summer 2011

summer 2011

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

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

Saturday, September 29, 2012

life is a series of stories....

and I like to tell mine. Here's a little one from yesterday....

While shopping at the warehouse store for our church conference concession/grill, my church check had to be approved by the manager. She disaproved, but told me she would let me go just this once. But if I ever tried to pay with a church check again, I had better have a church account with them, she admonished like I had tried to steal all the stuff or something. She said I had better get it straightened out next I said, "Or I should just shop at Sam's Club instead?" (a competitor). She did not like that one little bit. I have daughters, and I can spot the Stompy/Door Slamming demeanor. So as she jabbed my numbers into the register, I felt bad for my little retort about shopping at Sam's. It had made her mad. Or madder. I don't know. But there she was with a check with our church name right on it, and there I was, returning evil for evil. So I tapped her on the shoulder. She stopped jabbing and looked at me. I said, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be rude." She didn't know what to say. She mumbled something, but I had broken the ice. YES!!! I love when I break the ice. Because it is written to pursue peace with all men, especially those in the household of God.

So. It is late. I am tired. I talked to Benjamin because he had a rough day the other day, if you call being shot at and returning fire and having one of your best buddies step on a 25 pound IED which miraculously did not detonate, a rough day. He did not want to tell me about this day, because he doesn't want me to worry. But I know God has His hand on Ben. I am still tempted to worry, and sometimes I feel downright terrified, but to God, Afghanistan is not scary. And God knows what He is doing.

I am tired, and rambling. So no more stories for tonight....

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Charlotte Claire LOVES Suri. I think getting a puppy so soon after losing Rosie-The-Bad-Dog was good. If we hadn't, Char would still be afraid of dogs. This sweet new pup has erased the trauma of being snapped at by Rosie, and seeing Camille get bitten.

Suri does put up with alot. She apparently loves poop, which I believe, since she can't seem to stay away from the kitty litter.

Char and Camille also love the kittens. And yes, that is Suri on the floor, resting her head on a pillow and covered with a baby blanket.

This is the small kitten. She is very sweet. I wouldn't mind keeping her but we do not need three cats.

Tomorrow morning I will not have time to write. I am going shopping for the conference at church...the grill. I have to get lots of stuff...I usually get the candy a few days ahead of the other stuff, but not this time with the girls sick. The interesting part: I have to bring the girls with me. They are fever-free today, but not strong enough to go back to school and pick up more different germs. So with me they will go.

And now my busy day is drawing to a close. We cleaned out two cupboards....we found some marshmallow Peeps for Aaron, and some cherry Valentine hearts. We found a pack of Skittles for the girls, and a package of cookie mix, which we baked. The girls got to frost them with chocolate frosting and put sprinkles on them. We read some stories and played outside. Jonathan and I went to Open House and talked to their teachers. They are doing well, and I really like the teachers. Now I am goodnight.

kitties and puppies and...poop

I don't change diapers anymore. But I do still clean up messes. I will spare the details, but I started this bright and shiny morning by stepping in a surprise right next to the kittens' litter box.

The two remaining kittens are nuts. They chase and swat and jump and twirl, and run right over Suri. Suri looks at them with interest, sniffs them, licks them, and wags her tail with happiness when they come over to her. She is napping, ahem, on the couch, with one eye open, looking at me as if to say, "can you believe how crazy they are?"...

Okay, I know what you're thinking. About who the crazy one is.

Kittens are so much fun though. The way they wrestle and snuggle and pounce....they can be full of the devil one minute, then snuggled up sleeping the next.

My two little princesses are home from school again today. I didn't even think Charlotte Claire was really that sick when I let her stay home yesterday, just a little bit hoarse. But by afternoon, both of them were cuddled on the couch like a couple of kittens, with fevers. I told them right then that they weren't going to school today, and they cheered. They are awake now in their bedroom, playing quietly. I hear a croup-y sounding cough from Camille, and Char's hoarse whisper.

Like I said before, I don't like seeing them sick....but I DO like having them home.

I took the opportunity to point out to Paul that it's a good thing I didn't start college or get a job, because who would watch sick kids for me this week? Besides, sick kids need their mommies, AND, mommies need their sick kids.

It's always good to justify one's stay-at-home status. I wouldn't want anyone to think I just stay home with the puppy and kittens and toot around all day doing nothing. ha. (did I ever mention how amazing and glorious it is to do absolutely nothing once in a while after all these years of being SO busy?!)

Tonight is Open House at the school, for the elementary kids. Jon, Char, and Camille were so excited to show me their classrooms and introduce their teachers. Now it looks like the girls will have to stay here...wah. And, Paul is busy tonight with cleaning at church, wah. I don't like going places without him all the time. But at least I can talk to who I want for as long as I want without him looking at his watch. ha.

Today I hate the scale. Hate it. Yesterday I saw a new low number, a number that I haven't seen on a scale for over two decades. Today: two point two pounds higher. I guess the pumpkin muffins I finally made the other day caught up with me. I ain't gonna 'fess up about how many I scarfed down because: I am not sure. I know it was more than three, but I am pretty sure it was less than five. I figured they would haunt me less if I just aet them and got it over with. The bad part? They were so stinkin' good it should be against the law. I just want to make them again!!!! One box of vanilla cake mix, I stirred one egg into half a 30 ounce can of pumpkin, mixed that into the cake mix with some spices, and voila! Instant weight gain!

I also have to renew my vow to keep my hand out of the big bag of Nestle chocolate chips.

I eat so well, then do things like that. ouch.

The other day, for example, I had a low-fat, sugarless yogurt. Instead of just sprinkling it with sliced almonds, I stirred those almonds up with a packed of Stevia and some cinnamon in a frying pan with just a few drops of water. Yum. Then yesterday I stirred sliced almonds up with some real bacon bits in the frying pan, and added them to my raw spinach and green peppers. Sometimes I slice a pear up in my spinach...yum.

Dinner last night: oven roasted hot sausage with green peppers and onions...Mirielle's homemade spaghetti sauce from our garden tomatoes...whole wheat pasta, which I skipped, green beans, brown rice...which I had only a tablespoon of, mixed with my green beans.

I did have a fruit and yogurt parfait from McDonald's yesterday, 150 calories. With my free coffee. Our local McD's is giving out free coffee through the 29th of September. I took the two little girls to the drive-through after Camille's dr. appt. yesterday, let them get parfaits. Three bucks, and the coffee was really good. Especially for free.

The girls are up now...nothing like little girls in snuggly blanket sleepers, dragging out their blankets and settling down for a cozy day at home...

I have plans to clean out and organize some kitchen cupboards so I can be more efficient when shopping. I want to try to plan meals better, too. We are spending way too much money on groceries. We want to eat healthy, nutritious food, but I need to re-consider how we are doing things. Part of my Justify-My-Stay-At-Home-Status Plan is to spend less money....if I am not earning money, at least I can work on spending less. More coupons, more planning, perhaps making more things from scratch....

The bad puppy is sleeping on the couch, and the girls just covered her up with a pink silky blanket.

Suri has many names. The boys simply call her, "Bill"...or "Dr. Zaius".

Camille is not sick enough anymore to just lie on the couch. She is setting up a nice room for Suri, complete with a piano and a baby for Suri to take care of.

Well, it's that time. Time to get moving. When my fingers start to linger uncertainly over the keyboard and my thoughts turn to what needs to be done instead of what to write about, it's time to say goodbye to my comfy chair and be on my way....

