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, June 29, 2013

stayed home all day!

We are putting up our pool. The sides are up now, the side posts are fastened to the bottom we have to get more sand before we can put the liner in, which isn't cool, because the sand place isn't open on Sunday. I hope we don't get strong wind and rain, or that pool is going to buckle. And it has been so much work!

Unrolling the side panel of a 27 ft. pool: almost impossible. It is so heavy! Unrolling it and placing it into the bottom rail without taking any toes off any feet: we did it!

So what did I do today? Walked in the morning, swept, cleaned under some living room furniture that I didn't get to yesterday (I don't know why, but the living room just feel so much cleaner when I know it's clean under the couches), did some laundry, helped with the pool, made dinner (boneless chicken thighs baked in Buffalo hot sauce, chicken nugget strips baked with Sweet Baby Ray's bbq sauce, frozen pizza, and leftover home-made pizza re-heated, green beans) I only had a few thin strips of pizza, just a few tastes. Then I had some French bread croutons dipped in the Buffalo sauce, dang it they were so good.

Anyway, I went on a second walk after dinner, which felt nice.

The little girls are watching, "Rapunzel", with Kathryn. They have only one chapter left of, "Little House On The Prairie", then we start, "On The Banks Of Plum Creek."

They keep busy all day. They dressed up in frilly dresses and danced and had a pretend wedding. Camille asked, "Mama, what does I Thee Wed mean?". They played outside in their Little Tikes houses, which they now want to paint, thanks to Martha, who posted some cool ideas on facebook:). They tried to ride their bikes, they played on the swingset. They helped put up the pool, minimally, but they romped around happily in the wet sand. Margaret went to play with and help with the twins and William. Joseph, Aaron, and Samuel have been working until late at night each day on a tiling job for a church fundraiser. Mirielle is working at the baseball game in the city. Only 8 kids were at the dinner table, and one of those is my niece Olivia.

Did I mention that I love summer? Just the unstructured hours to while away. The luxury of knowing that if we want to do something, we can.

The dog is lying on the couch next to Paul, snoring, and the kitten is lying across my arms purring. He is the nicest little thing.

Right now I am going to get up from my comfy chair and make some popcorn for some kids.

Friday, June 28, 2013

in which my daughter saves a life....

Mali Rose came upon an accident yesterday, or rather was right behind one. The car in front of her was smashed into by a truck that took off immediately following the crash. The car rolled over and a boy was ejected. Mali saw the whole thing. She stopped and went to the boy, who was lying in a field. He wasn't breathing. Mali has had one year of nursing school, so she did CPR. She saved this boy's life. We hope. He had a head injury...she tried to hold tissues on his head to stop it....she left when the ambulance got there, so we don't know how he is, but I like to think she saved him.

She called the police when she got home to make sure they got a description of the vehicle that left the scene of the accident.

She was covered in blood, and she was sort of in shock.

I told her she was certainly at the right place at the right time. If that boy had been not breathing until the ambulance got there, he would have fared much worse.

And that's all I have time for this morning. I just got back from the pool, and have to wake Jonathan and take the truck for oil change and inspection....Jonathan and I will have breakfast at the diner while we wait. Then off we go to pick up a bike for Charlotte Claire, from craigslist.

This afternoon Paul and I are working at the baseball game.

Never a dull one...thankfully!:)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

giving blood...

For years and years I was pregnant and nursing and busy and didn't even consider giving blood. Paul has always been a regular donor, and Emily has done pretty well giving too. I have only done it once so far, in these years of relative calm, now that my youngest is five years old....and it wasn't too bad. Getting my fingers pricked to test for iron levels was the absolute worst part, although I wasn't too big on climbing on to the unstable-feeling portable cot. Getting the needle in my arm was nothing compared to worrying about how I was going to get back up OFF that portable cot, which didn't turn out to be that terrible. That day, Mirielle didn't fare too well. We were all done giving blood, sitting happily at the after-snack table, choosing some animal crackers and juice, and I looked over at her...uh oh! She was pretty gray. And, she was going down! A nice nurse named Carlos came to save her, got her lying down and relaxing for a bit. It wasn't really funny, but...

Anyway, she is such a trooper, she still gives blood even though that sort of thing always happens to her. Today, she and Margaret are going with me to Paul's work to donate.

Margaret is only 16, and hasn't given before. She asked me what it was bad, and I said, "Margaret, I have had 17 kids. Giving blood is nothing." ha. I explained that the first thing that's done when one gets admitted to the hospital is that visit from phlebotomy...and that was always the least of my worries. Anyway, I told her it is no big deal. Just a little prick, and a few minutes to lie back and relax. I do try not to look though:)

Last night I took a nice long walk with two friends, which was really enjoyable. Talking and walking makes it go fast. This morning I made it to the pool again, too. Half an hour of swimming and treading water.

Oh my goodness we had some fun yesterday. I was planning on going out and about, or oot and aboot, as Jonathan says. The little kids seemed to want to get out...but by the time I got ready to go, they were so happily playing, they decided not to go. Jon was playing cards with Evelyn, who is the world's best babysitter (she made them Ramen noodles for lunch). The little girls were totally engrossed in playing Barbies, their whole room was set up. So I went with Mirielle, Margaret, Kathryn, Suzanne, and cousin Olivia. First stop: Timmy Ho's. I have decided I like iced coffee, so I ordered a large with sugar-free caramel and cream. By the time we ordered all six drinks, we were silly. The kid was handing Marg (yeah, she was driving. That is a whole other story.) the drinks as she passed them back to Mirielle with her other hand...she was saying to Mirielle, "um, come on, come on!", trying to get her to take the drinks quicker...the drive-through guy thought she was talking to him, it was too funny. Plus, I blew my straw wrapper at Margaret, well, in her general direction, it hit the drive-through window just as he was opening it again to give us another drink. That was also too funny. Margaret declared that we are never going there again, as we drove away laughing.

Yeah, my 9th child is driving. She is an excellent driver. The last few times we went out, I hardly had to tell her anything, and best of all, here and there I would actually relax and forget to be scared for my life.

Ah well, my time to sit here in my comfy chair has come to an end. I need to do a few things here before heading out the door to give blood....

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

they don't care how many cards are in the deck.

That's number one on my Kids Are So Funny List this morning.

2. The three youngest are playing cards in their underwear.

3. They help each other and look at each other's cards, then get upset when they lose.

4. Camille was up with the birds, all excited to show me how she can now play, "Hot Cross Buns" on the piano, while Charlotte Claire exclaimed that it was an easy song with just a few notes. The two of them have such a love/hate relationship, competitive but still friends.

