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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 most of them out the door

Not that I WANT the out the door, no it would suit me just fine to keep them all here. Sonja K. is staying home today. She has a bit of a cold, but mostly I am letting her go shopping with me today. I will be sure to teach her a little bit about prices and bargains, so her brain doesn't turn to mush missing a day of school.

She also is one of those kids who needs to touch base with Mommy, well, all of them do I suppose...but I was gone to the Dome yesterday before she even got home from school, then she was all tucked in and sleeping when I got home, so that means she needs to see me today.

Working at the can I describe it? It is fun, because all of my bestest friends in the world are there, and my older kids usually work, yesterday it was Abigail, and Mirielle, and Aaron, and Paul was there....Syracuse won the game, too. I got to see a few plays. And I did have a Cookiewich, but it WAS my dinner. And it was good. The only bad part was that I took my break with Paul, Mr. Healthy himself. I asked him if he wanted a bite, and he just made this face, like, "Are you kidding me?" And he continued to eat the homemade beef jerky and almonds and apple he had packed. I ate a few almonds too, just to keep things healthy, ha. I really shouldn't have eaten the whole thing, but I did. I will just be extra careful today. And tomorrow. Oh, while I was eating it, Paul also mentioned real casual-like, "I didn't gain any weight over Thanksgiving, I actually lost some..." Ouch, I hate you. Not really. But the guy is not fat anyway, he just likes to be in shape, and he is. It is actually really nice to have someone to talk to about eating healthy and exercising, but for me, it is a bit different. I have to live this way forever and ever, and am afraid to be too totally strict with myself, or I will never be able to eat anything and I will gain five pounds. He also doesn't have the emotional attachment to food that I have. I mean, I didn't ask him if he had been thinking about Cookiewiches all day before the Dome, but I already know the answer. ha.

Good thing he is really cute and I love him to pieces.

The last day of November already. Tomorrow the Chocolate Calendars start. Hopefully this year we won't have any little rascals eating them all up.

I love this quiet time in the morning when the little one is still sleeping. But soon Camille will be going out that door in the morning too, and I am going to be sad. I remember when there were so many little ones here and it was never mother said to me, "Some day you will hate the quiet." I found that very hard to believe.

I am selling a few things on ebay, which makes me feel like I have accomplished something and done something nice for the household expenses instead of just spending the money. Next year maybe I will sell a lot more.

Only four more nights, and we are on our way to Jamaica! It already feels like it is going to go by too fast. And I already wish we were going for longer than six nights. I will be missing the kids by then, but on our last few vacations, it really was hard to leave the sunshine and warmth and relaxation...I just crave that feeling of peacefulness, that slowing down of the thoughts...just the realization that I don't have to think about what's for dinner or who is going where or who has that my poor frazzled brain can take a break. And of course there is is wonderfully nice to focus on him. And to have his attention. Yes, wonderfully nice.

But today I am not in Jamaica, and there is hardly any milk, no bananas, no salad stuff, so therefore Nothing To Eat, by kids' standards.

And there is a pile of pee-pee bedding waiting to go into the washer that just finished a load of pee-pee bedding.

And I should wash and match some socks for when I am gone.

And, I should plan the meals a bit for Mirielle.

And, and, and...oh, I can't wait to let my mind relax....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

pre-thanksgiving weight again

Was that pie really worth all this work to get it back off? Yes. Undoubtedly. Especially the lemon.

I am finding out that I cannot just eat "normal" anymore, or the pounds go back on. And I didn't even eat like I used to, I still exercised some restraint, such as no potatoes. No rolls. Oh well, there is a price to pay for anything that is worth anything, so I shall just pay and stop complaining about it.

Charlotte Claire is home from school today. She hasn't missed very many days, and she was just dragging this morning. So I asked her if she wanted to stay home. Camille was more than thrilled when she came stumbling out here this morning and discovered her buddy here on the couch. The look on her face was priceless when I told her Char wasn't going to school.

Yesterday Benjamin called. I talked to him for quite a while, during which Camille was setting up a store with her cash register and some food from the cupboards. She told me she would clean it up, "Promise!", she said. I asked Ben if I should believe her. He said, "No, of course not, but you should let her play anyway." Sure enough, last night at bedtime I had to get her to put the canned stuff away.

Going to the pool was not an option for me last night, I figured. Paul had to be picked up from work, he had a board meeting to go to, and the older kids were going over to the pool, so no one would be here with the younger ones, plus I was making dinner. Then Aaron volunteered to stay home and make dinner, and watch the kids so I could go to the pool instead of him. No, I couldn't possibly, I said. He insisted. Said it was fine, really. He was therefore In Charge of dinner, so he made the sauce into some excellent chili, and made a pan of rice, and some cornbread. I got to swim, and come into the house in time for dinner! (Joseph picked Paul up from work). The swim was welcome and refreshing, and not to be all mushy or anything, but it really warmed my heart that Aaron did that for me.

Ha, and I thought I didn't have anything to write about this morning.

I think I have enough clothes to wear in Jamaica. I wish I was a more confident person sometimes. I am tempted to envy people who are so sure of themselves. My mother used to tell me all the time to stand up straight and tall, and not to be ashamed of, "what God gave you." It embarrassed the heck out of me, but I tell the same thing to my girls now. No hunching over and slouching, please! But that confidence eludes me. I have to watch where I walk or I will trip, bump into things, do things all wrong. In theory I do not care what people think about me, but...ha, I still have a long way to go in that area.

And, of course the only thing that matters in the long run is what God thinks of me!

It was nice to talk to Benjamin. The boy is finally growing up. Not because he is an Infantryman and can shoot a rifle, or because he is a Medic and can fix up the injured guys, but because he went to The Goodwill store and bought a pair of jeans for five bucks. Yes, my boy who, a few years back,would blow a whole pizza-delivery paycheck on a jacket from some store in the mall.

So...will I be able to find all the Christmas stockings this year or will there be one someone left in their room then lost or threw away?

Will the tree lights work or will I have to play Switch-The-Bulbs?

How many more ornaments will have broken since last year?

How many more will they break as they decorate the tree?

We are getting the tree Saturday, "we" as in, "Paul". Jonathan and Sonja and maybe Sam will go with him. They will cut one down, and I will say it is the most beautiful tree ever, even if I have to turn the bad part toward the wall.

Today I get to go to the Dome for a Syracuse University basketball game. Football - I could do without, basketball, I love it. Syracuse basketball? Lovelovelove. They won the National Championship a few years back...oh, that was sweet. So working at the concession stand is fun. Can't really watch the game, but if I scrunch down I can see the scoreboard. Just being there with all the yelling and clapping...and of course when I take a break, I can go watch the game...and hopefully stay the heck away from the Cookiewiches. (a cookiewich is a totally miraculous creation: two huge home made tasting chocolate chip cookies, with soft ice cream twirled between them, frozen solid. It is SO good, but also over 500 calories. Should I skip lunch? Maybe I will take a break with someone and split one.)

I think I might finally be coming to terms with the No More Babies thing. I am not devastated or depressed, but I still have my moments. I dreamed recently that the baby I lost in August was still in there, alive and kicking. I woke up and just cried all over again. But for the most part I am okay with not having any more...okay, there IS this tiny flicker of hope that maybe, just maybe, I will get pregnant again and the baby will thrive and maybe there will be two or three in there...ha.

My Camille is sitting here with me, all cuddled up. My Camille who is now four years old, and smarter than I am.

And now it is the dreaded Face Reality time. The house is much better than it was yesterday, because I swept and mopped and sorted and straightened and did laundry and hung up sweaters and jackets and put things away. Today has a few messes of it's own, but not nearly on the Monday scale.

Monday, November 28, 2011

who messed up this house?

It wasn't me. that is the response I would get from any one of the kids. Well, it wasn't ME, either. But it is still my fault. I somehow didn't raise them right, I guess. Either that or we are just too busy on Sundays. I don't know. But this morning, blah, there is a counter full of dishes. And a sinkful. And, just stuff to be taken care of. The floors need to be swept every morning, and the dishwasher done after the kids leave for school. But Mondays just are messier. blah.

And it is rainy and overcast.

I only took a short cheaty walk this morning. It got late, and I spent too much time mingling with the older kids as they wandered in their dazes around the kitchen this morning, trying to stay out of each other's ways as they opened the 'fridge and stared into it, hoping something yummy for breakfast would just jump right out at them.

Samuel got up way too late, I made him some toast, but he refused, said he didn't feel well. Out the door he went, then back in he came, saying his head hurt. Back to bed for Samuel. I told him he is old enough (16) to decide if he wants to stay home sick, he is the one who has to make up the work.

We are going to get our Christmas tree next Saturday. This means re-arranging the whole living room so it can go into the corner. Do I feel like doing this? Of course not, but I will for the kids.

Today I have to put some beef in the dehydrator for Paul, run several loads of laundry through, clean up the house...and play with Camille. And exercise. And make something good for dinner that doesn't include turkey. Paul has a board meeting tonight, and some of the kids have band practice at church. Tomorrow I am working at the Dome. Oh, never a dull moment.