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

camille is getting better....

rrrrr. That's what I have to say about yesterday. I couldn't get her in to see the pediatrician because they were booked and double booked. She was wheezing and barking and struggling to breathe. I could see her nostrils flaring, and her chest was sucking in even when she exhaled. Mirielle, my second year nursing student, listened to her heart and said her heart was beating really, Camille just couldn't keep awake. I wondered if trying to get breath was tiring her out, and I got scared. She also had a temperature of 101. I talked to the dr. office again, they could get me in at one in the afternoon....the receptionist hear Camille's coupy breathing in the background and suggested I just take her to Urgent Care. So I did...

We waited and waited and waited. Now, this waiting wasn't dreadful. No, it was actually sweet because Miss Camille was on my lap, cuddled up, no energy. She couldn't really talk because her throat was so clogged, but she could whisper a little, and she kept telling me that she liked me and liked kisses. I would kiss her forehead and she just smiled at me. Now this baby of mine is almost five years this little interval of babying her was welcome, although I do not like to see her feel so awful.

So...we finally saw the doctor, who was a Physician's Assistant. He was, as Camille told Daddy later, a jerk. I need to watch what I say around her, I guess. But...he assumed I came into Urgent Care because I had medicaid. He did not say this, because if he had come out and said it I would have told him that this visit will probably cost us a few hundred because we have to pay 20% of all our bills AFTER we meet a five thousand dollar out of pocket deductible. No, he didn't say it, but he mentioned that I could have gone in to the dr. at one o'clock, as if....see, lots of people don't have insurance. Emergency room/urgent care visits are covered by medicaid. Lots of doctors don't take medicaid. So when their kids get sick....anyway, this doctor was, sorry to say, a jerk. He was condescending, and he said, "I don't even think it's croup." ha. When the nurse came in, I told on him. She pretty much agreed with me, and said she had kids in the E.R. before with croup and Camille's symptoms were quite severe. But she said, "I am just the nurse, and don't know anything.".

Camille received a breathing treatment and some prednisone to open up the airway, and we were sent on our way. We have to go to the pediatrician for a follow-up visit in a few hour....

Anyway...after we were released, we picked Samuel up at his Criminal Justice program at BOCES, and met Mirielle at the dentist...she had picked three kids up at school for me...we put Camille's carseat in Mirielle's car, and she took her home for me....after sitting there reading People magazines and watching Fox news in the dentist office for a few hours, we were off to the dr. to get Suzanne her 6th grade d-TAP shot...then to the grocery store...then, finally, home.

Home. Put away the broccoli and apples and pears and carrots and bread and yogurt and milk and ice cream....I bought a stack of .89 cent frozen dinners for the kids, put them in the cart while Margaret stood there in the aisle and did her Fake Crying, which she does when something is just so tragic. I told her Don't Worry, It's Just This Once. We don't really eat stuff like that, but the kids seem to think it is Fantastic and Amazing that I bought it for them.

Anyway, I cranked up the grill and made burgers...well, of course the grill ran out of propane after five minutes, so I had to transfer the burgers to the griddle on the stove....

Camille slept on our bedroom floor, just in case she started having trouble breathing again. She didn't. But we woke up a few times to check on her.

Charlotte Claire is home today too. She is a bit hoarse, and probably has the same germs as Camille does.

Well, now that I have spent all this time sitting here writing, I have to leave in 45 minutes. blah. I did walk this morning, a mile, up Evil Hill, with Suri AND the cat, Miss Swanson, aka Aunt Calculator. I mean, who has a cat who goes on a walk? She didn't stray more than a few feet from me the whole time. It gave just that added touch of craziness that every walk with a four and half month old puppy needs....

Anyway, I didn't get to work out yesterday. Sometimes, despite our best intentions, Life Happens. Today is another day. And I choose to be thankful today.

Oh, I heard from Benjamin yesterday!!! I won't say the exact day he leaves his little base, but he will be back to Washington State in November! Please keep him in your prayers, both he and his guys over there who he has become so close to...I don't want to be worried for him...but.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

never a dull moment....

Quick post. I am going to call the dr. about Camille...her little cold has turned croup-y, and she is having a bit of trouble breathing....I thought four/almost five years old was too old to have such trouble with croup...our other kids have had some serious episodes, including a few hospital stays, and some middle-of-the-night emergency room visits....

Monday, September 24, 2012

a nice picture or two..or three

Some of my kids got up to sing a song for Paul during the feast yesterday. Kathryn is hiding behind Evelyn.

Emily with Sebastian, one of the twins. Jonathan loves the babies!

Evelyn with Linnea...

Camille with William, the twins' older brother. I think Camille and William look like twins, even though they are a year apart.

phew, what a weekend!!!

Friday: shopping then dinner (2 whole roasted roasted chickens, mashed 'tatoes, veggies) Ashley came for a visit, and had a bit of dinner with us. We were sitting at the table, in no particular hurry, for the first time in days since the kids had things going on every single night of the week for the last few weeks. Then Margaret got a call that she was late for choir practice! Hurry, hurry...out the door we went, my five soccer player girls and I, to bring Marg to practice and stay in the camper for the weekend. I got in the van and realized I hadn't even packed my pillow and blanket. I ran back in, Margaret tapped her fingers and chafed. We were almost there when I realized I had no jacket or coat, and it was chilly! If I turned around, Marg would have been even later, so...I froze all weekend.

Candy store most of the day, then helped make pizzas. We made forty pizzas, all with the right toppings, none burnt, all on time. YAY! Rolled out the dough, put oil and garlic on the crusts, topped them with yummy stuff. There is a certain satisfaction in working hard and getting a job done right, but the best part was being in the kitchen with my daughters Emily and Margaret, and my nieces Janet and Audrey. We fooled around and laughed too much, and I told my nieces if they don't hate me now they never will.

Anyway. Our team lost: They made nary a goal. But, they had fun. Emily bought them all pizzas for dinner, I just happened to have a huge box of delicious assorted specialty cookies I had gotten on clearance, and a few bags of Doritos. We got them all sodas, and served up an impromptu meal. Emily voluntarily made the pizzas, then paid for some for the team....she knows that when she gives she receives, so she is quite the giver!

Then yesterday, after the soccer games were over, there was a feast for Paul! Our church feasts are amazing events! It was to celebrate Paul's fiftieth birthday. Imagine sitting in a cozy meeting hall, candles and flowers on the tables (thank you girls, Esther and Rachel and Jenn and Jeanette and Melanie and Beth and Erica and the rest of you who so nicely made up the food and served was wonderful!!!)...and hearing person after person get up and speak about how they have been encouraged by the person who the feast is for. Paul was responsible for church book-keeping/bill-paying, ect., for years and years, plus he was the youth leader for a while, he has been the music leader, and lots of other things. He is always there at the volunteer work, and with a good attitude. The thing that really came out was that he has had a Godly fear over his life, he has lived his life as a living example of the gospel. One of my kids said, "Actions speak louder than words, and just how he takes things compels me to want to follow Jesus."

Benjamin wrote a letter via Mirielle that was read...he referenced the time when he was a teenager and he took Paul's license, his social security number, and forged his signature on a bank loan for a four-wheeler ATV. When the first bill came in the mail addressed to Paul, who didn't know he had co-signed for this nice new four-wheeler, he simply showed it to Ben, and said he better find a way to pay the monthly bill. He wasn't thrilled, Ben knew that. Ha, I knew he was really really tempted to go through the roof. But he didn't. He was good, and he was patient. That spoke volumes to Ben, who knew he had done wrong.

