summer 2011

summer 2011

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

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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

how could I not write about saturday?

Especially when it was a sunny gorgeous day like today. I swept and mopped and did some laundry...but then I got outside. First my walk. It was cool enough with the breeze, but sunshine-y and oh, so nice. Rosie escaped the deck and came barrelling after me as i tried to sneak away without her. I brought her back, into the house, into her cage. Three times up the hill today.

Sat on the deck, basking. Aaron was out there for a while chatting and doing homework. Mirielle basked with me. The little girls played with their princess dolls. The bigger girls played in the woods. Sonja had three girls overnight for her birthday, they played outside for most of the day. We took a break for pizza pockets and Sunchips(not me, I had a salad with chicken) and angelfood cake with strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream.

Jonathan got to spend the night at Abigail's last night. It is his birthday today, but we are celebrating it tomorrow. I gave him his new scooter today though. Ab gave him a spiffy new bike helmet, so he had a good time cruising around the driveway.

Rosie-The-Bad-Dog had to have another bath today, since she got into something very stinky. She is more work than all the kids put together. But she loves me. I cannot turn around without her turning around too.

I made three pizzas for dinner tonight, since Sam is at his friend's house, Mirielle and Joe and Aaron are working at the dome. And Ashley is working tonight. I also made a huge pasta salad for tomorrow to go with our salt potatoes, hot dogs and coneys, and chips. Mali baked two cakes, a lemon and a strawberry. She is going to frost them, too.

I was thinking today how much easier it would be to "eat clean", which is the politically correct way to say Stick To My Diet (diets are BAD. Lifestyle Change is GOOD)...anyway, I was thinking it would be so much easier if I just lived by myself and bought and served only things I want to eat. But alas, it just ain't that way. I am building character, I suppose. If I lost a pound for everytime I denied myself something good, I would be invisible by now. Klondike bars, chips, pizza pockets, pizza....blah.

I do buy alot less junk than I used to. And more fruits and veggies. The kids will be healthier too, in the long run.

I am now going to have a Toasted Coconut light yogurt....

Friday, April 29, 2011

pretty mali

Mali, all ready for the prom in the lovely dress my sister Cheryl made for her.

the sun'll come out tomorrow.....

I am almost ready to cry with happiness because tomorrow's forecast is so hopeful! 65 degrees, sunny, dry!!! On Jonathan's birthday! Yay! I am spending the day outside.

Sherah...I had to laugh at your comment. If I could sum up the most difficult part of having so many kids, it would have to be Getting Out The Door On Sunday Mornings. I was thinking about this last night, one of those hollow nights where I slept for a few hours, woke up and couldn't get back to sleep...remembering those super-challenging days when there were so many little ones. When Sonja was born, for example, my oldest three were 17, 15, and 13. Sonja was our thirteenth child, and the fifth little girl of the 5-Girls-In-A-Row-In-5-Years. For one thing, there is a huge myth out there about large families: "the older kids must help you". Well. When the Older Kids are teenagers, and they have gone to school all week, do they want to get up early on Sunday to help. Hmm. Anyway, when Sonja was born, I had to nurse and change and take care of her, then there were her sisters who needed their hair seemed like for years there were so many things that only I could do. Things lined up for me to do. Getting out the door WITH the diaper bag full of what we needed, and all the kids in matching shoes (once Sam had two left boots on), in proper coats (ever get some where and notice one of the kids had a coat on from the year before and the cuffs creeped up towards the elbow?)and all their hair done (more than once I have gotten somewhere and glanced at one of the girls: how did THAT happen? How did I miss one?) Oh, they were crazy days. And there were moms who told me not to worry, it would get easier. I did not believe them. But it did. It is much easier now. Not that I ever strived for EASY. I do not have any regrets, either. God lovingly sends exactly what we need. Now I feel like I am coming up for air after those years of being put to the test so unrelentingly. It is easy to see now how I should have done things better, been nicer, just chilled. If I could do it all again, I would. I would be nicer and more chilled. Anyway, it doesn't seem like a "temporary light affliction", but it does go by so fast. I miss my babies.

I get the Long Paragraph Award for that one.

Mirielle and I dragged those two little princesses to Target, Price Chopper, B.J.'s, and Tops yesterday. Well, I ran into Tops while they had Goldfish and apples in the van. Going into the stores is still challenging. This Tops I went into has the best bakery every. Their donuts look good enough to sell your soul for. So I tried not to look. The whole store smells like donuts though. Can you tell what I crave the most? I don't spend my days thinking about them, but they definetly are my weakness.

We got some good things though. Chicken, blueberries, strawberries, apples, bananas, grapes, grapefruit, romaine lettuce, green peppers, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, cashews (these are not exactly GOOD, but in moderation....), almonds, peanuts. Plus a lot of things I don't eat any more like good cereal and waffles and some chocolate chip cookies (a 16 pack was gone pretty quickly, my Wait approach worked once again!)

Home to put away the groceries. Since I had walked all day and my knees were sore, I decided to skip my walk for the first time in days and days and days, and go to the pool instead. Jonathan and Suze went with me, and I got a good swim. I love the pool, and am so glad it is only five minutes away!

Home again, home again, jiggity jig....walked in the door to find out that my mother-in-law was on her way over! She didn't come the other day because of the storms and she was tired. She was supposed to come over today! Friday! NOT Thursday after I have been gone. It was really nice to see her, she brought some gifts for the kids, and she was happy to see them again. But it always works like that. The day she was supposed to come, the house was all cleaned up.

blah. Mali is going to prom tonight, and my sister came through BIG time. She made Mali's dress, which I shall photograph later with Miss Mali in it, of course. It is beautiful! She tried it on for us last night, and it fits her like it was made for her! Because it was. Cheryl, thank you!! I am very impressed! And Mali is so so pleased with it. Mirielle thinks it is gorgeous too.

Joseph is here this morning because he was only going to be watching a movie in his college class. ? Oh well. But it means that I can go for my walk! Funny how I like going now. Not that there aren't moments when I hate it. When it is warmer out, I just melt...blah.

Mirielle made some chocolate chip brownie cookies for Ben yesterday, and shipped them priority post. He gets them in two days when she does this, so Ben: look for cookies tomorrow! They smelled so good, but I rationalized that there were not that many, so I didn't even ask for one. Then they were packed up and gone.

Last evening I finally tried my 15 calorie Popsicles. I had a grape one and an orange one. They were very good. I told the kids to please keep out of them, I will buy them some regular ones. No fair, they said. I did not have any cookies, I said. Not our problem, they said. One of them actually said it is "impossible to lose any weight around here because Mom eats all the good stuff". Not true! I share everything else, even my precious blueberries! Okay, I also try to keep their paws off my light yogurts....

Yesterday at Target I picked up some 50% off Easter stuff for the two little princesses. Headbands with flowers, gloves, and little purses, for fifty cents each. Camille just wears that headband around, looking so cute. Spoiled, spoiled, they are.

I am thinking to get my sneakers on and go on that walk now....the question is, do I take Rosie-The-Walk-Ruin-er? Or suffer the guilt and listen to her whine and complain as I go down the road? Without her, I get into such a good rhythm, relax, and enjoy myself. With her, she pulls, stops, smells everything, tries to poop in the neighbor's yard, I tell her NO, she waits, but she really has to go....I tell her to wait, she finally gets the okay down at the woods, I have to wait...then she is trotting ahead again, full of zeal and of these days I will be faster than her, and I shall pull HER down the road. See how SHE likes it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

busy busy busy

I still take time for those nice little smoochy kisses from Camille though.

Today, we are dropping the car off at school because Aaron and Mali have an exam in the big city in the afternoon, and since Aaron can drive, they will be able to go by themselves....

After that, we are going shopping. Mirielle and I, and Charlotte Claire and Camille. We need to get basic things like eggs and milk and butter and fruit and veggies....and Jon needs sandals, his feet have grown by leaps and bounds. There will be a birthday sleepover here on Friday for Sonja, and a birthday party for Jon on Sunday. Sonja wants corndogs for dinner, blah, and Jon wants hot dogs, blah. And pasta salad. hmm. Anyway, we need to do some shopping...

Pool last night! Suzanne and Sonja went with me. As bad as I felt leaving poor Char and Camille home (Camille cried and cried as she said, "I want you, Mommy, I want you.."), Suze and Sonja love having me all to themselves. They are little sunshines, never running out of things to say to me. I swam so much my arms and shoulders ached....but it was a good ache. I feel like a jerk swimming in front of people though, it has taken me a while to do it anyway. I feel like I look stupid and don't do it properly, the end of the day, WHO CARES?

It is windy here today....we have had thunder and lightening and rain and is now officially the rainiest April on record here.

Rosie's most recent bath is now null and void. Her paws reflect the amount of rain we have had. She cannot just go over to the creek and take a drink, no, she has to slog her whole self through the water. Then we walk down the road, and she gets all the stones and silt left from the sanding trucks in the winter, all stuck in her paws. Our living room floor has this sandy stuff all over...we hate it. I sweep several times a day, and threaten to keep Miss Rosie outside forever and ever, but she is part of the family.....she thinks she is the boss of the family.

The scale is not moving down like I would like it to. And it is easy to say that I am okay with that because it has to be good for me to excercise and eat right anyway...but the truth is, sometimes I cry about it. I am so motivated to just shed weight, and it is happening so slowly. SO slowly. blah. Instant gratification...I want it, and I want it now!

Camille wants her breakfast now, too. They had a bath which ended abruptly for Camille when Char "did something to me", which was a pinch, because Camille decided to pull the plug because she was done. Charlotte Claire was NOT done. So she pinched Camille. Now they are in their clean undies, wrapped in their towels, waiting for me....why is everyone always waiting for me?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

nice sunny day...

At least for now. We got dumped on with rain yesterday. The lobby of the hospital where Emily works was flooded, the highway through the big city was closed for a bit...our yard is soggier than ever...but the sun is out right now! The rain is coming back later, but..the sun is out right now!

