summer 2011

summer 2011

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

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

Saturday, March 28, 2015

a puppy! a puppy!

Meet the newest family member! Well, technically, he's my "grand" dog, but that's a term I won't be using. Emily adopted a dog from the rescue shelter today!

Emily and Abigail and Mirielle and Mali live in a house in a town a few miles from here. Emily and Mirielle have been wanting a dog for a long time, particularly a lab. Em's application was approved at the rescue shelter, and they received a shipment of new dogs today from down south. Oh, the choosing! All the yapping puppies and barking doggies in their cages, begging to be pet and played with. There was a sign on the wall that read, "Saving one dog will not save the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever." Oh, to choose! There is a puppy room there. I cried in there. I wanted them all. They desperately wanted me, too. Or anyone, for that matter. To put their hand in the crate and scratch the back of their neck, or pat their head. One little guy was chewing at the bars, he wanted to play so badly.

This pup that Emily chose is a lab mix. He is a year and a half old, and hails from Texas. He sat there in his cage, all calm-like, and wagged his tail. We took him out for a walk in the parking lot, and he greeted the other dogs being test-walked, happily. He stopped at one point, turned around, and gave Emily this nice little huggy kissy thing, like he was making sure she was still on the end of the leash. He is a heart-stealer. I held him on my lap all the way home. He's smaller than our labs, easy to manage, and very cute.

I told Em not to be surprised, she will probably wonder a few times what the heck she was thinking, and perhaps even have some fleeting regrets about getting him. Dogs are hard work, and adjusting will be a challenge. He needs to learn a few things. But she is head over heels, and I am so happy for her....

Thursday, March 26, 2015

snowy day in the spring...

The kids are going out to play in the snow, gym class of course. We have had school, snack time/lunch time (pepperoni, crackers, carrots, pears, and angel food cake), play time (my sister called, so I told the kids, "recess!"). We then had cozy story time with hot cups of green tea and honey, reading, "Farmer Boy." I got sidetracked a little while ago looking online for strollers for Mali, blah.

Now, they are outside, and I am getting up and doing my workout. I have swept and mopped and washed clothes and bedding and cleaned and dusted today, but if that burned enough calories, I would be a thin woman. Evelyn had to go and crack open a bag of chocolate covered mint patties that were for the Easter baskets. So basically, I said, Throw Me One Of Those. She threw three.


Anyway, it has been another nice day. It is 36 degrees out, but the snow is coming down. The space heater is humming, but hey, spring WILL come.

I am super excited about my trip to Washington D.C./Virginia. The hotel I booked is actually in Manassas, Va. Hot tub and pool, yay! Cherry blossom time, and hopefully nice springy weather. Our yard has had this snow in it since January. No thawing this year. Some snow has receded along the edges now, but most of the yard has been blanketed in the same snow for two months now. So sorry if I have spring on the brain.

Ah well, off I go...even though believe me, I like my comfy chair....(I don't want to work out, ha!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

wednesday randomness....

1. I love homeschooling my kids. Five of them. Two go to public school. Nine have graduated. Four are registered nurses (3 of them are taking classes/continuing education to branch out to be N.P.s, or other specialties). One is an accountant (Abigail!). Ben has "graduated" from the Army, was a medic, and now is an apprentice in the HVAC program. Samuel is in the Army still. Joseph is taking classes/studying art. And Margaret just graduated in January, has a part time nanny/babysitting job, and is leaving in June or July to go to Norway for a year with Abigail.

2. I love homeschooling these kids of mine because their minds are sponges, and I simply get a kick out of their enthusiasm.

3. Yesterday was a good day. I worked out, yay me, and went for a walk. Now, before you go thinking how much I totally rock, consider this: I was huffing and puffing. I used to be able to do four sets of 20 push-ups, now I struggle with three sets of 10. not good. But. I am not giving up.

4. My weight: I lost 72 pounds, through diligence and struggle and self-denial, eating lots of good foods and cutting out bad ones. I gained back 25. Actually 30, but have gotten 5 back off. I have spent months now gaining and losing the same few pounds. That's still a maintained loss of 47 pounds, which is a good thing. But I don't have the luxury of reveling in that. I have tasted better, and want more. I know I need to move more and avoid sugar like the plague, eat more veggies, and stop my excuses. I already know what to do. My one valid excuse is that my knees are shot. Full of arthritis, and very painful. I cannot fully extend my right leg anymore. Some days are better than others, but taking those walks I so enjoy make me limpy for the rest of the day. The dr. said no hills, no stairs. But at what cost? One of these years, I will seriously consider replacement surgery.

5. Anyway, I am not giving up. I put the brakes on when I regained that 30 pounds, because believe me, I could so easily be back where I started.

6. It has been a long winter. The view from my kitchen window.

This was yesterday...there is grass! Perhaps we aren't stuck in a land of Frozen after all!

8. I am going to Washington D.C. in a few weeks to visit Samuel! I love it! I love going on base, hearing his stories, seeing him, seeing new places...we are not staying in D.C. this time, but are choosing a place in Virginia, not sure exactly where yet. Abigail and Kathryn and Suzanne are going also.

9. Paul is leaving for France that weekend.

10. Jonathan and I are saving to go on a trip by ourselves. He gets the can and bottle money, and I pay him to do little jobs. He has almost a hundred dollars already. We want to go see Benjamin and Ashley (and little Anya, my only granddaughter), in the fall, to Washington state. Charlotte Claire and Camille caught on, and want in. They each have like a hundred dollars. Jon says if we include them it will take us way longer to save. Ha, Ashley is probably reading this, thinking WHAT?!

11. I think it's good for kids to have things to look forward to, and to save for.

12. Today, Margaret is taking the three youngest kids on a field trip to have lunch with some friends who have three small children. They are pretty excited.

