summer 2011

summer 2011

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

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

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Donuts...$2.39 a dozen at Walmart. They were day-old, but still so yummy. And don't worry, I only had one bite. Then a huge-0 mental battle not to just sit down and eat a whole one.
Muffins...blueberry, pumpkin strudel, and banana....Mirielle made these for their camp trip.

Today has been a strange day for me. Not my usual routine. I took a quick trip to Walmart to get a few things for them, and some shock for our green pool. My kids are packing for their campout, and Mirielle is the master food planner, and she is good! She writes Post-It notes about everything.

They are leaving at 8 a.m. tomorrow, then it will be just Charlotte Claire and Camille and I, and Joseph, Aaron, and Samuel. And Paul...and Paul and I are leaving in the afternoon for our weekend away. Yay!!!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


I know it's going to be a heckava blog post when I can't even think of a good title. I mean, "messy house again", or "going shopping today" are pretty lame. But alas, the story of my life....

The story of my life is that sometimes I get sick and tired of the same old same old, but then I get thoughts that sober me up and strengthen me to endure and find joy in that same old same old. Because this is IT, this is life. Yes, the towels are dry and another load has to go in, AGAIN. Camille is not part of the same old same old. She is my little sunshine, my sweetie who insists on growing up and away from me way too fast. This morning she is playing with her stuffed dog Max (from, "The Grinch Stole Christmas", Dr. Seuss). She is brushing his fur. I read her that book last night. She just said, "This is serious stuff. It doesn't care if it hurts, it just wants it's fur brushed."

I had so much fun with Samuel, 16, yesterday. His job interview was at the college in the small city. It was pouring out, just raining cats and dogs. We didn't have an umbrella, because I was afraid we were running late and didn't want to take the time to find one. Well. We parked as close as possible, but that was really far away. We were quite early for the appointment, so we sat there in the van waiting for the rain to subside. It didn't. It poured harder, and he was getting antsy, thinking we should get in there. We talked about the Army, about World War II, and about ROTC. We finally headed into the building, down the long wet sidewalk.

His interview lasted over a half hour. He was asked how he would spend his money if he got the job. He answered, "Well, being number 8 out of sixteen kids, I can't just hold out my hand and get money for what I want or need. So it would be nice to be able to pay things myself."

There are many applicants for the job, so he isn't as sure he will get it as he was before, but he enjoyed he whole experience. We stopped at McD's for a coffee and a fruit parfait (an ice cream sundae for Sam), then went to BJ's for some baggies and some chicken and veggie sticks and shampoo and beef jerky for Ben and one of the other guys.

Mirielle sent out two packages this morning, one for Ben and one for another guy who hasn't gotten anything yet. Yes, Linda, he does get his packages, but randomly. One time he got six boxes. He shares the candy with everyone and passes the baked goods around to all the guys. He always brings things in his pockets when he goes out on patrol, and gives stuff to the little Afghan kids. We sent him a book a while ago, and it is making the rounds. So we got him some, "Calvin and Hobbes", and "Get Fuzzy" comic books.

We had ham for dinner last night, with applesauce and mixed veggies and watermelon. The ham was good, but very salty. Since I have cut out processed foods and fast food, I cannot tolerate too much salt, I can taste it and blah! We also had these crusty artisan rolls with butter. I had one small slice of one, then ended up eating the rest. I can not do this! I should not taste good things like that at all, because I am a sucker for carbs. If I could lose weight and thrive on bagels and toast, I would be thin and healthy, because that is what I ate for years. And cereal. I miss cereal.

anyway. Today I am going shopping. Miss Margaret needs a bathing suit for her trip to the ocean, and Miss Mali is having phone problems and has to go to the big mall in the big city to get it replaced. She has no car, and needs a ride. Poor me. I do not care for malls. But, I will make her go to Price-Chopper with me on the way home, ha.

We have to wait to go later since Marg cannot miss any school, and Mirielle has the van right now shopping for food for their camping trip. I am okay with that because I need to do more laundry, wash some dishes, sweep floors, and....exercise. I took an evening walk with Sam and Jon last night, but I haven't lifted weights or done a push-up in days and days. oops.

I am hoping that picking up more exercise will get the scale to move down again. When I am tempted to get all down about how slowly this weight loss is going, I think: I am happy now. I do want to get smaller, be healthier, but it isn't going to make me magically happier. I need to enjoy the process, live contentedly, and not be so worried and obsessed about this. But - I do need to be obsessed. Does that makes sense? To be deadly serious about it but not let it get to me when it isn't working as well as I would like? I can't slack off or I will gain it all back. And I do NOT miss the heartburn or the fatigue. I read the Weight Loss Success Stories and these people lose like a hundred pounds in a year, and feel fantastic and start running marathons. It motivates me, but also makes me wonder why it can't just go so smoothly and quickly for me. Of course those people probably didn't have a delicious artisan roll, with a chewy crust and tender flaky inside, with real butter on it...sometimes I feel so doomed!

I just tried to glue Aurora's crown for Camille, it got stepped on. Elmer's glue won't do it, we will have to get out the tube of Goop. She is now making dinner for Max, feeding him plastic corn on the cob.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

hot and muggy with a chance of thankfulness...

Here are some things to be thankful for today....

1. My husband. He is such a responsible guy. He weeded the garden yesterday, put new brakes on the minivan, worked on the truck, and started getting the pool open. I, on the other hand, took all the kids to a picnic at Davian's house. When I got back, he had been working all day and hadn't eaten since breakfast.

2. Emily 27 and Abigail 25. They live in an apartment a few miles down the road, but visit all the time. Yesterday, they had Jonathan over for a while after the picnic.

3. Benjamin, 23. This guy has grown up so much, being in the Army. He is with lots of guys who are younger than he, and feels so protective of them. He is so scared of losing one. He said he didn't want to get so close, but it happens. That bond, "closer than brothers".

4. Mirielle, 22. She is so nice to have around. College is done for the summer, and she doesn't have a job yet. That means she has time to help me, and talk to me, and just be around. I love it.

5. Joseph, 21. Joe, Mr. Calm. He never gets mad. He takes life as it comes, does what is asked of him, and has a wicked sense of humor.

6. Aaron, 20. I am so proud of Aaron. Today is his first day of work as a Nurse's assistant in the cardiac operating room, I think. He is so extremely motivated and hard working.

7. Mali, 18. Miss Mali quit her ice cream job last night. Her boss is a miserable guy. Everyone around here knows it, yet she thought she could manage to work for him. She got sick of being yelled at in front of the customers. She quit, along with another girl. They just walked out.

8. Samuel, 16. Sam has a job interview this afternoon for a summer county job. He is so excited about it, already planning what he's going to buy, no matter how many times I remind him not to count his chickens before they hatch.

9. Margaret, 15. Marg, or Marge, as she is called, is an amazing girl. She has long curly hair that is to die for. She takes good care of herself, as in, she works out and exercises. She gets excellent grades, and she plays the guitar and the ukelele.

10. Kathryn, 14. Miss Kap, or Kappadia, as she is called, is also amazing. She is Benjamin's biggest fan, and misses him tremendously. She is leaning towards being a vegetarian because, "meat is gross.". She loves her music, and is very cool.

11. Evelyn, 12. Evelyn Joy is a little mommy. She knows what has to be done around here and how to do it, and what everyone else should be doing, too. I see myself in her so much. She so nicely volunteered to put the princesses to bed for me last night when I took a sneaky little trip over to my sister's house for a swim in her pool....

12. Suzanne, 11. Suzanne is cool too. She is still a little kid sometimes, talking a blue streak and playing with the younger ones. Then she is a teenager, hanging with the older ones and being smart. I like taking her places with me because it is nice to get her to open up and talk, there is goodness in her heart.

11. Sonja K., 10. Miss Ginger, or Ginge, is our redhead. She has to be told ten times to go to bed at night, she wants to be one of the Big Kids. She is funny and sweet and she shares a room with Jonathan, and loves the babies.

12. Jonathan, 8. Jonny is so sweet. He is sincere, and honest, and is like a miniature adult. He loves his trucks and toys, and takes good care of them. He knows so many things and is always interested in learning more. He is in charge of how many tents they take on their camping trip this weekend.

13. Charlotte Claire, 6. Miss Char loves school, but she loves staying home even more. She plays with Camille, and they do not get bored. Char is sweet and stubborn and smart and sincere and she has a loose tooth that has been just hanging there for days and days and days....

14. Camille Anaya, 4. My baby. Camille is lost today without all the kids here. She is at the kitchen table with some pretzel sticks. She is making a pretzel family. She has nine kids in her pretzel family. She told me, "if I want them to be littler, I just take more bites."

