Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Here are three questions I seriously answered today. I could have posted more, but then you'd probably not really believe how many questions like this I actually am asked each day. I won't bother giving the context, since it really makes no difference. Lets just stick to the three questions :

Mom, did the cow really jump over the moon?

Is the wicked witch on my chin almost gone?

If I plant this feather in water, will it grow up to be a blue bird?

In case you're wondering what kind of mother I am, the answer to all three questions was "Yes". That should keep you scratching your head for a while. And before you judge me too harshly, keep in mind Fred is asked the same type of questions as well, and I won't tell you his answers, cause- well, I just won't.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Veggies and growing stuff

We have tomatoes, strawberries, eggplant, and potatoes all ready to go this year. I don't know how they'll fair, but at least we have started. Once begun is half done.  I also, stupidly, bought an aloe vera plant on impulse, and I already regret it. Not because aloe vera plants aren't terrific, but because I feel like I have condemned this poor plant to an untimely death. I told Fred I should never have purchased it. He tried to warn me when I picked it up. I ignored him in a don't-tell-me-what-to-buy kind of way. Once we were  on the way home, reason settled back in, and I predicted its life cycle. It will sit happily on a window ledge for a good long time. At some point one of my children, ( or more likely I) will get a sunburn. I will suddenly remember I have an aloe vera plant! I will gently break a leaf off the plant and shows its magical properties to my aching child, and then warn him or her not to touch the plant unless necessary. Then, the  next possible moment I am not looking, my other children will all develop burns that need immediate care and I will find the plant entirely dismembered and decimated and have to go bury it in my yard. 
R.I.P.  at some future unknown date poor plant!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Bittersweet Dream

Dreams can sometimes have meaning. Not always, but sometimes they can. Those meanings can be important. I had a dream a few nights ago. It was very powerful. So powerful, it has been too much for me to say out loud, or put into words til now. Here goes:

I was in a very crowded room, some sort of party going on around me. People were standing shoulder to shoulder and chatting furiously.  I was trying to get my bearings and figure out where I was.Suddenly,through the crowd I saw my Mother. I was immediately elated. How could this be! I pushed through people so I could go and speak to her. When I got close enough I put my arms around her to hug her, but as I pulled back I saw I was hugging one of my sisters instead. My sister looked surprised by my hug, as if it was unexpected, and then smiled softly back, and returned the hug to me warmly. I turned from her confused and then caught another glimpse of my mother through the crowd and the  feeling to rush after her would return  and propel me forward. Once again I would  catch up to her and reach out to hug her only to find I was holding instead one of my sisters, Jacqueline, Celine, Bernadette, Teresa, Angela, Nancy. When I had finally encountered them all, I began to realize I was dreaming and that my Mom had already died. I was so low. 

No sooner had I realize that she was really gone, than I found myself , still dreaming, in another crowd. This time it was a thinner group. There was chatter but it was not so loud, and seemed really quite happy. I recognized that I was in our old house in Uniondale, the one I moved from when I was still quite young. As I looked around me I recognized that it was my sister Nancy's wedding day. The backyard was filled with people all celebrating and joyful. I was my current age of 42, but everyone around me was the age they would have been at that time. No one seemed to notice my presence as I moved quietly about. And then I heard her voice. my Mothers voice. She was laughing and chatting with someone. She was close-by, in the very yard I stood. I remembered again that I was asleep, and tried to prepare myself for the disappointment, but began moving toward the voice just so I could get a glimpse of her face one more time. As I passed a few people, her voice grew stronger. Finally, I saw her sitting on the edge of a lounge chair in a beautiful white summery dress. She was in her mid to late 40's. She was smiling so brightly and  talking so happily and the familiarity of her person washed over me repeatedly. I stood for as long as  I could watching her, knowing it was a dream, and yet wanting to stay in it. Finally I could not hold back any more and I began to walk toward her. When I got close enough  I stood at the edge of her chair.I began to speak but did so haltingly so as not to wish her away unwittingly  "Mom, I know I am dreaming, I know you aren't really here in my dream, but I just wanted to stop... and tell you that I love you...and hold your hand one more time" and as I said the words, I knelt down beside her and reached out for her hand. It slipped into mine, and as it did she turned to look at me... and I awoke. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


We had our first track meet this past weekend. It went really well. And since we have all seen so much of runners with sad, and  desperate faces in the last 24 hours, I thought I'd counter that for all of you with some runners with happy faces instead. I found myself so sad since yesterday, rekindling old memories of 9/11 and the horror of that day- but we need to fight back and this is a good way (at least for me). We won't stop running, and we'll stay strong! God Bless Boston. God Bless America. God bless you!
warming up
my feet are on fire!
planning the relay strategy

I am ready to go!

