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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

ahh, warmth....

Today's forecast calls for temperatures in the 90's, again. It will be the 19th day this summer here in central New York state for this. It is a warm nice summer. Sunny days follow sunny days. The pool is warm, our outdoor gym is warm...

Anyways, if you wake up in the morning, mosey out to the kitchen, and there is an upside-down bowl on the floor, should you pick it up? I did. Surprise! There was a giant grasshopper under it. I live in a house filled with girls, so I can only imagine what what down after I went to bed last night. I know they made brownies, because I smelled them as I drifted off to sleep, and because there are three wrapped up on the counter with a note that says, "for Jon, Charlotte, and Camille." That also tells me that Sonja K. was still up, or they would have saved one for her, too. Anyway, that grasshopper...I can just see Kap or Suze flipping out and not wanting to kill it, so they just put a bowl over it.

As I walked down the road this morning through the cool woods, I thought about having pets. I love/hate it. I hate the responsibility, and the way I care so much about them. This morning, I checked on the kittens, and Mama Kitty had moved one of them into a little drawer in the closet, which tells me she is feeling they need more darkness, or more solitude. So I moved a large cardboard box we had prepared, into the closet, moved her and the kittens into it. She seems okay with it, but now I am worried she will move them again. I also keep an eye on her when she goes outside, because what if she gets hit by a car or stays out too long and they get too hungry? Then there is puppy. She seems to prefer pooping in the house to pooping outside. rrr. At least she poops and pees in the same place in the house, on newspapers or in the general vicinity. but, blah!

I took Suri to the vet yesterday, and ca-ching! But she has had lots of puppy shots now, and has had her rabies vaccine, and heartworm medicine and flea stuff. She gained 8 pounds in the last three weeks!

Mali and I spent several hours together yesterday. She is staying in a dorm this year for nursing college. She needed a few things, like new towels and those plastic things that raise the bed up so more things can fit under it. So we went Wal-marting. Things jump into my cart at Walmart. But I needed cat food and a few school supplies...$77.77 later, off we went. I did say to Mali when the cashier said the total, "I TOLD you it was going to be seventy seven seventy seven!".

Anyway. After that we went to Panera Bread for lunch. I love the summer salad there, with chicken breast and blueberries and mandarin oranges and strawberries over romaine. I skip the dressing and get the pineapple on the side (allergic), but Mali ate it. I had coffee, and a baguette, which is Off Limits to me, so I only ate one bite. ha. And another. dang, it was all gone before it knew it. The Bear Claw...this is what a Bear Claw is...a pastry with glaze and topped with sliced almonds, filled with cinnamon stuff. Perfectly delicious. Well, Mali and I shared it. I did give her my last piece, so I had one third and she had two thirds. But still. I shouldn't. Especially because this morning, my weekly weigh-in was a few pounds up from last week, wah. I have been going back and forth with these couple of pounds for a few weeks now. I know why, that's the thing. I haven't been radical enough. Way too hot to exercise. Swimming is fun, gets the blood moving, but doesn't seem to burn the calories for me that regular exercise does. Anyway, I have been having a little of this and that here and there, too, and I cannot, or I will not lose weight. So. re-committment, again. Nothing wrong with that, I guess. Today Is The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life, as my mother used to say. As I walked this morning, I convinced myself to look at as a new beginning, today as my starting point.

I am my own cheerleader. I am past rejoicing about the sixty something pounds I have I just look at myself, and say, Dang, You have a long way to go! Here's the thing...I am getting older, and it gets harder to lose weight, so I feel the need to get this weight off sooner rather than later. And, I really really want to be able to move more, easier, and wear whatever the heck I want. I used to have this nightmare alot where I would be so fat I would have to go into a nursing home. It was horrible. I was being wheeled away, away from my loneliness....knowing that Fun and Fellowship and Good Things were happening at home...and I would sit there in my wheelchair crying and sobbing and saying that I would lose weight and be able to walk again....then I would wake up, and vow to get in better shape, tomorrow. So. I AM in better shape, but not good enough yet.

We all know that bodily exercise profits little, however, compared to our spiritual battle.

And we all need more encouragement for that now and then.

Life is full of trials, great and small. They are tests of faith. And God never sends more than we can bear.

Although sometimes it feels like it.

That is when I need to pray my way through. And read my bible.

Having a lot of kids can be mentally exhausting sometimes. When they suffer, I suffer. I rejoice when they make good choices, and try not to get too upset when they don't. I want to see them happy, faithful to God, and of course self-reliant, self-supporting....I want them to be kind, to be giving and good and honest. They have free will, I cannot make them be how I want, I can only encourage and hope. Being a parent helps me see in part how it is for God toward His children. He wants us to trample sin beneath our feet, so we aren't slaves to it's bondage, so we can be free and happy...yet He doesn't make us do this...He leads and guides and sends what we need...

But today is a new day. I took some deep breaths on my walk this morning. I have asked God anew for grace today, for wisdom in dealing with all these kids. For patience with the teenagers who know everything, and with the little girls who only fight occasionally but when they do, watch out.

Anyway. When I am done writing this morning, I shall go to my outdoor gym and make myself exercise a bit.

Then there is so much shopping to do for the church grill. Mali helped me yesterday...we got Snapple and Gatorade and water. And more candy. We took it out to the church and unloaded it...Mali helps out so willingly, yet she doesn't go to the conferences because she doesn't go to the meetings because she doesn't want to. Breaks my heart, but it is her choice. I love her with all my heart, and know she is a kind girl, a good girl.

Uh-oh, I am sensing some procrastination here. It is quiet, and I enjoy sitting here...but I need to move it!

Monday, July 30, 2012

a few more of my favorite things...

Miss Camille, sweeter than ever. She was cold, so she layered her jammies. She woke me at 5 this morn to tell me she had a bad dream. I gave her a hug and told her to go back to bed, nice mom that I am. Of course I felt a little guilty, then couldn't fall back to sleep. Paul got up soon after that, so I just got up and took Suri outside. Suri was a wide awake puppy, wanting to play, and go back outside every little while. I decided I may as well drive Sam to work and save him the bike ride, I was up anyway. At 7:15, no kids were up yet, Suri settled down for a nap, so I stretched out on the couch, and took a nice little nap...

I asked her what her bad dream was about..."Mama, you got on a bus and left and never came back! Your hair was wet and you were in your nightgown, and you had a backpack! Oh Mama, now I am making myself cry!". She is so cute and hilarious and sweet, and she did indeed start to cry when she told me about it. I told her I would never ever do that. But I wonder if it is a anxiety dream about going to school...

Sonja K. read a story to baby Davian when he came to visit us yesterday. He is a joy!

Charlotte Claire took this picture of Jonathan.

Suri, of course!

Camille and I this morning, my nap didn't much good...I feel rather groggy still.

Kittens! She had three. It was magical to watch. She was a trooper, and didn't mind us there at all! Even the two little girls came in and had front row seats as the last one was born. I have a new respect for Mama Kitten, she is so good with her babies. Jonathan could sit and watch those kittens all day long. He makes sure Mama gets her food and water, and the door stays shut so Suri doesn't terrorize them.

And, since I spent my morning doing things like showering kids and washing dishes and doing laundry and taking a puppy out, it is already almost noon, and here I sit, finishing my first coffee. I am heading out to buy lots of Snapple and Gatorade and Coke and Pepsi and Mountain Dew and water bottles for next week's conference at church. Never a dull moment....

Friday, July 27, 2012

a few of my favorite things....

Kitty Kitten, or as I call her now, "Mama Kitty", even though those kittens are still in there kicking around.

Kitty likes being around us, she is a People Cat. She purrs when we rub her tummy, but she is a funny cat. When she doesn't want to be bothered, she will bite. Not hard, but with no warning, no growls ever, or scratching....she just bites. It is really kind of funny. It means Leave Me Alone Now.

Miss Char with her dollhouse campsite.

Miss Camille..

Pumpkin muffins! My absolute favorite, made by tweaking Mirielle's favorite cheaty recipe...she takes a box of yellow cake mix, mixes in a large can (30 ounces) of pumpkin, and some spices. All done! I used a box of carrot cake mix, and also added two eggs, just for the heck of it, and used lots of pumpkin pie spice. They are incredible, moist and dense and yummy. I put them in the oven before my walk this morning, and when I got home, there was coffee, and the house smelled like heaven.


