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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

happy easter...

Since we only got home from our little weekend away just a few hours ago, I don't have time yet for a proper post. We had Easter Dinner, consisting of the yummiest mashed 'tatoes made by Mali and Evelyn, and green beans with French fried onions. And...a little bit of turkey. Unfortunately the bird was not done yet, so I hacked off a big piece, cut it up, and put it on a cookie sheet...and we had a little bit with our dinner. The good part is that we now have a turkey for dinner TOMORROW night.

And it was fun. And, Abigail baked yesterday and brought over chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter blossoms.

Emily joined us for dinner after her long shift at the hospital.

Perhaps tomorrow...more pictures, more stories.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

almost friday....

Not that trials and tribulations take a vacation, but weekends ARE nice. And because I am a NICE mom, I let my two little princesses stay home today and start their Easter Vacay early. They just got out of one of their marathon bubble baths, and are going to eat the lunches I packed for them to take to school, before I gave in to the temptation to keep them home.(Camille has a cold, and has been so tired lately...she has been having these little breakdowns after school, crying about the simplest things....just tired out) They have been very busy playing this morning, they have been into the envelopes, writing "mail" to put into their purses. They have bags of items all over the living room, and a chair and a couch covered in bears, tigers, and a stuffed Snoopy. Since I scored a Little Tikes shopping cart for $2.99 yesterday at the thrift store, they are really into playing Store. They used to fight over our old Tikes cart, but now the new one is the thing to battle for, it doesn't have any broken wheels.

Sometimes there are so many things going on at the same time my head spins. Just small things, like making an appointment for one of the girls who has a bump behind her ear...probably not a big deal, but. The big K always comes to mind with lumps and bumps. (and yes, I know it starts with, "C".) My brother AND my sister have had daughters with cancer, now doing well and fine, I think our innocence is gone...we know it can happen.

The minivan needs to be inspected. It ran out last month.

Our Swanson Kitty had three kittens this morning.

I went to the pool this morning.

Yesterday I worked out AND went to the pool, YES! but...I cannot brag without also confessing....I ate well all day, then...oh dang, too many dark chocolate covered almonds during American Idol. I am figuring this out though. I have certain things I allow myself, and sadly, can't always stop at the right portion. So I think I am going to have to make these things off limits.

For dinner last night, I made waffles for the kids. Actually, I made the batter and supervised while Jonathan poured it into the iron and kept watch, and took them out when done. Sonja cut up some oranges, and I browned up some ham. Then I made omelets for some of us, with red peppers and sausage and pepperoni...cheese for them, not me.

I wish my house was all clean and shiny, and if anyone stopped in unexpectedly I wouldn't nearly die. But since wishes aren't real, I shall put a little elbow grease into the place...again. Oh, it does not stay clean. Especially when there are princesses playing. And a Bad Puppy, like Suri. She is the good-est, sweetest, nicest puppy ever, but she is still a puppy. She put her head right into a bag of Barbies the other day, pulled out a small Kelly princess, and ate her arms. She also chewed the heck out of Camille's adorable flower headband from the wedding. She likes to sneak into the hamper and steal undies...and chew them to smithereens. She chewed one of Charlotte Claire's sandals, Char was heartbroken. I told her there was nothing we could do but laugh about it, and take it to school to show for Show And Tell. So she did.

Anyway. I am trying to pack my suitcase for the weekend, which sounds easy enough. But. I only have one pair of jeans I like. I am wearing the 14's right now, to see if I can possibly wear them out of the house yet. I think not. Too much muffin. Now that I don't wear skirts as much, wearing one to tromp around Civil War battlefields seems..restrictive and uncomfy. Plus, I want to wear my spiffy new Addidas. I don't really care much what people think of me, but skirts and sneakers...nah. Anyway, I am in the middle of packing my suitcase. I am bringing apples and oranges and almonds and beef jerky. I have peanut M&M's packed, thought they would be good to take with us when we are off exploring, but I question the wisdom of this.

I am not satisfied with the weight I have lost. Nor should I be. But I have almost forgotten how far I have come! As I tried clothes on this morning while trying to pack, I found myself disgusted at my jiggly tummy, at my back fat. Rolls, still. rrr. Then I came across a pair of size 22 jeans...I pulled them on. Huge. Falling-down huge. I remember when I bought those, that jubilant feeling of fitting into them. Uh-huh, things HAVE changed. Not enough, but still. I am thankful for the progress I have made, however slow it has been.

Now to make some phone calls and clean some floors and put away some clean clothes....

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

a little bit of happy....

In an otherwise drudgery filled week. Just kidding. I can't complain, although that doesn't stop me from finding myself complaining about the stupidest little things....but anyway. I am happy today because we are indeed going away to Gettysburg this weekend! And, the weather...yum! Sunny and fifty-ish on Saturday! Now, I realize that isn't tropical paradise weather, but still. It isn't 25 and snowing. And we will be out walking, exploring battlefields and cemeteries. And, the really fun part is this: I scored a good deal on our hotel stay! I took a chance on one of those Find Out Where You Stay After You Pay rooms, and YES! It is an excellent hotel, normally about $120 a night, for only fifty bucks! Indoor pool and hot tub, ect., ect.

I have decided to do two exercise things per day. Pick any two each day. Either swimming and walking, or walking and working out with weights, or swimming and weights. Because something has to change here to get the scale going down. I also had a good day yesterday, eating-wise. For one thing, Sonja K. and I filled the Easter baskets. Fourteen of them. One for Emily and Abigail to share, even though they are 28 and 26...then one for Mirielle, Joseph, Aaron, Mali, Samuel, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. Reeses' Peanut Butter Pumpkins and Christmas Hershey Kisses, plus Valentine's Hershey Cadbury eggs and Hershey chocolate coated eggs, and Hershey bunnies, Reeses' peanut butter eggs, malted Robin's eggs, and chocolate rabbits. I didn't put any jelly beans in because they would make the chocolate taste fruity. I think I will just put them in a bowl...and the marshmallow Peeps are still in their packages so they don't get stale. Anyway, we put each basket in a plastic grocery bag and tied it up, so they can't peek. They didn't all fit in my room, so Joe and Aaron have their baskets in their rooms....I KNOW that Aaron is nibbling, but heck, he is 20 years old, too old for surprises anyway. Anyway, we filled the baskets. Do you have any idea how many times I wanted to put one of those little chocolate eggs into my mouth? Do you know how many lies I told myself? But I resisted. I said NO. Over and over again. When we were all finished, baskets bagged and packaging thrown away, I lifted my hands into the air and said, "YES!!! I didn't eat any!" I am serious. This is difficult stuff here for this mama!

So I got through the Giant Easter Candy Temptation. Then after dinner, which was chicken (big surprise there, eh?), mixed veggies, and sliced roasted potatoes with oil and pepper, the kids had some dessert. It was one of those $2.99 football ice cream cakes I had gotten from Aldi last week (Laura Ingalls Wilder once said that the rich get their ice in the summer and the poor get theirs in the I said, "The rich get their ice in the summer and the poor get their football ice cream cakes during basketball season). Anyway, I did take one lick off the knife as I put it in the sink, but that's it. I endured the evening when the older kids came in from the youth meeting, starving. I endured the smell of cinnamon bagels, and the crunching of pretzels. I had a cup of tea instead. As I got ready for bed, I gave myself a pat on the back, and I thought of Julie's message that said, "I dieted all morning, am I skinny yet?" But...I got through one day of clean eating. No chocolate chips. No yogurt covered raisins. No sugary barbecue sauce on my chicken.

