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

Monday, November 23, 2015

hello, winter!

I hurried the kids out the play in it, of course! It's going to be sunny and warm (55F, 12C) by Thursday, and this snow will be just a memory. It's well below freezing right now, but even today it will warm up to the middle thirties, and the melting will begin. It's seriously like a winter wonderland right now though....

And last night, Miss Lydia came to visit!
Here's my baby Camille with Mali's baby Lydia...and me, Grammy:)

The heater is humming, and the house is filled with that special lighting that only a snow filled yard can provide. It feels like Christmas, and makes me want to do Christmas-y things, instead of attacking the sink full of dishes. I need to make a turkey dinner list because we are having our Thanksgiving celebration on Wednesday. I should be baking pies today, but I'll do it tomorrow. I am leaving everything 'til tomorrow, ha.

Emily and I were looking up tickets to fly to Norway in March for a sisters' conference at church. I know, ha, Norway in March. We had wanted to go to England first, but it's too pricey, plus we want to figure out if we can take a few of my other girls, but shh, I don't want them to know about it until I figure out if we can manage it. Traveling with Em is always an adventure. She's good at navigating, but also very chill if things don't go according to plan.

Samuel is back in Washington D.C. after a week of training at Fort Benning in Georgia at a leadership/squad leader training thing. I am very proud of Sam:)

And let's see...if you read this blog and think my life is just are partly right. Because I firmly believe that God causes all things to work together for the good for those who love Him. But that doesn't mean there isn't a suffering involved. During the 8 years I have written this blog, things have happened in my life that I have losing baby Robert, and a few miscarriages...the loss of my brother's suicide... and things that I haven't been able to share because those stories are not MY stories to tell....a few of my kids have gone through hard times...SERIOUSLY hard times. There have been times that I have known the sun was behind the clouds, but it didn't feel like it.

When I choose not to share certain things, it isn't because I want to give the illusion that my life is picture perfect. But no matter what lifestyle my kids grow up and choose, I still love them. I hope and pray, of course, that they choose to seek God in all they do. Because I love them. I want them to be happy. So I pray for them, and seek with all my heart to personally live a life that is well-pleasing to God, to be a good example, to bless and serve when I don't feel like it, to forgive and forget, to be a doer of what I know is right, and not a preacher.

And yeah, there is no shortage of work to do here today...I need to start with my list and make sure I have all I need to start baking those pies. The 23 pound turkey is thawing...I need to buy squash...ours didn't grow well in the garden this year...

Sunday, November 22, 2015

sunday afternoon....

This is how I feel today too...

The cold has moved in, the sun is setting, and the house is quiet for a bit. Paul and Jonny are out hunting, the princesses are playing in their room, and the rest of the teenagers, and Joseph, are in their rooms. We had a big lunch of leftover chicken heated up in olive oil and pepper, and stirred into a ginger teriyaki sauce, with basmati rice and steamed broccoli.

It's snowing out now, brr.

Christmas excitement is creeping in....I put in a Target order today. Phew, that takes care of a few of the kids. The little girls went to the craft store with me today. I spent too much and had too much fun. We came home with some wreaths, which I decorated and put on the doors. is here, and I have things to do...

Friday, November 20, 2015

and friday rolls around again...

I would like to say we are staying home today, but alas, we are going bye-bye...just for two specific things: a huge turkey, and something for the crafts I am making for the bazaar this year. I bought a turkey yesterday but it's only 18 pounds, and am hoping to get a bigger one. It's only 48 cents a pound, and we'll use the smaller one maybe for Christmas, or for just a random Sunday meal.

Oh how spoiled we are. I watched a video from Operation Christmas Child...a huge roomful of school kids somewhere in Africa, I am guessing, opening their shoeboxes full of gifts, and shrieking with joy. One boy was waving a box of markers like it was a million dollars. I had my three youngest watch it with me this morning, then we went to the site and read personal stories of kids receiving their boxes, and how having their own toothbrush instead of sharing with others at the orphanage was the best thing, but most of all, these kids felt the love of a stranger. The kids and I agreed that we need to fill a box or two, and found there are drop off locations around here.

Jonathan is making eggs for Camille for breakfast. Miss Char is taking a shower. Duke is lying at my feet, and Suri is napping on the couch, snoring.

It's chilly and sunny here, the wind has died down, it's a good day for playing outside. Yesterday rain was forecast, so when the kids woke up, I told them to go out and jump on the trampoline quickly before the rain comes through.

Yesterday's calling hours/service for our friend's mom was very touching, very sad. I am so thankful that we attended. Paul was able to leave work for a while and go, it was nice to see him there too. I didn't know his mom well, she came here once years ago, but that's not always the point. Steve needed his friends in his time of sorrow.

It's time to get moving here again.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

trying to fit it all in...

There was a museum trip that I was bound and determined to fit in this week. So I planned it for Tuesday. Then dang it, there was a basketball game I needed to work. Then Wednesday, but there was Activity Club in the afternoon. Thursday? Yes, Thursday it is. Then lo and behold, a friend of ours lost his mama, and the calling hours are...on Thursday. Who was the one who said that it isn't doing what one likes, it's liking what one does? Yeah, well. I DID say that.