Those are a few of my favorite things. I can also add:

Paul. He is coming home tonight.

The pool. I didn't think to take a picture of it, but it is crystal clear, and just the right temperature. I love love love going out for a swim, it is good exercise, and it is fun to be with the kids in there, even though they are such splashers. Camille can swim without a floatation vest now, she can swim right across that pool.

Library books. I have read three this week.

A clean house. I plan to attain this today, as I like to have the place nice when Paul returns from a trip. Not just because it will be nice for him, but to make it look like I didn't read three library books while he was gone.

Sleeping in. I love sleeping in until I wake up naturally. It is yummy and delicious, and after so many years of being starving for sleep, I SO appreciate a good night's sleep.

And since these are just a FEW of my favorite things, I shall be done with my list.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Am I at loss for words? Impossible!!! Not me! I have a million things to say! Yet, this fine morning, my fingers have been hesitating above the keyboard, typing a few things then hitting the "backspace" button...

I was going to write a post titled, "I am not a bitch", but decided that I am not ready to write that word on my blog, except for to say what I was going to write about.

I was going to write about the dream I had last night...that I saw an angel, and I knew it was my time to die. No one else saw it, and I was scared. I felt an urgent need to repent, and what did I repent of? Rosie. Putting Rosie down. I was crying and explaining myself, and saying how sorry I was. blah. I guess I am not over it yet. My rational mind says it was the right thing to do, but I miss her big fluffy clumsy hugs!

I was going to write about how busy the next few weeks will be as I prepare our family for Summer Conference at church, and buy food for the grill, food and soda and candy, and make sure we have all the sno cone supplies. Any organized mom would be getting things ready now, but ha, I never said I was organized. I do better last minute.

I want new sneakers. Benjamin and Ashley gave me a gift card for my birthday, which I wish they wouldn't do, they shouldn't be giving me gifts...but it was nice of them, and they were thinking I might want new sneakers. I do, I do! I would never have believed a few years ago that the thought of light blue Reebok trainers would make my heart race!

Kitty Kitten is still pregnant, longest kitty pregnancy ever. I keep checking to see if those babies are still fighting around in there, and they are. She is so funny, lying on the floor, not worried a bit about Crazy Suri. Oh, did I mention our sweet little puppy is turning crazy? That Lab puppy craziness, you know, jumping and biting on the girls' skirts, grabbing things and running away with them, and she eats ANYTHING. Anything? Yes, anything. (Cat and The Hat movie). Sticks, tissues, crayons, leaves...and the other day, she ate a mouse. Yes, she ate it, one that the kitties had so nicely left for us on the front sidewalk. It was hanging out of her mouth, that little tail...and blah, gobble and crunch, she ate the whole thing. blah. Good thing she has had heartworm medicine. blah. The worse thing was that I was certain...nevermind. I won't talk about it. But she kept it down, as far as I know.

So. The joy of having pets. The other day I mentioned how sick and tired I was of cleaning up puppy messes. She is like a little pee machine! You can take her outside, and ten minutes later, she goes again behind my chair! If we catch her going, we say no and rush her outside, praising her to the hills when she goes out there.

I know it will happen, she will get it, this will all become a vague memory. But in the mean time, I am getting sick of it!

Camille came and got into bed with me this morning because Char was still sleeping and she didn't want to wake her up. It was nice. Their sweet little cousin Danielle was going to spend the night last night. They had three Nests set up on their bedroom floor, and were all excited about the whole thing. They fell asleep, my two girls. Danielle did not fall asleep. She wanted her Mommy. We tried a few things, Margaret sang her to sleep but she woke when Marg tried to sneak out...Suze told her stories, she wouldn't stop crying. So...I offered to take her home. Home she went. I told her we could try again next year when she is eight years old. I thought she maybe was just a tad too young, but they were so excited about it. Oh well.

Camille just said, "I had a hard day, Mom." She is having a battle with Char with a particular dollhouse baby. A war, really.

No, there's never a dull moment around here. Never. But that's okay. I think some are coming soon, when the nine school kids get on the buses, and the four college kids go out the door and I am here with kittens and cats and the dog....hmm, maybe not.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

when I don't know what day it is...

I don't consider myself a stupid person. But I don't always know Today's Date. And I almost walked away from the counter in Wegman's today without paying for my coffee. The poor girl had to say, "Excuse me, that will be one eighty-nine!". I turned around and apologized, and she said it was a good thing I was buying coffee. Then she gave me my change, five bucks, I asked her, didn't I give you a ten? Oh, she said, Now I need a coffee!

Anyway, today was a good day because I went out and about with just Charlotte Claire and Camille and their little cousin Danielle, who is just a bit older than Char. We went to Walmart and checked the minivan in to have the oil changed, then looked at the fish, then the toys, then picked out some crackers and some drinks...then to the dollar store, where they could pick out something, one thing...they chose little pastel colored notebooks with matching pens. Then, to the pediatrician for Camille's kindergarten check-up. She did not cry for her four immunizations, but her lip quivered, and her eyes brimmed a bit. She wanted so badly to be big, that it broke my heart! You don't have to hurry the growing up, sweetheart! blah. poor me.

We had to go to the grocery store after that, so I let them pick out some candy in the bulk food section. Charlotte Claire chose wax bottles, so I scooped up nine, three each. Danielle chose candy lipsticks, and Camille wanted cheewy Sprees. I picked out one Ice Cube, a small square of super yummy milk chocolate, but one piece wouldn't register on the scale. I picked out one more piece, and it came to ten cents. And yum.

A quick stop at the hardware store to fill the propane bottle, then home...sweet home, ahh. After dragging in the groceries and putting away the school supplies from Wallyworld, we jumped in the pool, my three little friends and I.

We then watered the garden, and I put dinner on the grill...chicken kabobs...chicken chunks, yellow squash, potatoes with olive oil, green peppers, red onions....Mirielle, Margaret, and I prepared them yesterday and soaked them all night in marinade...oh yum. We had spinach/romaine with strawberries and mandarin oranges with it. Then...I wanted pumpkin pie. So I decided What The Heck...and made a 13x9 pan of it with no crust. The house smelled like Autumn when Suze and I came back from our evening walk.

And one thing's for sure: it's good that the people in this house like pumpkin pie as much as I do, because I didn't get too much of it. And yes, that is a good thing because I cannot not eat pumpkin pie. It is my biggest weakness.

Another thing that's for sure: it takes more than motivation and little pep talks to endure and succeed on this weight loss journey, or should I just call it like it is and say HUGE UNENDING HORRID DIET. Anyway, it takes SUFFERING. Self-denial. Strength to say no. Why, for the millionth time, does my own mind want to sabbotage my efforts? Just this one taste, just a little, blah blah blah....

Anyway....I am alive and kicking, and tomorrow is another day.

And since it is only 11 pm, we are about to watch a "flim", as Mirielle says. I don't even know what it is...but I will probably fall asleep in my chair.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

summer summer summer....

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

1. Spontaneity. Love that word, love that concept.

2. Free time.

3. Not being quite sure sometimes exactly what day it is.

4. Soft ice cream.

5. Walking out my back door and stepping into that pool.

6. The beach.

7. Having the kids around, which if of course really #1 on the list.

8. Cooking on the grill. I made the best chicken last night....

9. Barefeet.

10. Exercising out in the yard in our "gym".

Our outdoor gym: weights, boxes (for box jumps, or in my case - box "steps"), mats, and the climbing rope, which I do not climb. It is out under the trees, and it is so nice out there in the morning. Not many cars drive by....and hey, the neighbors probably think we're crazy anyways.

Weekly weigh-in results: down half a pound from two weeks ago. blah. I did not weigh last week because of vacation. After vacation, I was up like four pounds. So I got a bit more serious, and lost it again. I hate playing that game, but the alternative is to just pile it back on. So overall, I am glad I am back down.