Enough about food. Yesterday I took Suri for a walk and ended up chatting with an elderly neighbor who has been sick. He has leukemia. And had stents put in this winter because his heart has "been acting up", according to him. "And", he said, "my lungs have been giving me trouble. This chemo makes me sick, and I am just waiting to feel better." um. I am not a doctor, but when a man is in his seventies, and...oh dang, he isn't going to feel any he? He looked...and I don't mean to be mean here, because I am so sad for him...but he looked like he belonged on, "The Walking Dead." Pale, purple lips. He looked like my own father did when he was really really sick, and we were so foolishly hopeful. If only we had known what a short time he actually had. We are so closed-mouthed about death in our society. Instead of wondering when he is going to start feeling better, perhaps he should be making peace with meeting his maker. Oh, but that's too harsh, even for my own ears, as I type it. We are afraid of death. But it is as certain as taxes, it will happen. It is the elephant in the room, though, isn't it?

Enough of my nonsense now. I shall go to the store today and buy him some nice spring flowers.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

nothing new under the sun....

I went to the pool this morning after the kids got on the bus. I swam some laps, tread some water, got my heart rate up. And I thought about things. I thought about how I have not made progress in this weight loss way too long. Day after day and week after week, I remain optimistic. Because I have no choice. I know I can do better...I know. So I press on.

Evelyn and I had fun on our library adventure. I chose four books, she gathered up a stack. At the check-out desk we learned that our overdue fines exceeded the amount of cash I had in my purse, and my handy-dandy check book was all out of checks...and the library does not accept credit cards. I was mildly embarrassed, but not dying or anything. So we asked the nice girl to save our books for us while we went to the bank. Now, this large fine was not entirely my fault. Kathryn has had a book in her room for a while, it did not make it into the return pile on our dining room table. The little girls have a fairy book out, I should have gotten that one back. Most of the fine was from the girls' movie night a few weeks back...the dvds were out for way too long. oops. Anyway, by the time we went to Target and Price Chopper, the nice girl at the library had put my books back, but not Evelyn's. And apparently a few other patrons wanted the same books, because they were not where I had gotten them from...rrr.

Anyway...we got some Easter candy in Target, a few clearanced bras, a dress for Evelyn that was drastically reduced and fit her wonderfully, and a few $2 shirts for the princesses. Then to the grocery store for bananas, salad stuff, milk and chicken and kitty litter. I found some 8 packs of Greek yogurt tubes...they were marked down to $1.01 with two one dollar off stickers on each one. The cashier only took one coupon off each, but I can't complain. I paid one penny each for packages of yogurt. Yes, I did send Evelyn back for six more packages. Nine cents for 72 tubes of Greek yogurt.

I am not pregnant. I will spare the details, but I was thinking that just maybe I was. When I took the test, my heart gave a little lurch as the line looked like it was turning blue, but it didn't stay that way. Nope. Positively negative. I guess getting old has it's own set of challenges in the monthly regularity department:( Life is harder to plan...

We plan anyway. This weekend, I do believe we are going to Gettysburg. There are so many hotels to choose from...when it is just the two of us, we don't need to stay at a place that includes breakfast...for one thing, for just two days, we can go out to breakfast...that way we can sleep in as late as we want without worrying we will miss it. I rather like an indoor pool, but don't need it. A nice long hot shower is pleasant enough. And if we are walking around alot, as we probably will be doing there, viewing the battlefields, I don't necessarily need the exercise. is a nice sunny day. I would really like to go crawl in bed with one of my library books, but it is too sunny for that. It is nice out, too, above freezing. Which in central New York, means NICE. So I will switch over the laundry, putter around and clean up a bit, and take Miss Suri out for a walk.

Monday, March 25, 2013

occupational identity crisis....

Am I a man, or am I a muppet? Just kidding. I am not a stay-at-home mom, because I rarely stay home. Maybe once every few weeks I stay home all day. Or perhaps once a month. I am not a housewife, because that insinuates that one is a "wife" to a "house". I am on good terms with my house, I mean I like it and all, but I am certainly not in love with it!

I have been a slacker. Not in every area, no, my huge excuse is that I helped my sister last week...with the wedding shower, then the shopping for the wedding. So I let things go around here. I did do day-to-day work, the kids helped pick up and do dishes, ect. But I see piles of stuff, and I am the unelected official pile dismantler. I am the only one who knows where everything goes, so they think. But anyway, the already read newspapers and the stacks of school papers and the junk mail and and and....I have to sort. The couch monster is still small enough to not scare me, but it will still take a few minutes to sort and put away. It is mostly towels, and I am not afraid of towels, I know where they go.

Anyway, I know I have to straighten the place out. The refrigerator needs to be cleaned out a bit, and the little girls' bedroom has slipped back into it's comfy state. Too comfy. Here and there and everywhere, I need to do some things. It isn't terrible, but it is bad enough. I do care. I like clean. I would like it more if someone else cleaned it though. It is so repetitious. is my job I guess....

Enough whining. I won't be staying home all day today, because Evelyn Joy needs...yes, NEEDS to go to the library. She gets out stacks of books at a time. So I am picking her up early from school, just 20 minutes early...and because I thought it would be interesting, I actually wrote on the picking-her-up-early note that the reason I am picking her up early: library trip. Won't it be ironic if the school complains that is not a valid reason to miss school?

So we are going to the library, then to the store. We are running out of milk and fresh produce.

We had a nice dinner last night. I baked a ham, sliced some sweet potatoes into oven fries, seasoned with Jamaican jerk and olive oil, we had asparagus, and some cauliflower, roasted in the oven too.

Emily and Abigail came over, and we sat around the table forever and solved the world's problems. We had decaf coffee, and I dug out some Belgium chocolate from my stash in the closet. Yeah, it was clearanced. And oh my it was good, way too good. I should not eat chocolate. Not.

Paul and I were thinking of taking a trip to Florida with the five youngest kids. He thought it would be really fun to take them to Disney. Then I looked up the prices for, $89 for one ticket for one day? Times seven? I do not think so. And, we are thinking of driving down. Because plane tickets...$200-something times seven...ouch. Plus we would have to rent a van if we flew. I remember all too clearly how exhausting it was to drive that far....would the kids survive it? It is a 23 - 24 hour trip, one way. It is fun to plan and speculate, anyway.

We are also planning a little trip for ourselves, to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Paul has always wanted to go there, he is a Civil War buff. I am not totally interested in wars of the past, but I do like history enough to be excited to go. (plus I like my husband enough to be excited to go and spend time with him.) We may go this coming weekend.:)

Brr, it is chilly in here. I went for a nice long walk with Suri this morning after I got the kids on the bus. She does not like cars going by. She starts pulling the leash and dancing everywhere when one goes by, so I tell her to SIT, then I pat her head and tell her she is a Good Girl. But a big truck drove by, and she got so scared she stood on her hind legs and wrapped her front legs right around my waist, put her head right on was sweet, but poor girl. I have not walked her enough. She needs to go every day, and get used to cars going by while she is young and not so set in her ways. Anyway, I am chilly because I was so warm when I walked in the door, then I got my breakfast and sat here in my comfy chair...inactivity after activity, brr.

So I will get moving here and try to clean up the place because I love my family, and because Paul works hard and I get to stay home so I should be a good girl and at least make an effort. ha, poor me, right?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

janet's wedding....

Janet, the beautiful bride...with her Aunt Della

our church youth group sang a song....

Camille , her cousin Danielle, Charlotte Claire, and their cousin Sean....

