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

Thursday, October 8, 2015

real quick post....israel kids, airport trip, too much fun....

Okay...first the Israel kids: they are having too much fun. I will post some pics later when I get a chance, but they have been to the Dead Sea and to Jerusalem, and have ridden camels in the desert. I miss them dearly but am so excited for them about the intensity of this trip.

Airport trip: we have to drive to pick Paul up from the airport this morning. We, as in: Jon, Char, Cam, Davian, Linnea, and Sebastian. And me, the driver. He comes in early enough that we don't have time to do anything fun first, and believe me, he will just want to come home when we pick him up...he, as in Paul.

And the fun part...having lots of kids underfoot is always fun. Davian is explaining to Sebastian right this moment that snot come out of your nose. I missed the context, but it's still funny. Sebastian is the Coloring King. He whips through paper like there's no tomorrow, but his pictures are getting better and more discernible. This morning, he's drawing Davian's family. And Davian is making the planets. Linnea is still sleeping, she is definitely the sleeper of the twins. And the eater. She scooped up that homemade chicken soup last night for supper, all smiles and happy. Sebastian no sooner heard what we were having, and announced he was having a banana. I just gave him the banana, after all, they are guests here and I am also a picky eater, so I do know how he feels. Anyhow, I prepared a mouse sized bowl of soup for him, and encouraged him to just take a taste...he took four tastes, and I praised him to the hills. This is progress, one of the first nights he was here, I presented him with a nice bowl of beef and veggies, and this is true: he screamed when I set it in front of him. ha, he had Cheerios.:)

They are entwining their little selves right around my heart, as challenging as they can be sometimes. I am fifty years old, and these kids can run circles around me, hands down. I let them run in the house as much as I can stand, and when I am certain that someone is going to fall and hit their head, I have them stop. (this fear is stronger with kids not my own, I don't remember being so worried about these things with my kids:)) We are having some nice weather too, so we get outside and run around as much as possible.

And now I have sat here too long, enjoying my coffee while they sit at the table with Jonathan...I have to actually wake Char, Cam, and Linnea so we can get going...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

being busy, keeping happy, kids in israel....

My kids who are in Israel (8 of them!), have trained with the Israeli Army in counter-terror and security practice. They shot guns, played paintball, did work outs, and had a blast. BTW, that's my daughter Suzanne, the blonde girl with the glasses, in that picture.

I miss them, but they are having such a nice trip there in Israel.

And watching these little children is keeping me on my toes! The twins are so well-adjusted, they go to bed nicely...Char and Cam think it's fun to tuck them in, and the twins are fine with it. They sleep well, they are happy...and they're clever. There are two of them, and they like to compete for the blue booster seat, or for a certain cup. They like to run and scream and make messes. They like to cuddle and hug me and sit in my chair and rock when they first wake up. They have tender little hearts. I also have Davian here during the day, so there are three of them. Today Jonathan made a fort in his room for them, so they are busy packing up and bringing things in's their "camp site". They are playing it's Davian's birthday now. The three of them can tend to fight about little things, so I have to keep an eye on them, but they are doing much much better. I try to intervene immediately and take the perpetrator out of the group for a minute, diffuse the situation before they hit, slap, or pinch. ha.

Well, as I speak! A little fight just broke out over a small princess figurine, but when I called their names to stop, they listened, and stopped, and we straightened it out before they hurt each other. I hugged them all and told them how good they are. They are really cute.

Paul is away, out of town, so it's just me and lots of little ones these days. Sonja (she's at school), Jonathan, Char, Camille, and these guys.

I haven't been out and about much these days. The twins take a nice little nap every day, and I try to keep a consistent schedule for them. They eat their lunch, take a nap...I always have thought that kids need some snuggling when they wake up...then playing outside or running around the house a little...then we color or paint or make messes at the table with glue and markers. Sebastian is the coloring king, he has so many masterpieces that I had to give him a folder to keep them in, as he wants to bring them all home.