Come on- take it!
handing off to the anchor
our new track star

almost there!
team dinner

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Knock knock-who's there-Spring!

I'm tucking in three little dollies for the night. They had a long busy day in the sunshine, so did their brothers. This time of year is so full of happiness isn't it? All the little unexpected joys that come with the remembrances that accompany spring. Fred gave me a tour of all the trees he planted over the last 2 weeks. Much to his astonishment, the first tree he planted already has buds. He was super happy about that. And our blackberry bushes, which were planted more than a year ago are taking off too. I began my herb garden today, and we'll start the container veggies this week. 
sorry its blurry

Andrew put together a bird feeder with the little ones so they could see them while they play on the swing set and in the sandbox. All day long I was given beautiful bouquets of flowers, first from Michael, then from his sisters. Dandelion bouquets are arguably the prettiest bouquets on this fine earth, just ask any mother. 
Mary gave me these
Michael and Lo-lo added these all afternoon
Andrew being patient
Its all together-and we forgot to put seed in!
That's better-but why won't the birds come yet?

Lastly, Mary, and Sarah, and Sophia are trying to figure out knock knock jokes. It must come with the age, since really and truly, each one of my children has woken up one  bright morning it seems, with the determined goal of mastering a knock-knock joke.  It takes a looooonnngggg while to really get it down, I have unfortunately found. Thankfully, it is no longer just me and Fred trying to help the situation along. We now have a house full of people who do their best to explain where 'the funny part' actually is. Here is Sarah's first attempt:

Sarah: Knock Knock!

John-Paul: Who's there?

Sarah: Alligator

John-Paul: Alligator who?

Sarah: See you later Johnny!

Yeah, see what I mean? She, of course found it hilarious. She laughed for a whole minute, which then made everyone else laugh, and unwittingly convinced her it was a terrific knock-knock joke. Its a long difficult first world dilemma.



Friday, April 12, 2013

Family Teacup Treasure!

So, I got this wonderful package in the mail today. It came from Fred's cousin Suzanne all the long way from Florida. She had seen a post I wrote a while back about my teacup collection, and was inspired to send this along. This little beauty belonged to Fred's grandmother, Gisele. Suzanne goes on in a lovely note, to the explain how strong Memere was, with an incredible heart, who was utterly devoted to her family. I know this mostly from  similar stories I have heard from Fred, and his siblings, and Angela and Phil.  I met her a few times, and spoke with her more than that after Fred and I were married. She had a fun, happy, disposition and was very wise. Phil adored his Mom and still misses her. She always called Fred "old Fred", even when he was a little boy.  Suzanne grew up next door to Memere and Pepere and seeing my post, thought this would fit in well with our collection. Somehow I think Suzanne might be a strong, generous type herself. Perhaps it rubbed off from living in such close proximity. In any case, it is absolutely lovely, and now a most  cherished part of our collection.(Thanks ever so much Suzanne!) Here are some photos.

close up- look at the pretty flowers!
just the right shape to fit here!
I have a feeling this will be well used!

(Oh, and if any of the rest of you get a sneaky idea like Suzanne did to send me a little something after this post...go right ahead... I am so loving this!)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Waiters and FBI Agents

 Spring has come to our yard. I know this not simply from the warm wonderful weather, but also from my dear little children who can hardly keep themselves inside any longer. Michael announced to me in the school room yesterday morning in complete earnest "Mom, do you hear those birds??? They are telling me to come outside!" Thankfully, their work load is beginning to let up at just the right time. This is why I almost never, ever, ever, ever, take sick days, or days off from home-schooling- it really pays off when May rolls around and you don't have to cheat to get out of class early. Already some of their books are completed, and they are down to  reviewing in others. 

