Sunday, March 29, 2009


I wanted to share pictures of the three main projects I've got going. The first one is the first blanket I made. It's a shell stitch blanket and feels pretty thick. I'm not sure if it'd be good for a new baby, although would probably be good in the winter for a fall baby. I guess it'd also make a good lap blanket. It could be considered done but I'm thinking I want to make a border around it. I just haven't decided what border and what color to do it. Or if I do want to add it. lol

The second one I started was a cotton hooded scarf. I found the cotton at the dollar store. Originally I put it aside because I ran out of yarn, then I bought 10 more skeins. Not sure why I moved onto the next project.

The latest project is a yellow lacy afghan. It's the first full size afghan I've done. I'm 3/4 of the way through the second skein. I'm thinking this might be a Christmas present for Carrie...she loves yellow.

Happy Birthday to me

Thank you for the birthday wishes Joanne. And you were the first. :oD

It's the last of the March birthdays. I turn 44 at 8:45 or 8:48 tonight...I forget. (my sister is one time and I'm another...we're exactly 14mos and 3 minutes apart). I feel like a manic hormonal freak right now...flying between a ton of emotions...most of them resulting in me breaking out into tears. I'm missing Billy and also feeling extremely blessed. I mean who wouldn't feel loved watching this group make your birthday cake...



It's a good thing I just finished washing the floor. lol

It's been a busy week although I did manage to shut down for a whole day midweek. I did the bare minimum (sent kids to school and fixed dinner) the rest of the day I sat online and browsed crochet blogs and patterns...ohhh'ing and ahhh'ing over projects I'd like to do and maybe even finish. lol I have some ideas for Christmas presents that are unique. I haven't worked on anything since Tuesday morning. I'm hoping to work on the yellow blanket after I get home from picking up Michelle from work.

Tom and I had a very rare opportunity last night. All the kids were gone except Sean and Danielle. I got them both to bed at a decent time...woohooo an evening to ourselves! Tom came in and reheated some dinner. He'd barely finished eating when his cell phone rang...he had to go into work. WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I don't think we managed to say two words to each other before he was back out the door. Oh well, I had come down with a horrible headache anyways. I ended up in bed with a crying Sean by 11 and fell asleep.

Michelle and Drew want to send us away for the night for my birthday. They would've tried to do it this weekend except that Tom was on call. They're talking about next weekend. While I'd LOVE a night alone with Tom I'm not jumping at the chance to do it. The logistics are mindnumbing. I'm not sure what's on the calendar for next weekend. How will Michelle get to work? Who will watch the kids? What about Sean? He was to the point of barfing when I went to do laundry, how will he be for a night or two? Where would we go? I don't really want them spending that amount of money on me. I'd rather they saved it.

Yesterday was a glorious day! We spent a lot of it outside. We've been having problems with a few roosters trying to show dominance over the kids. We finally got to the point where they had to stay in their yard, so Tom closed them up on Friday night. Unfortunately there were some breaches in the fence we weren't aware of. Stupid me had a false sense of security due to the fence and allowed Sean to stay in the backyard while I worked on the van in the front. Tom was on the side of the house. I heard a noise which I thought was Sean crying. Tom said it was a rooster squawking. I immediately heard Tom yelling some obscenities and running. I jumped out of the van and ran into the backyard. Tom was chasing the rooster and Sean was sitting on the ground crying. It seems the rooster had jumped onto Sean's back. Luckily he wasn't harmed. I think it's cemented in Tom's mind that we don't need roosters. I'd like to keep the less aggressive ones. The idea was to raise chicks for meat, making the cost of the chickens/eggs more economical.

Well, I need to shower and get ready to pick up Michelle from work. I think we'll run to the store quickly. I'd like to stop at the dollar store and see if they got in any new yarn. :o) Then it's home to make pizzas. I think all the kids will be here for dinner.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Well that's not how it's suppose to go

I finally ended up crawling into bed with a crying Sean and falling asleep on Monday morning. Unfortunately Tom didn't make sure I was awake when he left so I kept on sleeping. I woke, saw how bright it was outside and jumped out of bed in a panic. Checking the clock I realized the first trip kids only had 10 mins until the bus was here, so I went back to bed. :o) I figured there wasn't much sense to waking them, stressing them out and still having them miss the they'd all take the second trip bus in. Let them complain if they want. After I jumped back in bed I didn't trust myself to not fall back into a deep sleep so got up.