Abigail talked about when she or the other older kids crashed cars and Paul just did what needed to be done without flipping out. Margaret mentioned when it is cold in the morning and like 8 people want coffee and Dad didn't get any, and he just said it's fine, and off to work he went. One thing many of our kids mentioned: how thankful they are for Paul's lack of rules and regulations. Aaron said he appreciated how there were times he didn't want to get up and go to the Sunday meetings, but he knew Dad wanted him to, but he was never forced to. Paul has been able to be all things to all men, here at home. He can fix bikes and fix bills and help with taxes and student loans and he gives his Amazon account password to girls who "need" things...but all because he stands before God.

Ashley joined us there too, and it was such a good and blessed time. I will say this: God always, ALWAYS gives back much more than we give. When Paul and I got married, we decided together to accept the children from God...not because we were rich, or organized, or super patient. In fact, we were broke and everyone knows that I am no housekeeper. But we knew that God knew what we needed. And we have been so overwhelmingly blessed! We know it is written in Matthew to seek first His kingdom and all things will be added to us. So we each need to find what that means for us to seek His kingdom. To be seek to please Him in all our situations of life, big and small, all day long. The result of this self-acknowledgement, of saying NO to sin, of fighting against selfishness and meanness...we can have the fruits of the spirit, so we are true and living examples. I can honestly say that Paul has been this. I, on the other hand...oh, I wish I could do a re-do of my whole life! But. I cannot. I did my best, and I still have today. God hears my prayers and sends all things for my very best, from the messes I have to clean up to the snappy remarks from my favorite teenage daughter.

My friends who read this blog: I just want to encourage you - read the page. Read your bible. Be good, but don't be surprised to find the evil in you when you go to do good...(romans 7:21)...

Suri wants to go outside. I missed my walk this morning, couldn't get my lazy rear out of my nice warm bed. blah. Now I have three fine children here with me, sick. They aren't too sick, just colds. Camille is hoarse, the others are starting to get that way and are stuffy. They are absolutely thrilled to be home, to have raisin toast and apple juice in sippy cups on the couch while watching kids' shows on tv. I can't leave just the three of them here and go and walk, so I will wait 'til the older kids get off the bus.

I did dishes and more dishes this morning, swept the floor, washed towels, cleaned off counters...there is more to do, but my big plan for the day is to enjoy these kids while they are here with me.

Friday, September 21, 2012

quick friday post....

Quick because I am leaving in just a few minutes to go shopping with my brother Bob. We have to get stuff for the church grill for the soccer weekend. Gatorade and soda and water and and and. I already bought most of the candy, it is sitting here all stacked up.

Five of my kids play soccer this year, Margaret 15, Kathryn 14, Evelyn 13, Suzanne 11, and Sonja 10, my Five-Little-Girls-In-A-Row-In-Five-Years.

I am staying in the camper with them at the church grounds tonight. Just the five of them and me. The little girls are somewhat broken hearted, and I feel bad. I am thinking they don't take up much room, we should just bring them too...but on the other hand, it changes things so much to have them there and I really sense a need for time with my five girls.

I guess I just feel kind of guilty this morn because we ran out of bread, and the younger kids had to buy their lunches, and I had no ice cream money for them. They are allowed to buy it on Fridays...oops. I told them I would go to the bank and get some money for them to have at the candy store at the soccer tournament tomorrow.

The scale stayed down this morning, which was nice. Sometimes when I see a wonderful number, it goes away and doesn't come back for a while.

As much as I would like to sit here and ramble this morning, I need to get ready. I have thirteen minutes to brush my long tangly hair, finish my oatmeal, brush my teeth, put coffee in a travel mug, grab an apple and some nuts to ward off any thoughts of fast food today, fill a water bottle, and change my clothes and use the bathroom and take Suri out. Dang, now only twelve minutes...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

today, I love the scale....

Down a few pounds, skipped a number to a new number I haven't seen in several-everal years, yes, a few decades plus. Finally. Each pound or two lost is like another miracle, so much work but seeing that scale budge is SO worth it.

It is chilly here in central New York state. There was frost on the grass this morning when I walked down the road with Crazy Suri-Pup.

The sun is out, it is breezy, and in the fifties. A perfect day for pumpkin muffins, or oatmeal almond cookies. But. I shall not. No way, no how. I just found a recipe for a pizza crust made from cauliflower and coconut flour. I am thinking to try it, but first I need to buy cauliflower and coconut flour. I have no idea where I will even find coconut flour around here. But the point is, I love to bake and eat baked goods, so I think I will busy myself with trying some healthy alternatives.

I wish I were different...I mean, does everyone else think, "cold day, I will bake..."? I do not think so.

Does everyone else who has a can of pumpkin in their pantry hear it calling, "Make me into muffins, please?"

I read all the good advice on weight-loss blogs, like..."after a while you won't even want that junk anymore...". Harumph! I do not think so!

But it is really all in the mind, right? When I am tempted, I try to cut the thought off as quickly as possible, not entertain it. I mean, it is one thing to think of a pumpkin muffin, but if I get as far as mentally peeling off that cupcake wrapper, I have gone TOO FAR. ha.

Anyway. I am busy these days, ha. Yesterday I picked the kids up from school, exercised while Camille rested in my bed...I turned the fan on and sure enough, she fell asleep. Dinner: leftover chicken breast heated in the oven, some chicken patties because there wasn't enough chicken breast, some little mini-hot dog/sausages, a huge pan of sweet potato fries, and long slender green beans. I had two or three of the fries, a few of the mini hot dogs, and a few green beans. I had eaten a good lunch a few hours earlier, so I didn't want to eat again yet...then I had some nuts later, and an apple. My lunch though, yummy! It was steamed cauliflower, cut up chicken breast, topped with diced tomatoes.

Joseph is here right now, he has afternoon/evening classes.

So I am distracted, but in a good way. He is telling me I should write my book now that I have time...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

just to clarify something....

My teenagers do not drive me crazy. Most of the time. Honestly, most of the time it is good. They are funny and fun and mostly respectful, and they love the little ones.

Yesterday, however, I did put my foot down about one thing: when I have to talk to someone about something, no butting in. I had a younger child having a second after- school snack, right before dinner. As I was straightening this out, an older child had much to say about it. So I ended up in a discussion with her about something that was seriously none of her concern. I talked to most of the older kids last evening, and told them to speak to me privately later if they question the way I handle a situation, but they are absolutely not allowed to contradict me, especially in front of the younger kids. Now, I do not like rules, but sometimes...they are necessary.

Well, for once in my life I don't know what to write about! Not much happening today, I guess. All nine school kids got on the bus, but Jonathan almost didn't. I waited for the bus with them with Suri, but it was chilly and I didn't grab my sweater, so I told them Goodbye and I Love You, and went back in. Jon came bursting in the door in tears..."I forgot to do my spelling packet!"....oh dang. Now, when my kid is gone for almost 8 hours, gone from home, my nice little boy who is always so good in school...and he gets no play time because he forgot to do something. rrrrr. He asked me to pick him up early, before playtime. Hmm, I might just do that.

Mirielle and Aaron are still here this fine overcast morning. The lamps are on, and it is cozy. I actually have socks on. And I am distracted. We are talking about going to Washington state to visit Benjamin. They might go in the winter, and Paul and I are going to be there when he gets off the plane from Afghanistan...we hope to visit some of our friends from out that way when we are there, too.

And yes, I am distracted...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

yeah, I stay at home...ha.

Joseph with Suri, whom Joe calls, "Bill". Yesterday someone called my cell phone and asked for Bill. I said, "That's our dog's name." The guy said he was looking for a human, thank you. I never know what I am going to say, makes me afraid to even answer the phone.

Seriously, can anything be more precious than a puppy curled up with kittens?

Sonja K. and Suri...

