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, March 31, 2012

spring cleaning, updating the kitchen...

Our kitchen started out as a peachy-reddish color, which was actually nice and warm with the light blue countertops. Now, I wish I had never chosen blue countertops, but hey, I was only 26 years old when I picked things out for this place. We aren't even considering replacing the countertops right now, so I have to plan around them. And let's face it, they are generally decorated with things like bags of pears and lunchboxes anyway.

Now our kitchen is a color called, "English Ivy", which is a buttery off-white/pale yellow. I like it, but I want a change. I am thinking of either a warmer yellow, or a beige with a reddish blush. I am also going to paint the trim in there white, reluctantly, I like the warmth of the natural wood finish, but the one window that is replaced has a white grid, so....the thing is, I want to start this NOW, but if we are replacing windows, it would be silly to go and paint all that trim if is only going to be taken off...blah. I hate when I get that niggling Can't Stand Stuff feeling, yet it is the only thing that actually stirs me to action. I looked up some kitchens, to get some ideas, and guess what? I actually feel a tiny bit better, because there some ugly kitchens out there. Lime green, bright yellow, shiny red. ouch.

I bought Sonja K. an early birthday present yesterday, an area rug for her room, lavender and shaggy and fluffy. A large one, and a smaller one. The carpet in their room reflects the twenty years as a childrens' room, in which markers and paints were used,and Creepy Crawlers were made. And replacing it is not on our list yet. It was marked down from seventy bucks to twenty, so I couldn't resist. I also bought one for the living room for the same price, one I had been eyeing at half price, but just couldn't do it. When it went down to 70% off, I couldn't pass it up.

Paul is busy today. He is going to start some grape vines, and plant a rasberry bush. He was planning to get rid of one of the extra cars in the driveway, one of the three that no longer run, and just make our place look extra-classy, but the place doesn't take them on Saturdays. hmm. So, we are going to arrange to have them pick it up, which will be less money, but we want our driveway back, and our Class.

Poor Charlotte Claire woke up with a fever of 101 this morning (sorry Kim! Hope your kids have already had this one!) She was telling me her litany of complaints, then I told her it was Saturday, so she didn't have to bother telling me she was sick, but she said she REALLY FELT BAD. So I got the thermometer, and oops, she wasn't just trying to get a day off. Poor girl, she is just a bundle of blah on the couch. And poor Camille is over there trying in vain to play with her.

Yesterday....we went galavanting. Samuel and I, Sonja who said she didn't feel well and skipped school, Kathryn and Suze whom I picked up early, and Camille. We went to the toy store after all! I love that place! The three oldest kids went to Dick's Sporting Goods to look at the bow and arrows, which they now want, and we looked at toys. I had two coupons, so I did buy a few things. The Flynn Ryder/Rapunzel wedding set for $16, which we needed like a hole in the head, but...uh, it was fun? I also got Char a dolly double stroller for her birthday, which is in May.

Then we went through the McD's drivethrough...I had coffee and a parfait, and three YUCK McNuggets, but they were actually really yummy and greasy and hot and salty, dipped in salty Buffalo sauce. The other kids shared some fries (okay, I had three, then told Sam to slap my hand if it came creeping back). And they had a few other things, but we spent only 16 dollars, which seemed like a bargain, since they had been trying to talk me into going for Chinese.

After Target we went to Price-Chopper. Kathryn and Suzanne were Full Of The Devil. They had new sunglasses that they bought themselves in Target, and they were fooling around like crazy. Then...I got a phone call from Benjamin from Afghanistan! He sounded so clear, it was amazing that there I was walking around in the store, making those silent hand motions for my kids to be quiet and keep their distance so I could hear, talking to my son who is so far away. It made me cry when I hung up, because it was just so good to hear from him. He is growing up, my boy. They are still hanging around getting ready to go on their mission, which sounds dreadfully terrifying to this mom, and some of the guys are restless and complaining that they want to get moving. Ben tells them to relax and just chill. He has read two books, gone running and gotten a sunburn, and has had lots of naps. I told him it sounds good to me! He says it is very hot, and they are all in a tent, like two hundred guys sleeping in a small space. He said for me to send him some candy and some baby wipes. Which I have to go do, right now.

Friday, March 30, 2012

we do not need to go to the toystore, camille!

Or do we? I love The Big Toy Store. I love the dollhouse stuff. I love the baby dolls and doll strollers. I have two coupons in my purse from the mail, and I would really like to go. But we have enough toys. Camille is reading the ad that came in the morning paper, and she thinks we really need to go.

She didn't heed my pleas not to come visit me in the night. No, she showed up so stealthily at my bedside, reaching for a hug. I wonder if God sees I need just a bit more patience when I am the least tolerant. More softness and goodness, so that instead of seeing a little brat coming in to wreck my sleep, I see my little sweetie who just needs reassurance after waking up....a little angel who just wants Mama.

I still asked her this morning to please not do that again.

Because it wakes me up, and as she pads back to her room, I am wide awake!

I told her this morning that when she wakes up, not to worry about falling back to sleep, just use the time to talk to God. And of course I thought, "right back atcha, Mama!"

I have found that it is a useful time to talk to God, and we all know I have plenty to talk to Him about these days. Last night I thought about all of the my kids, and prayed for them, and for my siblings and their families, and my friends, and my blogger friends, and the soldiers, and and and.

So maybe there is a good reason for Camille to be tip-toeing into my room each night.

Today, we are going shopping. Samuel has no school today, according to him. There is a Stupid Field Trip, according to him. And he needs some sneakers, so we shall go find him some today. Miss Sonja must have overheard some plans, because her tummy started aching this morning. She is home too. Camille is very glad we are going bye-bye. I am picking Kathryn and Suzanne up early so they can come too.

We need a part for the truck that is sitting in the driveway. We need things like bananas and grapefruit and yogurt.

I had a hilarious dream last night. I received a letter inviting me to be a member of the Olympic Hockey team. I went in to the interview and told the guy that I do not skate (anymore), nor do I play hockey. He then asked me to tell about myself. Well, I said, I have sixteen children, I have lived the past 27+ years sleep-deprived and so busy I didn't know if I was coming or going, as my mother would say, then last year I decided to live a healthy lifestyle, lost fifty pounds in six months, and now, even though I am not making much progress, I am bound and determined to lose more and keep exercising. And, he said, "You are just the sort of person we are looking for!" It was so funny, that dream. Because I got all this really cool hockey equipment, and was showing it off to the boys in the youth group...I know, it was an outrageous dream, but how can my mind come up with such things? When I told the college kids my dream this morning, Mirielle said, "Mom, you are obsessed." I told her that I HAVE to be obsessed, otherwise I will stray from being careful, and I will fail. Lukewarmness and weightloss cannot co-exist for me. Perhaps when I lose all this, and am in the maintenance mode for the rest of my life I can relax a little. blah.

Then I got on the scale this morning and I am the lowest I have been yet on this journey! I think since Benjamin was born, and he is all grown up now. So it is working, slowly but surely! Yay!

Yesterday we had some company. My sister-in-law Kim came over with her two youngest, Danielle and Sean. Danielle is 9 months older than Char, and Sean is three months older than Camille. They get along fabulously. They played and played, and Sean did not want to leave when it was time to go home, he kept trying to convince his mom that he did not get to play! It was nice for Kim and I to sit and talk and have coffee. What a difference from when she would come over back in the day, when we both had like five kids five and under. phew. (we would both do it again, though!)

Why oh why am I such a procrastinator? Because I like the tremendous feeling of accomplishment I get when I finally make a simple phone call, like calling for an eye appointment for Suze, who failed her eye test in school?

Dinner last night: chicken alfredo, and broccoli. I just had a huge bowl of steaming hot spinach with lemon pepper, and a bowl of green beans with shreded chicken on it, and some hot sauce. I was hungry later so I had some nuts. The kids had chocolate ice cream, I stayed far away from that. I am finding it is dangerous to get too hungry though, all reason flies out the window when the tummy starts to growl. Esau found that out the hard way too. So I try to have those healthy snacks before I get starving.

Well, I have to get moving if I am going to pick the girls up on time. I will exercise first, it has to be a priority or it will fall by the wayside. (sometimes when I write things like this, I think, "wait, is this ME? Miss Donut? Miss Lazybones??" doesn't seem real!)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

please do not visit me during the night!

