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

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Sunshine, we actually had a nice sunny day yesterday!

Here's my zulily dress...I felt nicer in it than I looked, if that makes sense. You know, you get it on, and feel comfy, it covers a lot, then Kathryn takes a pic for you, and wow, I don't look like I thought I did, but then, who cares? I like the dress. It has pockets!

It was a lovely day though.

Sunny is a very nosy dog. Paul and Jon were getting started on laying that floor last night, it's never as easy as you think it's going to be. Lydia was helping too. Jon is hilarious, he gave her the tape measure and asked her to help, she measures everything.

Okay, this is a LOT of Norwegian chocolate. It's like a dream come true, right? Or a nightmare for a girl who is REALLY trying not to eat sugar, but anyway. Yesterday I was rummaging through a laundry basket in my room for my fave leggings, and hmm, what's in this bag? Are you serious right now? I thought it was from Ben, but it isn't. He didn't pass out the chocolate he just bought, and I only asked him for two bars. This is TONS. I put it on the family chat, and no one claimed it. How could I have that big of a brain fart? How could anyone forget this quantity of Norwegian chocolate? I just don't know, but I'll tell you this: the kids were doing happy dances. Yes, we cracked in to it. The hazelnut, and the milk chocolate, and the Kit-Kats, Norwegian Kit Kat (Kvikk Lunsj), heavenly. So yeah, I fell off the no sugar wagon, with a loud thump.

The scale frowned this morning, a whole pound. It's not fair because I didn't eat a whole pound of chocolate, but such is my life.

Now the rest of it is being saved for Thanksgiving. I have to hide it from myself again and forget where I hid it.

Just for the record, this sort of thing happens to people like me a lot. I'm always finding things that I hid so well, or didn't know where to put, and it's no fun when you KNOW you have something and have to look twenty places. The organizing gift just passed me by, I tell you.

Anyway, today is Halloween, and rain is forecast here in central New York state. I don't mind, and Charlotte Claire and Camille will be okay to be in the rain, but I feel bad for Lydia, and Elise and Anya. We do have a plan, Kathryn and Suzanne are going to be with Char and Cam, so they can go on ahead, while I plod with Ben and Ashley, their two little girls, and Mali and Lydia. (Mali worked yesterday and got today off, extra surprise!)

My girls won't trick or treat for too long, they are going to a Halloween party, Evelyn has been decorating for it, and buying treats. The kids are growing up, getting to old to go out trick-or-treating.

Jonathan is going with some of his friends, they are really good respectful kids. I told them to make sure they were polite and not too silly, as people see teenage boys these days and think TROUBLE.

Anyway...Anne will be here any minute now...

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

handling it, functioning, managing...

This fine morning, my girls and I are planning a trip to the craft store because I got a reward certificate, and we are thinking Christmas crafts. We SHOULD be thinking spelling and biology, but hey.

Yesterday, we had our two toddlers, my niece's little two year old Anne, and my 3 year old granddaughter Lydia...

They are sitting on stacks of flooring, Lydia thinks Grandma got new steps in the living room.

Silly Lyd. She is learning to share, which is hard for all of us. With all these little foam squares, she didn't like that Anne had one of them. But it's SO good for them to have a friend, and to learn these things...

Also, Anne is a super snuggy cuddler, which has made Lydia more snuggly, and this Grandma really likes the cuddles.

This is my son Jonathan, 14 years old, feeding little Wulf, my sweet little grandson. Uncle Jonny is a good uncle.

Baby Grant, whom I am going to visit in Virginia on Veteran's Day weekend!

Anyway, yesterday was a young child filled day, and it's busy. How did I manage when my own were so small? I was washing up the dishes when a fight broke out, and I remembered how there were days I wasn't able to even get to the sink, days filled with nursing a baby while the toddler dragged a chair over to the counter to get the sugar bowl. Being a mom with lots of kids is essentially becoming a person with continuously shifting priorities. You can wake up with a general idea of what needs to be done, but then through the course of the day, a million tiny things take precedence. The poopy diapers and spitting up, the spilled milk and the four year old trying to empty a pencil sharpener and missing the garbage, the wet bed that needs to be stripped and added to the laundry mountain in the laundry room doorway. Sometimes when I shut our laundry room door these days, I remember when it was just out of the question, because of that mountain. It's long gone now, but I still remember climbing over it. It wasn't just all the kids, all the bedding, all the clothes, it was a faulty washing machine...