And...I have to try to figure out what I am bringing to Jamaica. I need to know if I have enough clothes for the week. I certainly have enough bathing suits! I remember last year in Dominican Republic wishing I had brought more clothes. The hotel we are going to this year won't be as fancy, but still. And the clothes I wore last year are too big, poor me. Ha, feel sorry for me anyone? That I can't find enough clothes for Jamaica? I know, it is lame. But I really only have this one jean skirt that fits. I did buy a few dresses, and a nice long white skirt. And a white button down shirt to go over my bathing suit (s). I have been scouring the clearance racks at all the stores, trying to find super cheap tank tops/skirts, but haven't been too successful. Maybe today I will get a chance to try some things on. Packing for a trip for me is complicated. I have to put as much as I can in my carry-on, because there is always that chance my luggage will get lost. I have to have at least one bathing suit, because I can't just go buy any old suit at a hotel shop if my luggage was lost. (perhaps someday, but not yet). And I like to bring a mini medicine cabinet, because I am a strong believer that if one doesn't pack anti-diarrhea meds, one will certainly get a bad case of the traveler's diarrhea. No tylenol? Headaches will abound. Bringing the triple antibiotic and some bandaids pretty much assures one will not get a cut, and the Benedryl will help ward off those allergic reactions. Plus, I need to bring my razor, I don't want prickly legs all week if my suitcase ends up in India. Does Paul go through all this? Nope.

I have also been selling a few things on ebay. One lady didn't realize she couldn't Buy It Now after she bid, so she wants me to cancel the auction and list it with only Buy it Now so she can Buy It Now. Well, that doesn't seem too nice to the others who are bidding. I have a few more things to list, perhaps one of my bathing suits, ha. I had better get to it, the days are passing quickly.

Camille is up now. She has her princess snuggie on, and is playing on the rug with Bendaroos, singing about the colors. She is the sweetest thing.

As we were getting ready to leave for church yesterday morning, I discovered a bag of candy bars I had hid in my room for Christmas stockings was not only opened, but almost gone. I asked who had been into them and got a chorus of, you guessed it, "Not me!" I started to launch a grand inquisition, I realized that it was not the time for such a thing. I am still wondering if I should ask more or just forget about it. One of the kids actually said that it is probably Daddy. Well, no. If Daddy discovered a bag of candy bars, he would have happily brought it out and passed them out. He loves giving things like that to the kids, and he doesn't eat much candy these days, it is not Paleo. He follows that diet mostly. Fruit and nuts and veggies and meat. He is not totally strict about it, he has coffee with cream, and an occasional dessert. But he is feeling quite good, following it. We are having fun eating healthy together, though it is not the same for him. He never had those days that only a stack of cookies would brighten. I started to tell him the other day how much of an emotional battle I had with food, and he just looked at me with this puzzled look on his face. Forget it, I said. If you don't get it, you don't get it. It is still hard to sit down with that afternoon coffee...just that afternoon coffee. No cookies, no treats. Just some chocolate chips once in a while. I used yummy things as a reward, as the commercial for Andes mints said, "The perfect little Thank Me." After all, I was tired and busy and stressed, I deserved to sit and put my feet up and have something good.

Now I feel like I deserve to spend the time on myself for walks and exercise. It does feel selfish sometimes, but it is a necessity. And I can't wait until things are in order around here, I just need to walk away from it and do what I need to do. It has become a priority, which does seem selfish, but if not, it would never get done, and my excuses would triumph. Because my excuses are quite clever, and plentiful.

Now, though, I shall go clean up some counters and get this place nice again.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

almost bed time for the banshees...

They have been active this afternoon. Camille fell and got a nice fat lip while twirling around and doing ballet. Then she was attempting to walk on Jon's back for him on the couch, when down she went. Last evening, they "trashed" their room. Emptied Duplos and Waffletown, dumped dress-up clothes and dollies, Barbies everywhere...laughing their heads off and being just generally full of the devil.

I wonder if it is the time of the year, if they get excited. I don't know.

Today was a good day. Church, eating together after, having some fellowship with friends after. Home, out for a second walk/run without Rosie-The-Arm-Pulling dog. It was sixty degrees out, and the leaves smelled yummy down in the woods. Dinner was leftover taco salad or leftover turkey and gravy and potatoes. I chose the taco salad, with no taco chips, just lots of veggies and the taco meat. It is not easy to forgo the carbs, but it is the only way for me. I have two extra pounds on me from last week, doesn't sound like much, but it was SO hard to lose in the first place, I don't want it back!

No more pie for me.

It smells so good in here, there is a piece of beef roasting in the oven, Paul is going to make jerky in the dehyrdator.

I spent some time with my niece Katie today, Cheryl's daughter. She is having a baby in January. I am so excited for her! She is married to Dave, and they have one daughter, Grace, who is Sonja's age. (I was there when Grace was born, and have always felt a special bond). Kate has Crohn's disease, and suffers much from it. This pregnancy hasn't been easy for her, but then, her life hasn't been easy. She was diagnosed with cancer when she was eight, leukemia, and took it like a little trooper. She is a teacher now, over at the school my kids attend. She is amazing, really. Sonja and Suzanne spent the afternoon over at their house today.

We have stacks of presents wrapped, thanks to Sonja, Kathryn, Evelyn. I am trying to get things ready for Christmas, since we are leaving next week for Jamaica. When we get back, it will be almost time for Ben and Ashley to come home, almost time for Christmas.

Motivation. I have it. I am almost afraid it will go back where it came from one of these days, which is I don't know where. I just know I am glad I have it. It will happen, I will get thin and in shape. When the scale is going down, I get so totally excited and ambitious, and can just almost see the future, how I am going to be able to move more and fit into anything I want to. When the scale doesn't move, it makes me mad, makes me try harder. When it is going UP, I get really resolved to get it back in the right direction. Of course it is all fine and easy to feel this way, but it is TRIED faith that is more precious than gold...and there will be temptations. I wanted ice cream tonight, I wanted taco chips, I wanted pie. I wanted mashed potatoes and gravy. I wanted chips today, I wanted cookies. But I didn't have them. I just didn't. It doesn't kill me, but it is hard. My mind tries to trick me and tell me it is okay this time, it is okay to have just a little. Anyway, this mental battle still rages, but I shall not give in. Not totally, anyway. If I give in a little bit here and there, I shall get back up and in the game.

And now it is really bed time....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

is this eating yummy things thing over yet?

Mirielle Joy making some real whipped cream. I had Emily take the picture because my older kids don't like when I come around with the camera. I should never have let them know about this blog...

Our turkey dinner was delicious...I can't decide what was the best, the sweet potatoes or the squash, or the stuffing...or of course the turkey. I only tasted the mashed potatoes, which had red potatoes with some skins still on, yum, and I skipped the rolls. The whole process of getting dinner on the table was fun - Joseph carved the turkey (some of the pieces were huge, I was laughing my head off at this one huge chunk he put on the platter, and he said, "What? You just cut off what you want!"). Emily had the task of peeling the skin off the squash and mashing it up with butter. The little kids put the rolls on the pans, lots of us peeled the potatoes, I mashed them up. Mirielle did the sweet potatoes, Aaron put the olives in bowls, Margaret put the pickles out, Abigail did the cranberry sauce, I made the gravy. The younger girls set the table.

After dinner we had pie, and played Scattergories. One of the things was, "Things Cheryl hates" (my sister Cheryl)...and the letter was, "S". Only one person said spiders! The blueberry pie was really good, but the chocolate mousse pie Mirielle made was...well, it was just plain deadly. I was glad it got eaten all up. There are still too many pies around here, I just have to pretend they are horrible. I have had enough good stuff, even though the pieces of pie I had were very small. I didn't totally pig out, but I am still up a few pounds, no fair.

Today, the older kids are at the Dome for a football game, Paul is hunting, and we are just chilling. Yes, there is work to do, but I am thinking of taking these younger kids somewhere fun....

Friday, November 25, 2011

how come we can't have Christmas right now?

Well, Charlotte Claire dear, it just isn't Christmas yet. I know there are ten presents stacked up on the table here in the living room, and we have lights in the windows. But that's just because Mom is trying for once to be prepared and get things done ahead of time. Evelyn is wrapping presents for me right now. She was one of the Midnight Shoppers last night, and already knows what is for who.

It is smelling good in here, the turkey will be done in a few hours. Four of the kids are peeling potatoes, I need to get out to the kitchen and prepare squash and make stuffing. It is cozy in here, and fun. Paul is out hunting with Sam again. We just got back a little while ago from Walmart. The whole store seemed exhausted from what went on there in the wee hours. The bargains were depleted, but we didn't really need any bargains anyway. We needed kitten chow and cat food and milk and salad stuff. We also got some bananas and yogurt. And some sweat pants for Kathryn for $4.37, and some cute sleeper jammies for the little girls, with princesses on them. And a new bra for me, since I am, sorry to say, floating in mine.