Camille...she has this new thing...she doesn't turn on any lights, just creeps into my room, comes next to my bed, and stands there until I acknowledge her and give her a hug. She then tiptoes back out, closes the door noiselessly (the older kids could take a lesson from her). And I am wide awake, ready to scream. Can't fall back to sleep. rrr. I have asked her very nicely to not visit me, but she just says she likes to. She says she just doesn't know why she does it. She says she needs to.

Anyway, here I am, alive and well. It is a chilly rainy day, the house looks like no one loves it, and I haven't lost that five pounds I was hoping to lose in the first few weeks of my Phase Two. But we did go to the pool yesterday afternoon. I was contemplating a long walk, then I looked at the kids and knew they would love it so much if I said, "who wants to go to the pool!??", and I was right. Some of them chose to use the gym and play basketball instead, but 8 of us got in the van and went.

Charlotte Claire is a fish. She goes underwater and jumps in like a champ. Camille wants to be a mermaid, so she started going under repeatedly. She wears floaties, because the water is four foot in the shallow part, so only her head would go under, but still. She jumps in from the side, and comes up with a look of surprise every single time. The Picky-I-Own-The-Pool lifeguard wasn't there, so it was relaxing. The poor kid who was lifeguard was so tired he kept nodding off when he sat down, so he would get up and walk, take a bit of a bar, turn on music, pace around, then sit down and start nodding again. I wanted to tell him to go ahead and sleep, I can watch my kids just fine, but I didn't want to let him know I saw him dozing.

Bone-in chicken breasts were in the oven, so when I got home, I just heated up some leftover Basmati rice, heated up some green beans and corn, and cut up a small watermelon. I love to see the kids eat after going in the pool, they clean their plates right up.

Oh well, here I sit....I need groceries again. It is the story of my life. Mostly milk and bread and fresh stuff. I wonder if Camille would like to go bye-bye....

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

aah, army on the brain...

Ashley heard from him this morning, he has an accurate address now. He won't be at that address, but his stuff will be forwarded to him. I'm telling you, it is distressing to me to read about the stuff to send to those guys. Flea collars for the sand fleas? Ben is so allergic to fleas. (but I guess the guys have been having bad reactions to the collars, too, since it is hot there and the chemicals in them) I basically spent yesterday crying, because I am a big baby I guess.

I decided yesterday that if I want my house clean, I had better get cleaning. It rather worked, too. Except for the fact that the kids seem programmed to offset my efforts...sort of like Everything That Goes Up Must Come Down, ...for every pile I sort and put away, they make another pile. They are really into playing office right now, making cubicles with the foam squares, using their little toy computers that don't work anymore, putting pictures on their desks made from cardboard boxes. They are also making lots of artwork to decorate with, along with bringing their babies to work. They work in the living room, so it is...very fun in here today. The hallway is cleaned, I put away clothes that have been sitting there in a basket for not weeks, but months! They had to be either washed or thrown away after sitting there for so long. I got after Jon and Sonja to clean their room, and after their fighting and bickering and me threatening to stay in there and micro-manage, they finally settled into some serious cleaning, and they got it 90% done. Now I have to get them some new miniblinds, since Kitty Kitten destroyed the ones they have now.

I put away coats and snowpants, figured if we really get enough snow to play out in, we can dig them out of the closet.

So I did a lot of work and a lot of laundry, then made a quick-ish dinner of scrambled eggs, and bacon. I put two pounds of bacon on cookie sheets in the oven, and it cooks up nice and crispy without me having to stand there watching it, and without splattering grease all over the place.

I had to drive the girls to Girls' Fellowship, then go pick them up later, so the evening went fast. Again, it was hard to get the kids to bed because they just get so into their play. This whole house is just one big place to play in, to them. In our living room right now besides the whole office set-up is the play kitchen with food and dishes, and all the dollhouses. A slew of Barbies, and the glue and glitter and papers from Camille's latest artwork.

I am not complaining though. I like that they are never bored.

The college kids haven't left yet, so I shall go and talk to them. I am thinking that perhaps Camille and I will go and get those miniblinds, and some things to send to Benjamin.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

wish I could say....

That I lost five pounds these last two weeks of so called "seriousness" in the weight loss department. ha. But I can say this: I did lose a tiny bit. And I feel better exercising every day, that counts for something. But honestly, darn it all!!!

blah. Why did I have to make those cookies yesterday? Was it the frustration from my failed nap? Camille and I snuggled under those covers, electric blanket on "high", and we snoozed. She conked first, and I enjoyed lying there looking at her with that thumb-y in her mouth...then I fell asleep. I had left the school kids a note, asking them to please be quiet, well HA. They didn't see the note until after 1. Evelyn opened my bedroom to see what I was doing, slamming it "accidentally". I could have maybe fallen back to sleep if, 2. Suzanne and Evelyn didn't have a silly screaming party. What were they thinking? Then Kathryn went into the hallway bathroom and, instead of turning the knob and closing the door silently, like I have asked them to do a million times, she just pulled it shut, SLAM. blah, I was fully awake. Camille woke up too, and we were pretty grumpy. And cold, getting out of that warm bed. By the time I got out to the kitchen, the kids had read my note, and were apologizing. So, I made cookies. That makes sense, right?

I seem to have come down with a cold, Sunday I had a headache and felt stuffy...yesterday I was dragging and that nap...oh, I wanted that nap.

Today I am still stuffy and miserable, in body only, of course, ha. I took the long walk despite the fact it was only 22 degrees out. Rosie almost knocked me over, she suddenly spotted a kitty, and lunged for it, bad dog. She is so very strong.

Where is the waitress with that coffee refill???

Last night's dinner was pretty good, if I don't say so myself. Boneless pork chops, rolled in a mixture of bread crumbs and this packet of honey sesame chicken seasoning I found in the cupboard. I rolled them in canola oil first, to seal in the juice, then the crumb mixture, baked them in the convection oven at a high temperature, oh yum. We also had baked basmati rice with lemon pepper (I only had a teaspoon of that), mixed veggies, and a big bowl of spinach for me.

Today's dinner? How should I know?!

There are so many projects I should get started around here it isn't funny. Today perhaps I will be really productive and energetic and get some things straightened out and in order. Yesterday I was washing dishes, and Camille, dealing with her Monday-Where-Is-Everyone blues, was tugging at me asking for cuddles. So, we snuggled on the couch with five books.

Charlotte Claire and Camille made paperbag puppets yesterday afternoon. They love painting. Then they made a little theater out of the foam mat squares, complete with painted pictures tacked on as background. They kneeled behind the foam, and had their little show, with the bad girl smacking the princesses...not much of a plot, but it was all on their own, and it was so very cute. It was SO hard to break it up and usher Miss Char to bed...

Everyone went out the door again today, so we are rattling around like a few peas in a giant pod here, Camille and I. Getting my exercise accomplished will be my first priority, then we'll see....but one thing's for sure, I will not open that container of cookies. No sir.

Monday, March 26, 2012

how i beat the blahs today

I did Easter Candy Inventory! Because I buy candy with no rhyme or reason. Then the night before Easter when I fill the baskets I wonder how to divvy up the extra bunnies...or marvel at how much I bought again. Today was one of those days I just needed to do something different, something fun. I exercised, a phone call from PFC 1st Class Benjamin W. He was calling from Kandahar, I hope that is un-specific enough. I have to be strong for him, he is in a challenging position. His original mission was canceled, replaced by one that I won't detail, but suffice to say, sounds extremely dangerous to me. He was told to buy powdered detergent, 'cause he'll be doing laundry in a tin can. ouch. So, what's a mother to say? Well, this Mama told him he would be fine, just because details change, God is still there, He is just testing us just a little bit more. I reminded him of the verse in Proverbs, "A merry heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit, who can bear?"...I told him that if he really works on taking things right and trusting God, he can be a light there where he is, and strengthen the others too. He told me that Ashley has strengthened him with her good spirit, telling him he will be fine no matter what. He told me how nice it was to hear my voice. Then I got off the phone and cried my little eyes out. Seriously. Camille told me it was okay, "Benny will be home soon, Mama!" Then, he called back to ask for Dad's work number because he wasn't picking up his cell, and I had to pretend I was normal.

So Benjamin if you read this, please know that I still believe with all my heart that God has His hand on you, and that He hears and answers our prayers. But...I AM your Mom, so I WILL be tempted.