Anyway. Now the days are quieter and easier, except when I have the small girls. I cannot get anything accomplished, but I do enjoy them.

Our van is now at the shop in town, they should be installing those tires today, and I'll finally get it back, yay!

Anyway...I have a headache today, but still want to exercise...I can't give up already! I am in such bad shape. But, I did get a new dress in the mail yesterday, and I LOVE it. It's from Zulily, the first thing I ever ordered from them, and no, unfortunately I am not getting paid to say this. It took forever and a day to arrive, and when it came yesterday, the two little girls were keeping me hopping, so I had to wait until they both went bye-bye before I tried it's forest green, has pockets, is knit and fitted at the top, then loose, which hides a multitude of sins. I like it. I'm thinking it will be great with leggings. I go.

Monday, October 29, 2018

monday morning musings...

Baby Wulf!

Oh how Gramma loves the babies!

Today, Miss Lydia will be coming over for the afternoon, and Anne will be here soon. Charlotte Claire has been doing school, reading about Cuba and Honduras, and some spelling. Kathryn has been to the gym and back, and will leave for work soon.

I just made two healthy mug cakes, for Kathryn and me. I topped them with microwaved frozen raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and they are tolerable, ha. They don't taste just like a cinnamon coffee cake, but they're healthy and better than just eating eggs for brekky.

Today I need to resume my little work-outs, I didn't exercise on the weekend. But I DID eat well, and the scale is smiling at me, a few pounds down. I generally eat healthy anyway, but since I decided to get really serious so as to get some new results, I've realized the importance of NOT tasting the cookie dough. I did have one Hershey Kiss last night, and the night before, one bit of chocolate with hazelnuts, but extreme moderation is key. Moderation is NOT my middle name.

Our new roof is mostly installed, it's very blue. The rain pitters loudly, which I love, and the snow will hopefully just fall gracefully from it, instead of heaping up like on the old one.

It's chilly and dark today, gloomy and damp, just how I like it when I don't have to be out in it. Halloween is approaching, and it's supposed to rain, blah.

Boring details, but some fun things too:

Our tires arrived at Walmart, finally, but we are picking them and having them installed at a local shop, since Walmart automotive is woefully understaffed and they will not make appointments. Now this was Paul's idea, because he thought it would be terrible for me to be stranded for hours at Walmart, waiting for those tires to be put on...well. It would be terrible, but in a wow-I-found-way-too-much-good-stuff sort of way. But anyway, I may just have my van back tomorrow.

Fun thing: I am going bye-bye away for the weekend next week! To Virginia to visit Samuel and Grace, and snuggle my little grandson Grant! Evelyn, Suzanne, Camille and I, and maybe (hopefully!) Margaret and little Wulf. A three day weekend! And remember all those trips to Singapore Paul went on? Well, he did get hotel reward points! So we get to stay in a Marriott for free, three nights. mm hmm, a pool and a hot tub!!!

Let's see...our flooring project for the bedrooms is stalled, the roof took precedence.

Our house doesn't clean itself, and Monday mornings are the worst.

Benjamin is coming home from a weekend in Norway tonight, and he's bringing me two Norwegian chocolate bars. I'll bring one to Sam and Grace, and crack the other open when there are lots of kids around, so I can't eat the whole thing. European chocolate, so smooth and utterly delicious... I go to reserve the hotel room! :)

Saturday, October 27, 2018

apples, peaches, pumpkin pie....

Who's not ready for winter, holler "I" !!!

We took Lydia to the pumpkin patch!

Miss Camille...

Char, cousin Dani, and Camille, with Lyd.

Were they letting their driveway lie fallow?

Sunny! And, notice the boxes of flooring? Lydia thinks we got some new steps up to the couch.

What!!!!? She's cold!

So today is cold and rainy. And the kids are getting up on this dark chilly morning, making coffee, sitting here talking with me...

I am watching baby Wulf this afternoon/tonight so Margaret and Adrian can both fundraise at the Dome, along with Paul, Emily, Mariel, Evelyn, Suzanne, and Sonja. Abigail will come over and keep me company and help me, and the little girls and Jonathan will be here.

