summer 2011

summer 2011

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

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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

my little post-op patient...

When Jonathan ran in the door from activity club last night, he stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Miss Suri's shaven backside and big incision. But she was lying there wagging that tail so hard, and looking at him with total adoration. He dropped to the floor and kissed her and pet her and made her so happy. The little girls were also a bit taken aback, but at least they are big enough to know to just pet her head and not bump into her.

I carried her down the front steps to go outside this morning, and she is one heavy dog! She can hobble on three legs once she is up, but it tired her out. I carried her back up the steps, she ate a little bit of her kibbles, drank some water, and walked back to her bed. I tried to help her but she settled down NEXT to the bed. Then it was time for her pills....she just swallowed them right down with a few treats, phew. It took her quite a while to stop shaking after being up and about, so I settled down next to her and pet her for a while until she fell asleep.

Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille convinced me to picke them up early from school today (ten minutes early) so they can go to the mall with Joseph, Samuel, Evelyn, and I...Joe and Sam have appointments with the eye dr, and I have to go along and make sure they get glasses that are within the insurance coveage. Evelyn has to go because we are stopping at the library. And that is all the kids that will fit, unless we take the huge van, and there is snow in the fact our nice 60 degrees from yesterday is gone and there is snow blowing in the wind right now.

Emily Anne is stuck in New York City. She is headed down to Florida to visit Gramma and Grampa for a few days, but her flight to Tampa has been cancelled. Plane problems. She is getting a later flight, but says she is enjoying "sitting there vegging". Grampa isn't doing well. He took a turn for the worse yesterday and had to go back to the hospital. He may have had a silent heart attack, and has some other things going on that aren't great. But at 86, surgery isn't a wise option, especially with some of the issues he has. I am so glad I visited him earlier in the month, and wish I could go back down right now to be with my mother-in-law. But I can't, and am glad Emily is headed that way.

The wind is howling around the house, blowing at 30 mph, with 50 to 60 mph gusts. That is windy!

I am glad to be home right now, home with sleeping Suri, and Sonja-The-School-Skipper. She as been moody and needs some time with me, hence the horrible headache she said she had when I tried in vain to get her out of her comfy bed.

Yesterday I did lots of housework, and it actually looked nice in here. Where, oh where, did it all go?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

suri is home!!

Phew...what a day! I swept and mopped and did the dishwasher...a few loads of laundry...then I got a call from the school...Kathryn had a bad headache, could I come pick her up? Off I went. Kathryn said her headache was a bit better by the time I picked her we went shopping:) And we talked. It was more than good, we had great fun. We went to Target....where I found growing Mr. Jonathan two new pairs of pants and two new shirts for less than twenty bucks. Kathryn found a shirt, and I got a few Christmas presents for next year.

After stopping at the grocery store, it was home to put away the stuff, put dinner in the oven (a quick cheat-y dinner of chicken strips and fish fillets and sweet potato fries)...and out the door I went again, this time with get Suri.

The vet said she did well, and is a sweetie. He said the first thing that was working again after the surgery was her surprise. She is home now with half her backside shaved, and a huge incision. I carried her up the deck steps, she wagged her tail and walked around and greeted everyone...and is now taking a comfy nap on her little bed. Oh, I missed her! It was so good to see her sweet little face again.

Now it is quiet. Mirielle and Aaron are home from college, the kids are all at activity club, and here I am...the dinner mess has to be cleaned up, but. phew. What a day.

it ain't a popularity contest...

Being a mom, that is. Some things they hate me for, they will love me for later, right? Part of me likes to keep the peace, not say anything...but letting things go isn't always in their best interest. So I just have to be the meany sometimes.

But I believe with all my heart that God didn't just bless us with all these children and walk away. He gives wisdom to all who seek it. I know that it is possible to learn from Jesus, who was gentle and lowly of heart. Anyone can be strong and scary and say Don't You Dare Defy Me! But to be on the same side of the battle as the kids, rooting for them, fighting the same fight of faith, letting them know it isn't always easy for me either, but I am willing to be wrong, willing to apologize, having a decided mind that will never ever give up on them, or on me!

I say these things partly to encourage myself, partly to encourage you, whoever is reading this...because life as a parent is more than getting them to close the bread bag and bring those tea mugs out of their room and not eat all the cookie dough and stop walking around the kitchen eating tortilla chips. It is more than getting them to put the towels in the hamper and not slam the bathroom door and pick up their dirty socks and hang up their coat and and and. It is more than making sure they are well-fed, their homework is done, and they look modest and decent when they go out the door. It is more than remembering school projects and roller-skating money and snack days. It is more than doctor appointments and driving permits and getting new eyeglasses.

In all these details that make up life, we can get victory over our own sin! When I see my anger, my demands, my impatience...and just hate it! - Then God has me where He wants me! I have mercy on my kids who are afflicted with the same tendencies! (Colossions 3:21 says, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, lest they become discouraged"....another translation says, "Parents, do not provoke your children, lest they lose heart.")

So let's just say that my mood, my spirit, really makes or breaks the way things go around here. It is challenging but I am very very thankful that God has given me such a good life. The laws of Moses didn't work....didn't help people get free from their sin. So Jesus came and made a way for us...and I am very thankful for that.

And I am done with my preaching now. Sometimes I feel that all my kids see is when I do get upset, and when I do put my foot down. I want them to like me, and I want their approval. I want to know I am doing a darned good job. As long as we're at it, I would like my husband to come home from work and instead of asking me if I did that one thing I forgot to do, like calling the insurance company about something or getting the heating oil filled, he would come in and say...You Have Done An Amazing Job Today, Dear. Good Dinner, Nice Clean House, And I Bet You Did Tons Of Laundry Today, Too. So instead of whining and feeling sorry for myself that this AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN, I will just continue on my way, knowing that seeking His praise is the most important thing, and I will not be put to shame.

About Paul...he really is kind to me. I don't want to make it like he isn't. He loves me muchly. And he isn't critical of me, or of the house when he gets home. But. He certainly isn't gushing about how spotless it is either. ha.

This coming Saturday is going to be a Fun Day, a Fun Night! Girls night out! Not just girls, really good friends! My dearest friends from church and I are spending the night at a hotel in the big city! Now, we have been through some busy years together, being moms. I added up the kids each of these moms has, and it totals 72...between 8 of us. (if our other friend was going, there would be 86, but she can't make it). So we won't run out of things to talk about! Aah, swimming, going in the hot tub, relaxing...I am so excited!

And today, I have to go pick up Suri, if the vet thinks she is ready to come home. She is a spunky little thing, so I think she will. Since I have other things to do than sit here and write, I shall get moving...ha. I am still not used to the expanses of quiet, the lengths of time where I get to DECIDE what to do next, unlike all those years of feeding a baby and changing diapers and chasing toddlers and washing dishes and sneaking into the bathroom in between it all....getting the baby to sleep, getting all other kids tucked in, doing laundry, baby waking up again, short nights and long busy days...but, you KNOW I would do it again. I miss the baby part, but not the busy part. I honestly don't know how I survived. And I am still reeling. And still enjoying this down-time. shh, Paul thinks I am pretty busy still.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

hundreds and hundreds of days...

As I sat here in my comfy chair with my fingers poised over the keyboard, trying to think of a clever title for today's post, I thought of how many days there are in five and a half years of blogging. Just off the top of my head, like 1,800....that's a lot of days. Sometimes it is obvious what to write about, like when there is a pregnancy to announce, or a car accident (or a puppy getting hit by a car), or a nice vacation coming up....

But then there are days like today. Today is a good day. But an ordinary day. I waited for the vet to call, and he did. Suri did fine, the surgery went well. She woke up from the anesthesia like a champ, and was given more pain meds, but woke up and looked at the dr. while he was speaking to me on the phone. So if she continues to improve, I will pick her up tomorrow and bring her home to take care of her. I miss her!

I started this post this morning, but Aaron and Mirielle were in here studying for a big nursing test they had today, and Samuel was in here because he didn't go to school today...headache. eh-hem. He did give blood yesterday, which I give him a huge applause for:). Anyway, Joseph was in here too, and it was way too much fun. So I got distracted.

The little kids got home from school and had tea and cocoa and peanutbutter on crackers. And some cookie dough, because I was mixing up a triple batch of chocolate chip...yes, I ate some dough. too much. But I will not have a cookie. Simply will not. I have chicken in the oven, marinated in garlic and herb seasoning. The older kids are all going to the youth meeting tonight, so it will just be Paul and I and the five younger ones home after dinner.

See, not much going on.

I finished my library book (love Susan Issacs!)today, had a few extra cups of coffee, and fit in my 20 minute work-out.

So it has been a good day.

Except for the fact that I ate too much cookie dough. I was tempted, honestly, to go run into the bathroom and try to throw it up. Just to be honest. But I didn't. I don't want to start that. I hate myself when I do things like that. My cookie dough is just too good! Real vanilla, real butter, twice the brown sugar as white, Nestle chips...just too good. But yes, I know that isn't the real issue here. It is that I lack self-control. And it kills me because I ate so well and healthily all day. Then I just eat like four spoons of dough...dang it. You might ask why in the world I still bake cookies, and I wonder that myself sometimes. It makes the house smell good, the kids love them, and I told Paul I would bake some for some guys from India who are working on a project at his work.

