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, May 22, 2015

we made it to washington d.c.!!!

Samuel and Eleanor (my mother-in-law).

We made it down here!!! Yay! There are stories to tell, but those will have to wait...I am tired out, and happy to see Sam...and Paul...phew.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

the day before the trip....

Camille and I had a little snuggle this morning, when it was chilly in here. In fact, she's sitting on the arm of my chair again right now.

Our van is half-packed, but I still have to go through my stuff and decide what I want/need to bring. I am packing healthy snacks for the way there: sliced cucumbers and peppers and raw broccoli, pumpkin seeds and almonds and cashews, and some pepperoni...okay, that's not really too healthy...and beef jerky. I'm also bringing some flax seed muffins for breakfast, and coconut oil to put in my coffee. The kids have some extra things thrown in that I won't be sharing, like oatmeal cream cookies (may I just say...yum?)

Anyway. They have their stuff packed, but I still have to remember things like my phone charger, and find my green sweatshirt, and decide which shoes to old Birkenstocks that are uglier than sin, or perhaps not that ugly, but they have seen better days, or my newer ones, spiffy but not as comfy.


I am tired, and have to get to bed early because I woke up this morning at 5:30...I had a terrible dream that Paul cheated on me, and when I found out, he didn't even care. He just answered me like, "uh-huh.", like he usually does in real life sometimes. It was SO realistic. I was heartbroken and crushed and then...ticked off. Oh, I was mad at him. And HER. There was a picture, of course, in my dream. Do you think she was older and a bit on the chubby side? ha. She was younger than some of my daughters, and was wearing a work-out tank top, showing off her slim muscled arms. I hated those arms. I hated her healthy young smiling face. I hated that they were taking a double selfie. He hates selfies. Wait, I forgot, she's not real, it was only a bad dream.

I told him on the phone, and he told me not to worry, it's not in the cards. He misses me, and loves me, and I love him, and I am thankful it WAS only a dream. I know it really happens to people, and ouch.

Samuel, my dear son Sammy, I can't wait to see you! Yay!

The part I'm not looking forward to: driving in the traffic. Jonathan is my co-pilot, from the back seat, and he will be manning the GPS from his tablet. Grandma is sitting shotgun, she is excited to spend time with Sam too. It's a 6 and 1/2 hour trip, but we will take a few stops. I don't like driving this far, not in my comfort zone, but hey, Paul and Sam are at the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and I really think the drive itself will be rather fun, except for the driving, of course. The tractor trailers...rrr. The five lane highways with my exit coming up...all the way on the other side. I am not one of those effortless lane changers. I signal, and turn around and look, and don't go until it is all clear, which it never is on a busy highway. ha.

Anyway, I have to go finish packing. We just finished our taco salad for dinner, and I am ready for bed. The little girls need showers, and lots of little details need to be worked out, like who exactly is taking us to our rental van at the airport at 6 a.m. Either Abigail or Margaret....anyway...bye for now!!! I am bringing this computer with me, but don't know if I will blog tomorrow, in all the excitement of seeing Paul and Samuel....

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

ah, another lovely morning...

This lovely mug, which holds almost the right amount of coffee, is from Ben and Ashley.(But I also wanted a good pic of the nice things on top of my refrigerator.)

Abandoning my usual routine of throwing in a load of laundry and sweeping and mopping and wiping down counters before I sink into the comfy chair for a little facebook time, news reading, and of course writing on this's pretty much a give someone will stop in unexpectedly this morning. It's what happens when you slack off.

I will not be a boring details person, but yesterday...phew.

These little sweeties visited us for the day...all three are my sister's grandchildren. Their mamas grew up with my kids, and have their own fond memories of coming here for the day through the years...these little ones, the twins and Davian, bring joy with them. They are so hilarious. They played playdough and dollhouse and StarWars, and on the swingset and in the little playhouses outside, and then in the little pools in the yard. Little sunshines, they are.

Jonathan passed out freezepops...then had a popsicle. They noticed. They took up the chant, and I put them up to the table and gave them popsicles too. But first I took off their shirts:)

Oh cuteness.

I had to bring Margaret to work in the afternoon. Suzanne was my co-pilot. We dropped off library books, then stopped into TJ Maxx, just to browse...for soccer socks, shorts, I found some lovely mason jar type beverage dispensers for Emily's catering business, specifically for a wedding we are catering this summer. Smart phones are wonderful, Suze snap-chatted Em some pictures of the jars..she agreed they are perfect for fruit infused water, and iced tea.