Um, what's wrong with this picture? Evelyn is allowed on the couch, but not Suri!

Benjamin, this one's for you!!! Camille is proud to be an American!

Evelyn Joy...she went to Panera Bread dressed like this, with Emily...I wish I had taken pictures of the rest of them...

Jonathan, Camille, and Charlotte Claire had a Foot Spa on the deck...but the girls decided feet weren't enough...

If you want to lose at Matching Game, just play with Camille. Her pile is the one with twice as many matches as the other. Ouch.

Camille Anaya, Matching Game Champion.

She had a dr. appt. today so she got to stay home. I COULD have driven her to kindergarten after the appointment, but we wanted to go to Walmart. We got the matching game there for only one dollar.

I brought her into the little candy store/pharmacy next to the doctor's office and let her pick out a candy, and get some orange juice. She said in her loud clear voice, "Mommy, why are you being so nice to me?".

Kittens...ready to go to a new home. Anyone want one?

You can ignore the countertop in the background. I was gone alot today. When Camille and I got home from Walmart, we played our game and did some laundry, I worked out while she snuggled in my bed with a notebook and a pen.

Then it was time to get shoes on and go to the big city to pick up Joseph. I packed Camille a lunch to eat in the van, and off we went. It was a lovely ride down the highway in the rain, with Camille telling me about how God flooded the world a long time ago because people were fighting, and that fighting is bad, and how a few days later He made a rainbow, and He can do whatever He wants, because He made the whole world. And that she listens to good thoughts, and forgives people because, "That is called apologizing, and that is GOOD, Mama."

Joseph was glad we were right on time to pick him up, but more glad that we brought Suri along. She rode home right on his lap in the front seat, getting pets and snuggles all the way. She has no idea she isn't a lap dog.

It is difficult to park in the big city. The three commuting students have one parking permit.. Joe is a first year student, his schedule is much different than Mirielle's and Aaron's. He can't just drive the minivan up there, because it is so expensive to get a second permit. I told him I would drive him sometimes, pick him up occasionally. I don't mind.

So...yes, I am a Stay At Home Mom. ha.

Dinner is in the oven. I put chicken breasts in marinade yesterday. There is also a pan of brown rice baking, and I have to put some veggies in the microwave.

It was more than nice to have Camille with me today.

All the kids are home from school now, and there is homework to do...which is one of my huge peeves...I mean, the younger kids get home from school at 4:15, I have four hours until they have to get into bed. Four hours. And they have homework, the first grader and the third grader, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. I hate it. Just hate it. Yes, it teaches them responsibility. But. blah.

Anyway...time to get stuff out of the dryer and set the table and help Charlotte Claire set up a tent in the living room....

Monday, September 17, 2012

aah, monday...

Mondays seem to come with alarming frequency. Week after week, there they are. But they are not really infinite. No, our days are numbered, as are our Mondays.

So it goes without saying that it would be pretty stupid to grumble them all away.

Tired or not.

And um, might I mention the huge-o load of dishes that appeared in my sink, overflowing to my counters, this fine morn?

And dirty towels...I loaded the washer with towels.

Then it hit me as I sat here in my comfy chair that the dishwasher and the washing machine are doing lots of work for me. I mean, since when is it really "work" to gather towels and stuff them into the washer, add detergent, close the door, and push some buttons?

So the machines are humming, Suri has found her way back to the comfy couch. I have tried and tired to get her off the furniture, but she wins because she doesn't get tired of playing the game of me getting her down, and obviously the one sleeping on the couch is the winner.

So I am happy and thankful that Ben and Ashley are getting back together. She will be there when he gets off that plane. They never stopped loving each other. I know that Benjamin worked really really hard at giving things over to God, and not becoming bitter...keeping his heart soft. Love covers a multitude of sin, (Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sin...1 peter 4:8). Benjamin is thankful for this whole ordeal because he was able to examine himself, and see all the things he can do better. There is suffering in life, and as much as it broke my heart to see them suffer so, I too am thankful...I love Ashley very very much, and I know that she felt the goodness of God.

Sometimes I get really frustrated. Tempted to all sorts of things. I feel hurt and offended and just ticked off. I live in a house full of teenagers!!! They know everything, and they have their little comments...there are misunderstandings and there are Stomping Off And Slamming The Door things...I try to keep peace, and get them to some things around here......and I start thinking things like, "There has to be a solution to this!", and, "I need a break!". But. There IS a solution to it, and I darn well know it. Isn't it obvious? "Take heed to yourself, and the doctrine, then you will save yourself, and those who hear you."(1 Tim. 4:`6). It always goes back to me. I have to be in a good spirit! I have to be forgiving and patient and willing to be wronged! When I am battling my own sin, then when I say what I need to say, it goes much better than when I chastise harshly.

So I am thankful that there is this way that Jesus made. That is really works. I am thankful that we can be knit together in love when we hate our own sin.

I have not taken my walk yet. I stayed up too late last night, and didn't wake until 6:45, much too late for anything other than a small outing with Suri.

My whole weight-loss thing is depressing. The scale, ooh I hate the scale today. Two and a half pounds heavier than I was at my lowest. rrr. I want a NEW lowest. But first I have to work hard to re-visit my old lowest. rrr. I worked out every single day last week, then swam at the REC center on Saturday morning, before going to the Dome to work the football game...(can you say EVIL HILL, then to add insult to injury, tons of really steep stairs??!!) blah. I behaved quite well, too. Had a sausage without the bun, and nothing else. Well, later I did have a nice cold beer and some popcorn. Not good. But after a day at the Dome...blah. I need to keep my hand out of the chocolate chips, too, I guess. I work so hard, eat so well, then do things like that.

The thing is, for me, the excitement of my initial weight loss has been replaced by a feeling of blah, being stuck, and feeling really big and yucky.

But. I will not give up. Even though this whole summer has been one big session of frustration. Swimming, walking, exercising, eating well 95% of the time...and the scale just hating me. When I worked this hard prior to the gall bladder removal, I was golden. I think my metabolism is not what it was, even though from what I read, there is no such thing. Whatever the reason, it is No Fun.

But. I will not give up.

Because even if the scale isn't moving, I am still healthier by exercising and eating good food.

Ah well, time to stop my rambling and get on with my day. My lovely Monday, not to be taken for granted....

Friday, September 14, 2012

friday, welcome!

I wish I could say I am looking forward to a leisurely weekend, but I don't know if I really know what that is, besides going away for a wine tour or to Jamaica or something. A leisurely weekend at home, ha. Tonight I have to serve dinner, as usual. And as usual, I am not sure yet what we are having.

Today I went to the grocery store with Emily. I am not sure if it was her idea of a Day Off from work, but she was nice and went with me when she found out I was going all alone. I got plums and bananas and grapes and spinach and bread and eggs and chicken and burger and yogurt and milk. And some Nerds for the kids, and some Diet Coke with lime for me.

Emily and I were driving along towards home when out of nowhere I saw that lovely sign: Pumpkin soft-serve ice cream. Oh, how could we resist? She asked if I wanted to go, and YES, I did!!! It will be our lunch, I said. What better lunch could one possibly have? It was every bit as yummy as it sounded, a bit spicy and nice and pumpkiny.

When I got home and put the groceries away, I intended to work out. I haven't missed a day this week yet. Well. I did some laundry, picked up a bit, and then got into my shorts. Ben called. I talked to him until the last possible moment before I regretfully had to tell him Goodbye, because I had to go pick the kids up from school. Home again with five little kids...Jon, Char, Camille and their cousins Sean, who is in kindergarten, and Danielle, a first grader. They had their snack, and are playing...and I haven't worked out yet. dang.