I know tomorrow is another day....and I will not give up, but dang it is hard! I just lose and re-gain the same four or five pounds. And there is no magic solution, just me...needing to buckle down more. I think maybe I will stop baking things, they will survive.

And so life goes. My kids are doing well. Relatively. Some talking back here and there, but I try really hard to focus on the good and ignore the bad...putting my foot down sometimes when they really need it...deciding when to do this and when to let something slide is still something I am working on. I feel so inadequate sometimes. I have really good relationships with my kids for the most part. I must admit I like Joe the best. He is everything you want as a child. I just took a phone call, and came back to that last sentence. I wonder who wrote that?

Monday, January 28, 2013

bad case of the mondays

Poor Suri. The bandage on her front leg is to keep the Fentanyl patches in place. The hip is where her injury is. She was up and about last evening, walking on three legs. She has to be carried outside to go to the bathroom, she simply won't just go on papers in here. When she is scooped up to be carried, she just cries and yelps, and when we lie her back down on her pillow, she complains and whimpers.

Joseph slept with her again last night, I wonder if he got any sleep at all. He didn't the night before.

Jonathan is home today. I told him he could stay here and help me keep Suri happy. She just wants to be pet and talked to all day. Yesterday morning when I made my oatmeal, she was lying on her pillow in the living room. After I poured the oats in the bowl, I peeked into the living room and she was wagging her tail and looking at me with these huge I gave her her customary taste of peanutbutter. She seemed so glad that I understood what she wanted!

It is cold and snowy here still. We are supposed to get some freezing rain this afternoon, yuck. I have to go out and about, too, for a few important things like brown sugar and milk and some undies for a few of the girls...long story. And I don't want them to kill me:) So.

Eeks, lots of schools are getting out early, perhaps I won't go out and about today.

Good news: I exercised both Saturday and Sunday, plus took a nice long walk yesterday in the cold winter sunshine.

Well...I am off to heck the weather...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

lazy saturday....

It is cold and sunny. Paul took the little girls sledding out back, they came in and had scrambled eggs and sausage with toast, grapes, and hot cocoa in the new-to-us mugs from the thrift store yesterday. Very special, for little girls!

Joseph and I, along with Evelyn and Sonja, went to the small city to the vet to get poor Suri. She can't really move without help, but when she saw us she was so happy!!! One of the assistants said she spent the entire morning lying next to her petting her. Isn't that amazing! They really love Suri, and took extra good care of her. She has two fentanyl patches on her leg, all bandaged up, for pain. When she moves, she whimpers and yelps. Joseph had to carry her into the house with her really crying. But. She is all settled in now, and happy just to be here.

The girls are all snuggled up watching, "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs." We don't have any plans for the day, but I know I have to get moving and exercise, although that is like number 87 on my list of things I actually WANT to do. But I am learning that to just do it anyways brings that elusive satisfaction that comes from doing things that I know are good for me.

Dang, Paul found the Hershey's licorice I bought at the dollar store last week. I don't eat candy anymore, except for straight chocolate. But I can smell it, and it smells so good! (He passed it out to all the kids in the living room) don't HAVE to do the No Carbs In The Evening thing. Wait, yes you do! I cheated already and had popcorn last night. I usually don't eat many anyway, but I love my popcorn.

So. Off I go to get into my sweatpants and move a little bit...ugh.

Friday, January 25, 2013

never a dull moment, again...

This morning started out wonderfully. One of my dear friends, who has seven kids, called me. She was going to breakfast with A., who has eight kids. Would I like to go? Yes? She picked me up right after my last few kids got on the bus...

We had lots of coffee refills, and some fun conversation... I mean, we have 31 kids between us to talk about!:)...then we walked down the block a bit in the bitter cold, to check out a little thrift store. While I was choosing a set of four white coffee mugs and a handy-dandy tomato slicer, I got the phone call. Suri got hit by a car. Aaron sounded upset, said she was alive and walking but in some heavy-duty pain. Now, we don't just let her out to run by herself. Aaron was with her, but she didn't want to go back in when he did, so he went in without her. She usually comes knocking on the door within minutes. Not this time. He heard a giant yelp....whoever hit her didn't stop.

So.....I hurried home to bring her to the vet. She was shaking all over, and could barely move. She could get up on three legs, but not without wimpering and yelping. Joseph and Aaron were trying to devise a plan to get her down the deck steps and into the van without hurting her. Even though I hated seeing my puppy in pain, part of me took the moment to delight in seeing my big boys squatting there so tenderly trying to maneuver her onto a blanket. They both love that dog so much.

Anyway, to cut to the chase: she dislocated her hip, but the bone that goes into the hip socket is broken in two places, so...she needs surgery. Now, we don't really believe in spending lots of money on animals having surgery. But. This isn't just any animal, this is Suri! The vet showed me the xrays, explained the problem, and I almost fainted. He gave Suri some pain meds, and said we could leave for a while while he figured out a plan....Paul and I talked, and wondered if we should...ouch, it is hard to even say this, but should we spend so much money on a dog? Ouch. Hurts to say it, but. We wondered about her quality of life, ect. Anyway...after hanging around the small city with Joseph for a few hours waiting for the vet to call back, crying intermittently, worried and sad, joking darkly about what kind of dog to get next....the vet called Paul, and we decided to go ahead with surgery. It is complicated, but the vet thinks she will be fine and be able to walk again and live a good life.

So....she is spending the night at the vet. Tomorrow we will go pick her up....and keep her here until Tuesday, with medication. Joseph will let her move into his room and take care of her, he said. Then Tuesday, the vet will operate and hopefully get her get all fixed up.

Phew. I did not know one could love a dog so much, as much as I love Suri. I almost hate that I love her so much.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

can you say, "brrrrrr!"?

Cold colder coldest. This morning takes the cake. It was six below when I took that dog out this morning. The sun filtered through the trees, promising something more than I was feeling. The snow is so cold under my boots it crackles. Suri does not care. She wants to run and play. I brought out a treat, so I could bribe her to come right back in after she peed.

I took some pictures of freezingness, but for some reason our internet is going slower than usual, out here in the country. I click the button to upload a photo, and sit there forever while the little circle spins and spins...never mind then! Wait, do I actually talk to my computer?

Last evening, I was home all alone for about a half hour. All alone. So what did I do, you might ask? Duh, I made popcorn and read my book! Nothing like turning page after page without having to look up and say What Do You Want for the millionth time. Joni, I won't do that again. Not until least Friday. I have this thing for air-popped popcorn with butter. Carbs and fat...and yum. So I try to just have some on Friday, but last evening...well. Anyway.

Then Mirielle and Aaron came in from college, and I wasn't alone anymore. Then Paul came home, so I gave up reading and got some cleaning done while the kids were all at Activity Club.

But that half hour was nice.

I wouldn't appreciate it if I had it all the time. Plus, I appreciate the kids, too. They are hilarious sometimes. Charlotte Claire is a little rebel. She isn't a hugger like Camille, but she still needs hugs and affection. This morning she was being super stubborn, not wanting to get up. So I joked with her and got her moving. Then when I called her over to get her hair done, she decided she wanted to finish her bagel. I told her she could finish it in a minute, please come here now. So she did that thing I hate, where she drops down and crawls slowly...and says, I AM coming, Mom! I chastised her for not listening, but immediately scooped her up and praised her because she is such a big girl and usually listens so well. She forgot all about being rebellious then.

Kids want to feel loved, and they want things to be hopeful for them. They want and need attention, and they will get it one way or another. So as the Mom, I need to be pro-active and give them that attention before they feel the need to act out. That's one of my biggest challenges. Getting them ready for A.C. last evening was challenging, to say the least. Jon's group was going sledding, so he needed lots of warm things packed up. Then when it started to get dark out, he mentioned that he was to bring a sled. I took pity on him, and went outside to get it with him. Could we find one stinking sled? I think they were all buried under the snow. It was soo cold out there. Anyway, I made two pans of brownies for them to take, and had to move two carseats from the big van to the minivan. I had to make sure everyone had eaten, and that they went out the door with mittens and warm enough coats. Teenagers typically aren't afraid of the cold. A sweatshirt would be fine with them.

Anyway...sometimes my head spins. Everyone asking me questions at the same does get crazy sometimes. Then one of them will be playing Fetch with Suri, running across the room screeching and laughing, perhaps someone else singing their heart out with another of them protesting the awful singing, then someone shouting for the child playing with the dog to Stop It. And someone telling me they have a project due soon, and did I call for an eye appointment? Abigail got a flat tire, Mirielle wants someone to bring that pile of books to someone at Activity Club...and, "Mom, I need a new water bottle." "Well, I need new sneakers, Mom." What? Why are we talking about what we need, you guys need to get out the door.

So there is never a dull moment, so when one does come along, don't blame me for popcorn and a book.

