summer 2011

summer 2011

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

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

Saturday, April 27, 2013

here in georgia...

Oh, the weather is lovely! A nice breeze, warm sunny skies. Our trip down here was...challenging. The kids were happy and excited and all gung-ho. We had the van packed all smartly, I felt organized for once. Then when it was time for the kids to get in, they had all this stuff! Jon brought...his Easter basket. Still has lots of candy. Plus lots of phones and cords and chargers and the dvd players and dvds and a huge plastic building set with these things that snap together. ugh.

By the time we stopped to go to the bathroom for the first time, which was only an hour and a half into the trip, thanks to Camille, who had to go really bad because she truly forgot to go before we left, our van was in shambles. I had to rearrange things, but still, everytime we open the back hatch, that plastic building set falls out.

Camille had to stop again in another hour, but settled down after that. We left our house at a bit after five in the afternoon, and got to our hotel by 11 this morning. The nice desk lady let us check in early...the only room that was open was one of the handicapped accessible room, which works great for us because it is a hand-held shower. noon today, we were lounging by the pool. Paul and I were zombies, of course. We drove all night long. We stopped for gas around 1:00 am, all the kids woke up, and the fooling around started. Laughing, poking, the I Did Not, It Was Her/Him, started. The whole nine yards. Sometime after that they settled in. I drove for the most of the middle of the night when the van and the roads were quiet...down through the Carolinas and into Georgia. We stopped at WaffleHouse in South Carolina, sorry Sam! He wanted to go there so badly when we drove down here in January, they are everywhere! We enjoyed their southern twang, and the hospitality. Grilled biscuits? If course I do! I shared with the kids of course.

Anyway, we were so tired, after a bit at the pool we came back to the room and tried to zonk out while the kids watched movies. Paul slept a bit, but I had kids still asking me questions and snuggling up to me.

We decided to go find the ocean. It wasn't too hard because of the new GPS Paul bought for the trip. Takes the fun out of it, but it does make it easy. So we found the ocean. Oh wow. The kids played in the tidal pools and romped in the waves and collected shells. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at Publix. Jon was not disapointed. He liked it. Healthy food for dinner...turkey and carrots and grapefruit...and a pizza from Dominoes. I had a few bites:)

Tomorrow we got the last few hours to our destination in Florida....

It is more fun than I even thought it would be. We are focused on the kids, and they are just being so much fun. The little girls are so impressed with everything. Palm trees, the wild bunnies at the beach, the lounge chairs at the hotel pool, the free evening cookies. Yup. Yup, I had a few bites. rrr..

Goodnight...perhaps tomorrow some pictures....

Friday, April 26, 2013

words every mama wants to hear...

"Guess what, Mom! Abby threw up all over! And I was right next to her! She had to go home! And guess what else, Mama? Ethan had a fever and had to go to the nurse. He felt horrible." Okaaaay. I was really concerned about poor Abby, poor Ethan. Really, I was. But my first thought was OH NO. NO. We do NOT want BARFING in the VAN, on 24 hour drive. We are planning to drive all through the night. Not the barf bug, please. Then I saw that my niece and nephew, who were here last weekend, were picked up early today when I signed my kids out of school...I truly hope they aren't really sick....ugh.

Anyway. We are mostly packed. I get like 110% done then just go blank. Shut down. Move on. And I say "110%" because I packed lightly, then added lots more stuff after. Towels, we need towels. Even though they have them at the hotels. And Gramma has some. We should bring a few, just in case. A pail and a few shovels, just in case we find a beach. A few more jackets for the kids, just in case. Spare sandals. My pillow, for traveling. The princesses emptied their school backpacks and are filling them with Barbies and coloring books. Neither Paul or Suzanne have put their bags in the back of the minivan yet, and it is full. Do we really need all that stuff?

We have almonds and beef jerky and apples and oranges and veggie sticks and peanut M&M's, and regular M&M's, granola bars and protein bars and mini-muffins for the kids. Microwave popcorn for the hotels, freeze pops. A stack of cups to pass snacks out in, lots of paper towels and wipes. Pop-tarts. Sunflower seeds. Gum. Mentos. Jolly Ranchers.

My mother-in-law called today. She has fresh strawberries, all cut up and frozen, she made pasta salad and is preparing ribs, and planning to buy fresh local sweet corn. She has baked brownies and has bought peanut butter and potato chips for the kids. I think it has been therapeutic for her, just planning for our visit. She ordered a birthday cake for Jonathan from Publix, a cake with a bulldozer and construction stuff on is the first time in his life he will have a store-bought cake. He had already made me promise him a trip to Publix, we don't have those stores here in the Northeast, and he has a Publix truck that Gramma bought him when he was really little, and has always wanted to go there. Jon is an interesting boy:)

I don't know if I will be blogging while in Florida, my computer has been being horrid. Paul may be going to France for work next month, no fair, and may need to bring his computer to make travel arrangements. Did I mention that it is NO FAIR? I love traveling far more than he does. I would be jumping up and down. He is just like, Yeah, I am probably going to France. calm cool collected.

I am trying to get my sister Cheryl to write some posts on here while I am gone, she is really funny.

So off we go, leaving in a few hours. This is the hardest part, the waiting to leave.

Now, I am hoping for a nice relaxing trip. For no trials. No messes. No fighting. No forgetting anything. Ha, right? Good thing that we know that all things work together for the good for those who love God, right?

I get so easily distracted. Sonja K. just turned on, "Let's Make A Deal", and I found myself wholeheartedly rooting for a schoolteacher dressed like a crayon to go for it and win the car. She did! I cheered! What the heck is wrong with me? I told them to turn it off and do something more productive. Unlike me, of course, but...blogging is productive, isn't it?

If you don't hear from me for a week or ten days or so, don't worry. I will be chilling, tanning, eating extremely healthy food, ha, oh I hope I do....relaxing, enjoying my sweet little Suzanne and Sonja and Jonathan and Charlotte Claire and Camille...and Paul, of course....

Thursday, April 25, 2013

hello and goodbye....

Not much time to sit in the comfy chair this fine morning. I have already been to the pool, yay me! Makes me wonder why I ever give myself such a hard time about getting out the door to go. I never regret it. The kids all went to school again, the younger ones have been going day after day because of state testing, and because they are going to miss the entire week next week. We are leaving tomorrow....