Today is Ashley's birthday, so I want to go visit her and give her a birthday present. Other than that, today is a blank slate...:)

Friday, October 26, 2018

my perfect life...

A trip to the grocery store yesterday, because we had no small children to care for.

Did my girls love it?

Look at Camille rolling those eyes...Danielle was okay, Char...hmm...and Kathryn, spending some time with us between working two jobs.

So we were out of some essentials, so we needed a store trip. My kids generally don't love grocery shopping, so they sigh a bit, but I try to get them engaged in helping, so it's not too bad.

Home...time to make dinner. I rolled out pizza dough, had Camille and Danielle top them while I made the chicken...cut up chicken breast that was marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, and Tuscan garlic. I fried it up in olive oil, and added barbecue sauce to some, and sauteed it in it, then hot sauce and butter in the was so good...then, I couldn't sit and put my feet up because I had promised Evelyn a trip to the thrift store, and two days in a row put her off. we went.

Thrift store, dollar store, and ha, grocery store again, different one, because we had to pick Kathryn up from work and had a little bit of time to spend.

Home again, after 9:00. phew.

And this fine morning, we are going to get pumpkins! Lydia is here!

And tonight, the pool! Abigail and Margaret and little Wulf, and Ashley with Anya and Elise, a few other kids, Camille...(the older girls are going to volleyball practice)

And yes, I did my little work-out again, day four!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

laws of the universe...

There are certain indisputable laws of the universe, which pertain to old mamas like me, like skip a day washing your hair: you will end up in the emergency room, with either yourself or one of your kids. Oversleep: not know if a particular child actually got on the bus then when the nurse calls, so you say they are sick, only to have the nurse call back and say oops, he's here after all. Let the groceries dwindle: people come over for dinner. Wear a sock with a hole in it: find a really cute pair of must-try-ons at the thrift store. This morning, I slept in. I didn't mean to. I had a cup of tea before bed, and KNEW it wasn't a great idea, as once I get up in the night to use the bathroom, all bets of going back to nighty-night, ha. So I tossed and turned and prayed and thought about things...then fell back into a nice deep sleep, only to wake up at, ha, 8:10. My girls had long gotten on the bus, oops. Sorry girls. But here's the thing: I decided that since I was already lazy, I would just laze some more, and I scrolled through the news on my phone, all comfy cozy, when the dogs started barking like crazy. A peek out the window, and of course, the guy delivering the boards for the new roof was in the driveway. He was getting out of the truck, and I was in my nighty. Dang it. I threw on my jeans and my bra and the same shirt I wore yesterday, and he was knocking and knocking on the door, then back in his truck by the time I made it out there...

Anyway, he stacked those boards up near the other roof pieces, which are probably going to be installed this weekend.

But my point is, if I lounge in bed, someone will knock at the door. I have tried to be proactive about this possibility in the past by getting up and getting dressed, brushing the teeth and washing the face, before getting back in bed with a book, but darn it, once I'm up and at 'em, I don't usually get back in bed.

Here's what I was saying yesterday about my new fitness goals: I have some again, ha!
I've decided that I am not too old and tired to get into better shape. I've been inspired by FatGirlFedUp, I follow her on Instagram. She weighed 485, and has lost over three hundred pounds. But I said to myself at first, "Well, she's young." Oh, the excuses! Anyway, she is SO inspiring. She said she had high blood pressure and joint pain and was in terrible shape, but one day she decided it was enough. She puts out messages daily, and honestly, it took me a good week of reading her prompts before I geared up to actually EXERCISE AGAIN! I keep thinking, if she did it, I can do it. And that's the key ingredient. Hope. If you don't believe you can do it, you will never even begin.

It takes work, and it takes days following days of work, but if I just sit here and wish, it won't happen. My knee is a wreck, so I have to work around that. I can't go on those walks in the morning at this time, because it's so much wear and tear, so I will do what I can here in the house.

My workouts are hilarious, I laugh at myself even. I do "real" push-ups, but I can only go down about an inch. The first day, three sets of ten, yesterday four sets of ten. I do various other stretches and lifts and dancy-boxy moves, but it gets my heart rate up, and those muscles stretched and moving. I have ten pound weights, which seem like they are fifty pound weights, and wah, there was a time a few years ago when they felt like feathers. But cheers, here's to new beginnings!

