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, December 31, 2011

last day of the year...

two kitties in a box...what fun! If you guessed Joseph and Aaron as the ones who put these kitties in the box, you would be right!

Last night was supposed to be, "Sincerity Night". But it didn't work out. Emily was here, Abigail was here, two cousins were here, Ben and Ashley came in from visiting relatives...but somehow, it didn't come together like I had planned. It thought it would be nice to just sit around and take turns saying nice things to each other that we usually don't say. We are much better at teasing and sarcasm.

Our bowling trip didn't work out either. There was a really long wait for lanes, so we decided to skip it...I had already promised the little girls a fun outing, so I had to think of something we went to McDonald's playland. Emily, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and I...we used lots of coupons, so the girls got yummy things like Frappes and Peppermint cocoas...I behaved myself and had only one French Fry. Mirielle texted me and said the toothpaste fell in the toilet, so would I kindly bring some more home...after dropping off some clothes at the Salvation Army, (Emily also ran in and bought a nice bookcase she saw on display outside the door), running into Rite-Aid for toothpaste, a bag of half price M&M's and some Reeses Christmas candy, we stopped at Little Caesars for our dinner, five pizzas.

Home...and two pieces of pizza...PLUS the piece Camille didn't finish, ugh. I do not eat pizza anymore...blah. Then, M&M's....too many...then, yes, there is more...some of that superb Swiss Chocolate from Wegmans...oh my, smooth and yummy. I shudder to think of the, I will behave all day. I need my total strictness and motivation back!!!!

Anyway. It was really nice not to spend a few hours preparing dinner, then all the time cleaning up...the kids really really appreciate having that pile of pizzas come in the door.

It is rather nice out today, above freezing. The road is wet but not slippery. I couldn't walk far because Charlotte Claire and Camille were the only ones up. I gave them showers and warm clothes and cereal, then took Rosie just up the road a tiny bit one way then the other and then the first way again...

So I think I might sneak back out for another walk. Maybe I will even run a few feet. Running puts things in perspective for me, helps me see how in shape I am NOT.

The kids are all hyped up because we are going to our church for our annual New Year's celebration, which includes a bouncy house. The certainly have enough excess energy for that!!!

I am super sad that Benjamin's time home is coming to an end...he leaves on Monday morning. We won't see him for at least a year. He is deploying probably in April and won't have enough leave to come home before that. It is just so nice to have him around. So normal, so good. He is such a good kid. Wah. Just wah.

Friday, December 30, 2011

a new day....

What am I thankful for today? Camille's big squishy hugs. She told me yesterday, "You hafta always be my Mommy. Even when you are a Gramma. You hafta stay my Mommy. Even when I am a Mommy, you still hafta be MY Mommy." hmm. She says this in all seriousness with her little hands on either side of my face, looking me in the eye. How can a four year old be so aware of aging and mortality?

Charlotte Claire is a sweetie too. She always catches me by surprise with her declarations of love, and her little snuggles.

These two little treasures, my number 15 and number 16 children...would not be here if we were practical and reasonable. I mean, after losing Robert and then having Jonathan, then having those miscarriages, I could have been done. But God knows best, and I am so extremely thankful this morning for these two little girls.

So one little girl wet the bed, they both had showers, bedding into the washer. Rosie had to go out, I did a little picking up and straightening and read the girls a here I sit. They are watching, "Sammy's Story Shop", as they are the only children awake at almost noon. Sonja K. and Jonathan are at Emily's apartment spending the night...

As Emily so eloquently put it on her recent Facebook status, there is work to do at home. She puts it better than I ever could, but her desire to help and encourage and work with the souls here brought me to tears. It is a huge responsibility raising these kids. It is challenging to feed and clothe them, but that isn't the extent of my KNOW them, to connect with them, to be able to discern what to say and when to say it...those things are not for the clever, but for those who have humbly prayed for wisdom from God. Of which I need much much more. I am thankful for Emily, that she has such a heart for her siblings. She gives her time and her money and her life for them.

I took Mirielle and Margaret shopping yesterday...we had too much fun at Kohl's...$443 worth of stuff for $43! I do call that fun. I had $20 in Kohl's cash, and a few things I returned, and a 15% off card...jeans and a shirt for Joseph, a nice winter coat for Charlotte Claire since her sleeves are shrinking on hers, two shirts for Emily, one for Mirielle plus a dress for her trip, a sweater for Margaret, and a bear for Miss Mali who loves bears. Not a real bear, unfortunately....just a stuffed one.

At Wegmans, we made total fools out of ourselves buying marked down Christmas chocolate...only one dollar each for tubs of dark chocolate non-pareils! Two dollars for one pound Swiss chocolate Christmas trees! One dollar packages of yogurt covered pretzels, and chocolate covered Oreos! Marked down Hershey kisses! I wanted to tell the cashier how many kids I have, but that would have embarrassed the girls more than what I did say, which was, "The girls are hungry." If they were ever going to kill me, it would have been then.

But it was funny.

And after our taco salad last evening, which Emily and Abigail joined us for, it was really nice to have some treats to bring out. I was careful, of course. I don't eat chips with my taco salad anymore, but I did have a few broken ones this time...when I asked for the bowl, one of the kids said, "Mom, I thought you don't eat those!" It's nice to have help, not.

Oh, when we were gone yesterday, Joseph and Aaron cleaned up the kitchen. Swept and mopped and cleaned counters and did was so very nice to walk into with all those bags of groceries.

Today we are going bowling, to the place which has the one dollar per game special. The girls still have colds, so do I, but we are going anyway. I am not sure how many of us are going yet. A few of the girls call it, "Social Suicide", to go with the whole family, afraid of seeing kids from school...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

what? it is vacation!!!

How dare they wake me up so early in the morning! And make the dog bark! blah.

Vacation isn't going like I planned. I am sick. Functioning, tired, blah, stuffy, coughing. Charlotte Claire coughed so much she barfed last night. She TRIED to make it to the toilet. Poor girl, and poor me. I had to clean it up. I think putting her in the shower helped her feel better.

I had wanted to take the kids bowling this week. Not gonna happen today, anyway. Paul and some of the older kids are working at the dome for the basketball game. I am not on the list to work but if one more person can't be found to work, it will be me.

The walls of the house are closing in! I went to the pool last night with Mirielle, but these kids haven't been out at all. They play Wii, (they have a new Rapunzel game), they watch movies, they play with their AquaSand, with their dolls and Jon's remote control copter and pocket car...they color, they run around in circles. And yesterday Sonja and I went to BJ's for dishwasher soap and milk and half/half and coffee...and...the Christmas stuff was on sale! I got two gingerbread house kits for $1.99 each. The houses were difficult to assemble, so they just lay the pieces flat and decorated them with icing and candy...we also got some one pound boxes of European chocolate covered caramels for $1.99, and some chocolate toffee bark for the same. Just what I need! I gave one box to my sister, and two things of chocolates to Ben and Ashley for their anniversary. They went off to a little get-away to celebrate one year. (One year already since that nice little wedding!)