Camille and I cleaned up, swept up, did some laundry...had lunch, and ....took a nap. Short and not too sweet, the school kids came in loud happy. So I got up and made them cookies. I accidentally only put three eggs in instead of six, but they are really good anyway. I am having only one. No matter how much I want another, only one.

ahh, another monday morning...

Sometimes the mundane-ness of life can fool me into thinking I will be here forever and ever. When people get diagnosed with terminal illnesses, they often start trying to live life to the fullest, be extra kind, not waste moments. But we ALL have a terminal illness, in a sense. Our days are numbered. So...this morning, as I survey my kingdom from my comfy chair, I sigh with blah-ness, because...I have done all this before. Day after day, and especially Monday after Monday. The new couch-clothes monster, the dishes stacked up, the floors that ever need sweeping and mopping. The remnants of a cozy weekend in the form of fleecy blankets on the couches, the toys and books scattered....but this is MY JOB!! It is MY LIFE!! Can I finish grumbling about it for once and for all, and just be thankful that today, on this cold windy Monday morning, I am still alive and well?

It IS cold out there. I took Rosie out, and brr!!! We took the cheat-y short version of our walk this morning. She kept looking up at me, like she was asking what this cold wind was all about. She forgot such things existed in those glorious days of warmth we have had.

Yesterday...chilly and rainy, damp. The kind of day to curl up in front of the fireplace, if one has a fireplace. Paul decided to go the big mall in the suburbs to pick up his new glasses. He invited the little kids and I to go with him. I asked him if we could just take a quick run into Price Chopper too, to get some of the chicken they have on sale. So, off we went. We got to talk in the minivan, which is always a treat. Anyway, we got the glasses (I let Char and Camille each try on two pair of glasses, they looked so cute! Camille thought she looked so cute she tried to convince us that her eyes hurt and she couldn't see. Jon held up two fingers and asked her how many fingers he was holding up...she squinted and said, "Three?"...she is too smart.)

So. We got into Price-Chopper. Jonathan got one of those car-car carts to push the princesses in, then they decided they wanted to walk and help Mama, ha, and my phone rang. It was Mirielle, calling from the Dome in Syracuse, we had forgotten to sign a permission slip for Samuel to work at the lacrosse game, a church fundraiser. So we put back the broccoli I had just bagged up, and off we went to the Dome.

We decided not to go back to the grocery store, it was too far away and not really necessary. Home. Yay, Abigail was here! And, she wanted to go grocery shopping. So off I went with Abigail, all the way back down to Price-Chopper....

Paul made dinner while we were gone so we came home to chicken breast and roasted red potatoes, corn, and the broccoli I had gotten on my second Price-Chopper trip.

Ashley heard from Benjamin yesterday. I won't say where he was or where he is going, mostly because I am not exactly sure of his destination, but his mission was changed, which freaks me out a little bit. He was supposed to stay on base with the mortars, but that is not what is happening now. I know this isn't a tropical vacation for him, but jeepers, it is hard.

Tomorrow is my second weekly weigh-in for Phase Two of my weight loss would be nice if I could remember how much I was last week! I guess I should be writing stuff down more. I was the lowest ever yesterday, but it inched up a little this morning, which seems to be the norm for me. Down a little up a little, with frustrating slowness, so gradual...but at least I am going in the right direction, down! Both Saturday and Sunday I did my long walks, but no other exercise, except for shopping. Today, back to the grindstone. blah. I feel so much more energetic being back into eating better and exercising though. It is a good feeling to have that muscle soreness, and that firmness that comes from working out. I had hoped to be much lighter by now, but it is what it is, and there ain't nothing I can do about it. I can only work on NOW, not yesterday.

Here's the thing: I eat my oatmeal with peanutbutter at 7:30-8:00-ish. Then I don't eat anything until at least noon. I am not hungry before then anyway, but the Old Me would just eat when I felt like it. If I want something now, I just look at the clock, and if it is before twelve, I just wait. Then I eat something healthy, like a pile of raw spinach with toasted almonds and maybe a pear or some cucumbers sliced on it. Or an apple and some almonds. Or a scrambled egg and half a grapefruit. Then in the afternoon, I almost always have a yogurt with my coffee, a light yogurt. Then dinner, which almost never includes simple carbs, though I did have a really tiny red skinned potato last night with my chicken and big pile of broccoli. I don't eat bread, but sometimes I will have the tiny end piece. I don't eat corn. I don't eat pasta or noodles. If I am really hungry, I will make a hot bowl of spinach with lemon-pepper on it, just to fill up. Then in the evening, I try not to have anything, which doesn't always work. Last night I had Swiss chocolate from Wegman's, the dark with almonds. Oh yum. I had it right after dinner, hoping that would help not raise my blood sugar too much. I am a scientist as well as a doctor. ha.

Anyway, the Not Eat 'Til Noon thing helps me not just mindlessly snack, which is my favorite thing, which I do miss. I think about everything I put into my mouth these days. And yes, I did have ONE cupcake on Saturday. I meant to have one bite, but I should know myself better by now. They are now all gone, those evil cupcakes, yay! I am not making any more of those for a long long time. Unless anyone asks me to. Wouldn't it be fun to have a cupcake business? Baking and frosting every day?

Well, I hate to end this fun and exciting post, but Miss Camille has eaten her toast with butter and jam (oh, I wanted to eat some of it!), and her slice of cranberry bagel bread, and drank her milk, and she wants more breakfast. I think what she really wants is her Mama's attention. It is quite and lonely here with all the college kids gone, the school kids gone, Joseph went to work, Paul went to work...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

cupcakes everywhere

Miss Charlotte Claire with her babies.
Miss Camille and her babies.

The cupcakes are all done. The house is all clean, ha. Not really. I washed up a whole bunch of dishes, swept the floors, walked the dog, and finished the cupcakes. Now, I have to take a quick trip to the small city because we are out of toilet paper. I could buy it at the small store in town, but it would hurt me too much to pay so much. My time is not worth more than money I guess. Plus I want to get some spinach and some chicken. The princesses are wanting to go with me, which will make it take twice as long but at least it will be time well spent. And hey, they are practically the only ones jumping up and down to go for groceries with Mama these days.

super cool stuff

Jonathan is super cool. He got up this morning with the birds, meaning the two little girls, and cuddled under a blanket on the couch watching, "Thomas The Tank Engine", while I took Rosie out for our walk. When I got back I noticed lots of paper from their outside art session blown across the yard. I asked Mr. Jon to pick it up, and he was right on it.

Yesterday...I made cupcakes. Almost two hundred. In between doing dishes and laundry and taking care of the princesses (Charlotte Claire has a cold, and got to stay home again). I didn't get them frosted yet, so it is nagging at me that I shouldn't be sitting here, the party is tonight. (a surprise party for a friend, not here...although yesterday was Kathryn's 14th birthday, so I will frost some for her)...anyway, the time I got all the cupcakes done and the house in order, the first trip bus was here, and it was Fun Time!!! Mali and Sam stayed with the little girls, Sonja, and Jonathan, and off I went with Margaret 15, Kathryn 14, Evelyn 12, and Suzanne 11. First stop: Dunkin Donuts. They have Baskin Robbins ice cream cones for 99 cents. Oh heavenly yum. A large coffee to go with it, and there is part two of lunch. Part one was fresh spinach with cucumbers and toasted almonds. I didn't feel too bad about it. Then dinner was two Reese's Peanut Butter cups during the movie. It was absolutely all I had for dinner though, except for a piece of a Hershey's bar. bad, yes very bad.

Anyway. Next stop: Target. Easter candy, a C.D for Kathryn's birthday, a clearance scarf for Margaret...then to the Dreaded Mall. I found a new skirt for $7.99, and a few tops from the clearance rack at Sears. I went into Hollister with the girls. What a horrid place. Dark, loud music, smelled like cologne, overpriced of the guys who worked there kept walking by with no shirt on....hmm. The girls thought that was pretty funny, but jeepers. We stalked the clearance racks, and they each got a shirt for $5.35, which in my humble opinion is even more than they are worth. But they were happier than heck to get them.

Kathryn's big present was a pair of high-top sneakers from Dick's Sporting Goods. I know I have changed, because walking through there made me want to exercise.

The movie: Oh fun and fun and fun!! We got good seats, and were relatively well behaved, no overpriced overcaloried popcorn for us. And I refrained from threatening the slew of chatty teenagers behind us that if they dared continue their incessant nonsense during the movie, I would go tell on them. I did tell my girls I was going to to that though, and I started to stand up, and they believed me and it was so funny.