I'm thinking there might be a time in the near future when knee replacement surgery is a possibility. The orthopedic dr. told me about 8 years ago that we should try to get another ten years out of them before replacement, I have advanced arthritis, and there are crinkles and cracklings, but the buckling thing is not fun. So I am telling myself that if I lose some of this weight and get into better shape, my knee will thank me, and if I do have surgery, it will go so much better. I am also conscious of my other knee, which was previously the one I favored, having to do extra work now, and it's rather scary. Mobility is a treasure, worth suffering a bit to keep.

Renovations progress:

We painted this bedroom yellow when we built the house. It was baby Joseph's room, my fifth child, who was 11 months when we moved in here, marking the first time we didn't have a baby in our bedroom with us, but it didn't last long, ha, Aaron was already on the way:) This room was the room each subsequent baby moved into after moving out of the big beautiful baby carriage in our room. Then when Camille moved out of our room at around three years old, she had a playpen at the end of our bed, then slept in a nest on the floor when she grew out of the play pen...she didn't WANT to leave our room, and ha, I wasn't in a hurry either...:). But she moved into this room with Charlotte Claire, and they shared it ever since then. Now that Joseph, who had a bigger room downstairs, moved out and they moved into that, this room is going to be Jon's new room. It was painted purple for Char and Cam, but Jon wanted it gray. He removed all the carpet and padding, and the baseboards yesterday, so we are almost ready to install the flooring. We're deciding whether to paint the wood trim with white enamel.

When he moves into this, we will do the same thing with his old room, which will go to Sonja. New flooring, new paint.

I don't know how to operate the saw, or how to install this flooring, but I will learn, and I will post lots of pics.

Oh here's a funny thing, yesterday I kept smelling something awful. It was sniffing around, thought one of the dogs rolled in something, so I was sniffing them, and they were fine. The garbage can, nope, looked through the bin where the potatoes are, nope, fine...hmmm. I told Kathryn I would give her five bucks if she found what smelled (I was thinking the cat brought a mouse in or something) But then, lightbulb! The pumpkin Camille had painted! It had rotted on the tv cabinet cube-y thing! I was SO glad I found out what it was! Yuck to the clean up, but yay to getting rid of the smell!

Here's what our house looks like right now from my chair:

(those mats are my work out mats! And my kitchen counters ALWAYS need decluttering! And the bin in the kitchen on the floor is Paul's, his hunting clothes!)

Why there's a little mail scale on the coffee table, don't know. That's the huge mirror I bought and haven't cleaned yet.

And here's what I look like on this fine morning:

And Camille as a kitty for her activity club party last night:

I don't know why I'm in the sorting and organizing mood, but I am, so I am going with it. Yesterday, I cleaned out several kitchen cabinets by taking out all of the contents, filling up the countertops, then sorting. Who besides me has three things of garlic powder? Four boxes of bandaids, plus like fifty floating around, three bottles of calamine lotion, four containers of ibuprofen, stale peanuts (not just one jar, THREE), gingerbread flavored coffee from like three years ago, half a bag of sticky Jolly Ranchers, packets of Arby sauce...) So I sorted and purged, wiped down the inside of the cabinets, and put things away in new convenient ways, the coffee stuff near the pots instead of in the cabinet on the other side of the room, ect.

It feels nice to open the cupboards and not have things falling out. And to see it all neat in there, oh what fun-ness!

Anyway, this fine morning is slipping away as I sit here and write. There are things to do, and we are out of: half and half, garbage bags, sandwich baggies, and running low on toilet paper and paper towels. The veggie drawer is almost empty, and the bananas and apples are almost gone.

We will be going to the store in the old van, the new tires haven't come in yet, I thought they had, and the nicer van is sitting there with it's flat tire, looking all sad. They are both 2008 vans, but one is nicer, ha.

Anyway, have a good day, and hope you weren't bored to death with all my of these days I'll start to edit my posts....maybe.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

let's just see....