Today is day #29 of my new life. The life where I eat wisely. The life wherein I go on walks, day in day out, swim, excercise....where I wait patiently for the weight to fall off. I know I am in better shape than I was a month ago because my clothes are a tiny bit looser. I know I have lost six pounds. But as I look in the mirror day after day, I still see what I don't want to see. I have a long way to go. I do feel better though, have more energy. I am absolutely committed to see this through, no matter what. I am thankful that my knees have held up...there have been some days when I cried out to God during my walks, begging and pleading that my knees could be strengthened so that I could succeed in this. Times when every step hurt.

My "Wait-And-It'll-Be-Gone" diet certainly works. I bought six Hershey chocolate bunnies yesterday for a quarter each...170 calories...hmm. I thought perhaps I would have one later. I kept thinking about it....then when I went to have one, they were gone! I guess Daddy had passed them out to some of the kids. Relief. I didn't have to have one! One thing that has helped me is when I am tempted to have something, I will wait until later. If it is not gone, at least I will have had time to decide if I really want to waste calories on it. Then the temptation passes and when I am thinking more rationally, I don't really want it. Although I did have a few malted eggs last night....

We are out of coffee. None left except some half decaf. I think I should go buy some. Stores are challenging now. I see so many yummy things. I don't waste time considering them, just see them and know I can't have them. But still, I smell bakery smells and see yummy things. I bring nuts and apples with me wherever I go now, so I don't get too hungry and binge.

Enough about all of that. I am sick and tired of cleaning my house all of the time. I like it clean, but come on!!! I have to remind myself that this is my JOB. My husband can't just get sick of work and slack off and go shopping. Or read a book and let things go. (Ooh, I am a lucky girl, aren't I?) There is so much pressure on the Mom, though. If a teenager leaves their mug in the living room...the Mom has to either take care of it, or find out who left it there and have that person take care of it. Mom should of course do this with a happy smile and a cheerful voice. Same with the dirty socks, which NO ONE left on the living room floor. On days where multiple items are left in places they do not belong, and Mom is feeling rather tired of it all, and teenagers are hormonal and tired of being nagged at, it can be challenging. So the Mom, who wants a Peaceful House more than anything, has to be extra nice....but if she picks everything up herself, they will not learn. blah. Makes me just want to be The Bad Guy (Mother Gothel in "Tangled")

The bad thing is that sometimes when I start asking who left something someplace, one of the older kids will sigh loudly and say something like, "Mom's at it again..." OUCH! I was NOT nagging, just asking....rrr. It IS love to overlook a matter...and I overlook many matters....but I am also not their slave.

I like when I ask someone to take care of something, then find the same thing in a different spot a few minutes later...

Here are some of the things I need to vent about:

1. Shoes. Put them on the shelf, or bring them to your room!

2. Sweaters jackets sweatshirts....hang them up! If we all left them on the back of the couch, we would have a new couch monster!

3. Mugs cups glasses....put them at least on the counter next to the sink. And please don't leave a mug cup glass full of anything in the living room...and blame the person who tipped it over for the mess...

4. Mugs cups glasses.....if you had a smoothie or a cup of coffee, rinse that mug cup glass.

5. Cheese. If you opened a block of cheese, do not simply return it to the refridgerator with the wrapper opened. It will get hard and die.

6. Milk. If you drank the last of it, do not put the empty jug back in the 'fridge or leave it on the counter.

7. Same with juice. Am I the ONLY ONE who knows how to flatten a juice carton and throw it away?

8. Scrape that bowl/plate before you put it into the sink.

9. Flush the toilet.

10. If the toilet paper is gone, get another roll for the next person.

11. Rinse the sink ater you brush your teeth.

12. Wipe your feet, close the door, turn out the light, hang up your towel....

13. If you vaccuum your room, please don't leave the vaccuum cleaner in there so I can play the Find The Vaccuum Cleaner Game when I need it.

14. If you don't need those school papers, throw them away, do not leave them on the kitchen table. If you DO need them, do not leave them on the kitchen table.

15. If you eat candy, do not leave the wrappers on the computer table.

16. If you make yourself a can of soup for after school snack, do not leave the pan on the stove with the rest of the soup in it because "someone might want it".

17. If you spill sugar on the not pretend you didn't.

eeeks. this could go on and on and on....yet in the midst of all this, it is possible for me to work on my own salvation, to be good and kind and gentle and overcome my own sin. It always goes back to the same thing no matter what the circumstances: I, the Mom with good intentions and a nature that is full of sin, I - need to suffer and overcome. Because it is true that God causes ALL things to work together for good for those who love Him.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

panic cleaning for nothing!!!!

Ashley with the five youngest....they were all ready to see Gramma...but it was extremely windy and rainy, and she was very tired. So she called and said she would come another day. I cleaned for nothing!

Actually, it was a good incentive. I packed away boots and mittens, since May is next week. I paired up shoes and sandals and threw away some hopeless ones. I swept and moopped and dusted and straightened...cleaned the fronts of the looked nice in here. Notice the past tense.

The thing is, all afternoon, I wanted to go to the pool. I just longed for it. It is relaxing, and good excercise, and I wanted to go. Thinking Gramma was coming still, I decided to go anyway. I secretly asked Suzanne, Sonja, and Jon, then told the little girls where we were going and that I would take them another we went, feeling more than a little bit guilty...but it was so much fun! I like talking to those three while we swim....we were home by 6:15...Paul was leaving for a board meeting, Sam and Margaret and Kathryn and Evelyn were leaving for soccer practice, and I still had to make dinner. Boxed macaroni and cheese (I cheated and had a little bit...horrible but so good), broccoli, spinach, and chicken. There was only Mirielle, Ashley, Mali, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Char, Camille, and I for dinner. Aaron was working, and Joseph was doing homework.

Today I have to take Charlotte Claire to Kindergarten Registration. Paul says it is sad, says I should at least homeschool for kindergarten. hmm.....she is so excited though. She thinks school is going to be fun.

This weekend we are celebrating Sonja's birthday, on Friday to Saturday with a sleepover. Then on Sunday after church (and an activity club party), we shall have Jon's party. The next weekend is our church soccer weekend, where we will be busy watching the games AND running the grill/candy store. Then there is a church conference, then my niece is getting married and I am making the cupcakes for the wedding (200 cupcakes plus a small cake for the top) good thing: cupcakes don't scare me so much anymore. There is still one left in the kitchen...I had one half of one the other night, and it was enough. Wait, is this ME speaking? wow. I still love things like that, I just love wanting to get into shape MORE. So with each temptation, I have to have that vision, that goal in mind. Just like our spiritual life.

Dinner time is the hardest for me. I have put time and effort into the meal, and I want to eat it. I try to pile my plate with salad and greens and totally skip the rice or potato or bread, but sometimes I have a little taste. What I need to do though is fill my plate, and not have seconds. I haven't been eating anything after dinner at all. When I am tempted to look around for something, I go and count up my calories for the day, and decide not to eat more.

If I am obsessed, that is just the way it has to be for now. I cannot just go on with life and expect this weight just to fall off on it's own accord. No, this is war! I am learning to eat and enjoy it, but not eat for the fun of it.

Anyway, enough of this for today. We are stuck in the rain here in central New York state. Rain, day after day...this morning it is foggy out there. It was totally cool when I took Rosie out into it. It is supposed to get very warm today and tomorrow, almost 80, but with thunderstorms. I just want some sunshine to bask in....

Camille is cuddled up to me now, she needs a bath. Rosie had a bath yesterday....I washed her face and neck and ears with lavender baby shampoo, she actually smells good. I wish she would stay nice and clean.

I wish the house would stay nice and clean, too. There are three guitars in the living room right now. Paul and Mirielle and Joe play, and sometimes Margaret, though she mostly plays piano. Aaron came home from work at the grocery store and left his shirt and tie in the chair. Someone was looking at a National Geographic map, it is on the couch. A pencil here, a sock there....nice.

But today is another day. I shall make the most of it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

why did you have to sign us up for school?

Because it is the law. BUT I HATE SCHOOL. Well, Daddy gets up every day and goes to work. BUT HE LIKES WORK. No, he doesn't. WELL, I AM NOT LEARNING ANYTHING. SCHOOL IS STUPID. Just get up and get in the shower....

Jonathan is absolutely right. School is stupid. But he is learning some things, like how to get up out of bed when he doesn't want to. I did feel for him, after all, the Monday after Spring Break isn't fun for any of us.

Today, I have to be like Jonathan and do something I have no desire to do. Wake up the little girls, get them dressed and fed, and take Mali to the Social Security office to get her number straightened out. She wants to get her driving permit, and she needs that number for nursing school. Monday is the only day the small city has this satelite office for s.s. If we go any other day, it is to the big city to parallel park the big van, blah.

Today my mother-in-law is coming to visit for the first time this year, as she just got back from Florida. Any sensible person would have been conscious of this and tried to get the place clean over the weekend. But not me! I have been conscious of it, and DID NOT get the place clean over the weekend. Now I am leaving with Mali, leaving myself open to that horrible time crunch, where we clean as fast as we can in a very short time is called "panic cleaning".

Mali is up and ready to go so I suppose I shall end this post.....but I do want to mention that I have now lost SIX pounds! In three weeks. I have been working at it for close to four weeks, but the first week I did not know about Ashley's scale.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

cheat day? nah....

I had some frosting last night. Home made butter cream mixed up with a can of chocolate frosting....oh, yum. I only ate a spoonful. Then today after a healthy lunch, I had a half a cupcake. It was good. I enjoyed it. But honestly? I thought of how much walking it takes to burn it off...and was fine not eating the other half. Am I obsessed? I don't think so. I just have a battle to fight. If I am wishy-washy, I am not going to succeed. And I am aware that I go on and on and on about these things. My sister is going to hate me, my kids already say MOM!!!