Waking the kids brought out the fact that Sean had been horrible while I was at the laundromat. He was cried to the point of almost barfing before Liz could manage to calm him down a bit by walking on the treadmill while holding him. I guess she kept him distracted by watching March of the Penguins on PBS. Needless to say she was too exhausted to go to school. She also had a headache which she's complaining about on and off for a few weeks. I guess we should probably investigate it and find out if she's having migraines....especially before she heads to Norway. Eileen came running out of her room almost in tears. Her destination...the bathroom. I guess she was going to barf. It didn't happen and I didn't notice too much of an upset stomach the rest of the day.

I had all these plans when I woke up. I was going to head upstairs and go through the little girls' dressers, I was going to head downstairs into the basement and work on the laundryroom floor. I was going to clean the fridge. Needless to say I didn't do a stinking thing! Well actually I did but just not work.

Before heading to the laundromat Sunday night Michelle and I stopped at the dollar store. I needed to buy some crochet thread to finish the project I started. I always love to see what new stock they have in. This time I picked up...

*10 skeins of Aunt Lydia's off white Shimmer fashion Fine sport weight yarn which should be more then enough to finish the hooded scarf I'm working on...2oz each
*5 skeins of Mainstay's soft yellow acrylic 4ply worsted...7oz each
*3 skeins (all they had) of Lion's fuchsia Jiffy Mohair Look acrylic...3oz each

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the any of the extras, I just know they were decent colors in good yarn and I wanted them! So I go to put the yarn away after getting the kids on the bus and I noticed the lacy afghan on the cover of the yellow skein...kinda pretty. Hmmmm...Carrie's favorite color is yellow. I wonder how she'd like this afghan? So I took off the label, looked over the instructions and grabbed my size K needle (pattern called for J but oh well...don't have one). And that's what I did for most of the day...sat and started yet another project that'll need to be finished.

The kids came home from school and asked me WHY I like crocheting if it's so frustrating. I asked what they meant, it wasn't frustrating but relaxing. They pointed out that I kept growling everytime I ripped out rows of work so I could fix a mistake. And it seemed with this pattern I was doing it on a regular basis. I never even noticed I was doing it. lol I told them...Novice crocheter + New Pattern = Ripped out stitches. That it'd get better as I got better or paid more attention to what I was doing. I was had crocheted almost one whole skein and had decided I'd go to bed when the skein was done. I guess my body had other plans. I fell asleep on the couch midstitch.

So now I have an almost finished skein taunting me, a livingroom full of clean laundry still needing to be put away, tons of things I want to accomplish around here and very limited time. 8 of us have dentist appts today, starting at 2. That means I have to get us ready and out the door so I can pick up the kids from school at 1. So what do I do for the hour until I have to get ready to leave? Oooooh yaaaarn! ;o)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Made it to the laundromat

And I'm now $85 poorer. Yep, it cost me EIGHTY-FIVE dollars to do the laundry I brought. It took Michelle and I 5 hrs to get it all done. I wanted to take a picture of it all in the back of the van (the seats were out for junk day yesterday) but I was late running out the door to get Michelle from work. I've been trying to unwind from the job for an hour now and it's not working. I HAVE to be up in THREE hours!!! I can't even blame it on caffeine tonight.

I wouldn't mind doing the job so much IF it meant all the clothes were done. Problem is, it's only a dent. I now have to go upstairs and go through the little girls' dressers before they can put away their clean clothes. I have to go into the basement and clean up the laundryroom floor and such so that Tom can get to the dryer to work on it. I have to clean my room which has tons of unused clothing in it. And I'm not even thinking about the bedding!

Today was a very busy day around here. I loaded the dishwasher and cleaned off some counters again. Then the stove, microwave and the dishwasher. That meant the front of the fridge looked bad so I hit that. Which made the cabinet doors look gross so it was onto that. Suddenly the edges of the kitchen floor looked really bad so I thought I'd just get the really dirty part. Yeah right, next thing I know I've got 3/4 of the kitchen floor done and I'm working on the livingroom...hitting a few walls as I went by.