We loved the movie, it was true enough to the book to satisfy us. We cried, and we laughed, then had a great ride home.

Now, I need to go frost several dozen cupcakes. blah.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

and so life goes...

First of all...thank you for the kind comments and encouragement. I know that God has not given us a spirit of fear, as it is written in Timothy, but that doesn't mean we aren't tempted to worry.

Ashley is going to have quite a journey soon, she will be driving all the way across the U. S. of A.! From Washington state to New York state, with her brother and the dog. Their furniture is in storage, and she is coming here to be with friends and family, which I am really glad about.

So in keeping with the Never A Dull Moment theme, which is my life's mantra, yesterday the school nurse called and had me come pick Miss Charlotte Claire up. Seems she had been in the nurse's office twice for her eye, which was watering and red. Now, the weather here in the Northeast U.S. has been absolutely positively gorgeous. Eighty degrees yesterday, sunny and breezy...delicious! So I was already going to pick the elementary kids up at two o'clock, so they could have a few hours of fresh air and sunshine. Well...there I was at the school at eleven, so...I just asked if I could sign the other kids out too....

Kathryn is home this week because the eighth graders are going on their annual trip to Washington, D.C., which we don't send our kids on. Suze was home because of a bowling field trip (who would want to go bowling in a dark cool bowling alley when it is eighty degrees out?) So it was like a vacation day here. Lots of kids, college kids had later classes so they were here for a while. We sunned and Kathryn made iced was so nice.

Jonathan and I made a quick trip to the small town down the road for grill propane. Emily came over and we had steak on the grill, pasta salad which Kathryn and Suzanne had made ALL BY THEMSELVES. (they probably learn more at home most days than school, right?).

We already have some letters in the mail for Benjamin, and are planning to send a package tomorrow. Thank you for the good advice, Jennifer! When Ben was in medic training, Mirielle made him cookies every week, and those guys helped him devour them pretty fast. Anyway, it is nice to hear that I am not the only one, and it made me feel much better that feeling so overwhelmed and sad is rather normal.

Our Syracuse basketball team is in the Sweet 16! They play tonight. After working at the dome this season, and seeing parts and parcels of their games, I am more of a fan than ever, and they have only lost twice this whole year so far...

I have to make lots of cupcakes before Saturday for a surprise party for a friend. Like a hundred or so. Hmm, should I do it all on Saturday morning? I have to buy more cupcake wrappers, and perhaps some ribbon in the color scheme...I have a love/hate relationship with these things. I LOVE doing things like cakes and cupcakes, but when the time comes to actually get moving on it, I wish I hadn't committed to doing it. And I get afraid I will mess up. And and and...

Today....we have some places to go and things to do. We are going Library Hopping! Better late than never, getting all those books back. Three libraries are on our list. And we are taking the minivan to get the oil changed. Paul asked me if I could fit it in, and he was serious. Fit it in to what? I have been majorly feeling like a lazy bum, I am so tanned and sunburned...things have slid here, my friends. Majorly. Because I like being in the sun. Okay, it is a big job to run a house with so many people living in it...the shopping and laundry and just picking up and taking care of showers and baths and making sure there are clean towels and they do their homework, and the appointments and and and...but shh, it is the best job ever!!! I can let things slide for a while, then work my tail off to catch up...

I have been exercising in the morning out on the deck, in the sun. My walks have been totally wonderful lately in the nice weather, too. I know it isn't going to last, it is not normal for us to have such nice weather in March. We have been setting records for high temps all week.

Anyway, we have places to go today. Evelyn-The-Library-Book-Queen is home today, missing her bowling alley field trip, and Kathryn is here, and Miss Char too, since her eyes are both watering now, she is coming down with a cold perhaps...not sure. The nurse wouldn't want her in school with possible pink eye, even though her eye isn't pink, I am keeping her with me today...what fun! Seriously, off in the minivan with four daughters, who could ask for anything more?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

when your son goes off to war....

When he first joined the Army...he looks so much younger in this picture.
Mr. Cool Ben holding Jonathan
This was the Christmas before Charlotte Claire was born, when we had fourteen kids. Benjamin was 17 and had some curls going on. (wasn't Jonathan cute?)
Little Aaron, Joseph, and big brother Benjamin. Trouble, oh they were something...
Visiting me in the hospital after Margaret was born, Mr. Ben had just turned 8 the month before...
Emily 12, Abigail 10, Benjamin 8, then Mirielle 7, Joseph 6, and Aaron 4, then Mali 3 and Sam 2, then baby Margaret...
Benjy was around 8 here, with Sammy.
Benjamin Bunny didn't actually vacuum when he was that young, but by the time he was three he did. He was always so energetic.

I knew the time would come for him to leave, but the military has done what it does best, change the game. Two times, he has learned he is leaving earlier than he thought. He gets his weapon issued tonight, departure tomorrow. He has been gone from home, all grown up in the Army, for well over a year. But this new thing, this going to Afghanistan, is different. I knew he was going there, but it sneaked up on me. I knew he was going, but I didn't fully understand how I would FEEL about it. He is all grown up now, but he is still my little guy. Years fly by, but to a mom, years are just numbers, those memories of our kids when they are little can't possibly be of things that happened so long ago, they are so fresh and vivid. I am not afraid for him, really, because I know God will watch over him. But that knowledge is like everything else, subject to temptations of thoughts of horrible things happening. And it didn't help that he called me a little while ago and explained that if anything happens to him, official Army guys will come to the house...basically, don't believe anything I might read on facebook or anything else. I asked him not to tell me this right now, I was seriously going to lose it. But he said stranger things have happened, and sick people have tricked families. blah. So my boy, my 6 pound 3 ounce baby, is all grown up and going to war.

weight loss report from week one of seriousness

But first...a few pictures...this is Horrid Rotten Breakfast for the three elementary kids. It was a surprise for them, the only deal was that they had to eat the oranges first...and I served it with milk, which evened out it's awfulness. Charlotte Claire just sat there. I asked her why she wasn't eating her breakfast, and she said she was way too tired. She did look tired. So..I let her go back to bed. I reasoned that if she was too tired to eat a breakfast like that, she really isn't up for a day at school. (need I mention how absolutely thrilled Miss Camille is this morning??!!)
Princess hairstyle for a Princess Camille, courtesy of Margaret.
Miss Rosie had a haircut yesterday, then a bath...which of course she remedied by finding some mud. She is opposed to cleanliness.

Anyways anyways anyways, my weight loss: absolutely none. I officially started in on Phase II last Monday, deciding that Tuesday morning would be my official weigh-in. Last Tuesday I weighed the exact same as today. But there was fun and excitement in between as I gained two pounds after the M&M night...the salty corned beef probably didn't help (no fair, I didn't even have any potatoes!) I lost those two pounds again. And so goes my journey....

This week I will be much more careful. No little cheats. I will exercise everyday, and take that long morning walk. Next week there will be a drop in weight.

Hey, a girl has to hope, right?

I tell myself that even though the pounds aren't falling off yet, cutting back on flour and sugar and junk is so good for me. And the exercise is good for me. And that's what this is all about. Looking better is just a nice little side effect, not the ultimate goal. I mean, I don't wear make-up, never have had my hair cut in a salon, don't do pedicures or manicures (ha, I am an obsessive nail-biter, have quit a few times and grown nice tappy nails, but those nice nails got bitten off when I wasn't looking...)...anyway, I like to be neat and presentable, but I don't waste a lot of time trying to be beautiful. Good thing, ha.

Anyway...we were out of lots of good stuff so I took a quick trip to Aldi with Kathryn and Suzanne last evening. We got yogurt and salad stuff and oranges and pears and apples and chicken and milk and eggs and lots of Easter candy. And, a stack of chocolate bars. Why the chocolate bars? Well...let's many daughters do I have who have chocolate cravings every four weeks or so? Six? And not only that, sometimes there is nothing like a few squares of chocolate in the's funny, because the boys rarely ask for it, but the girls seem to. I just have to keep my paws off of it.

One thing that helps me is to make my exercise a priority. It is super hard for me to do that, everything in me says to do the dishes and sweep up first, but once I get my exercise out of the way, I feel relieved, and a bit energized.

I figure if I don't for some reason get to everything else, the others around here can pitch in and help, but no one can exercise for me.

Now there are like 7 or 8 chocolate donuts out there on the counter, I am going to put them in the cupboard so I don't have to see their sugary yuckiness all day. blah. Just kidding, they look gorgeous to me! But I won't have one.