5. Jonathan and Charlotte Claire each lost a tooth the other day. They waited a few day for our forgetful toothfairy to get her act together...and when that toothfairy finally borrowed some dollars from Margaret (they got $2 each, which is high, but the toothfairy felt guilty)....Miss Camille started trying to pull out a tooth. She really wants some money.

6. The kids like saving money. Camille suggested to Char that they pool their money. She said, "With your $88 and my $14, and the two dollars Mom owes you and the one dollar she owes me, we would have one hundred five dollars!" I asked her how she figured that out, she said, "I used all my fingers and toes."

7. Camille told me this morning that there are two Gods. One that hears our prayers from the sky, and one that people say, "Oh my God!" about.

8. Last night I told the little girls a bedtime story about a little girl who didn't get on the bus, she sneaked in the back door and climbed back in bed. Her mama didn't know it, and left for the day. Little girl at home got out all the playdough, painted pictures and tacked them to the kitchen walls, put markers on all her dolls for make-up, trimmed up their hair, burned toast, dropped the gallon of milk, and flushed a hotdog that didn't taste good not cooked, down the toilet which backed it up....she tried to be a good girl and empty the kitty litter, but she tripped and dropped it into Mama's chair...I was telling this story, and all of the sudden Camille burst into tears, sobbing and sobbing. She said she did not like that story, did not like that Mama had to clean up all those messes. It was too cute. I told her it wasn't really true....but she said, "It makes me sad, Mama!"

Okay, bit of truth here: sometimes these three youngest kids almost drive me crazy. They get silly and sillier, they make huge messes, they argue and bug each other, they fight and come crying to me about it. Jonathan is mostly the peacemaker, but he can get really really silly too. The two princesses are very slappy with each other, mostly Char slaps Camille, Camille gets brokenhearted.

Admitting this by no means indicates that I love them any less. In fact, some of their fights are absolutely hilarious. I try not to intervene so much because I think Least Said Soonest Mended, plus it is normal sibling behavior and they usually figure things out. Although I do make the one who hit the other sit in a chair until there is an apology, and sometimes a bit longer if the apology is just so ingenuine and the child needs a few minutes to gather herself. Notice I said, "herself". That's because Jon doesn't hit. He mostly gets mad when his sisters smack when eating, or lick their fingers. And sometimes they just think it is good fun to bug each other. Recreational bugging. Sonja and Jon are experts at it.

Now, I know how fast kids grow up. In fact, I just told these three to, "stop bugging each other, just grow up!" But I didn't really mean it. I don't want them to grow up too fast. Even if they are loud and crazy sometimes.

Today I am going to get these guys to clean up their rooms a bit...then take them to Movie Night at church tonight.

Aaron worked all day yesterday doing a tiling job for a fundraiser for church. He got home after 10 pm. He left again this morning, early. Sam worked all day at the school, then went and worked with Aaron, cutting tile and cleaning up. He had a long day, but was very positive about it. They will be working like that until the job is finished, hopefully this weekend.

So I went to the pool this morning, yay. I am re-starting this healthy lifestyle, again, for the fiftieth time. But guess what? It ain't over 'til it's over, and I am not giving up. I went from being 100% serious to just maintaining, and have been trying and trying to get that seriousness back. My metabolism has changed, I can't eat the way I used to, can't cheat even a little or the pounds go on. It's not fair. wah. poor me. Sometimes I see thin people eating bread and chips, and I think NO FAIR. But guess what? It is none of my business. I need to stay on track about me, worry about what I can and can't put into my own mouth. I also need to be more proactive about what I CAN eat, rather than focus on what I can't. I want to stock up on that 10 calorie jello and the 15 calorie popsicles. And more frozen spinach. Or not, our garden will be yielding spinach pretty soon.

Anyway, I am pretty happy about this....I love that feeling when I have exercised alot. My arms ache this morning from my swim, and I like it.

The kids are about done letting me have a break. There are 8 older kids still sleeping...they will begin arriving in the kitchen soon, opening the 'fridge and saying we have nothing to eat....drinking coffee, brightening up my day.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

a fine summer day....

Hot and humid. We packed up and went to the pool at our church for a few hours. I walked TWICE today, too. And, I ate good, all day long! Now, one should by all rights lose at least fifty pounds for a day like today:)

I grilled 12 pounds of chicken breast tenders on the grill. They marinated overnight in garlic herb, so they were really yummy.

Let's see. I read some of my book when we got back from swimming. I loaded and unloaded the dishwasher, washed a few loads of clothes, swept the floor, listened to the little girls read...can you believe they can both read now?

The day went by too fast....did I mention that I LOVE SUMMER?!

Monday, June 24, 2013


Did I get to sleep in a bit? ha. I had to bring Samuel over to the school for his first day of work at his summer job, doing school maintenance. He worked there last year and they liked him so much they hired him again. He had to be there by I had to get up at 6:30. Now, that wouldn't be bad if I hadn't woken up at 3:30 to use the bathroom then struggled for a few hours to fall back to sleep. I hate when that happens. My brain won't shut off, and I toss and turn. Last night, for example, I thought of writing a book...and realized that my biggest fear, which is that it would end up in the dollar store, wouldn't be the end of the world. I could actually make it a goal, then if it happened I would be happy. Yeah, stupid things like that.

My younger kids are saving up their money. Camille was sitting with me yesterday, doing some thinking. She suggested to Charlotte Claire that they pool their money. She said, "With your $88 and my $14 and the dollar Mom owes me and the $2 she owes you, we would have one hundred five dollars!" When I asked her how she figured that out, she said, "I used all my fingers and toes." (Char said NO WAY, btw.)

The four youngest have had two sleepover nights in a row, where they all sleep on the floor in Sonja's room. They stay up too late being too silly, then get up too early and start being silly again.

I promised Evelyn a trip to the library today, and I have to remember to pick Sam up at 3:00. He has a bike that works well, but I thought I would drive him for the first few days. He knows how to drive, and is ready to get his license, but then he will have to have a vehicle to drive. So getting rides from mom and biking are good for now. It is only five-ish miles.

Did I mention that I took my suit and towel and swam for half an hour after I dropped Sam off this morning? It was lovely.

Yesterday my mother-in-law had a picnic at her house and invited us over. We brought Suri, who pooped in her driveway first thing. After that she was good though:) She stuck around, and was friendly enough although she thought it was her job to bark at everyone when they got there. Anyway, it was nice to see Paul's sister and brothers and their spouses. And a few of the cousins. 12 of my kids made it over. They pretty much took up the whole living room (it was raining out.)