The scrappers came today and unbeknown to me they yanked Billy's trailer out. The original plan was for that to be taken out last, probably next week or the following. I guess Bob and Tom got all the things out they wanted and told them it was ok to take it. I looked out back and saw it where it wasn't suppose to be and lost it. I don't know's a stupid aluminum's not him! I felt so bad losing it in front of Tom. I felt bad because I think I helped him come unglued a bit too...I wasn't helping! Danielle had a few ideas of what we could do with the trailer. Let's just say it's amazing how a 3yo's mind can work things out. So now our yard is open and clutter free and BORING! I know Tom has plans for it. I do too. I just wish things were different, but they can't be.

I was driving Michelle to work as they were prepping Billy's trailer to be towed. They were gone when I got back home. This gave Tom and Drew a chance to get the huge steel desk out of the only involved removing the cellar door, some moulding on the door jam, and smashing the handles off the desk drawers. I have NO idea how we got it down there to begin with. I looked at my kitchen floor when they were done and thought....WHY did I even bother? It looked horrible! And of course after dinner, everything I did earlier had to be redone tonight. lol

I made dinner, visited with my sister for a bit (she was dropping Carrie and Liz home) and then headed into the basement. I sorted the laundry that was down there and then hit the laundry room floor a bit. There's still a good amount to go but I found a lot of good clothes, especially socks and underwear.

Which leads us back to the beginning of the story with me taking a shower and not being able to take a picture of the van full of laundry because I'm late getting Michelle from work.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

It turned into a decent day

After the few days of nice weather we've had, I thought the chilly temperatures would be unbearable. It was actually very pleasant out today, thanks to tons of sunshine.

I didn't get too much done in the main area of the house today. This morning though I worked like a dog in the basement and now I'm paying for it. The dust and mildew do a number on me...I've gotten stuffed up and my chest feels slightly achy. It's worth it though. I've gotten a decent size area cleared and I have a huge steel desk sitting at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for a trip up. We have scrappers coming to take a bunch of stuff off the property and I want to have them take the desk too. Tom's going to ask them about taking the freezer tomorrow.

Today started off with a rough start. I thought getting rid of all the "junk" on the property wasn't bothering me. But when Tom mentioned maybe having Billy's trailer gone by this weekend, I lost it. I think mostly I'm upset for Tom. For the work he's had to do and how emotional it has to be for him to go through Billy's things. Trying to decide what goes and what stays, what to do with what's staying or who to give it to. I just don't want Tom to be rushed. To do something he's not ready to do, just for the sake of the scrappers convenience.

Yesterday I had one of those I forgot moments. I was fooling around with the kids and declared that "the chickens don't need no stinkin man!" inorder to lay eggs. I thought Billy was in the kitchen and had started to make a sarcastic comment about it. Then I realized it was just someone starting to talk on the tv. :o(

The good thing is, Tom has his siblings. His brothers Bob and Casey came over and started going through the trailer. They put a pretty good dent in things. Tom had the luxury of staying out of it as much as he wanted and was puttering around the yard. After picking up Michelle from work I snuck out the back door and joined them and had a few beers. I forgot I was going to go to the laundromat. Oh well, I guess it'll have to wait until tomorrow. I'm just not sure if there are clean clothes for church tomorrow.

Oh I "fixed" the phone. One of the kids pointed out that the cordless phone base wasn't playing the messages on the answering machine. I decided to plug in and try the corded phone and waaaaalaaaa! it worked! So I guess I'll have to add a new cordless phone to the looong list of things we need.

Last night I had to meet my sister in a nearby town. Sean, Danielle and I got home shortly after 8pm. Sean and Danielle were really tired so I suggested we go lay down. They went out quickly and so did I! I didn't sleep the whole time but I slept a lot longer then I normally do. Guess I needed it. Hard to understand then why I'm tired again already.

Sean is crying and wants some attention. Need to go.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A good start

We managed to get a good bit of work done around here yesterday. 2 loads of dishes, 2 out of 3 counters cleared and bleached (although they haven't stayed cleared off), both bathrooms cleaned, laundry sorted and ready for the laundromat. I also managed to make a yummy meal (corned beef, cabbage, mashed potatoes) and have it on the table by 5:45, just as John, Pat and Alex walked in. Oh and I sat and crocheted for a bit too! :o)

Val and John were sweethearts and took a few of the kids to the spring showcase after dinner. There was no way Tom would've gone over there, he had too much to do. I didn't want to drag the little ones there. I also wasn't sure I'd be able to deal with being in public right now. I've been really good lately but there are times when someone being nice and offering condolences can set me off. Not to mention I'm sure there'd have been a few questions asked I'm not up to answering them...even if they are harmless.