Paul bought me a GPS for the minivan. It reassures me a tiny bit, that I won't get lost if he takes a nap while we are traveling and I am at the wheel. I am not an electronics expert. Nope. Not me. If it has too many features, I am afraid of it. Jonathan can figure things out quicker than I can. He likes to change the vehicles and the voice modes on Emily's GPS. So he is very excited that we now have one. Yeah, I know that one can use their Smartphone as a GPS. But guess what? Paul and I have regular old fashioned phones. He has an iPod and we have Nooks...but no Smartphones.

Anyway. I am mostly packed. Sonja K. showed me all the clothes she was packing, and I felt bad for her. She doesn't have very many. She is the fifth of five girls in a row, and one would think she would have plenty of hand-me-downs...but...different shapes, different tastes, styles Sonja needs a few things for the trip. Suzanne found out I was picking Sonja up early from school, so she asked if she could please come too...and since I haven't taken her anywhere to get her hair fixed yet, I said I would. Emily is picking Kathryn and Evelyn up early today, just because. Because she has no work, and likes to do fun things with her sisters.

I was thinking this morning that if I were to talk to each of my children for a half hour, it would take 8 hours. Some evenings I feel like there is like a line-up of kids waiting to tell me something. (and they wonder why I don't always remember things). There are kids who are naturally more chatty and open, then a few that I have to seek out to talk to. One of the reasons I like to take different kids with me when I go out and about, is to have that special time with them. Having just Suze and Sonja today sounds fun.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

the sooner you come to terms with that, the better off you'll be...

That is exactly what I said to the young boy who was my cashier in Price-Chopper yesterday concerning how he hated being inside working on such a nice day. I told him he was going to spend most of his life doing things he really didn't want to be doing....and if he chose to be happy anyway, he would have a good life. The poor kid probably thought I was cray-cray, as one of my girls would say. But isn't it so true? I personally spent yesterday picking up some girls from school...heading to the library. We had to drive the BIG van, the gas guzzler, because the small one was in the shop getting new brakes. We got halfway to the library and I realized that I hadn't grabbed the huge bag of overdue books from the kitchen table. Evelyn NEEDED more books, and of course we couldn't just go check out another few stacks when we already so many out. We turned around. We wasted gas. We got the books. We library-ed. We shopped at Target. I let one of the girls get sandals for regular price. ouch. Then to the grocery store for grapefruit, oranges, apples (they had some amazing Washington state apples for 99cents a pound, so I picked out almost 12 pounds). The kids didn't want to come in the store with me, they stayed in the van reading their library books. Home. I grilled burgers out on the deck while Evelyn made a salad and put some fries and tater tots in the oven. We were totally out of ketchup. I do not eat it, so I forget to buy it. I silenced some complainers by pointing out that if they had come into the store with me instead of reading library books, perhaps they would have remembered to get some.

Anyway. busy busy busy. I have packed some of our stuff, but not all. We are leaving on Friday afternoon for our Florida trip. We are planning to drive all night, then stop on Saturday near the Georgia/Florida border in the early afternoon, to spend the night. We chose a nice hotel with a good breakfast buffet. On Sunday, we only have four hours left 'til we get to Grandma's town.

I wish I could go back in time and have eaten more strictly, exercised more diligently this past winter. blah. I hate being so chubby still. I swam yesterday, walked this morning, and will lift weights and do push-ups, ect., later. I have been watching what I eat more closely, drinking tea in the evening instead of snacking...even "good" snacks, like almonds and peanuts. I have been counting the almonds again, instead of just non-thinkingly eating a few handfuls. I did have chocolate chips yesterday, but just a few. Not a few handfuls. And, I have lost a few pounds. So I KNOW it works. It just takes hard work and focus. And endurance. That is the hardest, I suppose...the sticking with it.

So here I am, ready to go to Florida, and my favorite bathing suit...a black one that hides a multitude of sins, which my sister gave me four years rotting. Right through. The fabric is just wearing out. Dang. Why didn't I notice it last week so I could have perhaps ordered one and had time to get it in the mail before my trip? I have a few other ones, but the undersuits are rather baggy. I feel awful in them. Now, if I were smaller, I could just go to the store and get one, but...dang.

But there is nothing I can do about it now. So I will take the advice I gave the boy in Price-Chopper, and come to terms with it.

But it felt good to vent about it.

Oh, the things I could vent about!

But instead of doing that, I am going to go pack my clothes. I am going to wash a load of light colors, so Sonja can pack her pink shorts. I am going to wash those dishes and put the clean carseat covers back on.

Sometimes I hate being The Mom. Like when it comes time to pack. Shampoo and kids' shampoo, conditioner, hairbrush, towels, a few sleeping bags for that first night in the hotel that has only two double beds. All the Just In Case medicines. Phone charger. Sunscreen. Birthday presents for Jonathan and Sonja, who will turn 9 and 11 while we are there. The little girls don't like sandals that hurt their feet, which all sandals seem to. They like flip-flops, and I don't know if those will kill their feet at Magic Kingdom. I only have my Birkenstocks, which are comfy but if they get wet, I will be slipping and walking like a zombie. I have snacks for the trip, which I have to keep my hands out of. I still want to buy more almonds and some beef jerky. I really want to make my own, but that ain't happening this week.

So my head is swirling with details. I woke up an hour early this morning because my brain started ticking. I realized that I had better write down the names and phone numbers of the places we are staying....I am so old-fashioned. We can just look them up...but. What if I forgot the names of the places? Anyway. Too much info going on in my brain. It is quiet here so I will go get some things taken care of while there are no precious little children here Mom-Mom-Mom-ing me.


Monday, April 22, 2013

quick monday post....

Jon used this family picture to do his homework assignment....

Statements of Fact:

1. They all fit at the table.
2. Ben loves Ashley.

Statements of Opinion:

1. Suzanne is nice and grumpy.
2. Sam is funny.

Tired Suri.

Who is this lady...and what is that bottle?

My lovely kitchen this morning...

It is dinner time, five of the kids have to go to soccer practice. I need to take my walk. I wimped out of going to the pool this morning. I sat here in the Monday morning quiet and finished my book. Then laundry and sweeping and cleaning, then to the store for some bananas and yogurt and milk and coffee and grapes and chicken and peppers and granola bars. And some sunscreen and pool floaties for Florida, yay!

Longer post tomorrow...maybe.

Friday, April 19, 2013

friday !!!!!