My days can be quiet, but I usually have someone home. Joseph is at the gym, and the college kids are still here, they have late classes.

I am leaving soon to go to the grocery store. We are out of yogurt, bread, fresh fruit, and butter. Running out of peanut butter and milk and oats. And puppy chow. So...I am picking up two of the girls from school early to go with me. Not because I need help, but because giving attention to two of them for the day is priceless. It makes me excited to go!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

winter wonderland....

The sun is peeking out now on the snow, which has turned the naked trees glistening white. It is cold out there, zero degrees farenheit. That is pretty cold. The wind has died down, so it doesn't seem as cold as it did yesterday, when it was ten degrees and windy.

I bundled up and shoveled a path for the younger kids so they could get to the bus. The snowplow so nicely filled the end of the driveway with almost a foot of heavy snow. The college kids had to get out of the driveway too, so I shoveled out the end of it for them, and made paths around the car. (Aaron said it was funny to look out the window and see me shovel, he said I shovel like I eat my corn on the cob, just randomly. I told him it is a mental illness, it's just how I roll, here there and everywhere.) Anyway, it was invigorating.

So, despite the fact that I am getting sick and tired of rallying myself to hang in here in the weight loss department, I shall do just that, and hang in here. I figure I can get sick and tired all I want, but I am not giving up. No looking back. I realized this morning that I need to be creative and keep myself motivated any way I can, or I will end up in the 95% of people who gain all their weight back + more. I will fight that will all I have, because I have gotten this taste of feeling better.

None of my old tricks work anymore. I no longer eat bread or potatoes, cookies or chips. But yesterday I ate two huge handfuls of chocolate chips with my afternoon coffee....I rationalized that hey, it's that time of the month, I NEED chocolate. ha. Back when I started this new lifestyle, I would have counted out ten or fifteen. I need that diligence back. Because it is the little things that add up. I am not just a normal person who can eat normal things anymore. If I do, I will re-gain.

I did fit in some exercise yesterday, and I shall again today. No "ifs and buts about it", as my mother used to say.

Of course I did make a double batch of chocolate chip cookies yesterday. I tasted just a little batter, just to see if it was as good as usual, and it was. Then I broke off one piece of cookie, and yes, it was chewy and melt in my mouth good. That's all I had. And they are gone already. phew. (It was cold in here and the kids wanted cookies...blah, I need to move out!)

We had a nice big pot of beef stew for dinner, and a huge pan of Pillsbury Grands biscuits. (they were on sale and I had a coupon). Guess what? Hardly any of them got eaten! Two of my girls eat gluten-free, and my boys just plain like to eat healthy stuff...I of course didn't eat any, although they smelled heavenly when I took them out of the oven.

Every once in a while I like to make some resolutions.

1. I will never ever say anything bad about anyone. At all, ever.

2. I will stay motivated, and think about ever single thing I eat.

3. I will think before I speak, use my nice voice, and be kind.

4. I will use my time unselfishly, to bless and be good. (but exercising is NOT selfish. It is the best thing I can give my kids...both in example, and outcome!)

5. I will work hard to keep the house as nicely as I can manage, because it makes it nice for the family...and I like the results.

6. I will start selling things on ebay.

7. I will get my sewing machine running.

8. I will match the socks.

9. I will be thankful. Oh man I find so many things to grump about, and I am quite certain that God HATES it.

And that's it for now.

It sounds simple, but for me it will most definitely be a suffering to accomplish those things. I not patient by nature. I am not organized. I am always hungry. I like my chair. I love to read books. I hate matching socks. I love putting off 'til tomorrow what I could easily do today. So I have my work cut out for me.

Notice I didn't vow to love my husband more? Ha, that's because THAT is easy. Well, some of the things he does are a bit irritating, but mostly he's easy to love. I am very lucky.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

nothing to complain about...

When visiting my father-in-law in the hospital a few weeks back, I was suprised and glad to hear him say at least once each time we visited that he had, "nothing to complain about." Just imagine that. He can barely walk, his memory is failing him, he is probably not ever going back home, but he as nothing to complain about. Okay, so he is a bit confused, but still. He is thankful!

So from now on, I will have nothing to complain about. Well, just for conversation's sake, I will rant a little. Vent a bit. But no complaining, ha.

The princesses now have a lavender room. All done, furniture moved back in, finished. A few of my nice helpful daughters did a majority of the actual painting for me, and lest you think I am one lucky girl to have so much help, I will mention this: when I walked in and noticed how much purple paint was along the ceiling, I almost flipped out. Thankfully I found my Nice Voice, and mentioned it nicely. They taped up the baseboards, but not along the ceiling. My bad, I didn't notice, as I was talking to my sister on the phone at that point. oops. Anyway, they were tired of painting, so I finished up. I filled in some places where the yellow peeked through, put a second coat on, and washed the paint that splotched on the woodwork. I tried to get the paint off the ceiling, but me standing on a chair is not my idea of fun, so I didn't try very hard.

It isn't very noticeable now that everything is moved back in anyway.

It is very cold here in New York state this morning. It was eleven degrees with a brisk wind when I took puppy out this morning. She wanted to play fetch, and I wanted her to do her business and come back in the house. She doesn't mind the cold, I guess.

Miss Char did not go to school this morning. She came out to the living room, covered up with a blanket in the comfy red chair, and that was it. She did not get up and eat her toast with jam, nor did she pick one of the three shirts I got out for her to choose from. She just snuggled into that chair, ignoring my requests that she Get Moving. She doesn't miss as much school as Camille does, and rarely does she skip a day alone. So I didn't press it. Camille realized as the bus was coming down the road that Char wasn't going. She questioned it, but went out and got on the bus with Jonathan. Now Charlotte Claire is as happy as can be. She has the toys to herself, their newly cleaned, painted and organized room to herself, and the computer to herself. She is playing SIMS right now, creating a new family and asking me how to spell names like, "Juliet". She says it is nice to play without Camille sometimes, and while part of me thinks that is kind of mean, I know what she means.

I don't get much quiet time on the weekends, and this was a three day weekend...I love the kids, but now that it is relatively quiet, I find it hard to get up and get moving. I was looking up reviews and photos of this place I would love to go to in Jamaica...oh, the white sand and the aqua water....sunny blue pools, the nights lit up with sparkly lights on the beach. I was also looking up hotels for our weekend get-away in June, to a wine-tasting event in the Finger Lakes. I was also looking at a hotel for a girls get-away in a few weeks. Oh, it's fun to plan. But today I am staying home, making a pot of stew, doing laundry, perhaps trying to figure out why my sewing machine won't sew.

Oh, I want to say a special Thank You to Julie, who sent me an under-the-counter CD player/radio. We put it up under the kitchen cupboard near the sink, and guess what? My daughters love it! It makes kitchen clean up much more fun, but not all the boys love Carrie Underwood and Patsy Cline:) (yes, Marg likes the oldies). I enjoy it too, so thank you again, Julie!!!

Dang, one puppy wants to go out. Probably to just play fetch, but....she might really have to "go". dang. With great puppies come great responsibilities, I suppose.

Monday, January 21, 2013

happy monday of the whole fan-damily

Miss Emily Anne, 28 - the nurse, still in her scrubbies. (when I was bragging about her the other day, I forgot to mention that she graduated Magna Cum Laude, Bachelors in Nursing...all while working full time at the medical ICU unit of a large hospital:)(she is going to kill me if she reads this:)

Miss Abigail Marie, 26...

Benjamin Paul 24, my soldier son...

Ashley Nicole, Benjamin's wife, my dear daughter-in-law.

Mirielle Joy 22, almost done with nursing school!

Joseph Michael 21.. and Aaron Royce 20.

Mali Rose 18, nursing student.

Samuel James 17....soldier-wannabe, criminal justice lover.

Margaret Cheryl 16, who did not want her picture taken. She is our ninth child, and is learning to drive. I should have a crown of patience by now!

Kathryn Grace 14.

Evelyn Joy 13 (with Suri and Kathryn)

Suzanne Eleanor 11, with the quill pen she got for Christmas.

Sonja Kathleen 10..

Jonathan Robert 8, with his new train.

And, last but not least, the princesses...Miss Camille Anaya 5, and Charlotte Claire 6.

And...the dad of all these kids, Paul, with Charlotte Claire and their snowman.

And me...

midnight quiet...

The fan is on here in the living room, because the little girls are sleeping in here with Suri. Their bedroom is finally being painted, after being yellow for 20 years. Their bunkbeds are in the middle of their room, piled with stuff, their dressers moved into the hallway and into my room. I have spackled, sanded, and spackled again. I am thinking I may be able to sand, wipe down the walls, vacuum up the dust, and paint tomorrow.

Today started as a lazy day. I took Suri out to play, brought in the newspaper, made some oatmeal for the little girls, then some for me with almonds and pumpkin, and spices. Coffee, paper, aaah. Then I got moving and started on their room...had to stop to get ready for church, which was at 3:00 today. Home...friends over for dinner, roast beef, roasted potatoes and carrots, and bread. (Pillsbury Simple, from the dollar store. I should not have tasted it, but I did. Two small pieces, but jeepers, it is a huge no-no for me!!!)