Jonathan.... Evelyn Joy....can you say CURLS? Naturally curly, naturally strawberry blonde....Mirielle is in this pic too....

Evelyn, Mirielle, and Mali Rose...

Kathryn Grace birthday girl, with Janet

Olivia (my niece), Kathryn , Eileen(niece), Janet, Suzanne, and Sonja.

The new couple, Janet and Joe, flanked by Joe's parents, Lulu and John.

Right now, nine of us are going around the room saying what we are thankful about each bye for now.

wedding day!!!

Today my sister's daughter Janet is getting married. Our whole family is getting ready to go. Mirielle made overnight French Toast for breakfast. Now the showering and dressing up begins. It is also Kathryn's birthday today, she spent the night at Emily's house with Evelyn and Suzanne. They will will be tumbling in the door soon to get ready for the wedding. We will all be going except for Benjamin...he couldn't get the time off. The Army is funny like that:)

I have my camera packed, perhaps I will get some good pictures.

Paul and I and Mirielle went to the rehearsal dinner last night. Mirielle and Janet are the same age, (18 days apart), and have always been best friends. Never one fight. Ever. Janet is moving to Canada, for at least the first year, so it is a little sad as well as happy, this marriage. Janet is marrying a wonderful guy though....

Anyway...a busy day for us. So...I should get up and get moving!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

never ever ever give up...

That's my motto for the day. I have entered a new realm here, this weight-loss thing. I have entered. I have battled. I have lost weight. I am healthier, and I feel better. But I have been stuck for a long long time, up a few, down a few, over and over again. But I am not giving up. I have been in "maintenance mode" for months now, which is better than gaining it all back, but to start losing again, I need to change things up. I can't have Just One Potato, or eat those M&M's.

I have been going to the pool faithfully. I have been eating cleaner, but I am constantly telling myself my limits, and trying to keep my hand out of the chocolate chips. It isn't easy. Then Mirielle made those chocolate half-moons. And guess what? I haven't had one. I did break off a few teeny tiny tastes, minute bites...but that's it. I will not eat one. I had this thought this morning: What if it was my breakfast. A cookie for breakfast. That way it wouldn't be in addition to my meals, it would take the place of breakfast. But I knew that was nonsense, and didn't give in.

Why do our own thoughts want to sabotage us? I really don't get it.

Some days I am plagued more than others.

It does feel good to say NO.

To recognize that eating the brownie will not make me happy. Yes, it does taste yummy. But it will make me feel regretful. It will set me back. It will make me want MORE brownies. It will make me feel sluggish.

This is a battle of the mind, for sure.

Yesterday though, I felt this new hope. I pictured myself in my new jeans, the ones I bought that I can fit into but not comfortably. A size 14, and I can get them zipped! But can you say muffin-top? oh yeah. But I had this hopeful feeling, that I CAN DO THIS! It is slow slow slow, tedious, but I can do it!

In our society of Instant Gratification, the thought of arriving at a goal in say...a not good enough. We want thin and fit, and we want it now. Or forget it. I can't see the result of each choice, there is no big prize when I say NO to ice cream. But after days and weeks and months, the hard work will pay off. And...I realize that I am in this realm here for life. I can't just decide I want to eat like I used to. Or I will gain it all back, and that is not an option. So this is it, my new life. Sometimes I see thin people eat things that I simply can't have. And I think No Fair. But hey, life ain't fair, I got myself into this mess, I have to suffer if I want to get out...and stay suffering, in a way, for as long as I live.

So those are my happy thoughts for the day. I now need to move it and clean this place up a bit before I go pick up the kids from school....and dang it, what's for dinner AGAIN tonight??!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

my adventurous day....

I woke up with a sore throat. A cold has been making the rounds here and I thought I would be lucky and miss out. Camille has it and came into my room last night to tell me she didn't feel well. During the middle of the night. She doesn't turn on a light or make a sound, just appears next to my bed...I felt tapping on my shoulder, and there she was. It was too dark to see her, but her little voice announced she wasn't feeling well. And...I thought it was Charlotte Claire. So when I got out of my comfy bed this morning and took the puppy out, said goodbye to the older school kids,cleaned off kitchen counters and puttered around, and was thinking of whether to wake the princesses and send them off to school...I decided not to. Char's teacher was sick to her stomach at school the other day, so I reasoned that Char should stay home. I opened their bedroom door and looked at them sleeping. I decided to keep them home. Then I tip-toed into Jonathan's room...and decided that he has been going to school too often.

Then I did something that I NEVER do. I crept back into my comfy bed. And I fell back to sleep. Oh, it was yummy good. I woke up to Jon opening the door with the was my sister. Now, my sister has a huge job to do. Her daughter Janet is getting married in three days. And Cheryl is buying the food. For 275 people.(plus the food for the rehearsal dinner, for 40 people) So I offered to help her. She was calling from the small city, trying to sort out the list and figure out what to buy where. I left the kids here with the vacationing college kids, and went to meet her at McDonalds to plan the strategy.

I feel a tiny bit bad now about how off topic we get every two minutes, we play Off On A Tangent way too well. So it took all the live-long day to go to two stores. She still has lots to get, so I will probably be busy for the next few days. She also has to hem Janet's wedding dress. That alone would make some people quake, but Cheryl doesn't get too ruffled. She always thinks she has more time than she does though:)

Home to a nice warm house, sunny kitchen filled with Jonathan on roller blades, and Mirielle making a huge batch of chocolate half-moon cookies. They are these cake-like cookies frosted with half vanilla and half chocolate frosting. Just because she felt like it.

No fair to me! I cannot eat those!

I feel a bit off kilter because I didn't go to the pool this morning, but maybe I will go later.

And dang it, I have to make dinner AGAIN TONIGHT!

Oh well.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

when you get that late night phone call....

You know how it is, your phone rings when the house is quiet, and you know, just KNOW, it isn't good news. It was Aaron. He was out visiting friends from church with Samuel. I tried to be calm oool collected. "Um Mom, we are all right, but we went off the road. What do we do?"

Yes, the important thing is that they are okay. Paul's new truck...not so much. Nothing major, just got it's face bashed in a bit. Poor Paul. I know he's probably working with it, probably telling himself that it is just a truck, it would happen sooner or later, it still runs, the boys are good boys and probably feel bad enough.

Life happens. Put in perspective, it's not such a big deal. But: I do not like those phone calls.

I am very very thankful that Thomas, my niece's husband (the twin's daddy) was heading out to the airport to pick up his sister, and could pull them out of the ditch.

And sometimes these things are worth more than gold because I can tell my kids 'til I am blue in the face about being careful and driving slowly and and and, but when they experience an accident, they learn firsthand. I think it scared them. Even though it wasn't their fault, the roads were icy, they learn to be careful.

And now...on to the pool...then out to breakfast with my vacationing college students Mirielle, Aaron, and Mali.....and Emily who has the day off from work, and Joseph. And Camille, who is taking the day off from kindergarten.

Monday, March 18, 2013

thoughts of a clean house...

