Sunday, June 28, 2009

An Anniversary to remember......




but not for the reasons you might think! ;)
Tim and I had big plans to do a belated 25th Anniversary celebration this year and go away for a night since I am not nursing anyone ( was it really only a year ago I was nursing a baby? It seems much longer).
But since that wouldn't work out this weekend, we decided instead to just go out to lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant and stop for a Cold Stone afterward (of course!)
We put the littles down for a nap and left Naomi in charge. We knew Noah would be home from work in a half hour to back her up. As we were leaving the sky looked a bit menacing, but I had just checked the weather. It said there was a severe thunderstorm watch but when I looked at the hourly forecast it only gave 20 or 30% chance of rain.... which was puzzling, but not all that much for Michigan. (My friend Donna backs me up on this one :)

As we drove throw dowtown MC, we were suprised by the hoards of people down by the river. A couple signs on the corner tipped us off to the reason "No saving spaces for fireworks until 3PM Thursday". It was right at 3 o'clock and everyone was descending upon the riverfront to "save their spot" :)

By the time we reached the freeway it was sprinkling. By the time we reached the restaurant it was pouring. By the time we sat down to eat the sirens were going off.
We called home to a panicked Jackson. Tim gave him a pep talk and called Naomi. He suggested she go downstairs, so she dutifully woke up the babes and took everyone downstairs, cool as a cucumber. We sat watching the tv, seeing "Severe Thunderstom Warning" on the news, wondering if we should chance dashing home, making frantic phone calls to Noah and Dylan.
Both got home, and we finished eating and got some ice cream

Upon arriving home we realized the power wasn't entirely out but wasn't entirely on, either. Just enough for a little light and some fans. No laundry, no vacuuming, etc. Rats! ;)
We woke up the next morning to the same situation. Some bike rides around the neighborhood alerted us to the reason why. A tree had completely uprooted (one of many, we later learned) and downed two power lines on the street over. But we made do. We did errands, went to the park, came home and ate dinner. The refridgerator was losing coolness rapidly, so a call to Neana solved that problem. She had a nearly empty freezer AND power. Thankfully, I hadn't gone big grocery shopping lately, but once we cleaned out our three freezers, I was amazed at how much was actually in there. ;) Still, we loaded a bin full and gratefully headed over to drop it off.
That evening was the fireworks, so we headed downtown ( sort of ....we try not to go right down by the river with all the kids..too crowded) and had a grand time. As we were riding home through our neighborhood we noticed a house that was lighting a coleman lamp in front of their window. And it looked very dark. It was very dark. No power at all now.

It was really very cozy lighting candles. Your house looks so much different in the candle light and dark in a pleasant sort of way. The weather had cooled considerably which was another blessing, so we didn't even miss the fans.

The next morning I called the electric company again. Their original estimate had been between 11-1 am the night before. Now it was between 6-8 pm today. I wasn't sure if I should believe them.
Really, things weren't too bad. There were a few grumpy people because of lack of internet access or tv :) but I was overall enjoying it, trying not to think of the growing laundry pile or grungy carpet. My concern was feeding 10 people out of a little cooler. I guess there are worse problems in the world than running to the store to get supplies for every meal. I was really starting to think this was going to be a long term situation.
But, just as we were finishing dinner on Saturday the lights came back on. Naomi and Ella and I had taken a walk earlier and finally saw the crews working on the power lines. It gave us hope things would be back to normal soon, and we weren't disappointed. It's funny how your grumbling toward a certain entity turns to wanting to hug them once they fix your problems. :)

So that was our powerless adventure. Somehow, I have much fonder thoughts about it than the one we had several years back. Probably because it was so darn hot during that one and NO WATER.
Boy, we are spoiled. I know it.
And thankful for all the little blessing interspersed in this now seemingly trivial inconvenience. :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Double Decker

Yesterday it was forecasted to be a hot one. Probably the hottest day of the year yet. I decided it was time to take the kids to the squirty park at Metro. It hasn't been all that warm this summer so far, and since we don't have a/c ( besides window units) and it is often 10 degrees cooler by the lake ( especially on the days you DON'T want it to be, ie: psuedo spring days when it feels nice enough to want to be outside and you think "Let's go drink in the beauty of Metro!" only to find it is still winter there :)
Well, it wasn't. Cooler that is.
And we finally made it there at the height of heat and sun.....12-3PM. Serindipitously, even though it was uber crowded, we walked into the park just as someone else was leaving a shady spot so we set up shop there and the kids went in and out of the squirting water. Naomi ran (????) and George biked his heart out. We ate our picnic lunch but by 2:30 or so the heat was wearing on us, even in the shade, so we headed home.