I will have an orange later, and some almonds. Dinner tonight: I have no idea! Last night I made some chili, which turned out quite good. The kids had theirs with some rice. For some reason, most of our kids really like chili, and Aaron came in from college, and said, "Yay, chili!"...

Well, time to move it!

Monday, March 19, 2012

yes, i ate one...

I resisted for a long time, but didn't endure until they were all gone. I was just going to take one bite, but I can't help it if I am such a good baker. The frosting is made with butter and shortening, vanilla, half and half...and of course confectioner's sugar. It is so yummy. But one tiny little vanilla cupcake can't have too many calories, can it?

Now they are all gone, phew.

This morning, the scale was kind to me. I am back down to where I was last week, again. I was a bit lower than this a few weeks, hence the frustration. And yes, I do weigh myself too often. I feel it keeps me on track, and though it is hard when the number is high, it is also encouraging when it goes down. It keeps me accountable, too, because those M&M's always show up a few days later. This morning I took my long walk, not the cheat-y short ones I had resorted to this winter because of darkness, snow, ice. This morning, I played Dodge The Worms and Avoid Dead Frogs, always popular after a good rain. Rosie didn't play, she just slogged through everything in her path as usual. I did steer her around the dead frogs though, because yuck. Sorry if anyone is eating their breakfast.

So I am optimistic that now that I am exercising and walking more, weight will start falling off again. I mean, I have to be optimistic. Because I am NOT giving up. Not yet, not ever! I read some really encouraging weight-loss success stories last night, which gives me a real boost of hope. If they can do it, I can do it. And if I can do it, anyone can do it! 'Cause I am most definitely the laziest, donut and cookie-loving, excuse-making Mama that ever did walk this earth! One thing I want to note...the few weeks I took off from exercising, I noticed my lower back starting to ache...something I have lived with for years, something that had disappeared when I was exercising regularly. It is feeling better now, which rather proves that exercise helps my back not to hurt. Interesting?

So many are the reasons for me to be strict with myself.

We got our tickets to see the premiere of, "The Hunger Games"!!! Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, and I are going on Friday night! I am more excited to be going with the girls than I am to actually see the movie, shh. But it has been fun to read the same books as these girls and talk about them. They have been counting the days 'til this movie came out, and I was like, blah. But then I picked up the first book...then read the second, and the third...real page-turners, and very interesting. Aimed for a younger reader, but still very good reads.

Before I face the Monday Mess, I think I will get my exercise in, then go from there. We need stuff from the store, big surprise. So off I go.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

what did YOU do last night?

I made cupcakes...lots and lots of them, for today's activity club party. We went to a gymnastics center/gym, and it was Fun!!!

Mr. Jonathan made a cake with his EasyBake, I saved him some batter.
It is so warm here this afternoon, I let the girls use this big bin for a Barbie pool...then I let them go in it in their undies...
Suze climbed the rope all the way to the top.
My husband trying out the rings.
Joseph, Aaron, Samuel, and Magnus, a friend from Norway. They were on the balance beam...they played Knock Each Other Off.
The princesses take on the high balance beam.
Kathryn and Sonja with Charlotte Claire, Camille, and Jonathan.

I didn't know I could still walk on a balance beam. No backhandsprings or walkovers for me though. Kathryn did cartwheels on the high beam though. The kids bounced on trampolines, swung on the bars, played in a huge bouncy house.

We came home to warm sunshine. I put some chicken to boil, and it is ready to go on the grill.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

at my wit's end...

frustrated, bewildered, weary. Just gathering some words that describe how I feel about this horrid Weight Loss Journey. Or Evil Diet, rather. Blah!! I think those few handfuls of M&Ms from the other night caught up with me! After doing so well yesterday, I was dismayed once again when the scale this morning reflected two more pounds than yesterday. blah. I feel like I eat so carefully, but if I sneak anything, I lose ground. Up and down, the same few pounds, blah. And I started exercising this week, so I thought it would fall off, these ping-pong pounds!

My princesses are dressed in princess dresses, with sparkly scarves tied around their waists for aprons, they are being Princess Maids.

Paul had to go to the far away mall for an eye appointment. He took Kathryn and Suzanne with him 'cause I asked him to talk to Kathryn about some stuff...I feel like I do most of the parenting, because I am with the kids most, but these guys love and respect Daddy so much, and he has a gift of being able to relate to them.

So I am home with lots of older kids who are still sleeping, and some little kids...Emily is taking some of them to the park is supposed to be a nice day out today. I need to get out of this comfy chair and go exercise. I did take my mile walk with Rosie this morning, in the foggy chilly morning, it was delicious.

Friday, March 16, 2012

shopping with eight kids

The youngest half of the family went with me today. We shopped in Kohl's, where I got Converse sneakers for Jonathan and Sonja, for ten dollars, and seven dollars. We checked out the clearance racks and got a few things, we had a coupon for an extra 20% off...the girls broke not one, but TWO bottles of perfume...first Kathryn broke one, then later Charlotte Claire was sampling one of the samples, and she dropped it...the whole store smelled good, and the sales lady was not thrilled with my girls. oops.

Then to Target, where I got Kathryn a small rug for her room for her birthday next week, a new rug for the floor in front of the kitchen sink, two t-shirts for me, and a few other things. Nothing got broken in there at least.

Price-Chopper...I accidentally told another mom to Knock It Off, because I thought it was one of my kids saying to another, "I'm gonna slap you." oops. This other mom was saying it to one of her kids.

Anyway, we bought potatoes and romaine and grapefruit and pears, coffee and half and half, some gum and Skittles and some sliced turkey.

Since we had a dollar thirty off per gallon, we filled the big van on the way home, twenty gallons for $53. It is almost $4 a gallon here now, ouch with that huge gas hog. The gas station also had Byrne Dairy ice cream on sale, two half gallons for five dollars. It is so fresh and yummy...I bought four. And woo-hoo for me, I did not have even one taste when the kids had some tonight after our corned beef dinner.

This weight loss thing is painful for me. It is a suffering. I read about how people get so they don't even want junk anymore, ha. I do appreciate a good salad, and feel good about eating my fruits and veggies, but I just saw a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercial on t.v., and yum!!! I have lots of mini Reese's Eggs for their baskets, and blah, it is going to be painful for me to keep my hands off. I just have to remember that just because I am tempted, doesn't mean I have to give in. I have the power to say NO, and it doesn't kill me. Today was actually a good day. Three peanut M&M's. No more.

Older kids are streaming in the door from the places they have gone tonight, the boys are done playing hockey. The girls aren't back yet, but should be here soon. Never a dull moment. We get the little ones tucked in, the medium ones are still up, and now older ones are coming in. That means I am distracted.

day off from school!!!

A real one this time, not just one of my own inventions. Staff Development Day. It coincides with the college kids' vacation, so it is a full house today.

When I woke up this morning to Paul's alarm, I thought it was Saturday. Then I remembered it was Friday, and groaned...then I remembered it was a day then I was wide awake...blah, I should have just gotten up, but it was nice to lay there and fall back to sleep.

My blogging time will be short this morning, as the distractions are many. I have a few girls who want me to take them shopping. All the little kids want to go to, so I am sensing some frustration if we take them, and disapointment if we don't. And I do not like to make them sad...

Anyone else have girls who always need stuff? Boys are easier. Teeshirts and jeans, a few sweatshirts. Some shorts. But girls. They never ever have anything to wear, and always need bras. And shoes. Sandals, flip-flops, sneakers.

Our microwave is broken. I am old enough to remember what life was like Before Microwaves. We had to heat things up on the stove! Hot drinks? Tea kettle! Emily and Abigail don't have a microwave because she has bought two, and neither worked, so they determined they have a curse and no microwave oven can live in their apartment. Paul is buying a new one today. Ours has been slowly dying, overheating and then doing this haunted thing where it turns on when you open the door, which seems dangerous.

Anyway, there is a spirit of restlessness here, kids want to go somewhere. They have already gone out and determined that it is way too soggy outside to play since we got rain during the night. The little girls are being naughty trying to get attention while Margaret and Kathryn discuss why the Americans are in Afghanistan, and why people are poor, and other important things.

We are not thrilled to hear how things are going over in Afghanistan...especially because I talked to Benjamin last night: he had a deployment date, he and Ashley were cherishing each of their last days together, then he got a call...he is leaving in just a few days instead of next week. His plans of moving the furniture into storage must be expedited now....he said it seemed so far away for so long, and now it is in just a few days...