Maybe we have too much stuff. Maybe we have too many kids. Maybe I haven't trained them right. Maybe I am lazy, and they are too. Maybe we don't have proper places for things, or perhaps we just don't feel like putting things in their proper places. Maybe we have too many junk drawers, and too many books sitting horizontally on top of the vertical books. Maybe we need to throw out some of the VHS tapes we don't watch anymore. Maybe that plastic pumpkin shouldn't be sitting in the living room, full of the princesses' treasures. The quilts we keep on the couches are always falling off, adding to the general messy look we seem to sport here. The princesses can't look in the mirror without touching it too, and what's with the toothpaste on the counter? Seriously, it can't just be wiped up with a damp piece of toilet paper? Please, not with the hand towel. Again. And the hand towels in the kitchen are for CLEAN WET HANDS! NOT for wiping up the coffee you just slopped on the floor, although I do thank you for at least trying...and if you are the one who left a banana peel on the coffee table, thank you. I really felt like throwing that away for you. And whoever had a salad for lunch and left that container on the counter next to the sink...thank you, too. I really feel like washing out Italian dressing. I know the towel on the vacuum cleaner is drying nicely, and that we do go to the pool quite often so a princess bikini hanging on the kitchen chair isn't the end of the world.

But. Yesterday we had a bridal shower for my niece Janet. It was an awesome shower, first of all. Mirielle, Evelyn, and I bought the food. Then we took it out to the church and prepared it...marinated twenty pounds of chicken breast, then baked it, cubed it, put some in barbecue sauce and some in Frank's Hot Sauce and melted butter, then put it in the warmer. We cut up broccoli and cauliflower and green peppers and celery, and put it on platters with grape tomatoes and baby carrots, and dip. Mirielle made bruchetta with tomatoes and fresh basil and red onions and garlic. We served it with fresh baked Italian bread. For dessert we had homemade white cake, which I made after getting home from the Dome on Saturday evening. We served it with sliced strawberries, blueberries, and squirty whipped cream.

But the food wasn't the best part. The best part was that we sat in a big circle....and shared some of God's word. We encouraged Janet not to be surprised at the fiery trials that will come in life, and to draw near to God and He will be near her. We heard from her sisters, and from her friends, and we all agree that Janet has been such a blessing to us, she tells it like it is, but has no malice. Anyway, Janet's older sister Kate told a story...she was in the grocery store not long ago, and an old women of about ninety, stopped to admire Kate's little boy, who is a dollface. She then told Kate that only two things really matter in life: God, and family. So when I started my rant about the state of the house...I thought of that old woman. She isn't far off from meeting with her heavenly father so things are probably in clearer perspective for her.

My house is my day-to-day trial. One would think I could figure it out, get it organized, make it run more smoothly. And I do try. But. I lack in that area. But that has nothing to do with being pleasing to God. I can still conquer my sinful nature in the midst of it all, and be thankful!

One thing I have been thinking about is that personality has nothing to do with faithfulness. I met this nice lady at the pool, she told me that serving others makes her happy, and that it is written in the bible to serve. Well, what makes ME happy is sitting my ample butt in this chair and writing. For me, serving is mostly a sacrifice because I am one lazy girl! God made us all differently!

Life has been busy. Dome Saturday, then home to serve dinner and make the cake for yesterday. Homemade white/butter cake, yum. Then the busy day yesterday.... then Mirielle, who is on college break this week, stayed up with me last night as we watched episode after episode of, "Call The Midwife." Oh those babies, the sweet newborns! I had baby dreams last night! I did hold our friend Rachel's baby at the shower last night, too.....

Today we are going to the pool, after I do some more laundry.

Friday, March 15, 2013

another week whizzed by.....

Just give me a couple minutes to write, I tell my kids sometimes. I just like it. It relaxes me. They are home from school today, they have a day off for Staff Development Day. Which I imagine means the teachers are dancing in the hallways and ordering pizza. Or maybe that's just what I would do. Anyway, they are very busy today. The little kids are playing and the older kids are sleeping. The four youngest slept in the living room, which Suri loved. She took turns sleeping with them. When Mirielle and Aaron came in from their late night clinical, Suri was on the couch with Charlotte Claire, Char's feet on Suri's tummy.

We are running out of oats, and have no bananas. No apples or pears and the grapes are running low. No yogurt. Almost no bread. Dang.

Tomorrow I have to work at the Dome again, lacrosse game. Mirielle, Margaret, and Mali are also working, but the boys aren't. They are going to a young brothers' conference at church. Then Sunday, we are having a wedding shower for my sister's daughter Janet. Mirielle and Emily and I are making the we will shop on Sunday morning and prepare the food in the afternoon.

Yesterday afternoon, I picked the three youngest up from school and went the small city. It was cold and windy, so I took them to McD's to play on the playground. I haven't done that much in the last few years, as I don't like feeding them the junky food. But moderation is also a good thing to teach them, I guess. I had a few chicken nuggets and a fruit and yogurt parfait with my coffee. They really had fun running around and meeting other kids.

We also stopped at a store and bought some gifts for the shower. Charlotte Claire suggested a hair dryer and some towels. I thought that was funny. They really were helpful trying to choose a gift, but I was pretty certain they were gonna break something. Don't Touch seemed to mean Touch Everything.

I have no right to complain about the scale not moving down. No right at all. But guess what? I will anyway. Even though I had popcorn for dinner last night. Then, I had some Candy Unjunked peanut M&M things. Dang. I do fine all day, but the evenings, I need to just rrrrrrrr. Oh, regrets are lovely, but they don't make the scale go down.

Well, kids are starting to wonder if we are doing fun things today...isn't this fun? It is snowing out again, and it is cozy in here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

winter has returned....

Oh the cold wind and snow! Suri loved to romp in it, but I was not thrilled to wait while she ran around with her stick. Brr! I was SO tempted to leave my darling little children in their snug little beds and let them skip a day without the older kids. But they get behind, and I hate making it hard for the teachers. So I roused them up and got them dressed, gave them cereal, made their lunches, practiced spelling words, brushed their hair pretty, made sure they had their hats and mittys, and sent them out the door. wah. But they went willingly, because I promised them a big treat today! I got the idea on Monday to give them something to look forward to, so I am picking them up early from school to take them for pizza, then they get to sleep in the living room tonight. Big fun for little kids. They have been talking about it all week, reminding me, asking me how many days left until Thursday. (They have no school tomorrow)

And all that important stuff being said, I am off to the pool! Believe me, I have every excuse in the book to wiggle out of going this freezing cold morning! But. I am going anyway!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

afternoon thoughts

I love it when my kids come home from Norway! Chocolate! The large bar was for me, the smaller ones were for each of the kids. I was struggling last evening, tempted to eat chocolate, trying to stay away from it...then Emily stopped in for a visit, with a bag of Norwegian chocolate. What's a girl to do? I cracked open that big bar...and shared. I more than shared. I practically begged the kids to help me eat it. Then I saved some for the little princesses who were already in bed. I gave it to them this morning with their breakfast, because I didn't trust myself to save it all day for them while they were at school. Now mine is all gone, yay! But it was so good.

I went to the pool today again, but I have a headache...I haven't taken anything for it yet, I just want a nap. Coffee is helping a little bit though.

I need to do lots of work around here so goodbye for now.

and am I staying home today?

ha. That's what I get for renting those movies in that video store in the small city. Today is day five, and they have to be returned. Samuel talked me into picking him up from school early because he is doing something like flash dancing in Criminal Justice today, as a treat for the class I treat for Sam though. Sonja K. is here also, she had a tummy ache...I am torn between dropping her off at school when I pick up Sam, and just taking her to the small city with me. I know she needs some attention.

I went to the pool yesterday plus I took an after dinner walk with Sam. He is the best walking partner!!! We enjoyed the geese and the open sky, the fact that it was after seven and still light out. We talked about North Korea, and the fact that Benjamin's battalion has it's primary base in South Korea, and since things there aren't so good right now, he is looking at another deployment in the not so distant future.