Mali and I DID sneak away to the really good ice cream place yesterday though, I must admit. The chocolate/vanilla twist there is so yummy and creamy and good..and she ordered sprinkles on hers, so I asked the girl how much sprinkles cost...fifteen cents. Okay, I would like some too. Dang I am hopeless! Yet, I shall not give up! After all, I have lost over 65 pounds now. More than half way there!

Mali and I were out and about all by our lonesomes because she had to go to court for the ticket she so nicely received from the state trooper at the scene of her accident. Driving too fast for conditions. Fine: up to $150 plus $85 surplus that goes to the state of New York, to replace their old gin tumblers, according to Mali. Anyway, if she just plead guilty and paid the fine, she would have up to 3 points on her license, which means higher insurance she plead Not Guilty, and is taking it up with the District Attorney. The judge was super nice though. As he called us to Approach The Bench, he said to me, "you must be her sister". I said, "I am her Mom, but thank you." Of course I dressed in my Going To Court clothes...very respectful and motherly...not without teasing Mali ahead of time that I was going to wear stretch pants and my Mickey Mouse t-shirt. No, I don't really own a Mickey Mouse t-shirt. Or a Tweety Bird one. No offense to any middle aged women who actually do wear these kinds of things out and about, but...never mind.

It is a lovely day here in central New York state. Warm and sunny right now. Slight chance of rain. Our pool is clear and sparkling and just the right temperature to be refreshing but not too cold, not too hot. What is on my agenda today? Nothing. I would like to visit the outdoor gym in the front yard, and take a few swims...but other than that, nada thing.

My two little princesses woke up at 7:15 this morning, and blah, I wanted to roll over and doze back bed was comfy, and hey, I stayed up past one finishing another library book. I know, I shouldn't complain, 7:15 is not that bad. The puppy was barking, so I took her outside...then cleaned up the little mess on the newspapers, wiped up a pile of pee with disinfectant spray, cleaned up the kitchen a bit, took Suri outside a second time, gave the princesses a nice bath, then breakfast, threw in a load of laundry,....then when Jonathan and Sonja K. woke up, I went on my walk....

I love my walks. I can think without interruptions, I can figure things out, I can
re-motivate myself to eat better and exercise harder. I like to watch the changes in the flowers and the growth of the corn, and see the critters bolt when I come stomping down the road. I heard wild turkeys the other day, but I haven't seen my little skunk friend lately. Oh, that stupid skunk would just sit there and watch me walk by, and I would hope hope hope it was still stupid. Ha, I guess I was pretty stupid too. Anyway, I love my walks.

Kitty Kitten hasn't had her kittens yet. She is getting huge! And she is so funny. She is not one bit afraid of Suri. She just lies down on the floor a few feet from her, and Suri leaves her alone. Because she told Suri with a few hisses and bats from her paws that SHE was the boss. Suri gets it. She plays all over the floor, always leaving a half a foot or so distance between herself and Kitty Kitten. It is like Kitty is really smart, and knows that Puppy is dumb. Kitty loves having her tummy rubbed, and being pet. The baby kittens are moving around in her, and it is so weird, but the kids are fascinated, especially Jonathan. He takes good care of her, and speculates endlessly about how many there will be, and what they will look like. Last night when he said his bedtime prayers, he asked God to look out for those kittens, and help us make sure they went to good homes where the owners were good to them.

Well, off I go to do not much. And I love love love it!!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

pictures from our adventures...

Front row...Evelyn, Samuel, Mirielle, and, Abigail, Joseph, and Margaret...

with Suzanne and Kathryn...

Suzanne and Margaret at Panera Bread...

Mirielle, Abigail, Joe, Kathryn at the lake...there was a nice breeze, it wasn't so hot there.

Suri at Panera Bread. She was tired from all of our walking through town earlier, so she chilled. We ate outside...I don't know if they allow dogs, but she behaved and no one said anything.

Margaret, Sam, Joe..

Aaron with Suri...

The little girls and Sonja went on an adventure with Emily, to the big mall in the big city, and to the airport to pick up a friend. Jonathan was at a birthday party, and Paul had left again to go out of town for work. My youngest kid home was Suzanne, 11. We decided to go on an adventure...the ten of us.

We went to a nice little tourist-y town on a pretty lake, and walked around. Suri was so funny! Every time someone stopped to pet her, she would just wag her little tail and then roll over to get her tummy rubbed. She loved meeting other dogs, too. Lots of people like puppies. I was a bit nervous because she is such a little Poop Machine. She did poop, right on the lawn of the Methodist church, but I was armed with some poop bags...blah. She then peed right on the sidewalk, oops. But she needs training, and needs to go out and socialize.

Panera Bread: yum. I had a salad with chicken breast, strawberries, blueberries, walnuts, and mandarin oranges on romaine...I took one bite of my bread and gave it to Sam, and shared my cinnamon roll with everyone so I just had a taste of it. Coffee with cream and a touch of cinnamon, yum. Cherries and strawberries for a snack when we got home...the little girls are home from the mall, they are playing Fashion, which involves bringing out numerous dresses and shoes and trying them on with pretty headbands.

It has been a good day.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

oops, I forgot to blog today!!!

Why is summer so busy? Perhaps because of the extra work with all the kids home, perhaps because I lie in bed 'til 8 or nine, perhaps because I sit on the deck in the sun talking to my sister on the phone like there is nothing else in the world going on around here. Perhaps it is because I took four daughters to the library, Target, Price-Chopper, and Mc'D's today....(Mc'D's for coffee for me, iced teas for them...oh, and one 20 piece nuggets...I had only two. Had to slap my own hand, but I endured).

Home...My niece's daughter Grace is here, the little girl Mali babysits for was here, and Jonathan's friend Toby was here. Dinner: hot dogs on the grill, mac and cheese from the box, and tossed salad with cukes and tomatoes. I skipped the dogs and the mac and cheese, had some leftover steak and salad. A few Hershey Kisses after dinner, with a handful of cherries, and I am done eating for today. I did quite well. phew. It is hard to be in that strict gets tiring, and food is so good!

Anyhoo...Suri is doing well. She is so funny and cute and sweet and happy. My heart is still breaking from losing Rosie though. I took my walk this morning and wah, my hand was empty. I am totally not kidding when I say it crossed my mind to just bring a leash...I miss her so much. Even though she was such a Bad Dog. She loved me. I know she did. I certainly loved her. Suri thinks walking on a leash is a big joke. She is doing better, but is nowhere near doing a mile+ walk yet. She is so smart though - she sits on command, and fetches, although she doesn't always bring the stuff back. I tell the kids to ALWAYS have her sit before petting her. I do not like a jumping dog. She loves her tummy rubbed, and as soon as I get her to sit and start petting her, she rolls right over.

Paul is coming home tonight! It has been lonely without him, lonely here with all these kids, ha, but still, he is my friend and I miss him when he is gone. He will be home for the weekend, then gone again all next week. I stocked up on library books so I can lie in bed and read all night...ha, doesn't sound too bad!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

slow down, summer!!

I am being lazy this morning, ha, as opposed to every other morning when I am just a bundle of energy. I slept in because Joseph so nicely got up and drove Sam to work and took puppy outside. I rolled out of bed at a nice 8:30....and took Suri outside again. We turned on the pool filter, checked out the garden, and said good morning to Swanson Kitty, who hasn't had her kittens yet.

I washed so many dishes! Our dishwasher isn't getting them clean takes SO long to wash them all. We share the job, of course, but still. Anyway, Emily came by to take Aaron (20), Sonja (10), and Jonathan (8) on a spontaneous adventure. They are going to a waterfalls some place. The little girls are playing Barbies in their room, Suri is napping on the kitchen floor, and the rest of the kids are enjoying their summer by sleeping the day away.

We are having our annual Family Week at church next month, it is so nice to see all our friends from far away places. We run the "grill", serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus the candy and sno cones and ice cream. This year it is being managed differently, and instead of meeting together and sharing our input, it was decided by just two people. I rather liked being in on the planning, so it is a little hard for me, but oh well. For one thing, we all have to purchase t-shirts to wear while working, for our family that is alot of shirts, even though the older kids can buy their own. I usually work every day, and can't wear the same shirt...blah. I do not wear t-shirts. But...I get to choose how to take this. I do not have to be offended, I do not have to be a grumbler and a complainer! It is a really really good time to put God's word to work in my life! Strife and controversy start with small thoughts that turn to big fights, and I shall not be involved with that! I still do not like wearing t-shirts though....