So no museum today. Calling hours for a friend's mama.

Tomorrow? No, Kim can't go tomorrow, she has grandkids coming to visit her.

Tomorrow night, I am going to see the latest Hunger Games movie with some of my girls and one of their friends. Again, liking what I do. It IS fun to share the excitement with them, then critique the movie, compare it to the books, ect.

And Saturday, I'm working the concession stand again.

Do I even get a say in life? Ha, I don't mind. I could barge through putting my foot down and choosing what I want to do instead, and probably couldn't even think of what to do with myself. And besides, I'm pretty certain that there's a blessing over doing what's good for others.

I had a dream last night that I was doing things I shouldn't do, hanging with some rebels (sometimes in my dreams I am a teenager again), and I could feel my conscience niggling. Finally I started crying, and told a whole group of really tough kids, "I can't do this anymore! I would rather have God's good pleasure over my life than anything else in the world!"

Anyway. That's the main goal in life...and when we do that first, all the rest sort of falls into place. And now I need to hurry hurry hurry...:)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

when mama stays up late in the night...

I am too tired to be up, but the quiet is just too nice to say goodnight to. It's going to get busier around here before it gets calmer, so I need to grab the chance to chill by myself while I can.

Thanksgiving is next week, and we are having a turkey dinner on Wednesday, because three of the four nurses in our family can make it: Emily, Aaron, and Mali. Poor Mirielle has an awful schedule and has to work several 12 hour nights in a row next week:(

I used to routinely have most of my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving, but not this year! I did get some things yesterday, but still have a ways to go. And we have reserved a table at a craft bazaar for next month, and oh the ideas that are swirling around in my head!

Right now, I don't have any library books, because I just don't want to take the time to read these days. are some random facts in no particular order.

1. I have eleven daughters. Sometimes that suprises me. That's a lot of daughters. They are all unique, and I am thankful for them all.

2. Five sons. Five. Even if I didn't have eleven daughters, and just had five boys, that's a lot of boys! They are amazing boys, my grown boys, and little Jonathan who is such a good kid.

3. I have always wanted to homeschool, and when I finally started to, I fell in love with it. That doesn't mean I don't second guess myself sometimes, but I have peace about it.

4. Bragging about your kids is allowed on your own blog.

5. A guy at the basketball concession told me he loved me tonight. Then he looked at me and said, "I am totally serious. I love you." He was awfully young, so I am thinking he meant in a mother sort of way. Either way, it was both weird and flattering.

6. I am staying up late because I had a strange incidence of sudden acid reflux, the choking/burning/coughing kind, while sitting right here in my chair, a few hours ago. I drank coffee on the way home from the basketball game, and had some dark chocolate. Bad combination, I guess. I thought I would stay up for a while so it doesn't happen while I sleep.

7. Before I lost lots of weight, I was plagued by heartburn, but it mostly went away with a good healthy lower carb diet.

8. Moving more is on my agenda for the winter. I am such a relaxer! When it's cold out and the cozy little space heater is blowing warm air on my toes, oh I like to sit in my chair and think about things. But those push ups and exercises and walks and dancing around with the kids feel so much better!

9..Paul and I have to get our heads together and plan our trip to Florida for this coming winter. I also want to see about making my hoped for trip to Norway in March a reality...with a little side trip to England:)

10.Hunting season for big game starts next week. Paul bought a license and really wants to shoot a deer so we can eat nice natural unprocessed meat. This is going to take some adjustments from Miss Picky here. You can tell me all you want to that it's good for me, that doesn't mean I'm going to eat it. I would like the skin though, to cure and make moccasins out of.

And never mind, I am getting tired. Good night!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

feeling accomplished...

Aim low and you won't be disappointed. I took the kids to the pool yesterday, yay me! They had a half a bagel before we left, so were famished by the time we got out of the water. Home, hung up the suits and towels, and French toast with berries and whipped cream, eggs with bacon bits and sausage, and ice water. I only had the eggs and berries, but believe me, I wanted the whipped cream. It's the squirty kind in the can, and we were supposed to save it for Thanksgiving pie, but no one opened it, and hey, if it's open, it's fair game in this house.

This afternoon there's a college basketball game, and yes, I am working at it. Stay At Home Mom, ha.

At 4:45 this chilly morning, Duke started in on his intermittent barking. It wasn't his Stranger Is Here barking, which he does even when Paul comes home from work, it was his Have To Go Out barking. Just a bark...then I would start to drift back off...then another...I waited to see if anyone else possibly heard him and would be the nice one, but hah. Me, it was. Brr. Both of the dogs wagged and wagged when I came out, happily thinking it was morning. I let them out, and waited fifteen minutes for them to run wild and explore important things, and probably go to the bathroom too. They thought it was food time too, but no way. I patted their naughty heads and went back to bed. My bed was so warm and comfy and I had over two more hours before I had to get up. I closed my eyes. I thought of things. I thought of how much I grumbled when I had to get up. I thought of how tired I would be later when I had to work at the basketball game. I thought of how easily I slip into being not very thankful. I talked to God about things. I thought about how Christians can be critical and judgemental, and how I don't want to be like that.