I sold something on ebay, Paul shipped it for me today. Yay! I always think I am going to sell things, but don't get to feels nice to accomplish something.

Things are going on, Abigail is here, so I shall write more later...and, thanks to Kathryn, who was the winner of the Ten Dollar Who-Can-Find-My-Camera-Battery-Charger, my camera is now up and running, and hopefully the kids won't object to me getting some pictures later....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

ugh, pie!

Princess Camille with her dolly...and the nice little dolly afghan her Aunt Kim made her for her birthday.
Princess Camille thinks she knows how to do ballet.
Mali, Kathryn in the back, and Emily on the end...talking to Ben and Ashley
Camille, Charlotte Claire, Sonja, and Jonathan, talking to Benjamin and Ashley on skype...showing them Kitty Kitten...

Charlotte and Camille love each other.

So...we had our brunch today. Scrambled eggs with onions, red and green peppers, and cheddar cheese. Cinnamon rolls. Baked french toast with brown sugar and butter - which carmelized and YUM, strawberries and blueberries, bacon, sausage, orange juice, coffee....we postponed the turkey dinner until tomorrow because of Emily-The-Nurse's work schedule...and she got the call as she went out the door this morning that she didn't have to come in if she didn't want to. She didn't. But she didn't know until 2:30ish if they wanted her to come in at three o'clock, so we decided not to put the turkey in the oven. She ended up here all day...we had pizza for dinner, then...pie. Apple, pumpkin, home made chocolate, and lemon merangue. I had only one small piece of each..then I finished Camille's chocolate. Ugh. But it was good. And, I had no cinnamon rolls, only one piece of French toast, and only two small slivers of pizza.

Emily and I took the little ones for a walk today. I raced Jon back to the house, and beat him. Ha, he IS only seven, but still. I surprised him.

The kids are going shopping tonight, nine of them. The new Black Friday hours start tonight at ten, so off they go with our credit card. I hope they generally keep to my list. Merry Christmas to them, right? Abigail and Mirielle and Joseph and Aaron and Mali and Sam and Margaret and Kathryn and Evelyn are going. I am staying home with Paul and the little ones...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

uh-huh, I lost FIFTY POUNDS!!!

yay!! I did not even celebrate with ice cream.

But now Emily is here watching a movie with the other kids, and she is baking chocolate chip cookies. I did tell her that I hate her, but she put them in the oven anyway. The smell is starting to permeate the air now...oh, how can I escape this? I hate loving things so much. I already had a handful of chocolate chips. Some people say that if you don't eat bad things anymore, you won't want them anymore. Well, I am an exception to THAT rule. And some people say that if you don't eat sugar anymore, sugar will not taste good anymore. ha. And tomorrow, we are baking pies! Pies are my downfall! My utter destruction! I cannot resist a pie, especially a homemade pumpkin pie! Or apple either....and to make it worse, I heard Mirielle tell Emily she was going to make homemade chocolate pie. When I mentioned I had the cook kind of chocolate pudding mix, Mirielle just made a face. Homemade to her is not from the pudding box. So what should I do? Tape my mouth shut? Perhaps I will put on one of my new bathing suits and wear it around for a few days. One does not eat pie in a bathing suit. ha.

Uh oh, I smell burned cookies. I am so mean, I almost thought, "Good!!", but that would make me feel bad to rejoice about something like that. Maybe I will have just one....ugh.

frosty morning

and a cheaty little walk. Didn't set my alarm last night, so I woke up a half hour late. Well, after waking up several times to check and make sure I wasn't oversleeping. Anyway, it was late, so Rosie and I went out...she did her business, and we turned around and headed home. I jogged a little bit, then jogged past our mailbox, which confuses the poor dumb dog. A short sweet walk with some extra jogging thrown in to ease the conscience. I am finding that when I am losing weight at a good pace, I am not so hard on myself.

If you haven't had the chocolate covered raisins from BJ's yet, do not try them. You will eat way too many of them.

I also bought a 22 ounce bag of sugarless bubble gum for $1.99. It isn't too bad, and the kids really like it.

The turkey is thawing in the refrigerator. I think we have everything we need. Wait, did I get black olives? Pickles? rats. Cranberry sauce? I suppose I should check. We do have the turkey, and two bags of stuffing, and some potatoes and sweet potatoes and pumpkin and apples for pies and flour and sugar and shortening and heavy cream, oh deadly real whipped cream...

We are not having turkey on Thanksgiving because Emily will be working, we will have our dinner on Friday night with her. On Turkey Day we are having a big brunch with overnight French Toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit, juice, coffee.

Sometimes my head just spins. Is it humanly possible to take care of several things at once? One of the reasons I like to sit here in my chair in the evenings is because I can talk to the kids about things, sign papers and check homework and answer questions, things that are hard to do when I am trying to do other things.

There are so many other things to take care of...Aaron is having his surgery in December, to take out the pectus bar he had "installed" three years ago. He had a severely depressed sternum, so he had some major surgery done...a bar with a "u" shaped dip in the middle was put in, then flipped, which pushed the sternum out. It was very painful, but fixed the problem, made it easier for Aaron to breathe, especially when running or exerted. Now, the bar has to come back out. I am still straightening out the bills for his last surgery for his broken nose, which happened at school, which school insurance should be covering after our insurance, but isn't....and so on. Just things to take care of.

Camille wants, "bekfreast".

The kids have a half day of school today, then a five day vacation. Yay!! Hopefully no homework to do, either. Except for the college kids. Joseph gets to drive Paul to work every morning so he can share the minivan, since his car died. Last night I volunteered to pick Paul up, oh nice me. Ha, got to drive there in quiet, then drive home with just him to talk to with no interruptions. Not that I MIND interruptions, I love them all so much. But still, sometimes silence is golden. My youngest interruption is snuggling with me right now, Kitty Kitten bit her on the forehead. He tries to tell her he wants to get down, but she doesn't listen until he puts his foot down.

The Fifty Pound Lost milestone is almost here. I subtract from how much I weighed that day at the dr. at the end of March. So it has to be an afternoon weight, fully clothed with shoes on. I think I may hit it today. If so, I shall celebrate with a huge bowl of ice cream. Not really. This has been an amazing journey, this weight loss thing. Suffering and hitting plateaus and wondering if I will ever succeed, then rejoicing when I see the lower numbers and when the clothes get baggy. Walking up those Dome stairs and not dying, having more energy and feeling better. I can totally and honestly say that the benefits have far outweighed the sufferings! Last night for dinner I served seasoned waffle-fries, the good ones, Alexia brand, I had a coupon. They were SO good, I had a few tastes. But that is all I do now, when it is something full of carbs, I just have it as a "taste". I had baked chicken breast, broccoli, and a bowl of hot cooked spinach with lemon pepper. I eat lots, get full, but eat the right things, most of the time anyway. I could be stricter, of course, but then I fear I would be more prone to binging. I don't want to feel deprived, and most of the time I don't.

There is frost on the grass and Camille wants to know if she can eat it. Suzanne stayed home today (she said they didn't do anything yesterday, and it is only a half day...), so Suze is taking her out to see it.

Perspective: I am going to die someday. We all are. The things we count as important and take such pains with shall all be nothing some day. Just think to live in such a way so that we can stand before God on that day and not tremble with fear. Every day we have choices! We can forgive and be kind and not get offended and bless and give more and forgive again and talk less and listen more and not argue and give more....or, we can blame everyone and complain and be stingy and offended. It is certainly in our nature to be like that, complain-y and blame-y. Ah, but we know better than to live like that! It brings division and unhappiness. Okay, maybe I have been treated meanly by someone. Do I have to be mean back? Will that fix things? Make me feel better? Never mind, I shall stop preaching. Sometimes I just get so thankful for the way that Jesus made, and I read the paper in the morning and see the sufferings people go through because of sin...blah. The bible is not just a book, no it is a way of happiness and peace. I shall take up my cross, fight my own battles, so that I can be a good example to my kids..ha, that is the hardest part. It is easy to tell them to be patient, but to be an example in patience when I am so filled with impatience...God is good!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

another weekend gone....

Too fast again. Saturday - worked at the Dome, concession stand. Now the Dome is on a hill. A very evil hill. We walked up the evil hill. Then to add insult to injury, we had to climb some steps. Lots and lots of steps. My poor heart was pounding and my knee was clicking. But I didn't die. Stood on my feet for hours on a concrete floor, filling sodas and nacho trays. Then home for a quick clothes change and to the Couple's Conference. We got there right in time for dinner. It was warm and welcoming and good to be there, but we felt rather disconnected since we had missed so much of the day. And we were tired. I kept zoning out, which would have easily led to some snoring if the chair were a teensy bit more comfy...