After dinner was cleaned up, and the boys were watching the football game, I headed back in to work on their room a bit more. Then...Downton Abbey. The little girls snuggled with Paul and I for a bit and watched it until their eyes were heavy, then they climbed into the comfy nests they made with all those blankets and comforters, and fell fast asleep, with all of us out here talking.

I am extremely discontent with my weight right now. I know full well what I shouldn't eat, yet sometimes I do it anyway, and I cannot do that. I eat very healthy food, but I need to be much more strict with the extras. I worked so hard and got down a few pounds, then just breathed in a few carbs, and I was up again. Now I am back where I started a few weeks ago. rrrrr. I know it has gotten harder to get the pounds off than when I first started, I am smaller so need fewer calories, and I think since I had the gallbladder surgery it has been much harder. I don't know why, but I slowed way down in losing since then.

I didn't work out today, but I did yesterday.

And, I am still hopeful. I am getting tired of being hopeful without seeing results, but what choice do I have? I can't give up, I can only try harder. I need to be more honest with myself. Those little calories add up!! And honestly, winter is hard. I can't make myself go for a walk when it is freezing out, and the road is slippery. All I want to do is bake things and eat them with my afternoon coffee, then make big warm meals! I did make mini-pumpkin muffins today, dang it. I used most of a 29 ounce can of pumpkin, two eggs, and a box of white cake mix. And lots of Pumpkin Pie spice. I had two. The kids ate some, then I sent the rest to Emily. There. All gone. It was so hard to just have two, they were small, and they were good!

No school for the kids tomorrow, yay! I hope they sleep in late, and are nice and quiet in the morning.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

saturday afternoon...

And what a day it has been! Paul has been so busy at work, 11 and 12 hour days, plus he had to get up early and work this morning. There is excess energy in the air here. It seems like winter has been here forever and will stay here forever. It is slightly warm-ish today, and the snow has mostly melted, leaving an extremely muddy yard.

We are going to do something fun today with the kids. But. We can't all agree on something. Mirielle, Margaret, Evelyn are at the church doing work, Samuel is at his friend's house. Paul and I have somewhere to go at 3:00, but he might be still working. He is on the phone with a co-worker from India, solving computer problems. And we are trying to figure out something to do that appeals to the rest of the kids here, except for probably Joseph and Aaron, who won't want to come along. I don't think.

We have narrowed it down to maybe a movie in the "cheap" theater, $1.50. Then maybe Pizza Hut.

We kind of wanted to go to a childrens' museum, but Paul was working this morning, and if you don't get an early start it isn't worth the money. The malls are depressing, kids get high hopes of getting something, and there are so many different interests. When they were little we would take them to McDonalds' Playplace, but now there are only a few of them who are small enough to play there. Libraries are nice, hmm. Ice skating is nice. But expensive, and I am not ready to do that, my knee is finally feeling a bit better and I wouldn't want to twist it or fall.

So now the kids are playing and messing the house and arguing. Jonathan has been baking peanut butter cookies in his EasyBake oven. Charlotte Claire is on the scooter, which everyone should have in their house. Suze is looking through my fabric, thinking of making a quilt. I really need to get my sewing machine going one of these days! They are finding all this nice fabric.

Anyway, there are things going on, never a dull moment. I would be happy to just stay home today, but they are having fun deciding what to do later.

Char and Camille are now setting up a dollhouse campsite in the living room.

Nothing much going on, yet everything is going on. How is your Saturday?

Oh...the beagle pups are all sold. dang. But relief, too. I am thinking if we get a second dog, we should get another lab, so Suri can run around and play without the other dog taking off and following a scent for a few miles.

So off I go....

Friday, January 18, 2013

friday friday friday!!!

Evelyn thought Suri would look nice in Camille's hat.

Charlotte Claire, Jonathan, Camille...out of warm cozy beds and off to school in the snow.

I find it hard to say goodbye to them in the morning, but shh, especially Miss Camille...

looking out back.

Bye, Jon!

Bye, Char...

Good thing I have Sui so I don't get lonely.

Yesterday's outing was even better than I thought it would be. Em was brilliant in her radio interview. On our way there, we stopped in Lowe's and found some clearanced area rugs, so I got a new one for one of the kids' rooms. I bought paint for the princesses' room, and a new light fixture for my room. We were trying to move right along, but Emily and I both get easily distracted. I am attracted to the nice storage systems, and some of those light fixtures would really look nice in here. Emily found two really nice baskets for $3.47 each to go with the "new" desk she just bought on Craigslist.

Then to DunkinDonuts for coffee, as our trip was another hour from there. Driving through the snowy hills with a steaming large coffee, with Emily...

We got there a bit early, so we stopped at a funky little restaurant downtown. We shared a Buffalo chicken salad and some...fries. Chopped up right there in front of us, from fresh 'tatoes. Salted and peppered, served on a large sheet of white paper....oh dang, they were good. I know, I know. But. Anyways. They WERE good. Then....after the interview, we walked around that freezing cold downtown...and spied a WAFFLEHOUSE. Now, Emily doesn't struggle with her weight, so for her to suggest waffles is quite fine. Since this was HER birthday outing, I wasn't going to disapoint her. No sir. I know, I know. Waffles! of all things. Super carbs! We ordered one twin and shared...drizzled with real melted butter, warm Belgium chocolate sauce, and fresh sliced strawberries. I was glad we ate them on the road because all I wanted when I was done was another one.

And no, the day wasn't All About The Food. We talked about important things like how to educate people on end of life decisions, and our favorite flavors of coffee shots. She says the cinnamon at Starbucks is the best. I have not yet tried it.

So...I haven't accomplished too much around here today. I was going to go shopping with Kim, but it didn't work out for her. I worked out and took a shower. I matched some socks, did some laundry, washed counters and washed dishes. I cleaned up some toys, straightened the little girls' room, and took Suri out a few times.

My days and weeks are going by tooo fast!!! Slow down, life! Ah well, nothing I can do about it but enjoy it as much as I can, and be good. Being good doesn't help it slow down, but it does help make it meaningful.

Wow, the sun is shining on the snow! I don't like it, it is saying loud and clear, "Wash these windows! There is dust everywhere!"

We are having some cold weather here in New York state. The high today: 24 degrees. Next week we might experience negative seven. brr!!! I go. Places to go and people to meet, or something like that.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

yippee, it's a fun day!!!!

Today...oh what fun, I am going on an outing with Emily. Now since tomorrow is Emily's birthday (28th)(which if you do the math, has me at five years old when she was born...)Anyway, I shall brag about Emily just a little bit. Em has always been a sunshine, with her blonde hair and big bright eyes. She gave up taking naps when she was two, but she would stay on the couch or in her bed with a stack of books. By the time she was four, she could tell time and even wake me up at a certain time if I fell asleep with the baby. I read the whole, "Little House" series to here before she started school, and the big hardcover book, "A Little Princess", was her favorite. We didn't have a television in those years (not until Margaret was a year old, so 15 years ago we got one). So Emily read. She also wrote stories. She did well in high school, graduating third in her class. But the thing I like the most about her is that she is fun! She has inherited from me, and her Gramma before her, the ability to enjoy life. She doesn't get stressed about the details. Fretting about tomorrow is not in her vocabulary. She isn't irresponsible, not at all. She just has that calm spirit about her. She is also a giver. She has a decent job, but she doesn't store up treasures for herself. She blesses her brothers and sisters, and the other kids in the church. Of course we know that when one gives, one receives, so she is a very blessed girl.

But my favorite thing about her is that she is fun. She stops to smell the roses, she lives each day to it's fullest.

And today, we are going on an adventure. We are stopping at Lowes first for some things for her house, then off we go to that small city an hour south of here, so she can have her radio interview. Then we shall go out to lunch. I feel like a little kid on Christmas! This morning while I washed up some dishes, I started thinking of some phone calls I have to make, things I have to take care of...and I WiLL take care of them. But not today. Today is a fun day.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

winter is back!!!!

Coldness! Snow! Brr. I forgot to put my sweater on before I sat in my comfy chair with my oatmeal and coffee...dang. Is it better to shiver or get up and get it? I'll be right back.

Okay. Got a sweater. Plus made a phone call, put the bedding in the dryer, and loaded up the washing machine again. Phew. Should have replenished my coffee while I was at it.

So yes, it is winter again here in central New York State. And since Emily Anne, my oldest child, is turning...ouch, twenty eight years old on Friday, let me bore with you with some memories...