So Paul worked from home yesterday. It was nice that he was here, but frustrating that I couldn't just talk to him because he was working. He is such a nice guy, too. He did not quit until it was the real work quitting time. Anyway, he went to work this morning, and I texted him to see how he is feeling, because he is sick. He said he was working on thankfulness because that is the best medicine. Good reminder for me that being thankful isn't just for when we are feeling blessed.

The younger kids and I have been talking about doing our special hotel get-away again this year. Where shall we go? It is fun to speculate, and it is fun to remember the fun we had at our previous ones. (Suze remembers when she didn't like the elevator and Aaron took the stairs with her) (Sonja remembers getting to stay up all night watching tv)(they like the hot tubs and the pools and the breakfasts...)

Having everyone here all the time for vacation is...well, it is fun, but it is also challenging for me because they are all on vacation. Vacation means eating at odd hours and leaving messes. Sleeping half the day and having breakfast after the kitchen is cleaned after breakfast. They stay up 'til the early hours laughing their heads off at silly things, and well...I join them. Then, I have to get up early with the younger kids. I wonder if I should write a book like The Berenstein Bears, called, "Too Much Vacation."

Poor Kitty Kitten, the princesses have her captured on the couch...kissing her. She does not appreciate it right now. Yesterday they put a diaper on her.

Perhaps today I will take a little vacation and crawl into bed with my book....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

new family picture

being sick, and family pictures...

We have a cold going around here. Charlotte Claire had it first, and is still coughing and is going through the house, so we couldn't have any cousins or new baby twins over for the holidays. Paul is sick too, he stayed home and is working from here. My throat hurts, really badly. I have a cough, and feel like blah. Mirielle and Mali and Margaret and Kathryn and Evelyn and Suze are also sick.

So I am sure our latest family picture will be lovely.

My nice niece Claire came over last night with three of her sisters, Janet, Ellen, and Audrey. She brought her camera, and took our family pic. It isn't everyday that all of the kids are here at the same time, obviously, and the time wasn't perfect for little ones, but Emily worked a twelve hour shift, and couldn't get here 'til that's when we did it.

I don't have the pictures yet, Claire will be sending them. I shall print some up and send out my Christmas cards - better late than never, right?

Puzzling and puzzling...we have a 2000 piece puzzle spread out on our dining room table. Abigail and I worked on it off and on for hours yesterday. It is the perfect thing for sitting around talking. We somehow ate our dinner of chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, and broccoli, around that puzzle. I kept telling Ab that I "puzzled for three hours 'til my puzzler was sore..."(the Grinch, Dr. Seuss) (I think at least half my kids can recite that whole story, the original from the cartoon movie and book) Anyway...Abigail had to go back to the Real World, aka work, and I am sad. I want to see her happy face come back in our door and have her join me at the puzzle.

Emily, why oh why oh why did you get such an impossibly difficult puzzle? And it is addictive! When I get a few pieces in a row together, and things start to make sense, it is so much fun!

Anyway, I didn't get a diamond ring for Christmas this year. Or a new puppy, or a positive pregnancy test. But I did get a set of work-out dvds from Paul. And two pink serving scoops from Abigail, with a polka-dotted potholder. And slippers from Ben and Ashley. And a calendar from Charlotte Claire. The best gift of all though, was having all the kids here. I cannot describe the fun we have had. Having Mr. Benjamin around has been so nice. He has grown up, yet he is still the same kid. His goodness shines through more now, he doesn't care about looking cool or being tough, he just helps the kids and listens to them, and is so respectful to Paul and I. And having Emily and Abigail here is special too, I never get to see them enough.

Paul and I don't get each other gifts, besides the dvds and the Rubbermaid storage containers I got him for his lunches, because we went to Jamaica. What could be better than that? (besides perhaps a positive pregnancy test or a puppy, of course)

So...motivation...blah, let's get this good stuff out of the house! I had a piece of chocolate yesterday, a Whitman's chocolate covered toffee...then a molasses chew...but no cookies, and well...some pumpkin pie...but it is all gone now. I only had two chicken wings for dinner with some broccoli. I am trying to stay away from the carbs, and I did exercise yesterday, but only for like ten minutes since I feel blah. I went on my walk again this morning though. I am starting to visualize myself smaller, with more energy, and really want to get back into losing those pounds.

I really want to take this kids bowling this week. There is a special at one of the places in the small city, only one dollar a game, with free shoe rental. I don't know if I can even talk to order the shoes today though. And the little girls with their runny noses...

Paul is working from home. So he is sitting here on his computer, and Jonathan is trying to put together his Hotwheels RevUp track...poor Jon. He finally understands that Daddy is working, and can't just talk him through it. He got it together, but doesn't see very interested in it since Daddy can't play with him....I guess I can go play cars....

Monday, December 26, 2011

getting motivated...

Okay...I haven't been exactly dropping the pounds lately. I haven't gained, so that's good. But I am getting motivated to get beyond this limbo, and start losing again. Yesterday I had a few chocolates, and a few squares of that evil Godiva bar with salted toffee...and a piece of pumpkin pie with just made whipped cream. I only sampled the mashed potatoes with our ham dinner, and was careful the rest of the day...

So anyways, this morning I woke up telling myself that today I would be back on track, on strict track. It did not help that I woke up with a sore throat and feeling lousy...then I saw that pumpkin pie sitting there on the table. I took Rosie out into the falling snow, we tromped all the way down the road, and I thought about that pumkin pie. I reasoned that I could have a piece for breakfast, it wouldn't be that bad. I reasoned that I could just have a little taste with my breakfast. Then I reminded myself that eating yummy things is so temporary, and that I need to get my satisfaction from being faithful to this new positive life-change, or as I like to say, my DIET. So the pie is still there, and I have not had any today. I just had my oatmeal with crunchy peanutbutter, and blueberries. And coffee.

And now it is time to get busy, maybe I will write about our Christmas later.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

merry christmas!!!

Kitty Kitten holding my favorite present, from Emily. I opened it up and shared it so I wouldn't eat the whole thing...salted toffee in milk chocolate. I recommend it it anyone who loves chocolate. yum.
Jonathan got a new Easy Bake oven...he could not wait to make a cake.
Charlotte Claire took a little nap with her new doll.

Kathryn, Ashley, Evelyn, Abigail with Char, Suzanne, Mirielle...
Emily with her little sisters...
Aaron and Benjamin playing Wii Dance, while Mirielle laughs her head off...

Suze colored this picture...she wasn't thrilled to get photographed with it.
Charlotte Claire and I...
My soldier son Benjamin, holding all the stockings before I filled them...I love seeing him lounging on the couch, like he never left home.