Sometimes things come at us so fast, and we react. That is one thing. But when we have time to think about things, it is good to know that we are not debtors of the flesh, we don't have to live according to it. We aren't animals, growling and snapping when we feel threatened. It is such grace to be able to get victory over our own sin!!! Then we can live in peace with one another. Because, really, in the big scheme of things, does it really matter how things actually happen? Wah wah, I didn't get my own way. So what!!! God knows just what we need! He sends our trials with our best in mind! So that we can be changed!

I look at my little kids, so full of hope and innocence, and I think, "I want to be like that." I don't want life to make me bitter. I want to forgive and forget and have only good thoughts towards other people.

Anyhoo...I have to be much more careful of what I eat! If I give myself an inch, I take a mile! I don't eat "bad" things, but I can sure overeat the good things! Well, toffee peanuts aren't really good for you, but they sure are wonderful! And almonds, the calories add up quickly! I had a huge handful of Doritos the other night...they were actually an off-brand, with tons of salty cheesy stuff on them, oh heavenly yum...I could have ate the whole bag. I didn't. But I need to just stay far away from such things. Wait, I guess I do eat bad things!...not too often, but enough to make that horrid scale start inching back up...blah!

So today I will be good.

I am thinking of taking my little girls to see the movie, "Brave". But no popcorn for me.

Ahh, I just love summer....the freedom to do spontaneous things. Sitting here wiling away the day...uh-oh, pup is awake, time to take her outside quickly!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

rained out!!!!

Suri likes to dig. Our camping spot was the perfect spot for a puppy to play.

Kathryn with Suri...

Evelyn and Mirielle cooking our yummy dinner...rice, cooked at home and warmed up...chicken - marinated and grilled at home, warmed up...and lots of veggies.

Cuteness! She was a good little camper. She slept in the tent with Jonathan, Camille, Charlotte Claire and I. It was a night from...well, let's just say I was ready to go home. Not because of Puppy though, she was good. She did not piddle or poo in that tent, she did get a little silly at 5 am when the kids mistakenly thought they were going to stay awake, but I got ahold of her and held her, pet her, rubbed her tummy, and told her it was okay, until she relaxed and fell asleep, snuggled up to me on my air mattress that had a slow leak...not slow enough. By morning, I was on the ground, but that is Off On A Tangent. Our night started off well, we got into our four tents, two over the limit but the park police didn't seem to care. Then the silliness started. The farting noises from one tent, the laughing from another, the older girls shushing the silly ones, me threatening to come over there and shut them up if they didn't stop right this minute. That was hilarious to them....then there would be five minutes of delicious silence...I would start to drift off, and someone would burp. The laughing and carrying on would ensue, and so it went. I did get up one time and trot over to one tent and threaten to make one of the girls sleep in the van. They were quiet just until I got back into my tent and settled into my bed. Now, this was bad enough, but a guy on the beach earlier had complained to me about some other noisy neighbors the night before, his wife had told the park police on them. This guy was camped across the road, and his trailer lights had been off forever by this time...rrr.

I will spare the details of the rest of the night, but I was like a zombie the next day. A zombie bound and determined to have fun anyway, and not complain that my eyes felt like sandpaper....

Mama Zombie....

Jonathan likes to help build fires. And play in fires.

Charlotte Claire and Camille getting ready to climb the mountain. Char did fine, but Camille needed a piggy-back ride from Mirielle.

The sky started darkening...the wind picked up....there were waves in this little Adirondack lake...hmm, we though, was it going to rain? There is no internet, no cell phone service there, so we had no idea what was coming....
It started to rain. (Here is Emily, before she got too soaked).
We huddled under the 10x10 ft. shelter, eleven of us...and Suri, who was being held by Mali...who had this look on her face because that crack of thunder was CLOSE. Wow....
We kept the flag dry...
The flag was dry. It was the only thing that was dry. The rain came, the wind blew...and we sang all the rain songs we could think of. We laughed, we joked that we were told to build an ark but forgot to, we got wet. And then soaked. Then, it started hailing. It stung the back of my legs, it pinged on the tents. The river that ran through the site soaked the tents, and the bedding got wet. It wasn't so funny anymore. It didn't stop. We had to decide what to do. Ashley was on her way up for a few days, and we couldn't get through to her even on the real phone in the guard house. So...we packed up, in the rain...threw those tents in the vans with no rhyme or reason...and we headed back towards a hotel. After we left the mountain region we got phone service again, and called Ashley...we met up with her in the city a few hours north of here, hugged and talked, and she headed back home with Baxter. We checked into the soothe the disapointed was great, we got an excellent rate, and sneaked four extra people into the room. Well, they did not ask how many people. They just assumed it was the four of us who went in to book the room. Four wet people, with campsite-mud splattered on our feet and lets....brr.

Emily (standing), Camille, Charlotte Claire, Mirielle, and Evelyn in our nice room, warm and dry...we went for a swim before bed, then ate pizza and some salads that Emily got for us. Mali headed home with Suri. We had a good night's sleep...woke up and had an excellent hotel breakfast (the little girls loved it most...those big waffles, danishes dipped in syrup which Camille claimed to invent, tea with too much sugar, juice, and bacon)(I had just an egg and lots of bacon and a yogurt with strawberries)(and two cups of coffee).

Miss Suze thought this was a good way to get back in the van when we stopped for gas...

Mirielle at the gas station...she drove the minivan.
Sonja and Kathryn in the van.

Home. Bliss. Not really. Wet everything. Tents separated from poles, towels and suits all wet and yuck, food to put away....and it is hot here. It was cooler and refreshing in the mountains. Oh well. We made our decision to leave because of the little girls, they were chilled to the bone, shivering. We didn't know how long the rain would last, and then second guessed ourselves because, wah, we didn't want end that camping trip.

Oh well. As I told the girls at the hotel, we should learn to make the most out of life. Instead of thinking of all the things that we would have to take care of when we got home, we should just have fun and enjoy the moments. Tomorrow is never a guarantee. We only have NOW. The little girls are such a good example in how we should live...they get so thrilled about all the little things. The hotel room had a 'fridge! Two huge comfy beds! Two tvs! Isn't the carpet nice, Mama?

So we had an adventure. Mirielle and Evelyn just returned from the laundromat with the bedding, I have to go help them hang it all up to dry. We still have stuff to put away and little girls who want to swim....

Monday, July 16, 2012

off we go to the mountains....

The Adirondacks. The smell, the fresh air, the clear clean cold we go. Our camping neighbors probably hate us already, with our puppy and all of the tents we have packed. There are two tents allowed per site. ha. We have at least six. And 6 people allowed per site. I just fill in the blanks provided and leave it at that. We have never had a problem. The monkey wrench in the monkey wrench pile is the puppy though...New York Sate Law says dogs need their rabies vaccine in the state parks...but no puppy under 12 weeks is allowed to be vaccinated yet. So, she is scheduled for her next vet appt. in a few weeks to get that. In the mean time, I am going to just not mention that we have her when I sign in at the gate, and hopefully we won't get kicked out. I can't leave her home, can't kennel her without the vaccine, blah.

We are mostly packed, now we just have the daunting task of waking all the kids who aren't up yet and getting them to eat and make themselves pretty and put all their pillows in the vans. I am sure they will be happy and cheerful with no fighting or talking back. Hey, you never know!

The drive takes 3 hours and 7 minutes, according to google maps. Translated: like five hours. Puppy pee stops and there is a huge Price Chopper in Watertown...we need lots of ice, and some fresh fruit.

There is no cell phone service up there, no internet. So goodbye for a few days.

Oh wait, I wanted to mention that Benjamin got his Combat Medic Badge...when he texted me that, I was in Price Chopper...and I felt sick because I thought one got the Combat Badge by being engaged in a firefight...but he got it for saving a guy's life. An Afghan soldier who is assigned to Ben's unit stepped on an IED and lost a leg. Benjamin had to put his training to practice. He got him stabilized and onto the helicopter.....