Well, it is crazy in here. Camille is telling me she will clean up her dollies if I will bring her bye-bye....I told her I do not negotiate with terrorists.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

sunny morning

Aaron 19, Joseph 20 with General Thunder, and Samuel 16. Aaron and Sam were pretty happy to have Joe in the middle with the cat, they love Mr. Thunder so much. It is a common sight around here to see those boys holding one of the used to be babies, now it is cats. Seriously though, my sister told me that Aaron was over at Susan's the other night, and he continuously had either newborn Davian, or one of the baby twins in his arms.

I like to tell Jonathan about when he was a baby and the boys always wanted him. If I didn't nurse that boy, I never would have had a turn with him - he was so well-loved. I think after the five girls, then losing Robert, we were just over the moon with little Jonny. Of course the two little princesses who followed were pretty well-received too...

I was telling Jonathan just this morning how difficult it is every year to send the kindergartner off on that big bus. But Camille will be gut-wrenching. She is my sweetie-pie. It isn't that I love her more than the other kids, but she is the last one, and she gets so much attention. She also GIVES so much attention. She just plain loves me. She never answers back, rarely gives me a hard time, no, she is just a snuggler-talker-friend...wah. I did feel bad when it was bed time last night, her and Charlotte Claire were deep into playing baby dolls. They have lots of real clothes, and some really nice babies. I SO wanted to let Char skip today...but there is no school tomorrow, and I am picking them up early today...Camille is in her room right now with her baby. They get so involved with their play, it seems like their babies are real. They always hold their babies' heads carefully...

Babies babies babies. hmm. What I would give for just one more...

Dang, my coffee cup is empty. That is the saddest moment each morning, when I pick up the cup and...emptiness.

It is not easy to resist the good stuff around here. The college kids are on break, so Mirielle made the yummy pan-popped popcorn with butter and salt...I wandered out to the bowl and ate just a little bit...then battled with wanting more...before I went in to bed, I found myself taking a side-trip through the kitchen, and YES! the bowl was empty. But...she had melted the butter in the big pan, and there was some salt in it..I stuck my finger in that salty butter, and oh yum...just a few more tastes...oh, I am bad. Fat people aren't really bad, we just LIKE things.

It isn't too hard to forgo the carbs at meals, but passing up the ice cream? I usually just say no, but yesterday I had behaved so I had just a quarter cup of Ben and Jerry's Pumpkin Cheesecake ice cream. I cannot find words to describe the creaminess, the rich pumpkin flavor, the texture...I went back to the kitchen to rinse my cup, ha, aka look in the carton for just another spoonful, and YES! the carton was in the trashcan...there is another unopened one, but it being unopened was enough of a deterrent/wake-up that I didn't really want to have more. So it isn't that I have lots of self-control, it's just that my Wait-'Til-It's-Gone approach is golden around here.

I also crave that feeling that comes from knowing I am giving this My ALL. There is no other feeling like it in the world.

Evelyn is the only one who didn't go to school today...she isn't feeling well. So. I think I might sneak out the door for a walk/run soon. Preferably without Rosie, the Arm Pulling Dog. She is horrid, she can't ever just relax and enjoy the scenery.

We had burgers, graciously grilled outside by Joseph, for dinner last night. He seasoned them up, and cooked them just right. I had mine without one of those fresh yummy buns, with a pile of salad with slivered almonds and a few craisins. It felt like summer. Everyone was here except for Emily and Abigail, and of course Benjamin. wah. It is really warm here in New York state these days. Today is supposed to be in the high seventies. We skipped spring, and went right to summer. But we all know there will probably be snow again one of these days.

Perhaps I should go on my walk before it starts to rain...

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

almost a year!!!

I am shocked that it has been almost a year since I decided to become a healthy person. Wow. It was the end of March last year, that fateful day I went to the dr. and had a blood pressure reading of 156/84.

Reading back on some of those entries here is amazing, I could barely walk up that evil hill.

And after a sluggish winter of maintaining my weight, going up and down, and the gallbladder surgery, I am starting all over again. I did my mile+ walk/run thing yesterday, where I jogged until I couldn't, then walked briskly until my breathing was almost normal, than took off again. I also did a ten minute version of my old exercises, and some squats, which were killer. There is really something to be said about exercise when it concerns making good food choices...when I wasn't able to do much physically, it seemed my self-control was really hindered. I have had a few days of eating well...yesterday I did have some chocolate chips, but I think I can still progress with a bit of dark chocolate in my life. I reach in that bag and make myself drop a few back in...then after they melt away in my mouth, I have to almost beat myself up to resist going back for more...

I could eat chicken every day. Wait, I do! Just about, anyway. Yesterday I par-boiled drumsticks and thighs, then grilled them with barbecue sauce just enough to give them that grilled flavor, any yum! We also had mixed veggies and noodles, although I skipped the noodles.

Basically, all I eat is meat and veggies and fruit and almonds, plus my oatmeal and peanutbutter for breakfast. And a daily yogurt. I love bread, especially freshly baked bread, love the crust and the soft fluffy inside, I love bagels and muffins and raisin toast...but I cannot have those things anymore. If carbs made one thin, I would be a toothpick after all these years. All those pregnancies eating crackers and bagels, all those years being so tired and having those little babies and having so little time, grabbing the quick fixes to eat: carbs. No wonder I was so tired all the time. It was a vicious circle, being too tired to exercise, being too fat to exercise, and having a snack when I couldn't get a nap...

I feel like I am finally coming up for a breath of air. If I could do it all over again, I would certainly eat better, and I would have MADE time to exercise, somehow. But it seemed totally insane to even consider it when I had a floor that always needed sweeping and it took planning just to sneak in to go pee.

Just for the record, I WOULD do it all over again.

Today I have to pick three kids up, take one to the dr., and two to the dentist. That means I have to leave here in a few hours. I have already put in a load of towels, and it is not too messy in here since I did a lot yesterday.

I texted Ben a picture of the Evil Hill yesterday while on my walk. It made him homesick. I think he is feeling it extra badly right now. I wish he could come home before deploying, but he simply doesn't have enough leave time.

It isn't always easy to keep track of who is where around here. Especially on the nice days when kids are going on bike rides and walks. Yesterday I took my walk, Joe went on a run, a few went on a bike ride, and two of the girls went on a walk. Trouble was, I didn't know these two girls even went. I would have sent them with my phone and gave them a time limit/limit to how far they could go. But, they didn't tell me. Dinner time came, I thought they were in their room. Nope, the other kids started saying, they are still gone. Gone where? (Good Mom Award). Joseph hopped in the car and found them a mile or so down the road. They had gone further than they realized, around a huge loop they thought was much smaller, then one of them got a tummy ache, and they couldn't go any farther for a while...they were pretty thankful to see Joseph, and came in the door saying they would never ever do that again. Wake up call for me, though. It is second nature to keep track of the little ones, but when the older ones slip out like that, oops! They were gone for two and a half hours! (and of course they, "Thought you knew, Mom!")

I won't be issuing tracking bracelets, but I will be reminding them all to please check with me before going anywhere. Not that I always remember, sometimes I get panicked and ask where someone is, and on of the other kids reminds me that they are shopping with cousins or at soccer practice. blah.

But most of the time I know where they all are and what they are doing.

We are having nice warm and spring-like weather, and I love it. We could well be getting more snow next week, I doubt winter is gone for good, but it is still nice to enjoy the sunshine and warmth.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

how do i hate the time change?

Let me count the ways...the tired kids who are reluctant to go to bed at night, and slow to fall asleep because their bodies think it is too early. The same kids who can't seem to open their eyes in the morning. I stay up too late, and morning is too dark to feel motivated for a walk. I take one anyways, but not a long one, it is too dark to leave that early.

But as much as I hate those things, I love the light in the evenings.

We went to the pool yesterday!!! Suzanne, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, Camille and I met Abigail there when she was done with work. I learned pretty quickly that there are things in my abdomen that aren't healed, ouch! I had to watch how I moved, but I guess I moved enough, because this morning when I got out of bed I had that wonderful after-exercise feeling, especially in my aching legs. I really really like that feeling, and I have missed it.