I would like to include Rosie on My Thankful List, but hmm. Oh what the heck:

15. Rosie, 3, Old English Sheepdog, also known as DumDum. She is smart. If I tell her to Go Get In Your Cage, she will. Even if it is closed, she can open it with her nose. She will go in there, circle around, plop down, and sigh. She always sighs when she is ordered around. She is supposed to stay on her rug when she is in the house, but she has to be told a million times to Go Lie Down, On Your Rug. She tries to lie with just half of her on it, and we will tell her, No, Get On That Rug. She will get up and lie down again. If you pet her, she will not leave you alone. She likes to drink water, get her beard all gross and wet, then put her face on your lap.

16. My sister Cheryl. Now, this list is not necessarily in order of thankfulness, as Cheryl does indeed rank higher than Rosie-The-Bad-Dog. Cheryl shared her pool last evening. It was a 90+ degree day, and I just did not cool down, until

Anyway. One thing I am NOT thankful for today: my weekly weigh-in. Since I am an optimistic person, I shall look at the bright side of it...wait, what is the bright side of gaining 1.4 pounds? I guess it could be worse, it could be raining. I guess the same thing that helped me take off all this weight at the beginning doesn't work so well anymore. I need to up the exercise and down the calories, or at least up the exercise. I haven't been a bad eater, but have lagged off on the evening walks and the weight lifting....but: today is another day, and I shall not ever be a slacker. Well, tomorrow also is another day. Today is really really hot. 85 already. I am hot just here in my comfy chair. It is going up to at least 91, and blah.

I am also not thankful for that sinkful of dishes.

Or the floors that need to be swept and mopped AGAIN.

Or those hampers that sneaked up on me again, all filled up with things to go into the washer.

Today I will get done what I have to get done, and take Sam to his interview in the afternoon...blah, in the 15 passenger van with no air conditioning. Maybe I will stop and buy another watermelon and some popsicles.

Friday morning, the second annual Girl's Camping Trip will begin as two vehicles pull out of our driveway with nine of our eleven girls, plus Mr. Jonathan, who gets to go along this year. He is thrilled, as he has never seen the ocean. He is a little worried about the hermit crabs. Charlotte Claire and Camille are too little to go. So they will stay here with Joseph, Aaron, and Samuel while Daddy and Mommy go off on a weekend away. I don't know why I think it is so hilarious that the three big boys will be here with the two little princesses. It makes me almost want to cry with joy that they are so okay with it. They certainly love their little sisters, but just that they are fine with taking care of them is so...well, so unselfish. And so sweet. They will all fit into the Nissan, so they will be able to go to the beach or the movies or whatever.

And with them being fine, and the other kids being more than fine with their trip, Paul and I can go away without feeling one little bit guilty...(one year we took off for a weekend, and the septic tank collapsed...Paul was on the phone a million times with the fixer-guy and with Emily, who was home with all the kids who couldn't run the water until it was fixed...oh, the guilt!)

More on our Weekend Away later...I need to get moving here....

But, one more thing: Thank you thank you thank you for the requests for Benjamin's address. Four nice people are going to send things out to the guys, and I know they will appreciate it so much! I have heard that if a general address is put on something, as in not one specific soldier, the package isn't as likely to make it to it's destination.

Monday, May 28, 2012


Here in the good old U. S. of A., it is Memorial Day. While I am very patriotic, I am also skeptical of this whole idea of war...I know we export weapons, and I know that money is the root of all evil. I shudder to think that our men and women are over in Afghanistan fighting and risking life and limb...for...never mind, I can't even suggest it. But. I read The List on Drudge Report, and give a little nod of thanks to each and every one of those soldiers who dies over there. When I hear the comment, "that war in Afghanistan is winding down..."...well, "winding down" it might be, but it is still just as fierce for the soldiers there. I do not necessarily support The War, but I do support the soldiers.

And today I miss Ben.

I walked today with Rosie, despite the thunder rolling in the distance, and the cool breeze that threatened rain. It is very humid, and heading toward 92 degrees today. We are going to a cook-out at my niece's house (Davian's house!)

Yesterday....we had company, and it was extremely nice!! Friends from Ohio who were here in town for the soccer tournament. Linda and her husband, and five kids. Very nice kids who get along so nicely with our kids. We all enjoyed having them so much! Emily burnt, I mean grilled, hot sausage and hot dogs and white hots. I made pasta salad, and we had watermelon and cantaloupe and grapes.

Well...time to get moving again. Hugs to all of you who have lost someone to war, or who are holding down the homefront while your dear is deployed, or who have grown sons or daughters deployed. I honestly never knew it would be this hard. I know Benjamin will be okay, but there is that fear always that I have to fight against.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

sunday, a day of rest....

When one has been gone all day on Saturday, the house somehow doesn't look it's Sunday Best on Sunday morning. We somehow didn't make it to day #2 of the tournament. Mirielle is there with the players, and I feel bad. They lost their only game this morning, Mirielle texted me. But I am not the Energizer Bunny this morning. So I am home.

Is my house all clean yet? ha. I swept and washed the counters. The kids had muffins for breakfast. I made a pot of coffee, and my oatmeal with toasted almonds, blueberries, crunchy peanutbutter, and coconut. And I read the morning paper. (I always read the birth section on Sunday because it fascinates me to read the new baby names. This morning, a girl named Devyn Jane and a boy named Colin Allison.) I love the obituaries too. One man died at 94, he was the oldest child in a family of thirteen kids. Just think to live that long, and live through the deaths of all those siblings. The World War II vets are all passing away, too.

Anyway, my point is this: the house would look a lot more decent right now if I had not lazed out. But hey, lazing out is nice sometimes. It is more nice on a daily basis. Don't ask me how I know this.

But then things start piling up. So one has to balance things just so that that piles don't get too big and wreck the mental aspect of the lazing around.

It is a beautiful day today. I shall not listen to those niggling little thoughts about how I should be organizing things around here, I shall just enjoy it.

My little girls are all dressed up and wanting to have a tea party. They do not get bored. They have already played Store this morning. They leave trails. I have to really work with them to pick up one mess before they begin another...

Emily and Abigail will probably be over for dinner tonight. I have some hot sausage to put on the grill, and some white hot dogs, coneys, or snappy grillers...local hot dogs, nice and spicy. Also some plain hot dogs, which I don't like to buy on a regular basis because blah.

My little girls are hilarious. They are outside singing now, all dressed pretty. Yesterday on the playground at the soccer tournament, some boys were calling Camille, "poopy bum-bums", which was the funniest thing I ever heard when she told me in her pouty little voice.

Yes, I am distracted, and have run out of meaningful things to say. Oh, one more thing. If anyone would like to send anything over to the guys in Benjamin's unit over in Afghanistan, there are a few guys there who haven't gotten any mail at all. If you email me at I will give you his address. It doesn't have to be a package, it can just be a letter. Packages do only cost the domestic rate to ship though, those One-Rate boxes are a bargain, for like 12 or 15 bucks. If you have emailed me and I haven't gotten the address to you yet, I will before Tuesday. If you address it to him and want him to pass it along to someone else, just say so and he will. He shares the stuff we send him, too. He says the guys really appreciate things like protein bars or granola bars, and those individual Kool-aid packs because they drink so much water. And beef jerky. And of course, a pillow.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

aah, so glad to be home in my comfy chair....

Sunshine, soccer, selling candy...the kids tied two games, lost two games. They played hard and had fun.

The little princesses have been showered, had some vanilla ice cream, and tucked in. Jonathan and Sonja K. are still up with Paul and I. Ten of the kids are still out at the church with all the young people, as the tournament continues tomorrow.

I behaved myself today, food wise. Mostly. I ate two peanut M&M's, and one piece of laffy taffy, a very small piece. And a piece of 15 calorie bubble gum. And I ate the girls' pizza crusts. The pizzas were SO good, all crunchy and garlicy on the crusts. I mostly ate veggies and chicken though. And drank lots of water and tea and some diet soda. The chocolate I was selling looked good, but I resisted. And the ice creams...oh yum. When I served the kids their ice cream this evening I had a few tastes, French Vanilla yum.

A few people I haven't seen in a long time asked me if I had lost weight. I forget that I have lost almost 60 pounds. Day after day of making good decisions and working out when I don't feel like it has done something good, I guess. I was asked what I did. How can I explain in like two sentences how much I have changed my life?

Anyway...too tired to say much tonight. But I am thankful for this day.

Friday, May 25, 2012

del, there's coffee...

Aah, words I love to hear. Aaron is 19, and he calls me, "Del". I answered rather enthusiastically, since I haven't had any coffee since my one morning Aaron said, "It ain't gettin' itself, Del." Please, I asked, will you get me some. He did. He is such a nice boy.(and the coffee is his from his own stash of Starbucks) He came home in some spiffy scrubs this afternoon, from orientation at the hospital. He went to visit his big sister Emily at work, in the same hospital, and she had the same scrubs on in a different color. Ha, nerd alert, said Mirielle.