We are buying a "new" van. It's the same year as our current minivan, with half the miles. As much as we would love a brand new one, it's not worth all the money. This one is very's so clean and new looking....but don't worry, we'll mess it up quickly enough...although we vow not to. ha. We know the people who are selling it, and trust them, and they have take really good care of it.

Anyhoo...oh, remember how I thought I gained like ten pounds on my Seattle vacation? I didn't! I lost weight! I am now down 17 pounds total from starting on keto on May 1st. So five months, 17 pounds. That is NOT great, but it could be worse, and hey, I'll take it. I feel good when I eat this way, and my sugar cravings are mostly gone although I will never ever not think a donut is a work of art, and the attraction to well frosted cakes and just the yumminess of cookies...those things are part of me, and I just have to learn to navigate around them instead of being led by them. I had some yummy things in Seattle, but I didn't totally abandon my good habits. I didn't eat a whole cookie, just some tastes. I had sweet potato fries, and when we went to a restaurant that featured homemade rolls served with fresh honey butter...yeah, I had one. But I ordered plank steak on a salad, could have been worse.

We did tons of walking on the trip though, and I miss that. I can't really leave here and go walking, and if I take the kids it will be like a turtle expedition...we might go on a little hike around the yard today though...and we are going to make ghosts to hang in the trees, out of plastic grocery bags....

Friday, October 2, 2015

three 3 year olds....

One super cool cash register. Sebastian particularly likes it. He sits there sliding those credit cards that come in the mail, and plays with old grocery store receipts and has some real money in there. He just likes it. But of course the other two want their turn.

It's funny because I knew this week would be a lot of work, and I knew it would be fun, but I didn't fully realize how much I would totally fall in love with these kids. Davian comes here often, and I truly missed him when I was out west, but there is plenty of room in my heart for these twins too.

(not two minutes after this picture, they started running around like crazy...ha)

Anyhow. The snuggles and the sweetness and the silly things they say...Linnea told Paul that when her papa used to be old, his name was Paul too. They bring stuffed animals to the table and like to sit with me when they wake up. I make sure I tell Davian how much I love him, and give him some extra hugs, so he doesn't feel like these two are getting more attention.

They definitely need firmness and boundaries, but mostly they need what I have the least of, ha, patience. Patience and praise and love and attention. It puts me in a good place, a place where I find myself seeking God. I don't take it lightly that these parents have entrusted me with their kids.

And now it's time for Lydia to come over and spend the day with Grammy...ha, I am a Grandmother. Lydia is five weeks old now, and just as sweet as ever. Linnea, who is not yet four, assured me that she knows how to change a diaper. They say they are going to help with the baby.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

such a happy mama....

Seven of my daughters are in Israel (and one son too, Joseph.) This is Emily Anne, Abigail Marie, Evelyn Joy, Kathryn Grace, Suzanne Eleanor, Margaret Cheryl, and Mariel Joy.

If I could just be there too...but they are sending lots of pics, and I am happy for them, so very happy. Ten days in Israel...

Sebastian is explaining about the tooth fairy and how you get money when your tooth gets out. Now they are making toot sounds. Charlotte Claire is playing Duplos with Sebastian and Davian, and Linnea is with Camille. They are bundles of energy, but it's refreshing to be with young children who don't roll their eyes when I belt out a nice tune while dancing around the kitchen, but instead, just join in. This morning we made up a song about peeing in the toilet, complete with gospel-singing hand clapping and dancing. I haven't been able to act like the complete idiot that I actually am in quite some time.

Davian just said, "Don't destroy our kingdom!", and then to Sebastian, "You're so moody!" oh they are funny. Territorial about toys, yet if one cries, the others are so sympathetic.

They are having Hess truck races now. :)

Anyhow, I miss my teenagers...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

on the way home from seattle....with pictures

Paul and I with the three youngest...and Ben and Ashley and Anya, at Mt. Rainier.

Anya and me...

Anya and Char.

Anya with Paul...her grampa.

This is why it's nice to travel with small children. They know how to stop and smell the roses. Camille.

The princesses on the ferry from Bainbridge Island. It was a gorgeous day to be on the Puget Sound.

With Charlotte Claire...

With Paul...