Oh well. I went for my walk today. I wasnt' going to take Rosie-The-Bad-Dog, the Pulling Dog, the happy enthusiastic energetic dog....but I did. Because before I even reached for those sneakers, she was wagging her whole behind. She knew. Because she heard me say I wasn't going to take her for my W-A-L-K. She knows what O-U-T means, too. So I gave in, like I always do. But lucky for me today Joseph was coming back from a run, and he took Rosie home for me as we passed. I was then able to go back up the Evil Hill a few more times....but Rosie did not like being passed off to Joe. She pulled and tugged and looked back at me like I gave her away instead of just giving her a different escourt home.

We are having ham again today. The one we had the other day was gone by the next day. It was so good, I bought another one. Today's dinner won't be so fancy though. Maybe some basmati rice and broccoli and cantaloupe. (has anyone noticed that I just plain like to eat? It is my curse....)

I have thought on more than one occasion that if I were small and thin and in excellent shape, I would be very happy and have NO trials. I have also thought this about having a huge spacious house with several washers and I kind of know it is not true.

To have peace at home is worth more than gold. More than being right or having the last word or putting my foot down for once and for all. And now I have lost my train of thought because Mirielle is reading the Sunday paper and is asking if we can have a kid come for the summer for the Fresh Air foundation....Joseph and Aaron missed lunch, so they are eating now. I am trying to assure them there will be dinner, so don't eat too much. The little girls still have their Easter dresses on from church, and they are in their own little world playing princess dolls. I am thinking afternoon coffee.....

Saturday, April 23, 2011

dreaming of cupcakes....

Pathetic but true. Last night I dreamed about cupcakes. Those yummy ones I make with buttercream frosting. I have been planning to make some of those today, with jelly beans and those little horrible jelly bunny-chicky shapes on top. Tomorrow for Easter lunch at church, I shall pass them out to the kids. I have already planned to have one.

"Cheat Days" are very controversial I am finding. One guy says he and his wife are totally faithful to their healthy eating plan but every Saturday, they eat whatever they want. Sounds too good to be true, to me. One guy said that go ahead and cheat, you will pay for it for the next few days. I am wondering if it really fools the metabolism, or if it is just what people say to justify it. In any case, I am going to have a few treats tomorrow.

My sister Cheryl and I went to the pool last evening. It was very enjoyable. I feel bad when I don't take the kids, but we wouldn't want them to get too spoiled, going all the time, ha.

Today....Mali wants to do something. I think I will take her to the big library. And perhaps shopping somewhere....the nice thing about having so many kids is that I am never bored, there is always someone to take with me and to adventure with. Someone always needs something from someplace. Off we go....

Friday, April 22, 2011


Some of my favorite things:

1. Waking up naturally because I have had enough sleep as opposed to waking up to crying children or to get kids out the door or because I have to go somewhere. (although I would wake up for a crying baby ANYDAY - I dreamed last night that someone gave me a newborn)

2. Newborns. I love newborn babies.

3. When the older girls come for a visit.

4. Filling Easter baskets with Samuel and Evelyn. I sampled only a few things this year....

5. Watching the kids play with their candy. The little girls give all the bunnies names and personalities.

6. Rosie's enthusiasm, day in, day out.

7. Having Paul around.

8. I found matching slippers again (I had left them by the front door)

9. Going to the pool. We went yesterday afternoon....Paul played with the kids with a bunch of foam noodles, made a train...while I swam and excercised.

10. Planning birthday parties.

11. Seeing Jon hug Camille. He says she is so little and cute.

12. Morning coffee. A second cup never tastes as good.

13. Hearing Camille sing.

14. Having a blank commitments or appointments...full of promise....

15. A stack of clean folded towels.

16. Seeing lower numbers on the scale...well, I IMAGINE this would be a favorite far I have only lost four pounds. blah.

17. Having a good reason to go shopping. I like shopping.

18. Finding bargains.

19. Realizing that being faithful to God in my daily trials is the single most important thing, far eclipsing all the the things that deceptively seem so important.

20. When one of the teenagers apologizes.

As per usual, these are in no particular order, like the rest of my life! Poor Jon is showing me a Hess plane with a broken tail wing. Oh Jonny, these things happen. it looks fine to me.

I need to get moving on with this has been frustrating because my computer turned off three times just writing takes forever to get going again...I am done!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I don't know why I can't put captions on those pictures. I will have to ask Aaron to help me. He will enjoy the opportunity to tease me about how computer-stupid I am.

The pictures in the next post: The sixteen baskets. Kathryn. Suzanne with Aaron, who is looking fine after his surgery (I hope hope hope he doesn't see that I put his picture here, he really has some healing to do but I think he is still handsome, and I love how Suze is cuddled up to him). Emily with Sonja and Jon on her lap.

Our dinner was nice. I took some pictures of them at the table, and they hated it. "Mom's putting those on her blog!" They all start putting their hands up over their faces....the older kids do not like being known for being in a large family. Kap was telling us how kids at school ask her how she shops for clothes. How we fit at the table. How we should be on t.v. Some of them get so touchy about it, but I tell them that people are not being rude, they are just curious.

Our dinner WAS nice though. Emily and Abigail were here. Abigail was upset because she brought her car to Valvoline the day before yesterday and got her tires rotated. Yesterday she noticed that THREE of her four hubcaps were missing. Her car is only a few months old. She was not happy. She called Valvoline and was told it was not their fault. excuse me, but although I do believe in coincidences, this one is just too big. I helped her write a letter to the company via their website. Hopefully they will take responsibility. Abigail is bummed because she has this spiffy new car, a Nissan Versa hatchback, and she has to take it on the roadtrip to Detroit with only one hubcap....

It is snowing out. Snowing like crazy. In April. Snowing on the daffodils. On the fresh new grass. It is windy, and chilly, and damp. I am trying to convince myself to bundle up in some leggings and mittens and a hat and be a big girl and go on that walk.

Did I really have empty hampers the other day? I sort of remember that....

Now, there are Easter baskets everywhere. Charlotte Claire and Camille are playing with their chocolate bunnies. They are at the table with their baskets, making beds for the bunnies in their boxes and covering them with napkins. Charlotte Claire's bunny is saying, "Oh no, I don't have any eyes, I can't see..." I guess she ate them.

Mirielle is going to the big mall today with a few of the other kids. She is getting her hair cut and donating it to Locks of Love.

I would like to do something fun with these guys. I feel sorry for them that they are on vacation and the weather is so lousy. They like nothing better than running around outside, but the yard is muddy and it is so cold.

I am sitting here knowing I am procrastinating that walk.....

easter pictures

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

happy easter!

It is Easter today in our house. We are celebrating early because some of my girls are going to Detroit for the weekend with girls from their youth group, to visit some church friends.

The Easter tablecloth is on, and the little kids think it is grand. Poor Camille, she thought she was going to "get big" on Easter. The first thing she said to me this morning was, "I am still little, I did not get big!" They want their baskets, which I have not filled yet.

Paul is home, and it is so nice. It was just so good to see him when he walked in that door with his suitcases. He has the next few days off, so he is on vacation too! But ha, he has things to do. Mirielle said something is wrong with the treadmill,the refridgerator leaked a huge puddle again last night, and the van has a headlight out. And no, I cannot do those things. Well I probably could, but nah...

Jon and Charlotte Claire and Camille are playing cops and robbers. They have walkie-talkies, which are excellent toys for kids. Jon keeps yelling, "I need back-up!" Camille does not understand what this means, she keeps saying, "I need back-up too!" She also does not have the hang of using the walkie-talkie, she just shouts into it without pushing the button down. It sounds like they are not co-operating with Jon because he just asked them if they want to be kicked out, and I hear their silly laughter....poor Jon.

Sinus headache today, blah. The kind that pounds when I do things....but I am going on my walk anyway. I have to. Especially with the upcoming Easter Dinner: Ham (Wegman's ham is lower sodium, and extra yummy), brown and serve rolls, applesauce, pinapple slices (not for me, I am allergic), asparagus, and mashed potatoes. I figure if I have ham and asparagus, and maybe a spoonful of potatoes...and a half cup of applesauce....never mind.

Last night we had so much fun! Evelyn was rolling the pizza dough out when I came back from the dr. with Aaron...we had also stopped at the store, so we had milk and bread and jelly beans and apples and bananas to bring in...anyway, somehow Joseph and Aaron were the pizza makers! I cut up the peppers and olives and tomatoes while they cooked the bacon and built the pizzas. Joe put hot pepper rings on one of them. The two of them are so funny. They bug the life out of Rosie, but I think they really like her. In the middle of this, Mali called from the track bus, she was going to be back from her track meet and had to be piced up from the school. Kathryn needed to be picked up from her cousin's house, so out the door I went. Poor Mali, it had snowed all day on them, she didn't run so well, she pulled a muscle last week.

Anyway, by the time we were done with our salad and pizza, Paul was home! There is nothing like hearing the kids shout DADDY DADDY and run into his arms telling him they love him and missed him. The older kids are more reserved of course, but they were all glad to see him.

Benjamin recieved his orders. I don't know if he wants me to put it on here, but he will be out West. I told him I will most certainly and most definitely be coming to visit him. There are church friends out there I would love to meet! Ben always referrred to "the luck of the draw" when talking about where he would be stationed. I always corrected him and said that God has His hand on him, and would place him where it was best for him. I know the word DEPLOYMENT is in the forefront of his mind. We all know when someone joins the Army they are signing up to go to war. But when it starts to get real, it is scary. He just wants to spend some time with his wife right about now. He is doing well in his Medic training though. He is focused and disciplined, which is a good thing, since the instructors will fine the guys $500 for forgetting their homework.....