Yesterday we got up and went to the morning meeting at the conference, then home...then for me, some shopping with Sam and Kathryn and Evelyn. I took them to KFC/A&W, they got burgers and fries. I did snag two fries, then ate some popcorn chicken, which is very deadly, but not too terrible a choice, considering the choices. I looked it up when I got home, and since I shared with the kids a little, it was about 500 calories. ouch.

I got home from shopping in time for dinner. The house looked clean and shiny, I asked Paul if he had spent all day cleaning, and he said he basically had. ouch. I hate when he does that. He doesn't like that the dog gets the floors dirty, but I am betting that even without the dog, our uncarpeted floors would get dirty fast. I had just swept and mopped the other day, but it doesn't last I gave the dog another bath...and I said for the millionth time that I am getting rid of her. No fun having a dog you love to pieces when others don't appreciate her. And she has been raised in the house, I can't just make her an outside dog just because she gets the floors dirty. I hate dirt on the floors, and am always sweeping and mopping...but to me it is worth it. blah. I know that just because Paul cleans up it doesn't mean he thinks I am not doing enough, he just likes it clean, but it always makes me feel so inadequate. But then I have had a long busy weekend, and can't possibly do everything. But one thing I CAN do is watch my thoughts. I found myself so offended! Poor me! The thoughts can just snowball, and then I am a wreck. But NO! I don't want to be mad at Paul, don't want to feel sorry for myself...

Today the kids have a half-day of school, and tomorrow I have to go to Parent/Teacher Conferences.

This morning my sister's grandson, William, is coming over. He is three years old, almost, and is really really cute. Today it will just be Camille for him to play with. He will probably be surprised how quiet it is here without Jonathan and the other girls following him around vying for his attention.

On the scale: another new number! It is working, this suffering of mine! Every single time I see a lower number, I get so encouraged all over again! The only problem is that I have only one skirt that really fits right now. So many of my shirts are baggy, too. And for our trip, blah, I have five bathing suits, but not really enough clothes. But where can one find hot weather clothes in November here in the Northeast? For cheap? Oh well, I am sure I will survive. Ha, poor me, right? Not enough outfits for Jamaica....

Now I shall get moving and get a load of laundry started before William gets here...

Friday, November 18, 2011

brr, it's cold in here...

Winter is a-coming. My walk this morning was too too cold. I had on two sweaters under my sweatshirt, my exercise pants with shorts over, my hood up...but the wind ripped right through my clothes, and froze my fingers. I went to the top of the first hill, and turned around. So that I didn't miss out on too much exercise, I ran part of the way back home, then went right past the driveway to the neighbor's mailbox...Rosie didn't understand this change in routine, and kept hopping in front of me and asking where the heck we were going...

Anyway, it is chilly. We only got a little bit of snow, but there was some on the ground this morning, and on the deck, which made the kids happy.

Last night our dinner was so pleasant. Chicken that had marinated in Caribbean Jerk sauce, plus some in just Italian dressing for the younger kids (the jerk is very spicy), extra fine long green beans (from Aldi, they are so good), and some brown and serve rolls. Camille put the rolls out on the baking tray for me, then I had to leave to pick Sam up from basketball. Camille was standing on a chair next to the counter with the rolls on it, and said to me, "Don't worry Mom, I'll keep an eye on the rolls for you." ha, she has heard us say that about things that are in the oven..

We made corn muffins for Sonja's Native American project, too. Plus some mini ones for the kids to eat with dinner. I tasted one, pretty good. That tablespoon of brown sugar does wonders to the recipe.

Only sixteen days 'til Jamaica!! I am coming to terms with the knowledge that I can't lose twenty pounds before I go. Actually, I haven't done too badly, I figured it out...I have lost almost 50 pounds now, in 33 weeks. That is 1.8 pounds per week average. Obviously it isn't each and every week like clockwork, there was that time with being pregnant and after, where I just stayed the same for so long..then the dreaded September Plateau....but on average, not too bad. If I can keep this up for another year...I'll be way too thin! ha, that sounds funny, me thin!

This weekend is a Couple's Weekend for our church. I have been looking forward to it so much..but...we have a basketball game at the Dome, it is a commitment, can't get out of it...and not enough people to staff it with just the younger singles, so Paul and I are going to work. He volunteered first, and I decided I would rather be at the Dome with him than at the Couple's thing without him.

My two oldest daughters are such good girls. Abigail gave the okay to Jonathan to spend the night at their apartment tonight. He just loves that. Last night Emily was here for dinner, so she took his bedding and clean clothes home with her so she can pick him up from school and take him home...she is also picking Evelyn and Sonja and Charlotte Claire up...pair that with me giving them ice cream money this morning, and they went out the door happy!

My special Thursdays With Mali are over! Next week is Thanksgiving, then she will have exams, then she is done with her semester, she is a real nursing student! She gets to wear scrubs! She is very excited. Life will get busier for her. I am mourning the end of those special Thursdays...even though I dreaded being the passenger while she learned to drive.

Ah well, time to get moving...Camille is waiting for me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

oh, the things I would like to do...

I want to paint my kitchen. It was fine for a while, I actually liked it, pale buttercream - the palest yellow. Now I want...well, I don't know what I want, but not yellow. Something warmer, that blends more with the living room. I also want new curtains, which I will make because buying curtains is expensive, and I never see any I can like for cheap enough. I do not like the kitchen valances at all anymore.

I need to put some stuff up on ebay.

My Christmas shopping used to be so easy, just stock up on toys year round, decide what to give who, wrap it up. Now, the kids are older. Only like the five youngest really play with toys. The older kids...blah. Boots? Coats? Electronics? Expensive! And if I DO happen to spend a bit on something nice for them, they assume I just peeled the clearance sticker off. ha. Anyway, I have to get my act together and get my Christmas shopping done. Well, started.

Thanksgiving is next week, too. The turkey I got was 25 1/2 pounds, it should be enough. I should make a list of everything we will want to have, and make sure I have the ingredients.

And...I need to wash socks again. Wash and match.

I would like a day with no interuptions, and a good helper or two, in which to organize my kitchen cupboards. I spend more time looking for many people using the kitchen and putting things back in different places...and, I have a serious Organizational Deficiency. Once things get organized, which I can occasionally accomplish, they do not stay that way. When I get something cleaned out and fixed up just so, I promise I will keep it that way, ha. So the insides of my cupboards are...well, it looks like a crazy slob lives here. Hey, a whole group of them.

And to think that the number one comment I get from strangers is, "You must be SO organized!!" ha. ha ha ha.

The living room is all picked up and swept and clean, and the kitchen is decent. It isn't sticky and gross in here, just Lived In.

And don't open the cupboards.

The shoe area, oh, way too many shoes and sneakers and boots and sandals. Yes, I should put those away, the sandals.

Mittens! I have to get out the mittens!

So many things to do.

And here I sit, typing about it.

It was nice to have a day with Suzanne yesterday. Suze is an interesting girl. She is way too smart for her britches, and can be wickedly sarcastic. But she has a soft heart, and loves to take care of the younger ones. She absolutely blooms with one-on-one attention, talks my ear off. It is nice taking just one of them (and Camille, of course) out to the store like we did yesterday. I let her get some big gumballs from the bulk food section, and a new toothbrush. She got to pick the cereal kind too.

Sonja has her Native American project due tomorrow. We wimped out and chose to do a food item, corn bread of course. I have helped with so many longhouses through the years....I have to remember to get corn meal today, no more days to forget.

In a few hours Jonathan and I shall take the long drive down to the airport and pick up Paul.

Oh, and I have lost a few more ounces. ha, ounces. The scale went down the other day to a number I haven't seen in years and years...and this morning it was .0 on the end of that number instead of .6. I will take it! It seems that being really careful for most of the time, than having some splurges to break the plateaus, is what works for me. I had really wanted to lose like 14 pounds from the time we booked our vacation to the time we would leave, but I have lost only six. Oh well, still have a few weeks!

Okay, I am boring even myself here, I shall get moving, get some exercise, take a shower, clean up around, oh fun.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I should be in bed...

I am plenty tired enough. But. Not wound down enough yet. Paul is coming home tomorrow, yay! And I am getting super-excited about Christmas! Yes, I know we haven't even had Thanksgiving yet. We aren't having our Thanksgiving on Real Thanksgiving anyway, we are having it on Friday night, because Emily-The-Nurse has to work.

So in my excitement, I decided to put some Christmas lights up. Now, this should be relatively easy, right? I bought new ones for the upstairs windows, and those nice little battery candles for the downstairs windows. They even have timers so we don't have to turn them all on and off each day. Well...blah. It took me so long to get those lights hung up...and do you think the kids in the bedrooms downstairs wanted those nice candles in their windows? Nope. I put my foot down. I told Aaron if he didn't have one, it would make the whole house look awful. He probably thinks I am nuts, but he consented to have one.