Benjamin is doing well. He is very happy these days, so thank you all SO much for your prayers for him. He and Ashley are reconciling, and she has already bought her plane ticket to be there when he gets off that plane from Afghanistan.

God can do amazing things.

I am too distracted to write right is niggling at me that I haven't worked out, perhaps I will go get my shorts back on.....

Thursday, September 13, 2012

when to put one's foot down, and when to just give in...

This is one of my struggles. I have eleven daughters. For many years, I dressed them very nicely, although they now refer to it as "when we were Amish". No offense to any Amish people who might just have computers. I thought they looked sweet and neat and apart from this world...I thought it was for their best. As they grew, I realized more and more that it is the inside that counts. Modesty is still important, but they can dress how they want and still be good girls.

But anyway, I like to dress the little girls in nice clothes. So, this morning I put out sleeveless tunic tops (it is going to be almost ninety degrees today), and leggings. Charlotte Claire immediately protested. She wanted a skirt. I said Please Just Wear What I Got Out For You. I didn't feel like getting something else, it had been a busy morning...she didn't do her homework last night because there was Activity Club at church, so we did that first thing. I prepared their lunches and breakfasts and made sure Jon had socks and sneakers in case anyone protested his comfy sandals for the playground. I didn't want to Char to get her way. She was whining. Then I realized the problem: she does not like to dress the same exact as Camille. Sometimes she is okay with it, but recently her friends called her a "twin", which in my book isn't bad, but for a first I relented. I picked out a nice skirt/skorts thing. But I was frustrated, because even though I am 47 years old, I didn't get my way. I had to give in. I had to laugh at myself for the way I felt. I think there are times, especially with daughters, when one has to give in. Let them dress how they are comfortable. I am not talking about letting them go out the door in what they refer to as "skanky" clothes....

So life is a learning experience. There is no set of rules to get us through the parenting years. We have to be flexible, willing to yield. And have a connection to God, so that we can sense when it is a good time to press a matter. And sense when it is good to talk and encourage. If you have ever had moody teenage girls, you might have an inkling that you can't just tell them anything you want anytime you want.

Yesterday the school nurse called to ask about Sonja K. She was sitting right there, so I told the nurse she had an upset stomach. Which is sort of true. I just didn't want to embarrass her, and besides, is it really the nurse's business if Sonja K. has personal issues? Anyway, the nurse went on to tell me that the fever/throwing up bug was going around, and she hoped it didn't go through the whole family! I told Sonja after that I was tempted to say, "Well, the boys won't get it, but if all the girls get it at the same time, God help us." She thought that was pretty funny.

I used to get so mad at my mother when she would make comments, "I knew you were going to get your period, Lady Jane, just by the way you have been acting." I vowed to never do that to my girls. But. Let me just say explains a lot sometimes.

To any of my lovely daughters who might be reading this: know that I love you each with all my heart, one as much as the other, and whoever I am with, most dearly of all. Even when you are "w"itchy.

Sonja did indeed get spoiled yesterday. She got new rain boots, ten bucks at Target, along with new shoes marked down to $5. Soccer cleats, which turned out to be football cleats, according to Sam, but what do we know about things like that? He said they would still work. oops. Anyway, she got a few shirts, a pair of shorts, and some new undies. A new sports bra, too. Oh, and shinguards for soccer. And, we ate at Subway in the mall. I think the guy who worked there thought she was cute. She ordered a BLT sub, and told him, "Only with no tomatoes, please." It was cute because you don't have to say that, you just don't ask for them when he is building the sub for you. Anyway, he gave her so much bacon, I decided pretty quickly that I was having one of those too, only WITH tomatoes.

It was great to spend the day with her. She is still such a little girl.

After getting home from shopping with Sonja, and putting away the yogurt and milk and popcorn and ham and turkey and coffee, and puppy food and kitten chow and cat food and kitty litter, I went straight outside to work out. I had to ignore all the things I would have liked to straighten up and clean, and get to it. Kathryn had just taken the little girls down the road on a walk, and Jonathan was outside talking to me while I exercised. I did like five different things, in small increments, going from one thing to the next for twenty minutes. Oh man was my heart hammering. I love that quivery feeling though, that my muscles really worked. I stayed outside with Jon and played ball with him. He can hit quite well, but he can't pitch it to me yet. When he did throw it in my general direction, I sent it flying and surprised us both.

Popcorn. I am craving it. Stovetop popcorn with real butter, lots of it. Lots of butter, and lots of popcorn. Yes, I know about air-popped popcorn. I know about low-calorie spray butter, and about those shaker flavorings that have salt but very few calories. That stuff is all well and good, but I want real popcorn. I do not dare make it when no one is here. I will wait until perhaps Friday night when there are so many kids here I only get one bowl.

And, I think I shall go hand out the clothes from the washing machine, put in another load, sweep the floors. Paul bought me a new mop the other day, and I haven't used it yet. Am I terrible to want to use it a few times before he notices and says, "wow, you haven't mopped yet?" He probably wouldn't even say that.

I have a project to do today. I have to wash the solar cover and the top hot tub cover. They are really really yucky. And, I have to drain the hot tub and scrub it out. blah. But, the good news is that it will be fixed soon! I ordered some plastaid from Amazon, when it comes in, it should be pretty straightforward for Bob to get it going again. Finally finally, my hot tub!!! Just in time for the chilly starry fall nights.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

my scary walk....

Paul got up at six to go to the gym. I should have just gone with him, but no, I had to lie in bed procrastinating...not that I don't like getting up, but honestly, some mornings I have to give myself a cheery little speech, count my blessings sort of thing.

Anyway, I put my sneakers on and headed down the road with Suri. It was chilly, and the sun was only just up. There was a cow from the farm down the road, lowing. Is that the right word, "lowing"? More like bellowing, actually. Like it was frightened. Suri was treading slowly, with that worried look on her impossibly cute little face. I wondered what was happening to the poor cow, then I thought of survival stories wherein the person would sing praises to the Smart Dog who just knew there was danger, and alerted the person. I looked at her, her tail was almost between her legs. She did not want to enter the woods. She has walked through the woods before, but this morning, she was afraid. I am only afraid of the woods when I think about being afraid. So that made two of us. Then...shots rang out!! Six loud gunshots, close by. I think someone might have been hunting geese, but it scared the bejeesus out of us, we turned around and scurried right back where we came from. We didn't reach our driveway yet when another half dozen shots were fired. dang. Not a good walk.

Anyway, today is a special day. Sonja K. is home with me for reasons I will not embarrass her by disclosing, but the child is only ten years old. what???! So I am being kind to her and taking her shopping. She has been bellyaching about having, "nothing to wear", and she ran out of school clothes after the first three days, ect. Now, being the 13th child, and ninth girl, one would think there would be plenty around here to wear. But. Just because there are a whole lot of kids doesn't mean they aren't picky. I love S.K., she is a little sunshine, although lately she has been a moody little sunshine, now I know why at least...anyway, I want to bless her today. Just feel like it, spoiling her a little.

We are leaving soon, she is all dressed and bugging me, so goodbye for now.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I am SO busy...ha.

Martha, you are right, I probably need a few little sunshines here to babysit. I am going to help with my sister's grandchildren (the twins, Sebastian and Linnea, and 3 year old William) when their Mama and Daddy go on vacation next week. My niece will be watching them, I will just help her.