Yesterday, Emily Anne stopped in on her way to the small city. Em is my oldest child, no longer a child, but a grown up lady, who is now my friend. It's weird to think you have a baby, nurse and change and rock and love that baby with all your heart, then that baby grows into a child whom you have to guide, discipline, teach, encourage, clothe, shelter and feed...then all of the sudden, they are grown up and making their own decisions! Then you're their friend, and ha, yes, I did make you stay in your bed with a stack of books during nap time, so I do get credit for your lifetime love of reading. And I am sorry you had to hide in trees in the yard to find quiet time to read, and that you were followed around by noisy flocks of children all of your life.

Anyway, she stopped in, on her way to get her clarinet serviced. She graciously accepted my request to accompany, as I sensed she wanted company as much as I wanted to go bye-bye, ha. Jonathan and I had big plans to actually purchase the flooring for his new room, and Em said we could go to Lowes while we were out.

Coffee first, at Simple Roast, I am not getting paid to say that I LOVE this local place, they roast their own coffee, and mmm. I opted out of the flavor, sometimes I get just one or two pumps of peanut butter, or better yet, Reeses peanut butter cup, mmm. But I am trying to behave here!

Then Lowes. Now, I do my research before I make a major purchase, I google the heck out of it. I still hadn't made a firm decision when we got there, so I had some thinking to do. Sam called. I was using my phone to figure out how many boxes, prices, ect., so I had to be rude and tell him I would talk to him later:(

Long story short, we chose laminate over the luxury vinyl planking, because it's cheaper, and it looks nice. It has a 30 year residential warranty, and is 8mm, so I thought it'd be okay.

And this isn't our house, as this flooring is still in the packages, acclimating.

Fifteen boxes, four hundred and forty dollars. That's not too bad for two rooms, but I'm not sure if we'll need more. I'm thinking to do the hallway too, as it also has the original carpeting from 26 years ago.

Anyway. It was fun and exciting to actually purchase this. I have SO many home improvement ideas! I didn't get a BEFORE pic of this room, but I'll take one today...Jon and the little girls ripped out the carpet, the carpet pad, and all of the fasteners from the subflooring yesterday. We've painted one coat of paint so far, but will remove the bottom wood edging and do a second coat before installing the floors.

Anyway. We also stopped at the thrift store, and I bought a huge mirror for ten bucks!!!
I'll chalk paint the frame for Sonja for her new room! We also got a really good sled for just a few dollars, winter IS coming!

Spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, then I made a fort for Lydia by pulling my chair away from the wall. I actually moved my chair because um hum, things get cluttered, newspaper and coupons and pieces of popcorn, so I cleaned it up and swept, and then put a blanket down, a string of lights, and a dollhouse, Lydia was happy for quite a while back there.

She went home last night around nine. In a few minutes, Anne will arrive. And Lyd will be back this afternoon for a bit.

We ordered new tires for our minivan, we might have to have it towed to the garage because the flat tire is on too tight and we can't change it to the spare, or maybe triple A can get it changed, not sure. But we can't drive it. The other van has almost 200,000 miles on it, but it's still going. I'm thankful we still have it!

So it's cold and dark and rainy mixed with a bit of snowy mess, but it's cozy in here. I'm thankful for so many things!

Time to get moving...tomorrow I'll write about my new fitness plans, I am getting in better shape! Ha, just started yesterday, but hey, that's better than my usual idea of starting tomorrow!!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

tuesday no-news day...

So, random stuff this morning, this is the cookie jar Suze made in art class.

And, here's something: having two Labrador Retrievers playing with one tennis ball is not real quiet-like.

But thankfully they tire easily...

We have the first coat of paint done in Jon's new room, still haven't gotten the flooring. Anne was here yesterday, and oh my dear cuteness...she LOVES coloring with markers. We have lots of washable ones, thankfully. She also likes jumping on the couch, which apparently she's not allowed to do at home...ooops.

Lydia is here now, and there are toys decorating the living room again.

I have sixteen kids, some with spouses, and five grandchildren. I love them all, so much, but my issue lately is that I FEEL for them too much! It weighs me down. You can call it love, or concern, or compassion, or care, but it seems to be laced with anxiety, and it's heavy. So I've been thinking about this, and here's the thing: way back when, Paul and I decided that God knew what was best for us, and we accepted the children from Him with thankfulness. God knows what's best. All my worrying and fretting and being concerned can't add a cubit to my life. I have to let go, and let them make their own decisions...