It is hot today, 86 degrees, and a bit humid. But it is hotter in Afghanistan. And windier and drier. Benjamin is leaving his little base to go on another mission, so I won't be talking to him again for a while. He called me this morning while I was taking Rosie for her was strange to me, the old lady who still marvels at cell phones, to be talking to someone who is on the total other side of the earth, is in a hostile country in a war...while I walked through the peaceful woods on my own road.

He is doing well, all things considered. On his last mission, he had only MREs to eat, which he does not care much for. Then he remembered the cans of Ravioli I sent him, and he was a happy boy eating that every night. He has a Sgt. who takes good care of the guys, and I am ever thankful for that. He says that at his "home" base, the guys are personalizing their spaces around the cots by building walls with scrap wood. I am glad they are allowed to do that, if it will help them cope and get through the days, then it is good.

This morning I dragged Joseph, 21, out shopping for the last of the grill items. 20 twelve packs of soda, cases of water and Snapple and Gatorade. And fresh bakery buns for the burgers. He didn't go grudgingly, but he didn't go over-willingly, either. He just went. He will do the right thing, and he will be fine about it, but he doesn't care to shop. He is like his dad, get what you need and get out of there. Me, on the other hand...well, I wanted to look at everything! But I didn't. I did look at the produce section. We had fresh peaches on the way home, and I sent him with some strawberries...he went to the church to put the drinks away and do some weed-eating with a bunch of other boys.

My little princesses do not get bored. They helped me weed the garden in their bathing suits. Camille plops right down in the dirt and digs those weeds out. I gave Rosie-The-Bad-Dog a bath today, and brushed and trimmed her. She looks fantabulous, but it won't last. I know that when she is clean she finds mud first chance she gets. But for now, she looks amazing. Anyway, the girls played in their little pool, and colored, and now have princess dresses on.

Well, dinner isn't going to cook itself. I am making burgers on the grill tonight. And perhaps some green beans. I will also grill some chicken breast that is marinating in the 'fridge, so we can eat it tomorrow at the soccer tournament, with black olives and green peppers and bacon, in wraps. Do I feel like getting out of this comfy chair? ha. The ceiling fan is on, and the drone is making me sleepy. I woke up too early this morning after staying up so late last night, couldn't fall back to sleep, on this one morning that I COULD have slept in because the kids had the day off from school...of course NOW I could fall to sleep immediately...but. I have dinner to make. And perhaps a long walk, since I did no official exercise today. ha. Busy all day, but no exercise.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

um really? more cookies?

Cookies. Piles and stacks of cookies. Chocolate chip cookies made with Nestle chocolate chips AND broken up German chocolate bars. Real butter. Dang, they're good. Too good. I had a bit of the dough, but disciplined myself. Then they started baking....and the aroma filled the house, filled my mind. I tried to resist, I really did. I went in and broke a taste off of a broken one. Oh heavenly delicious-ness. I should not have done that. I finally just went in and picked one out, and yes, it was worth every calorie. I decided today that every pound I lose represents saying NO one million times. It is hard to say NO. It is even harder when well-meaning people offer a second time, or a third. Everything in me is saying YES, PLEASE...I do want a cupcake. But. I do have that niggling little voice that does not want to sabotage this weight loss effort. And...after saying NO a million times, I lose a pound!

The cookies are for Benjamin, and one of his buddies who never gets any packages. He will be getting one from us! If anyone does want to send a pillow or anything over to one of the guys, email me at for the address. It is one hundred degrees over there in Afghanistan, and Ben says his gear weighs around sixty pounds. I saw a picture of him on facebook, and he had the boots and the long sleeves...and: he had a gun. A very big scary rifle. Okay, I don't want to be a big baby here, but it didn't set well with me. I know he's in the Army, but.

We had ribs for dinner, barbecued on the grill after they baked in the oven. And yellow squash and zucchini on the grill...Charlotte Claire and Camille did not want to eat theirs, so I told them they could have one strawberry for each slice they ate, so they got five strawberries each.

It is late at night...there are still some kids up. Tomorrow: no school! Aaron has to go to orientation for his new summer job at the hospital. I hope I get to sleep in a little bit.
Cookies cookies cookies, all wrapped up to ship to Afghanistan...


Remember that song, "Time In A Bottle"? A day like today would be nice to bottle up. Sunshine and breezy weather, birds singing and that distinctive fresh smell of whatever it is that makes it smell so spring-y. Today I am excited like a little kid, jumping up and down inside, because this weekend is Soccer Weekend! Our poor team never wins, but I think they have made a goal once. Seriously, if there was a trophy for Worst Overall Team Ever, they would get it. But they press on, they give it their all. I try to compliment them on every good play they make, and encourage them that it is how you play the game. But I know they would LOVE to win a game one of these days, and we are always hopeful. Stranger things have happened.

Aside from the soccer playing, there is seeing all my friends! Friends I haven't gotten to see all the long winter long. Friends who are wholeheartedly in the same battle against sin, friends who don't think I am crazy to have sixteen kids because they might be from a family with that many, or have that many themselves. Friends who don't judge what their eyes see and what their ears hear, friends who seek after peace and sanctification.

These weekends are so special! I get to sell candy to all the kids, the kids who are growing up in leaps and bounds. They are my friends, too!

Today, Mirielle and I are going to go finish the shopping for the weekend.

Tomorrow, there is no school! We had such a mild winter this year, we have extra snow days. So a four day weekend for the school kids! I don't want to have to leave and go shopping tomorrow when they're here. So today is the day to get it all done.

This morning's breakfast: a variation on my usual whole oats, I had steel-cut oats. They take forever and a day to cook, but they are pretty yummy. They aren't as gooey as regular oats. I skipped the crunchy peanutbutter this morning and added toasted coconut and toasted almonds. Not bad at all, and very filling. I would like to try to transition to more of a Paleo breakfast, but I don't like eggs in the morning very often...

Does anyone else ever wish they could re-do days? Sometimes I feel like I am just dragged along through the day with no say in the matter. Distracted by this that and the other thing. Then I lie in bed at night and wonder if I even talked with say, Suzanne. Or if I enjoyed Camille's smile. Or if I really listened to what is going on with Kathryn. Did I love them enough today? Or was I more focused on who left their mug in the living room. Or who's turn it was to wash the pans. Did I stop and smell the roses or was my mind always on what I had to get done...? because, this is it. This is life. We only get the one ride through.

Here is something I love: Margaret plays guitar and the ukelele. She goes in to the little girls' room at night and sings them to sleep. They LOVE it. Right now Camille is awake in her room and is singing her heart out, making up the lyrics as she goes along. (she is singing, "Wish I'd never grow up, I'm four and a haaaaalf!")

Anyway, today is a good day. I am happy and excited and hopeful for a good weekend with these guys. Cassie-Ann, our church does have fellowships in Australia. Look on the website. I think there are locations there.

And, that does it for this morning. I need to exercise, and the pans from last night's dinner are - you guessed it, sitting there on the counter waiting for ME. I must have special pan-washing talents. And the floors need sweeping and mopping and my white clothes need to be hung up and another load needs to go in the washer. And Camille no doubt has lots of things to tell me when she comes out of her room...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

bad mom award # 437....

And tonight's award is for: Forgetting All About The Elementary Chorus Concert! Imagine my guilt and shame when Jonathan mentioned it casually this evening way after it was already over with. oops.

I do have some excuses, of course. Evelyn and I left the house this morning by 9:40 to do some shopping for the grill at church this weekend. We filled the back of the minivan with burgers and candy bars and eggs and hot dog buns and ice cream cones. We brought it all out to the church and unloaded it, then headed to the next store with Kim. First, however, we took a tiny little detour. It was an hour past my lunchtime, and I forgot to arm myself with almonds and an apple, my standard go-to snack when I go Bye-Bye. So...we went to the Chinese Buffet. And like every other time I go there, I say afterwards, "I am never going there again." That salty food, that yucky feeling...but honestly, it tasted so good. I stayed away from the rice and noodles, but I did have a bit of ice cream. The pepper chicken is my favorite, followed by the sesame chicken.

We filled the back of the van again with three cases of pizza dough, 25 pounds of mozzarella cheese, 18 pounds of hot dogs, 50 pounds of salt potatoes, plates and bacon and sausage and peppers and salad stuff....

Then, a quick stop at a different Target. I tried on a few bathing suits, which is always sobering. Made me really regret the Chinese food, but hey, life goes on. I bought Mirielle a beach bag and some sunglasses for all the help she does for me. And since Miss Evelyn was with me, she found some clearanced shoes, a skirt, and a top.