The lil' kids are playing with stuffed animals and the real kitten right now. They made a pile of bears and put the kitty on it, he just snuggled up and went to sleep. He is a nice sort of kitty, always purring and when I sit down, he comes walking across the living room with that intent look, purring, ready to jump up and snuggle under my chin. I didn't even really want a kitten, but he sure is nice to have around. He has us laughing with his antics, the way he runs and leaps up and attacks Suri, who just puts her head on her paws and sighs. Sometimes Suri holds kitty down and washes him, just like a mama.

Replacing our pool is not fun. It is one foot smaller than the old one, so we have had to clear up the sand and move the bricks that the posts will rest on. When I say, "we", I mean "Paul", of course. I helped clear the sand, but he has done most of the hard work. And it has been so hot out there! The older boys are supposed to do the remaining bricks today, then we will be ready to unroll that pool and put it in the track. Sounds easy, ha, I know it won't be.

We do have plans for the summer. On July 4th, Benjamin Paul will be coming home on leave! We can't wait to see him, and to see Ashley and her baby bump! We have to have that pool set up and filled by then!

I am also planning to take the kids to see the new Monster's Inc. movie, and take them to the children's museum, and to the nice beach on Lake Ontario, and camping.

The shifting demographics in our home still puzzle me. It's like we have all these adults and big people, big kids, and then just a few little ones. Little ones are game for anything, they are all happy just to go Bye-Bye. The older ones, not so much. So summer is different than it used to be. Smaller groups with different interests go here and there. Emily is taking Kathryn 15, Evelyn 13, and Suzanne 12, camping this week, up to the Adirondacks. Joseph, Aaron, and Samuel are going camping this weekend up there. Paul and I have to be home this weekend as we are working at the ballgame on Friday night.

Oh great, the stuffed animals need to be in doll strollers. These guys transform this living room into the biggest mess so fast.

Camille is now playing, "Hot Cross Buns" on the little keyboard and changing the words. Kitty is beating up Suri. Nope, never a dull moment.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

saturday at home...

Joseph reading Suri a story.

Miss Camille with Suri....

Yes, that kitty is green. No one did it though.

Today is rather quiet. The older kids are all at a church youth conference. Paul and I are here with Sonja, Jonathan, Char, and Camille. The kids took the old pool down, now we are preparing the sand and ground to put up the new one, which is a foot smaller across.

I am taking a little break, not that I am doing too much to help....I shoveled some sand, but mostly am watching Paul. I think it is time to go help again though....

Thursday, June 20, 2013

seriously, you never know when you open your eyes in the morning...what the day is going to bring...

When I woke up this morning, my first thought was that I needn't get up! It's vacation! I thought of going to the pool, I thought of going on a walk...then I decided I would go on the hike Mirielle was going on, take the little girls, and join the older kids on that hike. I was pretty happy with that decision, getting ready to leave the comfy bed to get ready, when Jonathan knocked on my bedroom door. He had the phone, and was saying, "My mom is right here." I raised my brows, and he shook his head. He didn't know who it was. Well, it was Mali's supervisor from McDonalds, her summer job, calling to say that she had fainted at work and was taken by ambulance to the big hospital in the big city...okay.

Time to get out of bed, time to change my plans. I packed fruit, almonds, granola bars quick, and grabbed some coffee and a water bottle. Off I went down the highway, hoping it was nothing, and trying not to be too bummed about the change in plans.

Man plans, God laughs. Life happens. It isn't doing what we like that makes us happy, but being thankful for all things no matter what, that makes us happy. So I had lots of to think about as I drove towards the hospital. I tried not to worry, but found myself gripping that steering wheel. I don't care for city driving no matter what, and cruising towards the emergency department can make anyone nervous.

She is fine. We aren't sure why she fainted. Her heart does have an extra little beat, but she has had that all checked out thoroughly a few years back. Her sugar levels were fine, blood pressure a bit low, and oxygen levels at only 86%. She just broke out in a sweat, and down she went. She has had a terrible work schedule, and probably hasn't been eating so wonderfully healthy. So I am not going to worry about it, not too much anyway.

She was discharged....and we drove toward McD's so she could get her car.

We stopped for ice cream, and I got it all down the front of a nice new shirt.

I had to button my sweater all up when I stopped to get gas so the people at the gas station wouldn't know I had ice cream.

Home...lovely sunny day. Margaret was making cupcakes with the princesses.

Yesterday, we went to the beach. Sunshine and cool-ish weather, just lovely. I do love summer.

And here is a picture I stole from Mali's facebook, she wished me a Happy Mother's Day....

Kathryn Grace 4, Evelyn Joy 2 1/2, Suzanne Eleanor 15 months...Sonja Kathleen newborn.

Now, I am off to search out something to make for dinner....

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

summer blogging....

How have I managed to keep up with this blog for almost six years? My pictures won't load, my computer is being stupid. I spent too much time last night trying to put some up of Miss Camille, green and blue kitty, and me. We don't know who colored the white on the kitty so beautifully, no one will take credit.

Today is a strange day. First day of summer vacay, and when I got up to drive Margaret to her final state test, and the house was quiet. The younger kids spent the night at Emily's house last night....home from the pool, and Mirielle was here. Breakfast, coffee, computer time...but now I have to go pick Marg up from that test, and go to the store. We are almost out of milk, have no paper towels, ect ect ect...we are going to the beach today.

I will remember my camera, and hopefully I can figure out why the pictures won't go up, I am thinking my camera card is shot.

Last night I had a dream that Paul and I arrived in Jamaica for a vacation, and I had forgotten my suitcase. He suggested that I approach all the ladies there who are about my size and ask them each for an article of clothing to get me through. Um. Nightmare.

Today as I walked up the path into the rec. center to swim, a lady stopped me and asked how I was feeling. I thought perhaps she had mistaken me for someone else. I don't know her, but have certainly seen her around town, we live in a small community. I told her I was fine, then she said I was looking fantastic, like a new person. Oh okay, she was meaning that I had lost weight and must feel much better. It was a good reminder not to take for granted how much better I feel than a few years ago, especially because I really am trying to lose more weight.

And now, off I go....