I've never been able to bear seeing someone suffer. But it's through sufferings that we gain the best things, and it's good I'm not in charge, because people need sufferings, right? So I need to just come to rest about that, and pray for my kids and my friends, and let God do what He needs to do.

Let it go, what a good song, huh?

Monday, October 22, 2018

making lemonade....

from the lemons of life.

Actually, today is a cold dark day, absolutely cozy in here, and Anne has already gone home. I helped Jonathan paint his new room during nap time. I got hot and sweaty, then when I took a break, I got freezing. Such is middle age, right?

I feel bad for Joseph and his wrecked car. Really bad. But he's all right, and I'm thankful for that. Maybe it's the weather, maybe it's that the kids are growing up super fast right now, maybe it's because Paul has been gone so much lately (hunting!), but I could just cry. I'm not really sad, but just feeling rather melancholy, which btw is one of my favorite words.

Our new roof is sitting in the yard. Adrian and Jonathan are putting it on this weekend. I'll help all I can. I hope the weather is good for it.

We haven't bought flooring yet, are trying to decide which kind to get, the vinyl planking or laminate. I am leaning towards the vinyl, it's pricier but lasts longer and is waterproof. We also have to get four new tires on the minivan, because SOMEONE hit a curb really hard, and by the next morning, that front tire was FLAT. The other tires need replacing anyway, so it's time. And yeah, it was me. I hit it. Then Evelyn drove the van in the evening, and Saturday morning commented on how awful the van was driving...then we noticed the flat tire...that's why, Evelyn! I must have damaged it and then it went flat later when she was driving.

I made a pan of almond bread today because I wanted something yummy and baked. It's not really yummy but it looks good and smells good. I put a bit of apricot jam on it, and not too bad.

Did you know you can go to Mexico for under a thousand dollars for a week, including airfare and all meals and drinks? The sun, the sand, the pool...two of my girls are going in February. Mariel is telling me to have Dad take me in December, it's reasonable and there are some really nice places. Okay, we'll just bump that up on the list of things we need, ha.

Anyway, life here on earth is so temporary. We have to take care of what we have, and it's nice to make things nice, but we can't take it with us. Right now I have five daughters here in the living room, so I am going to spend some quality time with them.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

hurry hurry hurry...

Where did summer go?

Even the dogs know that this is just not right!

This table is for coffee mugs on summer mornings! (these are the five dollar chairs from the thrift store, they were pink with white frames, spray paint! And the table was marked down from $80 to $11.99...)

Anyway. Van has a flat tire, I hit a curb the other day, really hard. Paul pumped up the tire yesterday, told me to go to Walmart and get FOUR new tires, we need them anyway. Well, he's out hunting, and that tire is flat as a pancake this morning. I am not a tire-changing girl, at least not today, because he'll probably help me figure something out later. Maybe take it off, bring it in and have a new one put on, or change to the spare just to get there.

In any case, I'll be driving the dumpier van today, driving Kathryn to work, then going to the store with Evelyn for half and half and salad stuff for their school lunches this week...have to leave in five, so off I go to get dressed quick...

Saturday, October 20, 2018

home alone...

Who in the world can count on one hand how many times they have been home alone in the last 33 years? Or in their whole life, for that matter. My house growing up was Grand Central Station-ish, too, with seven kids and my mom being the Kool-Aid Mom.

But today, I am home alone. All alone, except for the dogs and the cats.

And they're not doing much.

Paul, Benjamin, Mariel, Margaret, Evelyn, and Suzanne are working at the Dome, football game. Kathryn is at work, Emily is at a medical conference, Abigail took Sonja, Jonathan, Char, and Cam up to Canada for the weekend. (Aaron is in Oregon, and Joseph is helping Molly pick up a piano)(And Sam in in Virginia)...just in case you wanted to know where they all are...:)

Kathryn will be home from work in half an hour, and the ones going to Canada left at noon, so it's only four+ hours home alone...

I can't believe I managed to eke out this much alone time! Paul texted me and said I should take the dogs to the canal to walk. Well, I told him, believe it or not, I am finding plenty to do here! I had small children ever single day this past week, and though I love them dearly, it's easy for things to slide while you are reading books, getting toys out, and washing sticky hands.