But, all quietness and loneliness aside, I LIKE being here, doing my work with no interruptions. Did I actually say that? Now, you all know that if God were to bless me with another baby or two...I would be ecstatic. But since it seems that in all likelihood those days are past me, I am enjoying getting things done. I remember days gone by...looking in a backpack and finding a lunchbox, and EWW! I can keep up, sort of, finally. A few years back, we had a problem with bedwetting...we literally had a mountain of bedding that I constantly hacked away at. Along with baby clothes and towels and school clothes ect. Now, I can actually get those hampers empty sometimes. I am not suddenly Miss Organized, or Miss Energizer Bunny though.

My brother came over this morning to look at the hot tub. He took the panels off, and from nowhere came a tiny baby mousie! Suri had it in her mouth before I could realize what it was, I told her to Drop It, and she did. It was so small, lying there whining and whimpering. Then Bob moved another board, and the Mama Mousie jumped down with four more babies actually attatched to her, nursing. She scampered away, and the babies fell down into some water, wiggling and struggling. Bob picked them all up with a piece of plastic, and put them in a pail, and put them near the woodpile. Mama showed up a few minutes later, peeking out and looking...wah. Bob reminded me I don't want them in my house. If my kids were here, I know I would be taking care of those babies right now...phew that they aren't. Remember a few summers ago when I took care of those two tiny ones and they died and broke my heart after six days or so? I kept looking at the woodpile and feeling so sorry for them...

Suri would have scarfed them all down, had I let her.

Anyway, Bob knows how to fix the hot tub, he just has to get the parts and he will be back...I might be soaking in bubbles by the weekend!!! Yay to fellowship with the kids in the hot tub!!!

This is actually my third attempt at blogging today. I am SO busy. I swept floors and did laundry and washed dishes...then the phone rang...did I want to watch Davian for a while? Of course I did! He was here within a few minutes, all smiles and sweetness. Katie, I did give him a few tastes of my veggies...just a taste of cooked carrot, and the little smushy part of the inside of a pea. He loved/hated it. He kept seeing the spoon and yelling for it, but the veggies were offensive to him. He is such a little doll. I think he will be ready for some Cheerios soon, or some of those little puffs that melt in their mouths.

After Davian went home, I made myself work out. I had only some mixed veggies for lunch, and I wanted to eat I had a really lazy work out. I put the 20 pound weight vest on, and tried to do squats, but my knees were crunching. I took it off, and tried to do them more modified, but they still crunched. I went up and down the stairs a bit, still crunched. It bothered me, so I just did some push-ups and some kettlebell-type swings with the weights. Then I just said, "blah", and came out and ate lunch...

Dang, attempt number mother-in-law just stopped in for a surprise visit.

Now my first trip kids are home from school. There are two roasts in the oven. I have to go put some carrots and potatoes in soon.

Anyway, lunch: my brother Bob brought me over a stuffed yellow pepper...stuffed with brown rice that was cooked up with onions and peppers and sausage and tomato sauce, topped with parmesean cheese. My brother should be a chef. As the dad of ten kids, he did do a lot of cooking through the years...yum. I loved it.

rrr, these girls came in and are having snacks. And watching, "Let's Make A Deal", which is the ultimate waste of time, yet I find myself fascinated that that man just kept his $1500 instead of trading it for what was behind the door...a giant radish.

Turn it off already, thank you Suze!!!

Mirielle didn't have class today. She won't have every Tuesday off, just today. It was nice to spend some time with her and baby Davian. She is very busy, back in her room doing homework.

Joseph is home from class, and Aaron should be in the door by five-ish. He is doing a pediatrics rotation and visiting a dr. office today. He will be glad there is a Real Dinner tonight.

That's the thing, making dinner isn't really a chore. I like serving them good healthy food, food they like, food they enjoy. I like that we still eat at the table together. I like the nights we are all here, and no one has to leave in the evening...tonight there is a youth meeting, so seven of them will be going out the door at 7:00. Dinner will have to be early.

I do procrastinate about What To Make For Dinner sometimes. I run out of ideas. We don't do carbo-load meals much anymore, like the homemade mac and cheese or scalloped potatoes. The kids like it but it isn't so good for them. It is soup/stew season, so that should be fun.

All I want today is pumpkin muffins. I hate when a thought like this gets stuck in my brain. I want pumpkin muffins. wah. Maybe I will just make them and get it over with. Tomorrow. Hey, I could trick myself and keep saying that I will do it tomorrow, like I always used to with Starting My Diet.

It is beautiful out. 75 degrees, sun shining in a perfectly blue sky. No rain in the near future, just sunshine, crisp mornings and evenings, and beautiful days. Lovelovelove it.

Tomorrow I am watching Davian again for a bit while his daddy does some work on his house. Davian's mama is a teacher, and his dad is a Homemaker. Ha, Dave is very cool, Davian's dad. He loves his little guy like crazy, enjoys him so much.

Yeah, so, I have things to do. Two of my girls "need" cleats for the soccer tournament. Oh, what did they do on the prairie? All the things we need, Laura and Mary were happy to share a tin cup. When I tell the kids what we did without when I was a kid, they say things like, "Well, back when there were dinosaurs...", and "In the eighties..."

So...time to get those carrots and potatoes into the oven...never a dull moment.

Monday, September 10, 2012

life certainly has changed....

A few years ago, let's say five, I was busy. I was busy starting this blog, 7 months pregnant for Camille. Charlotte Claire was sixteen months old, and Jonathan was three. Sonja was starting kindergarten. Suze was 6, Evelyn 8, Kathryn 9, Margaret 10, Sam 12, Mali 13, Aaron 14, Joseph 16, Mirielle 17, Benjamin 18, Abigail 20, and Emily was 22. Phew. There were times even busier than that, times when I had five kids not yet in school. Times when, between nursing the baby and keeping the one year old out of the sugar bowl and the two and three year olds out of the Desitin, washing clothes and changing diapers and feeding them all...ha, no wonder I just ate bagels and cereal all day. How could I have cut up veggies for a salad? Anyway, I have lived through some busy days. Days when even a sit on the toilet was interupted by small children with important things to say. And yes, I often did bring the baby right in there with me because then at least I was positive that a well-meaning three year old wouldn't pick him up and rock him for me.

Going "bye-bye" with them was the hardest. And I did it, all the time. Perhaps that's how I dealt with the messy house, I walked out. Perhaps I liked going out and about and liked bringing the kids places...but getting out the door, oh I don't miss that. The inevitable stinky diaper right as I got everyone into their shoes and coats...the two or three trips up and down those deck steps, carrying the car seat and the toddler...climbing in back and buckling them all up...remembering all the bottles and sippy cups and wipes in my purse. Crackers in my purse. Cheerios in my purse. Getting to my destination, like the dr. office, for example, and unloading them all, wishing I had three hands for the parking lot...because those car seats are heavy, and toddlers don't listen.

So why am I sitting here hating the silence?

Oh, there is plenty to do. Dishes that multiply secretly in the night, never ending laundry...we still have a few bed wetters. The floors can always use some sweeping, and there are a multitude of projects waiting for me, like photo albums and drawers that need sorting.

But. I hate the silence.

There is a watch beeping, someone set the alarm for ten a.m. many months ago, it goes off every day. But I only seem to notice it when I am here all by my lonesome.

Suri is sleeping, the kittens are off with their Mama.

I am alone.

I made waffles for them this morning. The little kids had whipped cream and strawberries on them. I made some lunches, and gave showers. I found Camille's physical exam/immunization records and put them in her homework folder. Their homework got done, folders were in backpacks, hair was done nicely. I waited in the driveway with them, with Suri, and watched that bus swallow them up. wah.

