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

Friday, March 30, 2018

new weight loss program...

It's called Getting Sick. I wish my appetite would stay like this, seriously. I am feeling so much better, but my tummy still aches a bit, and nothing sounds good. Nothing. And shh, I have this little pint-y container of Ben and Jerry's Pumpkin Pie ice cream in my freezer. I had bought it at Target a few weeks ago, clearanced, because apparently pumpkin stuff is not IN in the springtime. I got it in addition to a few of those Halo ice creams, the low calorie stuff. Well it turns out that my son Joseph likes the Halo stuff, so when I REALLY wanted it the other night, it was gone..but, the pumpkin stuff was there, and so, well, I ate half the container, which is TWO servings, and honestly, it took all the mighty willpower I possessed not to finish it off.

And today, even that sounds yuck.

I did have coffee this morning, and some lemon-blueberry almond bread, that I made and froze. (I sliced it up and put it in a freezer bag, now I can just microwave a few slices and have a low-carb brekky...add a little butter, and yum). I ate it, because I know I need to eat, but I didn't really enjoy it. I have heard of real live people who have it like this in general, and I have always envied them.

Anyway. Today, Char and Cam and I are going out and about. We just need to get out of the house. I am not feeling on top of the world, but we feel like going out.

We have plans for tonight, too, Master Chef Junior is on, and we're going to light the new candles the girls made yesterday. They seriously made candles yesterday when I was sick. I said they could. They microwaved crayons, and used wicks from ugly candles that they took apart...they broke my one cup glass measure, and the house smelled like crayons were melting, but no other damage, and their candles are lovely.

Not much else is happening in my little corner of the world...I am going in to the breast cancer specialists on Monday, :(.....not my idea of fun, nor what I like spending money on, but.

Yesterday the girls put the dogs' and cats' new flea collars on, the fifty dollar flea collars...multiplied by four. I am not getting a penny to say this, but the Seresto 8 month collars work! Finally, after years of having dogs and cats and fighting the fleas, these work! I hope they continue to work, too, because two hundred dollars worth of collars...blah. But they will last until the end of November.

Well, the girls are all's funny how things change, they take care of themselves so well, choose their own clothes...I remember when "getting ready" to go bye bye meant choosing out clothes for like ten I just have to give advice, maybe some suggestions to change something or other, help find a particular pair of leggings, but mostly just get my own self ready...

Thursday, March 29, 2018

and the icing on the cake...i'm sick!

I admit it, I had thoughts this winter of immune system supremacy here, just little thoughts that I was too suspicious to actually water and let grow, but I thought I wasn't going to get sick. The flu came and went, and I didn't get it. My kids have been pretty healthy too. Then this throw up bug made the rounds. Little Anne had it, Davian had it, his parents, and my sister and her husband, and lots of other friends. I had a few days last week where I had random yucky feelings, but chalked it up to nervous about the biopsy, or my superior fighting-things-off skills.

Then last night, after being with Ben and Ashley and Anya and Elise looking at a house for sale (they moved into an apartment when they moved here last summer from Washington state), I came home...and suddenly felt a.w.f.u.l. Simply terrible. And you know that terrible moment when there's no escaping the truth: you are gonna barf. No getting around it. I will be kind and spare the details, but it went on and one and on. I suffered. But in it all, I did see some need to go through these things in order to have mercy on others, and also to see how vulnerable we are. Where does goodness go when you don't feel well? hmmm.

Anyway, I had a No Fun night, and now am hoping these little girls don't get it.

The bad thing is that I also spent time yesterday at my sister's house. I went there to pick up Anne, after my mammogram. Ha, my mammogram: after that horrible biopsy on Monday, a mammo is just a huge slice of cake.

Anyway, I picked up Anne, and my niece Janet was there with her three kids, so I invited her over. And she came over. It was a fun visit, and dang it, if I had any inkling I would be throwing up in the evening, obviously, I would never have done any of these things.

I have to keep telling myself that I am not the Boss of Sickness, and if people get sick, I will feel bad....but. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, of course, and I don't even have any enemies.

It's quiet here today, Anne didn't come over. It's just the little girls and me. And Joseph, but he's working. And Paul is at work.

I had a cup of hot tea this morning, even added a little bit of the dreaded sugar, because I wanted it. Now I am wondering if I'll be keeping it down. My tummy hurts horribly. But oh this is easy compared to the days when I had several little ones, and these bugs would come through the house! The baby still has to be nursed and changed when mama is sick, and the toddlers have to be chased and fed and changed and and can take it easier, if you wish, and get even more behind on laundry, and you can let the dishes stack up a bit higher, because heaven knows when you stop barfing, you'll be glad to get a minute to wash those dishes.

I remember breastfeeding a small infant, and getting back into bed after a fun-filled trip to the bathroom, one of those conundrum trips, when you aren't sure if you need to stand up or sit down on that toilet, and the baby started fussing...dizzy and weak, but apparently I survived, and fed that baby.

Anyway, sometimes I think you have to go through some rough stuff to appreciate the more pleasant things in life. And today, although I feel pretty wiped out, I am thankful that I don't have to go to work, and that it's a nice rainy day, to add to the general coziness. Camille is making me a piece of Ezekial raisin toast, and we'll see how that goes...

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

endometrial biopsy: the awful truth....

Okay, I did survive, and here I am, alive and well and living to tell about it. But tell about it, I will! And I'm sorry if this is considered a Woman's Issue, and is therefore Not To Be Spoken About. Because seriously, as I told my husband yesterday, "If you had this done, you would have fainted."

The doctor is a nice guy. He told me, "You've been through worse than this, having all of those babies." And that may be true. But. It doesn't lessen the fact that this was a brutally painful procedure. If you are reading this and are one of those lucky ladies who breezed through it, then good for you. But for me, the pain was literally breathtaking. I got light-headed and found it hard to breathe, and when the dr. stated that the next thing was going to be a little bit MORE painful, I almost passed out.

I don't mean to be dramatic. It's a quick procedure, which is it's only saving grace. The whole thing was uncomfortable, but also extremely painful in parts. And afterwards, dr. warned me about possible passing out, said it was a physical side effect of the dilation of the cervix, and not to fight it if it happened, just sit down quickly.

And here's something good: the doctor thought things looked good, although the official results will take a week from the pathology lab, he said he would be surprised if there was any cancer. That's extremely good news, although I will wait until next week to break out the bubbly.

Anyway...Paul brought me to the appointment, and we took the nice back roads scenic route home, then I asked him to stop and get me some spiked seltzer, and it hit the spot in the evening. Kathryn and the girls were watching The Great British Baking Show, then Master Chef Junior, which showcased the kids making chicken and, of course we had to make chicken and waffles. I just happened to have fresh chicken breast tenders, so I floured, egged, and bread crumbed them, fried them up then baked them a little, while they made a batch of waffles. I skipped the waffles, but the chicken was pretty good, and the kids appreciated it.