Mirielle and I took a quick trip to Wegman's yesterday. Mostly because I went to wash some clothes, and there was no detergent. Yes, I am Miss Organized. Monday is usually Wash Lots Of Clothes Day, so I really needed to get some. Wegman's sells the Dynamo for $1.99, so it seemed the logical place to go. We were also out of paper towels, and almost out of doggy food. Two hundred dollars later, I had what we needed...eggs and milk and yogurt and bananas and green peppers and oats and sauce and green beans and pasta and flour and some frozen veggies. I also bought a new box of sidewalk chalk, which Camille is itching to use. It is raining right now, so we will have to wait.

Jonathan went on a five mile bike ride with Samuel, then with me to the pool. He came home and ate dinner, and went to bed like a champ. Joseph so kindly made dinner while I was swimming. I had chicken breast marinating, so he cooked it on the grill and made a big salad. It was all done when I got home with the little kids, yay, because we were SO hungry. I had brought them some pretzels and water but I kept my hands off those pretzels, they are a no-no for me.

I remembered to send a snack for Charlotte Claire. Her snack day isn't until Thursday, but I had her take it today because it is safer that way. Safer because it was a huge bag of white cheddar popcorn, and my older kids would eat it...there would be one of them that had no idea, never heard me say not to open it. Inevitable. Plus, I remembered this morning, who knows if I would remember come Thursday.

Pink slime. blah. If you haven't read about it being added to ground beef, read about it. I was glad to find out that the three local grocery stores I buy burger from do not use it. It is another incentive to avoid eating fast food though, just the wonderment of what they add to their food. blah. Grease and salt anyway, yuck.

But it does taste good.

I have found a yummy thing to eat in the afternoons with my coffee. Lowfat sugarfree vanilla yogurt. First heat up some frozen strawberries, slice them a bit, add maybe a half teaspoon sugar if you want, perhaps some blueberries too...then put the yogurt on top, add some coconut, and a few toasted almonds. I buy the raw sliced ones in a huge bag, and toast them in a small pan, it takes only a few minutes. It tastes like pie. Aldi Fit and Active Vanilla in the big container is cheap and yummy.

My scale wasn't quite as mean this morning, it is heading in the right direction again. I am motivated, and I am going to stick with this thing.

Miss Camille is so ready for kindergarten. First grade, really. We were making cookies the other day, and she asked what they were for. I told her, "for dessert." She said, " D...Z...R...T, dessert!" Okay, she wasn't totally correct, but she has the idea. When I read stories, she can sound out small words because she knows all her letters and all their sounds. She has known her colors forever, she knows things like blue and red make purple.

I talked to Benjamin last night. He and Ashley are doing fun things like going to parks and playing minigolf, after he gets home from "work" each day. I feel so sorry for them, having this huge goodbye looming. The Horrid Thing that happened in Afghanistan the other day has him a bit rattled, as it has done probably set the soldiers back a million years in their relationship with the villagers. If the locals don't trust the Army, they won't help them out and warn them. blah.

But Ben seems so grown up about the whole thing. He doesn't exaggerate the dangers, he isn't excited to go, but he does want to get it started and over with. He is going to keep a journal there, and wants to buy a guitar to play to pass the time. I miss him so so much. I wish I could see him before he leaves.

So, I am done here for now, I shall go put in a load of laundry, then maybe I will exercise a bit. I am not ready for lifting yet, not just because I am obedient to the dr.'s orders, but because of the pain I felt in the pool...I will be careful. Slow and steady might just win the race.

Monday, March 12, 2012

ahh, monday again

Paul and I, the princesses on our anniversary. The girls love flowers, and tried talking me into giving them each one.
It WAS cold and snowy just the other day, right?

Monday morning, bright and sunny. Warm. I saw a few robins this morning. Since we set the clocks ahead, blah. It wasn't six forty-five when I got up, it was 5:45, and my body knew it. It didn't help that I stayed up 'til midnight last night.

The scale is mean and unforgiving. I thought it would probably register those donuts, but not this harshly! Jeepers! I gained another pound, I am up three pounds since last week! Time to get really serious, and back on track. Yes, I have been saying this a lot, but now I really mean it. I shall exercise today, and go to the pool.

I read something really encouraging last night as I was cruising the weight loss blogs. Someone said, "remember, the world is not going to change. Your favorite restaurant is still going to serve your favorite food, and it is still going to taste delicious, there will still be parties with cake, ect...but YOU can change." For some reason that really spoke to me. Yes, donuts are good. They always will be. But that doesn't mean they have to go into my mouth. I am not a good consequence person, I have never really learned that if I stay up too late I will be tired tomorrow. That if I eat this now, it will make me fat. I have the knowledge, I know it, but when the rubber meets the road, when the donuts are there, I have all sorts of rationales that really cloud the truth. It is really and truly a MENTAL battle.

Here's what made me cry already this morning: girl drama before school, trying to deal with things and one of them is upset, I could have handled things better, felt bad, said something to Paul, he questioned why I was even discussing this stuff right now...and I felt terrible, like it is always me....but there is truth in that, it is only me that I can be really responsible for, as in the dieting thing, I cannot change anyone else...but it hurts to know I could have said things nicer, could have handled things better, and they are off at school...blah. Then I picked up the paper and read about the Army Staff Sergeant who killed all the Afghanistan civilians, from the same place Ben is stationed, probably right where he is going in just a few weeks...hopefully it isn't like a hornet's nest has been disturbed over there, it just scares the H out of me, as Aaron would say. I feel bad for the civilians' families, I feel bad for the soldier who obviously flipped out (but who knows what he has been through? Has he lived through his buddies getting killed?), but I mostly fear for Ben and their whole battalion of innocent guys heading over there in such an angry atmosphere. This war has not "wound down", those Taliban hate us just as much as they ever have, now even more. And I won't say any more. I will be strong for Benjamin, and I will give this whole thing over to God, and pray to trust Him and be at rest...but I did cry about this this morning.

Sometimes I just want to run away from this whole job of being a mom. Not because I don't love my kids, but because there is so much pressure all the time, so much to remember, so much to do, and of course the 94.5% of good things I do go unnoticed, but when I mess up or forget something that 5.5% of the time, blah. Here's the thing: I hate getting offended when a teenager answers me snottily. I hate being irritated by messes and spills and noise and those little fights they have between them. But this is life, and if it wasn't having a house full of kids, it would be something else. It is written in First Corinthinians 10 that, "no temptation has overtaken you than such as is common to man.." So we ALL have our battles, our things that we get sick and tired of. There is no choice but to pray more, endure to the end, pray for wisdom. It is called the good FIGHT of faith for a reason, it is no walk in the park. But Jesus overcame when He was tempted, therefore so can I.

So I shall not let my heart grow weary of doing good, no matter that it goes unnoticed. It is God I serve! I can start thinking that I have humbled myself enough, but is there a limit on that? Can't I always do it more?

Oh, life is never dull. Charlotte Claire skipped out on kindergarten this morning, she has a tummy ache, she says. More like she is so tired she can't see straight, but nonetheless, she is home. Then Sonja K. fell asleep on the livingroom floor as she got ready for school, or rather as she DIDN'T get ready for school. I tried to get her moving, and she proclaimed how much HER tummy hurt, and her head...blah. Not that I don't want her around, I love having her home, but she is also just tired, and I wish she had gone. This time change is harsh.

The sun is shining, but later when it clouds over I will be thinking of naps. But, this afternoon I am going to the pool. It is better than naps. ha, that is funny, but in the long run, it is. Okay, I still don't really believe that, but I know it is right.

And, lest I forget, a huge thank you for kind words and prayers for Benjamin. It really means so much to me. When I sit here and write, it helps me so much to see things more clearly, sort out my thoughts...and then when I get kinds comments, it helps all the more! Thank you!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

wow this weekend went by fast

And lest I lull my own self to sleep, I shall not recount it. But I will say that I was gone Friday to lunch at the Olive Garden for Mali's birthday, then to Target...Saturday I worked at the Monster Jam Monster truck show at the Dome...then today, to church. The sun was shining, the weather fine, which doesn't figure in with the snow I walked in this morning on my walk with Rosie.

This afternoon I went on a walk/jog. Which means I jogged for a as long as I could, fifty feet or so, then walked 'til my breathing was almost normal, then jogged again. Rosie thought this was great fun, the jogging part anyway. She did not want me to slow down to a walk.