After dinner walks are wonderful, and I have decided to enjoy them. My knees hurt, but life has to be lived. I won't grind them down going up and down stairs needlessly, and I put my feet up and rested them when I got back, but I have to live. I love my walks, and I need to get my weight down, so for now, I am going to just walk. Hills or not.

And now, out the door I go to pick up Samuel. Hope he doesn't mind a trip to the small city, that boy doesn't like to shop and we need milk:)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

a new day

Three days in a row to the pool! I got out that door this morning and swam for 25 minutes. I had some coffee before I left, a few grapes and almonds. Came home, swept the floor, washed some dishes, cleaned up things here and there...and prepared my oats...craisins, unsweetened coconut, crunchy peanutbutter, and a few sliced almonds. Oh, and a splash of honey. With whole milk. I ate all the good stuff off the top, and decided not to finish the oats. I am full enough. I still want to have a grapefruit, but perhaps I will wait and have some protein with it in a few hours and have it as a proper snack.

I am not giving up this fight against fat! I am not making much progress, so I am trying to change things up and work harder.

Emily and Margaret are home from Norway. I picked them up from the airport last night. I think they had a remarkable trip, from the sounds of it. One of their flights was memorable because a man suffering from extreme vertigo was throwing up...Emily assisted the flight attendants and took his blood pressure for them. For that, she was given a $150 voucher for a future flight. Not too shabby to be a registered nurse, I guess.

Sometimes things happen that I am not at liberty to write about. And since I cannot mention things sometimes, I feel like I am practicing the Sin Of Omission, if there is such a thing. Acting like everything is Hunky Dory, when in fact I have some things to cry about. But as a Mama, as a friend, as a wife...I cannot always tell other people's business, even if it affects me. Sometimes I think it would be fun to ditch this blog, and start writing more anonymously. Anyway, life has it's trials. But God IS bigger than the boogieman, bigger than Godzilla, and the monsters on t.v., according to the VeggieTales. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3).

Overall I have nothing to complain about.

Margaret is home today recuperating from her journey. She just appeared with her laundry basket, and most certainly with plenty of good stories about her goodbye for now....

Monday, March 11, 2013

afternoon musings...

Home at last! I went to the pool this morning, yay me, then to the store with my friend Angela. We talked and shopped and shopped and talked. Home again....sat down and put my feetsies up in my comfy chair, and dang it if I didn't eat two handfuls of peanut butter M&M's AND some chocolate chips. dang. Wish I could do a re-do. I work so hard, and then have these week moments, and what the heck!!! Chocolate - me loves me chocolate. ugh. When I am done writing here, I am going to go in and do some exercising, not that I will burn off all those calories...dang. I hate me sometimes!

It is nice to sit here and have some down time.

But after cruising through some of my favorite weight loss blogs, I feel awful about eating so many M&M's. But. I did and it is over and now I am going to go forward.

I think I will go for a walk instead....hills or not, off I go.

monday hurry....

Yes, we set our clocks back for daylight savings time. That means getting up at 5:45 instead of 6:45. My body doesn't like 5anything. It seems my kids' don't either. Let's just say the first trip kids had to have a ride to school. And since I am Miss Organized (I kid you not, Paul calls me that.), I was scrambling myself. I got after Paul instead of before, so I had to wait for him to use the bathroom, oh everything was just out of sorts. I realize now that I do have a routine in the morning, but today it was messed up. Plus, the all three second trip kids had showers, which I usually do at night.

But they managed to catch the bus, all happy and clean, with their healthy lunches packed.

And I am going out the door in ten minutes for a morning swim.

Sometimes I feel like I am falling apart. I broke that molar last summer and finally had it crowned. The crown is still temporarily on the tooth, making sure the tooth doesn't start causing too much pain before the permanent seal is put on because the dentist thinks I may need a root canal. So I chew carefully on that side, don't want to swallow a thousand dollar crown. Well, a few weeks back, I was flossing between two molars on the other side of my mouth, and dang it, I broke off a piece of another molar. So now I don't know which side to chew on. I haven't called the dentist yet to have it looked at, I guess I am just not looking forward to the estimated cost, or the repair plan, especially if it involves the dreaded drill.

Anyway, I just thought I would write for a few minutes before I have to brush my long tangly hair, stuff my bikini, ha, into my backpack, and head for the pool....

Friday, March 8, 2013


Yeah, I am glad it is Friday, although it isn't looking to be a relaxing weekend. Today is Mali's birthday. She is nineteen, our seventh child. When she was born...Emily was nine. Abigail was seven. Benjamin was five. Mirielle was four, Joseph was two and a half, Aaron was fifteen months. She was born the day before our tenth wedding anniversary. We had a nice dinner on our anniversary when she was one day old, in the hospital. They used to offer nice lobster or roast beef dinners for new parents.

Anyway. Tomorrow we are celebrating our anniversary by working at the Dome...there is a Monster Truck Jam. They actually bring in the dirt, and bring those big noisy trucks is LOUD! Paul and I are working double shifts because there aren't enough people to keep it staffed all day. blah. It IS fun, but it is tiring, and the concrete floor in the concession stand makes my feet and legs ache.

We will try to get away to celebrate 29 years of wedded bliss, one of these weekends.

Today, I cleaned up the house before I got on the computer because Larry The Cable Guy had to come to fix our internet. (Did anyone miss me yesterday?) I can't let the Cable Guy see our messy living room! So I swept and mopped and picked up books and papers and socks and dollhouse people and tea cups and washed and dusted and shined the refrigerator and cleaned counters and straightened the shoes. I washed a few loads of bedding, folded and put away some clothes, and finally...sat down with my oatmeal, after being up for almost five hours.

So I sat here and looked at the news, read more about The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, read Mark's Daily Apple and the testimony of one man who was plagued with skin conditions and poor health...until he realized the importance of diet. He has followed the Primal way for one year, and is a changed man. Hmm.

But my relaxation didn't last. The school nurse called. Dang, that is never a good call, she doesn't just call to say howdy. No, Charlotte Claire was there for a visit, her ear hurts again. It was hurting her last week, probably from all the swimming. So I did what every good Mom might do but never admit...I gave her ear drops from Kathryn. What! They weren't that old! Anyway. The school nurse said her ear really looked like it had lots of fluid in off to the doctor we go this afternoon. Since I promised Jonathan, Char, and Camille I would pick them up from school, I will just get them all an hour early and take them with me. Oh fun-ness.

We were planning on a trip to the pool this evening. Charlotte Claire is big enough that she can swim without going underwater, although it isn't as fun for her. So hopefully we will still go.

Did I say yet that I met a friend at the pool yesterday? She had two boys with her, so I figured she must be homeschooling, and she was. When I asked her how many kids she had, she hesitated...then said she had eleven. How Nice, I told her, I have sixteen! Oh, we clicked. She has 8 boys and three girls, and has lost seven babies due to miscarriage, including a set of twins. I think she was genuinely glad to talk to someone who totally understood the sadness of those losses...someone who wasn't thinking she was crazy, that she had ENOUGH kids. We just had a good old time treading water and conversing.