On towards home...a quick stop at the fabric store to get fabric paint for Kathryn, who had texted me five times asking for some. Through the McD's drive-through to get a coffee, and finally...back to the church to unload, again. Home. Finally. Dinner: three meatballs and some green pepper slices. A nice long walk with Sonja K. Then...the princesses were asking for something for I cracked open the 56 ounce bag of M&M's that I had gotten with a good coupon...and I counted out ten. Then ten more, but put a few back. Then got a few more out. Then a few more. Blah, someone slap me! I had at least twenty, no more than 25. blah. They are SO good. I think it is easier to just not have any.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day.

I still have more grill shopping to do. Tomatoes and chicken and hamburger buns. And and and. Gatorade and soda and water and Snapple, unless I can get some boys to get it for me.

I am tired tonight. Not just from all the shopping. I forgot to bring Miss Rosie in and put her in her cage last night before bed. She reminded me with a nice loud string of RUFF RUFF RUFF-ing at 5 a.m. I almost fell back to sleep like ten times, but Paul was awakened too, and was tossing and turning and keeping me awake.

So. I am tired. Plus, Miss Camille came in and visited me twice last night. She just comes in and stands next to my bed, then reaches over and hugs me without a sound. I hug her back for a few minutes, tell her I love her, and to go back to bed. She does. She sneaks in and out so quietly. I don't like being woken up, but I LOVE it at the same time. She is really and truly a sweetie.

Ashley called me last night to say that she had heard from Benjamin, finally. That was nice to hear.

The house fell apart without me today. I was really gone all the livelong day. Mirielle and Aaron had to go up to college for some things, but when Mirielle got home she made up a chore list. Margaret made dinner (spaghetti and meatballs and salad). They didn't trash the place, but it isn't like when I am here all day and picking things up and getting things done.

The little girls had dollhouse stuff ALL OVER the living room, and Jonathan had a whole inventory of his Nerf guns out here. They had snacked and there were crumbs. Sonja K. was a darling and helped get it mostly cleaned up.

The days are going by too fast. I love the spring time, and the long days of sunlight. The kids stay up too late and have such a hard time getting up in the morning. Four kids stayed home today. Sonja had a tummy ache, hmm., Jonathan said I promised him he could stay home today, and the tears kept coming when I suggested a different day, and Miss Char was so tired she flopped on the couch and didn't want to get up. She got dressed, but then was lying back down again...she was still awake singing songs with Camille at ten last night, and was up before I was this morning. So...I let her stay home too.

That was Bad Mom Award #436, I guess.

Joseph didn't have to work today, so he watched the kids while I shopped, since I had to fill the whole van. So I got ripped off, they stayed home and I wasn't here to enjoy it. Sonja said it was really fun though. They had microwaved pizza pockets and baby carrots for lunch. Then Aaron and Mali went to this small Mennonite store out in the country, and brought home lots of candy: licorice and gummy frogs and chocolate covered raisins and candy necklaces.

And, I am tired.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

weekly weigh-in:

I lost three pounds! I wish I could say I have this thing figured out, but I am more puzzled than ever. Consider this: I had an ice cream cone for lunch on Saturday, mint chocolate chip. I had an ice cream cone on Sunday, chocolate and vanilla soft twist. hmm. I have been really watching those sneaky little tastes though, and portion sizes at dinner. And, I have added those evening walks. Yesterday I did my morning walk, then a dorky version of a HIIT workout that Mirielle found effective...of course she does double the one I did...anyway, I took Miss Charlotte Claire, Miss Camille, Miss Evelyn, and Mr. Jonathan to the pool to meet Abigail when she got home from work. This time the princesses wanted to race me back and forth across the pool, which was hilarious, because they can beat me. They DO wear floaties though. It was nice exercise. Then...home to dinner. Mirielle had made orange chicken, and some pork chops, basmati rice, and green beans with toasted almonds. I love that she is done with college for the year!! Then Sam asked if I wanted to go on our walk...well, I hadn't planned on it, since I just swam...but what the heck! Off we went, after I washed the pans and serving dishes. (I can't just leave ALL the clean-up for the kids...)

My guess is that overall, moving more has triggered my metabolism to get moving. I do not take this for granted one little bit, nor do I count on losing three pounds every week from now on. In fact, I won't be surprised if I get on the scale tomorrow and I have gained some back. But it IS motivating.

Sonja is home today. She says she has a mean substitute teacher. I am certain this sub is not actually mean, but Sonja says I told her yesterday that she could stay home today. I do not remember saying this. Her eyes pooled with tears when I said I don't think I said that, so I gave in and let her stay home. I was probably saying, "yes" to someone else about something, and she thought it was to her question. I don't know. But she said, "It's fine, Mom, my teacher just said the other day that my attendance is getting better." See that reasoning? It is getting better, so that means she can take a day off. The apple doesn't rot far from the tree. (I have been doing fine, I can eat this cookie...blah.)

Anyhoo, as Emily would say, today Davian is coming again. In just a few minutes. He is a little sunshine. I love how Joseph and Aaron, and Samuel just adore him. They can't resist him. Mirielle too, of course. But I have always been partial to when the older boys are so baby-crazy. They will be good daddies some day, perhaps.

Our spring church soccer tournament is this coming weekend. That means we will be running the grill/candy store. That means we need hot dogs and hamburgers and soda and water and Snapple, and candy, and ice cream. Guess who will buy it all? We serve salads with grilled chicken, too, and chicken bacon wraps. And plates of fresh fruit. Oh, and breakfast, so I have to get eggs and juice and sausage and English muffins and coffee....there is SO much to buy. I am going tomorrow and Thursday, and perchance also on Friday morning. I have help lined up. And I don't mind too much...

Anyhoo, I am happy today. Three pounds. I have lost almost 60 pounds now. Having at least fifty more to lose, I guess I have passed the middle of my goal. It is taking a long time, but at least it is happening. I never thought I would be able to do this, which is why I never tried, until last year. I am just not the kind of girl who can deny herself and stick to something like this. Seriously, if you have read this blog for long enough, you know I am a real cookie lover, a lazy mama, full of excuses, a total procrastinator. My point is: if I can do this anyone can. You just have to WANT it bad enough. I want to feel good and be healthy and do more adventurous things. And wear any clothes I want. And fit in chairs and walk by things without knocking them down. I am getting older, and getting old is hard enough without carrying all this extra weight.

Davian is here now, sleeping. Sonja and Camille are trying to be quiet, although they really want him to wake up. Have I mentioned how much I like him? I am coming to terms with the fact that I am probably not going to have another baby, and I am okay with that. Having this little guy here has really been special for me. When I am sweeping up or on the computer, and I hear that little snuffle that says, "I am waking up!", it brings back memories of the good old days which constituted most of my life, and I am glad to drop what I am doing and go get him, snuggle him and talk to him while he sucks that bottle down. Then putting him to my shoulder to burp, and getting that milky-satisfied grin...yes, I am really enjoying him. Even when he fusses. Camille and I did lose his pacifier a few times yesterday, but we found it. She is loving these days too.

Ashley was here yesterday. It is always so good to see her. I wish I could hug her sadness away, she misses Benjamin so much. We haven't heard from him in days and days and days, as he is on a mission. When her car pulled up yesterday, my heart skipped a few beats before I could even rationalize that she was NOT coming over to tell me bad news. It isn't that I focus on that, but it is there, the fear. I never ever realized it was this hard to have someone deployed during war. I do hold on to the verse in Timothy that says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, and what is written in Matthew about being anxious. Not a sparrow falls from the sky without our heavenly father knowing about it. The very hairs of our head are numbered. All things work together for the good for those who love Him, as it says in Romans 8.

Hmm...I know what I should do. I should advertise that I will watch little babies. Just from six weeks until they are big enough for daycare. hmm. Only one at a time. My slogan could be, "I will love your baby more than you do, baby." naw, that would be insulting.

Okay, time to get moving...I am going on and on and starting to bore myself again.

Monday, May 21, 2012

good morning and happy monday...

I forgot to mention in my last post, titled, "bliss, just bliss...", that we have had major plumbing problems here. Friday morning the toilets backed up into the tub and shower...lovely. Paul was in the Adirondacks, and I was In Charge. Now, I know how to plunge a toilet. So I did. Until my hand was almost blistered. Didn't work. I tried to plunge the shower, the tub. Nope. So my dear brother Tom came over and helped. He took half a day off work, which I owe him a million for, but it was still backed up. Off I went to my hotel date with the girls, knowing that like fifteen people were sharing one downstairs bathroom...

Paul came home from his hike to some work to do. After cutting a pipe, the problem was: hard water deposit, all built up. Thomas came over and helped him get it straightened out, now we have three working toilets again.

Sweet baby Davian is here again today. It sure is different having a baby around again! There is cuddling and cooing, and diapers and bottles...and it is busy! But I don't mind. He is a sweetie. Camille is beyond thrilled to have him here. Right now he is napping, and she keeps checking on him. She talks to him sometimes, and he coos back at her, and she thinks it is hilarious. I am very thankful that Dave and Katie entrust their baby to us for these days. It's funny because I remember babysitting Katie when she was this age...