Paul and Jon and Char and Cam as the ferry got back to Seattle...

At Mt. Rainier with Paul and the three kids.

Camille...a bird landed right in her hand!

We visited the coffee shop in town FOUR times. And not just for the coffee, they bake cookies and blueberry muffins every day...from scratch.

These two...Benjamin and dad...they haven't had enough time together through the seems like Ben straightened out from the difficult teenager he was, then left for the Army...four years flew by, he settled in Seattle...and now the two of them get along like peas and carrots.

Anya loves her Aunties...Cam and Char.

The tree roots! The trees! huge.

I had a goal at the cabin in the drink my morning coffee in the hot tub each day. I must say, I was successful.

The mountain takes my breath away, and no photos do it justice. We hiked up a path one day, and it REALLY took my breath away, I had to say "uncle" and suggest we turn around. Because yeah, all the way up I ooohed and ahhed at the view while I sucked wind. ha. But it was beautiful.

Our plane boards in 20 minutes, we are in the airport in Seattle. Paul's flight left already, we are on our own. The kids are watching shows on Jon's tablet, leaving me a little bit of time to blog before we get moving. We don't get home until 10:30 tomorrow morning...and by then my older kids will be on their flight to Israel...they take off when we land.

And we have had a wonderful vacation. I miss my Ben already, and Ashley too. She has such a big soft heart, and was so good to us. Little Anya was warming more and more and more to us, by the time we left, she had totally stolen our hearts. Saying goodbye is more cruel than I can put into words. As thankful I am to have spend time with them, it hurts to leave. I am saving my money up to come back again...days and weeks and months are hard to apart from them, but years would be intolerable:)

We need to get up and walk around before our flight, which means turning off their show and gathering all the electronics and backpacks and luggage...blah. But it is still fun. They make it so much fun, with their delight in all the little details that regular people overlook.

And, off we go....

Saturday, September 26, 2015

in other news....

That is my son! No, not the president of the United States, and no, not the president of China...but that handsome soldier standing there directly behind them, facing the camera...that's Sam! He has had a busy week...he saw the Pope the other day.

We are having a busy week too. Yesterday when Ashley and Anya took a nap, we decorated for a surprise birthday party for the two of them, as both their birthdays are next month, when we are all the way back east again...

Anya didn't quite know what to make of it at first...

But the party horns and balloons were delightful.

We also explored the town...

We found a river....which I do have pictures of, but it takes so long to load the photos, and Benjamin is awake, the kids are eating cereal, and I smell coffee...I hate missing out on life.

For the surprise party, Paul and I snuck into town with the kids...into the bakery...the coffee shop that roasts it's own beans daily....and bought Ashley a pound of coffee, and some fresh baked cookies...and of course I had to sample the brewed coffee...yum. We also went to the dinky little grocery store and bought a "heater cake", which is what my kids call the frozen Pepperidge Farms cakes...chocolate. And a pumpkin muffin from the bakery.

I had brought gifts from home, and the plates and candles and decorations from Walmart on the way here to the wilderness. The kids enjoyed surprising them, and decorating, putting the crepe paper streamers up...

Anyhoo. How can I describe how nice it is up here? The air smells crisp, it is Autumn for sure. The trees are still mostly green, but there are leaves to crunch in, and there are reds and oranges dotting the green-ness. The trees...they're huge! They are huge and fat and tower into the sky. We saw elk, wandering around the town. Just out for a walk behind the grocery store.

We have soaked in the hot tub under the stars (and yesterday before breakfast), played cards, made good meals...and talked.

Today we are going adventuring again. Maybe Mt. St. Helens, which is to the south of us, or maybe back up Mt. Rainier. Or to the river, so they can catch some salmon. I don't care much. I just like being with Ben and Ashley, and Anya is like a ray of sunshine. She just enjoys life, and is so sweet.

Ah well...enough for now.

Friday, September 25, 2015

cabin in the woods

We're here! It's beautiful, and the hot tub is nice. Tomorrow we go find the river, the salmon are running. We went up the mountain today...

Maybe tomorrow I'll have time for blogging:)