Well, kids are wanting me to get off we go.

Friday, July 13, 2012

yes, it is friday, but can I please go back to bed?

I stayed up too late. Again. Way too late. The girls were watching, "Downton Abbey" dvds, and it is a darned good show. It was closer to one a.m. than midnight when I crawled into my comfy bed. At 5 o'clock in the morning, still a tad bit dark out, Suri decided she was lonely. She started to yip and bark, so I jumped out of bed, and took puppy outside to go to the potty. She had other plans, which included licking my face and wagging her whole body and eating grass and branches and smelling the whole yard. I tried not to respond to her, tried to convey the message that it Was Still Night Time. ha. I brought her back in, didn't feed her when she sat so nicely next to the Puppy Chow bag. I snuggled up on the couch, and when she jumped up to see me, I told her to Lie Down. She did. It was 5:45. At 6:15, Sam got up for work. blah. I told him I was awake, I would drive him and save him the five mile bike ride.

Home, took Suri out again, then drove Paul to work.

Home again. blah. I am tired.

I have tried to console myself that a lot of people are tired today. People with babies and people with lonely puppies, and people in wars, like Benjamin, who go on back-to-back patrols after sleeping only a few hours. Nurses and doctors are tired, and mommies and daddies are tired. Charlotte Claire is also tired, she got up fifty or so times last night for drinks and headaches and just to see what we were watching, and because there was a light outside that was bothering them. She woke up bright and early, too...but at least she sneaked out without waking Camille, she gets a gold medal for that.

In my seemingly never-ending battle against Eating Bad Things, I am renewing my commitment to clean eating. It isn't just calories, it is what is going into my body. I could be losing weight much quicker if I was more faithful, instead of dallying along getting sidetracked with things like last night's popcorn. blah! It isn't that popcorn is good or bad, but I don't need to eat in the evening, I had already had enough for the day. And...dinner was: a soft chocolate and vanilla twist ice cream cone, eaten at nice little place overlooking the lake.

The rest of the day besides the popcorn was fine...but still.

I don't regret the ice cream though. Besides the ice cream pie I had for my birthday, I don't eat ice cream at home anymore. It is the one indulgence I allow myself, except for some chocolate chips sometimes. Not that I don't eat other things, but I don't ALLOW them. make sense? It does to me. I simply refuse to feel guilty about the occasional ice cream because I always plan around it and eat good the rest of the day. But things like chocolate and too many almonds and the extra slice of bacon, or finishing off Camille's scrambled eggs and sausage when I have already finished mine...those things are my battle.

So more exercise and cleaner eating are my goals...ha, I thought I would have MORE time to exercise this summer. Today, it is the last thing I feel like doing. Perhaps I shall go back to bed, and try to make myself do it later.

Our camping plans are going forward for next week. This means a busy weekend of getting ready and packing. I want to take Suri, but will she behave in the tent, or will I wake up with a surprise on my pillow? Will she whine and wake all the kids? Will she be horrid and will I be exhausted? Or will she just be a little sweetie, no problem at all? hmm.

a day in the park....

Jonathan and I, Charlotte Claire and Camille...

Kathryn and Suzanne

I thought the little girls would get tired. Ha. I had to sit down to rest because I felt blah, it WAS 92+ degrees out...they went on ahead a bit, then turned back around...who was in the lead? Miss Camille by a mile!

And it's a tie!

Ashley is such a good sport...she let Camille put her hair in ponytails. Isn't Baxter a handsome dog? He is Suri's best friend.

Jon, and Camille with Ashley...

Suri the Sweetie.

and that is all for is after midnight and I have to get up at 6:30...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I try, I really do...

I wonder what it would be like to be a successful person, you know, one of those women who does everything right...never forgetting to make a phone call, always making lists and actually remembering to bring the lists to the store, the type who never has to re-wash a load of clothes because she couldn't remember when she put them in the washer....the kind who can so easily say, "no thank you, I am watching my weight" - when she weighs no more than my ten year old.

What I am saying here is that this morning, I feel like such a failure. Yesterday I had ice cream pie. Evelyn crushed up those chocolate sandwich cookies, stirred them with melted butter to make the crusts....the mint one was topped with hot fudge and broken up Mint Three Musketeers Bars. The chocolate peanutbutter one was even better. blah. So I ate really lightly at dinner, since this was my afternoon snack, which usually is like a hundred calories. Then after dinner...dang it, I ate a whole serving of Lindt Chocolates that my brother Bob gave me for my birthday. 250 calories. Then...oh dang, then Mirielle made home made kettle-corn...she puts brown sugar in it, and it tastes like caramel corn. I vowed not to have any...then the smell...what the heck, I'll just have a small bowl...rrrr!!!! All in one day! blah.

So today is a new day. I SHALL behave.

I have been up for two hours already. I drove Samuel to work. I have to get up at 6:30 with Sam because Suri gets so excited to see him in the morning, if he goes in his room to get dressed or into the bathroom, she starts yipping. Then the younger kids wake up. So I get up and take her outside. She rode with us this morning to drive Sam. Then I took her outside a few more times, in between playing Fetch and Rub Suri's Tummy. She is all settled in now for her morning nap. When she is sleeping I can relax and not worry about her sneaking down the hall and making a puddle. She doesn't seem to do it out here anymore, so she is learning.

Today we are going on an adventure. Eleven of us. Sonja K. is going over to play with the twins, Sebastian and Linnea, and their big brother Will. But the rest of us here are going to a state park with waterfalls that we have never been to. If I had asked the kids last week to do this, they probably would have balked and complained about "going in the BIG van", blah. But this week...I think they are getting a little weary of sitting around doing nothing. Well, some of them stay up 'til the wee hours, then wake up at noon or one or even two. They take a quick swim here and there, watch movies and you-tube and read books. The little kids play outside more, on the rope swing and the regular swings and coloring with sidewalk chalk, playing with Suri. Anyway, when we planned this adventure, I was pleasantly surprised at the enthusiastic response.

I like to let the kids do what they want during the summer. We have the occasional chore list, and they have things I ask them to do, so they aren't total bums. But I think it's nice to let them have some down time. When I was growing up, I loved summer, loved when I couldn't for the life of me figure out what day of the week it was. They go on spontaneous bike rides, and the older ones sometimes take the younger ones shopping, or on little adventures. They do things with the youth kids from church, and they have a lot of free time.

Joseph went and got the Dump Permit yesterday so we could get rid of the stuff under our deck. We are also taking down the sauna, since we don't use it, and yes, it has been used for a few years as a storage closet. That stuff was hauled away, including sniff sniff, a lavendar Emmaljunga carriage bed. It had gotten musty and old...Joseph asked me if I would really want to put a baby in it...wah.

Anyway, it feels nice to get that stuff gone.

Our garden is growing well, we have been eating yellow squash and green beans, and lettuces and spinach. The tomatoes are plentiful but not ripe yet.

Paul is leaving soon for two weeks away for work...and we are thinking of going camping without him. Joseph and Sam and Aaron would have to stay here because they are working next that would leave Mirielle, Mali, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and I...and Emily would come up for a few days. All the girls except for Abigail...unless she could take two days or so off from work, probably not. (poor Jonathan!) Anyway, we are thinking it might be tents. With Suri. I feel almost crazy, but doesn't it sound fun? It would get them out of the house away from the computers and put us all together....the campfires would really be fun.

The garbage man is here and there is no Bad Dog to bark at him. wah.

Suri already has a different disposition than Rosie ever had. She is super-friendly. She automatically sits down when she wants something. She told me she wanted to eat this morning by jumping on the bag, then sitting next to it, looking at me with those puppy eyes. So I took a handful of food, told her to sit and Stay!...backed up a few feet, put a few pieces down and told her it was Okay. She did not get up until I said Okay. I did this like fifteen times, each time moving away further. She got it every single time. What a joy to train her...seriously.

I don't mind going down the decks steps so frequently, either. I lost eleven pounds in the few months after getting Rosie, just from moving more. I don't count that in my weight loss tally, because it was before I decided Enough Is Enough. Anyway, I figure it can't hurt me to be more active.