I think he might be waking up. Yay! Can you tell I have missed having a baby around?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

bliss....just bliss.

Starting this afternoon, I was in heaven. Why? Oh, just sunshine and perfect temperatures, not a cloud in the sky. Sitting in the yard with Abigail while the princesses played in the little pool. Gardening with Paul. Going shopping to the unfinished furniture store with Abigail to pick up my Mother's Day present, which is a new bench that matches the other benches, thus freeing me up to get rid of a few of the unmatched chairs. We also went to a little sweet shop, and I chose a small mint chocolate chip ice cream cone, while she went for the peanutbutter chocolate chip cookie. I tasted it, and yes, it was YUM! Then home to prepare dinner...I grilled the chicken breast that was marinating...Abigail cooked the corn the princesses shucked, and I made a salad with spinach from our garden. We also had a watermelon. There were fifteen of us here for dinner, and it was very pleasant. After dinner, I walked all by myself, the 1.2 miles. Then when I got to our driveway, the princesses were waiting for me in nice bye-bye clothes, and shiny shoes, wanting to go pick flowers for their "wedding". So we went a ways down the road the other way.

And this is just the afternoon/evening part!!! Words cannot describe how good of a time we had last night at our Girl's Hotel Night. Since the What Happens At The Hotel Stays At The Hotel rule does apply, I cannot say much. was good, and it was fun. Except for the bathroom by the pool incident...the Women's bathroom was Out Of Order. I was NOT about to walk through the foyer of the hotel, especially since there was a formal party taking place there, to use the bathroom, dripping in my lovely bathing suit. So, I just used the Men's room, which was, as my mother used to say, a "one-holer". I did lock the door. But, as I attempted to pull my lovely one piece suit, wet and impossible, up past my waist, the door swung open, and a very shocked man yelled he was sorry as I shrieked. I don't know who was more traumatized. Oh my. It was funny later, but...dang, I was traumatized.

I wanted a nap so badly today since I had like three hours of sleep in the wee hours of them morning...I even went in and put my nightgown on and turned on the fan...but I just did not want to waste this glorious I am tired. But happy.

Anyway, there are still lots of us here in the living room, and I am distracted...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

kids with driver's licenses....

I now have seven of them. And guess what? They aren't really "kids" anymore. But guess what? They are still MY kids. That gives ME a license to worry, right? Or at least be concerned. Because driving is dangerous...

Mali passed her roadtest yesterday on her first try. She has her driver's license. We waited for her, Aaron, Mirielle, Camille, and I...on a sidewalk next to a nice grassy field full of daisies. Camille was amazed at all those flowers, so I told her that if she picked ten piles of ten, she would have one hundred. She only got to seventy when Mali came back with the driving tester and gave us the thumbs up.

Tomorrow we are babysitting for little baby Davian! I dug my two Fisher-Price baby swings out of the closet. One is the regular sized, and the other is a sweet cradle type table top model. Jonathan gave me four "D" batteries, two from a toy and two new, which I promised to replace, and the big swing still works. The small one still has batteries from when Camille was a baby, and works too. The Princesses helped by washing the big swing tray, and wiping it down. Margaret put the seat cover in the wash. I am letting the Princesses use them for their babies. Poor Charlotte Claire did not want to go to school because she wanted to play babies with Camille. So I wrote them notes that I would pick them up at dismissal to save them the horribly long bus ride.

No one wants to go to school tomorrow because Davian will be here. He is three months old now, and he is a keeper. So...I am picking some kids up early....

If I ever had another baby, I would have to home school these guys.

I mean, when I told them baby Davian was coming over, they were seriously shrieking with happiness!

Here's a little rant about injustice. One very hot day, a 94 degree day to be exact, a young mom who lives not too far from here, was visiting some friends. Her 9 month old baby daughter fell asleep, so mom put baby down for a nap in a camping trailer with no air conditioning. It was very hot in the trailer. Long story short, baby died. Very sad, very tragic, and quite possibly a very stupid move on mom's part. But criminal? I just don't buy it. She just got out of state prison after serving fifteen months for Criminally Negligent Homicide. It just brought tears to my eyes and an ache in my heart to think this girl did something really thoughtless, but she lost her baby! And had to go through that grief and loss in state prison!

My second rant: Yesterday after Mali passed her test, we went to Wegman's, a very nice grocery store. Aaron mentioned he needed a coffee, so I followed him over and had him buy one for me, too. The coffee there is excellent, one has the choice of like ten kinds, so I always mix mine with a little Brazillian, a little decaf, ect. Anyway, as we were filling our cups, there was a ruckus at the food counter...a mom with two children who were making her very angry. A small boy, no more than two, with the cutest little glasses on...and a little girl about four. Mom was yelling at the boy, who was upset and was trying to hug her for comfort, and she was just screaming and ranting and pushing him away...the little girl just stuck her thumb in her mouth and stood there with a worried look on her face. Then the mom turned to her and started yelling at her. I told Aaron I was going to say something to her, but I started crying, and couldn't even get the words out. The lady then grabbed her boy's hand and dragged him by us, with the little girl following...I was too upset to say anything. Some people just plain shouldn't have kids. Aaron and Mali were upset by this too. No one said anything to this lady, and it just isn't right. But what can you do? Call the cops? I would have taken those kids....

Paul is leaving this afternoon to go on his Adirondack hike with Joseph, Aaron, and Mali. They will get back tomorrow night, but I won't be here, I will be at the hotel get-away with my friends. I will not wear my boots this time...

So after all my declarations of how I will endure temptations, ect ect...I had brownies last night. It was Joseph's birthday, so the kids had some ice cream, I didn't take one bite. Then they finished off the "heater" cakes, which is what they call those frozen Pepperidge Farms cakes which we rarely have, but I bought for Aaron to celebrate his last day of college for the year...(I guess the way they are frosted looks like the heat register to whoever named them many years ago...)Anyway, Sam and Jon and I got back from our third night in a row after dinner walk, and Abigail was making brownies. Ghiardelli brownies, with walnuts and caramel on top. They filled the house with their heavenly aroma as they baked...and I thought I would just have a small taste, since I have been doing so well. Well. That small taste was so so good. Hot from the oven, the caramel just I had a little more, probably a normal sized serving. And the thing is, I just wanted more! I would have been better off if I had just not had any! When I realized how many calories I ate, and the walk I just took didn't even cover it...blah. Oh well, life happens and slip-ups happen, and it was really yummy. And hey, I am still alive.

Camille is planning and plotting for taking care of Davian. She wants to try some of her doll clothes on him, and she wants to burp him because she knows exactly how, because she has practiced on her dollies. Kate, if you read this, don't worry. I will take good care of him, I won't let Camille just play with him. Although she really wants to try him in the doll stroller....

The dentist office just called and reminded me of Evelyn's appointment this afternoon. Good thing, because I had no idear. I forgot to write it on the calendar, but I sort of knew I had something this week. So that throws a monkey wrench into the monkey wrench pile. I will have to be in two places at once now.

Oh well. Time to get out of my comfy chair...Camille is so funny. She is really into playing with her babies this morning, and asks me every few minutes, "Mommy, tell me again what we will do when Davian gets here..." she really cannot wait.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

happy birthday to joseph

My number five child is 21 years old today. We lived in a mobile home when he was born. That May was scorching hot, a rare early heatwave. It was in the 90's. Our trailer was very hot, no A.C., and not enough ventilation. So on my due date, I decided to go to the new big mall in the big city. My sister came over with younger-than-school kids (3), Emily was in kindergarten, so I packed up Abigail 4, Benjamin 2, and Mirielle 15 months...and off we went. I started having contractions as we drove down the Thruway. Five minutes apart. dang. We turned around, and headed for the hospital in the small city. I was checked, and four centimeters, with regular contractions. I was staying. Cheryl was going home with lots of kids. Paul left work and joined me. It was a long day....after five hours the dr. offered to break my water, or send me home, since not a whole lot was going on. I thought about our hot hot trailer, and I opted to stay. A few hours later, he was was the BEST birth ever. Like one push, and there he was...all relaxed and stretched out...Joseph never curled up. He was a long baby, too. He is still pretty relaxed, Mr. Joseph.

We started building this house when he was newborn. I was mostly home with five little ones while Paul worked on this after work and on weekends. Well, not exactly "home", we shopped for light fixtures and flooring and paint and sinks...Paul and my brothers built the house themselves, part time. It was a really crazy year, but it was worth it, and I am ever grateful for my brothers who gave their time to help us so much. When Joseph was eleven months old, we moved in.

Joseph is working today, on his birthday. I think I will buy some burgers and grill them, he likes those. The last ones we had turned to hockey pucks...I will not mention any names, but the griller that night totally scorched them. We still ate them, of course, but yuck.