So...then it was after dinner (corned beef, roasted carrots and potatoes), and time to pick Samuel up from basketball tryouts...Aaron just happened to have just asked me to make him some I bribed him. He picked up Sam for me, I made cookies. A triple batch of chocolate chip. One bag of Ghiardelli milk chocolate, and a bunch of regular dark chips...I use half shortening, half butter, and a 2/3 ratio of brown sugar to white. The dough was so good, I ate like 300 calories worth. Good thing I had an otherwise excellent eating day. I did eat one cookie this evening, too, oh so good. I packed up some for Aaron and Mirielle to bring to their clinicals tomorrow.

It only took two hours.

But Sam was doing homework at the table, and I had kids coming in and out for tastes and to "help", so it was fun. At bedtime Jon remembered that he also had some homework (bad Mom award!!). oops. He finished it up and got in bed a little bit late...he wants to go to the airport with me so badly tomorrow. And since I am so nice, I think I will let him. Just the thought of him at school thinking of me going to pick up Daddy without him, too sad. Sonja doesn't care as much, and Charlotte Claire would be fine to see him when she gets off the bus. But Jonathan...he is fascinated by the airport. It makes me wish we could actually take him on a plane. We need to win a family vacation to Disney or something. Ha, Jon would be so excited and overstimulated we would have to drug him to take him on the plane.

Not really.

Anyway, moot point, because we are not going to Disney.

Suzanne did have an ear infection, I took her to Dr. today.

We went to Wegmans for her prescription, and I got a huge turkey, almost 30 pounds.

Every year we count down to Christmas with chocolate calendars. The cardboard things with a little chocolate behind each door. They only cost a dollar each from Aldi. Well, for quite a few years we had kids sharing, sometimes three to a calendar. This year they get their own, because only like seven of them are interested. But I told them they have to each pick an older one to share with. Because it makes me feel like they are too spoiled to get their own.

Oh, I think the over-eating this past weekend helped break my plateau, I lost another pound. Until I ate that cookie dough, that is. blah.

I did fit in some exercise this afternoon after the dr. and grocery shopping. It wasn't easy. Kitty Kitten and Camille keep me distracted. And if the school kids come home, they come in and find me and have a laugh at me jogging in place and exercising my arms. But as Sonja so kindly said to me this afternoon, "Well, it does look like it's working. You aren't nearly as fat as you used to be." Thank you, dear.

And now, I shall try to go to bed. (Kitty Kitten is being crazy, racing down the hall and jumping at invisible enemies, batting things around.)

really bad dream...

I should have woken feeling rested, since I was in bed by eleven, but when the alarm went off at 6:30, I woke up crying my eyes out. My dream....

There was a big party, and my parents were there. I knew it was special to be with them, and I enjoyed this greatly. (I am amazed how my mind could so vividly create this scenario, it was like watching a video of them, the way my dad would chuckle when something hit him as funny, and they way my mother was, just thankful to be there and to be around all of her kids...)anyway, the dream got bad...invaders came, with guns. I was then hovering above, seeing blood and then just my mother was there, with everyone else lying on the floor, thing I knew, I was being taken away with the kids. We had to walk really far to an old animal hospital. We were ushered in, and the mean hard-hearted woman in charge was giving each of the kids a stall with a steel examining table in it. I tried to share with Camille, but she wouldn't let me. Camille kept saying, "This is NOT my room, there are no blankets.." I tried to give her my blue sweatshirt, but the mean woman wouldn't let me, she just closed the doors on all the kids, and led me away. That's when I woke up. Blah. I am thankful that it was only a dream. And, since I AM a licensed psychiatrist, I have determined that I have separation anxieties. I obviously miss my parents, and hate sending my kids out the door everyday, but I dread the day Camille will join them. I also suspect that I may have some sleep apnea, and the bad dreams are desperate attempts my body makes to wake myself up. Because I am a regular doctor, too, of course.

In any case, I wanted to go in and wake Camille up and hug her and tell her I would never leave her in a stall with no blankets...wah.

She is up now, all snuggly and sweet with her Night-time Barbie in her arms.

Suzanne is here too, she has an earache. I put some of Camille's prescription drops in it last night, but she says it still hurts, feels like it is popping out. blah, to the Dr. we go again. We also need to stop at Wegmans for another turkey, since Thanksgiving is next week. We are out of sugar, too, which doesn't bother me, but the girls like it in their tea, and we will be baking pies next week.

We did manage to make it to the pool last evening, which was fun.(Suze stayed here with Joe because her ear hurt) Charlotte and Camille love to go, they love everything about it. They like getting into the lockers, (I mean literally getting INTO the lockers, they fit in them) they like hanging all their clothes up just so, they like taking showers afterward...they take forever and a day about everything, and I am like, "come ON, you two!" I suppose I should take a lesson and enjoy it more.

I might be able to go again tonight after I drop Samuel off at basketball tryouts. He has to be picked up again at 7:15, and wants me to take him to get some sneakers, since he is confident he won't be cut. Never a dull moment.

Paul comes home tomorrow, finally. It has been long enough. I miss him and really can hardly wait to see him. I am also glad he has missed me too, that feels so nice! (he texted me and told me so)

I am all out of things to say this morning....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

what I am most thankful for....

Today is one of those days. One of those crazy days, and it is only nine in the morning. Perhaps my perception is tainted by the pain in my poor legs from working at the dome all the live-long day yesterday (left around noon, got home at 10:30pm)...but. This morning...I took Miss Rosie for her walk, and played Avoid The Dead Frogs. I did win, I think, because I didn't step on any. I tried to play for Rosie too, yanking her this way and that, because, yuck. Home again, time to get the kids ready for school...clothes out, lunches made, then found out Jon didn't finish his homework while I was gone yesterday...then, he had a dental sealant permission slip that he needed filled out today, the girls who were absent yesterday needed excuses, Evelyn needed a note to stay after for student council, and I had to purchase the Save Around Town coupon book the PTO is selling, Sonja needed payment TODAY. So...out the door the second trip kids went, letting not only the kitten out accidentally, but Bad Rosie ran out too, straight to the neighbors, laughing her head off the whole time we called her to come back...

blah. I also had to dry and fold the huge load of smocks we wear at the Dome, so they can be picked up from here and used again. I haven't actually finished that yet....

And here I am. Tired already.

We only have half a gallon of milk, and are running out of fresh stuff.

The Dome work is fun, but it is hard to be on my feet for so long. Not too terribly hard though. I sprayed and salted the pretzels, filled nacho trays, and filled sodas as they were ordered. I also had a few breaks, and ate Deadly Dome Food, yes, I did. A Cookie-wich again. And, a sausage with peppers and onions, without the bun. And a coney, but not the bun. blah. Way over with the calories. Today will be a lean day!

I got the big van stuck in the soggy ground in front of my sister's house last night, after the Dome. Just the right side, but I was stuck. It had rained while we were gone, the ground was not soggy when I so smartly parked there. The more I tried to get it out, the more stuck it got, so Thomas (Susan who is having twins husband) pulled it out with his truck. Thank you, Thomas!

Anyway, I was planning to write what I am thankful for. Here goes...

1. Paul. Even though he is in Ireland this week, it is such a good feeling to love someone, and even to miss him so much.

2. When my kids choose to live their lives pleasing to God. One daughter said to me recently, "Mom, I know that if I go to the meetings and testify, and go to the youth gatherings, then I need to be more faithful here at home, and get along better with you or none of it is worth anything, so, I am really trying." Okay. How can anything in the entire world be better than that???!

3. Knowing that Ben will be home for Christmas! Now, Ben wasn't exactly the model son for some of his teenage, he was a handful. We got to the point where we wondered where he was even going to end up, he tried college like three times, ect. He seems finally to have grown up, and is on track with his life. I feel like we have finally gotten him back, but can't quite have him yet, since he is away in the Army and going to deploy in 2012....but I am very thankful he is coming home for Christmas. (and Ashley, too!)

4. For this motivation I have to get into better shape. I don't know where it came from, but if I could bottle it up and sell it, I would be a billionaire. I did have a bad day yesterday, but I won't do that again today. Back on track.

5. Ebay. Yes, ebay. I bought another bathing suit the other day, for $2.99, with three dollars shipping. It hasn't come yet, and I am excited to get it. I have also bought the 75 cent one, plus three more expensive ones...why do I need five new bathing suits? I don't. I think I just had this idea that one of them would actually look sensational. But let's face it, I am not going to look fab in a bathing suit, not even if I lose another 75 pounds...there was this hope though, that if I found just the right one....

And of course all the other things like running water and the washer and dryer and all my lovely kids...and my friends and my sister and her nice daughters and the nice days for walking, and of course morning coffee....

Camille is up, and in her usual Punish Mama For Leaving Yesterday Mode, is saying over and over again that she wants her breakfast. So I shall scoop her up in her little Princess Snuggy, and give her some cuddles, then some breakfast...

Monday, November 14, 2011

monday again already?