And it has been a wonderful day. Now, we are having pumpkin pie....

Saturday, December 24, 2011

christmas eve and secret santa

Me on Christmas eve morning after my snowy walk with Rosie...
Suzanne made an ice cream stand for the dollhouse people.

Char with Suze's ice cream stand.
Evelyn Joy, my beautiful 12 year old daughter...she cut her curly hair, I think it is adorable. She will hate me for putting this on here, but hey, she ran in front of the camera...
Camille loves Ashley...and so do I. Having her here isn't like having company, it is like having family around. When she gets up in the morning and I am sitting here on my computer having coffee and the counter is full of dishes and the floor is decorated with various random items, I don't feel like I should jump up and get busy. That is my definition of when a person is "family". (and Debbie, that is how I manage to blog every day. ha.)
I like how Suze is holding Camille and Ashley up on the couch has Charlotte Claire on her lap...we need more babies here!
Joseph is so handsome with his hair cut.
Sonja, Joseph, Mali, Aaron, Ben...I like how Joe and Aaron are holding General Thunder and Kitty Kitten
Ashley, Char, Evelyn, and Abigail
No one around here appreciates my attempts to capture memories...this is Emily.
Emily always picks out the best presents. She had Camille's name, and got her these tiny princess books, a huge Rapunzel coloring book, and shiny new crayons. (she also helped Jon pick out his s.s. gift, plus she paid for it.)
Joseph - 20, Mali - 17, and Aaron - 19...Jonathan got Mali the polar bear hat for secret Santa.
The tree is still standing.

The snow is falling down gently, the ground is covered and the road is rather slippery for clumsy me with my strong tugging dog. I didn't do the hills, but turned around and went the other way up the road instead. Rosie loves the snow. She either is really excited about Christmas or she is just plain hyped up because of the white stuff on the ground, but she was crazy this morning. It was neat because I could see all the animal tracks that she was sniffing.

I am excited about Christmas too. We did our Secret Santa last night because everyone was here, and we just wanted to. Ashley had my name and got me two new pairs of slippers, purple furry boots, and dearfoams fuzzy clogs. Paul had Jon's name, and got him a pocket car, a little remote control thing the size of a Matchbox car. I got messed up with my secret Santa, of course, again. I thought I had Mirielle, and was all set, then I realized that Camille had her...and Char had Sonja...and I had Evelyn. Well, I knew last month that I had Evelyn, and I wrapped her gift and put it aside in my room. When we went to Jamaica, the kids put all the wrapped presents from my room under the tree, including Ev's. Well...last night when it was time to get out the s.s. presents...uh-oh...I mistakenly thought I had Mirielle, then I remembered that was who Camille had, then I looked for Ev's stuff, and it wasn't there...blah. I gave her the new Wii I had bought since ours was broken. Now our old one works again, but the new one came with the game Wii Dance 3, which the girls wanted, so...Evelyn was happy and thrilled. Now we have an extra Motion Plus remote, too. I also gave her a Babies game, in which you choose clothes, ect., for your Wii baby.

Paul and Samuel went out to the wildlife refuge for a hike. We are supposed to be having brunch this morning. The tree is lit, the kids are excited, Kitty Kitten is attacking Jon's pocket car.

I am happy. But, as always on the holidays, I miss my parents. I miss my brother. My brother Billy was always there on Christmas, at my brother Bob's house, with his stuffing/black olive/sausage snacks, and his dark humor. Of course I remember the Christmases of our childhood too, when he got his Big Jim camper and the Mighty-Mo truck, and the Creepy Crawlers Maker. Mostly I miss my mother though. I wanted to call her this morning so badly it made me cry. She would want to know every single gift that was exchanged last night, and she would be so proud of the way the older kids spent their own money on the things they so thoughtfully chose for their siblings. (Joseph bought Margaret the Sergeant Pepper Album from the Beatles, and some Starbuck's coffee). She would be so proud of me that I have lost this weight, I know it broke her heart to see me so heavy for all those years, but she never said anything. She would have been thrilled if she just could have been here last night, in the midst of all the noise and mayem. I guess that I am now the one who gets slippers for Christmas is sad, I used to buy them for her. When I was out shopping, sometimes I would see something and think, "Gramma would like that...oh yeah, not." Because it is not always in the forefront of my mind that she is no longer here. I have been mighty thankful for her lately. Thankful that she taught me by example that it is okay to let kids cook and make messes and enjoy life. Thankful that she never got uptight about anything. Thankful that she always always gave me the time of day, and no story was too boring for her to listen to. I just plain miss her and would give anything to spend one more day with her.

And now that I have made myself cry, I shall go get busy around here, for there is no such thing as a true day off...(oh, but yesterday I had one, sort of...Abigail had to do errands, so I went with her...we walked to Pizza Hut while her car was being fixed and had lunch and talked and talked and talked...neither of us liked all the hours spent doing banking and waiting for the car to get fixed, but we made the most of it, and it was indeed like a day off...)(we also went to Walmart on one of the worst Walmart days of the year, to get dog food and cat food and some topping for Mirielle's homemade New York THAT was an adventure...)

Friday, December 23, 2011

day off today...

Sam, Margaret, Sonja, Jonathan, and Charlotte Claire are home today. Char has a cold, but the others are fine and healthy. Just starting vacation early. Paul has the day off too. So we stayed up way too late last night...

The Syracuse University Basketball team is number ONE in the nation. I ended up working at the dome yesterday, no staying home and catching up for me. It is fun working there, catching glimpses of the game. I did cash last night, and it wasn't as bad as I dreaded it to be.

Paul brought pizza for the kids for dinner, and extra presents for Margaret's birthday, some music cds. He was glad to have some time with them, that's why I volunteered to take his place at the dome.

It is snowing out! Snow for Christmas! It is cozy in here, once again. We are sitting around talking, having coffee, Camille is on the arm of my chair reading a book. Char is on the couch with lots of blankets, the tree is lit up.

As usual in life though, there are things that aren't perfect. There are things I am tempted to worry about that I can't write about on here. There is sadness in life...we live like we aren't actually going to die someday. The bonds we form here with friends and family and children are so strong and feel so permanent, it is hard to realize that death is inevitable. Of course I don't want to waste time jumping off bridges until I come to them, but there are thoughts. And there are things that go on with older kids sometimes that leave me totally devoid of any feeling of competency at all.

And Miss Camille is waiting for me to read her book...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

december birthdays

December birthdays can be rip-offs, according to my December birthday children, of which I have three. Okay, I am guilty, poor Aaron got only one thing for his, a t-shirt no less. But it WAS from A.E., a nice store in the mall, and I did pay too much for it. Well, today is Margaret Cheryl's 15th birthday, and I got her a few nice things. Just to make sure she doesn't feel slighted because it is so close to Christmas.