I truly am starting all over again in this Diet Thing. It is hard to find that motivation, I feel like I did for all those years, going to bed at night swearing that Tomorrow I Will Behave. Today I did behave, pretty well. We had some company over for dinner, cooked steaks on the grill, and I made chocolate chip cookies for dessert. This time I only had like two cookies worth of dough, and ONE, yes, one cookie. It was a well-done one, nice and crispy and chewy, oh so good. I would rather not have ANY, but I couldn't hold out. I only had one bite of a roll, from Camille, and a few tastes of her mashed potatoes. I basically only had green beans and steak.

I am going to ease back into my workouts, and perhaps go to the pool a few times this week, and lengthen my walks again. When I started this whole thing, I lost 12 pounds in the first five weeks, so I am hoping to get results like that again.

The weather here is supposed to be nice this week. I am happy for Mirielle and Aaron and Mali, they are on spring break.

Seven of the kids are watching a movie, and I am distracted...


Now the whole world knows our last name. I didnt realize just how readable it was, couldnt figure how to blur it, so it is gone for now....big post later.

Friday, March 9, 2012

happy anniversary to us!

Happy Birthday, Mali! What is so funny about a tea-light candle on top of an ice cream cake?
Mali and Aaron are only fifteen months apart. They are good friends.

Today is our anniversary. We actually got married on a Friday evening, 28 years ago tonight. My kids say our story is depressing...the way that Paul called me five days before we got married to say, "let's just get married, what are we waiting for?" So, we did. I already had my dress, the lovely $13 one I bought at Hill's department store. We got married in his parent's living room, by a justice of the peace. We had some close friends from church, our siblings, and parents present. We went away only for the weekend, went to church that Sunday, and to work on Monday. I admit that I have had my thoughts through the years that I missed out on something by not having a big wedding, but I also missed out on the stress and the huge cost. And I got the most important thing, a good man! And he IS a good man. He is kind and patient and responsible and funny and so very good to me. Honestly, even when I was heavier, I never ever felt that he thought less of me, ha.

Anyway, we can't go out tonight because our older kids are going to the youth meeting, and tomorrow we are going to work at The Monster Jam Truck Rally at the Dome. Grave Digger? It will be loud, and crazy, and I can't really lift alot, but I can be a cashier.

Here are some random things:

I have gained two pounds this week since I decided to be more careful about the chocolate and the tastes of things.

Cindy, do not give up! You mention the scale is not moving, that is frustrating, but you are in such good shape! You can do amazing things! (I can't run fifty feet without sucking wind like I am gonna die!) That is good for your heart, your blood pressure, your sugar levels! I think you look fantastic, when I saw your picture in your Welcoming Husband Home clothes, I was like, "she doesn't need to lose weight!" Don't be too hard on yourself!

Random things about me:

I have never felt, "good enough".

I am easily intimidated, and it is not hard to make me cry.

But I won't do it in front of you.

I am not good at anything except for decorating cakes, and even those aren't that great.

I have no idea how I got so lucky to have all these kids, how I went through the pregnancies with no problems, and they were all born naturally, and healthy. (Well, I do have an idea, and His name is God)

I am pretty sure I have attention deficit disorder. My thoughts are so scattered this morning it is not funny.

We are going out to lunch today for Mali's birthday...Emily and I, Camille, maybe Joseph, and my niece Ellen. So far. I realize that I am a poor planner, but sometimes things put together at the last minute work out the best anyway.

I am tired of being so careful what I eat.

But I will not give up. I gave myself the Ra Ra talk again last night, and decided that if I could lose fifty pounds, then I can lose another fifty. After this two weeks off from exercising, it will be like starting all over again. I did just ten minutes of jogging in place yesterday, and will slowly work back to where I was in the next few weeks. I will ignore the two pounds I have gained, and start over. No more cheating!

Sorry this is so random! Camille is up, I have helped her fix her Mermaid doll, answered a text from Mirielle, and now Joseph is up. I am really scattered today!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

kitty kitten and camille

Camille LOVES Kitty Kitten, and is truly believes that Kitty loves her too.
Camille doesn't realize that Kitten doesn't appreciate her affection, a twitching tail means nothing to her.

today is one of those days...

It is cloudy and overcast, and it will rain soon. I let too many kids stay home from school again today for various reasons, and I just don't even care who doesn't like it. Charlotte Claire fell asleep in the van on the way home from our adventures yesterday, she is so little and this Going To School thing is just too tiring for her if she goes every day. She has also been very moody, and I want to spend time with her.

Suze and Sonja K. both had tummy aches last night, and I suspect both of them had too much fun yesterday and didn't want to end it...Jonathan would have been the only one going on second trip, so I simply asked him if he wanted to stay home. He did, big surprise. He is such a good kid, he would have gone if I had insisted. Char is still sleeping.

Today is Mali Rose's 18th birthday. She was born the day before our tenth wedding anniversary, and she is our seventh child. Emily was nine years old when she was born, Abigail 7, Benjamin 5, Mirielle 4, Joseph 2, and Aaron was fifteen months. Our anniversary celebration was a dinner that the hospital provided for new parents. The nurses took care of Mali while we ate one of our only uninterrupted meals of our lives, ha. I just remember sitting there with Paul thinking, "we have seven kids." It seemed so unbelievable.

Of course I was only 28.

Back then, I could actually keep my whole house clean, too. Ha, what happened to me?

Today is one of those days...I feel like crying. Maybe about my brother Billy, maybe about Ben deploying (I talked to him last night and realized that in just a few weeks or so I won't be able just to talk to him anytime like I can now...), maybe because when I stepped on the scale this morning, expecting to see a slight loss and I was a whole pound heavier....blah!!! Now - I do not really feel sorry for myself, but I do have a whole slew of temptations this morning. One of my teenagers, "MOMed" me this morning, Mirielle was not happy that I used her frozen water bottle on Camille's owie bump from falling out of the computer chair last week, and never put it back, now she is without an icepack for her lunch, oops. I just feel like crying and going back to bed. (the water bottle was a bad idea anyway, she had it in a washcloth so it wasn't too cold, and it slipped out and landed THUD right on her owie toe, the one with the totally broken toenail that ripped off when the Kohl's door hit it last summer....)

Tomorrow is our anniversary, Paul's and mine. 28 years. I had to ask Emily how old she was the other day, that's how I keep track of how many years we have been married. She is 27. I have been married for more than half my life, and have know Paul for almost 2/3 of my life.

I read the book, "The Hunger Games", because so many of my girls have read it, and are counting the days until the movie comes out. I actually liked it, it was well written, though rather gruesome. There is a second book, and a third...

Food. My whole life seems wrapped around that one word. Making sure there is enough of it for everyone all the time, buying it, cooking it, serving it, and trying not to eat too much of it. Dinner is the biggest trial of my day. When there are 15 people coming to the table, I can't just decide at the last minute to throw in a pizza. There are never enough leftovers from one meal to serve for another, especially because so many people from here bring leftovers for their next day lunches. I hesitate to complain about it because I am so totally thankful that we have enough to eat, and the resources to buy good healthy food to feed the family. It is just that dinner comes every single day!! And there is a saying, "you can please some of the people some of the time..." there is always one or two who aren't thrilled about what we're having, which is of course just too bad, a Mom, I like to make everyone happy. And so many of us want to eat healthy, we could survive on salad and chicken every meal, but I like to give some variety to the kids.

So yes, Benjamin's upcoming deployment is weighing on me. The front page story in this morning's paper was about a local boy who lost his legs in Afghanistan, stepped on an IED. That was another one of my Feel Like Crying triggers. I guess it isn't just that I am worried something terrible will happen to him, it is that I know he will be suffering in other ways, and come on! I am his Mama, it is hard for my poor soul to think of my son being in such circumstances! He is going to see things, as a medic, and it will not be easy for him. He said he is allowed to bring what he can carry, but his packs are already pretty full. So you can be sure that as soon as I get his address, I will be sending sunscreen and SlimJims and the kind of lip stuff that comes in the tube, and lots of it, because I'm sure there are guys who won't get any packages, and Ben likes to share.

Today is a good day to go to BJ's. I have five kids to "help" me, ha. They like to go through the Self Check-out, to the joy of the poor customers behind us. It is like playing store for real! They get to scan stuff, and put it in the cart...and yes, I stand there and let them. And I smile at the people behind me...they just huff and switch lanes. Or, they are nice people and they smile back and enjoy the kids enjoying themselves. Or, they are nice people who are in a hurry, and can't believe how much stuff we are buying. Then I pull out the coupons...