We did a little reading, a little *States Game* playing ( Jed's new favorite....fun, but only so much fun after you've played it 10 times in a row;) a little laundry ( can't put that one on the back burner, even when it is hot) and dinner eating ( chicken gyro's).
At 7:30 we decided to head back since the sun was somewhat less intense. As I was unloading the bikes, strollers, kids and other paraphenilia from the van I noticed a wallet sitting on the pavement in the next parking spot.
We walked it over to the park office, and when I handed it to the attendant a man sitting next to the desk jumped up with joy. I guess he had been there filing a police report. It was nice to help someone out like that. I know what a nightmare it is to lose your wallet.

Unfortunately, and unbeknowst to me, the squirty park closes at 8. Bummer.
Still, we were able to go and play at the playscape for another good hour and then stopped on the way home for Mc Donald's 1.00 cones. :) By then some cool showers helped get us ready for bed.

When it gets hot like this in the first days of summer I always think how it doesn't seem that long ago that we were dealing with ice and snow. And it probably won't be that long until we are again. So no complaints, a/c in the house or not. We will enjoy all of summer. The heat, the mosquitos, the sticky popscicle messes, the wet bathing suits left all over the house ( does anyone change in their rooms or bathrooms? :) Precious days.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Daybook: First Day of Summer & Father's Day 2009



Outside my window: bright and sunny. The first day of the new season and it appears to be the quintessentially summer day.

I am thinking.......I'm still waiting for those lazy, hazy days of summer. Crazy, we got. :)

I am thankful . ....that I have an excellent father and that my husband is an excellent father and I had an excellent father in law.

From the schoolroom. . ..trying to make sure Jed reads every day so as not to lose his skills. Finishing up math with the rest. (Ditto) Hopefully we'll start the library reading program this week.

From the kitchen ...I think I will try a pecan pie today. Never made one, but the father of the house has been dropping hints.

What I could take a break from making for the next 6 months: chocolate peanut butter squares. I'm sure I've made about 100 dozen in the last few weeks. They are the potluck favorite. ;)

I am wearing . . grey sweat capri's and a blue and silver metallic t-shirt. grey flip flops

I am creating . . .Well, I just finished some curtains for my canopy bed. I jinxed myself, though. While I was sewing away this morning I was thinking about how wonderfully the whole project was going. I *had* the curtains to match my new duvet, just needed to re-work them. ( IN other works, I didn't have to go searching the various thrift stores for new goods) I found a workable way to hang them, and it all was working out technically. I even had a quiet morning to myself with no littles up and about.

Then I started breaking needles one after another which precipitated a store run. I tried Walgreens, but no luck, so I had to go to Meijer. Tim and I love Meijer, and it's so close, but the problem is, just walking into the store is a huge time commitment and I knew I was working with limited minutes left in my *alone time* allotment . Thankfully, I was able to breeze in and out at a pretty good clip and somehow managed to finish up without breaking any more....


I am reading and watching . . . three diet books ( oops, I'm not supposed to call them diet books....."nutrional books".

Love on A Diet by Wendy Jeub

This was a quick read and pretty inspiring. I mean, when a lady with 15 kids writes a book on how she looks so great you want to know her secrets. I think it boils down to she hit a *crisis* with her weight and appearance and decided to do whatever necessary to change. Isn't that the bonafide secret to all *changing your eating habits and losing weight" books? You've got to want it! :) I like the fact that she didn't stop eating regular foods, mostly just less of them and has a few helpful hints.

I thought it was a little humorus when she wrote "If I can do it, anyone can!" I know what she was trying to say but I can just see the general public thinking "Well, you have 15 kids and homeschool them, so it is obvious you can do a lot of things I would never imagine trying. " and set the book down.