I went to bed early...and cried my eyes out. I don't know if the whole biopsy ordeal messed with hormones, or if I was just having a post-procedure shock, but I could not stop crying. At one point I thought about baby Robert, my little guy who was stillborn, several years back, because this pain was like that pain, how the cervix was dilated so quickly, and I remembered how little he was, and how his "birth" was so sad when it should have been such a I just cried until I couldn't cry anymore.

This fine morning, I am of much better disposition, I am not crying anymore, but I still feel achy and crampy, and like I want cookies and chocolate and coffee and a good book in my jammies, but wait: I always feel like that, ha.

Anne is coming soon, and today we are going to the library. Joseph is driving Kathryn to the airport...Kap is 20 years old, but I still worry, she is flying by herself to Norway, via the Atlanta, the biggest airport in the world. She is apprehensive, has traveled alone before, but still.

It's going to be even more quiet here...only Joseph, the little girls, and me, and But I'm sure once Margaret rests up, she'll be here visiting with that sweet little Wulf.:)

Monday, March 26, 2018

monday funday, again...

Sweet little Wulf came to visit us after being discharged from the hospital yesterday. He is so precious.

Meeting grandpa! (I can't believe I'm married to a GRANDPA, ha!)

...and Aunt Emily holding Ben and Ashley's Elise...

Cousin Anya, Ben and Ashley's older daughter, LOVES baby Wulf! "I'm good at holding babies", she said.

So yeah, Margaret and Adrian stopped here for a short visit, so all could meet baby.

Adrian is a good daddy. :) Margaret is tired out, and didn't want any photos taken.

This afternoon I go in for the endome"trial" biopsy, which has TRIAL right in it's name, ha. I tried to negotiate, I called the office this morning and asked about pain medication, and was assured that this was going to be fine, I would only be, "a bit uncomfortable." Ooh, after all the first hand accounts I have read, I feel like I am going to tell them to shove their BIT UNCOMFORTABLE right up...never mind. Maybe it'll be fine. I talked to one of my friends yesterday, she said it was horrible when she had it years ago. Then another friend said it was not too bad. So maybe I'll be like her. Either way, I am not looking forward to it. The nurse told me on the phone this morning that they use a little camera to look all around in there. wow. that makes me feel better. She seemed excited about the technology, but today, I am not excited about it AT ALL.

Paul's taking me to the appointment though, which is nice. I won't have to drive home afterward if I feel yuck. Kathryn is leaving in the morning for Norway, but this fine afternoon, she is taking the two little girls to Wegman's for some eggs and cheese and butter and ham and oranges for me. I don't mind going, but maybe won't feel up to it after the appointment, and tomorrow Anne will be here, ect.

Ah well. Hopefully this biopsy will just have been a waste of time and money, right?

Saturday, March 24, 2018

welcome to the world, baby wulf!!!!

Sweet little grandchild #5 was indeed born on Kathryn Grace's 20th birthday, Auntie Kathryn!

(Miss Kathryn with baby Wulf)

Yesterday was amazing. I spent the entire day at the hospital. Margaret's water broke in the morning, but I am not going to give too many details, because it's her story, not mine. But my part in it, was just fine. Kathryn was here with Char and Cam and cousin Danielle, and took them to Target (ooh, fake nails and face masks!), then to Panera for lunch. I was free to be there at the hospital with Margaret and Adrian...

The baby was born at 9:54 p.m., and I thought it was interesting that my own first baby (Emily) was born on a Friday night at 9:53 p.m., a long time ago. And interesting that 20 years ago yesterday, I was giving birth to my tenth forward 20 years, and I was there with my #9 daughter, welcoming her baby...little Wulf Harland.

It was a long day, and my soul churned for was indeed difficult to see her suffer, although the midwife did her best to remind us that these were "happy pains", and that, "there is a prize at the end!" And indeed, there was a prize at the end.

With Aunt Charlotte Claire...

And with Aunt Camille...

We went up today to visit...after I baked some fresh chocolate chip cookies to bring up. We stopped and got a few nice little baby outfits, and then some lunch, and an iced coffee for Margaret (and ya, one for Kathryn and one for me!)...then yay, we went to the hospital to see that little newborn. He is precious. He was born naturally, after a long and tiring labor, but I have a new respect for the power of should worship the ground we walk on, seriously, pushing a baby out after all that pain...women are amazing. And Margaret did wonderfully.

Today was a good day...popcorn for dinner!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

just checking in...

What a day! This fine morning, five of my kids left for their long-awaited trip to Norway. They were driving to Boston in four rented vans, then will fly to Germany, then to Norway. Then the train for some, a rental van for the others. What fun!

Here at home, you would THINK it would be quiet. But no, we have Miss Char and Miss Cam, along with cousin Danielle, and then Davian (Anne's 6 year old brother), and also little Anne. Lydia is also supposed to come over. Kathryn is here too. And, Margaret is having contractions, today MAY be the day...:)

Today it's sunny. Blue skies, and sunny. It's only 36 degrees out, but sunshine...the kids were out for a few hours. Char and Dani were walking in the barefeet! The sun has warmed it up, and...well, I guess they are just ready for spring. And yes, we still have tons of snow in the yard.

Now they are back inside. They are having chicken tenders for lunch, and Char is attempting a batch of peanut butter cookies, hopefully fully realizing the difference between a tablespoon and a teaspoon this time, especially for the salt.

Tomorrow, Kathryn Grace turns 20. (She has something going on with one of her molars, and made a dentist appointment, wanting to get it taken care of before she leaves for Norway on Tuesday, so she goes in to the dentist on Monday. Her dental insurance only covers up to age 19. So after tomorrow, she has no insurance. Happy Birthday dear Kathryn.)

Kathryn is my tenth child. I don't honestly remember much about her birth, but I do remember having the world's worst migraine after she was born. Way back when, when my first few babies were born, there was such a thing as a newborn nursery, where the babies would go to sleep in their little glass beds, where there were nurses to rock them to sleep and change their diapers. Maybe they still exist in some hospitals, but they were certainly being phased out to the point of not being used very much by the time Kathryn was born. I remember Paul went home, and I was there with my little newborn, and my headache was getting worse and worse...I pressed the call button, and told them I had a headache, and needed something. They must have had lots of more important things going on. After the headache got really bad, I called again. When I finally got some ibuprofen, I was crying because it hurt so badly. I asked the nurse to please take baby Kathryn for me...I heard her remark to a co-worker as she wheeled her out of my room, "Ten kids! Just wait 'til she gets home!" I cried even harder, because, ha, I was thinking the very same thing.

But look how time flies, and I obviously not only survived, but had six more babies, although not entirely painlessly.

Kathryn was a really easy baby, I do remember that. When she was born, I had my hands full.
Emily was 13
Abigail 11
Benjamin 9
Mirielle 8
Joseph 6
Aaron 5
Mali Rose 4
Samuel 2 and a half
Margaret 15 months, and one day old.