I started my alone time by cleaning up a huge mess I made myself, a coffee spill. How much coffee fits into one mug, anyway? It flew here, there, and everywhere, but mostly all over my phone, which did dry off and still works. It got me to clean under the dining table, as I had to move it anyway to mop up the coffee. Then I cleared off counters, putting away things we don't use much, like the French coffee press, and some old candles. I sorted through almost empty chip bags and threw away partial packs of crackers. I washed dishes, washed clothes, cleaned floors, and sorted baskets of odds and ends, all the while listening to...nothing. The quiet is like music.

Then Paul called, peace and quiet doesn't last very long...he told me Joseph got in a car accident, and I went from la-de-dah to tears in one second flat. Joe is fine, Paul said, but his car is totaled. Benjamin went to pick him up. I don't know any of the details, and I am glad Joe is okay, but ugh, those are those dreaded phone calls, and Joseph IS my favorite child, even though he's all grown up and married. I tell you. I know he's all grown up, but I still hear him saying how he hates buttons on his shirts, and remember the time one of his good long sleeved polos went missing, and he insisted that God didn't want him to wear that shirt. I think he threw it away. Anyway, I know he's a big boy, but he had such a nice car, all paid off, and bam. I hope he had good insurance, when you don't have a loan, you don't have to have comprehensive insurance in New York state, and if he just had liability insurance, dang it, he won't get a penny.

But, he's all grown up now, right? oh, my heart, my soul, it will never not ache when my kids suffer.

Here's the plan: I am putting ten pounds of wings in the oven, Kathryn is bringing home a pizza, and we are having a party tonight! Mariel is coming over, and Evelyn and Suzanne will be here, and Paul...and wah, Joe and Beth were invited, wonder if they'll come now....

Here's what we did yesterday: Home Depot! We are trying to choose flooring for the bedrooms...
But there's always time to look at the Christmas trees with sweet little Lydia!

I better go put those wings in...time flies when you're having a nice quiet day.

Friday, October 19, 2018

cleaning and purging and being free from things....

You would think cleaning/sorting a bookcase would be a quick job. But no, I sat there for a good hour. I can't part with the Little House series. (I've read that some libraries have gotten rid of these books because Ma was a racist. Well yes, she was, but, at the time, that is how things were. The books are an accurate representation of what life was like then, and that's how Ma felt about Indians. People want to rewrite history!).

If You Give A Moose A Muffin. The Diary of A Wimpy Kid. All those Fancy Nancy books that Sonja treasured, and the Charlie and Lola that tickled Camille so. Novels upon novels, which mostly went to the thrift store bags (which of course are in a jumble on the kitchen floor near the door, hopefully we'll go today and drop them off!).

It's not just cleaning a bookcase, it's getting rid of the evidence of childhood. Our shelves have held childrens' books for 33+ years, and yes, we have to save SOME to read to the grandkids, but. Life moves on, kids grow up, and each book, I can remember the cuddled children in my chair, so much sentimentality.

I don't know why I want to purge the house all of the sudden, but I feel weighed down with stuff. I want it cleaner, lighter.

It takes time, but each time I clear a closet, I feel better.

Yesterday was spent helping Jonathan get his new room ready to move in to. I have to go buy the flooring so it can acclimate, you can't just install it without having it get used to the house's environment.

We still have to rip up the carpeting, and finish sanding the spackle, then paint.

Then when he moves in, we'll do the room he is vacating, so Sonja can have fresh new paint and flooring.

The high school girls have a half day today, so we're going to do something fun. I wonder if they think dropping books off at the thrift store and buying flooring is fun?

Evelyn and I went to Target and the grocery store last evening when she got home from work. It was discouraging, I tried on six things in Target and not a one of them looked nice. I need to get moving, I have been behaving myself with eating, but oh dear, the weight is not coming off. If I have something I shouldn't, I gain two pounds, and if that two pounds stays on, even if I'm careful for a while, then misbehave again, ugh. I am ten pounds heavier than I was this time last year when we went to Ireland. And we have had pumpkin muffins in the house, I didn't eat one single one. I had ONE blueberry muffin. Jonathan and Kap had their late night British Baking Show bake-off the other night, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, Jonathan, and peanut butter cookies with Hershey kisses on top, Kathryn...I had one small thumbnail taste of each, but that is IT. But you don't get points for what you didn't eat, do you?