I've been planning a trip to the laundromat. Our septic is running slow right now and there's no way it can handle all the laundry I have to do. Plus I figured it would be nice to go and just get it done in a few hours. Problem was, I hadn't managed to get everything ready. Now that things are pretty ready to go...I HAVE to go!!! My dryer stopped spinning last night!!! It might be just a slipped belt but who knows when it'll get worked on. Poor Michelle had just thrown a load in when she discovered it. I had a load of towels in there. If it weren't for the chickens, I'd have hung them outside last night.

The chickens. They've been a big neglected in the last few weeks. I'm hoping to get in there tomorrow and make things right. Their yard is a huge mud pit so we've allowed them to have the run of the yard. It has to stop though. There's chicken dropping all over the place and the roosters are getting aggressive...especially toward Sean and Danielle. No one wants to be outside with them around, even the big kids. So we'll have to work on keeping them in the their yard (maybe getting some mulch or gravel to ease the mud, and we'll probably be getting rid of the roosters.

I have no idea why but my phone is acting up today. We lost internet for most of Wednesday after a huge thunderstorm came through. So I could understand if the phone acted up then, but 2 days later? This has happened before and I have no idea why. Hopefully it'll just start working again in a few hours.

All the kids managed to get on the proper buses and make it to school...on time! It's a first time in quite a while that that's happened. It's slightly ironic since today was originally a day off of school. (staff development day) They took it away due to using too many snow days. I wonder how many kids still took it off?

I think I gave the wrong impression of our community the other day. The rude and immature comments/kids is a minority. Everyone is generally well meaning and supportive. Actually one neighbor told Liz she's been fielding calls from people about what they could do to help us. She told them to call us. lol Today at the high school they are presenting all of Billy's nieces and nephews in the school with their fundraising efforts. I guess they were taking donations for them during lunch and on Tuesday held a hat day. It's a day where the raise funds by allowing kids to wear a hat (normally prohibited in the dress code) for a small fee. It also allows the kids to make an outward show of their support for a cause. Last I knew the proceeds were going to be given to the school's playground fund. It's something that was important to Billy...that kids had fun! It would be nice if I had a working phone so I could see how things went this morning (my SIL was going to attend...last I knew). I guess I better go out the car, get my cell phone and charge it up so I can make contact with the outside world.

For the first time in quite a few weekends, there's nothing planned as of now...that I know of. I'm going to seize on the opportunity and get everyone working on bedrooms. They actually aren't too bad right now, but could use some deep down work, like sorting dressers. I'd love to start fixing up and painting in the little girls' room. They're having a bit of a time deciding what color to do it, one wants blue, another green. I said we'd see what ideas we could find to incorporate both colors...other than an outside theme.

UGH! A stinky boy just tried to sit on my lap. I guess I better go change him. Then I'm getting back to work...more cleaning and finishing last year's Christmas presents.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

And the week goes on

We're trucking along, trying to get back into a normal routine here. It's not been easy. The kids are exhausted and having a hard time getting up in the morning. I have to wonder if they're having problems sleeping too. Quite a few of them have been tardy way too many days lately. Olivia has gone to school only one day this week and even then it was under the threat of tears. :o( Luke's being his normal quiet self but seems to not feel good most mornings. I don't know if he physically doesn't feel well or if it's a way to avoid seeing his classmates. Either way, I've been encouraging him to work through it and get moving. He's doing a better job about it. I really wish I could get him to talk! Jake and I have had a few good conversations, including some about classmates and some rude comments or questions. I tried to explain to him that they probably didn't intend for it to be like that. We all have a morbid curiosity about these things. Add to that their immaturity and also their inexperience with death, especially under these terms and you have a "rude" kid. I have to say he seems to be handling them well. Liz on the other hand...not so well. I think coming from older kids who should know better and probably do makes that much more difficult. Especially for someone where injustice is seen as a MAJOR offense. It's a real chore for her to go to school each day. With everything going on and then the tease of really nice weather...I want summer vacation to be here NOW!!!!