(When Ben was 9, he had seven younger siblings!)

Anyway. Tomorrow is her birthday, and lots of her sisters are gone, so we will figure out something fun to do.

Suri is busy with the empty peanut butter jar. Davian is talking to Kathryn about conjuvating verbs in French, and I am wondering where my Target order is. I have a RedCard, so free 2-day shipping on any order, and no, I am not getting paid to write that, although if I got paid to blog I would be all set. I do love Target, and am looking forward to getting a few new tank tops and an elbow length sleeve top, and a few cute little tops for Miss Cam.

Anyway. The sunshine is brightening up the house, and spring will be here before we know it...:)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

plans and reality....

Would this make nicer valances than we already have? That was the plan here, for me to hold this fabric, and Cam took pics, so I could see. I thought it would be a nice change, and since I have the sewing machine out on the kitchen table, may as well. This piece of fabric is actually one curtain panel which was reduced to $1.99.

I sat down in my chair with the curtain panel, to put my glasses on and look at the pics Camille took, to decide if they would look okay, and oops, where did I leave my coffee? Cam, be a dear and grab that coffee for me...she is such a sweetheart, she brought it right away, and oops! She was coming at me fast, I put up my hand to try to slow her down, take the cup, but nope, that coffee sloshed all over the $1.99 curtain panel. She said it was because I put my hand up, and I thought it was because she was coming way too fast, but we agreed after four seconds that it was just an unfortunate accident, and oh well, put that thing in the wash...if it doesn't come clean, it doesn't come clean.

And now I am here blogging, while the girls work on spelling.

We spent way too much time this morning dreaming and planning about what exactly we would re-do and renovate if we won the grocery store $250 thousand dollar home prize. Bigger kitchen/dining area for sure, so everyone would fit at the table, bigger island with more stools/chairs, so more people could talk to me as I cook (Cam's idea), an in-ground pool with a nice patio, and new flooring in the kitchen. They like planning out the whole details, and I am thankful I have this time to spend with them.

It's fun to do, but, I suggested, maybe we should just be thankful for the home we have, and try to improve it in the ways we can manage, like the projects we are hoping to start one of these days, painting cabinets, ect.

Anyway, I need to give spelling tests...

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

late night writing...

It's quiet in here, and I am yawning over and over and over again. But the quiet is too delicious to not stay up and enjoy. Jonathan had like five friends over, and if you've never had a house full of teenage boys, well, let's just say they don't even know what the word QUIET means. They're good kids, they really are, and I don't mind them coming over, but it IS noisy. Add the rest of my kids, and someone riding around on the hoverboard, and Suri needing a bath, and you have just a little bit of chaos.

I dragged out the sewing machines today, to teach the little girls how to sew. Camille did okay, she made a pillowcase, with a bit of help. Char declined a turn at the machine, said she would try tomorrow when there's no one around. She is afraid to make a mistake. I mean, Cam sewed the edge of the pillowcase to the middle of it, somehow.

I made a few new covers for the couch pillows, figure it's better to just cover the fur pillows than pack them away...and ha, forget where they are when I want them.

Kathryn made burgers for dinner, and one of my teenage daughters was not happy, she had just showered and washed her hair, and didn't want to "smell like hamburgers." She suggested we grill them outside. um, no. Too cold, sorry!

Paul has been working too much. He left for work far before I got up at 6:45, and came home at almost nine p.m. He ate dinner, didn't sit down, just walked around the kitchen and ate, packed up some lunch, filled the coffee pot for morning, then showered and went to bed. He has projects at work, is going to India again soon, and then after that, Singapore. That's pretty far away.

We are getting a gym membership tomorrow, it expired a bit ago. Kathryn agreed to hold down the fort for a bit, when Anne is napping, so I can go and take Jon, Char, and Cam to the pool for a swim. :)

Well, sorry, but it's no good staying up late to write when the kids have all gone to bed if I can't stop yawning! I wish I could just sleep here in my chair. I am too tired to get up and take a shower, but I will. In a minute.

Yesterday, Camille and I sneaked out and about for a little while. We went to the craft store, and got some new spring fake flowers, and some Easter decorations, which were 70% off, then an additional 15% off for my teacher's discount. So we got a basket for like 45 cents, and some sparkly eggs to put in it, and a few small cute little bunnies, and a string of pastel lights to put on the bookcase. Cam thought it was great fun, and I am a sucker for The Enthusiasm of Children, and Lord knows there are not enough "children" around here anymore. They get older and roll their eyes at cute bunnies!

In the afternoon, Evelyn and I took a quick trip to the thrift store, and yay, I found the perfect little bookshelf for Jon's room! He asked for one, and I said to wait, I'd find one at the thrift store, and it was only $8.99. I can't wait to chalk paint it. I also got a water table for the deck, for spring and summertime with grandchildren (and for Anne!), for $4.99. Ev found an excellent jacket, and some Tom's (shoes) which looked unworn, and I found new Adidas pants. All for 34 dollars.

Anyway. Today was a stay-at-home day, which was nice. Anne was as cute as she usually is. We got some school done, and I made a keto almond flour lemon/blueberry bread that was super yummy. The recipe was for one loaf, but it baked it in two pans so the loaves were smaller. I ate about half of one throughout the day, but sliced up a lot to freeze. It's nice to be able to microwave the almond bread with some butter, and have a good healthy snack when I really want something carb-y. Camille shredded up orange zest for me since we had no lemons, then I added lemon juice, it was just yummy. I did add two teaspoons of honey, which isn't bad for two loaves, 30 calories of sweetener, and two packets of stevia. It was moist and looked delicious, but was unsweet and satisfying.

Tomorrow, Abigail is stopping in, Benjamin is coming for dinner with Ashley and Anya (and baby Elise, but she doesn't eat food yet!)

Margaret and Adrian's baby was due yesterday, so one of these days, you will open this blog, and there'll be pics of grandbaby # five!!! She is SO ready to have that baby! Adrian is so excited he can barely sleep. Ha get used to it, right?

Then Thursday morning, four of the kids(and Abigail) are heading out to Boston in a fleet of rental vans with the other youth kids, to fly to Norway for their Easter camp. (Mirielle and Kathryn are going later) It's all centered around the young people, like 4,200 of them from around the world, doing activities and having meetings. It's also for their mentors, older youth who have good soft hearts and work with the younger ones. It's really amazing that they get to go, they are SO excited about it! They have to miss a bit of school, so they have been so busy making up work in advance. They have been washing their clothes and packing and having permission forms signed, and remembering shampoo and fretting over TWELVE DAYS of underwear!

It's all quite exciting. It will be super quiet here, with just Paul and I, and Joseph, and the little girls here, and then Anne coming over, and Lydia...they will both be here on Thursday.