It is warm out today, almost 60, but rainy. 80% chance of rain, thunderstorms forecast. Tomorrow is going to be very chilly again, low forties. And rainy. Then Friday perhaps fifty something and partly sunny...then rainy for the weekend. Rain is good and the farmers need it...but the kids in this house need to get outside on their vacation. Today since it is warm I shall encourage them to ride their bikes in the driveway...the yard is pretty soggy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

the odds are against me....

wah. I read the morning paper. Most people who lose signifigant amounts of weight gain it back again. Doom and gloom. Yet I am comitted to doing this. I need to feel good again. I have put myself last for all these years as I, at the same time, made myself feel better with a bowl of ice cream or a stack of cookies. I remember days when I was so tired from being up with a baby, then all day long the only thing I could think of was NAP. Then the nap would be ruined by a two-year old who decided to climb out of bed and undress or the baby simply wouldn't fit into the other young ones' nap schedule. Or I would have appointments in the afternoon, and then go shopping...I would be exhausted. So I would have something good. Looking back, it is easy to see that I would have felt better if I had done things differently. But one thing I couldn't have changed: I was the Carb Queen with morning sickness, which I had for all seventeen pregnancies, plus for the four miscarriages. That is alot of carbs! Bagels, cinnamon toast, oatmeal...comfort foods that weren't horrendous to throw back up. sorry.

Anyway...I have my excuses and my reasons, and here I am. Ready to make changes and see changes. For good. Of course I would like to see more change on the scale, which is stubborn. I just always thought that when I decided to get healthy and start suffering a bit, those numbers would just drop. It ain't so. But even if I may not be the Weight Watcher's Poster Girl, I am doing more good than harm by eating right and excercising.

A few of my kids must have heard me say that my hampers are all empty. So they wet their beds. I don't mind. I know this sounds crazy, but I don't like having empty hampers! I go in there and look and there is nothing to wash! I did a load yesterday - two towels and some washcloths. I am my father! My father loved to do laundry. He liked to keep busy. He kept their hamper empty, and drove my poor mother crazy. If there was nothing in there to wash, he would bug her, certain that she must have SOMETHING she needed washed. This was in the later years, after he retired.

The kids are enjoying vacation despite the lousy weather. Playdough, playing dollhouse, running around with the Nerf guns, playing Wii, SIMS. There are trucks and toys and building blocks all over the living room. We also have the new stack of library books. I bought the movie, "Despicable Me" the other is so hilarious. I love love love it.

Today I have to bring Aaron to the dr. I think I shall stop somewhere and get some jelly beans. I counted chocolate bunnies, there are at least sixteen. There are Reese's Peanutbutter Eggs, Cadbury chocolate eggs, chocolate covered marshmallow bunnies (two eight packs, one each), chocolate lollipops, and some chocolate foil eggs and bunnies....but no jelly beans. And since we are celebrating Easter tomorrow...I should get some.

Did I already say how much I like filling the baskets? I seriously love it that I get to do this. Samuel is usually my helper. He is great company, and enjoys doing these kinds of things with me.

We had meatloat, baked potatoes, and green beans for dinner last night. I make my meatloaf with lots of onions and cracker crumbs and oatmeal and garlic and onion powder and pepper...I separate the meat in each 13 by 9 pan into into eight smaller sections, so there are lots of crispy sides...I don't like soggy meatloaf.

Anyway....time to go for my walk....after I put some of that bedding into the wash....(and I don't really mind the empty is just that all these years of wishing for them - it just isn't as gratifying as I had imagined)(and so many of the older kids do their own laundry now, it doesn't mean the house is free of dirty clothes....)

Monday, April 18, 2011


It wasn't a problem getting up this morning after all. I woke up at 7:18 and that was that. I swept up the kitchen and living room floors, made some coffee, took Rosie out and got the paper....took Mali to school, with Rosie of course. Rosie loves to go bye-bye.

I am washing socks today. There is a huge load of white ones in the dryer, and a load of light colored ones in the washer. Just a load of dark ones to go, then we shall match them. I am thinking to do a huge matching party, then throw away all the unmatched ones.

Jonathan and his little sisters are playing dollies. Suzanne and Sonja are at a sleepover birthday party. The older kids are sleeping, and here I sit. I am on my second cup of coffee, and am really enjoying vacation.

Last night I was reading about Prilosec. It helped my heartburn tremendously, but I suspect it didn't help at all with the weight loss. It seems many people experienced unexplained weight gain, among other things, while on it. I don't want to take it anymore....

And that is all I shall say about that subject for now.

Except for this: yesterday I was very good. Then in the late evening, Mali decided to make oatmeal applesauce cookies. The smell was intoxicatingly wonderful. She offered me one, I said I would wait until tomorrow, as per my Wait And They Will Be All Gone Plan. There are still some on the counter, since kids are still sleeping. They are calling me. I am letting the three youngest have them for breakfast. Eat them, already, please!

Paul is finally coming home tomorrow night! We are celebrating Easter on Wednesday. I bought an Easter table cloth yesterday, cheap of course. I am really excited, even though I do not plan to eat the candy, it is still so much fun. I love lining up all those baskets and filling them. I will still be filling sixteen - Ben isn't here, but Ashley is. The Easter grass and the smell of the chocolate and jelly beans, it reminds me of being little.

My knees are really bothering me. Mali commiserates with me. She battles with different issues, and is really trying to be healthy. Then she pulled a muscle, and is limping around....she is frustrated. I told her that God is for us, so who can be against us? He doesn't want us to be proud. He sends all things for our very best.

The kids have some of their doll strollers out, and Camille has a little pink ride-on, with a huge diaper bag and a dolly. Jon says their room is a mess. We clean these rooms and vow they will stay that way...but life is more than cleaning the house...right? Sometimes it doesn't feel that way.

I had a dream last night that I let Jon drive the truck. He put it into reverse instead of drive, and stepped on the gas. He smashed into another truck. Oh my goodness, I was like, "what have I done? I am going to get arrested and charged with Endangering The Welfare Of A child....oh no!"....I just told Jon the dream, minus the getting arrested part, and he said, "That's because you think I am a bad driver, but I am a good driver."

Today I shall have my ears opened to what God wants to speak to eyes open to see myself...I shall be careful what I say, and think about what I do...I shall not give into temptation, whether it is to yell or get the last word, or to say something bad about someone. Or to eat all the cookies on the counter.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

what consumes me

When I get an idea in my head, I don't let it go. Like the laundry room. It took me a while to get motivated to clean it, but once I started, I was totally obsessed with finishing it. I kept going back in there. I didn't want to stop to make dinner, I just wanted that room finished.

Now I am obsessed with getting into shape and losing weight. I keep track of what I eat. Somehow knowing I have to write it down makes me really think twice about having things I know I shouldn't. The thing is, it is fun! Well, eating donuts is fun too, but this is a different kind of fun. It is challenging, and I finally have confidence that I can succeed. I look at cookies, snacks, fresh baked rolls and just know they are not for me. Today in the grocery store, I bought myself some snap peas, and some green beans with almonds. And a 48 pack of 15 calorie Popsicles. For a snack tonight, I had a lowfat sugarfree yogurt with a half cup of frozen wild blueberries. One hundred thirty calories, and so yummy.

I haven't weighed myself again because I am afraid the number will be the same or higher. And right now I don't want to deal with that. I just want to stay motivated. I didn't go on my walk today since I shopped in three stores, and when I got home and put things away, it was cold and almost dark. So I did my twenty minutes of excercise in the living room. My older kids were getting a kick out of it, but I don't care.

The kids had pizza at the store. There is a restaurant area with nice tables and televisions. Kim was with me with three of her kids (I had seven of mine), she had two coupons for $5 twelve slice pizzas...I bought iced tea and lemonade, and they ate at the "restaurant" while we shopped. Her 16 year old daughter was there, and my Joseph, who is almost twenty. They had fun, we had fun. I ate a balance bar. When I got home, I heated up some leftover chicken breast in hot sauce, then stirfried red/yellow and green peppers and onions and the snap peas and some green beans....I had a big salad with it too. Then a few strawberries....

The evenings are the hardest. I get hungry, and start being tempted. I love popcorn...and I can't very well restrict the kids from having it just because I can't. Then of course the thoughts come like, "oh, a little won't hurt." I just have to say NO.

Mali is doing her weekly job at almost eleven at night, vacuuming the hallway and stairs. blah, there are kids in bed! She informed me this evening that she needs to be at school by 9a.m. for track practice. What???!! On vacation? I can't sleep in? Or at the very least, lounge in bed a bit? She did not like my surprised reaction. If I could have a do-over, I would have just said, "oh yay, goody, I get to get up early on the first day of vacation! No problem, Sweetie!" The reality is that I am not glad about getting up. I will do it for her, and I will be nice about it, but she doesn't have to take it so personally that I was not thrilled.....then on Tuesday she has an Invitational....Aaron has to go in and get his TB titer done for nursing school...and then go have it read two days later...and go in for his post-surgical check. On vacation. There is truly no rest for the wicked.

Easter! I love Easter! I explained to Miss Charlotte Claire and Miss Camille Anaya what Easter truly means. Char asked, "Is Jesus coming to life again this year?"

We are going to celebrate on Wednesday because Emily and Abigail and Margaret and Kathryn and Evelyn are going to Detroit to spend some time with some church friends there, over the weekend. So we are having our ham dinner and our Easter baskets on Wednesday. I would like to get them filled ahead of time because as is typical of me, I have no idea how many chocolate bunnies I have purchased. I buy them here and there and put them in my closet....not that the older kids would care if they didn't get one. It is going to be extra hard for me to stay out of the candy....because I love Easter candy...especially the Reese's PeanutButter Eggs. And chocolate bunnies...the ears are so good. Uh-oh, I need to change the subject.

I miss Paul. Really really miss him. This is too long for him to be gone.

Since I stayed up so late last night, I should get to lying in bed tomorrow morning....

random things....

1. The receptionist in the surgeon's office was retiring. It was her last day at work. She had big plans. Somehow it made me sad.

2. It is 43 degrees, very chilly and windy. Not fun to be outside...but if we had a day like this in January, I would be pushing the kids out the door.

3. We are running out of eggs and bread.

4. Aaron is feeling a bit better but his nose is still bruised and swollen.

5. I cannot find my slippers. So I have one red one on and one brown one on. I wouldn't mind, but one has a bit of a heel and one doesn't....