Things are a mess here! I went on a much needed grocery shopping trip last night so there are bags of groceries around here. I haven't been in the kitchen in a day or so and it's showing. It doesn't help that the meeses have decided they like it here again. Well can't say again, since they've always been here but we've been lax about trying to get them and it shows. Relax for 2 secs and they take advantage of it...sounds like the kids! ;o) So I need to get in there, tear it apart and bleach everything down...this is getting OLD!

Hopefully with our drive to declutter and organize things here this problem will finally be taken care of. It's a week before my birthday and as usual I've requested a clean house and especially a clean bedroom. Only I can give myself the clean bedroom, but the rest...the kids can have at it! Michelle has the next two days off...YEAH!!!!! I think she's planning on getting cracking on things. Her and I have been begging Tom to rent a dumpster, even a small one so we can do a mass cleaning of the basement in a weekend. Otherwise it'll take weeks of huge trash day loads to the dump to get rid of it. Tom isn't so keen on putting out the money for it right now. I also think he has to finish taking care of the outside things before he can start thinking about in the house stuff. All of it at once is too overwhelming for him.

So today it's...put groceries away, tear apart and bleach the counters, get the laundry ready for the laundromat, and clean the bathrooms. I've already done most of the groceries and hung up a much needed new shower curtain in the small bathroom. I'll change my clothes and hit the dishes and kitchen counters next.

It wouldn't be too shabby if I could manage some seat time to work on my crafts too. Yesterday I started crocheting a cotton hooded wrap. I think it'll go fast since I have the pattern down now. Well that is if I manage to buy more thread/yarn like I know I'm going to need. Luckily it's just a stop at the dollar store, I think a stop at a craft store would be disasterous for me. I look at the JoAnn's ad and drool. I just want to walk amongst the bolts and run my hands over all the textures and colors. Of course I know myself and keeping it to just that and not buying anything wouldn't happen. So the more I stay out of those places, the better. Although I did "cheat" last night and bought myself 3 new crochet hooks. :o) I had to fight myself from picking up a cone of sugar and cream though. Maybe I'll start posting pics and updates on my projects. Then again maybe I won't, they might be Christmas gifts for people who lurk here. lol

Guess I better get off my fanny if I'm going to do everything I have planned.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Scaredy cat

With the nice weather brings new experiences or old experiences under new circumstances. I'm not really sure what was up with Sean but this calm, loving kitty scared the living daylights out of Sean. (although he's not on my nice list with him sleeping in the stroller basket!)

He's fine with the cat when it's in the house but maybe that's because the cat is usually lounging on a chair or snacking on crumbs...not "attacking" Sean. The other funny thing about this is that Danielle is usually freaked out about the cats. She hates them being in the house and as far as I knew still refused to go into the kitchen when they were in there (they're outdoors cats but sneak in whenever given the chance). Liz caught the whole thing on her camera with the video below...

(I changed the setting so this video is public. There shouldn't be a problem to view it now. My apologies to those that had a hard time. Thank you for letting me know)

Until the kitty went on the prowl they had a great time outside riding their bikes and scooters and enjoying the sunshine.

Olivia on her bike (and yes, I realize she's without a helmet. We've since talked about the need for one whether you're on the road or not)

Danielle being a "big girl" on the scooter

Liz and Sean (taken by Danielle!)

Monday, March 16, 2009

And here we are again

Yep, bright eye and bushy tail at 3:13 again. I tossed and turned, knowing I had a quite a few hours left for sleep. It wasn't coming. Then I heard footsteps and figured someone was heading to the potty. But those footsteps were coming from the living room and had shoes on? HUH? It can't be Billy. So I decided I had to risk waking Sean up and get up to see who it was. It was Drew! He stopped by to drop off some treats on his way home from work. PHEW! I "yelled" at him for freaking me out a bit. We talked for about 20mins and then he headed home and to his bed. Me, I sat here and had 2 much for eating healthier.

Yesterday was a beautiful day! Sunny and warm! Being outside I couldn't help thinking...Billy would've loved this day. Sean was loving it. I had all I could do to make sure he didn't get out unsupervised (he can reach and work the storm door latch...yeah me!) He knows there's a whole new world out there and he wants it! Tom got Billy's backhoe going and was practicing with it. Sean being the boy that he is wanted ON! And Tom obliged.