I have been craving these flourless oatmeal/almond/coconut/peanutbutter cookies. I saw the recipe for them on a blog I came across, and have been wanting to make them. But I have also been apprehensive about it, because what if no one here wanted them except for me? Would I be able to control myself? So this morning, I did something smart, if I do say so myself. I mixed my whole oats with crunchy peanutbutter, then added toasted sliced almonds and coconut, and a small bit of brown sugar...then milk. It was SO good. I tasted like cookie dough of the cookies I have been craving. I think I am okay now, I don't need to make those cookies today. So my breakfast might have been more fattening, but in the long run, I think it was a good idea.

Today is one of my teenager's driving test. I will not write a thing about it if the poor dear fails. We are filling the car with college students, and Camille, to go to the small city. Aaron and Mali and Joseph and Paul are going on an Adirondack hike tomorrow. They like to climb the high peaks. So they need food. Camille and I are going along for the fun of it, and because we could use some more fresh produce.

Last night after dinner I asked who wanted to go on a walk with me, and to my surprise, Samuel volunteered immediately! He must have like our walk the night before. So off we went, Sam and Jonny and I. It is so pleasant that at 8'oclock it is still light out!

I went on the Dreadmill yesterday. One mile, four long laps...I alternated running and walking, and cut my time from 20 minutes to 18:45. Aren't I so speedy? I read somewhere that sweat is one's fat crying...believe me, my fat was having a huge a screaming tantrum! I also did some squats and that second walk, which was 1.2 miles on the real road with real hills... It was a good day eating-wise, too. We had spaghetti for dinner, whole wheat pasta. I took a few strands just to taste, but had my sauce on a huge pile of green beans. Plus some salad, no croutons, none of that yummy bread and butter the kids were having. I did have one of those fifteen calorie rice cakes with peanutbutter, later.

Two things I am excited for: fresh produce that comes with summertime, and opening our pool. I have high hopes of a good weight loss summer. I am now over a year into this New Lifestyle, and I am still alive and happy! I have had my share of setbacks, especially the pregnancy loss and the gallbladder surgery, and the trip to Jamaica which netted a five pound gain which had to be lost again, and of course Christmas...and I have been frustrated and questioned myself, but I am more certain than ever that this is the way I want to live. I want to be healthy. Even if the pounds aren't falling off like I think they should, it is still better for me to eat good nutritious clean foods, and stay away from sugars and baked goods. I do and always will love donuts, but I don't need them in my life. I guess to sum it up: I have chosen the way I want to live, and I know I possess the power to see it through, even though I feel like I have no power at all. There WILL be temptations along the way, but I know that now. And I know it won't kill me to suffer through without giving in. There are probably people who can just casually say NO THANK YOU to a piece of cake, and not think a thing of it. For me, there will be longing inside. There will be thoughts that tell me it won't hurt me just this once. I don't know if I will ever come to the point where I won't have that battle. But. It is my cross to bear, my weakness. And I CAN overcome it. Painful as it is....

I have run out of things to say this fine morning. And since we have to get going soon, I shall pry myself out of my comfy chair and do some exercising...blah. And dishes. And laundry...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

simple joys

Suzanne and I are lounging in the living room on laptops. I have a cup of coffee, and am relaxed and comfy. She is not so comfy because she just threw up. Her head hurt really bad, she told me this morning. blah, poor Suze. Miss Charlotte Claire is home today too. Her "voice was scratchy" yesterday, as she kept informing us in her amazingly exaggerated scratchy voice. So I decided she must be coming down with a cold, and let her sleep in. The two little princesses are playing Mommy this morning. They each have a baby doll, all dressed in real baby clothes and wrapped in the blankets I used to wrap the two of them in not so long ago.

I am happy today! Happy and excited! I made those reservations! Paul and I are going to stay at a...hmm, a independently owned little place, the kind from the crime movies, the kind where you drive up and park right outside your own door. The reviews were good, the place is clean, the owners really nice. And, most of the other places there are already booked for the weekend we can go. So, we are in for a new experience, a deviation from the chain hotels we would usually choose from. There is no pool, wah for me, but I shall at least take a really long shower and waste lots of hot water without feeling guilty. Well, maybe a tiny little bit guilty.

I also made the reservation for this Friday night's last minute overnight escape with my friends. Yay! Since we girls don't have nearly enough time together, we will surely have alot to say. So I am prepping myself: Listen. Don't interrupt. Don't hog all the conversation time. Don't be a know-it-all. Don't get offended. It is amazing what one can find about oneself when one has a bit of self-awareness. Anyway, I am hoping this time together is meaningful and we can all come away from it more encouraged to fight our individual fights of faith. Life isn't easy, and we need to be re-energized sometimes.

My college kids are done for the semester!!! Yay! Aaron has a few weeks until he starts his summer job in the O.R., Mali starts work at the ice cream place today. Dang, I hope I can visit her without visiting the ice cream. Mirielle hasn't landed a job yet, but that's okay with me. She went to the grocery store with me yesterday, armed with coupons.

We bought the yummiest artisan bread, it was some kind of baguette. Mirielle made fresh bruchetta to go with it. I said, "go ahead and make it, but I don't eat bread." Well, I ate a small piece with butter. Just a tiny piece. Oh heaven on earth, that bread was good. So I had one more small piece with the bruchetta...I had to slap my own hand to keep from having more. My plate was already filled with good things, grilled chicken, and a huge fresh salad....but that bread, oh yum.

Oh, weight loss weekly weigh-in: down one pound from last week's weigh-in. blah. I had been down three, but gained some back. Oh well. It is what it is, and I am not giving up. I went for an extra walk after dinner last night with two of my favorite kids, Samuel -16, and Jonathan - 8. Sam is 6 foot 2 inches, and Jon is...well, Jon is 8 years old. I asked them to walk in front of me because I am mean and it drives Rosie crazy that she is so apparently not in the lead. I figure it is good for her. Anyway, walking behind that big tall boy who is so funny and kind, and who walked the whole mile in bare feet, as he talked to Jonathan and told him about interesting things....was such a treat. Then we came across a snapping turtle in the middle of the road. I asked Sam to please please move it. He scooted it over with his was really cool to see, and we were glad we went on that walk and moved that turtle so it didn't get run over.

I stayed up way way too late last night. Since Mirielle doesn't have to get up in the morning, she stays up late and sleeps there I was, burning the midnight oil with Mare, solving the world's problems...(one of our girls has changed lately, made some good decisions, and the friends she is straying from are not taking it well...she has been bullied by them...she blocked them on facebook...(facebook is of the devil for teenage girls)(one of our other girls had their account hacked by probably one of these girls, and it caused some problems until she changed her password...)(Yes, I know lots of people out there don't allow their kids to use facebook, but my kids have friends that we know, and I keep pretty good tabs on them...)Anyway, Mirielle and I talked about these things and before I knew it, it was way too late...I can barely keep my eyes open today because that makes two nights of very little sleep...AND, I was hoping hoping hoping that I was really late because just maybe I was going to get another little bundle, but nah...and blah! Every month I get re-surprised at how I feel like death warmed over. I should have known, I have wanted chocolate like crazy.

I wish there was a zero calorie chocolate that one could consume mindlessly on days like today.

It is cloudy and breezy, a perfect day to stay huddled in the house and feel sorry for oneself.

But I am too dang excited about my overnight this weekend, and my weekend away with Paul...and just life itself, it is such a gift.

Monday, May 14, 2012

monday after monday...

Miss Charlotte Claire
Evelyn Joy and Davian...same faces!
Emily with Davian
My sweet little Char and I...
Camille and cousin Danielle
Emily, Mali, Margaret with Davian, and Mirielle...
Marg with Davian, Mirielle, Camille, and Jonathan with Kitty Kitten.
Princess Camille finally got a turn!

Charlotte Claire got this new double doll stroller for her birthday.

So...the days and the weeks fly by, quicker and quicker. My children are growing up by leaps and bounds. It already seems like we have all these big people here, and just a few little ones. We were all so thrilled when my sister's daughter Katie came over with her husband and baby Davian (their little girl Grace was already here). Anyway, when they walked in, we all said, "Oh, Davian's here!!!...oh, and Dave and Katie.." Yes, we like the babies. And this little guy is a sweetheart. Holding him is like a little bit of heaven, makes us all want another baby here...he is just plain smoochie.

Today I have an assignment. Well, two, actually. First one: find a hotel for in a few weeks when Paul and I go away for a weekend...we are doing a wine tour kind of thing. Second thing: find a hotel for this Friday night for a night out with the girls! Not my girls, my friends from church. There are five going for sure now, and just between us five, we have 49 kids. Two others who might come have 6 and 7 kids, so 62 kids between seven moms. I don't need to explain how busy our lives have been, or how nice it will be to get away from being Moms for one night and just be friends. Pool, hot tub, breakfast together...