My poor son Jonathan was assigned a Restricted Lunch for today at school. The day before yesterday he somehow squeezed his milk carton and spilled milk on his tray, and laughed his head off about it. Bad behaviour - warning from Lunch Lady. Yesterday, he was trying to peel a raw carrot with a plastic spoon, which sent a piece of carrot flying. A child with whom Jonathan is not friends with went and told the lunch lady that Jon was throwing food, so he got a Restricted Lunch for today. He was not happy about it at all. He said he wasn't being bad. I have mixed feelings about it. I know Jon can get silly and laugh like crazy, but he isn't the kind of boy who mixes ketchup with his mashed potatoes or actually flings food about. He is more of a tattletale than a mess maker. I know the cafeteria is loud, and those ladies have to deal with all sorts of messes and misbehaviors. So I didn't call the school, didn't intervene. I just talked to Jon about making sure he is a good boy at school. And to try to relax and enjoy his silent lunch today. I put a nice little note in his lunch box, telling him I think he is a good kid and that I love him. Plus I gave him some yummy swiss rolls, and a cherry yogurt. I know he hates the thought of anyone thinking he is bad, because he so prides himself on being good. So this is hard for him. I want to pull him out of school and bring him home and hug him. But. Real life isn't always fair.

And he may have been a bit aggravating if he was doing his silly laugh, especially if he didn't stop when the lunch lady asked him what was going on.

I will be glad when I pick them up though, glad to hear about their days, glad to give them love and attention and have them with me.

If I hurry, I might be able to exercise a bit before I have to leave to pick the kids up from I go.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

does the sun have any right to shine today?

More suicides occur in the spring and summer, as opposed to the holiday season, as some people believe. One could speculate that perhaps a depressed person just can't fathom the hopefulness of the warm seasons, thinking life just can't get better. I don't know. But it was a warm, springlike day when my brother took his life four years ago.

Today the sun shines. It should be raining, dark and dreary. But life goes on, doesn't it?

I am allowed to be sad. I am allowed to shed a few tears, and feel the grief. I don't have to try to look at the bright side, to count my blessings. There is a season for everything, yet even as I type this, I know I am trying to push away the sadness and dwell on the good things in my life. It's how we survive these things, I guess.

The cemetery my parents are buried in sits high on a hill, with a breathtaking view. The other night I drove towards it, that beautiful hill, with it's stones and crosses illuminated by the pink sky of the sunset....and I thought about my mom and my dad and about Billy being there. Billy is there illegally, I think, which is just the way he would have wanted it, yes, he would think it is funny. Funny that we buried his ashes there on top of my brothers brought their own shovel, and we sneaked that box of ashes in, and buried him. All by ourselves, the remaining siblings. It seemed fitting to put him with my parents. He always wanted to be cremated, so we did that. We thought of scattering his ashes on the beach, or on the water, places he loved. But decided to put him with our parents.

But now I need to pull myself together, because there is a basketball game today at the Dome, and yes, we are working. I need to take a shower and pack a healthy lunch for Paul and I, and clean up this gosh-forsaken heckhole, as Marge Simpson would say.

Tomorrow I shall take Suzanne shopping, as I promised I would do for her birthday which was a few weeks ago. She needs a few shirts.

The next day is Mali's birthday, 19 years old. Mali is my sweet girl, she is in nursing school, and has been working really really hard to get decent grades. Mali has not always been the easiest child to be the parent of, but of course we love her with all our hearts, and just want the best for her. We pray for her, and encourage her to make the right decisions....and guess what? She seems to be changing and turning her life around. I love her so much no matter what she chooses in life, but I want to see her happy.

There is no manual for parenting. What worked with Emily didn't work with Abigail, and certainly not with Benjamin! They are all individuals, and no set of rules can apply for all of them. One of the things I try to establish with my kids is this: I am not against you. I am FOR you. I fight my battles, my stubborness, my anger, my impatience, and you fight yours. I will encourage you in your fight, I will straighten you out when you need it, but I am FOR you. We all have the same nature, with it's sinful tendencies. It doesn't matter that I happen to be the Mom.

I try to put myself in my kids' shoes. Would I like an ultimatum? Would I like to be yelled at? Would I like to have no choice? Would I like to be talked to sternly? Nope nope nope nope. We know that love covers a multitude of sins, and that a gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger, to not provoke your children lest they become discouraged, and not to be too hard on them but show them the way of the Lord. These verses make it clear that the parents have a huge responsibility! I need to take heed to you know it is written, "Take heed to yourself and your teaching, persevere in those things, and by doing so you will save both yourself, and those who hear you."(1 Tim. 4:16).

A funny thing happened to me in the locker room at the pool yesterday. There was a mom with two young children, and she loved them. She spoke to them like they were the treasures they are, she was patient with them. After she left to go into the pool, some teenagers were remarking about what a good mom she was. One of them said, "I can't imagine if my mom talked to me like that. If she said, "Ashley" (she mimicked the mom in a sweet kind voice) instead of "ASHLEY" (she rather roared this version of her mom saying her name..). Then they agreed that the mom with the two little ones seemed like she never got angry. Ever. I thought it was so sweet, yet I felt bad for those teenagers. Anyway, I happened to meet up with the mom later, and told her what the girls had said about her. Then I found out that she is my son's English teacher! is a good fight, this fight against sin. It is so worth it to say NO to my impatience, to my having to be right, to my wanting the last word. Peace can reign then, and it sets a good precedent in the house. Kids aren't stupid. They can spot Do AS I SAY NOT AS I DO a million miles away, and they don't like it.

So I am done preaching for the day...but I will say this: I often have no idea how to handle things here, and find myself in much need and in prayer for guidance and wisdom.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

remembering Billy.....

Today...I got the kids all on the bus, and off to Walmart with my sister I went. I met her at the end of my road, walking back down the hill and back up it again, getting ten minutes or so of exercise, shh don't tell my doctor. I tried to walk carefully. ha. Walmart had lots of clearance stuff. Jeans for Jonathan for three dollars a pair. I got the things on my list, like contact lens solution, socks for Margaret, wart remover for one of the kids who has plantar's warts on the bottom of the foot, was a nice little shopping trip. My cashier's husband is leaving soon for boot camp, he joined the Army. Lo and behold, the lady behind me in line joined the conversation because her son had been in the Army and had served in Iraq and Afghanistan. We had such a good time talking, I wished I had more stuff to be scanned so the conversation didn't have to end.

Home again...and I went in and exercised for 20 minutes...then lunch. Samuel took a day off from school because of a really bad headache. I made him some French Toast and sliced up an orange for him. I made myself an egg, and had a grapefruit. His French Toast looked and smelled so good, I used the rest of the egg/milk/cinnamon mixture, just cooked it up for myself with a bit of wasn't the same, but it was good.

I am thinking of sneaking away to the pool again this afternoon, perhaps with no kids this time. It tires them out so much, and takes so much of their time...but if they want to go with me, I will probably give in and take them.

Tomorrow marks the fourth anniversary of my brother's death. If you already know this story, go ahead and skip this...but for me, writing is therapeutic, and believe me, I need all the help I can get to get through this time of year. They say it gets easier as the years pass. I haven't found that to be so. Maybe because he died so violently, maybe because he did it himself, and the questions that will never be answered just don't go away. I live out in the country, where people hunt. They hunt for deer and rabbits, and all sorts of other little critters. They target shoot too. I do not like gun shots. I do not like guns. I fully support one's right to have one, but, don't ask me to like them. The gun didn't kill my brother, right? It was him. He chose to do it. If not a gun, he would have found another way. He planned it very carefully, you see. He left his bible with a stack of pictures of the good old days, when he was with his friends in church. He left a stack of money there too, enough for funeral expenses. He must have had some good reasons, although we will never know. We speculate that he wasn't feeling well because the autopsy showed high levels of carbon monoxide in his system...from his woodburning stove. He had no drugs or alcohol in his system. I think we would have felt better if he had, because that would have helped explained WHY. Now, no matter what anyone says, when your own brother shoots himself, you ask yourself how you could have missed the desperation he must have felt. The sadness or loneliness or unworthiness. I would have helped you! I would have listened! We could have figured this out! It can't have been that bad! But it is no good to think like that, is it? He is gone.