6. I ate oatmeal with peanutbutter this morning because I like it so much better than eggs.

7. We went to the big library yesterday. I had a ten dollar fine from back in the winter...blah. And of all the thousands of books there, I picked one randomly off the shelf...after starting to read it I realized I have read it before!

8. The girls watched the Barbie Sing-Along twice already.

9. Last evening, they watched Beauty and The Beast AND Tangled.

10. I miss Paul. I dream about him ever single night. I guess absence does make the heart grow fonder.

11. After reading some national news, I am thinking our weather isn't all that awful. Toronadoes and drought and wild fires and torrential rain.

12. I am considering just packing up all these kids and going shopping with them rather than wait 'til the older kids get home and going by myself. Am I crazy? I mean in THIS sense, not in general.

13. One time several years ago we went camping in the Adirondacks for a week. It was rainy and chilly the whole week. My sister and her husband and their seven daughters came to visit us. The kids went absolutely wild in the camper while we sat out under the awning. I don't think they could have had more fun....

14. I would like to go for my walk but Aaron is sleeping and there is no one here old enough to watch the little ones....

15. Dollhousestuff is spreading across the room again as they set up their kingdoms. There are also two huge firetrucks and some Hess trucks.

16. Suzanne learned how to do a front-walkover.

17. Rosie likes to be near me. She is big and clumsy and she knocks into me when I am walking, and follows me everywhere. She is not allowed down the hall, but if I go down to my room, she waits for me in the hall. When I get out of my chair and go to the kitchen, she is right there. She follows me around the kitchen, everywhere. If I sit on the couch, she lies on the floor at my feet.

18. The sub from Subway was as yummy as I anticipated. I had half for lunch and half for dinner. I haven't been eating bread or simple carbs, but...calorie wise it wasn't too destructive. 580 for the whole thing.

19. I would really like some fresh deep fried haddock.

20. It takes way too much patience to be a mom. And to lose weight.

21. I stayed up 'til almost two talking to Mirielle and Margaret last night.

22. Suzanne likes to cook now. She wants to make fried potatoes.

23. Suze has nowhere to do gymnastics.

Time to get moving....

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Why is the weather so horrible now that the kids are on vacation? 50mph winds today and rain. Rain all week. I have decided that after the winds diminish, and it is just plain rainy, we shall embrace the rain and go on adventures with our umbrellas.

Why does Mirielle make chocolate cookies?

Why do I miss Paul so much? I keep dreaming about him....

Why do I like excercising now?

Why do my kids get so sick of hearing about my new enthusiasm? (I over-heard one of them say last night that "Mom has weight-loss Aspergers".)...seriously, no offense to anyone - our Samuel definetly has high-functioning Aspergers, and when he is interested in something, he is totally obsessed..... is Saturday. I am home with Aaron, who seems to be doing better. Paul is still in Boston, and the older kids left for the youth meeting. Finally. The boys were teasing Mirielle for making them late. Sam said she said, "it's not MY fault it is cloudy and I couldn't read my sundial." Anyway, they got their act together and left. I made eggs and bacon and coffee and cut up cantaloupe...Suzanne made French Toast.

The kitchen needs to be cleaned up, and I have stuff in the washer and dryer. The living room is messy. But today we shall go on an adventure. I am thinking the Big Library and of course Subway, for the buy one get one frees.

We are in no hurry. Suzanne is making another batch of French Toast for Evelyn and their cousin Olivia. Jon is deciding what he wants to get with his birthday money. I showed him videos of the space shuttle that exploded in 1986 because he was playing with his Hess spaceshuttle. A million questions from Jonny....

Camille is cuddled up to me, still in her jammies. Rosie is lying at my feet. She was confused when Aaron was in my chair....she ran over and then turned around and spotted me sitting on the couch....She is my shadow.

Sonja broke a bowl this morning. Mirielle broke a gallon of milk late last night. She dropped it, it broke open, she put the rest in a pitcher and a few travel mugs....

Oh well....the natives are getting restless.

Friday, April 15, 2011

a breather, finally...

Oops, we couldn't find the place for his surgery...because I thought it was at a hospital, and said I knew where we were going. Aaron had googled it, and knew exactly where to go. It was a surgery center associated with the hospital. But since I thought I knew where I was going...blah, we got there on time, but we took the scenic route.

His surgery was more complicated than we had thought it would be. I will spare the details, but he had to have a piece of cartilage taken out of the back and put in the middle. blah. It took a while, and he is bruised up and sore and sick from the anesthesia. He is drowsing in my chair...I feel sorry for him.

I am so bad, I actually told him in the recovery room that it was time to wake up and go home because it is so nice and sunny today....

Since the dr. said his surgery would last an hour, I took the opportunity to go for a twenty minute walk around the parking lot. It was very invigorating, as it was early morning and still chilly.

I had brought an apple and some peanuts and a balance bar, and a huge water bottle, so I stayed satisfied and content.

Home...I sat in the sun for a bit, went for my walk (twice up the evil hill!)...then made dinner - got some chicken marinating for dinner...then went to the store in town with Evelyn for salad fixings. And fresh Italian bread and some more ice cream for the kids who love ice cream. After dinner, I decided to take them to the pool. Sadly, none of the older kids wanted to go with us. So it was Evelyn (11), Suzanne (10), Sonja (8), Jonathan (6), Charlotte Claire and Camille, and I. The only problem was that Miss Camille has to have such close supervision, I hardly got to excercise at all...but they had so much fun! I think they like the showers afterward as much as they like the pool. Home for ice cream and a Veggie-Tales sing-a-long video...and now it is bedtime...

It is a youth conference weekend. Aaron won't be going to this one. Paul is not back from Boston yet, so it shall be a busy one for me.

The Subway restaurant in the small city is having Customer Appreciation Day tomorrow, foot-long subs for buy one get one free. I am going to take these guys, since I will only have six younger ones. (I don't think Aaron will be eating subs yet) And Jared lost tons of weight eating Subway subs. I don't eat cheese on mine anyway, or mayo, so it will be fine to have a half. I am so pathetic, I am REALLY looking forward to it.

Mirielle is very mean. Not really. But she is making chocolate cookies from her Chocoholic cookbook. She was melting Nestle chips on the stove when I came in, and the house smells like heavenly chocolate. Intoxicating. I didn't have ice cream with the kids, I had some blueberries and strawberries, so I might have a cookie.

Oh, I did lose a few pounds...three and a half less than I was two days ago. So at least I know I am not immune to losing weight. Maybe I will just have one bite of cookie.

And, now it is REALLY bedtime...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

blogging at eleven o'clock at night?!!

I need to collect my thoughts, this is my version of thinking out loud. As I just finished loading the dishwasher, I thought that for someone who isn't thin, I stretch myself pretty thin. Blah. Mali needed her fabric for her prom dress, the prom is in two weeks. My sister is making her dress, she won't start it 'til the night before anyway...(when Cheryl went to the prom, I distinctly remember her holding the pieces of her dress up and showing them to a kid in the neighborhood...she was like, "Wanna see my prom dress?" The night before the prom.) Anyway, Emily didn't have to work tonight, so she took Mali to the fabric store, and they came home with some nice stuff.

We had taco salad for dinner. I went shopping today and forgot to get the tortilla chips, so I sent Joseph to town to get some after he picked Mali up from track practice. I also told him to get two half-gallons of ice cream for the kids, since they are officially on SPRING BREAK! Sam wanted peanut butter ice cream, so in typical Sam Fashion, he repeated it a few times. Aaron didn't hear the Ice Cream part, just the Peanut Butter went to work....Joseph goes to town, goes into the store Aaron is working at, and Aaron tells him, "Get peanut butter." So Joseph comes home with two huge jars of peanutbutter, at small-store prices...blah.

Emily and Abigail were both here for dinner. I always send them home with stuff, I am my parents. Camille throws a fit because she wanted the other kind of barbecue I get it for her. She continues to fuss because she wanted to pour it herself...okay, enough, into your room until you decide you want to sit with us instead of screaming....I would take a bite of dinner, go back and ask her if she wanted to be good now and sit with us now but no, just screaming...oh dear. When she decided to be good, she came back and sat down, and was fine. I was disapointed that I had eaten half my dinner during that time, and didn't even enjoy it.

Bedtime...dear oh dear...Sonja's turn to sleep with me, Suze sleeping in with Charlotte Claire, Jon in tears 'cause he doesn't want to sleep alone, Kap being nice and sleeping in his room in Sonja's bed....

Tomorrow morning I have to have Aaron up to the hospital early. The younger kids are not going to school because of Grandparents' Day. (they have no Grandparents to come...Paul's mom is not back from Florida, and his dad is not well enough to go) So for my kids, that day at school is no fun. It just reminds them of Gramma. Anyway, Margaret is staying home to watch them. She has a project that is due. She wants to bring it in. Joseph and Mirielle are going to college, then coming home and taking the car to a place north of here to get that power steering fixed, finally. Mirielle might be able to take Margaret's project in, or Evelyn might bring it for her. Then Mali has to go into the doctor's office in the small city have her TB test checked....she had to have it done to register for nursing school, and it has to be read tomorrow. Since Joe and Mirielle are bringing the car to the garage, they will only have the big van, and they can't drive that so great....especially all the way to the small city. I COULD drive the big van so they could they could take her in the small van...then she told me she cannot miss track practice...

Details....the details of life. They do have to be worked out. I feel like I need a striped shirt and a whistle and a big stick and a megaphone and a podium and a conductor's wand.....

Today I went shopping and remembered contact solution, fabric softener, nasal mist for after Aaron's surgery, his antibiotics, half and half for the coffee....but I forgot wart of the little girls has a few on her hand, and it is almost The End Of The World. And as usual, I don't get a big prize for all the things I did remember to get....

The couch monster is dead and buried. The laundry room is sorted nicely. Only a few more loads to wash. The floors got swept and mopped today. I did the dishwasher a little while ago, again, so tomorrow won't be as stressful for the kids.