Things are moving fast around here. Sometimes I wonder if it's a bit too fast. Our neighbor has been giving Tom a hand here and there and helping him get things in order outside. Tonight some scrappers came and they moved one of Billy's trucks near the road. I asked Tom to tell them they weren't allowed on the property without Tom here. I'm afraid they'll come and arbitrarily take whatever is laying around, whether Tom wants it scrapped or not. I can't go out there and watch them. Tom told them to wait until Saturday to finish getting the truck. PHEW!

All the kids had major projects that were due last week and didn't get done. Needless to say the computers and printer were BUSY this weekend. Carrie had to make a poster on Monaco, Jake had his two Egypt projects, Luke a powerpoint on the planets, Liz a research paper on lowering the drinking age back to 18. We really could've used my laptop to be up and running. It was like only having one bathroom. Me reminding them to hurry up, get your work done and get off. No fooling around. I hate playing traffic controller.

I can now hear the first trip bus pulling up. (I had to take a break here and get Sean back to sleep) Everyone's on who's suppose to be on, except Liz...she has a headache and is going in late with Olivia. Tom went to work. With the switch to daylight savings time his shop switches to summer hours. That means his starting time moves from 7:30 to 7. Which makes the morning bathroom routine a bit less stressful. His quitting time goes from 4 to 3:30. If he were to leave work immediately after getting out, he'd be home before the 2nd trip bus kids arrived home. He doesn't though, he usually has some last minute things to do and works out for an hour or so. I don't makes for nice eyecandy...the man is looking FINE!

Well need to go wake Liz and Olivia so they can get ready for school. Although quiet now is pretty delicious.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The desire for order

What do I do at 2:30 in the morning? I can't stay in tossing and turning disturbs those trying to sleep. I can't really move around the'll wake everyone. That crosses...exercise, clean or have fun off the list. It's a little too early for coffee, although a bowl of cereal is probably ok. Well I guess it's a good thing Sean is a light sleeper, I can sit and nurse him back to sleep and cuddle for an hour while I surf the net. Now he's back in bed...hopefully for a few hours.

I'm not really sure how early I got up...I don't have a clock on my side of the bed and I can't see Tom's. All I know is that I was tossing and turning and nursing Sean for quite a while in bed and it was 3:13 when I finally managed to come out here. It's going to be a looong day!

It's our last day before "normal" sets in again. Whatever the new normal is. I think I've said it before...I have a desire to have order in everything lately. I see it in Tom a lot. He's constantly going over and over what needs to be done with Billy's things, what projects he needs to finish outside. Me, I want everything to be clean although I don't necessarily want to do the actual work it would require. Even when I do want to, the kids have other plans for me. I want to live healthier and get back to frugal ways.

It doesn't help that I stepped on the scale and found myself at an all time new high. Or that things are tight and I'd like them not to be anymore. I don't even really want to have extra spending money. I'd just like to know that I don't have to juggle things every payday. To make a final decision on whether we should refinance everything or not and if much and for how long so I can stop thinking about it. But then what would I think about?

I bought a bunch of crochet thread at the dollar store the other day. Just what I need, I have so many unfinished projects around here already. I've been thinking a lot the last few weeks that I'd like to make most of the gifts for Christmas this year. That means I'll have to start projects now. Actually I should be getting LAST Christmas' projects done first. LOL The other day I did manage to find the new rotary cutter that was lost not too long ago. It was in a container in plain view, well if I looked inside the container. But the container was right ontop of the computer desk. Watch I won't be able to find the cutting mat or the fleece blankets now.

And then I dozed off at the keyboard and went back to bed for an hour or so. After that the kids were awake and got on the computer. I never touched the keyboard after that.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Liz's look at Tuesday

I downloaded Liz's camera this morning and uploaded some pictures to photobucket. It's interesting to see her take of the day. I was thinking the pictures would look a bit different if I had the camera in my hand. Neither is right or wrong, just different perspectives.

She took some pictures of some pictures....