And we are left, year after year, to wonder. And to be sad. And to miss him.

It has been four years, and it hasn't gotten any easier.

He did it on my niece's birthday, and two days before Mali's fifteenth birthday. It has forever tainted those days which should be happy celebrations. Oh, we try to make those days bright. But.

There is a time for everything under the sun, I suppose. I am still here, and have many many blessings in my life, but I will take some time to be sad, and to remember my brother. I will remember the funny things he said, and the way he mocked everyone and everything. The way we played Barbies and Ken dolls, the parties we had on the beach. How he was so handsome and charmed all of our friends' moms. How he took such good care of our parents. How he kept the candy jars filled with caramel creams for the kids when they visited. How much he loved his dogs, he took better care of them than a lot of people take of their kids. I think of him when I peel apples, he used to make his Apple Grunt with no recipe and it was always delicious. He liked to make chili and calzones, he loved hot and spicy. Once he made this chili sauce that was so spicy, his face turned beet red and tears ran down his face. He sat there all seriously, trying not to admit how hot it was, but when I told him he had steam coming out of his ears, he cracked the slightest smile. He was SO stubborn. Sometimes one of my kids will look at me with that look, that Billy Look, that straight-faced piercing gaze, and I will remember him. Well...I think I am going to go lock myself in the bathroom and cry for a while...then maybe I will feel better.

Monday, March 4, 2013

spoiled me....a monday at home.

Wait, I need to go to the store. Coffee. Return Redbox movies which we have already had for two nights. Dang. And we are meeting Abigail at the pool after she gets out of work today. So I guess I am not staying at home.

The college kids are leaving now. We had a little conversation about maintenance. Some of my kids were talking yesterday about the fruitlessness (is that a real word?!) of doing a job around here, such as organizing the refrigerator. Because...duh it gets messy again. I said Welcome To My Life. I said Try Maintaining Things A Hundred Times In A Row, Then Complain To Me. Anyway, I was talking to the college kids this morning and I mentioned the front of the 'fridge. Stainless steel, and NOT the fingerprint-proof kind. It is endless, wiping that down. Plus, it has the ice/water dispenser, and our water is so hard, even with a softening system, it leaves white streaks where it drips. So I mentioned that I was sick of wiping that down all the time, and Mirielle said so nicely, "Mom, we are leaving. We don't have time to hear a rant." ha ha. ouch.

Anyway. I know I need to be a better manager, assign consistent chores, organize things better. And I try. I really do. But. It is one of my many flaws, and I try not to get too upset about my scatterbrained-ness.

Sweet Suri peed AND pooped in the living room last night, rrr! Back where the kids play dollhouse. I had to pick up furniture and people and put them in a bin to wash in hot soapy water. I took her out late last night, too. And got up early to take her out. She knows it is BAD DOG, because she won't even look at me when I am cleaning it up. I put the wet paper towel near her and say, "NO NO", and she turns her head and blinks all nervously. She knows.

Sometimes I get tired of the same old same old. Cleaning up the house, cleaning up the house. I want to spruce it up a bit, make new curtains. Last night I had a dream about winning money, lots of it...and of course I wanted to build this big nice house. With a huge mud room with hooks and shelves. Our "mudroom" is when you walk in the door, there are some hooks. Right in the kitchen/dining room. Add nine backpacks, two or three pairs of shoes for each of the 14 people living here, and some coats and hats and mittens...and yes, you've got chaos. Lots of the kids keep some of their footwear in their rooms, and perhaps their favorite jacket, and maybe they take their backpack into their room here and there...but. I have tried a hook for each one, but there aren't enough hooks. Anyway. In my dream house, there is room for everything. Lots of room.

I do remember though, that once upon a time, THIS was my dream house. Back when we lived in a mobile home, or a trailer, in a trailer park. It was a nice trailer park, and a very nice trailer, we bought it brand new. But we did have five children in it, and when we were building this house, I was so excited I would lie awake at night just thinking about all the closet space. I like to remember that old thankfulness sometimes....

Because we are not building a dream house, this is it. So perhaps I will get off my lazy one and clean it, make it pretty.

I already cleaned up the papers that Suri shredded up, the Barbie she ate, the peanutbutter jar she chewed on.

Lazy. That's me. Either that or I am really just tired of doing the same old thing. Either way, I do not feel like cleaning this house today. I already swept yesterday. blah.

But since I like it clean, I am gonna hafta do it.

We had a nice dinner last night...chicken that had marinated in southwest sauce, mashed potatoes, cauliflower, and spinach with lemon pepper for Mali and I. Oh, and dinner rolls for the them, not me. I also had only a teaspoon of the potatoes. Dessert: those yummy cookies made with almond and coconut flour and white chocolate and craisins. I really wanted to make them, but didn't have any white chocolate, then I remembered I had bought a 7 ounce Russell Stover solid I chopped him up and put him in the cookies. Sacrificed for a good cause. Here is the recipe. I sort of made it up from another recipe....they are good. I never follow recipes too closely...

1/2 cup coconut flour
1 + 1/2 cups almond flour

add to:

2 sticks butter (one cup), creamed with
1/3 cup coconut oil. (you could use all coconut oil, but is expensive!)

8 tablespoons honey (last night I used 1/3 cup and a tablespoon of brown sugar)
8 eggs
2 teaspoons real vanilla

mix together and add a cup or so of whole oats, and some flaked coconut, sugar free or whatever you like.

And...of course, white chocolate and craisins.

They are super yummy, baked at 350 for a while..sorry! They will start to smell good, and brown around the edges...

Anyway...there are some out there in the kitchen calling me. I am trying to decide whether to have them for lunch, or wait until the kids get home so they will help me eat them, I don't quite trust myself. Even if they are slightly healthy, white chocolate has tons of sugar, and all that butter...ugh.

Of course you can make these with chocolate chips instead of white. They would be good with chopped macadamia nuts too.

I took a break to switch the laundry over. I don't just wash what is in the hampers, I scout around in the bedrooms too. Two little princesses like to change into their jammies and leave their clothes right on their floor, mixed in with dolls and dress up clothes. They did clean up all the toilet paper they had dressed their Barbies in...they like to make these elaborate dresses....with toilet paper.

My second cup of coffee is just as good as the first. Mirielle made it, she ground up the beans and made it fresh. My first cup was from pumpkin spice coffee, which not everyone here likes. We are running low on coffee, so I used it. It isn't bad, but I like plain better.

I have realized that I LOVE staying home, and do not want to get a job. Char was sick Friday, it wasn't a big deal, we had a cozy day. Suri gets to go out when she wants to, I can putter around and clean up. Almost every day there is bedding to wash, there are appointments, I make dinner...okay, so I still wander into the kitchen at five sometimes, but still. I can exercise before lunch, go out and about when I need to. I know, wouldn't everyone like so much free time? I feel rather guilty sometimes, not bringing in any money. So I rack my brain. I could put ads on my blog. But then I would want to advertise it far and wide so as to get more money...and that would be like selling my family. I don't know. I don't really want to babysit. I should at least sell stuff on e-bay. Goodness knows I have a closet full.

Oh well...time to wash those dishes and shine up that fridge....

Sunday, March 3, 2013

sunday sunshine....