Next week, ugh, I have that biopsy on Monday, a mammogram on Wednesday, then an appointment with the breast cancer specialist on the following Monday. I also am planning and hoping to be with Marg and Adrian when their baby is born, so I have to figure out what to do with little girls, have a back-up plan for Anne (I think her Aunt Audrey, my sister Cheryl's youngest, will watch her). Never a dull moment. I'm glad my life isn't dull, but a few dull moments all strung together would suit me. :) With a stack of good books, and some cookies, although I am not eating cookies these days. I don't like to come out and say it, but I am doing okay, diet-wise. Once I get a few days of clean eating under my considerably large belt, I feel on top of the world, so I have to be careful, because we all know what happens too easily, and it starts with maybe an absent-minded bite of something chocolate, or the dreaded ONE POTATO CHIP. Or, maybe it starts with the thought that since it's a party, or since we worked so hard, or since I spent so much money on this pizza, or or or...there is no end to the plethora of excuses that flood my brain on a regular basis. Getting sugar free helps. I am trying to ease myself back into more strict keto, that way I am mildly interested in donuts and cookies, but feel satisfied...and well, that's not entirely true. I am never, nor have ever been, only MILDLY interested in donuts and cookies. It's my plague in life, the thorn in my flesh, my Achilles heel.

And...I'm tired. Goodnight.

Monday, March 19, 2018

monday funday...

Can you say Sweet Sixteen? Not talking about my daughter Sonja, who will be turning sixteen in May (how did THAT happen? My five-girls-in-a-row-in-5-years will be: 21, 20, 18, 17, and 16...wowza) I am talking about the Syracuse basketball team...barely made it into the tournament, and beat Michigan State last night! We do our fundraisers at the Dome, Syracuse University, and have been at pretty much all their home games, for years, so it's nice to see them win big!

In other news, not so much. Trying to navigate this parenting stuff, appointments, reports, figure out what's the most important...

Our Cabin In The Woods rental is coming up in only three months. Yay!

Five of our kids are leaving on Thursday for a 12 day trip to Norway. Two others are leaving next week for a shorter version of the trip. Margaret and Adrian's baby is due today.

I spent too much time trying to figure out who our new vision care provider is this morning, as well as applying for a five dollar vitamin rebate. I read the morning news, blah...Hillary says women who voted for Trump only did so because they can't think for themselves and voted the way their husbands did. ? Insulting? Just for the record, I couldn't bring myself to vote for either of the two of them, but that's irrelevant. The meanness and the rudeness...blah.

I have had my coffee this morning and have lots to do. Sorry this is so are all up and talking to me...

Friday, March 16, 2018


Sometimes I wonder how people who don't write, sort out their thoughts. I think of this blog like a huge colander for the things that swirl around in my head. I sit here with no idea what will come out through my fingers onto the screen, then things become clear as I read what I have written. I rarely edit, which is probably obvious.

Today, I am thinking about how much I like life. I was getting cream for my coffee this morning, standing there in the kitchen with one hand on the refrigerator door and the other on my lower back, and I realized just how fortunate I am. It came like a lightening bolt...standing there in a warm kitchen, pouring hot coffee, with two sweet kitties rubbing against my legs. That I am a lucky girl.

I am excited for the days to come. Margaret and Adrian are having their baby soon, and Lydia was here with her mama, Mali, last night, lighting up the house, and Anya almost came over but was still recovering from being sick...these little ones, I love them! And I was thinking about going out to visit my son Aaron...they are buying a house in Eugene, Oregon, moving from California. I was thinking of the camp we are renting in June, in the Adirondacks. I was thinking of the sisters' conference coming up in May, on the weekend that Emily graduates...finally, she'll be a nurse practitioner!

Spring...I was also thinking of spring. Today we are getting a bit more snow, it's dark and gloomy, with big fat snowflakes falling on the snow we already have. Joseph just got back from the gym a half an hour ago, and his car is covered again. It's not windy or blizzard-y, just snow.

I have always been a thinker of about mortality, lived with a knowledge that our days are numbered. And not to be dramatic, but with this possibility of endometrial cancer, I have decided even more to live life to the fullest, even if it's just a day here at home. It's too easy to just go through the motions, to live in such a take-it-for-granted way. I can talk to my kids without really hearing what I'm saying, and without seeing the effect it has on them. I've been working on actually connecting with each of them, listening to them, pulling them in for a hug...although with teenage girls this isn't always what they want, ha.

I've noticed that we can live with the same background thoughts streaming perpetually in our heads without even noticing that we live by them: he's this way, she always says that, no one listens to me, I'm tired of making dinner, wah wah wah.

But when I decide to have new thoughts, to bless more, to think less of myself, to say NO to being offended, to fight tooth and nail against all that would divide, which is MY OWN SIN...things go so much better. We just walk around with these little demands inside, that other people should be different...and we miss out on what we SHOULD be aware of, which is how annoying and demanding WE are.

Yesterday, we went on a small outing, mostly wanting to get out of the house. For one thing, I saw my sister in Bed Bath and Beyond, checking out the clearance, it was so nice to see her. She had to leave though, was with a daughter who had to get to work...then she texted me a little while later and said, "Open your window". I texted back, "We're in Marshalls." She replied, "Oops so who is that 2 cars behind us in McDonald's that we're waving to?:):):)" ha.

In Marshalls, which I was scouting looking for tights for Sonja, and of course who can resist looking at their housewares and home decorations?...anyway, I went to walk down one aisle, and there were two people blocking the aisle, I tried the next aisle, and same thing. I grumbled about it as I decided out loud to just skip those aisles. Then I realized, loud and clear, how ridiculous I was being. Those people have every right to shop, to converse...I thought to myself, after seeing how jerky I was being, "Do you really want to turn into a miserable, complaining old lady?"

Anyway. Life is interesting. And I decided, for the umpteenth time, to make the most out of the days.

Yesterday when we got home, Miss Anne, who had taken just a little nap in the van, decided NOT to go back to sleep here for a nap. She was fine though, playing dollhouse and walking around singing here ABC's. Charlotte decided to make peanut butter cookies all by herself. I decided to let her, which meant staying out of the kitchen, so I didn't end up micromanaging. Well, she made beautiful cookies, picture perfect...but she added 1/2 TABLESPOON of salt instead of 1/2 TEASPOON. oops. So to fix it, after the first batch baked, she added baking cocoa and more brown sugar to the rest of the batter, and it helped alot. And, hopefully she learned!:)

I made chicken soup...I cut up the whole package (six pounds) of chicken breast into cubes, dredged in flour and salt and pepper, and browned it up in batches, in olive oil...then put it into chicken broth, then added fresh sliced carrots, which Camille cut up for me. (they like to watch Master Chef Jr., what can I say?) I cooked egg noodles on the side, so the whole soup didn't get mushy, and also steamed some broccoli. It was a warm yummy dinner...Margaret and Adrian, and Mali and Lydia were here.