It is such a nice day, going up to 90 degrees, sunny, going on an adventure...did I mention that I LOVE summer??! But just to keep it real...I am fully aware that there will still be bumps in the road and glitches in the happiness, after many daughters do I have? There is no such thing as Smooth Sailing around here...good thing I know that God is near, sends all things for my very best....

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

a happy birthday, weekly-weigh in and other happy things...

Uh-huh, I was down two pounds!! It was a nice start to my birthday yesterday! I took Mali to the eye dr. in the big we sat around in three different waiting rooms, then waited in the exam room, I reminded her that life is what you make it. No, it isn't what I would've chosen to do on my birthday, but I made the most of it and enjoyed my time with Mali. Thankfully the eye dr. believes her vision will come back fully in the injured eye. Phew. We were happy with that news, so we celebrated by going to Target. I found a nice new shirt for myself for $6.38, and two new pairs of jeans for Jon for school for five-something each, plus a jean skirt for $3.88 and a dress for $6.48 for Camille. sniff sniff. We also checked out the new produce section....cherries and grapes and carrots and Greek yogurts...yum! Mali also got a loaf of French bread. We stopped in the Starbucks in the front of the store, and had a nice ride home...I ate my yogurt with a straw as we drove, then sipped my coffee...yes, I would say we made the most of it...

Home to two little girls who wanted to go in the pool with Mommy. Nadda problem, sunny and warm, who wouldn't want to go for a swim? A little lunch first, a visit with Ashley, then into the pool...Ashley and the border collie Baxter joined us for a swim.

A nice lazy afternoon....

Then out to dinner with Paul. We drove up to Lake Ontario and found a nice little pub...we were pleasantly surprised at how good the food was! I had an open-face steak sandwich with peppers and onions on chewy crispy yummy flatbread, served with home made tortilla chips with bruchetta. Paul had a salad: walnuts and lettuces, fresh strawberries, and a fillet of salmon. The portions were generous, and very tasty. I also had a Guinness with mine, yum! Paul said they are better in Ireland, so I guess he will just have to take me there. We went on a walk in the park overlooking the harbor, and decided against having ice cream at the place were we watched the sunset.

Evelyn made two ice cream pies with hot fudge, and chocolate peanutbutter, with cookie crusts...I haven't tried any yet. I will have to have a strategy, like getting some and putting the rest down in the freezer so I don't sneak more. I am my own worst enemy!

Miss Suri Sparkles is doing well. No piles of poop anywhere this morning. She does pee here and there, but less and less. She wakes up with the first one up in the morning, then barks and yips when that one leaves...this morning Sam was first up, he had to leave for work at 6:30. So I was up at 6:15 with a happy puppy. blah, but she is such a little joy!

We take her out every half hour all day long, so she is learning to go to go pee and poop outside.

She knows how to SIT, and she loves her belly rubbed. She loves her friend Baxter. She was a good girl at the vet, she was served treats while she got her shot and didn't even notice it. She weighs a whopping fifteen pounds!

Paul is leaving for two weeks. No fair, right? I am trying to see who here is up for an Adirondack camping trip without Daddy. Sounds a little risky, as he is the woodchopper and the fire maker. If I have enough older kids willing to go, I may just pack up the tents and the marshmallows and go for it! ha, if it were only that easy...

Cindy- yes, Benjamin is in the infantry. He has been going out on patrols like crazy, sleeping in just small increments. He called me first thing yesterday to wish me a Happy Birthday, and I talked to him for every minute I could, leaving only five minutes to get dressed and eat and brush my hair before taking Mali to her appointment. He is really looking forward to coming home for Christmas...I hope it works out. They are supposed to be leaving Afghanistan in November, but we are learning that the Army does what the Army wants, and sometimes Medics are needed, so....we are really really hoping he makes it to New York for Christmas.

Kim- yes, Camille is going to kindergarten. She is four, turning five in November. How in the world she got to be four and a half is beyond me, it happened too quickly, while I wasn't looking.

My coffee is older kids are all still in bed...Suri is looking for trouble....I want to go back to bed, but the sky is blue and the sun is shining...I love summer.

Monday, July 9, 2012

summer monday...why am I up so early!?

Well, because we have a puppy! I am just not destined to get sleep in this lifetime. Suri doesn't like when someone gets up and leaves for work, she whines and pouts. Paul went back to work today, and even though I so smartly stayed up 'til one a.m., I had to get up at seven to take Suri outside. I have taken her out three times this morning, but as far as I can see, she didn't leave any surprises around here on the floor. She is finally tired out and flopped down for a little nap. Which does sound good...

The weather forecast for this week is simply glorious. Today, high in the low eighties with low humidity. Sunny. The rest of the week is about the same. No rain on the horizon until at least the weekend. Thing is, we need rain here!

Tomorrow is my birthday, I shall be 47 years young. Which seems like a total joke, I know that is so cliche', saying how the years pass so quickly and "I don't feel old until I look in the mirror", and there is simply no way that number can apply to MY age. No way. I am like 21 tops. But there is one thing good about having been so overweight and unhealthy all these years, now I feel so good! Yes, I have aches and pains and am sore and stiff when I get up after sitting too long, but I am 64 pounds lighter than I was a little over a year ago, and it is wonderful! There is much more to lose, but still. I feel better.

Paul is taking me out to dinner tomorrow night. We will go somewhere up on Lake Ontario, and eat outside because it will be so nice.

Today, I have to call the vet to get Suri in for second puppy shots, and one of her eyes is all red. I also have to get Mali into the eye doctor. I also have to follow up on some calls I made about a pediatric dentist for Jonathan. I need to go get a seasonal dump permit so we can take care of some of the stuff we have accumulated under the deck. Since I am the Queen Of Procrastination, we shall see what I actually accomplish today.

And, I just remembered that Mirielle and I and Joseph and Aaron and Mali were talking about going to give blood today.

I want to go camping. Last year I missed out, because I was newly pregnant and didn't have a place to bring Rosie. Paul doesn't know when he will be able to go, as far as work goes, so we will have to wait to plan until he can find out when he can leave. Mali leaves for college in the middle of August, she is staying in the dorms this semester. Sam is working his county job until about then, and Mirielle, Joseph, and Aaron will be going back to college near the end of August. So, however it falls into place...I hope as many of them as possible can come for at least a few days.

One thing on my agenda this summer was to stay in the camper over at our church conference center for a few days. But, now we have Suri, and no pets are allowed there. Our friends had their puppy there last summer, as she was too little to stay home alone...but I hate to break the rules, ha.

Benjamin is doing all right. I haven't talked to him in a few days, but Ashley said he was extremely bummed out because one of the other companies took a bad hit, one dead, two with lost limbs, and several with shrapnel injuries. It makes him question many things, and he grieves not only for those poor guys, but because it could have been him or one of his close buddies.

Camille got her kindergarten teacher assignment: same teacher as Miss Charlotte Claire had last year, a very nice woman who totally got it when I explained how I like to have Miss Char home with me so often. Camille is so excited to go to school. I, on the other hand, think it is No Fair. I have been the central part of her little life, and I do not want to be cut out of the picture so abruptly for five days a week, all day long. No sir. Perhaps for one day a week, she could go and learn some things and make friends. But five days of getting home at 4:15 every day? How can my heart not break? She is my squishy little sweetie pie! The days have gone by too fast! Like my mother used to say, I wish I was a little birdie and I could go and look in the windows...I would go to school with her and see every little smile. I would get to watch her stick her thumb in her mouth when she got nervous, and see her reaction if anyone called her a baby. I would remind her not to wait too long to go pee. And who will explain what the lunch choices really are? Dang, I cannot do this....

She thinks kindergarten is All That and a Cup of Tea. She is looking forward to it immensely. If I chose not to send her, or to home school her, she would ever and ever feel ripped off.

But part of me is so resentful that those teachers have my kids all day and don't even realize what treasures they are.

Now I have made myself cry, so I will not think about these things and ruin this fine summer day. Jonathan says that "school" is a bad word during the summer anyway.

Maybe I will think about making those phone calls now....

you just never know how your day is gonna go....