Emily was due on January 16th, which was on a Wednesday, which happens to be the same today. Wednesday, January 16th. My due date came and went...but only until Friday. I was young (19 and 1/2), dumb, and very excited. So I headed to the hospital in the wee hours of the morning, it was still dark. Now, Emily was born in 1985, in what I like to think of as the End Of A Horrible Era Of Childbirth. When I got to the hospital, I was put into bed. And kept there. My mother-in-law came to visit, and was not allowed anywhere but the waiting room, and since I was stuck in bed, dang. (oh, if I could go back in time, I would SO protest!). But remember, I was young and dumb, and this was that Horrible Era. The Era when it was just standard procedure to do shaves and...enemas. Yup. No fun. labor progressed by some miracle, seeing that I was stuck in that bed. When it was time to push, the doctor felt around my abdomen and said that the baby was transverse. He had me sign all the papers for a c-section, then brought me into the delivery room to try one other option, which would not be tried in this day and age, although I am very thankful they still did these in the Horrible Era: forceps. Mid-forceps. I was given gas, knocked out, huge episiotomy, so horrible I can even BEGIN, but anyway....the doctor grabbed her, turned her, and pulled her out. He had 25 years of experience, and was delivering babies before c-sections became so routine. (just think, if he hadn't had the courage to do that type of delivery, I may not have been able to have all these children...)

Anyway. It was rough. I woke up and Paul was sitting there (he was SO handsome when he was 21!) crying. We had a girl first! I said, "First!!!??" Ha, no way was I doing this again, I thought. ha. Anyway....she was 8 pounds ten ounces, and didn't know how to nurse. I had lots of trouble with that at first, but my sister had just had her second baby (2nd girl of seven!), and encouraged me.

So Emily was born on a Friday night, at 9:53 pm. I went home with her the following Monday. I know, crazy, right? Three nights in the hospital! Monday was freezing! I think the high was like zero that day. And guess what? This coming Monday is forecast to be polar cold too.

I am spending some time with Emily tomorrow. We are going to a small city south of here so she can be interviewed for a radio show about a story she had published. She is an R.N., and deals with death on a daily basis. It affects her, of course, but she has to cope with it. So she is going to talk about it. She asked me to go along with her, and of course I said I would. I am planning to take her out to lunch afterward, and possibly to a few thrift stores to find something nice for her new house.

Today, I am not staying home in my cozy warm house. No, I am picking up five kids from school and taking them to the dentist. Only two of them have appointments, shh, but the other three heard those magical words, "Getting Picked Up", and persuaded me to get them too.

We might also stop at Walmart to get some bins for Jon and Sonja. They re-arranged their room and want to store things better. Their bunk beds are now taken down as single beds, which takes up more room, but they wanted a change. Now they have to get more creative with storage. Honestly, nothing gets kids more motivated to clean their rooms as Getting Something New, or changing around the furniture.

I worked on Charlotte Claire and Camille's room for a few hours yesterday. I loved it because I like sorting through stuff. Now all the Barbie shoes and Polly Pockets and baby doll clothes and big doll clothes and Barbie Clothes, ect., are all organized. I found so many barettes and bobby-pins and hair elastics, socks, missing sweatshirts (they like to Pack to Go Places...I found these bags all packed up with clothes and jammies and books...)They weren't really going anywhere, just playing. Anyway, I organized their shelves and made it nice in there for the millionth time, but for some reason..this time it is going to stay clean. ha.

I also cleaned up my own room and vacuumed. If feels nice, looks nice.

I have to keep working when I have this motivation before it disappears and I just don't care so much anymore.

Beagle puppy...not sure. I want one, the kids want one, but Paul is being too practical. He says, "What about vet bills?" I guess it's good one of us is grown-up.

The kids are not thrilled, said we shouldn't get their hopes up. I know, I say to them! Mine were up too!

Oh well.

And this concludes my ramble for the day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

not just another cold overcast morning...

No, this is a special day! It is the day that the Lord has made! It doesn't FEEL special. It feels like the very sort of day one would take for granted, or even grumble about. Snowing again, damp, muddy. But do any of us know how many days we have? Surely we can't write off today as Just Another Day!

Samuel 17, Margaret 16, Kathryn 14, Evelyn 13, Suzanne 11, Sonja 10, Jonathan 8, Charlotte Claire 6, and Camille 5, all went to school today. Our morning was peaceful, no breakfast spills on school clothes, no forgotten homework that was remembered and completed in a rush, lunches were made, and I so nicely sent notes with the three youngest that I would pick them up in the afternoon, to spare them the almost hour-long bus ride. (Camille has gotten too smart, she asks to be picked up before she even gets out of her nice warm bed in the can I say no?)

Kathryn and Suzanne are going to walk to Emily's after school, her new house is in the village. Emily is amazing, I might add. She has had some help, but she is fixing up that old house! They ripped out old carpet from all the bedrooms upstairs(4), and have installed new wood flooring in three of them. They have sanded and painted, and ripped up carpet from downstairs. Her house makes us all happy, it is a place for the kids to go, where they feel comfortable and welcome. It is a huge old house, with lots of nooks and crannies and tons of character. It would almost fit our family!

Anyway. It would be a shame to write off this day as just another day because it's is all any of us has!

So. I would love more input about beagles. I so appreciated the comments yesterday. If anyone else has any experience, please share! Our kids have started really begging for one of these puppies! I told Jonathan this morning that Moms and Dads try to think about things a little more than kids do, although I agree that beagle puppies are absolutely adorable, and yes, I am sure we would love it...we tend to think a bit about the messes and the cost.

Now, Suri can be a bad dog. Just last night she stole the angel-food cake from the table (I honestly don't know how I forgot to put that away..)...she brought it into the laundry room and had an angel-food cake party for herself. The evidence was the foil pan, ripped to shreds. She also brought Camille's Ariel doll in there and chewed the foot off, and possibly ate her clothes. They are nowhere to be found. I know it is my fault, I gave in to her pitiful howling when she was a little pup, she did not like the crate. I should have held fast.

Yesterday while picking the kids up from school, I was offered a job application, to be a teacher's aide/substitute teacher's aide. I have no college education, but I have learned a thing or two through the years, although I don't know if that counts. Anyway, I have the application here. I have mixed feelings about it. I don't want to work. I have a good life here at home. I am the one person who takes care of all the loose ends...the appointments and the oil changes, the shopping, washing the towels and making the meals. Is it worth the stress of having to balance it all? It could possibly be just a day or two a week, which would be fun. Paul says You Never Know Unless You Try, but. I don't know.

Plus, how could I get a puppy and then leave it all alone with Suri? They would destroy the place!

I am drinking my coffee slowly but it is almost gone anyway.

I should get moving. I have that Home Improvement Bug, which I so obviously don't always have, so I am trying to accomplish things here while I have the desire to. Yesterday I hung the pictures back up that I had taken down to decorate for Christmas. Plus a new one that I got at the thrift store. $6.99, and it looks nice. I want to organize the little girls' room and paint has not been painted since we moved in, 20 years ago. That room has had a whole rotating cast of characters write on it's walls. It was baby Joseph's room when we moved in, he was eleven months (yes, he is 21 now). Now the cribs are all gone and the princesses have bunkbeds. They want lavender paint, or "sparkly silver", says Camille.

My room needs a good cleaning too. It is much nicer to get out of bed in the morning when the room is shiny and clean. I have gotten much better about hanging things up instead of draping them around, but honestly, I don't think I will ever be a neat freak. I just don't have it in me. I love clean-ness, love that stark look of No Clutter. I love shiny. I hate sticky. And I try, I really do. But it just plain Not. I love the results, don't mind the process, but I can't seem to KEEP it that way. Organizing and Me are just not compatible. I try. I really really do. Yesterday I finally went through the huge mess of papers on top of the microwave. I threw things away, sorted, and now there is just a neat little pile there. I love that!

I also cleaned under the roll-top desk. I want to keep rolling up the lid, just to see the neatness!

Having lots of people in the house makes it challenging to keep the place neat. The little girls pulled one of the chairs away from the wall in the living room and made a fort behind it, a cozy little place with pillows and blankets. It is still there after two days.

Our visit to the library was fun. The girls like, "Charlie And Lola". Evelyn got a whole stack of books. Jon just got a firetruck book, and a beagle book. And a whole bunch of, "I Spy".

And...that's enough for the day!

Monday, January 14, 2013

trying to accomplish a few things around here...

Swept. Mopped. Vacuumed. Did two loads of laundry. Cleaned out under the roll-top desk. Sorted the paper mountain from the top of the microwave. Killed the clothes monster.

My college kids are getting ready to go back, Aaron this afternoon, Mali and Mirielle tomorrow.

I am picking some kids up from school today and taking them to the big library, Evelyn is almost dying for another stack of books. Unfortunately, I have a big fine to pay from that book I just didn't get back....for weeks. ouch.

Paul texted me a picture of beagle puppies. A guy at his work has them. Cuteness! The question is, would we be crazy to get a second dog? Would we regret it a million times over? Would a beagle ever be as sweet as Suri? Beagles are supposed to be good with kids, and sweet and cuddly and affectionate. Can I housetrain another puppy without going crazy? I don't know. I just know that if I see on, I will take it. Can't resist. Paul texted me the picture, and I was on the computer looking up whether they are good with kids....and yes, they seem to be.

Oh well. I haven't eaten lunch yet, and my lunchtime is noon. Ha, I set a time for myself, then if I want to eat anything earlier, I just don't, because it isn't lunchtime yet.