We are leaving for Florida in one week. I am already packed and organized...not really. With such a long car trip, I am thinking of all the things we might possibly want, then I remember that there are Walmarts here there and everywhere. One of the highlights of January trip to Florida was stopping in North Carolina for some really important things at Walmart...and hearing those accents. It was almost like they knew we were from New York so they were exaggerating the twang. I loved it.

Anyway. Getting prepared for the trip is the funnest part, for the rest of the family. Not for the mom. My head is swirling with things. Next week the van is going to the shop to get prepared for the trip. One thing I won't do is prepare meals or worry about the kids left here at home. Seven of them, they can figure things out for themselves. I will leave Mirielle a credit card, and Aaron will be bad and buy half and half. I stopped buying it, as it is too expensive, switched to whole milk. But when we go away, he always buys it. Anyway, they simply cannot wait for us to leave, they will have a party all week long. Not drinking or smoking, just staying up late and eating cookies and enjoying not having parents around.

I went to the pool three days in a row. Ha, I can't even remember if I went Monday and Tuesday or not...but I am feeling good. I have been eating better too. Staying away from chocolate and that dreaded Easter candy. I haven't baked cookies, so no eating cookie dough. I KNOW when I eat good wholesome foods and keep my hands out of the chocolate chip bag, I start to lose weight. I am tired of maintaining this weight, and want to get losing again. Yes, again. I know. It is taking forever. I seem to gain ground just to have it slip away and start trying harder again, and again. But, I will not give up! It kills me, it is almost May...if I had been more serious these last few months, I could have lost lots more weight by now...but I can't dwell on that.

So our tentative plan is to leave for Florida on Friday afternoon, drive until we are almost there, and stop in Georgia for the night. Then we will only have four hours to go the next day. We can probably make it all the way there, but the hotel I reserved in Gramma's town is booked for Saturday night, so I figured we may as well spend a night in Georgia.

The kids are going to each pack a backpack with a bathing suit, jammies, and an extra outfit, to grab and bring into the hotel. I bought extra toothbrushes to pack, so we won't have to stop and buy any for those who forget. I bought peanut M&M's to baggie up for the ride, and protein bars. I still want to get beef jerky and some fruit, and almonds.

Never mind...I can not concentrate on this today. Mirielle and Aaron are leaving for clinical, and are being chatty. I realized the other day how finite these days at home are with these two. They are graduating next month, Aaron already has a job lined up. They will start working...and move out one of these days:(

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

joining the Army...

Not me, silly! Samuel James. Am I jumping up and down about it? No. But I will support him 100%. He is driven to join. He has never wanted to do anything else. He won't actually ship out until after he graduates from high school. So he is doubling up and graduating in January. We talked to the recruiter for a few hours this afternoon:) I am at home again, ready to go off down the road for a burn off that Chinese takeout I had with Sam...blah. just blah. Too salty, too yucky, but why is it so good?

Perhaps tomorrow my post will be longer and more interesting...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Today is a good day. It is dark and rainy, and the wind is howling around the house. I chose to stay home today, except for my morning excursion to the pool. Which was lovely. I was invited by the lifeguard to help with the pre-k swim classes anytime I wanted to. They are pretty cute, so I might just take her up on that.

Home. Laundry. Dishes. Sweeping, cleaning, sorting. poor me, NOT. I love it here at home. Mirielle and Aaron have not left for classes yet, so I have had some company.

I am trying to plan our trip to Florida. The hotels are booked, now I am researching the Magic Kingdom. Paul and I went there for a day long ago when Joseph was a baby, just the three of us...we left Emily and Abigail and Benjamin and Mirielle (that was when Mirielle got sick and her throat swelled almost closed with croup, had to go to the hospital by ambulance because she was turning blue) home with I wonder why we didn't just bring them too. Paul was there for a work training thing, and was allowed to bring me along. We were so broke back then, I guess we couldn't even consider bringing the other kids. Anyway. It was long ago.

I want to plan what we really want to do, so we fit in the really important stuff. It makes my head spin. And man, people are so serious about Disney! Disney Trip Planning Addictions, seriously. One blog I found, this mom had been there dozens of times. Hmm.

We are doing things cheaply, of course. Bringing our own food, filling our water bottles at drinking fountains. I know the seven dollar corn dogs will start to smell good, but we will be fine with our sammies and snacks.

Yesterday was a good day. I ate very well. Exercised, went for a long walk/jog. Baked kale with olive oil for a snack last night. I need to live every day like yesterday!

The Boston Marathon. What can one say? Not only is it really sad and tragic for the families and the victims, but I feel like some more of our innocence has been taken from us. There have been jokes that trash cans will now be illegal and that bombs will have to be registered, but it really isn't funny. I know it will be used as an excuse to make more laws and rules, for our own good, of course. rrr. But hey, you can't legislate against hate. They will always find a way. Meanwhile, security tightens at every corner. We volunteer at college basketball, football, lacrosse games...sometimes the security guards search my purse. I make sure to put a giant baggie of Lady Things on top. Poor guys. Anyway. Just as the Laws Of Moses didn't stop sin, more laws in this country aren't going to stop hate.

What really makes me sad is that Ben texted me and told me what was going on and to turn on the t.v. I did. Jonathan was here, and he saw some horrific things. He was pretty worried. That broke Ben's heart, to have Jonny scared. I turned off the t.v. and sent kids out to play, told them not to worry, God is bigger than the boogie man. (VeggieTales, anyone?) It was good to have Benjamin reassuring me that God has not given us a spirit of fear.

I am hoping it won't be used as an excuse for more war. Seriously, do we need more of that?

Oh, how I do rant. I have bedding to dry and more to put in, I don't get paid to sit here. Wait, I don't get paid at all.

Monday, April 15, 2013

can i please go back to bed?

There's more to do around here than I can shake a stick at, whatever that means. Old people say it. I love the phrases that older people use. My mother-in-law is hilarious. She says some people have more money than God. Or that they are Odder Than Dick's Hatband. When we go visit her, I am going to remember all of them.

We are staying in a hotel in her town for the first part of our vacation, the same hotel we stayed in when I went with Joseph, Aaron, Samuel, Kathryn, Evelyn, and Suzanne. I can't believe I am going back there after the toilet backed up and the desk lady's response was to hand me a plunger. Seriously. And Joseph dropped his whole breakfast that one morning, the yogurt totally dripped down the wall...and we were so mature about it, doubled over laughing. Joe just sat down all calm-like. Oh man. The pool is in Lowe's parking lot. Pool, palm trees, parking lot. Of course none of the photos on the hotel site show the Lowe's peeking through the trees. My mother-in-law has a pool where she lives though, so I am not worrying about it.