The Beck Diet for Life

This one goes into the more psychological reasons for overeating which I liked. It was written by a woman who believes/practices cognitive therapy ( which is changing your thoughts to change what is wrong in your life) which I think highly of as well. The *diet* itself is sound and not too low in calories ( which she advocates). She has you write out cards with reasons why you want to lose weight to read every morning and charts to fill out everyday to check off various behavioral exercises she wants you to do. I don't doubt the benefit of all that, and maybe that is an area I am failing in and need to take the time to do, but I sort of shy away from doing things like that because I forget or don't want to be bothered.

But by far my favorite is:

Unleash your Skinny Girl by Bethenney Frankl


She has all the reasons for me to write her off. She has no children and has never been pregnant, she is single, she has her own *healthy cooking* company.......but she mixes a good bit of humor with "get a hold of yourself! you're not a 2 yo" in her writing. Her ideas are commonsense and she, like the aforementioned book have helped me see ( which I was starting to suspect) that I have a very immature attitude when it comes to food. I THINK I should be able to eat what I want and shake an angry fist at the gods for not being able to ( which mostly means I just eat what I want anyway...and then complain that I am getting chubby. ;)


For some reason I picked out three Henry James novels to screen Dvd's at the library the other day. Didn't do it on purpose...it just happened! I watched the Masterpiece Theatre version of "The Turn of the Screw" yesterday at ironing time, which I thought was well done.

Naomi and I watched "The Mayor of Casterbridge" which was also good, but left me scratching my head a little. I just don't know why the daughter was so fond of her stepfather/father/in the end, not related to her at all. I remember reading the book, but I couldn't remember all the details, so I am wondering if re-reading it might shed a little light or if the movie just didn't really do the story justice. This is one book with a MULTITUDE of twists and turns in the story line.




I am hearing . ...Jed and Manny giving their breakfast requests to George.

Around the house. ...THE GARAGE MUST BE CLEANED!!!!



One of my favorite things. ...a warm summer night.

What will we do this week. . lunch with Neana to try and figure out Dyl's grad party. Sigh of relief!

Homeschool meeting, someone's 26th Anniversay, but I don't know how that will be celebrated, a belated Father's Day dinner on Sunday with my parents and Nan.

Here’s a picture I am sharing. .My two gradutes! Dylan (High school) Jed (Kindergarten)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Blogging while waiting for my nails to dry.......



Too tired to do much else.
The day started with some early morning floor mopping, bathroom cleaning, laundry loads and dishwashing.
All because two teenage girls were coming over. I don't fuss about a clean house as much when boys are coming over, but I think since they are female, perhaps messes bother them like they do me.
We zipped off to the 9am mass to pick the girls up. Armed with our extra doses of estrogen we came home. I grabbed Manny and went to visit Noah at Value Center :) I love having him bag my groceries.
After we unloaded the goods we re-loaded the car with kids, scooters and bikes we headed to Sonic ( the girls had never been) and took it all to George George.
Boy, it was crowded there. It didn't dawn on me it was the last day of school-school. I suppose everyone thought it was a good idea to go and celebrate the finish of the school year.

I laid on the grass and read while the littles played at the park. The sun was dancing through the trees. The man behind me was talking on his cell phone in French. A cool breeze blew. Ahhhhhh, a perfect summer day.
Too soon, it was time to go. Off to Dyl's graduation practice. When we walked in the room was a whirl of activity. Teens practicing Pacobel's Canon. Mom's carrying potted plants, men and boys setting up tables and chairs. I think it will be quite a ceremony. I'm sure very emotional. It is nice to be in a group of collectively proud parents. Very dear.