I am going to miss my college kids! They will be swirled back up in the vacuum of schoolwork, tests, clinicals, studying...dang. It has been so nice for them to have a break from the stress. Aaron and Mirielle only have this one semester left, then they have to pass the exam....and they will be registered nurses!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

saturday afternoon ramble...

I love coming home. Home to the little girls, home to the mess, home with a few groceries to put away. Home to my comfy chair and a cup of coffee. I browned up some coconut flakes with some slivered almonds to eat on my banana cream pie low cal yogurt, artificially flavor - which is a YAY for me, since I am horribly allergic to bananas. Anyway. It's nice to be home.

Where have I been, you might ask? Doming. At the Carrier Dome, for the Syracuse Men's basketball game, working at a concession. Volunteering for our church. Five of my older kids (Emily, Mirielle, Joseph, Aaron, Samuel, and Margaret) worked too. It was a loud game, but very exciting. I shared a cookiewich with Marg, so I don't feel bad about that.

We stopped for apples on the way home because one of the grocery stores has Washington State apples for 99 cents a pound. They are so crunchy and yummy. The kids with me wanted donuts, especially Aaron and Sam. They are such good kids, volunteering on their Saturday (we had to get up at "O-dark-thirty", according to Emily, meaning 6:30 am in this case). Such good kids, so I said they could get donuts. One would hardly guess a 20 year old and a 17 year old would be happy for donuts. Anyway...this grocery store has these donuts that are masterpieces. Works of art. Simply magnificent. Their aroma fills the store. They make one in particular that stands out to me...with fudgy chocolate icing and whipped cream/vanilla on the top. Unbeatable. Dang I am making myself drool here. Anyway...they picked out six, plus I bought a package of 6 chocolate peanut ones, so there would be enough for everyone. And guess what? Nary a taste! I have had nary a taste!!! ( that a real word?) Anyway. I had an apple. And man was it hard. I will never ever get over my love affair with donuts. I can say no, but I will never stop loving them. it is time for all lazy moms to wander into their kitchens and make some dinner. I don't even know how many people are here, but I am guessing at least a dozen. I have six pizza doughs, but also some fresh ground beef...hmm, chili or taco salad? We'll see.

Friday, January 11, 2013

taking a breather....

from all the work I haven't done yet. I took Jonathan to the pediatrician, and when he hadn't seen the dr. yet after a half hour, left for my own appointment because Aaron so nicely stayed there with him. Then I saw the physician's assistant. She thinks I have some advanced arthritis in my knees. She admitted to not being an expert on knees, so she wasn't very aggressive in moving them around, thank goodness. I then picked up Jonathan, filled a prescription for him (he has a strep infection/rash), then went to the hospital to have my knee x-rayed.

We sat there in a small waiting room with the television blaring an hour-long infomercial. blah. But I found some things to be thankful for. There was a man there no older than me, with his wife. He sat there in a wheelchair, obviously in pain...he had something chronic. The dr. came in and told his wife he had to stay again. The man looked tired, the wife looked sad. Although I wasn't eavesdropping. I made it a point to engage Aaron in conversation when the dr. came in, just because I don't want to be nosy. But I am. Anyway, my problems paled in comparison.

The n.p. might call this afternoon, or on Monday. She give me an educated guess as to what's going on, but I go into the orthopaedic dr. in a few weeks.

How I am supposed to limp around until then is beyond me.

She suggested I walk only three times a week. I just laughed. I can't go on my walk with this pain/grinding/clicking thing going on!

So I am going to the pool tonight.

Anyway, I took my nice Aaron and Jonathan for some takeout Chinese food from the little place downtown. We sat there in the city watching people go by as we ate that hot salty fatty yummy sesame chicken. I just taste the fried rice, my goodness it was bad enough eating that chicken! I could have eaten the whole order, but I didn't. I will have to be really careful for the rest of the day to make up for that!

Walmart to print out our family pictures. Finally. We tried to do it in Florida but the machine was out of order. is rainy and overcast, chilly. In here it is cozy, I am enjoying my afternoon coffee, and talking to the older kids who are home from school now. The younger ones will be bursting through the door any minute now. I have to prepare some dinner soon, but for right now, I am comfy in my chair with a big blanket.

staying home today? ha!

Off to the small city this morning. Jonathan has a 10:30 appointment for a rash that won't clear up, and I have to be at my dr. by 11:20. Since the pediatrician is often backed up, Aaron is so nicely going with me so he can stay with Jon if I have to leave to make it to my appointment.

My knee...oh it hurts. I have always had problem knees. When I was in high school, I dislocated one of them...after six weeks in a brace, I was supposed to get physical therapy. Bah, my mom didn't believe in that! They just want your money, she said! knee has been locking up on me for years now, but now it is clicking with every single bend. If I sit for a while and get up, like when I drive, I can barely walk on it, as it hurts to straighten it.

Dang. This is my first really serious week of eating clean and exercising. Believe me, trying to work out around this pain is really hard. I have had to super modify what I do. I am so tempted to get so frustrated, but every time I start thinking negatively, I just KNOW that all things work together for the good for those who love God. I know it. Rejoice always. This is the day that the Lord has made, we shall rejoice and be glad in it. Be anxious for nothing. In all things, give thanks.

Yes, I am preaching to myself this week.

The thing is, I am scared of all things pertaining to knees. It makes me light-headed and sick to think about joints and cartilage, especially knees. I think because when I dislocated my knee, oh my goodess I would rather have a baby in the middle of the street in the rain. (ha, I would LOVE to have another baby! so not a good analogy for me!) Anyway, just the thought of a dr. bending and prodding my knee...I get all tightened up and just cringe. I need strength, Lord. Because I feel faint thinking about all of this. But. Then I think that my battle is just this moment, not what IS going to happen, or what MIGHT happen. Why worry now about what might happen later?

Suri is a good puppy, but also a very bad puppy. She ate the kids' new Barbie Gingerbread house. The whole thing except for one candy cane. I bought if for them yesterday for 90% off...$1.29 (who would pay $12.99 for one of those?). Anyway, Sonja and Jon and the little princesses and I put it together and decorated it yesterday afternoon. They had to wait 'til after dinner to have was so sugar-y looking. We threw away the horrid frosting it came with, and used a can of Betty Crocker I bought at the dollar store. With pink food coloring of course, it WAS a Barbie house. Anyway...this morning, Suri's little bed is full of crumbs.

She also ate the stick of butter I left on the counter. The wrapper is on her little bed in the crumbs. Bad doggy!

She somehow figured out that I don't put chili powder or cayenne pepper on the edges of the counter anymore. So tonight, she will get a surprise if she tries to jump up there and practice her thievery!

Since I have to leave in just a few minutes, I should get moving....

Thursday, January 10, 2013

making good choices....

We sow, we reap. I am not talking about spiritual matters or weight loss. I am talking about my house. It hasn't had the attention it needs. It is a sum of the days of going out and about and choosing to do fun things with the kids instead of mucking out closets. I need to grow up and get this place in order!

But not today. See, today, my friend Kim texted me and asked me if I want to go out and about today. I started telling her how I couldn't, musn't. There are things to do here! I have swept the floor, washed the counters, and put some laundry in. But there are things to do here! But I pushed that little backspace arrow and erased that nonsense, because how can I resist? We haven't had a day together in weeks! And the messy house will surely be here tomorrow! I know, I am bad. But guess what? Life is short.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

keeping motivated....

I am now only 5.2 pounds over my lowest weight. Still feel like I am backpaddling. Making up for lost time. Re-losing is MOST depressing. But it is better than just keeping it on, I suppose. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to lose this weight to try to look like a million bucks. (good thing, right?) I just want to feel good, have energy, be able to move. And yes, it doesn't hurt to enjoy wearing "regular" clothes.

So I fight the thoughts that would trick me into having just a little of this and a taste of that.

I just can't figure out why we are so prone to sabotage our own selves, why we are our own worst enemies.

So yesterday I didn't end up getting much done around here because while I was turning off the computer, the phone rang. I had to go pick up one of the kids from the small city....Camille and I got dressed and out the door we went, with Suri, of course. She likes to go bye-bye. Since I was out already, I did stop at one of the grocery stores I rarely get to, just for the specials.

I did manage to fit in a quick work-out after bringing in the few groceries I bought. Dinner: Cornell chicken breasts (if you have never marinated your chicken in it, look it up and make is so good!), mixed veggies, and Florida strawberries and blackberries.

Mirielle is in Connecticut, Joseph went to the gym (I was going to go with him, but I chickened out.) Aaron is going to a job interview. He would be a nurse's assistant part time while going to nursing school. I have to go out and about soon, the oil needs to be changed on the minivan, and Suzanne has a dentist appointment. wah, I want to stay home and match the socks. Our nice big black kitty seems to have peed in the clean sock bin, again. I had to wash them all and have re-matched like half of them. (Now we have set up a kitty litter box for the big lazy spoiled kitty...It IS cold out.)