My kids see a cleanly mopped floor as a great place to play. Jonathan drags his big bag of train stuff out as soon as that floor gets all picked up and cleaned. The girls spread their dollhouse stuff all across the room. The dog sheds a bit more and tracks in some more dirt and before you know it, it is all undone. That is the story of my life....

I did walk today with Rosie. It walked up the hill twice. The going down part is now harder than the going up is. Because it hurts my knees. Rosie doesn't understand that. She wants to get down that hill. I have to hook the leash around my elbow so she has no room to run. She is a clumsy sort of dog, and she keeps bumping into me as we walk. When I let her leash out, she crosses in front of me when I least expect it. She seems to want to hurt me....I know she isn't evil, but sometimes I get to wondering....

There is so much advice out there in InternetLand about weight loss. Conflicting, opposing, and in all certainy RIGHT. Don't eat oatmeal for breakfast, eat protein/ Eat oatmeal with fruit. Don't drink any milk at all,/drink skim milk. Don't eat for three hours before before bed/ Never go to bed hungry. Cut calories back to 1200/ Don't cut back too far. Stay away from fast food/ Eat fast food once in a while so you don't feel too deprived. Drink diet soda/drink regular soda once in a while (the guy who said this lost 100 pounds), weigh yourself once a week/ weigh yourself ever single day. Never be hungry/ignore the hunger. blah.

Abigail brought over a package of chocolate covered mint cookies. They looked good and they smelled good. It was only a ten ounce package, so I knew if I held out for only a little while, they would be gone. Yup.

Now I am tired, I have stayed up for too long, I have to wash my hair and get to bed and get up early....and just for the record, for all the complaining I do...I wouldn't change a thing about my life. Except for....

sunny morning...

The kiddos went off to school except for Miss Kathryn, who has a headache still. I am thinking she has sinus pressure, perhaps from allergies. The trees are just starting to bud. I have one of those sinus-y headaches, so it is easy to have mercy on Miss Kap.

I decided to switch my breakfast from oatmeal (extremely high-glycemic index) to scrambled eggs and grapefruit. We shall see.

Yesterday I ventured in and got on that scale, and wanted to hurl it out the window. blah. Same exact weight as last week. How can that be? I always thought, all these years, that as soon as I started suffering, the magic would happen. I have read so many blogs about people excercising and eating right and then holding up pants that look way too huge to ever have fit them. So I started reading about why there is sometimes no weight loss, and now I am more confused than ever. It could be that one cuts calories too much, then the body stores more fat in response. This is more prevalent in older people, over 40, wah. I actually started crying last night. But don't feel sorry for me, it feels good to cry every once in a while. And I am not giving up, no sir. I really really had hoped I would have lost like ten pounds by now, but I am not giving up. I shall keep eating small healthy meals, going to the pool, walking, lifting my little ten pound weights....

Yesterday I did twenty minutes of my hilarious work-out, marching and lifting and swinging my arms....then I went on my walk, dragging poor Rosie up the evil hill - not once, not twice, but THREE times. Then, Evelyn and I met Kim and her daughter at the pool for a nice relaxing swim.

My older kids will be the death of me though. They went to cleaning at church last night, and came home hungry. Joseph made bacon, then chicken, Aaron baked peanutbutter cookies with chocolate chips and craisins....and I had one. How could I not? It was so good. Afterward I thought I should have just taken a bite, but too late. Live and learn.

I need to go shopping today. I need to get Aaron's antibiotic prescription filled for him to take after his surgery. There is a youth conference this weekend at church, and our youth group is selling candy bars. So...I have to go buy 200 candy bars. Plus, we are out of bananas, almost out of apples, running low on eggs, and peanutbutter. Kids keep eating food!

Every morning, I read the local newspaper. This sounds morbid, but the obituaries are my favorite part. The World War II vets are dying daily, they are in their mid eighties. One gentleman I read about this morning had served in France and recieved the Purple Heart. I wish I could have met these guys, talked to them, shook their hand, thanked them. I feel the least I can do is read their obituary.

In the paper also this morning, in the Neighbors section, was Benjamin's name! He was mentioned for completing Basic Combat Training in Oklahoma. Oh, the pride! He also passed his EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) exam this week, which was very exciting. He said it was difficult, and he thought he had failed and when he saw that "Congratulations, you have passed", he was elated. He tried to trick me when he called, but I am not that stupid, I can recognize the joy in his voice even when he was telling me how he failed....

My laundry room is almost in A#1 order. I have done load after load of laundry, I am almost caught up. I have weeded through so many clothes, yet it seems like there are more there because they are organized. YAY!

Tomorrow morning I have to be at the hospital with Aaron by 8:30 am. I need to get some balance bars to take with me. It is supposed to be a nice sunny day...blah. Aaron is such a nice boy though. I don't mind. two little fleecy-jammied princesses are playing Barbies already...they have their shoe boxes with washcloths in them for doll beds. Cuteness.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

wet beds and school skippers...

Far be it from me to mention any names, but I have MORE laundry to do.

And since Jonathan had to be picked up early from school yesterday because of a pounding headache, he is home today. Suzanne threw-up twice yesterday. And Sonja...well, she got up and showered and....she is staying home too.

I have been considering starting a second blog, a weight loss blog. Or rather a TRYING to lose weight blog. But for now I shall just stick to this one. If anyone who reads this is anything like my older kids, I shall be recieving comments like, "enough already!".

Yesterday I excercised for twenty minutes. I set out three of the foam squares, and tell the little girls they can't come on to them while Mommy excercises. I run in place and march while doing arm circles, lift the ten pound weights, march again, just keep moving and keep my heart going faster for those twenty minutes. I told the kids they can go ahead and laugh, I know I look hilarious, I do not care. It works up a sweat and gets me moving and feels good. I was planning on going to the pool in the evening, but it didn't work out. So I went on my walk instead.

As far as eating goes, I have not been cheating. Yesterday I had:

1/2 cup of oatmeal with two tablespoons of crunchy peanutputter, and some brown sugar. Coffee with skim milk and some half/half.

Two slices of whole grain bread (130 calories), 40 calories worth of sliced low-fat ham, a very small apple, and a half glass of skim milk.

A 90 calorie low-fat yogurt.

Dinner: boneless skinless chicken, one teaspoon (just a taste) of pasta, big pile of broccoli with no butter, a few tablespoons of mixed veggies.

Snack: 5 cups of hot air popcorn(155 calories) with small amount of butter. This was the cheaty-est thing I have had in two weeks. But it seemed like calorie-wise I could sneak it in, and it was good. It satisfied me to finally try out the new hot air popper. I will not be making it a daily habit.

I usually try to fit in more fruits and veggies. But that popcorn was good! Mirielle made cookies to send to Benjamin yesterday, and the house smelled so good! She put one aside for me, and I said politely, "No thank-you." It is hard to say no when someone is offering. She had made some really beautiful cookies, I did admire the way they didn't flatten out, and they were baked to perfection. But I just didn't want to waste calories on a cookie. It wasn't really killing me to say No, so I just didn't have one. Soon they were all packed up and ready to send, and the temptation was over!

So you see why I should have lose like fifty pounds by now.

I am so tempted to go and weigh myself again. But what if it is the same, or even higher??! blah. I know, patience. Patience.

My kids are growing up. Aaron and Mali have to go in for check-up/immunization boosters to be ready for nursing school. They are going in this afternoon. Aaron just drove the minivan to school, and they are leaving early and going to the dr. By themselves.

Mali is going to the prom in a few weeks. My sister is making her dress for her. We haven't even bought the fabric yet. I need to get going on that.

I spent hours in that laundry room yesterday, weeding through clothes that are hanging up and on the shelves. I get so sentimentally attatched to the clothes. I can hold up a shirt and remember how happy Margaret was when I got it for her...and how cute Jonny looked in those little shorts...the saddest things are the ones Camille has least Jon's things can be given to my little nephew. I have been throwing away things that are frayed or stained or they just plain won't wear. A set of bumper-pads on the shelf...wah! I still have more to sort through, but it feels so good to get it in order.

I remember the years when doing jobs like this was almost impossible. Between nursing babies and busy toddlers, it is no wonder I developed the habit of just putting things places.

Today I shall try to slay the couch monster. I shall finish my fourth and final library book during the afternoon, when I let them watch a movie (see, I can plan things....). I shall get some bedding washed, and perhaps finish up the laundry room. Meanwhile the rest of the house will get messier because there is only one of me....blah.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

laundry laundry everywhere....

Cleaning and sorting the laundry room is not the hard part. No, the hard part is washing all the clothes afterward. No, actually the hard part is putting them all away. The couch monster is growing again....a pile of clean towels, some other stuff...and I can just hear some of you more organized types saying, "Just put the stuff away already!"

My knees are sore. One of them is rather sticky, it clicks together and has to be straightened carefully. I am hoping I can still go on my walk... I mean, I get all this resolve to suffer and get into shape, and my own body rebels.

My kids are sick and tired of hearing about my new endeavor to lose weight. They all look at each other and raise eyebrows. Or come right out and say, MOM! They talked me into opening the huge bag of Snicker Square peanut butter bars last night. I was saving them for their Easter baskets. A 52 ounce bag. I was nervous. I don't do well around candy. After they all had a few, I counted out three each for the kids who were at soccer, that made twelve, then put 14 into a baggie for Jon to bring to school for his class party (no one in his class has peanut allergies). They were all gone! Yay! So I had a handful of chocolate chips. blah. (they were so good though....)

I had to drive Mali to school this morning. She had a field trip to the hospital today called, "Let's Not Meet By Accident", then lunch at Wegmans but she missed the I was nice and drove her to school.

Kathryn and Suzanne are home again. They just don't feel so well. Dizzy and naseaus, then better, then not so great. Kathryn says it is easy to catch up on her school work, she is in seventh grade. Suze is in fourth grade and gets excellent grades too. She is just dragging though, and I hate to send her if she is feeling lousy.

Kathryn has braided Char's hair, and is now braiding Rapunzel's hair. The little girls have shoeboxes with washcloths in them for dolly beds. They simply do not get bored.