13. I am staying home, as I won't have a vehicle.

14. When Marge gets home, I might go to the thrift store quick, for half price Wednesday.

15. Mali is going to have a baby at the end of August, and I am stroller shopping online for her. poor me, ha.

16. The girls are awake in their room, and will be coming out to greet me...I know these years are numbered, having little ones in the house...they are growing up so fast. Miss Char will be NINE in May. Slow down, girls!

Is that random enough?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

woo hoo, 32 degrees and sunny!

The kids rode their bikes!

Yes, it is zero degrees C. For us here in central New York state, it is WONDERFUL!!! I am going out the door in five minutes to take the little girls for a walk. They were out playing today already, but I didn't realize how warm it was out there.

Today, I stayed home. Joseph brought the car into the shop for me, Margaret left for her babysitting job, and here I am with no vehicle. It's kind of nice because, well, I can't go anywhere. We spent time today on school, and I did some housework. I have ribs and cauliflower in the oven right now, for an early dinner.

Monday, March 23, 2015

and, a birthday!!!

We had too much fun today!

It is this girl's birthday! Miss Kathryn Grace, aka Kap, or Kappy Sue. She is seventeen today...

Back when she was born, this tenth child of mine, Emily Anne, my oldest, was 13 years old. Abigail was 11, and Benjamin was 9. Mirielle was 8, Joseph 6, Aaron 5, Mali 4, Samuel 2 and a half, and Margaret was fifteen months old.

We went out and about drop off some books at the library. Kathryn drove there, what fun for me!, ha. I had to use my invisible brake, but honestly, she is a good driver. You would think by number ten, I would be bracing myself less on the dashboard.

We went to Kohl's, to find a something for Kap's birthday. She didn't find anything that she liked that was reasonable. We went to Target, same thing. I took them to McDonald's drivethrough, and let them eat in the van while I went into the grocery store for good stuff. Evelyn and I bought the makings for a Chipotle-style meal. We also bought donuts (instead of making a cake), ice cream, which they didn't even eat.

Mali came over this evening. She is 17 weeks along now, and feeling a bit better, but still has morning sickness, and an ulcer, which complicates things. She certainly likes our kitty and Duke. She is going to be a good mama.

It has been a good day, but let's be honest: no day goes by without a few snags in it. One of the cars is acting up, one of the dogs pooped in the kitchen again, GOOD MORNING to me! One of my daughters stomped off to her room TWICE. I didn't work out, I ate bites of donuts...but only one chicken nugget and two fries from McD's.

It was a very cold day, sunny, but freezing. It was ten degrees when I woke up, and 19 later in the afternoon. That is well below freezing, and with a brisk wind, brr.

But, spring will come one of these days. We will appreciate it like never before. We won't grumble about anything, when the grass appears underneath all that snow.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

happy spring!!! from us here in the frozen northeast....

This morning, at 6:17, I woke up. We have two small guests in our home, Mr. William, who is six, and his little brother Sebastian, who is three. I thought they might be awake...they slept in Jonathan's room, and slept until seven o'clock! Anyway....the first thing I noticed upon entering the kitchen, was a nice big pile...of you know, dog poop. Yup. One of those puppies had to go during the night, so they did, right near the door. ugh. I ushered them out the door so I could clean it up, and there was new snow out there!

This was taken yesterday...

snow snow go away,
not that we don't like to play,
but boots and mittens are getting old,
we're tired of all the wind and cold.
barefeet, green grass, warm sun,
fun fun fun fun

Here's a bit of sunshine though:

Cupcakes! My sister-in-law Kim turns 50, so her family threw her a surprise party! I made the cupcakes...lemon, vanilla, and chocolate. It was hard to keep it a secret from Kim, she stopped in here for coffee on the way to the Dome on Friday, and I had been baking all day...before she got here, I had to pack up those cupcakes and stack them in the little girls' room, so she wouldn't see them.

It was great fun. She had a few inklings, but was pretty surprised anyway. We had pizza and salad and fresh fruit, meatballs and rolls and tons of snacks.

I could sit here for a while, I washed dishes and swept and mopped the floors, fed the small ones some breakfast...but it's time to get moving....we are going to church, and believe me, getting 13 people out the door peacefully is...challenging.

Friday, March 20, 2015

proud army mom...

Here's Sam on the end, first row.

Sam is the front guy on the outside in this "at ease" picture...

He was in the parade in New York City on Tuesday. I wish I could have been there, but photos will have to do.

I have to leave in a little while to take Jonathan to his friends' house for a huge game of airsoft. He is spending the night there. It's a day off from real school, so they made these big plans. I had to get up extra early, because everybody with kids knows that a day off isn't a real day off unless you can't sleep in.

Tomorrow we are having special company! My niece and her husband have a six year old kindergartner named William, and three year old twins..well, one of the twins, the girl, Linnea, is going somewere with her Mama, and their daddy has to go out of town, so the boy twin, Sebastian, is coming here! With Will, to spend the day with us...and the night tomorrow!

I also have to take three kids for eye exams on Saturday, and tonight of course is the Billy Joel concert. I have to leave here today at three-ish. Sometimes I think the fun will just never end, but then I realize that yup, it will someday, so I may as well enjoy the ride.

Jon is still sleeping, I hate to wake him up...the bad puppies are in his matter how he barricades that door, they find their way in to sleep with their friend Jonny. They are bed hogs, too. The floor, ha, never. Good, I just heard the alarm on his tablet go off.

That means that two doggies will need to go outside in like two minutes, and Duke is still on leash restrictions, so off I go, into the cold morning...winter just won't get off our backs this year in the northeast....:)