I tell myself it could be worse.

I have my excuses.

But the bottom line is I need to move more, which is difficult with my knee buckling and acting up. I need to be much more careful about what I do eat, maybe go back to strictly keto. But in any case, I need to do something. It's depressing, although I am not letting myself get depressed about it. The jeans I tried on last night though, I LOVED them. On the hanger. But on ME, oh dear, my tummy. NO, can't do it. I don't care much what I look like, but. Also, I want more energy. I already eat barely any carbs...oh wah. :)

Anyway, life has it's struggles, doesn't it? And Martha, if you're reading this, just know I am praying for you and when I went through all the Fisher-Price toys in the kids' closet, I thought of you. The kids grow up and life changes and it isn't always easy.

I watched a few short videos the other day though, that I found really encouraging. This woman has SUCH a good spirit, and I want to be like that too. Choosing faith: a complex diagnosis, on you-tube Active Christianity. There are three parts, but each is only a few minutes. It's a must watch.

Anyway...time to get moving.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

good morning!!!

Because if you don't selfie, it didn't happen. The Parade of Homes was everything we thought it would be. Opulent, fancy, expensive, lovely, breathtaking, and just wow.

We had too much fun. There are booties to put on at each house entrance, to keep the floors clean. That was a work-out for me, putting those on and taking them off. :)

This house had a little room for kids! There was a small barn style sliding door, leading to a cozy room, lights in the ceiling, and toys and a rug...they had to duck to get in, but could stand in there, super cozy, and I would get in there myself and read a book.

A luxury shower!

(a huge closet!)

Not too shabby, eh?

I was pretty done after touring them all, up and down the stairs on my owie knee. But it was really fun. Some of the houses are already sold, but some still available, if you want to shell out $600,000. We agreed that if we had that kind of money, we would still live out in the country. I said that even if I had $50,000, or 5,000, to put into our existing house, I would be fine. But then we agreed that we love our house and we're fine anyway. The excess in those houses, and it's so unreal, so staged. One house had a baby's room, and there was this giant bird cage replica for books and toys, and I thought if a crawling baby ever pulled herself up on that thing...ugh.

Anyway, it was great fun. We went to a huge Home Goods store first, but only found some new sheets for Cam, and a bag of popcorn for me. Don't get me wrong, we found LOTS of things, but not that we wanted to shell out big money for. We are looking for a mirror for the girls new room, but we are willing to look for a while because we're not paying fifty or a hundred bucks. I'm really hoping thrift store, because I like painting the frames. They should make a reality home improvement show, for real people, with REAL budgets. Some of those shows, seriously? Six thousand dollars for a sofa. right.

Anyway. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home for milk and apple cider and salad fixings for the girls lunches, as well as bananas cheese sticks and ice cream and and and. When you have small children in the house, you NEED bananas.

Home...spaghetti, spaghetti squash, (mmm), sauce and meatballs.

Camille and I spent an hour and a half of quality time, cleaning up the room they've moved out of, so that Jonathan can get it ready to move in to. Push-pin tacks and hair ponies and socks and books, Barbie shoes and water bottles and and and. Wow. But, we're going through every single bin and bag, making sure they move only what they really really want to keep. Their room did not look THIS messy, I don't know where all this stuff came from.

It's almost done, then Jonathan can spackle, then sand, then wipe down the walls, paint, then rip up the carpet, then we'll put new laminate boards in, to look like wood.

Time and energy, more precious than gold, wish I had more of both.

Anne will be here soon, and Lydia soon after. Mali, Lyd's mama, is interviewing for a different job. Working night shifts, then day shifts, then back to nights, it's killing her. With a small child, when she works nights, it's hard to sleep during the days and she gets exhausted, plus she has way too many patients, the hospital she works for just stretches the nurses to breaking point. So she is considering a doctor's office or something different.

So today will be filled with little girls' spats about important little toys, and washing little hands and faces after banana snacks, and reading stories and making sure they don't open the drawer and get a glue stick to use for lip gloss. Lydia will be here for two nights.

So off I go to make sure this place is baby-proofed enough...