Our Mr. Swanson is actually, um, MISS Swanson. Kitty Kitten is a girl. oops. Took the guy's word for it when we got him, I mean her, never looked. One of the kids did look yesterday, and, um...the first thing they started to ask is Please Please Please can she have kittens! No, she is going to the vet and getting fixed. Because if she has kittens, it will break my heart to give them all away.

Kathryn is 13 years old. She has an ipod, a hand-me-down from her older brother. It has a cracked screen, but it works. She texted me from school like five times yesterday to please pick her up, and Evelyn. So I did. Mirielle, Camille, and I...we went to Kohl's for Margaret's birthday presents with our 15% off coupon...then to Aldi for some Christmas treats, like a pineapple and some shrimp. Then to Wegman's for a few more things, then home. I had made the meatballs before I left, and called home and had Joseph put them in the oven. After putting away the groceries, Jonathan and I wrapped some things, then it was dinner time. I had some canned bean sprouts with my meatballs instead of pasta, not too bad. I baked some chocolate chip cookies from dough I had made the night before, and ate a few spoons of dough. I can pass up the cookies, but the cookie dough, yum!

Anyway...after dinner, I went to the town board meeting. Without boring you with all the details I will say this: when the board classified the anticipated noise level as a "minimal impact", I protested, said it would not just be the cars racing through the mud that would be loud, but the attendees, cheering and yelling, and the music, ect...the neighbor who is proposing this project looked at me and suggested that my boys would be his best customers and that one of my sons used to ride his four wheeler all over his land. True, but what does that have to do with anything? I did not argue with him, since we were reminded to keep the meeting civil, and it was very distasteful to see the other neighbors getting offended and personal about things. Anyway, the board gave their recommendation to the county: The project will have a negative impact on the environment overall. Now the county will do their own study, then we will move onto other issues, such as re-zoning and legal matters. It will be a while before we know anything, probably February. I hope and pray that no Mud Bog Racetrack is born next door...he is seriously petitioning for parking for 1000, yes ONE THOUSAND cars!!! blah.

After the meeting, I went to my niece's house to pick up Benjamin and sister was there, as were her other girls...Will was in bed, but those little baby twins weren't! I held Sebastian Peter for a while, and fell head over heels. He is a sweetie! He is so tiny! He was doing that sucking-while-sleeping thing, oh so cute...I haven't held little Linnea yet, but I will one of these days.

More cookies today, cleaning up the house, doing some laundry...good times. I am so excited about Christmas, and love having Ben and Ashley here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

fifteen years ago tomorrow...

I got a huge Christmas present! Huge, yet tiny. 8 pounds seven ounces of pure joy, Margaret Cheryl. She was born in the early afternoon, my ninth child, after a blissfully easy labor. Emily was almost twelve, Abigail had just turned ten, Benjamin was 8, Mirielle was 6, Joseph was 5, Aaron was 4, Mali Rose was 2, and Samuel was sixteen months old. Hmm, five kids five years old and under. How in the heck did I manage? I brought my little bundle of Christmas joy home from the hospital on Christmas eve...and as per tradition, we were going to my brother's house for our annual family get-together. Well.. Mirielle started throwing up. Paul stayed home with her. I did have a girl there helping me, Miss Kim, so we went to my brother's house, me driving that big van through the wasn't as bad as it sounds, I had lots of help once I got there. How did I get them all dressed and out the door though?

Margaret...she is so funny. See, we live out in the country. Corn fields behind us, down the road are cows. People who live in the country have mice in their houses sometimes. We have been very fortunate, not too many mice, just one here and there that we have known about anyway. We have two kitties in the house, which are probably good deterrents. Anyway, Margaret was lying in bed last night and heard a noise in the heat duct over her bed. There was a mouse! She flipped. She was SO upset. She wanted me to DO SOMETHING. Um, like what? It was gone by the time I got there...anyway, she got Suze to duct tape up her heat vent. Poor girl, I don't think she slept very well. I tried to tell her that little mousies don't hurt people. We will set traps, and take care of him/them (I do not believe for a second that there is just one mouse...what, one little preacher mouse, a celibate mousie?) is Marg's last day of being fourteen. I need to get her something for her birthday. We also need dog food and pullups, for Miss Camille at night. I do not really want to go anywhere, but...

So this morning it was dark out when I got up. Really dark. So I made a pot of coffee, and some pancakes with brown sugar and sprinkles. The kids love me when they get up and I am making a hot breakfast. I almost burned the house down, according to Paul, since I momentarily forgot to turn off the stove burner. I was going to turn it off, but I also was putting my sneakers on for my walk when he discovered it. Kathryn pointed out that, "Mom yelled at ME when I left it on last week." oops, sorry Kap. Rosie did not think this was fun. She was whining in her cage. I finally brought her out for a cheaty little walk. By the time the sun comes up there isn't time for our mile+ walk.

After the first trip kids go out the door, it is time to wake Sonja, Jonathan, and Charlotte Claire. I get their clothes out, and serve them breakfast at the Little Tikes table in the living room, it is warmer and cozier. After getting them fed and washed and brushed, they go out the door to school. Jonathan stayed home today...poor kid, he wanted to be with Ben and Ashley, but they already left to go shopping and visit her brothers. Oh well, he can come with me today.

I have bedding in the wash, and more waiting to go in. The dishwasher was done after our dinner last night, but there are tons more dirty since then...(there were only ten of us last night, I made French Toast, sausage, bacon, and an omelet for me). (it was a nice and cozy dinner with candles lit...except for Camille decided to cry and fuss, she was probably unconsciously punishing me for leaving her the other day...she does that...)(she finally stopped and was as good as gold, but my omelet was cold by then...)

I really want to get the stockings filled so I can see if I have way too much or not nearly enough...

Oh I go.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

do i really have to get up?

Kitty kitten is sitting between my computer and me. He is cuddly and warm and purring. I just finished my afternoon coffee, it is getting darkish in here. The tree lights are on, and it is cozy. Jon is playing Wii, Sonja is having pretzels and peanutbutter, Suzanne is doing pull-ups as usual, Kathryn is playing with the princesses, and Evelyn is having some cheezies. Sonja does not want to go to the concert, but Jonathan does. I do not want to go either, but don't tell them.

I have towels in the wash, and need to fix something for dinner. I have been gone today, so I didn't do much around here. Aaron did have an ear infection. Poor kid went to BJ's with me, one day after his surgery and with his ear hurting. I tried to hurry, I really did.

I think I inadvertently made Ashley feel bad, and I wish I could do a re-do. I love her to pieces, she is a sweet girl. I want to be the nice mother-in-law, one who lets her be who she is with no demands, one she doesn't have to pretend to like. I just need to think before I speak! blah.