I am tired because I stayed up way too late last night looking for the perfect hotel for part two of our vacay. For part two, I wanted a place that was resort-like, fun pools for the kids, plus more room to stretch out in, and some privacy. I found so many places...but there are hidden fees with some, like resort fees added on, parking charges, ect. So I looked and looked until I was dizzy. Mirielle said to just book one already, and get on with life. So I did, last night at midnight. Now, I don't know about you, but actually pushing that button that says, "Book Room", is hard for me. But I did it. And of course my first thought was, Hey, I think I liked that other place better. But nope, it is booked. Two bedroom suite with a kitchen. Lots of splash pools for the kids. No breakfast included, but we will hit the grocery store and make our own omelettes.

We are going to Magic Kingdom for one day, and this hotel is very close, but not actually one of the Disney hotels, as they are way too expensive. We can choose to take a free shuttle to the park, or drive there and pay parking and have the option to leave whenever we want.

Now we are talking about leaving on Friday night and driving all the way through, with just stops to eat and use the restrooms. That would put us there on Saturday night, in time to go to bed:) I think that might be better than driving all day, sleeping, then driving all day again...because that uses up two full days, and prolongs the agony. The kids would have to sleep in the van, but either way, they are going to be in it for like 24 hours...may as well spend lots of it sleeping.

As for us driving all night...wah. But after driving straight through to Florida back in January, and to Oklahoma a few years back (which is even farther), driving at night is better because there are way fewer idiots on the road. I mean, there is less traffic.

Dang I am tired. I stayed up too late and now I can't see straight. Goodnight!

Friday, April 12, 2013

rained out!

Yeah, the baseball game was rained out. First it was delayed, and we served food and beer to cold waiting fans...then the game was cancelled. We still didn't close the stand. We were there for almost five hours. I always get nervous when venturing into the unknown, working with people I don't know. I thought about that a bit, and decided I get nervous because I don't want to make a mistake or look stupid. I decided I don't care about that, so I wasn't nearly as nervous. The cash registers are easy to run, and I know how to pour beer. I find I really enjoy talking to the customers, and today Emily was at the register next to me, with Joseph one of our runners.

The food from our stand looks and smells good, but is the kind of food I don't care to eat. Fried chicken tenders, Buffalo chicken tenders, French fries, fries with gravy and cheese, a cowboy chicken sandwich served with barbecue sauce and onion rings, and fries...fried dough...oh, fried dough! I had eaten a good breakfast, at my usual breakfast time of 8:30. By the time noon rolled around and I didn't eat my lunch, my poor tummy started to protest. At one-ish I took a break and ate some almonds. But the stand was busy, so I hurried back without eating my apple. Anyway...we closed up around four. There was food back in the kitchen, lots of it. Tenders and fries and tenders and fries...I asked the manager if we could eat it. Now, believe me when I say it was not easy for me to ask that. I wanted to try to get a skinny person to ask, but I just went out of my comfort zone and asked. Well. No. We could NOT eat any. Policy is that it all gets thrown away to deter the cooks from making extra just so they can eat it. Dang. So we cleaned up and were counting the money...and the manager discovered that the fried dough hadn't been discarded yet, or "deleted", as Joe would say. So...I asked if we could just eat it. He hesitantly said we could. I was past caring what he or anyone else thought. I told him we wouldn't tell anyone. And I ate a piece of that fried dough. Oh it was good. It was lunch. Not a good lunch, but just gotta eat something.

When we got home, I took a quick trip to Walmart with Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. We got pizza dough for tomorrow night's Family Night, which Emily had suggested we do. Five pizza doughs for $ much easier than making we are going to be gone all day at the Dome tomorrow for our last event there of the year, a lacrosse game. Anyway, we got taco seasoning and sour cream and chips for tonight's dinner of taco salad...and grapefruit and frozen yogurt and some beef jerky. I let the kids get chocolate milk, they were happy.

Busy busy....the dinner is mostly cleaned up, and I am tired out. I am in my comfy chair with my feet up....and loving it.

and off we in the rain...

I don't know if our game will be rained out, but we are headed to the season opener this morning. The skies are opened up and the rain is falling in buckets...and it is very chilly out there. Just a nice day to stay inside and snuggle with my little sweetie who woke me up last night and told me her ear hurt. Shh, but I told her to hustle back to bed, she would be fine...I was in a very nice sleep...then I felt that niggling of guilt. Mean mommy. She came back in. I scooped her right into bed with me. She was so cuddly. But she couldn't settle, her ear hurt. So out of the warm bed and into the medicine, ear drops and ibuprofen. Tucked her into her own bed, and...I was wide awake. blah. Couldn't sleep for anything. Until it was almost morning...then I was in a nice deep sleep again. Oh, I wanted to stay in that bed!

But I didn't. I have a few older kids who will be here with Camille, so I still get to go to the rainy ballgame.

What I really want is a nap, but it is not gonna happen.

The pool was refreshing last night. Suzanne and Sonja and Jonathan and Charlotte Claire and Camille and I met Abigail there. I can't say it was tremendous exercise, as I played with the princesses in the shallow end, but it was better than not going at all, and it was fun.

Home for dinner...chicken thighs, salad. I behaved and had no chocolate last night. Small victories count:)

Well...time to get some work done....

Thursday, April 11, 2013

cozy afternoon....

This is me right now, sitting in my comfy chair...

Can you see why it is so hard to get my youngest child out of bed and ready for school in the morning?

She yawns and stretches, and puts that thumb back in her mouth....

Miss Char was already hopping around the room...trying on a pretty mask.

They went to school...but Kathryn and Suzanne didn't. Suze and I looked at hotels in Florida while I sipped my morning coffee and listened to the freezing rain hit the gutters. I straightened up the house, did some laundry, and then took Kap and Suze to Kohl's....and Aldi...and Wegmans. They got some shorts, blue Gatorade, and chips. They did that tapping their cheeks thing that the kid in Despicable Me did, at the register in Kohl's. They were asking me to please please join them, so I said maybe when we got in the van I would. The poor cashier, he didn't know what to think.

Yes, I am a Bad Mom, taking girls who skip school out shopping. But. We had fun. We talked and bonded and laughed and it was totally worth it.