Monday, June 17, 2013

too much time on my hands...ha

Now, I have no job. I talked about working at the school, even considered working part time at Dunkin Donuts or something, just for the social aspect of it. But I didn't. And guess what? I haven't been bored or lonely...and I haven't even come close to running out of things to do. This morning, for example, has been busy. I got the kids off to their half day of school,put in a load of towels, cleaned up the kitchen, cleaned up the pee that Suri did right near where the kids play dollhouse...the dollhouse stuff was out, of course, but only two people and one of their couches went swimming, I went to the pool, picked Margaret up from her state test. Now I am eating my breakfast and having coffee, quickly, because I am picking the kids up in half an hour. We'll be home for about an hour, just enough time to give them lunch, and then off I go to the small city for dentist appointments for three of us. I will stop at a grocery store to stock up on fruits and veggies, and we are running low on milk, again.

Then home to make dinner.

I am not complaining. When someone asks me if I work, I just say, "No."

On the way to the pool this morning, I was thinking about being so busy all the time. I thought, "I need a break. I hate being so busy. I can't take it any more." Then I remembered one of my worst fears, which is that I will have a debilitating stroke some day and end up in a wheelchair, unable to do anything and being a burden on my family. Not that I have thought this out or been worried about it.... but when I think about that, I am thankful to be able to get in the van and run here and there. Thankful that I CAN come home and make dinner.

Even with big thoughts of thankfulness, I will still find those little grumbles. Oh, they are there. rrr. But I will fight with all my heart to stay in thankfulness. The grass is always greener, and instead of longing for a day with not much going on, I will work to be happy, come what may.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

ten years ago today....great sadness....

I can't just say that today is Robert's birthday. Because he didn't really have a birth. And his birthday was supposed to be in September, not in June. The day he was born was the saddest day of my life. Birth is supposed to be wonderous. Holding that baby for the first time is supposed to make the whole experience worth it. That baby skin, the fuzzy little head, the little mouth that knows what it wants, the eyes of that baby looking at Mama like he just knows who she is. And those little feet, oh kissable feet. I always unwrapped those babies from their swaddling to look at those little toes. But ten years ago today, it was a different I have told before, but cannot help remembering.

On Friday the 13th of June back in 2003, I had a routine appointment with the baby doc. I had noticed that the baby wasn't kicking much, but it was still moving around, I thought. At any rate, I seriously didn't notice anything unusual. Perhaps because Margaret was 6, Kathryn was 5, Evelyn 3 and a half, Suzanne was 2, and Sonja Kathleen was 13 months old. I did have my hands full. (Emily was graduating from high school that week, Abigail was 16, Benjamin 14, Mirielle 13, Joseph 12, Aaron 10, Mali Rose 9, and Sam was 7). Anyway. The midwife didn't get a heartbeat, and I somehow didn't panic. She suggested a sonogram, and I just wasn't too worried. But when she rolled that doppler around and had that serious face, I really started to get it. The doctor came in. He said it. He said, "I'm sorry, but the baby is gone. He has died.". Everything sort of shifted, changed, it couldn't be true. I had to be alone and absorb it. I didn't cry. The doctor suggested waiting until Monday to induce, he said it might be healing to come to terms with it first, that I could have a weekend to deal with it. I just agreed. Now, looking back, I think that was prolonging the agony, and honestly, walking around for those days just knowing that I had a dead baby inside me, it was too much. The doctor asked me if I was okay to drive, if I needed help getting home or if I should call someone. I said I was fine. I even stopped on the way home and had poor Abigail, who was with me on what was supposed to be a quick dr. visit and a shopping trip day, I had her run into the dollar store to get some treats for the kids. From the parking lot I called Kim and asked her to call people for me.

Home. I had to tell Paul. I snagged him as he walked in from work, brought him into our room. Then I lost it. I decided right there not to pretend to be brave or strong. Just to cry, to make it okay for the kids to cry. I needed to be with them, and I couldn't stop the tears, so I went into the living room and sat on the couch, and hugged them, and I cried. They had millions of questions, and I tried to answer them.

Monday morning rolled around. The hospital where 13 newborns were joyfully welcomed to our arms and family was warm and familiar, but we weren't there for happiness. When another expecting mom in the admissions area gave me that knowing smile, ouch.

I have already written, in past years, what it was like to have that floppy little guy put into my arms. The gratitude I felt towards the nurse who so gently wrapped him up and gave him to me, how I felt her pain as well as my own, and loved her for it.

Robert wasn't pretty. No, he was pathetic. My heart broke for him. He was so small, a miniature newborn. So fragile. He didn't open his eyes to look at his mama, he didn't open and close his little mouth.

Margaret graduated from kindergarten that night, my sister so kindly took her.

When the doctor discharged me from the hospital, he told me to go home and enjoy my other kids, they would help me heal.

He was right. They did. It was a hard summer, I stayed up all night with Benjamin and watched the Yankees, me who had never liked baseball. I was in a fog.

As you probably know by now, Jonathan Robert was born the following year, on April 30th. There couldn't have ever been a baby on earth more special and more welcome than him. He cried when he was born. So did we.

Yesterday Benjamin texted me that Ashley hadn't been feeling the baby move. Oh dear Lord, I couldn't bear it. I didn't want him to know how panicked I felt. Perhaps more so because I have been thinking so much about Robert lately, being this time of year and all. I told him to take her to the hospital and to be checked out. Then he texted me and said All Is Good, Baby Is Kicking. And I cried. Happy tears. Going through a loss like that is hard enough, but to imagine your child suffering a loss like that...

And now I will go on with my day. Paul didn't remember that today is Robert's "birthday", nor do the kids. That's okay. I wish I didn't remember, but I do.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

going going going....and a few pictures

Miss Charlotte Claire and me at the zoo....going with the first graders was too much fun.

Rainy day play....

Suri: cutest puppy ever.

Jon's backpack on the couch...a good pillow for a spoiled pup.

Okay. I want to quit my job and become a professional field trip chaperone. I don't know why the day was so pleasant. It could have been the 70 degree low humidity day, full of sunshine and gentle breezes. It could have been that I rode there with my sister-in-law Kim, we sipped our coffees and the ride there went by too fast. But most likely it was because first graders are just so innocent still. The little girls in my group loved me. Seriously. They both wanted to hold my hand, and they trusted me. One of the girls was afraid of part of the zoo, where it is dark and the reptiles and fish are. She stopped dead in her tracks and said she didn't want to go in there. So we didn't. Later, after we saw the ellie-phants and tigers and wolves and penguins, I suggested she wait with one of the other moms while I took the rest of the group in the dark part...she decided she would come with us. She gripped my hand and she was not kidding about being hesitant. I encouraged her each step of the way, and told her I would stay right with her....she did fine, and when we walked back out into the sunshine, I praised her to the skies for being so brave. She is a sweetheart. And guess what? Her daddy is in jail:(

Anyway. I had fun there. I picked some kids up early from school and took them for ice cream with Kim and some of her kids...