Does anyone else out there turn into Mama Bear when men look at their daughters? rrr, I hate it. Okay, a glance is forgivable, but there is this guy who works at BJs, I won't say what I wanted to do, but I do not like him. He is creepy, he looks at even my younger girls. Not once or twice, but this drooly-staring thing, I hate it. Mirielle was the IceQueen when we walked by him the second time today, I was proud of her. She simply looked the other way and ignored him. I wanted to say something mean to him. Not nice, am I?

Sonja is sitting her saying that she wants either glasses, a broken arm, or a broken leg, or braces. But not all of them. What is she thinking?

Well...time marches on, and here I sit with comfy Kitten....procrastinating....

clear and cold and sunny and busy...

Aaron woke up early this morning. He has an earache that hurts badly. So...called the dr., and yes, he needs to be seen. He just had surgery yesterday, so if he has some bad germs hanging around it would be good to get an antibiotic. Mirielle has a dentist appointment in the small city, but since Aaron feels rotten I might go with him. That means changing my plans which included Doing Not Much today, ha. After sitting around in the hospital all day yesterday, I really wanted to putter around here and do some stuff. And, I read a hundred pages of , "The Help", and I want to finish it.

Joseph is an interesting companion. He is twenty years old, he did cut his long curls recently, so he now looks respectable and handsome again. He went and took some allergy medicine before we left yesterday, so he slept in those hospital waiting rooms, sitting up. I couldn't manage to do that, every time I dozed, I almost fell out of the chair. So I read my book and I watched people. I saw a teenage boy who was with two workers of a group home as his guardians, he was mentally challenged I suppose...but he was just plain happy. His guardians explained that he thinks everything is just fun. I did not feel sorry for him, no, that boy has it made. The ladies with him just loved him. I also saw a young couple with a fussy two year old getting tonsils out. They were more interested in their phones than they were in him. At least yesterday. I saw a young black dad with a child named Pharaoh, and a lovely mom who thought the sun rose and set on her sweet little non-verbal, non-walking pre-teen son who did NOT want to be there - it brought tears to my eyes how doting she was. So, basically I did not get bored.

And, someone prayed for me and my drive home. It was amazing! It was short and light and my eyelids did not try to stick together at all! I was driving along, waiting for when I got too tired, and it did not happen, then I realized that I was just being blessed. It was really amazing. It did not live up to my dread.

Rosie-The-Bad dog escaped this morning when the kids were leaving for school. I was getting a bag of candy out for Sonja's class party, and the bus came, and they left the door open...blah, she chased the bus, barking and barking, ignoring me. rrr. After the bus drove down the road, she ran off to the neighbors. I went out a few minutes later, and she was guarding the end of the driveway. She likes to lie there and keep watch for danger, like UPS trucks and the mailman. The garbage man has made it clear that if she is there, he does not stop and pick up our garbage. So...I had to go get her. She got up and started to take off again, but I called her so nicely, she came to me! I praised her to the skies, brought her in and gave her treats, even though I wanted to kick her disobedient little but all the way up the deck steps.

Emily made a cake. Homemade butter cake with fluffy white frosting and almonds. And coconut. She brought it over. Nobody seems to like it. Nobody except for me. blah. I take a taste here and there...oh, it is so good. Ben had some last night, now it is almost gone. I think I will throw the rest away. It is calling me like crazy, torturing me. I am easily tortured these days, there is this lie whispering to me that says that It Is The Holidays, It Is Okay. Well, that may be well and true for most people, but I need to lose this weight! This morning I saw a beautiful number, and I don't want to go back above it! It is just a beautiful thing to get on that scale and see lower and lower numbers! I feel like I have been stuck in the mud for a while, and really want to get moving on this thing. My exercise has been...well, yesterday, none. Today I shall move it somehow.

Someone has eaten all the food again. Where oh where does it go? Bananas and apples and yogurt and milk and cheese....

I need to make a meal plan. We have decided what to have on Christmas Eve, and Christmas day, but that is about it...oh, and pizza on Friday night. Tonight is the elementary school chorus concert. Paul and Emily and Ben and Ashley and Mirielle, and Joseph and Mali, and Sam are working at the dome for a basketball game, so it is just me...and Abigail and Aaron, and Margaret and Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Charlotte Claire, and Camille going to watch Jonathan and Sonja sing. Well, I don't know if Aaron will go.

Well, time to move it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

and the bar is out!!!

And he took it home with him. After all, it was in him for over three years.

The surgery went well, it took all the live-long day, but we got home by seven this evening after getting up at four a.m. and leaving by four thirty. Long long day. Aaron was sick from the anesthesia again, so it took a while for us to be able to leave.

Mirielle made dinner, and it was all cleaned up when we walked in, yay.

Tonight we just hung out and relaxed with Ben and Ashley.

Longer post tomorrow.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

sunday break

And just so no one thinks everything here is like a magazine,... imagine my surprise and delight when I wandered into the Princesses' room yesterday after cleaning and doing laundry and finishing up wrapping things...what the heck? They decorated with toilet paper! First they dumped out lots of stuff, because they were "looking for things". blah. Evelyn saved the day and had them pick it all up, very patiently too.

Benjamin and Ashley are home! I wanted to take pictures of them hugging Paul, and of them hugging the little ones this morning, but I am not good at interrupting sincere moments with my camera. It makes me feel so invading.

We planned to have a family photo taken today...but oops, Emily is working today! We went to church this morning: 18 of us. Everyone except for Emily. The roast went in the oven before we left, and is smelling mighty good. I have to go peel some potatoes and get the carrots in the oven soon. It was 28 degrees when we got home, but sunny, so I took Rosie for our walk. (Our morning one was small and cheaty, brr!) There is snow on the ground, so it was lovely out, despite the chill.

Right now I am finishing my afternoon coffee, which I had with two of the yummiest butter cut out cookies I have ever had. I tried a new recipe this year and they are good. I should NOT eat cookies, was lunch. A few almonds, an apple, and two cookies.

The world can be such an awful place sometimes that I like reading good news...mysterious strangers paying layaway bills for Kmart and Walmart nice! One lady paid several, plus handed out some $50 bills, because her husband had recently passed away, and she said she didn't need the money...she simply told the people as she paid their bills, "Remember Ben", who mus have been her husband.

Well....time to get to the dinner....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

it's beginning to look alot like...

our poor looks beautiful to the little ones...but Margaret put her second grade Christmas ornament over the angel...and the tree looks like it might fall over...

Cookies... I tried to reason with Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille that the cookies look nice with less sprinkles. Jon said that was JUST AN OPINION. They insist the ones covered in them taste better and look better...

It snowed last night, so we woke up to that Christmas-y brightness. The kids were already in their snowpants by the time I got out here this morning. I joined them. We went out and romped around with Rosie, got the sleds out, they went down the swingset slide on sleds. Any semblance of order in the kitchen/dining room has been infringed on by the mitten bin and the boots...