A mad dash home to toss a greek salad and cut up a pan of cookies for the basketball banquet. Finding out Jed wasn't feeling so well, I stayed home. A trip to Walgreens to get some nailpolish remover and fresh paint. Gabriella and I had a little girly time doing our nails just before Jed decided to lose his cookies in the very spot we had been sitting.
So the night finished off by cleaning up that mess, but at least with nice looking nails. ;) Tried to get to sleep, but tossed and turned knowing that there would be emotional messes to deal with in the morning ( The. Wings. Lost.)
Wondering now if I should try to get back to sleep or just get started on a new day.
It's been a busy, but lovely week.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mysteries


Lately I've been thinking about the many stages of mothering.
Is there any other vocation with so many changes, so many experiences that can't be related to or known, unless gone through?
I remember the first time I realized I was pregnant. No matter how badly I wanted to be a mother, no matter how many other mothers I had talked to about it or books read, there was no real preparation for realizing you held a little being within your being. There was no way to understand the nausea, the tiredness, the delight when I felt a small someone kicking a book perched on my stomach. No way to know what labor was going to feel like ( admittedly that one has taken quite awhile, they are all so different. :) No way to wrap your mind around the joy of holding that little being in your arms once he arrived. No way to understand that forever your heart would be tied to theirs. That you would feel every pain and joy, excitement, nervousness ,despair or hope that they feel inside your own soul. ( every one you know about, anyway :)

When you have just babies you can't imagine ever having enough sleep, or not changing a diaper. When you have all toddlers you wonder if you will ever be able to sit still, to not constantly be on alert lest they fall or wander off.....
and on and on it goes. One day when I had all small ones I was talking to my sister in law on the phone and she was telling me her nine year old was making cookies. Wonder of wonder! A child doing something so advanced! Would I ever get to those days?
Yes, they have come and gone. And will still come and go for some time.

I have experienced many of the mysteries of motherhood. Potty training, drivers training, starting school, graduating from school....even the mysteries you hold your breath and hope you will never know.... holding a very tiny little boy, still...with no life in his fragile body. No, no one can help you to understand the icy cold pain of losing one so unexpectedly.
Yet, there are still some out there for me. Some I am just getting used to. For a very long time I couldn't imagine any of mine living apart from us. Now there have been two. I still sneak into the laundry room and let the tears come. I wonder if that will ever become commonplace like having someone who can now cook a 4 course meal, or babysit, or go to the store for me.
Having a married child is an unknown, having a grandchild. Having an empty nest ( well, that one might never happen anyway ;).

I don't think you can ever say you have arrived as a mother. It seems like no matter how long you've been at it there will always be something new waiting for you on the horizon.

Motherhood

From out the front of being, undefiled,
A life hath been upheaved with struggle and pain;
Safe in her arms a mother holds again
That dearest miracle--a new-born child.
To moans of anguish terrible and wild--
As shrieks the night-wind through an ill-shut pane--
Pure heaven succeeds; and after fiery strain
Victorious woman smiles serenely mild.

Yea, shall she not rejoice, shall not her frame
Thrill with a mystic rapture! At this birth,
The soul now kindled by her vital flame
May it not prove a gift of priceless worth?
Some saviour of his kind whose starry fame
Shall bring a brightness to the darkened earth.

Mathilde Blind

Daybook June 8, 2009


Outside my window: cloudy and warm.

I am thinking.......I'm home alone with two sick children. Where do I start? Sew, make some jam, wash dishes or nap, read and watch a movie? ( obviously not sick children who are very high maintenance right now ;)
(went for the reading and nap)

I am thankful . ..peace. Al seems to be settling in to his new crib pretty well. Dylan getting financial help to go on his mission trip.

From the schoolroom. . ..trying to make sure Jed reads every day so as not to lose his skills. Finishing up math with the rest. (Ditto)

From the kitchen ...As stated previously, I need to make some more strawberry rhubarb jam. We had a yummy BBQ-ed rib dinner with on- sale-for-99 cents- a- poung- ribs and Jimmy Dee's famous recipe.

I am wearing . . black floral skirt, black knit top and green shrug short sleeve sweater.

I am creating . . .a recipe book for us ( really just printed favorites off the internet) and Al......

who actually asked for it! ;)

I am reading and watching . . . The Flower of May ; Kate O'Brien, For the Love of Mothers; Lisbeth Burger.


"For the Love of Mothers" was written by a Catholic Midwife in pre World War 2 Germany. The stories in it are highly moralistic, but it is still an interesting glimpse into life back then.


From the "Flower of May"

"I know! I remember! And sometimes I've thought your parents are right, Lucille! Because look at the race of splendid Gothic giants they are raising up!"

"To the glory of God?" asked Lucille

"Well, anyway, not to His shame."