I was home for only a few hours when I had to leave again to volunteer at the baseball game concession stand. Let's just say it was also too much fun. It was a beautiful night for baseball! I didn't get to watch much of the game, but the customers were mostly cheerful, and the people I worked with are some of the best people on this earth, my daughter Emily and my nieces Susan, (and her husband Thomas), my niece Becky and my niece Audrey, and some other really good kids from our youth group at church. It isn't really like working, although my knees kill after standing on that cement floor for all those hours.

At ten-ish o'clock at night, the stand closed and we were free to go....I headed to the airport to pick up Paul. His flight was coming in at 11:30. I had a bit of time to kill, so I went to one of my favorite places, a grocery store. Cherries and plums and chicken, and some treats for the kids...I wandered up and down the aisles of the mostly empty store, just thinking and looking forward to seeing Paul. However, there was a mom there who would have been almost hilarious if it wasn't so sad, the way she was screeching at her two little girls. The little girls were skipping around and looking at things. They seemed to have a pattern. When the mom wanted them to come to her, she screamed that they better Come Here Right Now Or Else. Do You Want To Go Sit In The Car? You Ain't Coming With Me No More. Yous Can't Behave Yourselves. Now, the interesting thing was that these girls were smiling and skipping, they weren't in the least bit distressed about the way Mommy talked to them. Par for the course, I think. It was the way they worked. I found it fascinating.

Anyway...busy busy busy...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

kindergarten graduation and other pics

Miss Camille Anaya, our last but not least kindergarten graduate. (yeah, I know there are fingerprints on the lens. oops.

Miss Charlotte Claire with Camille...notice the nice purse Char is mine. I didn't get suspicious at all when she asked me if she could bring my purse out. Or when she insisted she hold it for the picture. Or when she wouldn't give it to me on the way to the school for the graduation. Then the giggling started between those two girls. We Are Up To Something kind of giggling. So I asked for my purse, since they had it between them. I thought they were breaking the handles or sneaking gum. As Char handed it to me, she said, "We did something bad."

Yup, out popped the kitten. They brought that kitten in my purse, to kindergarten graduation.

He waited in the car with the windows cracked, good thing it was a cool-ish evening.

Mirielle with Miss Char.

Camille, cousin Danielle, Charlotte Claire...

Camille still has that baby face...

This is my brother Tom. His youngest child, his twelth, also graduated from kindergarten tonight.

Camille with her cousin Sean, Tom's youngest. The matching lavender was a total coincidence, but they certainly looked sweet together. Sean didn't really want his picture taken though....

He kept inching away from Camille...

Just too much cuteness.

Hiding behind her...

and some random pictures...this poor kitten! He is the nicest little thing though. He just purrs and purrs when he is scooped up.

Evelyn Joy, 13, with Camille...

4 of the 9 school kids. Camille and Suzanne, 12, were Hair Twins today.

REALLY random, Samuel - my soldier son. He is all signed up for the Army. But he was just "playing" Benjamin's old uniform, playing with his airsoft gun.

Aaron, 20, wondering why I was snapping his picture.

Joseph, 22. He has the same shirt on as Aaron had in the pic I put up of him. I don't know if I put any pictures here of Joe since he got this slick new hair cut...he looks like a different kid.

Jonathan, teaching kitty to use a fork and knife.

It takes too long to put pictures up with our slow internet. It isn't dial-up anymore, but it certainly isn't high-speed.

Today I went to the small city all by myself. To the dollar store (bags of pretzel M&M's, 6 pack of NatureValley strawberry and oat granola bars, a collar for Suri, since she chewed up her old one. again.)

Then to the thrift store for half-off Wednesday. I found a few things to maybe sell on ebay. "The Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood" for Abigail to read when she has her knee surgery next month. Random stuff, lots of it, for only fifteen dollars:)

Then to the grocery store on the other side of town...they have Friendly's ice cream for Buy Two Get Three Free. So five cartons of ice cream for ten bucks. Plus, they have ice cream bars/fudge bars for the same deal, with coupons on the boxes, so they were five boxes for 8 dollars. Just what we need, you might say. They also had fresh chicken thighs and drumsticks for 80 cents a pound...I also got some cherries and grapes and plums and peaches and a watermelon. And romaine and kitten chow and milk and frozen veggies.

Then home...for a little while. After the groceries were put away, it was time to get ready to go to kindergarten graduation.

Tomorrow I shall go to the pool, pick Margaret up from her state test, then stay home.

The three little ones are all sleeping in my room. It is so cozy to tuck them in then lie in my cozy bed and read from that, "Little House" book.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

movie night with the big kids....

It's hard to get enough sleep around here for someone as nosey as me. I do not like to miss anything. So I stay up with the high school kids who are done with high school for the year, and the college kids who are done with college. They sleep in as long as they please, and I get up early to get the other kids ready for school.

Today was a Running Around Day. From the pool to the 3rd grade picnic to driving to and from state tests to picking Sam up from his orientation for his summer job at the school....busy. Dinner was good: roasted chicken, small potatoes with pepper and olive oil, zucchini, and broccoli. The oven was too high, or perhaps the chicken was just in there for too long, because it burned. But we ate it anyway, it tasted like chicken jerky.

Since I am so nice, I am letting Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille sleep in my room tonight. They are all tucked in and quiet, I read two chapters of, "Little House On The Prairie" to them while they were all cuddled in. Then they said their prayers and we talked...

Now the small kids are sleeping, and the older kids are home from the youth meeting. Mirielle has gone to town for a movie from Redbox. I can tell this is going to be a fun summer:)

Trying not to eat when these guys eat their fourth meal of the day is proving to be very difficult. There is cheese on chips being eaten, chocolate pizzelles, sandwiches....and now the bag of peanut butter M&M's. And the movie hasn't even started yet. I think I will put a piece of mint gum in my mouth. rrr.

I listed three things on ebay tonight, finally. We are fundraising for church.

Never a dull moment, I tell you.

Paul is very busy in Lousiana. He worked until midnight last night and is very busy tonight too. I guess he isn't doing much sightseeing.

Oh dang, now they have ice cream out.

No fair.

And now I shall go switch loads of laundry and find some gum.

shopping with mirielle, aaron, sam, margaret, and kathryn....

Samuel, Margaret, Kathryn, Aaron, and Mirielle.....we went out and about today.

As I picked out produce, I did hear one of the kids exclaim, "Donuts!" yeah, the bakery is there right near the pears and carrots. It's all I can smell when I enter the store, dang it. The donuts were on sale, so I said to go ahead and get some. I didn't have one single bite. rrr. I LOVE donuts.