And someone still has a suitcase from a recent trip to Jamaica, in the, about that...I AM going to take care of it...I WAS going to the other day, but...well, I am probably going to do it today.

When we came in this morning, Kathryn was making French Toast. How nice, the little girls just got their boots and mittens off and had a hot breakfast. They had some tea, too, and now they are playing dolls. I am having my oameal and coffee, and sitting here seeing all the things that have to be done. It is Saturday, and I would like to just do fun things, but there is always something housewife-y to do. I have already swept the kitchen, but it needs mopping again, and ect. I feel like I am the only one who cares around here and trying to get them to work with me and help is like pulling teeth. As soon as I say their names sometimes, they say, "MOM!", dragging it out to three sylables. They are mostly still sleeping, the older ones, except for Margaret and Kathryn, who went shopping with Abigail.

I plan to stay in today...except I might go see THE BABIES!!!! Yes, they were born! My sister is grandmother to twins! Their names are Sebastian Peter and Linnea Rene. Sebastian was born first, and that's all I know. They were also born naturally, which is always nice with twins. I can't wait to meet them. My sister was supposed to be there when they were born, both Thomas and Susan wanted her there. But...the hospital people only let Thomas in, said it was just in case they had to do emergency surgery. Cheryl said she would leave if that happened, but it was firm and final, she could not go in. She was not very happy about it. I felt bad for her. Her name was on the list of people who were authorized to be in for the birth, so I don't know if it was just the nurse who was on duty maybe loved rules and power, I don't know.

So I have lost my vacation weight plus an extra pound. I am telling myself that this does NOT mean I can sneak in some cookies here and there. It is just a total mind game, this weight loss thing. I know I rant about it too much, but it is my battle these days. I am fine most of the time with just eating healthy food, but sometimes, blah. By this time next year I plan to be done with all this weight, and be in maintenance mode for the rest of my life. I feel SO much better now having lost the 51 pounds. Vacation was better, the airplane seatbelts buckled easily with room to spare, I could sit in those previously terrifying pool lounge chairs without worrying about how in the heck I was going to get back up...

I am excited about Christmas yet I dread it. I am not organized. I am not very smart when it comes to the way I shop. It would probably be better if I just waited until November or so and got the kids what they really wanted for Christmas, instead of buying stuff all year cheap, and giving them stuff they might not really love. And it would be nice if I kept better track of stuff....I am going to be just as surprised as some of them when they open stuff, I don't remember what I wrapped for whom. I started with a list. I have several lists, actually. But lists are not the magic answer for people like me, because a list has to be maintained. I did get them things they wanted, but I hope I didn't forget any special requests.

And...I really should get moving...

Friday, December 16, 2011

friday friday friday!

Aah, the weekend, time to relax. ha. First of all, my big plans to paint? ha. ha ha ha. I had already abandoned them when my sister called me yesterday and asked me if I had already been to Walmart, and I didn't have a clue what she was talking about. See, I wrapped presents yesterday. For a few hours. Camille helped me, she can wrap one all by herself if I cut the paper for her. And it doesn't look too different from the ones I wrap. Evelyn was here, so she finished up for me for only five dollars. I did laundry and sweeping and cleaning up, and some exercise...

Dinner is always my big dilemma. You would think I would have it down pat by now. But no, it is the daily dread...what the heck to feed fifteen or so people. I decided on chicken soup. I chopped up chicken breast, rolled it in flour and chicken seasoning, browned it up, added it to three cans of Cream of Chicken soup with lots of water, and let it simmer...then I got to what I really wanted to do, making a huge batch of cut out cookie dough. As I was making the cookies, YAY, Emily came in...with regular clothes, as Jonny pointed out, which meant she was not on her way to work, and would be staying a while. Yay! Because guess what? Emily likes to make a pot of soup. I told her she could do whatever she wanted with it...I don't know what she did, but it was good. Corn, veggies, seasoning...she also made a huge batch of biscuits. Thank you, Em!

We didn't frost the cookies yet, that we shall do this afternoon. I want to have everything else done so the kids can come in the door and frost cookies and have tea, and I shall be patient and not nag them about too many sprinkles, and I will remind them ever-so-gently not to lick their fingers or they are done....

Evelyn was helping me with the cut outs last night...the dough was kind of sticky, and the first rollouts weren't coming out well, and she quit, said it was stressful because of MOM. What? Was I really being naggy? Ouch! I do not want to be naggy! Can I have a re-do? blah.

Today we are going on an outing, so I had better get my lazy self out of this chair. Emily and Joseph and Aaron and Mirielle and Mali and Camille and I....where will we go? What will we do? I love it!!! I have to get a few Secret Santa presents still, and need more blueberries for my oatmeal...I want to do a quick meal plan with Mirielle before we go, too.

Ben and Ashley get home tomorrow!!!! He loves cut out cookies, so we will have a huge plate of them ready for him. I would also like to make some chocolate chip with red and green M&M's. blah, I need to duct tape my self-destructive mouth closed for the next two weeks. I ate so well yesterday, yet the cookie dough I tasted...and tasted...and tasted...blah. I like the dough better than the cookies...until the cookies come out of the oven, that is...

Time to go...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

back to regular life...

Ha, "regular". Actually it is really good here. Mirielle, Joseph, Aaron, and Mali are all on college break, so yesterday it was a bit hard to leave with Kathryn to bring her to the dr. (she has migraines, it seems). The boys had "bling" on kitty, a nice string of beads which drove Kitty crazy, made him go in circles...they are just glad to have some down time, and it is so nice to have them around. I tried to talk them into helping me paint the kitchen, but they are being brats about it. I might have to put my foot down...

It is cozy in here. Lights in the windows and the tree lit up, the stockings are washed and drying on the kitchen chairs, ready to hang, 17 of them. I still have presents to wrap. And, as usual, I have lost track of what I have gotten for whom. Some of them will get more than others, but they are used to that. We are doing, "Secret Santa", and I know who alot of them have, primarily because I have to buy the gifts for them. This year I actually remembered to get something for the person I have. Hey, between the gifts they have to get for school exchanges, the things they like to get for their friends, is a bit crazy.

Mali made Muddy Buddies last night, Chex cereal with peanut butter, tons of chocolate chips melted, and confectioner's sugar on top...oh dear, I sampled a bit, and was like, "Kids, eat these up quick!" It is the season for suffering, for me. It is time to make those yummy cut out cookies. I think I will chew gum as I make them so I don't eat all the broken ones. Or all the crispy ones. Or all the ones that just look good.

Vacation weight: almost gone. I gained a lovely five pounds, which is No Fair. In six stinkin' days. And that was being careful! Ha, not TOO careful. The desserts...even in moderation, they pack it on...and the drinks, those frozen slushie ones are full of sugar...anyway, it was totally worth it, but I am glad that I am back down to only one pound more than when I left. I shall be careful about cookies and fudge, really careful.