Lucille smiled, and the grew grave.

"We live absurdly," she said "I for one will not spend my one human life this way."

Watched:

Gandhi: My Father

Very well done and interesting. Didn't know much about Gandhi's children. In some ways, it was heartening to know that even great men such as he struggle with family relationships.....although this was a very sad tale.
Another thing that always strikes me when I watch film interpretations of Gandhi is that he is generally portrayed as a man who reminds one of a modern day Jesus. Yet he was Hindu. I'm not sure if that is just how filmmakers want him to look or if he was actually that way. I guess I need to hit the library.

I am hearing . ...Revelation Song - Kari Jobe on napster

Around the house. ...I don't have many expectations for any big projects related to the house over the next couple weeks, although I have struck a deal with Sissy that might help me check some things off the list!



One of my favorite things. ...for awhile the outside air was perfumed by lilacs. Now it is peonies. Delicious!

What will we do this week. . ;)Two graduation parties, a soccer banquet, a basketball banquet, Dyl's graduation ceremony, Dyl's graduation ceremony practice and set up, 2 days of dentist appointments and Noah's driving test.

Here’s a picture I am sharing. .My favorite flower ( as if I could pick one);- purple iris. This is a particularly rich shade of purple and they are at George George.

Not quite......


Mom "Kids lets go for a walk!"

Manny "Ok, mom, let's take that new stroller with 7 seats!"

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Daybook June 1st. 2008



Outside my window: Bright and sunny, but a little cool right now.

I am thinking.......I need to call Al and make sure he comes over for dinner. We're having his favorite; ribs, cheesy potatoes and cesear salad. It's so weird having to think about this now!

I am thankful for. ...Naomi's team winning the State Championship. Way to go, Summit Varsity!

From the schoolroom. . ..trying to make sure Jed reads every day so as not to lose his skills. Finishing up math with the rest.

From the kitchen ....raspberry-rhubarb jam was a fail. For the first time in my jam making career, it turned out TOO gelled....there has to be some way to remedy this. Strawberry rhubarb was terrific. I plan to make more.

I am wearing . . beige khaki's, periwinkle, short sleeved hooded sweater with white cami underneath. Denim Keds, silver hoops and a ball cap because I didn't quite make it into the shower yet. :)

I am creating . . .I realized yesterday we are just floating along too much these days. Perhaps a nice break, but I need to come up with a plan of action if I want to accomplish half of what I'd like to for the summer.

I am reading and watching . . . Very intrigued with Kate O'Brien's writing. I wonder how she went from being one of Ireland's most famous authors to relative obscurity now-a-days. Not much of her stuff at the library but half. com has most of her titles for $0.75. :) I loved " Mary Lavalle", although it got a little saucy at the end ( suprising, since it was written in 1935). Of course my interpretation of saucy is not a modern one. Still, I wouldn't let Naomi read it for a few more years.

Watched:

Newer BBC Persuasion. Sorry, folks, this one was MUCH better than the Emma Thompson/Hugh Grant version.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Another good one, but the second part was a bit too saucy again for teen viewing....which is sad. I'm sure that wasn't Emily Bronte's intent.

A Death in the Family ( PBS). Groan. Another *could've*- *should've* but undone by PBS's agenda.


I am hearing . ...littles chattering with George.

Around the house. ...this past week has been focusing on moving Al out. Which has given a good bit of space to Dylan and Noah. :) Found lots of kitcheny items for him at the thrift. Lots of extra furniture around here for him to take, too. The rest was filled in with a Walmart run.



One of my favorite things. ...Gabriella sitting in her car seat singing "God is so good...." :)

Thanks, Donut Man! You've made an inspired gospel singer out of her.


What will we do this week. . art class tomorrow. Gwen's ballet recital Friday. Grad party Sunday. Library run today. Making sure the fridge is stocked for the rest of the Stanley Cup Final games. We seem to inherit a half dozen guests for every one. Probably because we are one of the few shmoes that still has cable. ;)

Here’s a picture I am sharing. . Noah, who will probably be finally getting his liscense next week. Fair warning for all you Michigan Drivers. ;)


Streams of consciousness from a mother of 10 who usually can't collect her thoughts and finds commas a nuisance.