And, for the record - they didn't feel well. Officially anyway. is now afternoon, the chicken is in the oven, and we are having a huge salad. I will make some potatoes also for the children. I am going to get off this computer, and take a few small kids to the pool before we eat dinner. I have been too slack-y with the exercise. blah. I just want to go get into my comfy bed and read a book...or better yet, take a snooze. I want to eat some cookies too, but I won't get into that.

And I won't. Eat cookies, that is.

The kids are eagerly getting their school clothes back on for our trip to the pool.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

monkey wrenches....

I don't really know what a "monkey wrench" is. Just that it is something that is thrown into the Plans Of Men, making them go haywire. My sister always says when something goes wrong, "Another monkey wrench in the monkey wrench pile." It makes no sense, but it makes perfect sense.

Well, today, Jonathan is sick. He is pale and dizzy, he was sick to his stomach during the night. He sleeps on the top bunk, and, well, he had no warning, so he just scootched over to the side of the bed, leaned over the railing, and woosh. Yup. On the carpet. Sonja K., who sleeps on the bottom bunk, put her comforters (she was sleeping with two, yay), right on top of the mess. Because they need to be washed, do you not see the reason in that, Mom? The top comforter is in the washer with a few towels, and the other one is still there...on the mess. Um, yes, I am getting to it. Just not my fave thing to do, you know?

Besides, I already had to clean up the presents Suri left for me behind my chair, bad puppy! She went outside right before bed last night, but it was raining, and she may have been in a hurry. So she pooped in a nice little pile, right on our nice living room floor. rrr.

I have swept and mopped and put away laundry this morning. Talked with Jonathan about our trip to Florida (Cindy, I don't know yet when we are going, Paul has to secure the time off from work before I can get serious with plans...but we are thinking of going in just a few weeks).

So I sit here relaxing, knowing I have to leave in just a few hours to go to the Dome for a lacrosse game....when I realized Jon was sick, I had to figure out what to do about going. We have it figured out, but if I had a job right now, I would have had to take a sick day.

And before I go I want to make sure to exercise.

And I have to switch laundry.

And there is that mess in Jon's room.

Sometimes I hate being the mom.

I love the babies and the kids, but not the messes.

And I have to figure out what's for dinner. Mirielle and Aaron will be serving it tonight.

Yeah, my pre-planning and organizational skills astound even me.

So yesterday was Paul's birthday, and I got him nothing. Zero. It always seems weird to me to buy him a gift with the money he earns anyway. Plus, he buys what he needs himself. And, I couldn't think of anything. I went to Kmart, Target, Price Chopper....and nada. No grand ideas, no super nice gifts jumped out at me. But I did have a wonderful time wandering around the stores all by my lonesome, no one to tell me to hurry up. I bought a Kmart skirt for $5.99, and two pairs of shoes for the older girls...%50 percent off the clearance price, then buy one get one half off. $3 a pair, which is about what they are worth in the first place.

At Target I found bathing suits for Suzanne and Sonja for our trip. I also bought some %70 percent off Easter candy. I put it in the closet, as if the kids don't know to look there. The Dove white chocolate bunny is designated for some almond flour cookies with coconut and craisins, that Mirielle and I like.

Unless I let my guard down and get the bunny the bunny..... right Martha? I go....

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

you read my blog??!!

Now when I sit here in my comfy chair and spill my innermost feelings, I am not conscious that others will be reading what I write. I just write. Then when a real-life person mentions they read something here, I wonder what I wrote. I wonder what on earth possesses me to expose myself to the whole world, or whomever of it happens to stumble upon this.

Today is Paul's birthday. He is 51. I cannot believe that I am married to such an old man. ha. I know he doesn't read this, so I can say that. He doesn't seem old though. He is in wicked good shape, he works out and eats right. He isn't stubborn and set in his ways, although he has a tendency to be...but doesn't give in to it. No, he is flexible and humble. The way he views life is to be thankful, first and foremost. When I am flipping out because I think it is the end of the world the way one of the kids is behaving,he reacts with goodness... even when his nice new truck landed in the ditch, courtesy of Aaron and Samuel one snowy night. He knows that all things work together for the good. He doesn't yell or lecture, but he thinks about things, then encourages and gives hope.

So for his birthday, we are going to our training for the baseball stadium where we will be volunteering. Tonight is just to get a feel for the place. What a nice birthday outing. But, it is what it is, whatever that means. I think it means to make the most of it. So we will.

I got my black pants yesterday, and oh they are unflattering. Makes me never want to eat chocolate again. Hey, I should buy a pair just to wear around the house, and get a few more mirrors up in here.

Chocolate. Oh, how I love thee! I have stayed out of the chocolate chips lately...but don't give me a pat on the back because I have switched my allegiance to milk chocolate. Now, I do not eat candy any more. no more. But somehow, despite this firm rule, I have slipped into eating chocolate. I ate the ears off the hollow bunny that Charlotte Claire didn't want. I wondered first and foremost how in the world could a child NOT WANT a chocolate bunny. She said simply, "I don't like them." I think she was switched at birth. And while we are confessing, I ate that bunny's whole face, too. And a bite of his tail. I had to make myself put him back in his box. He is still there. I am going to throw him away, he is too yummy. And, I had milk chocolate non-pareils. Too many. Not on the same day of course. I eat right, but then the chocolate... I have stayed totally away from the other candy, but here and there the chocolate calls, wait: the chocolate ALWAYS calls me, but here and there I have listened to it's lies...oh, it won't hurt. Just a little. It has been a busy day, you deserve it.

No, I am not crazy. Or am I? Does food talk to anyone else?

Yah, so I just have to get back into my groove of telling it to shut up. No taste is better than a small taste, for me. Because once I eat one, I want to eat the whole thing.

And that is my battle. My life-long battle.

So today I have swept the floors, washed pans from last night, washed dishes and loaded the dishwasher, folded towels, wwashed the smocks we wear to the Dome because there is a Dome event tomorrow, taken Suri out to run around and fetch sticks. Oh, she has a lot to learn. She runs and gets the stick, then runs in circles around me, ignoring my pleas to Bring It, Drop It. Sometimes when she gets close I will tell her to Sit, and she will, then she will Drop It. She loves to Go Get It, and have me chase her. She also loves to high-tail it over to the neighbors' to play with their dog. She is totally deaf to us when she does that....and I think of the old saying, "there are no bad dogs, only bad owners.." ouch. My mother used to say that one's dog behaved like one's children. ouch again.

And now, I shall get out of my comfy chair....

Monday, April 8, 2013

back to reality this morning....