This is me with my, "Why am I buying a coconut" face. I didn't want to put this one up, since it is a pretty good shot of my tummy, but hey, it's what I look like. Lots of work to do still. I have been going to that pool religiously, working out three days a week on top of that, walking when I can....and TRYING to stop nibbling things I know I shouldn't. Last night, movie night with the big kids: popcorn AND coconut M&M's. ugh. After a very decent day, too. I just can't handle it, my metabolism is shot, if I eat anything extra, pounds go on quickly. So....I have my work cut out for me.

Leaving for the pool now....

Sunday, June 9, 2013

volunteer work....

Me..and Kim, my sis-in-law, working at the chicken stand at the baseball game today.

The weather was perfect for a baseball game, I would rather have sat in the bleachers and watched...but we volunteer at the concession stand for our church. Kim and I managed to sneak away after the game for a little dinner out, and had a darned good time of it.

But. When I got home and learned that Emily and Abigail, plus two of Sonja's friends and one of Joseph's friends came for dinner (burgers on the grill, salad, fries, watermelon), I felt like I had really missed out.

Paul made it to Louisiana, it was 98 degrees there when he got there.

I miss him. More than I thought I would:)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

evening post...

Tomorrow will prob be too busy to write...I am taking Paul to the airport at 4:30 am. Then working at the baseball game concession stand in the afternoon. We sell deep-fried chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, fries, fried dough. Beer. Soda. Candy, nuts. All the healthy stuff. We do it as a volunteer job for church, and it is kind of fun. My knees ache by the time the game is over, standing on a concrete floor does that to me.

Our new swimming pool is still sitting there in the boxes in the driveway, 486 pounds of pool, not including the liner which shipped separately. Our old dead pool is still standing in the backyard waiting to be disassembled. Hopefully we can get moving on taking it down, then begin the daunting process of putting up the new one.

Paul grilled burgers for dinner, and made a salad. I made three pepperoni pizzas. Dessert: a fireball for me. I LOVE them. I was tempted to eat some caramel creams, but decided to resist. I need to get that strong resistance back, the stuff I could have bottled and sold for a million bucks, way back when I first began this new lifestyle change. I realize that I have to stick to my guns, be strict with myself, say NO even when everyone else is saying yes.

So I will be all by my lonesome in the parenting department for the week. In a way I hate when Paul leaves, but in a way I like it. I like leaving the light on and reading until I fall asleep. I like hogging the whole bed, yet I miss that he's not there. I like feeling like we can just eat pancakes for dinner, but guess what, I don't eat pancakes anymore.

Anyway. He has to go pack, and I have to go to bed early so I can get up at four to drive him.

Right now there are lots of kids up and about, eight in the living room right now. It is too busy to write. Jonathan is asking what "local" means. Is McDonald's "local"?, he is asking. I cannot write when it is busy in here. So bye for now....

Thursday, June 6, 2013

my son benjamin's essay on the day that changed his life....

I always knew the day would come when I would have to do my job, I just never knew exactly when that time would be. While deployed in Afghanistan, I was attached to the battalion mortar platoon as their medic. I am a medic, but as the Army goes I am infantry until something goes wrong. Finally came the day when I was tested.. As cynical as it sounds, I was looking forward to it happening. I had been training for over two years and I wanted to put my skills to work. I would've liked for it to have been on a local national, or at least someone I didn't know personally, but beggers can't be choosers.
At 5 am, we started walking. Sgt Reynolds and his squad took point. While making our way to the village, Sgt Reynolds found the first IED (improvised explosive device) of the day. He called it up on the radio. EOD (explosive ordinance disposal) moved to his position and blew the IED in place. We soon continued to push forward, and shortly after Sgt Reynolds found another IED, and then another. He found a total of four IEDs, and then it happened.
I had climbed over a wall and was helping Pfc Dyal over that same wall. As the medic, I walked in the back with the platoon sergeant, SFC Harvel. Then I heard it. I knew the explosion hadn't been trigged by EOD, therefore I knew it wasn't good. Everything slowed down. In the distance I heard Pfc Chebahtah yell “Sgt Reynolds is hit, Sgt Reynolds is hit!”. Immediately Sfc Harvel and I ran toward the front of our formation where Sgt Reynolds and his squad were. At the same time we were moving up front, the other three squads in my platoon faced off in different directions and started pulling security. Practice did make perfect.
I made it about 10 meters away from Sgt Reynolds, and I could see his head poking out of the brush. He had been blown off the grape row. It was as if he was sitting on the side of it with his legs buried in the shrubs. Pfc Szaro grabbed my arm and I'll never forget the look; the definiton of shock on his 18 year old face as he yelled to me “You have to save him Doc!”. That's when reality hit, I had a job to do. My intention was to run directly to Sgt Reynolds, but Sfc Harvel grabbed me. Another member of my platoon cleared up to Sgt Reynolds first, to make sure there were no secondary IEDs. The only thing worse than one casualty is multiple casualties.
Seconds seemed like hours, and the whole time Sgt Reynolds was screaming. Finally it was safe and I made my way up to him. Instinctively, he grabbed my arm and was yelling for medication, but that wasn't first on my list of priorities, I had to stop the bleeding. I told him he was fine, and asked him where he was hurt. He responded with movement, and this I'll never forget. Sgt Reynolds reached down, grabbed his left pant leg, and pulled up out of the brush a leg that had been blow apart and just looked at me. Where a shin and a boot should have been was a bloody leg and a heel.
Training kicked in. I grabbed a tourniquet and tightened it as fast as I could around his quadricep. After, I gave him a fentanyl lollipop to help subdue the pain. Then, eight members of the platoon hoisted Sgt Reynolds up, and moved in back about 50 meters to where the landing zone was. It was remarkable to me how much muscle memory played a part in my treatment. I felt as if I was floating in the sky watching my body work. I quickly assessed the rest of his body for injuries, and found one. He had deep lacerations to his opposite thigh, so I applied a second tourniquet. During the whole process I was trying to keep him calm, despite his justified worries of how he would ever drive his truck or play baseball with his daughter again.
Finally came the sound we had all been waiting for. The whipping of the rotars that announced the arrival of the helicopter. The dust filled our vision, and then disappeared, bringing to view a medevac bird waiting to bring Sgt Reynolds to safety. As quick as it had landed, it was loaded and in the sky again. After the tragedy, I, along with every other member of my platoon I'm sure, wanted to sit and come to terms with what had just happened. That's not how it works. We still had a job to do. We continued on with the mission, and cleared the rest of the village. We found three more IEDs, thankfully without any more incidents. We then made it back to our trucks, and successfully completed our mission.
That was the day that I never wanted, but always, wanted to come. That's the day that makes me thankful when I put on two shoes. Thankful when I wake up to work, even if it is 4:30 in the morning. Now I always have something I can look back on and be proud of. If I am feeling down, I just look at my hands and think to myself “these hands brought a father back home to his daughter”, and I start to feel better. Sgt Reynolds holds strong, and I think he just may be happier now than he was. He drives his truck, plays with his daughter, and sends me pictures of himself getting his leg “ran over” or “shut in a door”. That is inspiration at its finest, and it just goes to show me; life is all about how you take it.