Poor Miss Camille is lonely today. She IS playing with Char's new stroller, but she is lonely. She wants to go somewhere. We are going to the pool this afternoon, but I have laundry to do, and cake to avoid, and hotel reservations to make.

My Benny boy is off on a mission, away from his base. He is guarding a different base while those guys go off and clear villages or whatever it is they do in Afghanistan. He will be gone for ten days, away from communication. Mirielle and I sent him a pillow, but are trying to figure out how to send like 30 more. They can be bought for between a few bucks to five, for cheap decent pillows, but it is like fifteen bucks to ship each one. And we would need someone to make pillowcases...any ideas? I just think that all those guys have to endure over there, the heat and the anxiety and the losses and the fear and the least they should be able to crawl into their cot at night and have a pillow! Ben says about half the guys have one...makes me too sad for the other half!

Well....I have to start in on these reservations...poor me, right?

happy mother's day to me..

I have pictures. But pictures take time to put up, and I am tired. Tired from what, you might ask? Well...

I went for my customary morning Rosie Walk. Then this afternoon after church, when we were expecting company and there was a million things to be done, I treated myself to Walk #2. It was actually what I call a Walk/Run, or more realistically, a Walk/Jog. It was SO absolutely gorgeous today, sunny skies, breezy, warm sunshine. The air smelled like spring, except for that section of road that smells like the newly fertilized fields, which Rosie LOVES, by the way. Manure in the road? I have to steer her around it, or she will sniff it right up, then turn around and sniff me. Anyway, I felt a tiny bit guilty since I had assigned kids things to do as I laced up my sneakers. But it was my Mother's Day gift to me.

Ashley brought me yellow roses from her and Benjamin, and a very sweet card.

Paul brought me red roses.

Abigail took me to the unfinished furniture store yesterday to buy another bench for our kitchen/dining table. We discovered we could not fit it in her small car though, so we are going back there next week to get it. I love sanding and finishing things too. No sarcasm, I really do. It makes me feel like I have accomplished something to get the surface all smooth....

Anyway. The kids are home from Washington D.C., major culture shock for these country kids, but they had a great time.
It is noisy here again, and I must say that I do like it better.

We celebrated Miss Charlotte Claire's birthday today with pink cupcakes and a chocolate cake. I had just a taste of each. YAY me. And one taste of Party Cake ice cream, which is extremely sinfully delicious. We had chicken grilled out by Emily, pasta salad, baked beans with bacon, and watermelon.

I do have much much more to say....but I am tired.

Friday, May 11, 2012

happy birthday charlotte claire!

Sweet little six year old...
Rosie is so jealous when Ashley brings her border collie, Baxter, over to visit.
I just happen to love Mr. Baxter. He is so nice!

Ashley came over and visited, and took Suzanne and Sonja shopping. She got them some nice things, then even stopped on the way home for a Fountain Drink at the gas station, which was IT for them. Jonathan and I got to "babysit" for Baxter while they were gone. It was our pleasure.

Miss Camille is ready to skip kindergarten, and perhaps first grade too. I bought a box of bandaids for her, and one for Char. Char used two of hers. Camille counted both boxes, and said that she has twenty, but Char only has 18. So she gave Char one of hers so they would have the same. Then she sat here and counted how many windows are in our house. Now she is asking if there are muscles in your tongue, and how it knows how to move, and how it makes her talk like a baby sometimes.

Today...ahh, stretched before me like an empty slate. I have to go to the post office and mail something to Ben. I am picking the kids up from school since it is Charlotte Claire's birthday and they hate the bus ride. I want to exercise, and clean up a bit around here. It is sunny today, so I wouldn't mind going outside for a bit. Poor me, home all day. ha. Being a stay-at-home mom is one of the best jobs I can imagine. shh!

Mirielle made the cookies for Charlotte Claire's class party. She made Cracked Sugar cookies, and home made frosting, pink of course, and sprinkled them with really pretty springy pastel sprinkles. I had one little taste of one, and YUM. She fretted about them, hoping the kids would like them. Because when Mirielle was in kindergarten, one of the kids' moms brought in individual cups of green jello, and it didn't go over well. One after another, those brats walked to the garbage and threw out those cups of jello, saying, "yuck!". Mirielle might have been only five years old, but she felt horribly sorry for the poor green jello bringer. And it would break her heart if anyone did that to Char's cookies.

This weekend brings Mother's Day. We are celebrating Char's birthday on Sunday because the kids will be back from Washington then. I will be grilling chicken and making pasta salad. I doubt I will relax and put my footsies up very much. But I will remember MY mother. Springtime and lilacs remind me of her. Sometimes I say things to my kids, like, "if I told you once, I told you a thousand times!", and "stand up straight, Lady Jane", and "children should be seen and not heard", which she didn't really believe, but she said when she was annoyed with us. I remind myself so much of her, the way I always ask the kids about their days, and how I am interested in the details of their lives. She was always my friend, and friends don't like to disapoint friends, that was how it was with my mother. And that is how it is with my kids. I am their friend. I realize that when one is on equal terms with one's older kids, they treat me like they treat each other, but it is worth it.

Camille is cuddled up to me. That sounds nice and sweet, and it is. but. She is a big girl now, and she is on my arm. She keeps asking me why I am typing, and asking when I will be done. I don't mind, I know I will miss her like crazy next year...but. She needs to get interested in something. So. I just offered her a dollar to clean up the living room. She said, "how about two dollars?" We settled on one dollar. She IS the one who made the mess. She had me read her the book, "Cinderella" first, she said it would help her clean.

Tonight we are going to visit Paul's parents, his mom is back from Florida now. When I say, "we", I mean those of us who are not going to the youth meeting. We only have five kids under twelve now. Paul told the kids last night he would take us for ice cream first. Camille immediately asked, "Can I get a large?" I don't know where she got that. She can't even finish a small.

I am going to try to get in a quick swim over at the pool this afternoon, too. Especially if there is ice cream in the picture. I am thinking of skipping dinner so I can have one. Will I ever ever grow up?

Camille-a-rella is like her mom. She got sidetracked in her cleaning. She is reading, "The Princess World Of Fashion". We are wondering where Belle got all those pretty dresses. I suggested she perhaps ordered them online, but she insists the Beast did not have a computer, and that Belle sewed them.

We had an excellent dinner last night, taco salad. I had six lime-tortilla chips with mine, and no more. Mostly lettuce and green peppers and green olives, and taco meat with hot sauce. Dessert was watermelon. It was strange to only have ten of us at the table. The house is so silent without Sam, Margaret, Kathryn, and Evelyn. Seriously. It is like there is a huge gap here, a hole. In the morning, it is so strange for just Suzanne to be going on the first bus all alone. Mirielle is done with nursing school for the year, yay, so, being a nice big sister, she got up this morning and drove Suze to school.

Well, I could go on and on and on, but I won't. I will get moving. Now that Camille is busy coloring a picture of Tiana. So much for earning a dollar.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

the days never go like they're planned....

I had things to do. But. The propane ran out! I called the Propane Man. He would bring us some. Certainly. So. The dishes sat there, me gladly reasoning that I shouldn't wash them in cold water. The laundry came to a dead halt, those towels couldn't go in the dryer with no propane to run it! And it was cloudy and threatening to rain, not hanging-out no more laundry went into that washer. I worked out and couldn't shower. I couldn't bake those butterfly cut-outs. Poor Camille, she got the bath that never got warm...I sort of had an inkling we must have run out when the water stayed just a little cooler than luke-warm...but that poor child insisted on sitting there and playing with her mermaid Barbies for a while anyway. When she got out, she had to cuddle with me under a blanket for a while, poor us!

Anyway, after a second call to Mr. Propane Man in the late afternoon, he finally filled the tank.

Miss Charlotte Claire brought 19 baggies of sourdough pretzels for her snack day. Tomorrow is her birthday, so I am sending in juiceboxes and IF I get to those butterfly cut outs....

Camille and I have to go to the store. Would you believe that we have no bread, less than a half gallon of milk, no bananas?

Ashley is taking Suzanne and Sonja shopping after school! They are pretty excited about that. I talked to my Benjamin yesterday. He is such a good kid. He is happy. He is in Afghanistan, it was 93 degrees and humid, and he is happy. He is happy because he knows he has a good life, and a good wife. He gets to talk to Ashley each night at this place he is right now, and that really helps him. He knows she is so good and faithful and that she loves him, so that really helps him. It also helps that besides dealing with heat and going on patrol with 60+ pounds of gear, things have been relatively calm where he is right now.

My college kids are finishing up for the year! Aaron has been hired full time for the summer, to work in the cardiac operating room. But he will have a few weeks of down time before he starts. He is planning an Adirondack hike with Mali...I am looking forward to having Mirielle around more. She will probably start working soon too, but still. They spend so much time studying, it will be nice to have them more freed up and relaxed.