We went to Target to return the ugly dress, and came out with just a few more things. Then to Price Chopper for chicken and spinach and eggs and milk....then home...then quick back to town to pick up the minivan, yay, five hundred bucks, and she's ready to roll again. Poor minivan. Home again, and time to make dinner. Never mind that the older kids all left for a meeting, and that my sister called so I just made plates for the younger three (barbecued chicken thighs and corn, asparagus and spinach), and talked to Cheryl for a bit.

Then Mirielle came for a visit, the kids stayed up too late, then the other kids all came home.

I should have gone to bed, but I had things to do! I had clothes to try on. I have only lost three pounds, but have gotten a tiny bit smaller, and was trying to decide what to wear/bring to Washington D.C. I finally got into bed at midnight, then read for a while. When six o'clock rolled around this morning, ugh.

Anyhow, today is a good day.

My little girls, and Jonathan, are all packed for the trip already. They are so excited, but the pre-trip excitement is part of the fun. That's why we like to have kids around, it reminds us to be happy about life.

In a few days, it will be my mother's birthday again. When the lilacs bloom each year, I miss her terribly. Lilacs were her favorite. My little brother was deathly allergic to bee stings when we were growing up, I guess he still is. My mother always carried his, "bee sting kit" in her purse, and she worried and fretted about Casey Michael. He was the youngest, and could get away with murder, and was the apple of my mother's eye. He wasn't allowed barefeet, because he might step on a bee. My father decided to get rid of all the flowers in they yard, and sawed down my mother's huge lilac bush. (Casey got stung a few times, had horrible reactions, ambulances, was no joke, and I grew up terrified of bees...I never ever got stung until one time I was pregnant, and one stung me right in the stomach, I thought my life was over, I had a reaction but not terrible. I always thought that would be how I would die, since I never got stung all those years. I still think it might be my ticket to the other side...:)) Anyway. Tangents. Every year for my mother's birthday, I tried to get her some lilacs. Our down the street neighbors had a few bushes, and when they weren't looking...I picked some for her.

I miss her. She enjoyed life. She lived forgiveness, she lived goodness. She never thought of herself, and absolutely loved to give. She always had something for the kids, and for our friends' kids. She was a natural birthday memorizer, and if she didn't gave a gift and ran into a child who had a birthday, she would pull out a five dollar bill. She was no nonsense about manners, the kids learned to say their pleases and thank-yous, but she could while away the hours without ever getting bored. She read them stories, she told them stories, and most of all, she listened to them. She got a kick out of them all, her grandchildren...there are 48 of them.

Ah well. She wouldn't want me to waste days being sad. It's just not fair how life just goes on, the whole world not even realizing that she's not with us anymore. What's worse than thinking about her all the time is when I realize, every now and then, that I haven't thought about her in a while.

Okay, it's bothering me that the house is messy...I have to get up and at least sweep the floors...true to my prediction, my niece stopped in a few minutes ago, while I was typing this. It always happens, let the place go, and people stop in.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

kids live here!!!

Pick it up and put it away? But they're still playing!

And then there are the fire trucks...

I can clean up my house, but it won't STAY clean. Because we like to be comfortable here. Or perhaps because it's just too much work to keep it spotless, although I seriously wouldn't know. I think every family has to find their own comfort level, what they can live with on a regular daily basis. Unfortunately, my idea of comfort is a few levels up from the rest of the slobs who live here, ha. But since I'm the mom, it's all my fault anyway, right? One mom told me a few years back that I'm not doing my kids any favors by not teaching them be cleaners and organizers. Sorry kids!

The thing is, I don't like walking around nagging. Who's sweater is this? Who left these dishes on the coffee table? Orange peels on the arm of the couch? Seriously? I can issue a general statement, saying this won't be tolerated anymore...but of course I'm wasting my breath, because we all know: NO ONE DID IT. Or perhaps one of them will helpfully point the finger to a sibling, who points to still another sibling.

Anyhoo. Just keeping the floors clean is like a part time job.

Okay, so we're taking a trip this weekend. I have taken trips with all different kids in the family through the years. Teenagers are fun to travel with, but the little kids are a riot because they are so unreserved about their excitement. They don't cross their arms and mumble, "yeah, I guess I'm glad we're going. But it'll probably be really lame." Nope! The hotel pool! Can we order pizza the first night?! We'll probably stop at McDonald's on the way down!!! They are packing the poker chips/cards (yeah, my little kids play poker), and the Yahtzee! game. They are packing movies and tablets and each one pillow. I keep telling them to pack lightly. ha.