I bought some new slippers in Marshall's for four dollars...happiness. I am a scuffling-around-slipper-wearer. I would rather be barefoot, but the floors, mostly the tiles in the kitchen, are too cold.

Our last stop yesterday was the grocery store. We have a chain here in the Northeast, Wegman's. You can't dislike Wegman's. They price all the essentials moderately, but also have the really high end stuff, their produce is beautiful, their meat is excellent, they don't really have sales, just all the time good value, and their stores feel warm and welcoming. Their fresh Italian bread is head and shoulders above other supermarket bread. Their own store made hot sausage is delicious, the chicken breast is always $1.99 a pound, burger is equally cheap. You can go through the store quickly and get what you need without breaking the bank, although you can easily do that too.

Anne sang her way through Wegman's. She charmed the cashier, and the cashier one over, with her sweet little voice, as she tried in vain to reach the check-out candy and the buttons on the card reader. I love her to pieces, but bringing her bye-bye makes me wonder how I managed for all those the time most of mine were her age (18 months), I would have had a newborn too, sometimes a three month old, and then of course there would be the almost-three-year old, and the four year old...ha.

Today, Anne is not coming over. We decided to go on an outing that does not include the grocery store, but haven't decided yet what to do....

Thursday, March 15, 2018

does shoveling the driveway count as a workout?

Or as an outing?

We got more snow last night, it looks like a winter wonderland out there. I baked four pumpkin pies for pi day,

(when I say "I", I mean "we". Char and Cam made the filling, they had to double the recipe and mix it up themselves while I made the crust, then they filled them. Char also made some delicious "cinnamon buns" from the scraps of the crust...she rolled it all out, added butter and cinnamon/sugar, rolled it up, and sliced it with dental floss...they were way too good.)

Imagine me, lover of all things pumpkin, snowed in with four fresh pumpkin pies. Can we just say that TODAY, I am not having any pie? And can we also mention: it WAS lunch.

Anyway. This morning I got up and shoveled a path for the high school girls. I didn't shovel the whole thing. Paul had left for work already, he is a workaholic. Not that he LOVES working, but there is always some project or other, and he goes in early and gets home late. Last evening, I felt terrible because we had made an excellent dinner, chicken fajitas. I had cut the chicken breasts into slices, and marinated it in lemon and lime juices, and spices and olive oil. Then Jonathan and I each manned a frying pan, and we browned those slices up. The girls cut up peppers and romaine, and got out cheese, tortillas, ect. Paul worked late, walked in while we were finishing dinner...and oops. The chicken was gone. 5.73 pounds of chicken breast. I felt soooooo bad. He made himself some eggs.

It's not my fault the chicken was so good. ha.

Winter seems here to stay. This coming weekend is forecast to be...cold. Really cold. I don't want to be sick and tired of it, I want to embrace it, but...I long for sunshine on my skin. I like the coziness, but...

We do have the world's nicest kitty. This kitty, who thinks the UppaBaby bassinet is for him.

Sunny and Little Orange Guy, they keep an eye on things...

They are cute, aren't they?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

well I wasn't expecting that...

So I went to my appointment yesterday, and thought the doctor would say, "Oh Mrs. W., everything is absolutely fine! You can go home and enjoy life, you'll no doubt live 'til you're a hundred!" But he didn't say that. The sonogram technician was very serious, told me I was smart to come right in. Then the nurse who talked to me before I saw the doctor echoed that. She explained what was likely going to happen during the doctor's exam, so when she left the room, I crawled out the window and ran down the road. Not really. But anyway. The doctor came in and did not say that I was going to live to one hundred, but he didn't give me a death sentence either. He explained that the sono showed a thickening of the uterine lining, which along with the postmenopausal bleeding, is something that has to be "further explored." He said, and I quote, "This is not just nothing." That is doctor-speak for "you aren't just wasting your money."

So, he told me to load up on ibuprofen, because this next procedure is going to hurt. He really said that. I got to choose to do it in the office, or over at the hospital, and duh, I chose the office. It's got to be cheaper, and it seems less...less serious. It didn't happen yesterday, no, that would be too simple, I instead have to wait for two weeks, just biding my time and living my life, and not thinking about tombstone sayings, although I do think I'll stick with the simple statement, "She Tried.", as my son Aaron suggested several years ago.

This whole thing is a trial of patience, because it takes a few weeks to get into the dr. in the first place, then this appointment was two weeks later, then the next one in two weeks...if it IS cancer, it could be having a pretty big party in all this time, don't ya think? Catch it early, they say. You'll have a much higher survival rate, they say. Reality: We're booked solid, but we can maybe fit you in two weeks from tomorrow....

But this whole thing is also a trial of faith. Do I really know and believe that the hairs of my head are numbered? And think of the treasures to be gained!

But on a happier note, just look at these best friends...

Sunny and Little Orange Guy just love each other. Orange Guy just rubs against Sunny purring, and curls up and sleeps with her. They chase each other around the house, but never are rough with each other. Sunny will just give the kitty a bath, and kitty will purr and snuggle. I don't know why I get such a kick out of it. And you know how kitties like to attack anything that moves, this kitty attacks wagging dog tails, and the dogs don't do anything about it.

Kitty started rabbit kicking Sunny's face, and Sunny was just like, "Really? Really?"

But back to my doctor's visit: I am not really planning my funeral. I am not actually THAT dramatic, but the thoughts do wander, and people DO die, and one of my best girlfriends died of breast cancer when we were 32 years old. I am also going in for my yearly mammogram, then the next week to the breast cancer specialists...poked and prodded, I tell you. Ain't nobody got time for that.

But in it all, there is real life, and real life is a gift. Even when someone takes the last can of seltzer and leaves the empty box, and when the last person who eats puts the rest of the corned beef in a baggie in the refrigerator but leaves the empty crockpot on the counter without even giving it a rinse. Even when you get home from the grocery store to find out you are out of milk and it's supposed to snow for the next three days.

My daughter Margaret is having a baby soon. I am cordially invited to the birth, which I am honored and thrilled about. They each called me last night after midnight, her husband Adrian, and her. She was having sharp pain, so I said to just go in and get checked out. They said they would text me if it was anything...around 2:30 Adrian texted and said baby is fine, and it isn't time yet. So I finally fell asleep. Tired is my middle name, I tell you.

One of these nights it WILL be time, and I hope it isn't snowing, they live a good half an hour north of here.

And now Anne is here, we have taken a trip to the library, and stopped into the grocery store for milk, cheese, and oranges, and are home again...

Monday, March 12, 2018

our story....

A long time ago, when I was a teenager, sixteen years old, I was unconverted, I was silly, but I did have a strong belief in God. So, it's embarrassing to say, but I prayed for a boyfriend. A good boyfriend, a keeper, ha, I was ready to settle down. This sounds ridiculous, but I didn't like the "game", the break-ups and the cheaters and the whole dating thing.

