign my name, each and every night. For the whole month. If we don't participate, the children don't get their this morning I found myself reading a book to Jon since we didn't get to it last night. It was nice WAS nice and cuddly though. And it isn't so bad, now that we only have three kids in the elementary school. And no babies or toddlers here, which makes everything easier. (and it goes without saying that I would rather have the babies and toddlers than have things easier....)

If I were to repaint my living room, what color would I paint it? That is the big question. My couches are red with a beige and a tiny bit of green plaid, and solid beige....the kitchen is pale yellow, "buttercream" actually. I could extend that color to the living room. Or I could paint the walls a lightish brown or dark beige, but then light colored couch would blend into the walls....I don't want it to be to dark in here, either. And I don't like reds enough to use on the walls....I actually don't like red furniture, either, but for some reason I bought it so I am stuck with it for a while. I wasted all kinds of time online last night, changing the colors on the walls of a livingroom prototype....all I got was more puzzled.

Camille had a nice sleep. She says she dreamed about the Ariel high heels, that they weren't broken.

She is cuddled up to me, but alas, she smells like pee, so she and Charlotte Claire shall have a nice warm bath.....

Sunday, March 13, 2011

sunday, a day of rest...again already.

The days slip away so quickly, and blogging every day really makes that more concrete. Paul left for Boston again...this weekend was a rip-off, as far as seeing him. He was gone from noon 'til nine yesterday fundraising at the Dome.

Pancakes and bacon for the morning paper...lost an hour today due to the time change....this morning while I cooked and Paul got ready to leave, we talked about me, and what I am going to do as far as going to school....I would love to go, love to learn and start working a few days a week, anyway...but....I am just not ready to do this yet. It is so challenging just to keep up with this place, and keep up with the kids' school stuff, and keep up with where they are emotionally and spiritually and keep up with appointments and grocery shopping and meals and more clean up....things would slide, who would take up the slack? My kids aren't babies anymore, but they still need their Mommy. As it is, I feel pulled a million ways sometimes. Mom, Mom, Mom, look, listen, come here!!!

Yesterday while cleaning Charlotte Claire's room, I found silver sparkly nail polish. My toenails are now pretty.

Suzanne and Sonja are invited to a birthday party today. Right in the middle of the day, which means all my plans have to be broken up. And I have big plans. I plan to clean up the baskets of toys and clutter that have accumulated in the hallway. The bedrooms are clean, the living room is mostly clean, now the hallway is niggling. I must have the spring cleaning bug.

So, here is what I wish:

1. That Rosie would come when I call her, and stay clean. I gave her a bath with Johnson's Baby Shampoo, and she smells so yummy.

2. My hot tub was fixed.

3. That I could deny myself and suffer and excercise for one day, and I would look like I did when I was in high school.

4. That I could keep these guys home from school all week so they could adjust gently to the time change.

5. That fresh produce was really cheap, and junk food was really expensive.

6. That there was an Ikea store closer than a few hundred miles away.

7. That I could afford to pull the kids out of school randomly and take them to a hotel for a few days, just for fun.

8. That the older kids didn't have so much laundry to do on the weekend, I have bedding to wash.

9. That I remembered to renew my library books before that ten dollar fine was racked up.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

saturday at home...

Charlotte Claire's room is now clean and neat....and it shall never get messy again. I know, I know, I say that every time I have ever cleaned a room, yet somehow I still believe it. This time for sure!!!

My living room has turned into a gymnasium. They put the square foam mats down so they can jump and tumble and do back-walkovers and cartwheels. I hope if anyone gets hurt I hope they wait a little while, I am here with them all and Paul is still at the Dome. He got home last night at ten, and leaves again tomorrow morning at noon....and he spent today fundraising...blah. Anyway, it is quite busy in here. We just finished dinner. I made four pizzas. A pepperoni, A vegetarian (red and green peppers and onions, and black olives), a vegetarian with pepperoni ha, and a garlic pizza with tomatoes and basil. The whole house smells like Pizza Hut.

Now they are having Twizzlers.

Rosie is in her cage because she is too interested in the Twizzlers.

Rosie is not such a bad dog. She went outside today and got muddy. Really muddy. Here in central New York state, the snow is finally melting. Yesterday when we were out, we saw the grass and fields for the first time here since November. Then it snowed again last night, so Rosie's morning walk was white and cold and clean. warmed up today, and: mud. Anyway, the reason she is not such a bad dog is that I gave her bath, then for the first time ever, I blow-dried her! She didn't love it, but she didn't object too much either.

So of course today when I spent all that time cleaning one room, the rest of the house sort of do people do it? It was so nice and clean yesterday for Paul coming home. Blah, it does not stay that way. The medium sized-kids plus their cousins Eileen and Olivia helped with the little girls while I sorted and organized. But their is something about cleaning a room and all the fun things we find that clutters up the living room.

I cannot write right now....too much going on...these guys are rowdy....

Friday, March 11, 2011


It probably seems like the world is ending to the Japanese people right now. With all the unrest in the middle east and could wonder. But Jesus said when these things happen, to life our heads for our redemption is near. I am sober today, sad for the sufferings of all these people, and vowing to make my calling and election sure. Time is short, life is short. "Today when you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.."(heb. 3:15)

Mali has a dr. appointment...I need to wash my not-so-long tangly hair, get the little girls dressed in their Bye-Bye clothes, and go pick Miss Mali up from school. I didn't mean to spend any sort of time on this computer this morning....yet I did. When I clicked on the morning news and saw the reports from Japan...oh my.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Today Ashley got a package in the mail, packed in these foam packing peanuts. The little girls were very interested. We had just finished sweeping and mopping the living room, so I did what any crazy mother would do, I let them dump them out and play with them. Rosie wasn't too sure about this indoor snow.

Now, these two little girls don't look like they could possibly be any trouble at all.

Kathryn Grace in the kids' newly painted room...

Sonja K.'s bed....

Kathryn and Sonja were doing gymnastics while Suzanne played in her "office". The loft bunk is great, they can use the area underneath to store toys and to play under....
They are not falling asleep tonight. The older kids all went to bed, the three elementary kids in that one room just won't be quiet and settle in, and it is after ten o'clock. The power has blinked a few times, so Jonathan is in mild panic mode. He has two battery candles....and I just realized that Paul is not here, so I should probably have a general idea where a flashlight is in case the power goes completely out and the kids all start crying...