Anyway...I don't know what happened here at our nice cozy house this morning as the six first-trip school kids were getting ready to go out the door, but man. One person had something to discuss with me, and at least three others joined in. Misunderstandings...snippy words. ouch. I think I came across totally wrong, I had no malice but was perceived as being mad. "Chill, Mom, chill!", one daughter said, which makes me anything but, "chill". rrr. I don't like it. I want a re-do. One of the girls remarked about, "all the stress around here...". Well dear, I told her, try keeping out of things. It's not like we were yelling at each other or anything, but it wasn't peaceful and it wasn't pleasant. The good thing: one of the girls came back in from waiting for the bus...she stuck her head in the door and yelled, "I'm really sorry, Mom!" Melt my heart. I do love them to pieces. Life is a learning process, I guess. I am not one to hand out punishments for things, but if we can all learn something from our behavior, then these things don't happen for nothing. In a peaceful time I will talk to the girls, individually.

Honestly, it does way more good to praise good behavior than to harp on bad behavior. I have to be hopeful with the kids too. When I can be a good example, and encourage them to do the good, choose kindness, forgive each other...then it gives them something to strive for. Punishments only breed resentment. Sometimes it is necessary, I suppose...Miss Char has to sit in a kitchen chair for a few minutes sometimes because she gets all stompy and says she hates me. As soon as she says she wants to be good, I have her hug me and apologize, and off she goes with a hug and a reminder to be a good girl. I don't believe in making a federal case out of every bad thing they do. The goal is to lead them to repentance.

It takes more wisdom than I possibly possess to deal with things here, day in, day out. But God gives grace to the humble, and wisdom to those who ask. He is good to me, makes sure I know full well how I am, so that I can be merciful.

Ha, that's all the preaching I have this fine morning. I will try to get some things done before Joseph gets back from the gym with the van....

Oh, if you are driving down the highway in Nebraska and see a handsome young couple and a nice furry border collie, tell them hello and happy travels! They have driven across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa...dang I miss them...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

my monday post on tuesday....

No internet yesterday. After a long day of shopping with Margaret and Sonja K., then putting away groceries and serving snacks the kids, I sat down and thought I could write. Wrong. It was time to go to the church activity club roller skating party. Oops. So off we went. I had a cup of coffee for dinner, thank you Cheryl. (I made a can of soup for dinner when I got home, after resisting the fast food I got for a few of the kids, which I hate doing, but since I am such a good planner, that's just how it goes sometimes). Anyway. I didn't skate. I think it was a hidden blessing that my knee started acting up yesterday, because if I had skated, I would have fallen, and if I had fallen...I don't even want to think about it.

So yesterday went by in a busy blur. We went to try on some sneakers first, because Paul gave me a gift certificate that is only good online, so I have to get an idea what size/type sneaker to get first. Oh, it has been so long that I have needed new sneakers. I almost got some last summer, but bought the awning for camping instead. Anyway...I ended up getting a pair of Reeboks for Margaret for a really good price. Then to BJ's for almonds and peanut butter and jam and romaine and girl-y things (we should have bought stock in the Kotex company, imagine 8 of us here each month)....

Then to Target. Yes, I should just stay out of Target. But then Marg wouldn't have found her two new dresses for less than three bucks each. If you read this and you know Margaret, do not tell her I wrote this. I also bought a pair of Goal Jeans, size 14. It exciting that I can already get them on, but believe me, they do not flatter. I have a ways to go, but I so want to wear those jeans soon.

Then, Price Chopper, for oats and yogurt and detergent and popcorn kernels and bagels.


I used lots of coupons yesterday. Venus razor with four blades cartridges: regularly $6.99, on sale for $5.00, coupon: buy one get one free. Not bad.

Coupons do take time though. I usually don't eat the stuff coupons are for, but the shampoos and girl-y things (Stayfree, regularly $3.49, on sale for $2.00, coupon - buy one get one free.) I like to get nice things for the girls too, like the Neutrogena face wash that was so cheap after the coupon. It's better to watch for sales and use coupons to get the good stuff, than buy store brand deodorant/soaps/bodywashes/shampoo/toothpaste.

So....weight loss: I am losing my holiday gain. I am still 5.8 pounds over my absolute lowest (in the last two decades anyway). But I have found a truth: it is more satisfying to say NO than to eat junk and feel horrible afterward. Mentally and physically. When I am picking and tasting, there is no feeling of triumph. But when I stick to plan, eat clean, oh it feels nice. I can go to bed at night with no regrets about what I ate. I am hopeful again, that I can lose this weight! When I first started this whole thing, back when my goal was purely to get my blood pressure down and my heartburn gone, I was radical! And I lost 12 pound in the first five weeks. That is the kind of success I am striving for now.

I mean, the phrase, "Tomorrow Is Another Day", is helpful for when we slip up, it is no way to live!

Now I just hope my knee gets better. It is clicking everytime it bends. Every single step. It is the knee that locks alot, so I know it has issues. It drives me to want to lose this weight even more.

Mirielle left to go to Connecticut for a few days. College starts soon, but it's nice to have the older kids around without them having to study or be stressed about classes. Camille is home with me today. She went to school yesterday, and she roller skated last to bed too late. She has this cold, and is so stuffy. She has been dragging this morning, watery eyes and feeling miserable. Poor girl. She has Suzanne's huge fuzzy polka-dotted robe on, and is so cuddly.

So today I have to make up for not being around much yesterday. The clean socks are on the couch...mostly matched. Charlotte Claire left her comforter out here, she brought it from her bed with her when I woke her up. (It just seems mean and un-natural to wake small children up from their warm cozy beds and send them out to school). Anyway, I have my work cut out for me today. Yet here I sit.

Monday, January 7, 2013

saying goodbye is never fun...

Benjamin, my dear oldest son....isn't he handsome? This was taken in Emily's house. I didn't get any of him saying goodbye last night because my eyes were too tear-y. I know, I can talk to him on the phone. Text him. But wah. That last goodbye hug...wah.

They were in Indiana already this morning, Ben and Ashley and their Border Collie Baxter. If you see them, say hello and tell them mama misses them already. Tell them that when Suri barked this afternoon when I was working out, I thought, "Oh, Baxter's here to play with Suri!", then I remembered. They left. If you see them, tell them the time went too fast, and that a year is too long to wait to see them again. Tell Ben how proud I am of him, because I was too embarrassed to say it when he was here. But I am. He is a good boy. When he and Ashley walked into church yesterday and he sat there and paid attention, bearing no resemblance to the teenager he was with headphones and The Attitude, I was proud of him. Thankful for him. Thankful that he has chosen to be good.

Friday, January 4, 2013

yay for friday...

I love the weekends. More time with Paul, down-time with the kids. This will be our last weekend with Benjamin and Ashley until probably next Christmas.

Yesterday, all the kids went to school. I did lots of work around here, worked out, made some yummy lunch, and sat down to put my feet up for a few minutes...the phone rang. The school nurse: Sonja has a stomach ache and needs to be picked up. Aaron and Joseph were heading out the door to help Emily put new flooring in her house, which is right near the school, so they picked her up and brought her to Emily's. I told them that I would pick her up from there if she was really sick, but she painted the walk-in closet in Abigail's room. So. I was surprised when her tummy hurt so badly this morning that she had to go back to bed. But I was merciful...because the second phone call I got from the school yesterday was from the middle school principal: Sonja got smacked in the arm, pretty hard, by an angry girl in the lunch line who tried to cut in front of her. The girl hit Sonja, then started crying and blaming it on Sonja. The lunch lady believed Sonja, then the principal viewed the video tape. Yes, our kids are under surveillance at school. Anyway, I think Sonja's tummy ache is related to that. She didn't do anything wrong, yet was talked to by the principal. If you have a ten year old rule-abiding daughter, you will know that this would be sure to give her a tummy ache.

So she is home here, in bed, and her mama hopes she isn't really sick.

Then there is Camille. Now, Camille is my baby. Sending her to school is painful, each and every day. She is just a little cutie. And so little still. Well, this fine morning as I woke her up, she was all stuffed up. I thought she should probably go, after all, she missed so much school in December. But she didn't sound good...she brought me the thermometer, and sure enough, a low-grade fever. Yay! ha, just kidding. I don't want her to be sick, but guess what? She is all cuddled up with me right now, in my comfy chair....She says she has a 'bumpy throat".

Waking the kids up from their peaceful sleep to send them out the door to school is hard for me. I watched Jonathan sleep before I nudged him this morning, my mind racing for reasons to justify keeping him home today. But he likes to keep up with his work, and he doesn't mind school. It's just me, the greedy mom, wanting them all here.

I don't know how my Walmart plans will go now. I was going to get the oil changed in the minivan since we put 2400 miles on it, Suzanne needs a calculator for school, Sonja requested sticky-notes (she said she NEEDS them. hmm.) The girls need bobby-pin, and we are running out of milk again. We really should get a second 'fridge to keep stocked with milk. But we are also running out of fruit, except for apples. Here in New York state, our apple crop was damaged by a late frost that killed the blossoms on most of the trees in the spring. So our apples have been few, and not good. And expensive. I sprung for the nine dollar 8pound bag the other day, and I should have just saved my money. They are mushy. blah. I won't just throw them out, I can make some baked apples or something, but blah. Eating an apple shouldn't be like a penance.