And then I spent a weekend with my cousin, who lived out in the country in the Finger Lakes, and on Saturday night, we went "out". She was 18, which was legal age then for bars, I was sixteen...and a half. So I practiced my story, convincingly told the bouncer my birthday, using the real month and day, and fudging the year. Since most of it was true, I didn't feel too bad lying, and he believed me, that I forgot my license, and was from Syracuse and visiting my cousins.

And, that night, my cousin and I played the game where we just stood around looking at all the guys, choosing the cute ones and saying, "Wouldn't I like to bring HIM home to mama." When I saw Paul, it was game over, he was the one for me. He had lots of curly hair, and a navy blue velour v-neck long sleeved shirt on, remember those? He was standing around with his friends, and then he went up to the bar, and my cousin pointed out that his shirt tag was sticking out...she dared me to go tuck it in! Now, a dare, I couldn't refuse a DARE. So I did it. (and to be perfectly clear, I had not had any alcohol. We were not drinking, just standing around being silly). And he turned around, and I told him his tag was sticking out, and he was even cuter close up. He had just bought two of those little beers, don't think they still make them, O.V. splits, the seven ounce bottles. He handed me one, and we talked. We talked about Bugs Bunny (he loves him), Stephen King books, and then we danced. Whenever I hear Benny Mardones' "Into the Night" (If I could fly, I'd pick you up, and take you into the night...), oh dear, I was head over heels...

He was the one.

The thing is, he assumed, and rightly so, that since I was in a bar, I was at least eighteen, and well, he was in college, and I was in eleventh grade. So he asked for a senior picture, and I only had one from tenth grade. Then he met a mutual friend, a friend of my brother, who spilled the beans. Now, to get this clear, I had never lied to him about my age, he hadn't asked, but I was aware it would be an issue, and was dreading it. It wasn't a deal breaker, as he really liked me too.

We got married when I was 18 and a half, two years and two months after we met.

He had finished college, and was working, I had graduated high school and was working...

Anyway, that's the story about how we met.

Today, I have a doctor's appointment, to see the OB/GYN, the midwife recommended I see him regarding the bleeding I had a few weeks ago. So I am hoping and praying there is nothing going on, in fact, I would like it if the ultrasound shows a baby or two in there, ha, but no cancer.

Anyway...I have things to do, and kids to teach....

Friday, March 9, 2018

happy anniversary to me...and paul...

34 years ago today, it was actually a Friday back then too, Paul and I got his mom's living room, by a justice of peace. If I could do it all over again, I would probably have a nicer wedding, but I would still marry the same guy. He's a keeper. We were so young, so naive, so hopeful. Emily came along ten months afterwards, and of course it was all uphill from there, ha, with 21 pregnancies in all, one stillborn baby, and the sixteen kids. It's been a crazy life, but oh so blessed.

Of course when you get married, you're attracted to each other. You love each other. That's usually the case. But why do so many marriages break up? What happens? Does it just naturally wear off? I can only speak from experience, but here's my take on it: day in, day out, thoughts come, I am tempted to maybe judge him, criticize him, be offended...maybe my feelings got hurt, so inside, I rack up the wrongs I have perceived, and harden my heart just a little bit. I get a little indifferent, or maybe I am going into full fledged Poor Me syndrome. Maybe some of this happens while I'm not looking, and I get grace to see it, and battle it full on! To keep the heart pure is a worthwhile fight! And when I fight my OWN sin, when I forgive and when I let things go, and when I decide to be kind and merciful instead of harboring a grudge, how can things NOT go well? I truly believe that Satan has had a field day with marriage in our day and age, whispering accusations and causing strife and division.

Just to be totally honest, life ain't always sunshine and roses, and married life is no different. There are times and seasons, and trials, but I cannot stress this enough: God can do amazing things when we put our trust in Him. Humility brings grace from God.

But anyway. We haven't seen each other much in the last month, he's been in Boston for work three out of the last four weeks. He gets home tonight, then tomorrow morning he has to be at the Dome bright and early for a fundraiser, and I have plans tomorrow. I let myself daydream of a trip to Jamaica, again, ha, because oh dear, leaving all obligations behind and just being together...but it's not happening. Maybe we can get away for a night or weekend one of these days.

This has been a grand morning so far. I got up and puttered around, made sure the school girls had their lunches, and after they got on the bus, I straightened things up, changed the couch covers, swept the floors, made coffee, let the dogs in and out twice, fed the kitties...then Joe, Kathryn, and Jonathan got back from the gym and oops, backed right into the ditch at the end of the driveway. They had to pull the car out with the truck. We are getting lots of snow...winter is getting old, ha.

I have to drive to the airport to pick Paul up this afternoon or evening, whenever he gets in from Boston, he is driving and will return the rental to the airport...hope it's not too snowy.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

having eleven daughters....

Suzanne Eleanor 17, Emily Anne 33, Mirielle Joy 28, Sonja Kathleen 15, Margaret Cheryl 21, Mali Rose 24, Kathryn Grace 20, Evelyn Joy 18, Abigail Marie 31, and in the front, Miss Camille Anaya 10 and Miss Charlotte Claire 11.
Today is Mali's birthday. (Mali is Lydia's mom, this pic was taken three years ago this summer, before we met Miss Lyd, it seems impossible that we survived without knowing her!)

The five-girls-in-a-row-in-five-years are now 21, 20, 18 1/2, 17, and almost 16. How indeed did that happen? When we were at Disney, there was a family with four little girls in matching dresses, and ha, I realized WHY people stared at us, ha, but I thought to comment, "Wait 'til they're teenagers!", but didn't. Because first of all, when your little girls still let you dress them in matching pink dresses, there is no way in heck you can imagine what it's like when they grow up and develop minds of their own. You also can't imagine the multitude of blessings that come with being there with them as they grow up and turn into their own selves. You may well be able to get a glimpse of the battles lying ahead, the battles of will and of attitudes and maybe even the slamming of a few doors, but you won't know how fiercely you will still love them, how you will admire their strengths and abilities.

My daughters are so different from each other. Emily has the best memory, she excels in history and remembers conversations, song lyrics, and medical terms with ease, but she would be the one who would forget her water bottle at the park. She is a hard worker, loves hikes and bike rides and the big outdoors, but a good book and a rainy day...yup.

Abigail is an accountant, she likes lists and organization. When she was little, we used to call her Bert (from Sesame Street...he had a paper clip collection). She has a worrying personality, but she is also the best driver, calmly pivoting through traffic...

Benjamin...from my sweet baby Benjamin Bunny, to the toddler nickname of Hurricane Hugo, to the cool and extremely challenging teenager, Ben has the biggest heart. He has grown into such a thoughtful young man, responsible and reliable and capable...