I am off to put load #3 of laundry in for the day.......

Monday, April 11, 2011

if I had taken pictures today...

Laundry room: pretty clean.

Was it fun? ha. The reason I tackled it today, finally was that I need to feel like I accomplished something. Because I got on the dreaded scale again, and was actually a pound more than I was three days ago! NO FAIR. I can only assume that it is because I am turning into Musle-Mama, and muscle weighs more than fat. Because I have not been cheating. I walked today, then went to the pool tonight...which was an adventure...

We got a flat tire. The air was just hissing out...Jon said, "Call Daddy!", which was a great idea, except that Daddy is in Boston and we are in New York. So I called Joseph. He knows how to change a tire. The tricky part was figuring out how to get the tire out from under the minivan....but like Jonny said, "read this book!", the owner's manuel.

If I had taken pictures today of the cleaning of the laundry room....of all the hampers dragged into the kitchen for sorting... oh, I am glad I didn't take pictures. It was fun and horrible at the same time. My girls were helping me and it was hot (84 degrees today!) and they complained yet they fooled around like was one of those things where we were in the middle of it and I wished like crazy that we had never started. Suzanne wanted homefries. She kept saying she was going to make some when we were done. Well, she did. She cut up potatoes and they cooked them up in some oil...and added onions....the smell was intoxicating.

If I had taken pictures of the flat tire adventure, I might have captured how worried Jon was while waiting for Joseph to get there in the old gold car. I would have liked to have captured Joseph's calmness as he figured things out. He is so much like his father.

If I had taken pictures of Sonja K. and Jonathan in the pool with me, their bliss and relaxation and pure joy to just float around and tell Mom things with no interuptions would have shown through.

If I had taken pictures of bedtime....of Suze settled into my bed coloring me a picture of a candle that said, "Mommy shines"....(Suze is sleeping with me tonight. No stretching out and enjoying the whole bed tonight), of Jon crying because his flashlight isn't working and he KNOWS we are getting a storm tonight and losing power....of Margaret brushing teeth with the two little princesses and their princess toothbrushes....

If I had my camera out today, I could have gotten a shot of Mirielle making cookie dough so she can bake fresh cookies and send them to Benjamin tomorrow morning.

But...for some reason, I haven't been taking many pictures lately.

Funny thing: Aaron is having surgery on Friday, on his nose, which was broken last December in gym class. The hospital called here and would not talk to me about any of the details, even the time of the surgery, because Aaron is now 18 years old. I told Ms. Nurse that Aaron is in school. She did not care. So Aaron had to call the hospital today from school with his cell phone. Ms. Nurse did not care that Aaron is not paying for this surgery.

rules rules rules.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, why the heck is your hair so tangly? Or should I say REEpunzel, like Camille does. They like to brush the hair, get hair elastics stuck in it, and brush it some more. The little girls found their favorite bikinis when we sorted the bathing suits today, so they wore them around all day. They were all dressed when I was going to the pool, but I had to be mean. I love taking them, but they require constant assistance and attention...and I need to get excercise when I go. And the older kids were going to soccer practice, so I didn't have anyone to take to help with them...oh, it is hard being mean.

They didn't care though.

And...I am lonely. I miss Paul. He called me tonight, and being the man of few words that he is, the conversation was not very exciting. After blabbing on for five or six minutes about the flat tire and how Jon was nervous about the weather and how one of my girls gave me such a hard time today, I asked him about his day. I asked what he did. "worked", he said. What did you do for dinner, I asked. "Got a sandwich", he said. I told him to pay more attention tomorrow and come up with a bit more to talk to me about.

Tomorrow makes two weeks for the dieting and excercise. torture and more torture. Three stinking pounds. blah. I am not giving up, but jeepers. I was really hoping I would be one of those women who had the pounds literally melt away, just fall off....a Results Not Typical kind of gal. Twenty pounds the first week, and like four or five a week after that. But no, three stinking pounds. blah.

I am trying to buoy myself up about this, and all I can come up with is: Well, fat people can ride bikes, right?

school skippers!!!

Who is sick today? Margaret, cold and cough. Kathryn, tummy ache, doesn't feel well. Suzanne, tummy ache, doesn't feel well. Kap and Suze are cuddled on the couches watching, "Tangled" with the little girls. They LOVE this movie.

I do not usually allow movies during the day, perhaps in the afternoon after a busy and active morning...but they don't feel well. Charlotte Claire and Camille are totally entranced with this movie. (Camille calles Rapunzel "Reepunzul")

Paul is gone off to Boston again for work. He left yesterday, won't be back until next Tuesday. I have mixed feelings about Being In Charge without him. I can't tell the kids, "I don't know, ask Daddy." And I do not sleep well when he is gone. I like stretching out in the whole bed by myself, but then I miss him, too. By next week, I will be missing him like crazy.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (hebrews 11 v.1) I have to believe that I can accomplish what I aspire to, whether it is losing weight or getting victory over sin. Or in my case, both. When those thoughts of unbelief start to creep in, I need to say NO, and hold on to my faith. Yes, I love donuts, but that doesn't mean I have to eat them. Yes, I am really impatient and I like to have the last word, but that doesn't mean I am just going to give in and be a witch with a capital B whenever I feel like it.

And no matter what, I don't think I can ever imagine anything as nice as a cup of coffee and a stack of cookies.

But....I had a small piece of cake yesterday, very small, and it seemed so sweet! Now, this sounds really strange, but I actually enjoyed the spinach salad more! Well, about the same. The cake WAS really good. But I am not hopeless....

And...since the kids are entranced by this movie, and Kathryn and Margaret are here, I shall go on my walk......

Sunday, April 10, 2011

ahh, what a day!

I walked today. I went up the evil hill, down it, then back up again.

A bridal shower for my niece was nice to see the my nieces' and nephews' little ones. It was also nice to see my niece get so many nice gifts. She is getting married next month, and I get to make the cupcakes for the wedding! Two hundred cupcakes...and a small cake, too.

All of my little girls were welcome at the shower, which was so nice. My brother and his wife have ten children, and are always so good about including the kids.

Mirielle took the girls home from the shower so I could go on an sister Cheryl and I, my daughters Abigail and Margaret, and her daughters Becky and Susan and Janet. We dropped them off at the mall, went to the Toy Store quick because they had: Fisher-Price dollhouse furniture for buy one get one free. I got a new daddy with a baby, and a new mommy with a baby, and a few sets that we don't have. I shall put it away for Christmas.

Picked up the girls, went to Target....I got the little girls each a Tangled doll, Rapunzel, for Easter. But they are getting them tomorrow. Long story. yes, they are spoiled. We sat and had popcorn, the girls had slushies....then to PriceChopper....cereal and oatmeal and fruit and yogurt and milk and dog food....and fun. I took my blood pressure in there, and it was 129/85. That bottom number is still too high...blah.

McDonalds $1 menu...I had just a fruit and yogurt parfait....

I had the BEST spinach salad today...rasberry walnut dressing, dried cranberries, fresh blueberries, and almonds. It was SO good.

I am distracted...which is okay...I like talking to the older kids...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

short story...

Last year, I bought myself a pair of shorts. I thought they would be nice to wear over my bathing suit. I couldn't get them on. So I decided to return them to the store. I never did. I found them the other day, still tags on. They fit. I do not look wonderful in them, far from it, but I got them on. YAY! Then, I found out Ashley has had a scale all this I weighed myself the other day...I lost four pounds. I thought I had lost at LEAST ten. If not twenty. I am sort of kidding, but this is really a slow process. I want it NOW!

And of course we all know that muscle weighs more than fat.

Today is Day Eleven of torture and suffering. And hope and thankfulness.

Funny story. Yesterday when we were shopping, one of the girls lost my WIC card and three WIC checks. We asked at the service desk, no one had turned them in. We put a few of the things back, and since the line was really long at the desk, I decided to just call later to see if anyone found them. Well....later in the evening, my sister called and asked me if I lost my children. What??! Charlotte Claire and Camille? No....they are on the couch watching, "MegaMind", why? "Because I am in the grocery store and on the intercom they asked if Charlotte Claire or Camille W. could come to the front of the store." Oh! They must have found my checks! Cheryl thought I had lost the girls. It was so funny.

Today the kids are playing with their Zhu-Zhu pets. They are connecting the plastic houses together all across the living room. Saturday is stretched before them, time to play and relax. Emily came over last night for a while last night, and mentioned she might take them on an outing today. She likes taking them to the playground and on adventures.

I think I shall go on my walk before it gets warm today. It is supposed to go up to sixty today. What a nice day for Paul's birthday.

Friday, April 8, 2011

WHO says no one can eat just one?

Three times now, THREE times - I have eaten just one chip. Just to taste. Oh, I am not going bonkers and starving myself, but I really have the propensity towards munching, so I need to be careful.

I did my twenty minutes of excercise for the third morning in a row. If you ever drop by my house in the morning and the oven timer is still going, I will get to you soon. And don't laugh too hard, please. My morning excercise is quite comical, even the little girls say Mommy looks funny. Well, doing my imaginary skip-roping and intermittent lifting the ten pound weights, dancing around and keeping my heart going as fast as I can for the twenty looks pretty funny. I know because we have a mirror in the living room. But I really don't care. The twenty minutes drag, sometimes I dance into the kitchen to see if the timer is broken. blah.

I also went on my walk this afternoon. It wasn't easy. I picked Evelyn up from school. Kathryn and Sonja were with me too. We got a text from Mali that she wasn't feeling well and could I pick her up? She knew I was going shopping. We went to the Toy store because I had some coupons...we ended up buying Evelyn a new bike for her birthday, which is in August. But a new bike at the end of August is almost as cruel as getting a bike for Christmas here in the Northeast. She promises to remember when her birthday comes along that she already got her huge gift. I also got scooters for Jonathan and Sonja for their birthdays. They have to wait though, their birthdays are coming up soon.