So...while we were on our great journey to Florida, one of us got a speeding ticket, and it wasn't me. We had been on the road for over 20 hours, and were nearing our destination...we were on this stop-and-go road, one where the speed limits went from 40 to 55 to 65 then back to 45, over and over again. Then dang it, sirens and flashing lights. Dang it. $279 for going 67 in a 45. ouch. That much over the limit is going to cost on the insurance. ouch. Just what we need. Here in New York state, we are required to have liability insurance for each driver. With six of us driving, 8 counting Sam and Margaret, who have permits but we don't pay insurance on them until they are licensed (Emily, Abigail, and Ben have their own insurance)....our rates on all these vehicles (big van, truck, little car, mini-van, Grampa's Bravada)....ouch. Now, I know I shouldn't complain. We are fortunate to have so many cars to get us all where we want to go. But ouch, still.

Poor Camille. Her eyes are all watery and her nose is stuffed up. What would I do if I had a job? I would be fired by now, I think. 'Cause I couldn't send her to school like this.

The dusty Christmas tree still looks so pretty all plugged in and lit up, but it is starting to get weird. The house will look so empty when we un-decorate though, like in "The Grinch...", "On the walls he left nothing but hooks and some wire..."

Perhaps I will go back to the thrift store and buy that pretty picture I passed up the other day, for $5.99. And the rocking chair for $1.95. It needed paint and a new cushion, but I could use a project.

Lucky Jonathan got to go ice skating with his big brothers Joseph and Aaron last night. This morning, Aaron and Emily went cross-country skiing.

Yes, I would say I have run out of things to say this morning, but I haven't run out of things to do. Tonight I am making a nice meatloaf dinner, with roasted potatoes and carrots. Last night we had jerk chicken (the cheat-y kind, with bottled marinade), tator-tots and regular potatoes, cubed and tossed in olive oil and pepper -baked until crispy (I don't eat potatoes anymore, but I tasted these and dang they were hard to resist), and broccoli.

I haven't been buying breakfast cereal lately. It is expensive, and it is junk. This makes it more challenging to get nine kids out the door to school. Pancakes or oatmeal take time, yogurt and granola bars are expensive. One of them found Pop-tarts in the cupboard, so a few of them were quite happy about that.

Anyway....I think I will read Camille a story. She keeps kissing me on the cheek, and trying to get my attention...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

day follows day....

and night follows the illusion that all this goes on forever. No one likes to think about the end of it, about death. Like for some strange reason just maybe it won't happen to me. But alas our days are numbered. Sunshine-y thoughts for a bitterly cold day. The temperature has risen to one degree now. brr. The kids were bundled warmly for their little trip down the driveway to the school bus. I take Suri out to wait with them, and she doesn't chase the bus, which still astounds me after dealing with Bad Rosie. You know I loved Rosie-The-Bad-Dog, loved her to pieces. But. There is something amazing about a dog who doesn't care a whit about chasing that big yellow thing down the road. A dog who will actually come back into the house with me when I call her.

Anyway. Yesterday was such a good day! Evelyn and I didn't end up going to the library, much to her chagrin. She did not have a book to read, she was desperate. But. The library is in the other direction...the longer trip to the farther stores. And it was snowing out. And, we had to get the minivan back in time for Paul and the older kids to go to the dome, so we were in somewhat of a hurry. So we skipped the library. Ev was bumming. We went to Wegman's for coffee and eggs and bananas and milk and oats and pears and potatoes and burger and chicken. Then to the thrift store...I suggested to Evelyn that she could perhaps find a book or two there. Well, did she ever! Plus, it was Wednesday, so all the tags were half off except for green. Even books. I found a few too. One is written by a marriage counselor and is about understanding your mate....but something I read in it has totally inspired me. He wrote that humans have this tank that needs to be filled with love. Our children need their tanks full, or they will act out and misbehave (although I am sure there are other reasons for misbehaving too). I have lots of kids. Lots of teenagers. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I read this, that my kids just need more positive attention. More love. Little ones can climb on my lap, tell me they need me. The older ones are more likely to act too cool for school, and maybe say a choice word or questionable phrase to get my attention. I can't explain it, but I was just so inspired to be more positive and more caring.

So that is a good thing.

I haven't finished the book yet, but I am glad I spent the 74 cents on it.

We also found a new coffeemaker. Now, the one I gave Aaron for Christmas was a total disaster. I got it at the same thrift store, all "new" in the box. I told Aaron it was used, but it turned on when I plugged it in at the store. When I got it home I looked more closely, and it had been used... Well, it leaked all over the counter! Nice of the previous owners to donate a leaky coffeemaker, must think poor people don't mind. Anyway, I decided to take another chance when we came across the cart full of stuff that hasn't even hit the shelves yet and there was a brand new Cusinart 12-cup Classic. I opened the box, and it was all in plastic still. The directions were sealed in plastic, the little charcoal water filter wasn't even opened yet, the carafe sealed up in plastic. So I paid $6.99. And guess what? It works. And it matches our kitchen, all black with chrome trim. We are a Cheap Coffeemaker Family, but oh ho it's nice to have a fancy one. (I looked it up - selling for $59.99 on Amazon)

We also found leather boots for Evelyn, adorable boots for Charlotte Claire, a few pair of gloves, and a George Foreman quesadilla maker which I thought was just a grill, which I bought for Benjamin.

And, when we were waiting in line to check out, a nice lady gave me a coupon for $7 off!

The best part about it was how much fun we had.

We the went to BJ's to get a few things, and dang it, the Christmas candy we found...24 ounce tins of milk chocolate almond bark, $2.99. Bags of candy still from Halloween, 215 count Nestle variety bags for $2.99. I bought five. Anybody want one?

So I ate well and healthy yesterday, then I went and had some of that almond bark. Dang. It was too good. No more for me, no more.

I should just stay out of those aisles.


But, today is a new day. And I am not giving up.

Evelyn and I made dinner last night for her, Samuel, Kathryn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Char, Camille, and I. Nine people for dinner around here feels absolutely easy, comparatively. We made cheat-y chicken and gravy, using Campbell's Cream Of Chicken Soup, and lots of leftover chicken from the night before. I rolled out biscuits and used the bunny and heart and butterfly cutters. We had broccoli and mixed veggies. (Benjamin and Ashley made dinner for Abigail last night at their new house)(Paul, Emily, Mirielle, Joseph, Aaron, and Margaret were at the dome, and Mali was at her friend's house).

Benjamin and Ashley are driving back to Washington State, to Fort Lewis, in a few days. He has two more years in the Army, and hopefully he will spend them peacefully there on his base, not deploying again. We are all so thankful that he got home safe and sound, and the thought of going through all that again, phew. No. Don't want to. Cindy - God bless you! And I don't even want to think about the fact that 17 year old Samuel is absolutely intent on joining either the Army or the Marines after high school. He says if he doesn't, he will always regret it and wonder about it. It is so nice to have Ben around again though. He is so funny. He picked up the three youngest from school yesterday. He teases them and picks them up and swings them around, tickles them and plays with them. They couldn't love and adore him more. Ben will jump on Sam and wrestle him, and he has such good repoire with all his sisters.

So today I shall stay home and get some things done around here. A load of darks was deposited on the couch yesterday...I did drape them nicely so they don't wrinkle, but. There are clothes in the washer waiting to go in the dryer, and the floors need sweeping. The Christmas decorations are getting dusty, where is the Grinch when you need him?

It is so cold in here right now. I have socks and slippers and jeans and a big sweater on, but my fingers are cold. I know when I get moving I'll warm up, but it's hard to get out of this comfy chair. Mirielle left for the dentist, Joseph and Aaron are still sleeping, and Suri is snoring on the couch. Mali has a job at McDonalds during the college break, which she kind of actually likes. She is getting 40+ hours a week, and the manager there is relaxed, a good work environment.

Anyway, I know this post is all over the place...but what I was trying to say there in the beginning is that life is short. We all know that. But what good is it to have a nice house, perhaps all clean and shiny (or not...), to have matching forks (or not...when we were visiting Gramma in Florida, she was getting out the dishes for our dinner, and could only find seven forks, so, "someone has to eat with a salad fork!", she said. One of my kids said, "that would be terrible, if we knew the difference.")Anyway...the atmosphere in the home is the most important thing. I am only one person, but I happen to be the mom. The mom really sets the tone in the home. "Above all, have fervent love for one another, knowing that love covers a multitude of sins." (1 Pet. 4:8) "The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression." (prov. 19:11)..."It is honorable for a man to stop striving, Since any fool can start a quarrel."(prov 20:v4)...I need to check my own spirit. Because being a parent isn't about being right, about putting my foot down, about running the house My Way. It is about leading the kids by example. Jesus had the spirit that said, "come". To walk in His footsteps, I need to be gentle and fight against my own tendencies to be so strong and right. I can't articulate properly, but I just want to encourage anyone who reads this to say NO to your sin, to go the extra mile, turn your cheek, bite your tongue, because when you give it will be given to you....and what better than to give of yourself?