I didn't go on my big walk yet, I slept just a few minutes too long...and would have missed out on time with the older school kids...and the college kids, who are very amusing in the morning. There is never any food! What should they make for lunch? Never mind that we have pears and plums and bananas and yogurt and grapes and turkey and bologna and bagels and bread cheese and cheese crackers and pretzels. We also have fruit snacks, individual packs of peanutbutter/crackers, and Poptarts. What else can they possibly want?

I had my oatmeal with sliced almonds, unsweetened coconut, blueberries, milk, and um...brown sugar. Without the sugar, it tastes like a punishment. I have tried Stevia, and blah. I AM trying to go really easy on the brown sugar....

Wow, 56 degrees feels so cold after the hot summer we enjoyed this year. Makes me want to bake pumpkin muffins, but I won't because I can't resist them. Also because this morning I was a pound heavier than I was yesterday morning. blah. I want the numbers to go down...and stay down, and go even lower. Today I will work hard. I will exercise, I will walk, I will eat healthy stuff, lots of veggies. And, shh, perhaps I will find a little time to sneak under a blanket with a good book....

Sunday, September 9, 2012

all my excuses for being fat....

I have quite a list of them. But the heart of the matter is this: I take comfort in food. When the cupboards are full, I feel good.

When I was growing up, money was tight. Grocery Day was a big deal. We got chocolate milk sometimes, perhaps we had burgers cooked in the iron frying pan, covered in Velveeta cheese. The day or two following Grocery Day were good days too, we had maybe a whole chicken leg each. As the days wore on, the food got...sparser. Spaghetti, scrambled eggs, pancakes, hot dogs, oatmeal were our dinner foods. Then finally, Grocery Day again!

I remember candy bars costing a dime or fifteen cents, and my dad sending my brothers up to the store for a whole bag of them. It was Hip Hip Hooray when they got home, choosing from Almond Joys and Payday! and Snicker bars. Sometimes my little brother and I would share, so we could have half of two different ones.

We only had chips maybe on the payday, and soda was only for Christmas, and when we went to our Aunt Kate's house. She would give us a whole can each!!!

Anyway, somewhere along the line I developed a very secure feeling about having enough food.

Fast forward ....I got married when I was 18 years old. We didn't have much money because Paul had college loans. We stretched our grocery money. Then we started having kids. Pregnancies: all I wanted were carbs. Bagels, toast, Cheerios, oatmeal. Crackers. Then when I had newborns and was so tired, I ate what was quick and convenient...same stuff. Carbs. Which triggered more fatigue...

I got heavier. And more tired. Yet I had excellent pregnancies, low blood pressure, healthy babies. I would go to bed at night knowing that tomorrow would be the day to Do Something about my weight...then morning would come, and I would be tired, I wouldn't care so much...

Now, when I met Paul I was only 125 pounds. I am not gonna say how much I got up to, but it wasn't pretty. 16 babies, 22 did a number on me, but mostly because I ate the wrong things. If I could do it all over again, believe me, I would make different choices. But there is no going back.

Only forward.

I think I will have fond feelings for food for all my life. I think I will fight this fight for all my life.

But I have changed. I am getting some new sneakers soon, and I am so excited, can't wait! And...I like exercising. I have to talk myself into it most days, but if feels good. I love that after-feeling, achy-muscle feeling. I like that my arms are starting, ever so slowly, to get a little smaller. I like that my legs feel powerful, and that I can actually do squats. I can do real push-ups now, too...not all the way down, but still.

I have hope. I have a vision of me, smaller and more energetic. I know that every single thing I put into my mouth, and every time I go against my laziness and work out, I get closer to this goal. I am starting, finally, to learn that what I do today matters.

I am a lazy food loving bum. I like naps and cookies and soft ice cream. I love my comfy chair. When I started this journey, I couldn't walk down the road without being almost in tears from my aching knees. But my blood pressure was going up, and something in me just clicked...enough was enough. Time to change.

Today I went on my walk, then went to church for a baby blessing and a baptism, then home...then out shopping to Kohl's and Target and Price-Chopper with four of my daughters. I didn't work out because, ha, it was my day off. Seriously though, I have learned that going shopping should NOT count as working out, if it did, I would be in much better shape after all these years of going shopping.

Anyway, I have many excuses for being fat...I didn't realize carbs were so bad.....remember Dean Ornish's low-fat high carb diet? I read his book. dang. Anyway, I am thankful I woke up when I did. And....I have a long way to go. I am 47 years old, the weight doesn't just fall off...I work and work and work to lose every single pound...and I cannot just eat like I normally used to, or I will gain it back it is hard. This summer I have been gaining and losing the same few pounds over and over again, and have felt like throwing in the towel...but that is NOT an option. I believe I can do this thing, and that, my friend, is half the battle.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

saturday....a day off, ha.

Just making dinner for the fourteen of us here...wait, Abigail came over too...four pizzas, one bacon+red onion+pepperoni+green pepper, one just pepperoni, one pepperoni and black olive, then the butter/garlic/sliced tomato+basil....and watermelon, and raw green takes a while. Then the clean up, argh.

Earlier in the day, after cleaning up and doing some laundry, sweeping and mopping the floor...I was SO craving something I made pumpkin pie with no crust. It was too yummy.

Ashley came over with Baxter-The-Dog. Suri loved having her friend to play with, and it was really really nice to be with Ashley. I can't even put into words how much I have missed her.

It was a rainy day here in central New York state, and I loved it! The little girls and Jonathan were able to get outside to play in the woods for a bit when it wasn't raining. They came inside and the princesses had a nice hot bath. Their room is messy again, which is strangely comforting. It stayed clean all week, and when I peeked in there during the day and saw the empty, picked up floor, I missed my little girls terribly.

Abigail is still here and I am distracted....I just HAD to write about my mundane yet immensely wonderful day.

Friday, September 7, 2012

crazy cat lady

Three little kittens...and what a joy they are!

nothing to blog about?! ha.

Friday!!! Who doesn't love the weekend? Here are some random things to be thankful for this weekend....

1. Benjamin's faith in God. He leaving on another mission in a few hours. I asked him if he is more apprehensive to go, after what happened the other day...he said YES, but texted me this verse..."Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you, not as the world gives, but as I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful." (John 14. 27).

2. New beginnings. I feel like I am re-committing to my DIET day after day. But it is better than giving up, right?

3. New beginnings. Ben and Ashley are talking....

4. The nice teachers at school. My kids all like all of their teachers.

5. My friends. Seven of us went out to breakfast this morning. Coffee and fellowship.

6. Autumn is coming! I hate that summer is ending, but I happen to love pumpkin spice coffee...and those oven dinners and pots of hot soup...

7. Fresh fruits and veggies on the counter. I bought nine pounds of pears, six pounds of plums,three pounds of baby carrots, four bunches of bananas, a watermelon, and some grapes today.

8. Chicken. We eat it several times a week, and I love grilling it outside.

9. Coffee. Love love love it. I am having my afternoon cup right now.

10. Paul. He is still so cute.

11. Forgiveness. When we forgive one another, God forgives us. So simple, so comforting.

12. My blog. After writing this, I am all encouraged. Being thankful really strikes a blow at complaining. is time to Make Dinner. I do not feel like making dinner, but. I will. Thankfully.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

my kindergarten baby....

She loves school. She gets up in the morning and gets ready cheerfully. But. She comes home a wreck. Yesterday she got off the bus crying because her new friend got off and two other kids came and sat with her. She cries like a dozen times from the time she gets home 'til we tuck her into bed at night. Early. Little things set her off. It is hard for me. I am wondering. Paul says to wait a bit more and see if she adjusts. I am ready to pull her out. But. She loves school. rrr.