No fair, weekends go by way faster than I want them to. Thankfully the older kids were thoughtful and helped clean up the kitchen after that all-afternoon and evening baking and cooking and eating dinner marathon we had yesterday. The thing is, I always feel like I have lost so much ground when Monday rolls around I finally get the place almost where I want it by Friday, then ahh, the weekend...and things pile up again, and ugh, Monday again! Laundry is piled up, and sweaters dangle from chair arms, books grace couches, and the newspaper pile on top of the dog cage starts taking over...of course there are Nerf guns and Barbie dolls, but also some dirty socks here and there, and this morning there are kernals of dried corn here and there...Abigail took the kids for a walk on Saturday, they collected ears of corn...what fun! They took the kernals off the cobs and have bowls of them to play with for their dolls. rrr. I told them we are going to have rats and mice!

So, since I have to leave here in a few hours for the Dome, I will do a quick pick up, sweep, throw in a load of laundry, and it will have to do for today.

I was thinking this morning about how backwards we think, the things we value that really have no value, such as our looks. Not too long ago, someone told me that I look younger and younger as the years go by. This is not true, but still, I liked hearing it. I don't wear make-up except for on Halloween, don't blow dry or curl my hair, ect. But I am still full of vanity. And it is so selfish and useless! There is so much to work on on the inside! Not that it is bad to look nice and neat, not at all...but these vain things can be such a smokescreen, such a distraction from what is really important in life. Sometimes I imagine what it will be like to actually stand before God someday. I want to hear that I have been a good and faithful servant! Not that I wasted so much time on myself...

The other night as I rode home from home the Dome with six of my kids (Emily, Mirielle, Joseph, Aaron, Mali, and Sam), they started talking about when they were little. They ganged up on me, and reminded me of times when they did bad things and got in big trouble, got some spankings. I was tempted to justify myself, but...the truth is that although I did do the best I could at the time, I am a work in progress, and have changed the way I think about alot of things, and if I could do it all over, I would have overlooked so many more things! Anyway, last night as we were cleaning up the kitchen, a few of them were teasing me about my lack of organization and how I can't keep the house clean...but one of them said, "I think you are a good mother, just not a good housekeeper." Now THAT was music to my ears!!!

I guess the moral to this story is to get that connection with God, so that you aren't harsh and right, but humble and willing to yield. Then no matter what you do, it will go well. There is no "one way" to do things, but God gives grace to the humble.

And that is my sermon for the day. ha. Now, off to face Monday!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

turkey dinner

Fifteen of the kids were here this evening for a turkey was supposed to be simple. Well, it got bigger and bigger. From just a turkey and gravy and a veggie, Mirielle made home made rolls...then Emily brought in some squash, which had to be cut and scooped and baked and peeled and mashed and seasoned. She also brought some apples, piles of we HAD to make pies. And Mali doesn't eat turkey, so she peeled ten pounds of potatoes....she wanted some real mashies...I made some green beans to make up for the small spoon of potatoes I let myself have...but then the pies, oh dear the pies!!! Fresh and hot out of the oven, so good and yummy! I remembered we had vanilla ice cream in the freezer...but I skipped that. Well, one spoonful. The pie and the squash were best, but the turkey was excellent too.

We sat at the table for a few hours and laughed and talked. Joseph and Aaron and Mirielle and Sam cleaned up the kitchen. Now we have leftovers for tomorrow's dinner, which is good because I am going to the Dome again. a prayer for my sister tonight, please. She is having a small surgery tomorrow morning, which I will not share about since I don't know if she wants me to. I won't say anymore now, but please pray for her. We have had many miracles here, and God weighs and measures these trials of ours. And Cheryl, I truly hope you didn't get the wrong impression on the phone, I am very concerned, just didn't want to get all upset on you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

quick post before heading to....

The Dome! I am looking forward to the fun and fellowship part of working with the people from church, but I am not looking forward to the aching knees and feet. My knees have been really achy lately, so I didn't do any running this morning on my walk.

Emily, Mirielle, Joseph, Aaron, Mali, Samuel, and I will be going. I have an hour to get ready, and need to make a lunch so I don't eat the Dome food...pretzels, hot dogs, sausages, nachos with cheese...yum but yuck.

My weight has been steadily decreasing this week, but in very tiny increments. Better than gaining though. And I did have dark chocolate last evening. Two squares, 125 calories worth. And when I passed out blueberry crumb cake and vanilla ice cream with chocolate fudge swirl to the kids last night, I had a tiny, mini portion. I almost got derailed when Char didn't want her ice cream, but thankfully Jon claimed it.

Ah well, time to get ready...

Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11 -more than a day off from school...

blah blah blah, more than enough has been said about the soldiers who have served, given their lives, how their families have suffered and sacrificed so we can enjoy our freedom. Right? that my own son is in the Army, it hits closer to home. Those numbers, those statistics, those "casualties", those are husbands and wives and sons and daughters and brothers and sisters and mommies and daddies...and I am thankful for them.

I wish I could give my Benjamin a big hug today on his birthday. But since I can't, I will write him a quick letter, which will get there late, but better late than never.

And...just for the record: I try not to pass on my "lifestyle change" anxieties to my kids. Try, anyway. One of my girls has an eating disorder. I love her to pieces and of course would do anything and everything to help her. I know where she's coming from, especially in these last few months as I have become more obsessed with losing this weight. I wonder if she sees herself in me as much as I see myself in her. When I missed a work-out recently, she said to me, "Mom, it is only ONE DAY!" Role reversal! Anyway, I really try not to bring my issues to the family, I don't want them to ever feel judged or guilty about eating what they want to eat. That is why this blog has been such a help for me...I can get it all out here...and if anyone is sick and tired of it, I do not blame them one bit. But. I would rather blah-blah-blog about it than go on and on about it at the dinner table.

I would like to say that my house is spotless and the laundry is all caught up for our day off...ha. It isn't too bad in here. We can do a quick pick-up and then have the day. I bought some beads with alphabet letters on them, thought maybe we could make some bracelets later. These guys like to just hang out and relax on the days at home. And, the weather has turned! Snow mixed with rain is headed this way. My walk was FREEZING this morning. I only had my sweatshirt on, no sweater underneath, brr.

And now I am all out of things to say...for now anyway!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I am realizing how much doubt I have about losing weight.

Even though I have already been, um, successful, it is hard to be hopeful.

Tonight I was ravenous. We went to the dr., then to Walmart (where I found some one dollar racks...skirts for the little girls for a buck each!), then home...all with Mali driving. Home...just a quick stop in with the food and other goodies, then off to pick up the Big Van. Home again to collect some children for the pool...on the way there I realized I hadn't eaten anything besides the fruit and yogurt parfait from McDonalds, in several-everal hours. My tummy was growling. Since I didn't bring my purse to the pool, I didn't have my Emergency Balance Bar. Oh well. We swam. Well, the kids swam, I treaded water and tried to keep moving, since I didn't do my During The Day exercises today...

Home. Mirielle and Margaret had made four of the most beautiful pizzas in the world. At least that's what they looked like to me, the Starving Mama. Bacon, pepperoni, garlic and butter...yum. I had bought one of those fake-y rotisserie lemon-pepper chickens at Walmart to make sure I didn't eat the pizza. ha. I ate pizza. They were small pieces, but..I had four. They WERE really small. Yes, four. uh-hum. Then, an hour or so later, a huge handful of chocolate chips. Does it count that I really enjoyed it all?

So I have my battles. I wish I was as clean and determined as the Success Story people.

The reason I am hopeful however, is because I know I can get back on my feet tomorrow, and that I WILL get back on my feet tomorrow. I am bound and determined to see this thing through, no matter how many little setbacks I have, no matter how much I don't feel like it. I will do my best each day, not worrying about days ahead when I won't have time to exercise, or the "what ifs", as in, "what if I get sick", or "what if I lose all of my self control and start eating chips out of the bag.."

I am tired tonight. Today was busy enough for me. Goodnight.

tomorrow is 11/11/11

And Mirielle told me last night how when she was little, she figured out that her birthday when she is older will be 2/23/23...and Benjy was not impressed. He said when HE is 23, it will be 11/11/11! So tomorrow is finally the big day for Benjamin, I wonder if it will be as amazing as he thought it would be way back when he was like ten years old....

Today: the house is messy. Again. I swept and mopped yesterday..then someone spilled pretzels this morning, she said she thought she cleaned them all up. And Rosie doesn't like pretzels. One of the younger kids had a turn to sleep with me last night since Paul is away, they love my comfy bed...well, this child wet...blah, lots of bedding to wash. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to be calm when I discovered this, although inside I found some grumbling. Yes, I find plenty of grumbling inside, grumbling and complaining. But everyone has work to do, whether it is a job out in the big world, or just picking up at home, and I have no right to be resentful about the things I have to do. Yesterday I was telling the kids how much God hates complaining, about how those Israelites wanted their bread and their meat and weren't happy, so they did not get to enter the promised land. How much more God must hate when we complain, we who have everything we need and more! Of course we still have it in us, but there lies the battle!

And of course venting is different. ha.