Paul needed new pants. He is in really good shape these days, eating a Paleo diet mostly, and working out. So, on this sunny summer day, we headed out to buy some new pants. Kathryn and Suzanne, Paul and I. Target: just as I was immersed in cruising the clearance racks in the womens' section, he was done. Finished. No pants in his size in Target that he liked. We went through the register with the $6 tshirt I had picked out for myself, then went to Kohl's. I helped him look, again, nothing. Well, nothing in our price range. Next stop, Sears. Nah, nothing. I didn't even look at anything there. Except for dishwashers, we looked at those...ours isn't working well these days. They were pretty costly too. Next stop, BJ's for some fruits and veggies. Pretty uneventful, except for the phone call from Mali, saying she had accidentally put contact solution in her eye. It was the kind for deep cleaning the lenses...she did some real damage to her eye. Joseph kindly took her to the emergency room, as her eye felt like it was being stabbed, and she couldn't see out of it. I just don't like getting those calls....poor Mali, she is in some pain still. The hospital dr. gave her a prescription for drops, which we couldn't fill on a Sunday night, and recommended she see an eye doctor, noting that she may not regain full vision in that eye...but I am really hoping he is wrong.

Home...pool, ahh. Dinner time. Chicken on the grill, summer squash from the garden, tossed in olive oil and grilled, green beans from the garden simmered on the stove, fresh cherries, cantaloupe, chopped tomatoes with olive oil and basil...yum!

Mali and Joseph and Sam came back from the hospital, Mali with her eye hurting and running and aching.

Ashley came to visit with Baxter the border collie, Emily came over, Aaron came home from work and had the plate of dinner we saved for him.

Now, it is is almost midnight and a few of the girls are just starting a movie. Mirielle and Evelyn are a the new Spiderman movie.

I am tired, and hungry. Not really hungry, we had popcorn tonight, the yummy stovetop kind with lots of real butter. I love eating the half-popped kernels from the bottom of the bowl...

So I am not really hungry, but I want to eat. I want chocolate. I want ice cream. But I will behave and not have any.

Well, I shall head to bed, safe from ice cream temptations.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

we don't even have a whole couch...

said Sam. The couch monster hasn't been a big issue here lately, but. It HAS come back. Small, but...mostly the little girls who get out clothes, change clothes, go swimming, get on different clothes. The living room gets straightened up, their clothes go in a pile on the couch. rrr. I know, I know, as the Mom and Person Responsible For Keeping The House Clean, I should be on top of these things. ha.

Anyway, summer is here. The kitchen is open 24/7. The pool is open. The towels are hanging out on the deck. I slept in a bit, then got up and walked down the road. New wildflowers are blooming, there are still Tiger Lillies, but now there are those lovely cornflowers coming up on the sides of the road. I surprised a bunch of wild turkeys as I passed through the woods this morning, they hustled off into the trees as I stopped and watched. Yesterday I was hustling up the Evil Hill and not paying attention to anything in particular, and as I reached the top, there were three deer, as surprised to see me as I was to see them. They hurried off into the meadow, but it was SO cool to see them up close like that.

I saw a nice low number on the scale yesterday, one that I have not laid eyes on in many moons, since Benjamin was a baby...and he is 23. I did jump up and down! Then...we went to a wedding yesterday...a friend from church, a young man who was born a few days after Abigail, who has 13 siblings and grew up with my kids. The reception was at a beautiful place up on Lake Ontario...and the food was divine. Prime Rib and real mashed potatoes. Hot fresh bread with butter, salad, and yellow squash/broccoli/zuchini. I should have avoided the bread and potatoes, I usually do...but...I didn't. We didn't stay for cake though. Which is a good thing, I probably would have had a piece. Who can resist wedding cake? Anyway, it was a lovely wedding, the bride and groom were young and sweet.

Lazy. That's how I feel today. It is noon, and I just ate my bacon and eggs a few hours ago, the princesses are going to have Second Breakfast. I love summer. The tone here is Low-Key. We stay up too late and sleep too late, (ha, I TRY to sleep too late).

I love summer.

Friday, July 6, 2012

coffee coffee coffee....

Yes, Cindy, we go through a lot of coffee. We buy the big bags of Berkely&Jensen stuff at BJ's, and the small cans from Wegman's. Aaron likes Starbucks, so he always has a bag of that. (when he's making a pot, I always ask him to add a cup for me). We go through half and half like crazy, it is our guilty pleasure. Not a necessity, yet...oh, so good.

Today Emily and Mirielle and Margaret and Evelyn and Suzanne are going hiking at the Glen with some girls from church. Joseph and Aaron and Mali and Sam and Kathryn are doing something else, don't know what yet. Paul and I and Sonja and Jonathan and Char and Camille are going to our friends' house to go in their pool. Abigail will join us after work.

It is hot already, 85 degrees, going up to 97. I took my lonely walk, I miss my Rosie. Suri is not ready for long walks yet. She is doing well though. She sits when told to, when I catch her chewing on the rug and tell her to stop, she stops immediately and goes and lies down. She is really a little people pleaser, so happy and spunky.

Last night, Paul took Kathryn, Suzanne, Jonathan and I to a minor league baseball game. It was so much fun! It was perfect weather. Small city America at it's finest. The boy who sang the National Anthem had C.P., I think, he was in a wheelchair. It made me cry my eyes out - it was lovely. Then we all stood up at the seventh inning and sang, "Take Me Out To The Ballgame...". We had cotton candy and Paul got nachos and popcorn for the kids. It really was a good time.

Paul and I and a few of the boys are going to a wedding tomorrow. I don't have anything to wear. I am considering taking Joseph up to the mall really quick so he can get a pair of nice pants and I can maybe find something ugly on the clearance rack, ha.

Swanson Kitty is so sweet. She is getting used to Suri, who just wants to play and be friends. I was hoping that would happen, so she won't get frightened into having her kittens off in the woods somewhere. As Margaret says, "Our house is turning into a zoo!"

Thursday, July 5, 2012

early morning quiet...

Suri is so cute! She is so happy and friendly, and funny. She likes the stroller, but believe me, I didn't put her in there. She has a huge fan club.

Joseph decorated the 4th of July cake with Dragonball Z, which is not what we had in

We fixed it.

Now, having a puppy in the house is not all fun and games. My house-training method is this: watch pup like a hawk, if she starts to squat down to pee, tell her NO, bring her outside immediately...each time she goes potty outside, tell her, "go potty, good girl!", so she gets the idea that it is good to go outside. (she has already gone for me outside when I have said, "go potty".) Anyway, this pup is tough because I don't seem to see her go, and then there is a little puddle, and dang, I can't call her out on something I haven't caught her doing. I might just have to put some papers down and teach her that way.

All the running up and down the deck steps is good though, right?

The kids are helping too though. And Suri doesn't like the heat, she just wants to lie around on the kitchen floor all day when it is hot. I have been up with her for two hours now, she is settling down for a nap. We went outside three times, played with her toy rope, a plastic shovel, and when she tried to jump on the couch to get Miss Swanson Kitty, I told her, "Down, Suri!", from across the room, and she sat, then layed down on the floor. I told her she was a good girl, and she wagged her little tail, with her head rested on her paws. She does want to please, and I have been working with all the kids to never yell at her, and to use positive reinforcement, as in telling her what you want her to do instead of just saying, NO. Everyone likes praise, right?

Our Fourth of July party was fun. I grilled chicken, Aaron and Mirielle made the pasta salad, some of the girls cut up watermelon, strawberries, and cantaloupe and added some blueberries (that was gone FAST). We ate out on the deck, then cut the cake and got out some sparklers and poppers. We stayed out there until after dark, lit some candles, and relaxed. Emily joined us after a long day at work, so all the kids were here except for Benjamin - we missed him so much. Ashley was here with their doggie Baxter, who loves playing with Suri.