I didn't like it, but it was good for me.

And then of course, at 6:30 when Paul got up, I talked to him...then fell asleep. Right when I had to get up. Then I had an awful dream, that Paul was sitting in a chair, leaning back all tired. In the dream it was obvious he was very sick. I leaned over and kissed his stubbly cheek, and told I loved him, then I teased him and said, "what's left of you." A horrible thing to say, and I feel bad even though it was only a dream. He was so thin and tired, then he closed his eyes and started sobbing, and I kept kissing him and telling him how much I loved him...then I woke up. And wanted to get into the van and drive to his work and hug him. It was just a dream. But the feelings I felt were real. The feelings I had when I woke up were real. I do love him, even if he makes bonebroth and komucha tea, pickled carrots and homemade saurkraut, and messes up the kitchen, and leaves socks on the floor. I love him. I am glad for that bad dream....

And I have kids to talk to and to teach...and enjoy.

Monday, November 16, 2015

on doing what I like...

I like writing. So I have to remember when I am feeling all huffy about never getting a say in how I spend my day that I DO get to write. It's not always blissfully quiet when I sit here trying to string two thoughts together, but this morning it is. That's because I half-assed it on the morning work, and yes I do know that's a bad word, but nothing else fits so perfectly to describe how I wiped down the counters, swept the floors, straightened the couch covers, washed the popcorn pan and bowls from last night, and put on a pot of coffee before beelining it to this comfy chair, to sneak in this very quiet time before the homeschooled kids get up. And that was AFTER I conversed with my three daughters who still go to real school, Sonja 13, Suzanne 14, and Evelyn Joy 16. Suze keeps a low profile in the morning, very quiet. Too quiet sometimes and I worry. Sonja and Evelyn are like dynamite and a match. This morning for instance, I was telling a story about when Ben was a newborn baby and I went Christmas shopping with him. Back then, I told the girls, there weren't yet infant car seats. A baby went into a large convertible style seat in the car, then was taken out of it, and brought into store or where ever, in the arms of his caretaker. So I used a regular little babyseat, the kind one used on a countertop, to put him in when we got into the toy store that day, in the back of the shopping cart. As I stopped to browse in the doll aisle, a woman took a large box from the shelf, set it on the cart directly over where baby Benjy sat in his infant seat, and started to open up the box. Um, I am a real nice lady, but the mama bear in me came out that day.

Anyhoo. When I tell these stories, the kids look at each other, raise their eyebrows, and say that Mom's old. Imagine, a world without infant carseats. Anyway, Sonja started decided it was 'fessing up time, and started telling stories about eating all of Evelyn's gummy candy that she got for her birthday from Uncle Bob, to which Evelyn replied, "Do you hate me? Why do you always take MY stuff." (Sonja DID steal Evelyn's sweater just yesterday, but Sonja called it "borrowing".)

So yeah, a nice smooth morning that ended with three girls dashing for the bus, leaving one lunch on the countertop. I am not one of those mom's who knows exactly who what lunch belongs with, so I waited for the is Evelyn's. Yes, I will bring it to school for you, because I agree, you can't starve. But shh, don't tell Sonja, she forgot her lunch last week when it was cold and rainy, and shh, Bad Mom Award, I told her to borrow from the lunch ladies and eat a school lunch.

I have been thinking a bit about doing what one likes. It IS golden, to sit here in the quiet and tap out my thoughts. It clears my head. And that's okay, to strive to fit it in. But. As I go about my day, more likely than not, most of the things I occupy myself with are things I wouldn't exactly choose to do. In this lies the old cliche, Like What You Do, instead of Do What You Like. It's a good work to learn to be content, and to be thankful for whatever God sends each day. And it is a constant work. It's easy to waste the days being miserable because nothing goes the way I want it to. That misery effects everyone around me. And that is how sin destroys, wrecks, and divides. Choosing to fight those thoughts of Poor Me, and the anxiety about money, and worry about how the kids are behaving, and the reports I need to do for school (dang, I have to get those in!!)'s a good that brings joy in the midst of noise and chaos, and goodness instead of answering back, kindness instead of being harsh and critical. It's a learning process, but a good fight.

The days are simply not long enough to do all the things we need to do, and I want life to just go on and on. That's one of the things that really tempts me to freak out, honestly, thinking of how mortal we all are. Just a thought flitting through my mind of something happening to one of the kids, and I can't handle it, I simply have to remember that God has all of this, I don't need to fret about it. I enjoy life, though, and sometimes I think, "Well, I'm fifty, so if I'm lucky, I get another 30-40 I am already over halfway through my ride through life..." Again, God HAS this. I don't need to worry about it. But those thoughts do come.

Anyway. Today is all I need to be concerned with, and today we are going to do some school, go to the library, and perhaps start some Christmas shopping. And I need to write reports...:)