That is the unedited one, so there are spelling errors and what have you. But I got a 96 on the final one, like a boss.

rainy cozy morning....

Today is my favorite kind of day. Rainy. Cloudy. Chilly. Dark. I just want to go get in bed with a book. But. I am going to be good and go to the pool.

Last night after the little kids were all tucked into bed, Aaron and Joseph proposed we open one of the bottles of wine we brought back from our little weekend away. Neither Mirielle nor Mali care for wine, but sat here talking with us, along with Evelyn and Samuel. We ended up eating some chocolate too. Midnight is too late to head off to bed when one has to get up at 6:30 to get kids off to school. I was in the middle of good dreams this morning! Every time I closed my eyes again, I was dreaming again. Dang it was hard to get up. Even after I left my cozy bed and was in the bathroom, I was thinking that perhaps all the kids could skip school and I could get back in bed.

Times like those, those spontaneous good times with the kids: totally worth being tired the next day.

Twitter: I am not on it. My kids tweet things all the time. One of the things they tweet is, "sh$t Mom says", and I know when I say something stupid and one of them will grab their phone with a smirk on their of the other things is, "first world probs", which is as thought-provoking as it is funny. Having to get a new pool is a prime example. "we don't have any bacon", "my pictures take too long to load", and "there are no good movies out" are pretty big problems too.

Yeah, so it is time to get out the door to the pool....

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Now life is busy. There are things to be done. We don't have time to stop and smell the roses. To do so when there are things to be done would be irresponsible!

Anyway. This morning Miss Suri pooped in the living room again. Three lovely piles. (Isn't "pile" a disgusting word? It certainly describes a small mountain of doggy poo perfectly, thought doesn't it?) Anyway. The piles were little islands in the lake of pee she did. Sopping up the pee, cleaning up the islands, which I covered in, "Love My Carpet" first. Baby powder works well too. blah. Sorry, is this too much info? Well, I finished up this very unwelcome task, all the while giving Miss Suri looks that kill, while she avoided eye-contact and shifted her head around on her paws. She KNOWS not to do this in the house. I think her tummy has been upset for a few days, or perhaps she isn't ready to transition from puppy chow yet. Anyway. I get finished, and decide to check under one of the toy bins, and yup, there is another pile. Under the bin. How in the heck? Now, I know it is futile to try to find out Who Put The Waffleblocks On The Dog Poop, it is like trying to find out Who Opened The Cookies or Who Left Their Socks On The Couch. NO ONE DID. so I won't even ask. I just cleaned it up. It took like 25 minutes to get it all much for my babies growing up and not having messes anymore.

This birthday kitten of Suri's? He is wonderful. I call him, "Scoop" because I scoop him up off the floor like fifty times a day. He is irresistable. He purrs each and every single time I scoop him up. He is sitting with me right now, purring and purring. He is cuddly, and hilarious. He is definitely a people-kitty. He thinks Suri is his mother, which is really wierd. He actually tries to nurse from her. He totally latches on, I disconnect him and send him scooting on his way when I catch him, but Suri doesn't care at all.

So the college kids are done and have been here during the day, totally messing up my alone-ness. I don't mind, but I find it hard to write when there is talking and coffee brewing and comings-and-goings.

Mirielle accompanied me to the pool this morning. Our swim was cut short by the announcement that there would be a fire drill at ten o'clock. I had to make sure I showered and got dressed before then...I couldn't just go out in my suit and towel, my kids go to school there!

Anyway. I came home and tried the latest coffee: coconut. Not bad at all. I also toasted some unsweetened coconut with some sliced almonds, to go on my oats and peanutbutter. Super-yummy.

I have to pick Samuel up from P.T. today. He is in the Army now, and has to work out with the Sgt. and other young kids who have signed up but not gone to boot camp yet, each and every Wednesday. Sam has his driving permit, but not his license yet. So to the small city I will go. My sis-in-law also has to go to the small city today, so we are planning to go together and stop at the thrift store for Half-Price Wednesday. She also has some coupons:)

Part of our new swimming pool arrived today in two boxes. Oh yay. Our dead one is being drained. Last night I watered some melons and squash with the water we are pumping out of it. When it is empty, we will just take it down and put the new one up. Sounds easy! But. Our older kids signed up to work out at the church on Saturday, or at the baseball game Saturday afternoon. Paul and I can't do it by ourselves! Plus he has to be at the airport by like five a.m. on Sunday, he is going to Louisiana for a week for work. Plus, it is supposed to rain on Friday and Saturday. I am thinking our pool won't be going up so quickly.....

Did I mention that Suzanne found a money-clip full of money in the Price-Chopper parking lot the other day? She asked what we should do with it, and we all agreed to bring it in to the service desk in the store immediately....after we did that, we all had lots of ideas of what we could have spent it on, but thought we did the right thing. I called the store later, and sure enough, a man called in and claimed it. We did the right thing, and it was a good example for the girls. Keeping something like that would not result in ME sleeping at night.

I didn't do my usual housework this morning because of the doggy-doo clean-up party I attended in the east end of the living room, so I have things to do this fine morn. I have no idea what is for dinner, although I can tell you what we had last night: I marinated some thinly sliced boneless pork in lemon pepper, added some Montreal steak seasoning, grilled it up outide....steamed peas...and a pot of Kraft mac&cheese. I had like a tablespoon, and it was yum. I don't even consider it food, seriously. But it was on special, three boxes for 99cents. Evelyn cooked those three boxes and the kids really really liked it. The three youngest kids came in from their rollerskating outing at the park with Emily, and the pot was empty. They had bagels, peas, and the pork chops for dinner:)

I always count the kids and figure out where they all are. Sometimes there are ten kids at the dinner table like last night, and I had to figure out where the other six were. (Emily: park. Abigail: her house. Ben: WA in the Army. Jonathan: park with Em. Char: park with Em. Camille: park with Em.)