Benjamin and Ashley will be here on Saturday, yay! Aaron's surgery is on Monday, not yay. I just hope for clear weather because I will be driving right on the southern shore of Lake Snow Machine, a.k.a Ontario. I live in Snow Country and hate driving in snow. The tension gives me major headaches. We also want to schedule a family photo before the surgery, since it might be a while before Aaron feels like getting his picture taken.

Hmm, I think I will guilt the older ones into helping me paint the kitchen. There is no "good" time to do it, we just have to do it while they are home. Joseph DID say he would do the whole thing if I let him pick the color, but since I am not stupid, and since I remember when he wanted black for his room and we settled on dark chocolate brown, I said, "No, thank you."

Perhaps I will just get sweetie-pie little Camille dressed and go up to Walmart and get a few cans, some brushes, and a few roller covers...wait, I should do a little spackling first...hmm, I think I will just do this. After all, it is Christmas, and they will feel obligated to help...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

pics from jamaica

handsome guy walking toward me...

no words for that sky

pool bar
blurry, but we only got a few together, so...
happy feet
A relaxed me...

Our best vacation yet. Excellent, fun, relaxing. The sun was hot, the food was good, the pool was cool, the ocean was warm. We connected and talked and it went by too fast....

Now, home and reality. Kathryn has had these headaches, now her ears hurt, so I have to call the dr. about her. I haven't been home these last two days, between shopping on Monday and going to the big city yesterday, so there is much to catch up on around here. Yes, things to do.

And in it all, there is much opportunity to get those treasures in heaven. In the end, God will not care if we did the things we set out to do, if our houses got cleaned and organized. The inside of the cup is what needs to be cleansed. So off I go, to do what I can and be saved as much as possible while doing it...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

three ring circus here....

Yeah, I knew I had to take Aaron to his pre-surgery appointment. What I didn't know was that it was in a big city two and a half hours away. We have three vehicles. Paul had to be at work in one direction, Joseph a college final in a different city, Mirielle had to be in the big city for a college final...details, details. I won't bore you with them, but off on our trip to the big city we went. Camille, and Suzanne because I let her skip school and come with us. (She seemed like she needed some time with me, and I really needed some time with her (she said she did NOT miss me when I got home from Jamaica, I think she was a little put out that we had left for so many days, I don't know... anyway...))

Aaron had a bar put in his chest three years ago to fix his depressed sternum, it was deep enough to put a cereal bowl he had this corrective surgery done, in which a bar with a "U" shape in the middle was inserted all the way across the chest, then flipped, which forced the sternum was extremely painful for him, but it fixed the problem, allowing him to breathe better.

Now it is time to get the bar removed. We have to go in next Monday at 7a.m. That means waking up at like four in the morning. It is planned for outpatient, but some kids have to stay we are going to try to reserve a room in the Ronald McDonald house a few blocks from the hospital just in case.

In case I don't seem overjoyed about this, well, see, I am tired. Never mind that I just got back from vacation. I still am tired. Today WAS a good day. I spent it with Aaron...he just turned 19 the other day, and he doesn't always have too much to say to me, so it was nice to have some time together. We stopped at a different Target on the way home, and at a Chinese buffet. Camille got her money's worth, jello and chocolate pudding. I stayed away from everything but the chicken, which was bad enough. Camille explained to us how princesses have, "Royal" spoons, and "Royal" drinks, ect, ect, she also danced for us, like a princess does. She has no consciousness at all of other people in the room.

She lost the new bunny that the lady in Medical Imaging gave to her for being a good little sister. I think it is in that far-away Target. She insists we are going back to get that bunny, which she named, "Springy", tomorrow. No, we aren't.

Suzanne told Kathryn about the missing bunny, so Kathryn unloaded two boxes of her own stuffed animals to Camille...she is forgetting Springy now...

So. We got home from the far-away hospital in the far-away city...we had to stop at the store for ice cream for Abigail's birthday party, and cream cheese for the frosting Mirielle was making for the banana cake. Into the house, cooking chicken, serving up the salad and rice and singing to Abigail...too much fun...the kids got to bed too late, all hopped up on the yummy dessert, and because Emily stopped in after work to pick up Margaret's violin (it only has three strings, Emily doesn't think that will for Margaret's birthday, which is on the 22nd, Em is putting new strings on it for her...) I am sitting down, finally. Today is done today was fun tomorrow is another one. Or some thing like that. Perhaps tomorrow I will have the time and the patience for vacation pictures...

Oh, and my niece is having those babies soon! I can't wait to meet them!!! Two babies! I bought them fuzzy fleecy sleepers yesterday, and some Johnson's Baby bath today...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

ahh, home again...

And no pictures yet, because the camera cord took off and hid while I was gone. So I will just have to use words, for tonight anyway...

Blue. Blue skies, a few clouds floating on the breeze. Blue water. The brilliant turquoise blue water of the warm ocean. The blue water in the infinity pool, cool and refreshing. The yummy drink the nice bartender made us on our last night, we don't know what it was, but it was blue and icy and cold, and we really liked it.

We left here on Sunday morning, and by late afternoon we were in the pool there in Jamaica. Monday morning there was a quick shower, but it cleared up and no more rain all week except for during the night. We left our cares behind, and talked. We laughed our heads off, and we walked around holding hands, and we just plain liked each other. We made friends, we relaxed, we bragged about our kids.

Jerk chicken, jerk pork...yum. I ate it every single day. Veggies, fruits, chicken...we went to the steak restaurant, to the Japanese restaurant...I was sort of well behaved, but that is for a different post.

Now we are home. I have washed socks and towels, swept the floors and brushed girls' hair, made dinner and picked things up and walked was done in a good spirit though, because I am one happy mama to be back home with all these kids. Absence does make the heart grow fonder. I had a lot of time to think about things, so today I got to try out all the new goodness and patience I was bound and determined to have.

Seeing Camille again was sweetness! I missed her so much, especially because there was a little girl down there at the resort with an Ariel doll, always in her arms...

Rosie-The-Bad dog...oh, she was one happy pup to see me again. She can wag her whole body, that dog. She could not stop whining.

Yes, it is good to be home. For all the messes and loudness, it is home sweet home.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

hot and sunburned....

Paul brought his computer, so we are spending six bucks to go online for a few hours, primarily to check on things at home. Uneventful, thankfully. Not our trip, things at home.

Here, things are rather uneventful too. Wonderfully and peacefully uneventful. I have relaxed, and it is enjoyable. The skies were blue and the sunshine brilliant today, and we are red. The food is so good, yes I have sampled some desserts.