So, they head out to the sandbox and swing set as soon as I'll let them go. I sat watching them yesterday as they played in the fresh  two yards of sand Fred just had delivered to our sandbox before Easter. 

And while I read I heard a whole little world emerging. It began with Joseph, Thomas, and Michael acting as waiters for Mary, Sarah, and Sophia. They were taking orders for dinners from them, while the girls sprawled out on the green grass happily. The girls had turned their brothers into waiters! They would return to the sandbox to cook up the orders before serving their sisters very politely. I was really touched at the sweetness of it all , and I was looking forward to sneaking in a phone call to Fred to tell him how perfect our children were. Within minutes I noticed the girls voices grew slightly discontented. Apparently, Joseph was an undercover F.B.I. agent who had infiltrated their restaurant. He had now completed his sting operation and was ready to cuff them and put them in prison.Which, rather conveniently, was located directly next door to their restaurant. I am still unclear as to what the actual charges were. In any case my girls were certain they hadn't done anything wrong.  Well, Sophie might have done some vague something.

 Hopefully, they'll get time off for good behavior. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

A lovely day

The weather was so lovely today. It lifted my spirits to be outside. We were on vacation last week, so I spent plenty of time outdoors with the kids, but it was C-O-L-D! We got out quite a bit to parks, and  the library,  and lunches, and with friends. We also did some really good spring cleaning. Lots of clothes went out of the house, not as much coming back in.

And Fred is about as happy as you can get these days. He ordered a dozen fruit trees to plant around our yard. They arrived and  in the last few days he has begun planting. Cherry, plum, apple, peach are the varieties. They won't bear for about two years, but we can wait.It makes us hopeful.

Fred and I planted big gardens, and raised a few animals when we lived in Vermont. We are always trying to get back there. But life can come at you pretty fast with ten kids, so we stopped getting anxious over it the last few years. Now we're ready to start back up. My part is to slowly begin this year doing a garden in pots by the pool area and a small area for potatoes. I will not bite off more than I can chew. If we are very lucky, we'll have a few chickens before long. 

Sorry for the break from blogging, but we had last week off and I promised my kids to spend lots of fun time with them. Speaking of breaks...might I ask a few prayers for my sweet mother-in-law Angela? I know I make good sport of her here, but I am really so blessed by her in a million ways. She had a nasty spill today while out on a walk, and managed to break her nose and cut up her hands and body pretty badly. It wouldn't be such an awful big deal if it hadn't been the fourth time she has broken her poor nose! I spoke with her tonight and while she is upbeat, she is suffering. I am sure it was as difficult on my father-in-law, so remember them both if you will.

The whole earth is alive right now, make sure you don't miss it! Go drink in some sunshine tomorrow!

Saturday, April 6, 2013


Michael turned eight years old today. I don't even know how that is possible. The long awaited seventh son has been with us eight years? Wow. I am super happy he woke up feeling fine, as yesterday he was sick. The puke kind of sick. Yuck. I am still trying to forget about it.
my youngest son!

But today he was blissfully well, and he played inside and out, and was spoiled by all of us big and little. He wanted tacos for dinner, and would have them every night if he had a choice. But he really deliberated about his cake. He asked Fred if he could have a zebra cake ( a.k.a. ice box cake) and was told of 'course!' then he asked how big a zebra cake was again, and when Fred held up his hands to demonstrate, he curled up his lip. In the end he decided on our home-made ice cream cake, with layers of whipped cream, and caramel, and a heavy dose of M&M's for color. He chose wisely.
ice cream, whipped cream, caramel, and M&M's

My two lego addicts
fun for indoors and outdoors

After presents were opened and cake devoured he wanted to spend the evening watching Star Wars. Fred thinks is way better to watch these old movies with our kids as it helps you relive your first experience all over again. Who could even forget the first time they saw Darth Vader appear on the screen? Or Chewbacca yell at the small toaster like robot?

Happy Birthday Nice Mike, may the force be with you!