I took a nice long walk this morning. My knee didn't hurt, so I figure I may as well. I really like walking and thinking. And when my knees co-operate, it is wonderful because then I can forget all about my body, and just let my thoughts distractions. Just the cows and the birds and the manure in the road to step around. Yeah, there are corn fields on our road.

That's the thing that people might not realize ...that when one is overweight, it hurts. Walking hurts, sitting hurts. One can never fully forget about one's body, and enjoy just living. Because it hurts. I know I pretty much got used to it. Now when I take a walk and it doesn't hurt, I am so very appreciative. It's like when I was young, and could ride my bike all over town, walk the few miles to school, walk forever up and down the beach at Lake Ontario...without suffering a bit.

Anyway, I like walking and thinking. This morning I thought about North Korea. Now, I don't follow these things too closely. Because why worry needlessly? Really, why worry at all? There is not a thing I can do about it anyway. But. Anyway, I was thinking about how short life is, and how unprepared I really am to meet my maker. I want to be awake to hear what God has to say to me during my days.

Okay. So today I am picking up three kids to take them to the dentist for cleanings. Do you think they are all thankful they get to get their teeth cleaned? Do you think they jumped up and down when they found out we are also going to Walmart so I can find some blacks pant to work at the baseball stadium? So the question I must ask how do I react to the way they reacted? I am personally very thankful for dental insurance. They have no idea what it is like to grow up like I the seventies...going to the dentist was not high on my parents' list of things to do. Perhaps because they both had dentures. I had a cavity in pretty much every molar by the time I went for the first time. Can you say OUCH? I never went for cleanings. Until I got married, then we had dental insurance, and went every six months. Anyway. It really chafes me to have kids be all RRR about going to the dentist. So as I walked this morning I thought of the verse, "a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."(proverbs 15) I didn't exactly react with, "WHAT? You don't want to go to the dentist? What the HECK? You ungrateful little brats!" In fact, I didn't say anything. Because I knew not to. Then Sam said, "We better not have to go shopping too!" And I just said, yeah, Sam, only to Walmart...he sighed loudly.

Because I Said So. Not a "wrong" answer, but pretty harsh.

Last night I had a bad dream - that I had a job. I was working as a nurse's assistant. I felt helpless because I didn't know what to do. Then I came home for lunch, and Paul was in the kitchen making a fabulous dinner, and all the little ones were napping. He said it was, "a piece of cake" to stay home and take care of everything. I realized that I had to go back to work, and he didn't even feel sorry for me. Then I realized I was working a 12 hour shift and had hours and hours left of work, and I was tired. THEN I realized that I would have to work during the more lazy days by the pool with the kids, or spontaneous trips to the beach...

So I started my day pretty thankful to be home...and ha, feeling a bit sorry for Paul:)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

what is "normal"?

Charlotte Claire and Camille ....

Sonja K. with Suri....

This is the end of our living room. Bins of dollhouse stuff and school supplies and stuff.

Joseph and Sam, and Suri.

Our coffee table with some Easter baskets on it...

The couch...with only a few clothes on the arm...and a baby doll taking a nap.

No, the camera wasn't tilted. The bookcase is crooked. The wall holds it up. Lovely.

Little snack for the princesses...a towel on the yoga step...

Suri, friend to all...

And, some smooches...

So...what is normal? Our house is comfy. Our house is not dirty, but it is lived in. We make ourselves at home here. The kids rollerskate in the living room and kitchen. They make tents and forts and they pack things for fake trips. And real trips, like spending the night at big sister Emmy's house. They don't like to unpack. So are we normal?

We have a busy week coming up. Tomorrow, three kids have dentist appointments...they have to be picked up from three different schools. Then Tuesday we have a trial run before opening day at the ball park...we will learn to run the registers and serve the food. Wednesday, we work at a lacrosse game at the Dome. Thursday...nothing. Friday: we have to be at the ball park before noon for opening day. Saturday: another lacrosse game at the Dome. phew. Then next weekend, a church conference...with the candy store running, and I have only purchased three packages of candy so far.

I am tired already, and the week hasn't even started yet.

The little ones are tucked in bed, and it is relatively quiet in here.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

lazy saturday....and...we are going to Disney!

Laundry, swept floors, took Suri outside...made one scrambled egg for Miss Camille, regular eggs for some of the rest of us while Jonathan made the toast...made some sausage, coffee....tea for Miss Char....then out the door with Paul and Emily to a walk-through of our latest church fundraising venture: food vending at the baseball stadium in the big city. We will be working 33 games this season, but only ten are needed at a time, so we shouldn't be too overly busy. Dress code: black pants or khaki pants. I do not like either, but also I do not own either. So, to Walmart I will go. I am not a huge baseball fan, but I think it will be fun anyway.

It is sunny and cool here in central New York state. We are full of anticipation to watch Syracuse play in the Final Four tonight...they are our team, after all, we worked all those games in the Carrier Dome, and got to see lots of parts of games...they were national champs ten years ago, and it was so much fun.

We stayed up late late late last night, and I am tired. But I won't waste the time on a nap. It is too pleasant to be home and have the kids milling around. The princesses are having yogurt with whipped cream and pretzels. Paul and Sam are turning the channels back and forth from the Yankees to the channel the basketball experts speculating on the outcome of tonight's game. I don't mind watching the game, but the endless comments and opinions and predictions, no thank you!

The kids have been in and out today...the sunshine looks so inviting, but there is a cold wind. Spring can just come anytime now!

I want to exercise, but my poor knee is killing me today. I would love a walk down the road...wah. And the pool is closed this afternoon.

Yeah, so we are going to Disney. My nice mother-in-law is glad we are going to visit her in Florida, and thinks the kids should get to go there, so our birthday presents this year...will be to take the five youngest to The Magic Kingdom. The long drive is something I could do without, but I think we will have a good time with the little ones. I love my teenagers and older kids, but the younger ones are so refreshing...and have fewer opinions:)

Well, the girls want Daddy to play baseball with them outside, I guess I will mosey out there and play too...not that I can run speedy fast or anything...or hit the ball, ha. Perhaps we should do kickball instead.

Friday, April 5, 2013

just call me gramma! uh huh!

Benjamin and Ashley are proud to announce...they are having a baby! We are going to be grandparents, Paul and I! She has had a sonogram, the baby is growing well and healthy, she feels fine, and they are so excited!