I haven't been lonely yet. Today I watched my sister's grandson Davian for a few hours. Okay, so he took a long nap through most of it, but still. It was sweet.

My sister-in-law also came over for a visit. We had coffee, and more coffee, and went to town to Arby's for the free turkey club sandwich. (Joe said, "The poor turkey. Thought he was joining a turkey club, and ended up in a sandwich.") I ate mine without the bun, no mayo. No fries. No shake. wah.

Then I ate too many chocolate covered almonds this afternoon. See, I exercised...then went for a swim...and was hungry. I had a small yogurt, and a few of the almonds. ha, then a few more. I was SO hungry. Dang, I need a tall glass of self-control. Dinner, I behaved. Grilled chicken breast, broccoli, about a tablespoon of brown rice, and some cantaloupe. One tiny bite of red licorce, Red Vines are devine.

Samuel and I went for an after dinner walk, about a mile and a half. My morning walk was funny today...I took Suri with me, Suri who isn't interested in a brisk pace, Suri who wants to sniff everything. And, little did I realize until I was well into the woods - Mama Kitty was following me too. She walked the whole mile, up the Evil hill and back down. I must have looked like a crazy lady, walking with my puppy AND my kitty. Kitty didn't move more than a few feet from me the whole way.

It was a good day. I heard from Ben - the Sgt. who was hurt the other day has recommended him for a commendation for his actions...apparently the doctors at the hospital told the Sgt. that his medic saved his life. He had to have six units of blood....but he said, "Thanks to Doc, I will go home and see my three year old daughter."

I went shopping by myself yesterday. All by myself. I had to get a sketchbook for Kathryn, some folders for Jonathan....and some snacks for the school kids. We go through plums and bananas and yogurt and milk like crazy.

So life is busy enough. Homework and school clothes and lunches....

I am tired.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

dear world, my son is in afghanistan....

and I feel like I am there too. It helps me that he talks about his experiences, because I would do anything in my power to help him cope. Listening and praying for him like mad are about the only things I can do. So I listen. And I cry.

He went on a mission. A long hard mission. After clearing two villages, they trekked across the country...a dozen or so army soldiers following a few dozen afghan soldiers. Ben was near the back. He saw the smoke wisping up through the air before he heard the explosion. He heard screaming and cries for the medic. He ran. A sergeant was down. He was like a father to a few of the guys...and those guys were screaming at Ben to Do Something Doc. Now, the Horrid Evil Enemy plants the IEDs with much destruction in mind. When one goes off, there is sure to be more in the vicinity to purposefully get any rescuers blown up too. So Ben wasn't able to rush to the fallen soldier as quickly as he wanted to. All he heard were the pleas of the men, and the screams of the Sgt. Long story short: a lost foot, a gaping wound in his midsection. After securing an open place for the 'copter to land, they dragged him over and waited the longest twenty minutes in Benjamin's life.

World, Benjamin wasn't able to go back to his base, crawl in bed, and deal. No, he cried. Then he joined the line of soldiers to clear another two towns. He said he is fine now. He saved a guy's life, he did his best.

Dear world, this broke my heart. No one can go through that and be "fine now".

He sounds hardened. My boy. He says other guys have seen worse. Other guys have died. He says that he still has his feet, he is fine.

I know he is not fine. I know that he will have to deal with these things. I know that he will never be the same. I know that he will have no patience for the usual things people whine about.

He says he hears every few days about another guy getting blown up. Said last week seven guys stepped on a daisy chain IED. Lost alot of limbs, one soldier blind. He said this as if it is just a fact of life over there.

Dear world...why? Is this accomplishing anything? Did God really create the world so that men can destroy each other?

I know Ben has seen even more than I know about. Ha, after me writing this he might never tell me anything again.

But I just thought it would help me to write this. People ask me, "How is Ben doing?" can I answer that?

I am hoping and praying that he comes home safely. I pray all the time that he keeps his connection with God through all these things. I pray that the softness and goodness that is my Benjamin will stay in him, tucked away, and be able to flourish later, when he joins the rest of the world in living Real Life.

Please join me in praying for him, and for the other guys over there. And for the rest of us too...that we can each be awake to fight our own good fights....because ultimately, good will triumph over evil. Let's be along in the good.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

first day of school....wah me!!!

I know I look happy in this picture...the tears waited until that big yellow bus drove away with my baby on it.

Camille Anaya and I...wah, she is not big enough for kindergarten!!

Camille, Jonathan, and Charlotte Claire...the Second Trip kids....

The First Trip kids...Samuel 17, Margaret 15, Kathryn 14, Evelyn 13, Suzanne 11, and Sonja 10.

But I am not home, I have Suri the pup, and Mama Kitty and these lovely lil kittens...and of course our big boy kitty who is King Of The Deck, General Thunder.

Joseph is here today too, his class is already over and he is home. So I am not alone.

Why do I feel so bereft then?

She still sucks her thumb, Miss Camille.

She talks like a baby when she gets nervous.

I reminded her that she can't wait 'til the last minute if she has to use the bathroom, told her to say, "use the bathroom", not just yell, "I have to go poop!". I told her to wipe well, then use lots of soap to wash her hands. Then Char told her that Mrs. Brown only allows two pumps of soap. Poor Camille, she looked like she had so much to remember.

I didn't just stay home and wallow. I went to the small city with my sister, to stock up on bananas and romaine and plums and chicken and burger and cheese and eggs and milk and spinach and bread and some folders for kids who still needed them.

Home again....Joe is in his room, the kittens are sleeping in a pile on the floor, Suri is napping...and here I sit. The sink is full of dishes, the laundry is ready to be changed over, and the garbage has to be taken out.

Our trip to Ottowa was wonderful. My heart is full of good things. I realize that no matter what happens, God does not make mistakes. Even when I feel like I get no respect. When I am overlooked. Poor me, can't do anything right. SO WHAT!!!! Big deal. It doesn't matter! When I seek to please men, I cannot be a servant of God! (Gal. 1 ver.10)

I am really encouraged to be a good example here at home.

And now, I am going to get out of my comfy chair and get that stuff out of the dryer....

Sunday, September 2, 2012

weight loss picture, again...different one...

As I cleaned my room the other day, I came across this old skirt. I used to wear this one day in - day out. As you can see, I still have a long way to go. A very long way.

I am going though. No matter what, I am going the distance.

The evening is winding down....Kap is showing me her new handstand split thing, Suze is going to show me her front-walkover, Sonja just ordered two shirts from 77Kids, clearanced with free shipping, Margaret is letting Jonathan sleep in her room tonight, making him a nest on the floor. The little girls are all tucked in and sleeping in their newly cleaned and organized took me almost four hours...I was frustrated because the sun was shining, and I wanted to be outside...but it had to be done, then when I was halfway through sorting Barbies and duplos and doll clothes, I got a vision for how nice it would be when it was done. Of course the girls were ZERO help. They would find something and jump up and down, getting re-aquainted with dolls and books.

Retirement party was nice. Paul works with very good people.

Working at the football game at the dome was tiring, but fun. It was SO hot in that concession stand. Home, and into the pool.

Tomorrow we are leaving bright for Ottowa, Paul and I and Kathryn.

This evening, Paul and I took Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and Suri Pup up to the lake for ice cream. Yes, I was very small....and dinner WAS only raw spinach, toasted almonds, cukes, tomatoes, green peppers, and some bacon bits. I should have just resisted. But. Soft ice cream is one of those things. Anyway, we threw stones in the water and Suri romped around on the beach...

Mirielle is baking banana bread...the smell is just starting to envelope me. I think I should just go to bed. blah.