Then Aldi for fruit and veggies, Target for Evelyn's suit (she found a nice one for 50% off), a dress and some running shorts for Mali, a sweater for Margaret ($5), some sneakers for Joseph....

Then Price-Chopper. Mali got her own cart and helped me shop. The other three girls helped me get more patience. They danced and laughed and pretend-begged for things. They just plain enjoy life. When they aren't smacking each other.

We got a few movies for the kids at the Redbox, then home...well, almost. I stopped at the gas station because I had $2.50 off a gallon, so I paid $27 for twenty gallons of gas! While I was pumping gas, Mali went across the street to the Dunkin Donuts for two large coffees, I had a Buy One Get One Free coupon. THEN we were headed home...silly rambunctious girls, and coffee.

Home: groceries, dinner, blah. As soon as the situation was stable enough, I headed out the door for my walk, assuring the older kids that I appreciate how much they love me to let me go. The kids had sandwiches for dinner, and fruit. I walked, then came back and made huge salads for Paul and I, and I had leftover soup. The older kids left for the youth meeting and the younger ones watched, "Mega-Mind".

Ahh. Now I am resting with my feet up. Camille and Charlotte Claire are snuggling with me.

Paul came home with a really nice birthday present for himself. A water softening system. I hope it works! Our water is SO hard, we have white splashes on the window behind the sink, on the bathroom counters, on all the dishes and silverware. Our glasses are cloudy, even if we wash them by hand. Hopefully this works.

I am too tired to get moving and get these sweetie pies ready for bed...but...I guess I have to....

friday, yay....

I am going shopping today. My list is getting longer and longer, as we run out of things. Eggs and milk and bananas and school supplies. Apples and veggies.

I am picking Evelyn up early from school today. If you work at the school and are reading this, she DOES have an appointment. An appointment to spend some time with her Mama, who loves her like crazy and is getting the vibe that she needs some one on one time. We have been going to the pool lately, and Evelyn is a growing girl...she doesn't feel comfy in any of her swimsuits, so she needs to find something she feels nice in. She needs to know I care about that, and about her. She is very happy to be getting picked and to go with me.

Sonja K. also wheedled her way into this shopping trip. She LOVES being with me. She has so much to tell me. She is the child who seriously shines when she has lots of attention. She is a little sunshine anyway, but I don't get to enjoy her as much I would like. So in other words, I am stealing her for the day.

Mirielle gets home early from college today, so I am leaving the two little princesses her with her. I like to take them with us sometimes, as they are so much fun, but they really like staying here and playing with their Barbies. It will be nice today, they can play on the deck again. And Mirielle is good to them.

These foam mat squares that piece together - they are one of the best things I have ever bought. They line them up to do gymnastics, they bring some out to the deck so they have a comfy place to play dolls, I excercise on them.

I made some really yummy soup for dinner last night. I used my cheat-y condensed cream of celery soup again, then added two cans of corn, leftover chicken, and leftover rice. We had it with salad because there were not many veggies in it. Soup and salad for dinner - yummy, healthy, and filling.

I am tempted to buy a scale. Hmm. Shall I? I haven't owned one in years and years, and my daughters don't want one. But I am thinking it might help me see if I am actually making progress. What if I am doing all this and I don't lose one single ounce? What if I am one of those people who just cannot lose weight? What if I am GAINING instead? blah.

Patience, right? That is the answer to everything.

I had some good granola cereal for breakfast. It is organic, with very simple ingredients, and it was half off at BigLots. Aaron and I went in there yesterday before his appointment. I had fun. He endured. I bought some very yummy Arizona Diet Tea with Lemon. And lots of half price snacks for the kids. And for Paul's birthday: Balance Bars and a six pack of low sodium V-8. And a new coffee maker. Exciting, but he does eat Balance Bars, and in regular stores they are at least a dollar each. I got a few six-packs for $3.

It is so chilly in here. Only 33 degrees out. Spring is taking it's sweet time this year. Come on, we are ready for warmth! I am looking SO forward to getting the pool ready and being able to swim right in the back yard.

Kathryn is here today too. She has a headache. Why is she playing Wii fit then? Hey, I can go on my walk this morning, Kap can watch the kids!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

sunny thursday.

All of the kids went to school except for Suzanne Eleanor. She says her tummy hurts. She also shattered her big toe nail last night, and was hesitant to go to school, afraid someone will step on her toe.

Yesterday I cleaned my kitchen. I used SoftScrub cleanser with bleach, and I am not getting a penny to say I love that stuff. It cleans the counters so nicely. It looked pretty darned spiffy in my kitchen. Shiny toaster and water faucet and sinks, which were both empty. Then life kept happening. Eight kids came home from school starving. Then for dinner I made baked chicken with Panko breading, and used a pan for flour, a bowl for eggs, and a pan for the breading. I made baked Basmati rice (as long as I am already turning on the oven, I have discovered that baking the rice in a foil covered glass pan (or two) is way easier than messing with it on the stovetop.) We also had green beans and some corn. And Mirielle made rice krispy treats for Sonja for snack, better late than never, I hope. Anyway...getting the kitchen clean is nice, but keeping it clean is where the battle lies.

Then of course there is the morning rush. Joseph had class this morning, he made eggs. Someone else made oatmeal. Some had yogurt. Some had cereal. They MOSTLY clean up. Mostly.

I am not feeling quite as miserable today. Yesterday, I made myself excercise for 20 minutes. I actually felt a little bit better after that. Then I went on my walk when the kids got home from school. It was chilly and rainy, but I don't care. I left Rosie home this time. And felt guilty about it. But it was nice to just walk at my own pace without having my arm yanked off, or stopping every few minutes while she smelled something wonderful.

I am excited about this weekend. Paul's birthday is Saturday, and Emily is coming over. He says he doesn't want anything for his birthday. I have always felt funny about buying him presents with his own money anyway. And what could I possibly buy him, he has me, everthing he could wish for. ha. He has a sauna, a beautiful six person sauna, in Mali and Kathryn's room. It was disconnected when we put the hot tub in, the hot tub which needs a pipe replaced. So now we have a sauna, which he likes that doesn't work, and a hot tub that I like that doesn't work. blah.

But he did install that new hot water heater. Hot water is something you don't just take for granted, at least for the first few days, after struggling with cold and lukewarm for a few weeks.

My little girls like baths. Yesterday, they stayed in the tub for an hour and a half. I kept asking them if they wanted to get out, and checking to see if the water was still warm enough, but they wanted to play with their Barbies in the water. I finally said they HAD to get out, and wrapped them in warm robes and got out my electric blanket. We cuddled in my chair and looked at Barbies on ebay. (If I ever realized through the years how much all those Barbies I had bought would be worth if I had saved them.....)

So today is Day #9 of Suffering and Excercising. But shh, I don't really mind! Okay, when confronted with something like donuts, I DO mind, but generally, I am enjoying the challenge. And I am filled with hope for a more healthy future. ha, that sounds like I have been watching too many commercials. Just think though, I am going to ride a bike again! Isn't that worth more than having seconds? I am motivated. I know there are going to be days when I won't really FEEL determined, but I will battle those days when I come to them. Like yesterday, I suppose. There seems to be this dark cloud of doubt in my periphery. This little hint of..."HA, this will NEVER work! People lose weight and gain it all back! You will hit a plateau. You will get sick and tired of denying yourself and be bigger than ever." I know people have tried and failed. I know people have gained weight back. I know it is a huge thing I have undertaken. But if I am going to listen to those thoughts, I may as well not even try. As far as I am concerned, this whole thing is a battle of the mind. My body can fuss and rebel and whine all it wants, but I am the boss of it.

God gives grace to the humble. I am not proud of myself for taking this on, no I am thankful that I went to the dr. when I did, and thankful that so far my knees have held out for me. I am glad for the time I am able to leave and go for the walks, and that we are able to have fruits and veggies here. I am praying for His mercy on me, that I can suceed in this. (wait, to be totally honest, I am a little bit proud of myself...)

Have I mentioned lately how much I like having Mrs. Ashley living here with us? She is such a sweet girl. She gave Evelyn some earbuds because she had another pair, and Ev needed some, instead of holding on to them in case she needs them later. She is kind and thoughtful. And thankful. And - bonus: she likes Rosie! When she comes in from work, Charlotte Claire and Camille run into her arms, and Rosie goes absolutely nuts. She wags not only her tail, but her whole body.

Benjamin is doing well in his Medic training. He has passed all of the tests so far. He says medics are needed right now. He says the units try to protect their medics. He is being hopeful of course, and that is necessary. This morning I read the paper, and there was a picture of four Army soldiers carrying a casket at the Dover Del. base. A 26 year old Sargeant, victim of "small arms fire". Afghanistan. He was from New York state. I cried my eyes out for him and for his buddies, and his family. blah. Do I have to stop reading the paper? But as I like to tell Benjamin, he is still in training, today has enough worries for itself, we will jump off other bridges when we come to them. Or rather cross them when we come to them.

It is very cold here in New York state. 34 degrees. But it was much colder last night. Today it shall warm up into the fifties, with partial sunshine, yay! Tomorrow looks decent too. The sun certainly is welcome here!

Yesterday I forgot to pick Mali up from track practice. oops. She called like a half hour after I was supposed to be there. Joseph didn't have to brush his long tangly hair or change out of Around The House clothes, so he went to get her for me. sorry, mali! It was cold and rainy and she had a sore muscle and was hungry...oh, BAD Mom. I KNEW I had to go get her, I just got so involved in dipping the chicken breast in flour and then in egg then in the crumbs....blah.

Sonja went out the door with her snack (2 days late), and Jonathan brought oranges in for his class. I feel a little bit competent today. Aaron has to go in for his pre-op visit this afternoon for his nose surgery. I need to get a gift for my niece's wedding shower which is on Sunday. I need to take some dvds back to the library. I already owe ten dollars to the library system in the next county, I don't want to rack up fines here at the library in town, too.

I have things to do! I am procrastinating again! Some clear signs of that are when I write paragraph after paragraph of these boring little details with no rhyme or reason. sorry....!