We had a nice scare last night. The girls had gone to my sister's house, came home, eventually everyone went to bed except for me. When I brought Rosie in from the deck, I locked the door, then went around locking up. So...I go into my bathroom, start getting ready for bed, and Rosie starts barking and barking, that serious bark that means someone is here. (as opposed to the intermittent yipping that means Kitty Kitten is prancing around bugging her)...I knew I had to go see who was here, and my heart was pounding. As I tried to turn my bedroom door handle, there was someone turning it from the other side! I opened it and BLAH, it was Mirielle, terrified, saying someone was knocking at her bedroom window. I told her to call 911...then she mentioned that Mali was still with Emily, which I didn't know. So she called Mali first, and sure enough, it was her. Poor girl, the whole house was awake with the ruckus, and she was getting yelled at by some sisters who were terrified. Oops.

Weight loss: I am a quarter pound less than yesterday, which is at least moving in the right direction. When we booked our vacation, I had almost seven weeks, and thought I could lose 14 pounds. I have lost five. I would like to lose a few more before we go. And when we are there, I do not want to gain it all back!

I am so excited about going! I would like a few more things to wear there, but it is hard to find summer-y, tropical-y clothes super cheap in the Northeast in November.

I did buy another bathing suit on ebay, I hate to admit. I guess I am looking for one that makes me look sensational. It just ain't gonna happen, which my rational mind knows...but. I am thinking of selling one that I is a nice suit, it just doesn't look so nice on me. I will, however, keep the one I got for 75 cents, it is great for the pool.

Mirielle and I are doing this thing where we text each other everything we eat. Helps keep us on track, knowing we will be accountable to each other. nice as it is to sit here and write (most relaxing part of the day!), there are places to go and things to do...Big Van needs to go to the shop, ect...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

happy birthday my dear dear brother....

He would have been fifty years old today, my brother Billy. My stupid brother. I guess part of me is still mad at him for what he did. Sometimes I forget he is gone, and he will come into my mind and I will remember with a huge jolt that he is gone, and I will remember that he shot himself, and it will be like the bottom of my stomach just freefalls. I miss him. He needs to fix our kitchen tile. He needs to joke about Evelyn's new haircut and that we are going to the Caribbean for the third year in a row, and about Rosie-The-Bad dog. He needs to help us get our old truck running again, and fix our hot tub. He needs to be here! He was wicked sarcastic, he always figured people out, and would have just the right little insult. Not exactly mean-spirited, he was just funny. He was good, he was kind. He took such good care of our parents. wah.

My son Joseph acts so much like him it is crazy. He has that thing where he just looks at me when I am saying things to him, and without a word makes me feel...inferior. Stupid.

So November 9th will ever and ever make me feel a loss.

Margaret, Suzanne, and I sneaked off to the pool this afternoon after I reminded the other kids I would take them all tomorrow night. I was a half pound more today than I was yesterday, but...yesterday was the lowest I have seen yet. In years anyway. The problem: that number has shown up like three times in the last few weeks, and then I go back up. blah. I figured that I have lost another ten pounds since I lost the baby, which isn't bad, but these long drawn out plateaus keep me wondering! I suppose they keep me humble too, because how can I give any advice when I am constantly guessing what to do myself?

The sunshine today: it tormented me while I did laundry and swept up and did some exercise...then I made omelets for Camille and I, brought them out on the deck...and clouds covered the sun! I sat there in my tanktop (the UPS man had already come and gone, but what if we got something from Fedex?)and my shorts...and it was chilly! Later the sun was out again, and the deck was in the shade of the house. Blah. No suntan for me today.

But it was nice. I picked the kids up from school to spare them the hour long busride, but on the condition that they play outside, NOT on the computer or Wii.

Jonathan is still finishing up his homework...yes, second grade and homework every single night, and on weekends. Excuse me, but I only have this child for four hours every evening, and the hour in the morning. Why the heck do we have to spend some of this on homework when he is in school all day? rrr.

Anyway, the girls are tired and all ready for Mama to read some stories in their room. Today was a good day. The older girls (Mirielle, Mali (YES!), Margaret, Kathryn, and Evelyn)(Emily and Abigail are probably there too) are all at Girl's fellowship at my sister's house, taking turns in the hot tub, too.

Tomorrow is Mali's Driving Mom Crazy day, I mean, her day to drive. Samuel has a dr. appointment, and Evelyn has to get the state required our day will be cut a little short, drats. I love spending the day with Mali. She has no idea what a sweetie she is to me. I try to tell her though.

Tomorrow afternoon we are going to the pool, then having a Pizza Party because they have no school on Friday...because of Benjamin's birthday. No, for Veteran's Day, which Ben's birthday falls on. He never had to go to school on his birthday.

Friday is forecast to be windy and chilly with mixed snow and rain. blah. My walks, my walks! I am mourning them in advance! Their days are numbered!

Saturday...I am working at the concession stand for the college basketball game in the Dome. I sure hope I manage all right. The dome is on a to it - challenging for me! Then being on my poor feetsies for hours, eeks. But I shall survive. I hope.

Paul made it to Ireland okay. I am certain he misses me like crazy. If he even remembers me. I told the kids jokingly that Daddy would be gone for so long we wouldn't even remember him, and they told him I said that. It sounded terrible. I really didn't mean it. I miss him already. I started missing him the very day he left when the toilet backed up. I had a dream before he left that I opened the cupboard under the sink and there was water pouring out...

Well, kids await me!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

a little less of me

This is the skirt I wore all last winter...

Obviously I am still a work in progress...sometimes I feel good about the 45 pounds gone, but mostly I just look forward to losing more. It is a long slow difficult process, but I am not giving up. Even with today's donut halves. There are more in the box, what is wrong with my kids? It isn't as if I can make them eat them...blah, they torture me. So why did I buy them? I truly don't know.

where have i been all day?

I went far far away, to take Paul to the airport. It is really not very far, the airport is located where I grew up, in a village less than an hour from here. In suburbia. My parents are no longer there, the house is occupied by strangers, and I have yet to drive by there since it sold. I am still sad and lonely for them when I go to the airport, since for years and years it was considered a done deal that a trip there would include stopping at my parents' house and parking there for all the live-long day. Or picking up my mom and taking her shopping. Once I stopped at Carvel and brought them hot fudge sundaes, my father was IN LOVE with that sundae.

So today we brought Paul to the airport...he is off to Ireland. Since I am a nice mommy, I let Sonja, Jonathan, and Charlotte Claire skip school and come with us. Jonathan saw the UPS plane, plus some planes taking off and landing. We went to Kmart, and that is always a bit mom worked there part-time when I was a girl. It was our favorite place to go way back when, before Walmart and Target. We didn't get much today, just some marked down Halloween bubble gum for the kids, a shirt for me, and some boots for Sonja.

We then went to Aldi...I got some of the yummy German chocolate for Christmas, the little foil-wrapped snowmen and Santas....and some chocolate coins, for their stockings. Also some oranges and some oriental veggies to eat with our chicken tonight.

Then...oh then, we stopped at the bakery. Oh yes we did. Blah, heaven. Absolute heaven. I had a half a peanut donut on the way home with my coffee from the DunkinDonuts drivethrough...the kids had halfmoon cookies, and yes, I sampled one. Then I got home and had a half a rasberry tail light. oh my, sooooo good. I will NOT have anymore, not one bite. It WAS lunch. The bad part is I am fighting a stubborn headache/sinus thing, and I could not exercise when I got home...I did five minutes, and my head was pounding...rats. I might be able to go to the pool, but I would really like to crawl into bed....

I could have slept in a bit this morning, since we had already decided not to send the three youngest kids...but, our 1993 Buick died. It isn't totally dead yet, but we are pulling the plug. It didn't pass New York State inspection, so Joseph had 10 days to get new rear tires. Well, there was also this gas smell...and then yesterday it wouldn't is ridiculous to sink money into a car like I think it is a goner. It joins the Gold Car (2000 Dodge Stratus, runs like a 747 taking off...and it is swervy and clunking...), and The Truck...which is a 2002 and can be saved with some time and money...I think we might just call PickAndPull.

Anyway, I had to drive Mr. Joe to college this morning. I took the opportunity to take a zip through Wegmans after I dropped him off...eggs and milk and bread and cheese and yogurt and bananas and carrots and romaine and frozen veggies and canned veggies and toilet paper and chicken...

And, some new Christmas lights for the front windows! I want to put them up! Christmas stuff is out early, but this year I don't care. I am excited for Christmas, Ben and Ashley are coming home, and I am picturing coziness.

Today was nice and sunny, and I wish we had come straight home from the airport and enjoyed the sun. 66 degrees out! Tomorrow is supposed to be 70. I plan to get in on the sun, as I am stuck home since Joseph is taking the minivan to college. If you pull into our driveway, beware! Give me a minute....

Monday, November 7, 2011

happy birthday Camille Anaya!!!