Cheryl, where are you?!! I thought you would write some good stories...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

just a few pictures, and goodbye

Our lovely tree...
The Christmas Train.
Camille "under arrested" Suzanne. No, we don't have a lot of boys. But they still like to play cops.
Suzanne, Camille and Charlotte Claire
Paul calls her, "Dum-Dum".

There are chicken wings in the oven, and the pizza dough is rising. My little break is almost over. The tree is up and decorated, it is warm and cozy in here. Abigail is visiting, and three cousins are here. We shall have a feast-y evening. I am almost sad to be leaving these guys, but...I will anyway!

last day home for a bit...

I know, I know, it is getting old, talking about going to Jamaica. But it is finally happening! Tomorrow morning we will be getting up in the darkness and driving to the airport, poor Mirielle has to get up and bring us. We will arrive there in the afternoon and hopefully get in a little sunshine and a swim.

Paul is getting the tree right now. I moved furniture and made a space for it. There is excitement in the air. The little girls are eating grapefruit, Kathryn is doing the dishwasher, Rosie is napping under my footrest, and I am taking a break from cleaning up this place, the never ending job.

I am going to take a quick trip to the store today to get some cheese for pizzas, and some greens for salads. And something for Charlotte Claire's class snack, which is Monday, so Mirielle doesn't have to make something for her.

My suitcase is packed. I even put my sneakers in there, since I am not going for a walk in the dark tomorrow morning. Yes, I plan to exercise when we are there, I didn't work this hard to gain ten pounds back in one week. Ha, I really hope I don't. All that jerk chicken, yum. And the frozen lime slushies, and the fresh-fried donuts with all the toppings...yes, they fry the to order, how am I going to resist? The good thing is we will eat lunch in our swimsuits at the beach buffet, it is hard to pile one's plate up when one looks like ME in a bathing suit. Overall though, I am not going to worry too much about it. We will relax and have fun and make good choices and enjoy ourselves no matter what we have to eat. I do plan to have a nice steak dinner one night, yum. Sometimes they serve steak, grilled to order, at the lunch buffet. The price of beef has risen around here, so we don't eat it much anymore. Paul will go for the lobster or seafood, which I don't like.

Perhaps I will get a chance to get on here later and put up some Christmas tree pics, but I am afraid if I unpack my camera I will forget to re-pack it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

no, I am not single

Camille took this picture of me this morning.
I took this one of her.

I am not single, but I do have a bare ring finger. My fingers have actually gotten thinner. So my ring was loose...and yesterday I went to wiggle it around, as I guess I was in the habit of doing, and nothing was there! I must have lost it when I was running with Rosie, I don't know. I am not overly sad about losing it, since it was only a $14 Walmart band. My original band was cut off years ago, and thrown away in an old purse accidentally. But that is a different story. My older kids were bugging Paul at the dinner table last night, telling him that now is the time to get Mom a nice ring. I told them I do not want a nice ring, then if I lost it I would be more sad. They said I would not lose it because it would be a nice one that fit right. I would like to go up to Walmart and buy another one, but I have no vehicle today. I just don't want to go to Jamaica with no wedding ring, I will just get hit on too much, ha. No, I have my late mother's ring on my right hand, I will just pretend I am European. Or Paul can just be my boyfriend.

The kids went out the door to school this morning, all 8 of them. Joseph went to college, and the other college kids are going in a little while. Camille and I are going to get the living room ready for the Christmas tree. Jonathan is excited, he has his Lionel train set up, he wants to set it up so it goes around the tree. He ate his cereal on the floor with the train going around him, this morning. They all had their chocolate calendar, and cut the construction paper loop of their paper chain that Charlotte Claire brought home from kindergarten.

So I guess you could say they are getting excited about Christmas.

I got stressed out this morning, and I hate it. There weren't ten cups/mugs in the living room this morning like there were yesterday morning, but there were a few. Then someone knocked furiously at the bathroom door while the little ones were still sleeping, one girl smacked her sister for bumping into her, someone left and slammed the door, I called her back in and told her to close the door properly, which did not go over well. I was trying to be nice about things, but they still all get riled up when I put my foot down about anything in the morning. I do not like it when they all start telling me not to get after them in the morning. I simply stated that if they didn't leave such a trail, I would have nothing to get after them about. Oh, the stomping. blah, I want a re-do. I KNOW it is better not to try to discuss anything with them while they are getting ready for school, yet I did it again. blah. Dealing with one teenager can be challenging, but this was six of them. Well, Suze isn't technically a teenager yet number-wise, but she is smart and can be quite sarcastic. The thing that makes my heart ache is: they are really really good kids, and I love them. I do have to talk to them about stuff sometimes, and I hate hate hate when it gets fight-y. It is a learning process for me still, dealing with these guys and trying to keep this place afloat. It is much more important to have it good with them than it is to have everything in order. But I still try to do both.

The other day Sonja got to skip school and shop with me. As we were driving along, this terrible thought came into my head, as if I had jumped into the future, and was looking back at the day - with the thought, "I wish I had been nicer to her on that last day together." Okay, I do not think I am psychic, nor was I actually afraid that something bad was going to happen to Sonja, but still. Our days are numbered, and I don't think we really comprehend that. And for the record, I am always nice to Sonja anyway. But there is this Taking For Granted thing...I decided to just really make it a special day, talk to her and listen to her and spoil her a little.

My computer is not going to Jamaica with me. The internet costs per hour at the hotel we are going to, and I can live without it. So after tomorrow I will be On Vacation. It will rather kill me not to be able to write about things that happen, perhaps I will bring a notebook and a pen. Cheryl, perhaps you can write a few posts? Cheryl is expecting twin grandchildren this month, plus another grandchild in January. (this is very nice, because my nieces share their babies with their Aunt fact today is Gracie's birthday...nine years ago today I was with Kate when she was born, one of the very best days of my entire life)Anyway, Cheryl has been learning a thing or two about anxiety...perhaps she can write about it a little if she wants to, and encourage us a bit.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

did I forget to blog today?

oops. Must've been busy. I had to package up three things I sold on ebay, take them to the post office to ship, then take Mali shopping. She needed to get her Secret Santa gift, and I got her some shoes and some rain boots. Home again to make some dinner...meatballs with sauce on the side, wheat bread and butter for the kids, broccoli...homemade meatballs are always so good...seasoned bread crumbs, onions, garlic...oh yum.

Emily Anne stopped in for dinner. She is going to Jamaica! Emily, Abigail, Mirielle, and Mali! In January. For a week. They found a real bargain, and couldn't resist. They will have so much fun, and I would love to go with them.

In the Rescue Mission store, the Thrifty Shopper, I found myself a nice skirt and a shirt, plus a few cute little ornaments to bring home for the kids.

Okay, how apparent is it that I have nothing to say...the real truth is that there are several kids here in the living room, and I am way too nosy to sit here and concentrate when they are tomorrow...goodnight.