Today I have to deviate from my vacation rut and get dressed in actual bye-bye clothes and take Suzanne to the dentist. I have some phone calls to make, and have to get Suri a vet appointment. I am not looking forward to calling the vet. "Hi, it's Della from last week? I brought my beautiful sheepdog in and had her put down? Well, I have a new puppy already, and need to bring her in for her second set of puppy shots..." Now, in theory I don't care what anyone thinks of me. In theory. But, I find that ouch, I do care. I do not WANT to care though, so I will just swallow that pride and make the call or maybe I will change vets. ha. I have read a few articles about having one's dog euthanized, and it is never easy. Even when the dog is old and sick, it is painful. I know that because we had Champ put down, he was suffering but it was still really sad. This thing with Rosie though, it goes deeper. Because I read once that, "There are no bad dogs, just bad owners". ouch. I tried with Rosie, I really did. I think I responded to her almost too much, and she thought she was my Number One, and was jealous of the younger kids. I don't know. But no matter how cute and chubby and sweet little Suri is, my heart still aches for Rosie.

Enough tear water tea this morning.

Paul is on vacation this week, and he is a busy vacationer! He works in the garden, he cut down a few trees, he is fixing the new water-softener, he lifts his weights and sprints up and down the road, he built a "box" for Emily (for cross-fit workouts). He doesn't sit down with his coffee and zone out like I do. He likes to have all this time to do all the things he can't do when he is at work. He hasn't shaved, and has gotten quite tan. Might I mention he is looking good? Since this is a family blog and I don't want my kids to say, "Gross!!", I won't say another word.

I haven't made a pot of coffee yet, haven't had breakfast, was going to try to go for a walk first, but now I am too hungry and have been up for two and a half hours so I must eat first. Today isn't supposed to be as hot as yesterday, in the eighties instead of the nineties. Tomorrow though: 97! We are going to visit our friends for the afternoon, they have an inground pool with a diving board....

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

vacation hours....

um, it is almost eleven a.m., and here I sit with my first cup of coffee, scooping out the last few spoonfuls of blueberries from my oatmeal. I woke up at 6 to take Suri outside, then headed back in to lie down at seven, because Jon and Sonja were up to take over puppy duty, and I had a pounding headache. I took a few ibuprofen and finally fell back to sleep, ha, I should have just stayed up. I feel like I wasted too much time sleeping, but whatever. It felt so nice to go back to bed. I confess, I love sleep. My oldest child is 27 and the youngest is four, so I have had at least 25 consecutive years of interrupted sleep. And we all know that Rosie never let me sleep in too late. So sleep to me is just one big yummy treat. I am still not taking it for granted when I get to sleep through the night. Sometimes when I have a terrible night for some reason, I think, "Wow, I felt like this for years and years..."

Anyway, Happy Fourth Of July!!!! I remember the Bi-Centennial, the two hundredth birthday of the good old U.S.A back in 1976. I turned eleven years old that summer. My dad got me a wide brimmed straw hat with a red/white/blue ribbon on it for my birthday. (no, I did not wear it out in public.). This country is far from perfect, but I love her all the same. I am thankful I have the freedom to have so many children, to drive a big gas hog van, to write what I want on go where I want when I want, to eat what I want when I want, unless of course I wanted a large soda in New York City.

Today we are having a picnic here. Chicken wings and pasta salad and watermelon and a huge chocolate/white marble cake with whipped cream and strawberries. Perhaps I will just place a large piece of duct tape over my mouth. blah.

But I will swim alot. Not enough to negate all the bad things that could slip in under the duct tape, but still. I will behave.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


In real life, there is no such thing as making up one's mind to live a certain way, then just magically sticking to it. At least not for me. I need to be re-encouaged every so often. Spiritually, and in practical things. Like weight loss and exercise. blah. I haven't exactly gone totally off the deep end, but I did have that box of peanut brittle last week, and a few things here and there I knew I shouldn't have. And I haven't been exercising much, just my one morning walk, this week's Weekly Weigh-In results: gained a half a pound. blah. blah blah blah.

So, I have to rah-rah myself back into some seriousness here. No more slacking off. It IS hot out there, and I couldn't leave on a cooler morning walk because Puppy was awake and no one big was up, and ironically my new walking buddy had to be watched because she isn't big enough for such a walk. But. I need to get moving. And eating better. I did have a nice dinner last night, a burger grilled outside, grilled yellow squash and zuchini with onions and olive oil, watermelon, and a few chocolate chips. The other night I had too much chocolate though...way too much. So I am eating okay, just have to watch the extras.

And move more.

It is nice having Paul on vacation. He took me to the movies on Saturday night, and to Lowe's last night. Charlotte Claire said, "Mom and Dad are dating alot!"

I do feel like a bum sitting here writing on such a fine day though. Paul went to the gym this morning, and now is making eggs. My kids are in various states of vacation: Aaron has the day off and is on his computer, Sam is sitting here on his ipod, Margaret is doing a Sudoko, Sonja just woke up, Jonathan is trying to convince Pup that her crate is a nice place. Some older kids are getting up and ready to go shopping, the princesses are in another world, playing in their room.

I think the puppy has a name....I have voted down: Twelve, Sarge, Trigger, Cutie, Angelina, and Onyx....and settled on Suri. It means "princess". Suri Sparkles. Now, this is not the final answer, but I like it.

We are also most likely expecting kittens from Miss Swanson Kitty. I am not thrilled about this, because I believe in spaying girl kitties...unfortunately I didn't get poor kitty to the vet in time. On the other hand, it WILL be really interesting for the kids to experience. Sonja made a nice little bed for her in her bedroom closet, Kitty feels safe in there. She is such a nice kitty, always purring and snuggling. Well...time to move it...

Monday, July 2, 2012

vacation, ha

Now, I can't complain, but I will anyway. No, I will just MENTION a few things, just for the record. I had to get up at 6:30 this morning to bring Sam to his new summer job. He does have a spankin' new bike, but I thought I would drive him the first day. So I got up, found out Pup had peed twice in the kitchen, and off we went.

Home, took Pup around the yard, brought her in and found her a plastic banana to chew on while I washed up some dishes...the phone rang. I don't know about you, but my heart just drops when the phone rings so early in the was Sam. Mom? Yes, what's wrong. Nothing, we just don't start 'til next week. Can you come get me. blah, of course.

So off we went, Pup and I.

Now Sam is home, I am having my coffee after being up for two hours, Pup is taking a morning nap under the kitchen table.

She doesn't like the crate yet. She was with Mali for most of the day yesterday, so I didn't get to try to get her used to it. My plan is to put treats in there and put her in there several times today. When I put her in there last night, she just barked her cute little head I took her out, yes, I know, bad, but it was at night and everyone was in bed, and she was barking. I did tell her calmly to stop it, and when she did, I took her out. Yeah, so I have to get her to like it in there during the day a bit....

I know I have my work cut out for me.

We had a nice day at the beach again yesterday. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I wasn't able to go swimming. But, I decided yesterday that I was NOT going to complain about anything. For like the millionth time in my life. When I am thankful all the day long for each and everything that happens, then it blesses those around me too. When I have that mind to be thankful, then when spills and messes and accidents happen, of course I am not thankful for the mess, but...I can see that God has plans for me, and to learn patience and goodness in these little trials is a win-win situation for all of us.

At the beach, I saw lots of parenting going on. ...I saw one family/group with lots of adults, lots of kids...and when I walked by I was totally appalled by the bad language being thrown around by the adults...I mean, must you describe everything as "effin" this, and "effin" that? Seriously? No wonder so many teenagers don't even cringe at swearing in front of adults, they grew up with it. When I was young, we would use swear, but not in front of adults.

Anyway, I also noticed that parents don't seem to know at all what to do with their kids. I hate hearing, "Do want me to just leave you here?!"

Oh, I don't mean to be judging, I don't know what to do half the time either, and like I tell the older kids, it is a good thing to know you lack wisdom, because when one is in need and asking God for help, one WILL get help.

Mali is babysitting this summer. She told me the other day that she keeps finding herself praying for patience. I was like jumping up and down inside. I told her that was fantastic! Because: Mali sees that it is HER that needs patience. She realizes that it isn't the child that needs to change. I really encouraged her to keep praying, and then asked her if she thought all the other people who watched this little girl in the past had been praying too, or if they just thought the little girl is "difficult", and left it at that. hmm. The little girl IS a bit challenging, she has some issues, but she is very sweet, and I do love her. She is very affectionate and loves attention. She has a very short attention span, and needs continuous positive re-inforcement.

Anyway, it is summertime, glorious weather, Paul is on is good. Filled with trials, but good.