Mirielle...she's a force to be reckoned with. You won't call her, "Honey", or "Sweetheart". (even though she is, ha.) She stands up for what she believes in, her faith in God is strengthening. She is a hard worker too, she has lots of initials behind her name now, RN, BSN, and OCN. She is an oncology nurse. I LOVE traveling with her, we went to Ireland and drove across the country together, and were still friends when we got there, ha.

Mali Rose...she is an excellent mama! Lydia is like a mini-Mali, so much spunk and personality! Mali is a hard worker too, she manages to work full time as an RN, and be a good mommy too. Mali is funny and quick, but she is soft and kind, she is a giver, doesn't backbite anyone, ever.

Margaret: Her baby is due any time now! It's hard to reconcile the Margaret who gave me such a hard time as a teenager to the Margaret who is married and almost a mommy, because we get along so well now. She wasn't terrible or anything, just strong-willed. Her strength is a good thing, she has principles and is firm in what she believes. And, she didn't like dogs growing up, now she has two, they're her kids...for now.

Kathryn...oh Kappy Sue, how sweet you are. Kap is the work-out queen, and an excellent big sister. She homeschooled for the last few years of high school, and was so diligent to learn what she was supposed to. She has a good head on her shoulders, and is trustworthy and fun, too.

Evelyn...Ev is so reliable and she can figure things out, and doesn't need to be told twice what needs to be done. She is smart and quick-witted, and full of wisdom and advice. She's a reader, and she is a doer.

Suzanne...she learned to crochet from watching you-tube videos, and now you rarely see her without a new project spinning into being, like kitty hats, or a blanket. She made me a wonderful scarf. She is a staunch conservative, lost some friends at school for finally saying she didn't believe in abortion, no way no how, and Miss Suze has the softest heart. She is funny and sarcastic and she looks at me over the top of her glasses, and I look at her over the top of mine.

Sonja K...Sonja is more liberal in her thinking, and likes to argue her points. She is silly and sweet and very strong. She recently pierced her own ears, she already had one hole in each, but that wasn't enough, she did it herself, second holes. Was I thrilled? no. But she has such a good heart, and would do anything for me.

Charlotte Claire...Char is yacky and sweet and energetic and the most flexible child we've ever had. She is capable and independent and she LOVES the dogs. She can bathe them and feed them, and they sleep in her room. She trained Sunny to jump through the hula hoop.

Camille...Cam will always be The Baby. She still wears this giant blanket sleeper pair of jammies, and I call her the big baby, but shh, she doesn't know it. She still perches on the arm of my chair at least once a day. She is always busy with something, right now she is making seals on envelopes with the glue gun and old crayons. She doesn't get bored, and she has to have a book to read as she falls asleep at night. She is a first class speller, and learns things fast. I go...Evelyn has only study halls for the rest of the day and wants to be picked up from school...

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

love, bunnies, easter, and siblings....

How about a random disjointed post for a change?

Here's something: the older kids in our family are amazing to the younger ones. I can't even explain it. Kathryn for example, she painted and re-did her room, the two little girls helped her...then Jonathan wanted to switch from the bunk beds he has had forever, to a loft bed no one was using, and Kathryn wanted to switch from her bed to one of Jon's bunks, so they had to get the drill and take things apart and move things up and down the stairs. I didn't hear fighting or complaining, no, they were laughing and singing. Then last night, the little girls were getting their bedding for a sleepover in Kathryn's room.

Yesterday afternoon, I decided to do something fun with just the two youngest, Miss Char and Miss Cam.

(this was taken at Disney)
Anyway, I asked them what they wanted to do...then I looked at what movies were playing. Now, we rarely go to the movies. But, it was only going to be the three of us, Paul is in Boston for the week, the older kids were all going to a I offered to take them to the new Peter Rabbit movie, and they gleefully accepted. I half thought they would think it was lame, being such a kids' movie, but they were excited to go. Being a Tuesday evening, the theater for that movie was empty, except for us. We really enjoyed it, thought it was entertaining, with nothing bad in it. And the bunnies were cute!

On the way home, we talked about Easter baskets. Now, I love filling Easter baskets. I've had years when I've filled not only 16 for my kids, but some for friends too, who weren't getting one for some reason or other. Now that the kids are mostly grown up, they don't need baskets of candy anymore. Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, and Jonathan are going to be in Norway for Easter, so I thought I'd just get them some gum, Tic-Tacs, mints, ect., to take in their backpacks. And maybe some money for Norwegian chocolate, that maybe just maybe will make it's way back to their mama.:) Anyway, Char says she doesn't really want a basket, but then started naming things she WOULD like, Reese's eggs, a few chocolate Cadbury eggs, and yes, some jellybeans. Cam just flat out wants the whole shebang. "I would still like an Easter basket, Mommy!"

Another thing about siblings and love: the older kids have been so generous to help the younger ones with their big trip to Norway. It warms my heart. They will repay them, in helping them do things around their houses, ect., but still, it's amazing.

And not much else is going on...

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur...

Sadly, two of our kittens died the other night. They had gotten separated from their mama for a few hours, and were cold and weakly mewing when Jonathan found them. He tried to warm them up by putting them next to his skin, and using a warm rice bag. He tried to give them to mama kitty but she just licked them once or twice and they were too weak to nurse. They were a week old, and we already loved them, and Jon was pretty broken up about it. They just stopped moving, and it was sad. They were all snuggled into a nest he had made for them, and we had to bury them in the yard. I found a really nice box, from an Aldi's bath gift set, and lined it with paper towels. And please, I know they were "only kittens", but that's not how the heart works, is it? The saddest part for me was how awful it was for the kids. Jonathan hugging sobbing Miss Char, oh my soul.

Mama kitty knows something's up. She cannot count, but she seems to think the three kittens remaining aren't enough. She keeps moving them from in the closet to into the room, she's agitated. We keep it quiet in there, the dogs don't go in there and bother her, and now Jon has a space heater in there, even though that room is really warm. He keeps checking on them, to make sure they are safe and near mama.

(This mama cat is going to get spayed this time for sure, after these kittens are weaned! We tried to do it last time, got all the pre-surgery stuff done, then we kept Mr. Orange Guy, who wouldn't stop nursing, and before we knew it, she was in heat again, and I just knew...and I was right. We simply couldn't do a kitty-bortion, they do those, and wah. So this time, we aren't keeping any kittens, and off to the vet she'll go after we rehome the three kittens. The daddy cat is a wanderer cat, a cat of many homes, mostly the woods, hardly here, we haven't seen him in forever now...)

Anyway. Animals bring joy, too. Just look at these two.

Sunny's face!

Suri's face!

They can be royal pains in the arses, but, they bring so much fun and blessing and cuddling into the house. They sleep in the little girls' room at night, spoiled little princesses, all four of them, ha. (The name Suri means princess) And Sunny, well, it's not original, but she IS Sunny. When she's in trouble, I call her her whole name, Little Miss Sunshine. Oh dear, I'm the crazy dog lady.