My days will be different though. Camille and I have our own little routine....that's okay though.

Dang, I don't know why I just feel like crawling back into bed right now. I do not want to exercise. I do not want to go to the store. blah. It is really chilly and rainy and breezy....just the kind of day that was made for going back to bed. Or baking cookies. blah.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

wah wah washington

Five of the kids left for Washington, D.C. this morning...Kathryn is so cute in her New York shirt.
Evelyn 12, Sam 16, Emily 27, Margaret 15, and Kathryn 14.
Evelyn thinking it is high time to get moving. These kids assured me not to worry, after all, said Emily, "if we get in a crash and all die, we will go to heaven." Comforting, dear. One of the other girls added that she may as well be nice to me just in case it is the last time we ever see each other.
me this morning after my walk.
Margaret is a nice big sister. She left this not for Charlotte Claire because she won't be here on Friday when Char turns six.
Margaret also left Charlotte Claire this cool mug with a twirly straw, and some pink pearls. It was on Char's bunkbed when she woke up this morning, and her eyes were huge!
Jonathan 2nd grade, Sonja K. 4th grade, and Miss Char, kindergarden

Today is cloudy and gloomy and overcast and warm and lovely. So very cozy in here today. I am staying home until four-ish, then I have to drive to the big city to pick up Mali from nursing school. Abigail has a heart dr. appt. today to check out the palipations she has been having. Abigail has pulminary stenosis, but is not expected to have any surgeries to correct it because she is high functioning. I think it tires her out, and she is by nature easily stressed. I am hoping that everything is okay, and that if there is anything wrong, it is found. Anyway, she usually drives Mali home since she works in the big city, but cannot do so today.

So I am taking Sad Suzanne with me. Just think...Suze is number four in the line of those Five Girls In A Row. Sister #1 - Margaret, and Sister #2 - Kathryn, got to go to Washington. Suze rides to school with all those four that went, on the first trip bus. So this morning she got on that bus all alone. (the three elementary kids go on second trip, an hour later). Suze was looking so sad, I promised to take her Someplace Fun when we go to the big city. I might take Sonja K. with me too. Then Jon will be sad...dang it!

This morning I have swept floors and cleaned things up and folded laundry and put things in the wash and gotten kids out the door and walked Rosie. I still have to exercise, and perhaps make cut-out cookies for Charlotte Claire to bring to school for her class birthday snack. I have butterfly cookie cutters that are calling me! Sometimes I wish the whole world would just stop demanding on me, and let me do things like decorate cut out cookies.

Okay, here are some random things about me: In no particular order, of course.

1. I shave my legs every. single. night.

2. I brush my teeth at least five times a day.

3. My first dentist appointment was when I was 16 years old because we had no dental insurance. I had lots of
cavities fixed, and therefore a complex about taking care of my teeth.

4. I lifted weights in my son Joe's room yesterday, he showed me how to do some things. He is such a good kid, the
other Older Kids say he is my favorite. He IS super respectful and kind to me. But I have no favorites, except
as my mother used to say, which ever one I am with.

5. When Joseph asked me what I want to accomplish with the weights, I said, "I want to get super strong and really
thin." duh.

6. I let Rosie out to run when it gets dark out. She still chases cars, but...for some reason it seems okay.

7. A perfect day for me would be to know with absolute certainty that no one would be dropping in, it would be
raining, and I would have a really good book. And, Camille would be really busy playing dollhouse and Barbies.

8. I like buying new jeans. I got a pair of size 16s yesterday at Kohl's, 80% off of course, and they fit. They
horrible on me and I didn't keep them on, but they zipped and I could breathe. I never ever thought, a year
ago, that I would ever wear jeans again.

9. I really really want to go away for a weekend with Paul. I love my kids. I truly do. But. Mommy and Daddy
need to be Paul and Della, or better yet, Dear and Hon. At least sometimes.

10. I have not forgotten about getting together with you, Martha. I know, I know, enough procrastinating. I had
really funny dream the other night that you came to spend the weekend with us, and my kids would come in the
door and ask, "who's that?"...and I would say, "you KNOW my friend Martha-Who-Lives-Up-By-The-Lake..."

And since I have things to do and can't think of anything else, goodbye for now. When I sit here and write, if my fingers stop moving, it is time for the rest of me to get moving.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

went on the treadmill, where's my million dollars?

Out the door I went this morning...letting Rosie-The-Bad dog out for a few unattended minutes before I had to leave and put her in her cage. She is a very naughty girl when she knows she is alone in the house, bathroom garbage becomes Rosie Snacks, and the stuff she likes in the kitchen garbage is always under the coffee grounds. She has no idea how to sneak without leaving a trail. But she KNOWS better, I just have to look at her sternly when she has been A Bad Dog, and she cowers, says she is sorry. Anyway, out the door, and RATS, the septic tank pumping guy comes down the road! Rosie had a barking fest! I corralled her and put her into her cage. I had to go out and talk to the guy, move the van, and get Joseph up to pay him and answer any questions...and dang it, I was late.

To Mali's appointment, then to Kohl's to look around. Mali got a few tops, and I got the little girls some new rainboots. They have both grown out of the Froggy Boots, wah. Then to BJ's to get my blueberries. And a cartful of other stuff, like sunflower seeds for Ben and some snacks for the five kids' D.C. trip.

Home. Home again, I like to be here when I can. Pink Floyd, anyone? Groceries in, and dang, I still need to exercise. The Evil Treadmill was calling me. I tried to tell it to shut up, after all, Aaron had put some coffee on. There were brownies on the counter, freshly baked with chocolate frosting. Mirielle, thanks a lot!!! I resisted. Anyway, Aaron and Mirielle and Mali and Samuel and Margaret were sitting at the table talking about Facebook Police and solving the world's problems...but that treadmill was calling. I heeded. I hated. I suffered. I endured. Twenty minutes on there is like an eternity to me. But I feel so much better. I had my coffee, and a yogurt, and some veggie sticks. Now it is the Dreaded Dinner time, but at least I know what I am making...chicken parmesan.

After it goes into the oven, I shall go lift some weights.

I have plans to make cut out cookies for Charlotte's class for her birthday. I shall chew mint gum or put tape over my mouth while I bake them.

So today is slipping by quickly, Paul will be home from work soon. I have things to do and kids to talk to. But I wanted to take a few minutes to sit here and relax (this is how I relax) and document that the treadmill won! Yay! This is one area where I am pleased to say that I am not procrastinating about anymore! I love feeling this push, this motivation to do things right! I love being able to say NO, even though my own self is begging for a brownie! I know it will ebb and wane, this motivation, but today I am thankful for it's strength.

april showers bring may flowers...

and Mayflowers bring pilgrims. But do May showers bring? It is rainy rainy rainy. I kind of like it, of course, being the kind of girl who would rather snuggle up inside and eat cookies. But, since I no longer eat cookies, and have to leave in a few minutes to bring Mali to a dr. appointment, blah.

Weekly weigh-in: Loss of one and a half pounds. Not the twenty pounds I was hoping for, which would equal the suffering I did, but I will take it.

Sometimes I get sick and tired of my Thankless Job. I told the kids this morning that I am going On Strike. They didn't care, they know I won't. See, Paul and I left for the band concert last evening after dinner...we left with some of the little ones. A few of the girls were at Susan's, but lots of kids were here. Long story short, when we got home, the dinner was still out. I was not thrilled to see that, it was 8 o'clock, and time to wind down, not wash up. blah. I put some of it away, but I think there are some kids here who need to wash those pans and dishes. I do not want to start a Third World War, but I am going to put my foot down. One nice teenager said to me this morning, "Sorry about the mess, Mom." I told her not to worry about it, it will be waiting for her when she gets home. I hate being like that, but sometimes it is necessary.

Being home all day, I think my job is to make this place peaceful, livable, nice. But I can't do that all alone. It is not good for them if I do! I understand they have homework, and like to exercise and have some down-time. But.

Anyway, in all these things I find the irritation and complaining and RRR in me, which doesn't feel so good, but it IS good. It is good to see it, acknowledge it, and ask God for help.

Anne Shirley, of, "Anne Of Green Gables", once asked her best friend Diana something like, "What would you rather be, ravishingly beautiful or really smart?" I would rather be ravishingly beautiful. Even just for one day, to see what it is like. To have my husband come in from work and be SO impressed with me...and perhaps that day I would manage to get the house totally spotless...and have a wonderfully healthy and delicious dinner on the table. And the dog would be all bathed and fragrant and well-behaved. People would drop in and remark how clean the house is, and the teenagers would be proud. I, of course, would be feeling invigorated from my five mile run, accomplished with absolutely no flapping noises, since in this daydream, I am seriously thin. Too thin, so I must make up for it with a stack of oatmeal cookies. Okay, I went from Ravishingly Beautiful to Supermom to ridiculous.

And, time to go.