We had a nice family dinner tonight, taco salad with green peppers and tomatoes and black olives and lettuces and cheese and sour cream and hot sauce and salsa and wraps or taco chips. I did have a few of the lime chips, the crumbs from the bottom of the good. Paul left to drive Margaret and Evelyn over to Emily's house to watch, "Les Mis". The little girls and Jon are watching, "Barbie And The Pink Shoes".

Jonathan and I had a nice outing today. We had to take the minivan for inspection to the small town, then went to the small city in the big van...we stopped first at the pet store to look longingly at the puppies. I asked how much they were: $699 to $999. Seriously? Suri is a pure bred Lab, and was $400. Which, in my humble opinion, crazy. But we love her so she was worth every penny Gramma paid for her. Anyway...those puppies were SO cute. I wanted them all. How would I have chosen if I had that kind of money in my pocket?

We Walmart-ed, and went to the grocery store, and spent some time with Aunt Kim, who was also out and about in the small city. She just returned from a nice trip to the southern states, her daughter Liz married a newly enlisted sailor this past Saturday. Kim helped them move into their new place:)

Oh, we also went to Marshall's, where I bought some cute little receiving blankets, a dinosaur blue ones, and pink and green ones. Since they don't know if baby is a he or a she yet. Oh, I am going to love being a Grammy! Even a long-distance one.

Oh, Suri was a bad puppy last night. She got into the bathroom garbage, the kitchen garbage, AND she ate my glasses case. She didn't pee on the living room floor though.

I got her some chewy bones today though, and will remember to put the garbage cans up before bed tonight. Because Puppy can't resist:)

This afternoon I started my latest project, cleaning out the end of the living room. We use it for play/storage, but there is much wasted space. I want to get rid of some things, and get another couch or a futon. Maybe some bean bag chairs, another small carpet to make that area cozy. I can't part with all the dollhouse stuff, but I might get rid of the Little Tikes kitchen.

I do form attachments to toys! I love them! I hate to get rid of them. Jonathan and I looked at the toys in two stores today, and really enjoyed it. There are new Fisher Price dollhouse things out that I don't have, and it kills me not to buy them....but we have bins and bins of it, and don't need anymore, cute as it is!

Jonathan has a new Nerf gun today, it has a red sight light on it, and is very cool. He is shooting everything. It is for his birthday, which is the last day of the month, but it would be too mean to make him wait, so I let him have it today.

So much for my latest exercise plans...I didn't do anything today. I kept thinking I would, but never did. dang. But. There is always tomorrow....

Thursday, April 4, 2013

home and a rest in my comfy chair....

Our trip to the children's museum was half good and half horrid. The horrid half? I had a tummy ache that started right after I payed the astonishingly expensive one year membership fee, which no longer includes four free tickets to the butterfly exhibit. The rumbling, aching, light-headedness...I had to run to the bathroom. Not once or twice, but eight or nine times. It was not fun. Thankfully Evelyn Joy is responsible enough to keep an eye on her siblings well enough that I didn't feel the need to drag them all with me each time. A few times when I told Evelyn I was going to make a run for the bathroom again, she sighed this huge sigh, like I was just doing it to bother her. As if! I LOVE that museum!

Then the kids started saying how hungry they were, and for once, food didn't sound good. We ate anyway. One mom of four boys pointed to our table and said to her husband, "She has FIVE kids and they sit quieter than our boys. Probably because she only has one boy." I didn't enlighten her, much to the relief of my kids, who were eyeing me with that Please Don't, Mom look.

They were good though, except for Camille, who started slouching at the table. Evelyn said loudly, "There's no need to eat like a slob, sit up and behave." Camille didn't feel like sitting up. So it left me having to support Evelyn's request/demand, because I do have her watch the kids sometimes, so they do have to listen to her. But. I would have said it differently, and not challenged Camille so directly.

Little ones in a big family do have lots of parents.

One good thing about today: I was prepared. I had stocked my purse with lots of Just In Case items for our trip to Gettysburg, so I still had tummy tablets in there. One bad thing about today was that I saw so many parents being snippy with each other. rrr, snarl. snap. Seriously? In front of the kids? Then I saw a little boy get a wicked spanking from his young blonde mama. She yelled at him, threatened him, snatched him up, sat down, put him across her knee, and whack whack whack. Then she started yelling at him, just in case his tears from the spanking weren't enough. He sat on the bench, she stood towering over him, finger in his face, yelling. I just walked away, tears in my eyes. Seriously? I know. Sometimes kids don't listen. But. And this isn't Walmart, either, most people in this museum have enough regard for their kids to be taking them on a fun outing, not just dragging them around a store. Not that I don't drag mine...ha.

The thing is, in my humble opinion, there are times when Daddy doesn't do things right, help enough, whatever.....but for goodness sakes, ladies, please don't act so witchy with a capitol B! It is not going to help! Use your nice voice, be kind! You want him to treat you well? Treat HIM well! And if you don't like something he does, either save it for later, or at least on likes to be nagged at in public. Not kids, not adults.

anyway. I am here at home, don't know why my stomach acted up so much today. I had an apple and some almonds for breakfast on the road, and half a peanut butter rice cake thing for lunch...then a few "Paleo" cookies made with almond flour, on the way home. I was so hungry when I walked in the door, I ate two of the chocolate chip cookies that Margaret had just taken out of the oven, blah.

But my stomach is still hurting, I am tired, don't feel like making dinner. I would really like to take my library book and crawl into bed with it. Oh poor me.


I am glad to be home. I am glad the tablets I took kicked in so I could make it home. Perhaps I will just tell the kids it is a Get Your Own Cereal night. Won't kill them. And I am just not hungry at all, thank you Margaret....

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

stay-at-home-mom? ha, not today!

It is still snowing here in central New York state, nice fluffy lake effect snow from Ontario. I drove to the small town south of here yesterday...and they have no snow. Just a few miles down the road.

So a snowy spring break we are having. Emily, the nice big sister in our family, hosted a sleepover at her new house for Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. They pulled their huge suitcases full of bedding and stuffed animals up her driveway with glee. We got there while she was still at the youth meeting, so I cleaned up her kitchen and mopped some floors while the kids looked at the new kittens and watched, "Ponyo". I noticed that it is more fun to clean someone else's house.

Anyway. We are not staying home today. We are off to the suburbs....Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja K., and their cousin Olivia.

First stop, library. I have to return, "The Casual Vacancy", by J.K. Rowling. I am not sure how I feel about the book. It was riveting, and so many of her observations about how people really are rang so true...but there were so many characters to keep track of. By the time I finished the last page, I realized I had come to know those people in the book, and I didn't want it to be finished. J.K. has a real talent for tying things together too.