Their excitement is contagious.

Today, my little friend Davian is coming over. We can't talk about our trip in front of him, it's too sad, because he asks, "What about me?" He is seriously adorable. He told me yesterday that he was going to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon.

I find these days, I get up at six-ish in the morning, am relatively busy all day....I say "relatively", because yesterday I sat in my comfy lounge chair while the kids splashed in the little pools. Jon even brought me a 15 calorie popsicle. (and ha, I am sitting here right now, aren't I?) But overall, driving people places and making meals and and and...keeps me busy enough. I tried to read in bed last night and just conked after like 20 pages. I turned out the light at midnight, and slept like a rock. So I can't complain, which I shouldn't anyway, which Jonathan so nicely reminds me.

Another load of laundry is done, so off I go...

Monday, May 18, 2015

where in the "h" did monday go?

Heck of course. Let's see...perhaps I drove away the and there and everywhere. I did end up at Target for a bit...that went too fast. Sonja K. and I had a nice cold drink...not a rum and coke, an iced coffee with sugar-free mocha from Starbucks...some sort of iced tea for her. She found new sandals, a t-shirt, and some comfy pants. I found comfy pants too, and a dress...I tried it on, and decided to buy it. I tried it on again at home, and I hate it. It shows too many bumps and bulges. rrr. My girls say I should just wear what I like. Well guess what? I don't actually like it very much. Especially on me. Suze says whatever you wear, wear it with confidence and you will look nice. Easy for her to say...:)

Anyway. I bought Jonathan a few shirts and some really nice shorts, and new bikinis for the princesses. We didn't even go through the whole store because we had to pick Margaret up from work. Then to the grocery store quick before I had to be home because the girls had to go to Emily's house for a bonfire.

Phew. I warmed up some ribs from last night, on the grill. I don't feel like going to get my phone from where it's charging across the room and putting up the picture of the vast amount of ribs I grilled yesterday...22 pounds. I baked them for 3 and a half hours first, then grilled them, then put them back in the oven wrapped in foil for another half hour. yummers.

It is hot here today, and humid. The kids played in the splash pools outside for a bit, Jonathan mowed the lawn with the push mower, and was so red faced and hot, he went right underwater in the little pool before lunch. I was ready to go sit in it myself, but I would probably displace all the water.

Plus, I wouldn't be able to get back out. We would have to call the fire department.

I have lost three whole pounds. It isn't fair, I am broken. But as usual, I am not giving up. Not yet. I don't eat sugar anymore, that's a GOOD thing. I feel better, and those nasty hot flashes haven't come back. I would LIKE to see results quicker, but...

My washing machine is getting tired and cranky and temperamental. Sometimes it stops mid-cycle, and I have to re-set it to rinse and spin again. Sometimes the door locks, and it won't do anything at all. It's scary, because without my washer...

It's been working well today though, and each load that it washes nicely for me, I am so appreciative. I am not taking clean laundry for granted. I keep thinking it's going to misbehave again.

We took the van into the shop today. It is making that horrid scary noise, and it needs to be inspected. To pass inspection, the horrid scary noise will have to be fixed.

Our trip to Washington D.C. is on Friday!!! I am excited! The kids are BEYOND excited. They love packing their stuff. I am going to have to intervene of course, our they will bring everything they own. They have new bathing suits for the hotel pool....oh it's fun. Samuel James, we can't wait to see you!!!!

Ah well, kids are being silly and need their mama...Daddy is in France again, so it's just the one parent...

Sunday, May 17, 2015

sunday evening post...

Evelyn and I on our little there such a thing as too much fun? A ghost spider followed us home...Evelyn didn't mean to scream and fling it on me while I was driving, she was sorry. I killed it with a plastic spoon, after pulling to the side of the road of course.

It was a perfect day.

This is me in one of the rooms of the old hospital... are watching a scary movie...I am distracted...maybe I'll write again tomorrow...

Friday, May 15, 2015

happy in a messy house...

I can't keep up around here. We had a playdough table for a few days...cleaned it up, and they put up the portable ping pong net and moved the table out from the wall a few feet...the dogs came in with muddy feet, and I already mopped the floors this morning. The counters just don't like to be bare and clean...there are school books and crayons and art projects all over one of the tables...but if I wait until it is spotless to be happy, it ain't gonna happen.

I like clean. I like shiny, and organized. Oh, I bought a really neat new tea kettle today.

(Kim and I stopped at the thrift store today.)

Ah is good.