Here's what Cam made the other day, with minimal help:

I wish I could say they looked good but I have no idea how they tasted, but alas, sometimes even my will of steel caves when there are cookies aroma-ing up the house. The ones minus the chocolate chips were chewy and heavenly, then I ventured to try just one WITH the chips, and that's really all I had, four plain, and one with chips. Ashley said that oatmeal cookies are healthy, and I just looked at her over the top of my glasses.

Today, we're having meatballs for dinner. Spaghetti for the kids. I love knowing what's for dinner.

The crock-pot is my friend. I bought a piece of boneless pork, for $1.49 a pound, a $12 piece, cut it in half and put it in the crock pot with a marinade of lemon and lime juices, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Then a sprinkling of brown sugar on top. Oh dear, so yummy. It fell apart, and we ate it like pulled pork...some Sticky Fingers spicy barbecue sauce, mmm.

Evelyn and the girls cleaned the laundry room the other day. Now, this is wonderful, walking in there with everything in it's place, I love doing laundry again. But, as with all good things, it's too good to be true, as she goes in there and has a little fit if anything is out of place. Dryer lint, on the shelf, really Mom? What's this doing draped here? ouch. um. That was me. ha. I am trying really hard to keep it clean!

I also cleaned my room that same day. Piles on top of piles, I sorted and got rid of stuff, washed stuff and put it away, vacuumed and cleaned the windows, washed bedding, shined the mirrors, now I like waking up in my room again. I also found good stuff. I am a stasher. Not a hoarder, as I heard my kids saying as they cleaned the laundry room. They shouldn't sling around those kind of terms, because I am so NOT a hoarder. I don't mind throwing things away, I just like getting new things, ha. And I like bargains, and most of the time, the things I buy are very appreciated by someone, sometime. So when I cleaned my room, I good know, you come home with a bag with a shirt in it for one of the girls, maybe for their birthday...or something for someone who has a baby you put it in your room. Evelyn found a huge-0 bag of candy in the laundry room, unopened. I acted like I knew it was in there, it was for Easter. ha. They opened it. Ev said she just wanted ONE PIECE. Well, you know how THAT went. But it was a good prize for all their hard work.

The good part of letting a room get so messy is how rewarding it is when it gets cleaned up.

We need to re-organize and clean the hall closets, next.

See, the kids are going on a huge trip to Norway, a two week trip, in March, over Easter break. They are fundraising for the most part, but with four of them going (plus Kathryn, but she paid for her own ticket, ect.), it has been hard to earn that much, they needed ten thousand dollars. Yes, you read that right. They worked and earned most of it, then we kicked in some (lots), so they have to work it off. I am very thankful they get to go, it's sure to be an amazing experience. Their older siblings have also helped, so they owe them some work too:)

Anne is coming over today, and we have school to do. My little girls helped Kathryn paint her room yesterday. They get so excited about renovation/projects. They helped pick the paint color, and Kathryn said they were actually really good helpers.

I have so many projects I want to do here, but there's never enough time, then there's the money side too. Then I think about eternity, and how short life is, and I want to be content with what I have, and how things are. I think it's okay to improve things and take care of things, and make your house a home, and have it comfy and warm, especially if you're making it nice and welcoming for other people to be comfortable. It's essential to be hospitable. I remember when we first built this house, I could not believe I was going to be living in a huge brand new house. We were in a mobile home with five kids at that time. I was bursting with thankfulness for this house. My brothers and my husband built it, with lots of help from friends. It was a huge project, and our goal was to build a functional house, nothing fancy, and we had to be careful not to go over budget, so the doors are all builder's grade, ect. But I vowed to use my house in the right way, to have an open home, to have it a place where people could feel welcome and comfortable. If it were always spotless and I was always well rested and full of energy, then it would be no problem to be hospitable. But life doesn't work that way. I can't say, "When the stars are aligned in a certain way, THEN I'll be faithful." Nope. Come on in. I will die a million deaths about the towels hanging on the kitchen chairs and the overflow from the Ramen the kids cooked all over the top of the stove, the socks here and there and the coffee mugs on the end tables, but it won't kill me, and please, make yourself at home....

Friday, March 2, 2018

snow day!!!!

Snow, wind, and loveliness. We had a taste of spring-y weather, but winter came back for a visit. School is cancelled, the roads in our county are closed, travel only for work if it's necessary for health and safety. So Paul is working from home, and the house is brimming with kids. One of my older girls slid off the road on the way to work this morning, but she was towed out by a kind passer-by, which makes my heart happy...that there is still goodness in people. She was going slow, and said she "flew" off the road and into the ditch. She's fine, but wow.

Our plans for today include nothing. There is talk of homemade cinnamon buns or pizza dough, there is talk of getting the sewing machine out and making some pillowcases. For now, there is crocheting (Suzanne), and some playing Mario Cart. I have swept and mopped floors, and cleaned the bathroom. They are thinking of going sledding out back...

Yesterday was interesting, I went to lunch with my sister, and my brother and his wife. How could we run out of things to talk to, Bob and Mary have 10 kids (and 21 grandchildren), my sister has seven daughters (and going on 15 grandchildren), and me...our kids all grew up together, of course, being cousins. It was nice to catch up, but there is always other stuff going on...there was ANOTHER scare at the school, this time someone had ammunition in his backpack. The school was on lock-down, so those kids had to hunker down and hide in those classrooms, in closets and bathrooms, on the floors and behind desks...for an hour and a half.

That's a long time to be scared. Sonja said she could hear the stomping up and down the stairs and the slamming of lockers as the police searched. The girls were texting me as soon as the lock-down was over, they were scared and wanted to be picked up. They knew by then that everything was okay, but still. I was in the small city with my brother and sister, but Kathryn was allowed to go pick them up.

The ammo brought to school was ruled accidental, we do live in a rural area, and kids do hunt. You would think that these days a kid would think twice and maybe even three times before forgetting there were .22 rounds in his backpack, but what do I know?

Anyway. It's a snow day, and it's lovely.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

off we go....!

Today, I am excited to be going to lunch with my only sister, Cheryl, and our brother Bob, to celebrate his birthday! Cheryl is ten years older than I am, Bob is the second oldest...I am #6 in the family of seven kids. So when we go to lunch, I will still be the "little sister".

(Kathryn is going to hold down the fort for me:))

Yesterday, we decided to go out and about...first stop, Target. We didn't get much, but Anne liked seeing all the things there. She was getting tired of shopping but we did take a quick trip into Price-Chopper for just a few things...then to the library. She really likes the library, she can run around and play with the toys there.

Home...I sat in the sun on the deck for a little while, ahh.

Dinner: chicken fajitas, with corn salsa by Camille, who had googled the Moe's recipe, because she likes it so much. Ben and Ashley and Anya and little Elise came for dinner, not that Elise eats food yet, ha.

Anne is here in just a minute, my time to sit here is done for now...:)