It isn't actually sunny here in central New York state, but the sun is sort of illuminated from behind the clouds, it isn't totally dark and dreary. Plus, Sunday Sunshine sounded nice.

Yesterday was a Dome day, a basketball game. By the time I got home and sat and put my poor aching feet up, elevating my throbbing knees, it was clear that I wasn't going to stay that way for long. No, we were almost out of milk. No bread. No grapefruit, and I like to eat one every day. And so on. So I took Kathryn and Evelyn, and off we went. We checked out TJMaxx, looking for some luck. But I did find some nice brown washcloths and a blue ceramic pitcher, things I really needed:). Then to Target. New curtains for Sam's room for $4.75, a sweatshirt,shirt and tank top for Kathryn's birthday, a bracelet for Evelyn which she did not need, but she put it in the cart, and a I picked it up to jettison it, I noticed that it WAS 70% I let her get it. $2.98. Then to the grocery store. I let the girls get the pizza slice/soda special while I wandered around by myself.

Home again....Paul had served the kids here a nice dinner, taco salad. Abigail had the four youngest all afternoon while we were at the Dome. They got home with huge pink pieces of posterboard and big plans of what they were going to color on them. Paul and I were tired, but managed to have a movie night anyway. Kids playing now, noise, sitting here with my feet up while we watch a documentary about the tsunami in Japan a few years back. Charlotte Claire had to confirm that this wouldn't happen here where we live. Then she asked how the people lived through it. Um, they didn't. She said they should have used lots of helicopters. well, sweetie....don't grow up. Go play and don't watch this.

Dang, watching the magnitude of desolation suffered by some of these coastal towns in Japan...thousands of people does it put things in perspective for me today. What are my trials, in comparison?

Now to get to church we go.

Friday, March 1, 2013

yippee for friday!

I have been writing this blog for five and a half years now. Day after day, mostly, week after week, ect. It really brings it home exactly how fast those days fly by. I mean, it's Friday again, and how many times have I sat here with my fingers on the keyboard, waiting for my brain to think of a nice original title for a Friday post? Seems like it as yesterday when I did it last, but whoa, it was a whole week ago.

Today is lovely. The snow is swirling down from the sky, it has re-covered all the patches where the grass tried to show itself. The driveway and the road are coated, the trees and branches aren't just brown today. I plan to stay home today and take the kids to the pool later, then to Emily's house for a bit.

Yesterday, I did not stay home. I was out the door before 9 a.m., right after I got the kids on the bus. I went to the rec. center and took a nice morning swim. I actually swam some laps, and exercised in the water, for a full half hour. Then I picked up my sister Cheryl, and headed to my brother's house for breakfast. My brother retired from his job of 30+ years, and is now babysitting for a few of his grandchildren. He has 10 grown kids, was a great dad. He made us omelets with green peppers and onions and tomatoes and cheese, sausage and bacon and hashbrowns. He served us coffee and juice. We stayed there all the live-long day and talked, it was so relaxing.

Then home to pick up Margaret and head to the eye doctor to get her contact lenses. Hurry hurry hurry, we were on time but the dr. was running late...and we had to get back home, 35 minutes, drop off Margaret, and pick up Sonja and Suzanne. Sonja had to be at a birthday celebration in the small city, and we had to stop in town to buy a birthday bag for the gift I had pulled out of my closet (it was a nice set of five different perfumes, all my girls wanted it.) We dropped Sonja off, and there next door to the party venue was...the Chinese buffet. I did not want to go there. Suzanne did. So since I am nice, I took her there. I stayed away from the rice and noodles and those yummy-yucky fried biscuits covered in sugar. But that chicken must be just loaded with salt and calories. I had only chicken, and green beans and broccoli and a small bit of ice cream afterward with my tea and fortune cookie...okay, I know, just because I avoided some of the junk, doesn't mean it was okay. Sodium overload! blah. But Suzanne and I had such a nice time together.

We then went to the grocery store, one we rarely go get vinegar and steel-cut oats and dishwash liquid....and I bought seven chocolate rabbits, and two bags of Hershey's eggs for Easter. The bunnies were on sale for $1.99, and rang up $3.49. I mentioned it to the cashier, and he brushed it off, said they were coming up whatever they were supposed to be. I excused myself, went back to the Easter aisle, took the sign off the shelf, and brought it to him. He looked from the sign to the bunny, back and forth, with this skeptical look on his face. rrr. Like I am making it up! He finally called the manager over, and got it fixed. People, you have to watch things ring up and check those receipts! This happened to me three different times this week!

We stopped at the craft store after picking Sonja up from the birthday. Suzanne is working on a school project and needed gold paint. I also picked up a bag of glue gun sticks...which rang up two dollars more than the shelf tag. When I pointed it out, the cashier just casually said that price must be for a smaller package. I don't mean to be a jerk, but when I make the decision to put something in my cart, I read the signs. I asked him to wait a minute, and returned with the sale sign from the shelf. He said it was the right item, but...the date of the sale was last week, in small print. But, he said, he would give me the sale price since they forgot to take the sign down. (the date was written very small, I didn't even notice it).

The other time it happened this week was the small store in town...I bought water bottles that were on sale, according to the shelf tag, rang up wrong. I am not a contentious person, I am rather shy in some ways, and would rather not speak up. As soon as one speaks up, they become That Difficult Customer, the people behind in line start the eye rolling, the loud sighs, looking at their watches. I smile innocently at them, knowing they think I am a huge jerk. But. It is sort of the principal of the thing....I feel like I have to speak up, get over my Caring What People Think.

Anywway. That Chinese food. Could I have gained three and a half pounds since yesterday? Because did. I am not happy about it, but am hoping it was mostly from the sodium content. I WILL exercise today, and get in that pool later. rrr.

Miss Charlotte Claire is home from school today. Her ears have been hurting her on and off this week, she has a cold too. I have been putting Kathryn's old antibiotic drops in her ears, big No-No, but. It has helped. She has no fever, and is up and about and chattering non-stop. I just hope I don't have to end up bringing her into the pediatrician and having to 'fess up that I used her sister's prescription on her.:)

Well, the dryer is humming away, the clothes in the washer are waiting to go in, and the pile of bedding in the laundry room doorway awaits it's turn. The dishes are spread out on the counter, ready for a ride in the dishwasher, and the floors look like I haven't swept them in days, which is not true. There is a small couch monster, and the smocks for the Dome need to be folded and packed into their rucksack. Paul and I aren't on the list for this evening's Dome event, but lots of our older kids are going. We are, however, working tomorrow. Sign-in, in the big city, at 10:00 am. blah. No sleeping in this Saturday.

Some days, as I open the computer and browse around the 'net, reading those inspiring weight-loss stories and catching up on new babies on Facebook, I wonder what I will blog about. Nothing new and different, that's for sure. I didn't lose another ten pounds, and I didn't win the lottery. I am not pregnant, and I have not decided to go back to college. I am realizing that spring is coming soon though...March is here, March which can't make up it's mind whether to be gentle and warm or scary and frigid. So it goes back and forth. Then April with it's sogginess...but that sunshine, oh I am gearing up for a dose of that.

There are some short term goals I want to set about accomplishing, like going to the store less, planning and keeping track of inventory here more. Just plain spending less that perhaps it won't be impossible to sneak in another trip to Jamaica one of these days. Just the thought of that...oh so heavenly. Paul and I, no responsibilities, just each other and the beach....yum.

Yeah, so I have obviously not run out of things to say yet, even if they are the same things every day. One of these days I think I am just going to stop writing for a while, I just bore myself so....