And sometimes, when dinner is all finished, someone will appear and demand, "Why didn't anyone tell ME we were having dinner?!!"


So...there are things to do around here and they aren't going to get done with me sitting here in the comfy chair with Scoop.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

our poor pool is dead....

Possibly re-vivable, but we threw in the towel and declared it dead. It has rusted through so the liner is peeking out in a few places. If we drain it, pull the liner out of the cracks, patch them up, where will it peek out next? Will it end up like one of those pools that collapse on, "America's Funniest Home Videos"? We are not going to take that chance. Paul is ordering a new one today, I think. I spent a good part of yesterday researching and pricing pools online. The new one will be only 27 ft. around, the dead one is 28.

We got that pool 18 years ago....the summer I turned 30. I was 8 months pregnant for Samuel, our eighth child. Emily Anne was 10, Abigail Marie 8, Benjamin Paul 6, Mirielle Joy 5, Joseph Michael 4, Aaron Royce 2 and a half, and Mali Rose was 16 months old. It was so exciting! We were so eager to try it out, we got in before the ladder was secured. Paul held it in place. Well. He didn't quite anticipate how hard it would be to hold it for me, being so big and preggie.....I lost my balance and fell backwards off that ladder, landing with a thump, flat on my back. The wind was knocked out of me and I thought I was going to die. Then I thought of the baby and was scared to death. When I was able to get up, I called the dr. It was a Friday night, and he said just to sit tight, if the baby was still moving around then everything was probably fine. It was. Samuel was born just a few weeks later, all healthy and robust.

And now I leave to go to the rec. center pool for my morning swim....

Sunday, June 2, 2013

more pictures from a lovely weekend...

Sitting in the shade enjoying the breeze...93 degrees out, and humid. I was waiting for Paul....he walked the almost two miles uphill to get the truck...I had walked down to the winefest, but was feeling awful. No, not too much wine, although I did taste some:) I think it was the cinnamon bun, and the heat, maybe not enough water, but I felt awful. So I waited in the shade...

I waited for a good half hour, but since I never get bored, I didn't get bored. I built a little stick sculpture.

Took random this lovely one of my lovely tired feet, and the wine glasses.

took some "selfies", mostly to see what my hair looked like..I had started out with it down, and looking all nice, then it got so hot that I clipped it up...the dumpy bathroom at the park had nary a mirror in it, so I felt like it was sticking up everywhere. I asked Paul how my hair looked and he just said, "fine".

I sat under this nice maple tree. I was so very thankful that Paul was going up to our campsite and driving back for was too hot for walking down highways and up hills. He is too nice.

And just like that, half hour or 35 minutes was over, and he was there with in the truck...

We got back to camp, and Paul suggested a walk up the falls. Now, this requires steps. Hundreds of steps. I already complained about these steps last year, but I will re-hash the pain. Stairs and steps and more steps.

Anyway...we hiked the falls twice. On Saturday, then again Sunday morning. I have lots of mental baggage about doing things like this. I may be 60+ pounds lighter than I was a few years ago, but my mind hasn't caught up with that yet sometimes. I had already walked too far on Saturday, I told myself. A hike? But it was so hot out, and being near the falls is cool, and refreshing. And hot and sweaty. When we were done, I felt like I had run a marathon, whatever that feels like, I was totally drenched. I realized on the way down that I can do more than I think I can. Hundreds of steps, I tell you. Hundreds.

We went to town for ice cream, and walked down Main street.

I slept like a baby last night. A good baby, one like I never really had, the kind that just settles in and sleeps. In a tent, on an airmattress.

So this morning, Paul says, "Let's hike the other half of the falls." Oh. Um. Sure. I would love to. But that niggling voice in the back of my mind started screaming how I could never do that! No, too much, it said. We went. First we had our relaxing breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausage and coffee....then packed up and said goodbye to our campsite...

After our hike, we headed for day number two at the wine and food festival. It was slightly cooler today, 86 degrees. More breezy on the lake, so it felt better. There were less people there, too. We still had plenty of food tickets to use, so I had some homemade ice cream. Rum Raisin and Peppermint Patti, which was a chocolate-mint ice cream with Junior Mints in it. Oh heavenly yumminess. I had some wine samples, really liked the Rieslings, but some of the sweeter wines were good too, like the Niagra - so grape-y! Anyway, we sat in the shade for a bit, and I told Paul I felt like I had died and went to heaven. Homemade ice cream, wine, being with him. He couldn't taste any today because he had to drive, but we managed to pick out six bottles to buy and bring home. One kind is a rasberry-ish, and has to be had with chocolate, preferably dark chocolate. The winery rep actually handed out chocolate with the samples, and I knew I had to have that wine. Emily came over tonight after work, so we had some...she thought it was quite yummy too.

So....home to find out the kids had invited some boys from church over for dinner. All I wanted to do was put my feets up and unpack my bags and talk to the kids...but I grilled some steaks, Mirielle had ordered pizza, Aaron made a salad. It ended up being a really nice time.

I missed my kids this weekend, but totally enjoyed the down-time, the time spent with Paul. Oh, how I love to just sit and think thoughts without being interrupted. I love to talk with Paul without being interrupted. I love to walk along holding his hand, and just enjoy being with him. It is still strange to fix just two plates of food (he fixed mine this morning).

But now we are back to reality. Back to Evelyn demanding a trip to the library. Suzanne needs undershirts. The little girls needed showers and stories and Sonja needed a lunch packed for her field trip tomorrow. And I need to get back on track with eating right. We packed our own food for the weekend, ate chicken and veggies for dinners, and eggs and sausage and fruit for brekkies, but...oh the ice cream, and did I mention the cinnamon roll I had yesterday? Or the fudge samples? Today I got a brownie sample, shared it with Paul, but still. Oh, and the lady from the bakery that makes cannoli? She handed me a spoon of the filling that goes in them. Just handed it to me and asked me if I wanted to taste it. Um, yes. Of course I do! I can't turn that down on a normal day, but give me a little wine, and dang, I can't say no. I loved her so much I bought a dozen almond pizelles to take home to share with the kids. Yeah, I ate one before we even started driving...

So. Back to eating right. No more wine, no more treats. I did get my exercise this weekend, but I think I negated it with all the yummies. But one only lives once, and I truly enjoyed it all. Tomorrow is another day, and tomorrow I will behave. And the sooner I get to bed, the happier I will be when it is time to get out of that bed in the morning.

weekend away: picture perfect....