And now my girls are ready to go....

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

spring break....

Snow! Happy April, right?

Suri didn't mind the new winter wonderland when I took her out this morning. She somehow found her favorite stick, and romped around trying to get me to chase her as I shoveled a path down the driveway.

Today is a special day for the Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. They are going to Emmy's house! Emmy has our kitty Swanson now, and Swanson has six kittens. Emily is such a nice big sister. I talked to her yesterday and she was very tired and worn out. She works hard as a nurse, twelve hour shifts usually. So it is very nice of her to use her day off to have her young siblings over. They are so excited! They have three hugs suitcases all packed. I have no idea what they put in them, but they are stuffed full. They were already set to go yesterday.

Aaron got a job already! As soon as he passes his boards, he will start...same hospital as Emily works in.

Some of my kids almost had me talked into taking them to Washington D.C. this weekend. Leaving Thursday, spending three nights. But. I just don't want to leave the younger ones. It would be the Medium kids who would go, like Samuel 17, Margaret 16, Kathryn 15, Evelyn 13, and Suzanne 12. We talked and planned...were going to book a hotel north of the city so we could take the metro and not drive in the traffic...a few of them are not happy that I decided not to go. So...don't be surprised if I give in and take them:)

We are also going to the children's museum of play one day this week.

So the daughter with the lump behind her ear is worried but she shouldn't be. The dr. said it is a lymph node, and is a little larger than they would like it to be, but not to be concerned...check it in a month, if it is still big, bloodwork. Now, lymph nodes can swell for lots of reasons, and stay like that for long periods of time and be totally fine. But. There is always that big K word which we don't like to think about, yet...when one goes on WebMD, one sees that any lump should be checked out!!! So I took daughter for take out Chinese, because hey, if you're gonna die, may as well live, right? Perhaps we joked too much about it, but everyone IS going to die someday. we are on vacay. I love it. I stayed in my comfy bed 'til 8:30, even though I heard the princesses' door open and slam a few times. Then I thought of Suri, and how much she probably needed to go out.

Vacation is not really vacation, for the mom, of course. Some of the medium kids get nocturnal, and don't come upstairs until afternoon.

Have I mentioned how much I love Easter candy? You name it, I love it. None of that, "oh, I hate marshmallow...." for me. Nope, sour gummy bunnies, Peeps, hollow chocolate bunnies, Reese's it all. And I have tasted a few things, which I cannot, I have one piece and want another. No more. No more for me. The baskets sit there, and I will stay out of them.

The D.C. trip is not dead want to talk about bye for now!

Monday, April 1, 2013

weekend recap....

Charlotte Claire and Camille with their favorite Mama.

Some of the pistols on display at the Gettysburg museum. To me, a gun is a gun, but these were quite cool, being so old. And there were so many different types because they weren't just issued by the military, they were brought from home by the soldiers. Paul was more interested in battle strategies, I was drawn to the things like the pottery that had been scattered on a resident's lawn by confederates who took over the house during their brief occupation. Sometimes the Southerners tried to pay for the food and rations they took as they marched north...with confederate money. Anyway...this battleground hosted three days of suffering. 51,000 casualties. Of the wounded, I doubt many survived. No antibiotics in those days, limbs were sawed off in the most barbaric way. One thing I saw was a watch fob carved out of soup bones....long days and months spent in a prison-of-war camp. I saw a wooden tag that had been attached with a leather string to a fallen soldier...his dear friend made it and put it on him so his body could be identified on the battlefield. I read that the soldiers were writing their own names on the backs of their shirts before they charged, so they could be identified if they didn't make it. So as I yawned and got confused about those skirmishes and battles and attacks and directions and charges that so enthralled my husband, I did feel incredibly emotional and intrigued by the suffering and the loss. And I thought how stupid men are.

This...was sad.

Twenty years old. We were at the National Cemetery:(


And the battlefields...Paul standing where the Union army was holding ground...from behind him came the confederates...across that field...

Paul...on Little Round Top. I would not have wanted to defend it, nor storm it.

To add to the authenticity, a few actors playing their parts all too well.

It WAS a beautiful day...sunny and warm...short sleeves for us Northerners.

The young and lovely mom....

Sunday's weather was not so pleasant...that didn't stop Paul. That red blur is him. I took the picture from inside the truck....

Waiting in the truck....yes, we brought our giant fan with us to the hotel.

This weekend was interesting for me. I find I still dread the physical discomfort that never really came this time. I get afraid that my feet and legs are going to ache...which they did, but just normal aching. Not that "I Cannot Concentrate On Anything But My Throbbing Knees" kind of feeling from the days of old. We climbed several hills, one was an upward path met by some steep steps, then up some more on the path. At the top I exclaimed, "What!? We could have driven up here?" Uh huh, said Paul. He has no idea. None at all. I mean, I survived, and felt pretty good that I did, I did a million times better than I would have a few years ago...

Then there was the Observation Tower. To a fat lady, the sight of that in the distance is fearful. We made it through Saturday without him suggesting we climb it. Then Sunday...we drove around more, visited the eastern flank of the battlefield...and we came upon the tower. I had been battling in my mind the prospect of six or seven flights of stairs...then I realized that I could do that without too much problem, and it might even burn off some of the rye toast I so stupidly ate with my bacon omelet at the Lincoln Diner that I asked Paul if he wanted to go up the tower. Now, the old me would not have done that. I would have just hoped it wasn't brought up. But...he didn't really feel like going up there in the rain, said he had seen enough of the fields from the hills we climbed on Saturday. phew. Okay. Not that I couldn't say NO, didn't want to climb it. But I always tried to pretend like I wasn't as heavy as I was. I didn't want to put a huge damper on everything all the time, so I tried to be game, and do as much as I could....while I suffered like crazy.

Anyway...the kids are on vacay, as they now call it. Easter Break. I woke up to Camille crying and crying because, "Char is being mean!" Camille was giving me the classic You Left Me For A Few Days punishment. That clingy whiny stuff that Mirielle said was totally absent while we were gone. So I gave her lots of hugs and kisses and read her a story. Today we are going on a trip to the small city to have the bump behind one small daughter's ear checked out. We shall stop at the store too, to get a few things. Some of the girls are going over to play with the twins, some are going with me. I need to get out of this comfy chair and exercise, and take a shower. Vacay, ha.