Ha, I just realized that today is Camille's real birthday. She is four years old. She is my miracle baby, my special sweetie, my spoiled girl. She is my little helper, my companion, my little bug. She is still squishy and huggy, but she is growing fast. She is growing up and away from me, and I have to refrain from smothering her sometimes, smothering her with hugs and cuddles when she is squirming to go and play. She is slipping through my fingers, is no longer the cute little toddler...she is her own person, and she already wants to go to school. If she has to be the last one, I have gone out with a bang, because she certainly is special. I am not ready to say goodbye to the days of rocking and snuggling and nurturing the babies, has to end sometime, right? Yes, Camille has been special. She found out Sonja didn't feel well this morning, so she put her hands on her hips and said, "If you need a drink of water, you just tell me and I will get you one, okay?" She is very sincere, she tells me sometimes how good she is going to be today. She is also very greedy for birthday presents. When she found out she already got them all, and is not getting any on her real birthday, she actually cried! Everyone in the family loves her so much, when the older kids get home from an evening activity, they are always glad if she is still up so they can give her hugs. So...the days can just go by I can enjoy her littleness.

monday again!

Kitty Kitten makes a good baby...
Will (Susan's little boy)...Kitty Kitten was nice and let Will push him around...
Princess Camille
A nice picture of Katie and Dave...Kate is lovely too, these young girls just carry their babies so beautifully...I got huge everywhere.
Camille in her "Rapunzel hair"...Susan is in the background...does it look like she stole a basketball? There are TWO babies in there! She looks so fantastic and lovely, and has this huge tummy....and I am not jealous anymore, just plain happy for her. I am looking forward to helping with those babies as much as I can!

The time change is nice, it was light out this morning for my walk. I also felt like I slept in, despite the fact that I stayed up way too late last night. The kids went to school except for Sonja, who has a cold and is delighted that her voice is slightly hoarse. She does have a cold, but she is milking it for all it's worth. She is preparing a bath for herself and Miss Camille.

I am staying home today. Big van has new brakes, it took Paul all day to change them on Saturday. He had the wrong ones due to the wrong number being in the computer at the auto parts store, so he had to drive back to the small city and exchange them...the radiator seems to be the next problem, which he is not going to tackle himself. So I am staying home and not driving Big Van until it is fixed.

Tomorrow I have to bring Paul to the airport for his trip to Ireland. Then I will have the minivan to use for several days. I told Jonathan this morning that I would pick him up from school tomorrow and take him to the airport with us, then Charlotte Claire asked too and I said she could come...

Okay...this weight loss thing. blah. I wish I could figure it out. I have gained a few pounds back...this morning I was down a little bit from yesterday, but I am still up two pounds from last week. More muscle is supposed to burn more fat, right? I should be losing weight! I had these grand plans to lose a bit more before vacation, and blah! Yesterday I went for my usual morning walk, then for afternoon exercise, I walked/jogged....this means I jogged for a few hundred feet, then walked, sucking wind terribly, feeling sorry for my poor aching soon as I got my breath back, I would run again until it hurt my lungs, then walk...I did this for just a mile, and blah, it did me in. Anyway, as much as the scale infuriates me, I shall not give up.

Life is busy. Homework and projects and making lunches and getting school clothes out and keeping up with who really needs new sneakers and who just WANTS new sneakers, making phone calls and taking care of things I have procrastinated about...and yes, there is still a pile of clothes in my room from when I moved the couch monster when Linda S. and her family came for a visit. I have gone through the pile and gotten things it IS smaller. Paul "cleaned" up recently when I wasn't home, and blah, put a large pile of folded clothes on Camille's dresser...I do not operate that way, I hang up the ByeBye clothes, and put the Around The House clothes in the dresser drawers. Right now the couch has only a few things, a few folded towels, my sweater, a Hess truck, a few Nerf guns, a blanket, and a princess purse. I write on here all the time about matching socks, the reality is that I haven't gotten to that in a I shall really try.

Last night we had a good dinner. Roast beef that had roasted on low temperature for hours and was so good. We also had squash, which is a lot of work for so many people, but yummy, and some egg noodles for the kids, and applesauce, and cranberry sauce, and a cake for dessert that Paul had made with Sonja and Jon. Sonja frosted it and Jon sprinkled it with like half a container of sprinkles. I only tasted it. I also only tasted the cake Abigail brought over, super yum. She made the best chocolate frosting...I kept eyeing the cake, but decided it wasn't worth hating myself for.

"Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (matt 6:33) We all know that verse. of the kids is being difficult. This child needs to be stopped, straightened out. I am not sure what to do, how to deal. I do not want to be harsh, but something needs to be done. Do I seek first his kingdom? Do I ask for wisdom? Do I judge myself first? Am I just irritated, or is irritation tainting my judgement? Do I need more patience? ha, of course. I have been thinking about these things...we can't just go through life acting and reacting and then expect God to clean up the mess. We need to be in touch with him in everything we do.

After my walk this morning, I told the kids, "It is so much nicer to walk in the light than to walk in darkness."

Since I am hesitating here and can't think of anything to write, it is time to get up and deal with this day....oh, the possiblities are endless....laundry and dishes and clutter....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

birthday party pictures

Aaron and Mirielle, and Katie, my sister's oldest daughter..(she is expecting a baby boy, the one I am hoping to watch...)
This cake did not turn out how I wanted it to, but the girls liked it.

Evelyn Joy and Claire, one of my sister's seven daughters...Claire cut Ev's hair...I consented because I finally figured out that hair grows back...and if they want to have to fun of a haircut while they are growing up, why not?

Camille turns four tomorrow! We had her party yesterday. This is Sonja and Grace (my sister's granddaughter, the big sister of the new baby I am hoping to babysit after he is born)..and Camille...

More pictures is taking forever to put these up and there is so much going on around here....

Saturday, November 5, 2011

cold and sunny

My sweater and sweatshirt were no match for the cold this morning on my walk. The newly shorn cornfields were covered with white frost, and the grass on the side of the road crunched under Rosie's feet. The fields of corn that haven't been cut yet crackled in the breeze. Brr. The only consolations were that...

It is Saturday, I didn't have to hurry back so to get the kids on the bus (and avoid being seen in my lovely dorky vest by the kids who ride with my kids)..

And...the sun was shining.

And, I could see what was in the road I was walking on...a dead snake, a pile of deer scat..blah, made me never want to walk in the dark again.

And, I know that since tonight is the time change, I shall have some extra light in the morning for a while...

Back to the house, cooked a few pounds of bacon, poured some coffee and sat down while Paul made me an excellent omelet. Kathryn had already made eggs for the younger ones, nice girl that she is.

The day is stretched before me. I want to get some sun (it will be cold, but no clouds!)...I baked a few strawberry cakes (think pink), a few chocolate cakes...and they are ready to be frosted and decorated for the party. Kathryn is in charge of organizing the cleaning up of the Princesses' room, and Suzanne and Sonja are supposed to be cleaning up their room. This means it isn't exactly peaceful in here, there are kids squealing with delight upon finding long-lost doll accessories, one child just "pantsed" another, which I had thought was out of style, there are accusations of who left what where and who should pick this or that up...there is music playing, courtesy of are filling up the hampers like they always do when they clean their rooms...

But it is always fun to have a party. Camille's main present is: three dresses from Halloween, princess-y dresses. I am also giving one to Char, and one to their cousin Danielle. They can dress up and play.

There is a good spirit, despite the rambunctiousness of the kids this morning. They are excited about the party. Camille keeps asking when she gets her presents. I remind her that it is not nice to be greedy, but she needs to share and be nice.

Rats, my coffee is gone...I want more. Oh, today is the time change, so we get an extra hour!!! I need an extra hour every day. Hmm, how shall I spend it? Maybe I'll sit here extra long today.

On an un-upbeat note, I am getting so sick and tired of the stupid went back up a little...what the heck??!! Why? I am so good...I only eat bad things when I can afford it. I eat less than 1500 calories a day, some days 1200, some days even less....I exercise once, twice, or even three times a day when I go to the pool. blah. My body adjusts to the low calories way too fast...I should be just losing a few pounds a week, mathematically.

Paul bought a food-dehydrator yesterday. He then bought a large chunk of beef...marinated it, cooked it up, and dehydrated it. Jerky! The beef, not him. It was quite good, as were the apples he made.

We had chicken fajitas for dinner last night. I skipped the fajita part and just had chicken and greens, and some diced tomatoes. Yum and yum.

Then Mirielle evilly made some popcorn, the stovetop kind with lots of real butter and salt. blah, I did have a few handfuls. I had just finished counting my calories for the day and was only around 900, so I figured I could have a few almonds and a few chocolate chips, and just a tiny bit of popcorn. I could eat the whole bowl, easily, but I slapped my hand and left the room. Paul and I watched, "Captain America" in our room on his computer while the older kids watched it out here with their popcorn and snacks...I was glad we had our date planned, cuddling is nice, so is getting away from the popcorn.

I am wondering now if four pizzas will be enough...perhaps if we have a huge salad...Mirielle is going to make a chicken alfredo pizza...

Well, I have used part of my hour...maybe I will use the rest of it having a nap. ha.