Uncle Billy giving the girls a "hay ride" while the boys ride their bikes. Pat is on the bike in the middle of the picture, Drew is further back. The girls in the wagon from left to right are...Val, Michelle and Liz. Judging by the ages of the kids I'm thinking this is from the summer of '94. (click to see it larger)


Billy's wrestling picture '77


My niece Micheala, great-niece Sophia and Carrie

Left side back to front...Janna (Val's bestfriend), Kat (Janna's sister and Michelle's friend), Carrie
Right side back to front...Michelle, Val, John

Danielle loving on my niece Charlotte whether she likes it or not lol

Sean being lugged around by my nephew Pete

Eileen and my niece Kathryn

Nephew Joe, Luke and Sean, nephew Sam

Jake and great-nephew Argon

And just because she's niece Camille

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I don't know

I really didn't think I'd be able to get through Tuesday. I was fighting tears all morning. I kept thinking....if I'm this bad now, how am I going to be around people? I forget that there's strength in numbers. That seeing friends and being with family...there's strength in that. I was amazed at how many people came out, especially the friends from past. It was so good to see them. Tom's bestfriend came...we haven't seen him quite a few years. He was the bestman at our wedding and we used to be tight when our kids were little (their 2 kids are Pat's and Michelle's age). There were a lot of people from work came. Mostly for Tom and Bob, but many had also worked with Billy and their dad. Tom said he had fun showing us off to his co-workers. I asked if he pointed me out by saying...the foxy one over there. ;o)

Tom has this intense desire to have order to everything. He's working hard to get things done around here, mostly outside. He's been in and out of Billy's trailer. His mind is going a mile a minute planning and organizing things. I don't blame him, I've had the same sense. Unfortunately for me the little ones put a damper on any huge plans, plus my body isn't on the same page. I also totally understand the need to keep his mind busy. It's those quiet times when everything just crashes down.

I've been worried about Jake, Billy's been like a father to him. They went camping for weeks last summer....just the two of them. Jake spent most of his summer days hanging out with him out back. Jake has his uncle's quick wit and could give it back to him like no other. Billy got quite the kick out of him. Knowing that Jake's usually a firecracker and has a ton to say, it's been hard to see him so quiet. Tonight him and Tom were hanging out out back. Tom said they talked quite a bit about how much they'll miss them. Jake said they just have to remember the happy times. Luckily there were a lot of them.

Val told me she had a dream this morning. She was walking in our woods and found a lake that we obviously don't have. Billy was back there, building a log cabin. She woke up after thinking....he isn't gone! He was just hiding.

Me, I seem to be living most of the days in unfinished thoughts and it's very upsetting. I'm constantly stopping myself midsentence because the rest of it can't be said. I went to BJ's yesterday to get some groceries. I was in the beverage aisle getting iced tea mix and the cases of V-8 caught my eye. I thought to say...I should get some for Billy...luckily I didn't say it to the kids who were with me. We were having steak and baked potatoes last night (Val's pick for her birthday dinner). It was one of Billy's favorite meals. I started to tell someone to save some steak for Uncle Billy and had to stop myself. Tom was dropping off Michelle to work today and then going to the Res to buy cigarettes. I stopped myself just as I was about to ask him if he was picking up any for Billy. He's everywhere here and in almost everything I do. I just want to get away, I can only imagine how hard it is for Tom. As hard as it's going to be for Tom, I'm thinking going to work on Monday will be a good thing. At least there he can get distracted and "forget" for a few minutes. I know going to school has been good for the kids. Although I wish they didn't have to deal with the rumors. People...if you don't know for sure...keep it to yourself!!!! (and yes, I need to heed my own advice at times)

Michelle has the day off tomorrow so no driving for us. YIPPEE! Although we aren't staying home. We're going to Della's for lunch. At least I hope we are, meaning no one gets sick between now and then. Seems Drew started barfing yesterday. Hopefully no one else caught it from him. I do NOT want to deal with a throwup bug. Actually I'd prefer not to deal with anything. Yet, that can't happen. Kids still have to go to school, do projects, diapers need to be changed, kids need attention and dinner needs to be made. Life continues on, even when you don't know how it can. And in that...there is healing.

ps...sorry for the weird date thing, I started this yesterday but didn't get far so restarted it today. I edited it to correct the date.

Monday, March 09, 2009

A day of distraction

I was going to say a day of fun, and maybe I still was fun...especially for the kids. For me though, it was a distraction and a very welcomed one. Della called late this morning and asked if we wanted to go with her and we'd take the kids to Chuck E Cheese. Hardly any of my kids have ever been there, Tom's brothers were visiting so I wouldn't be leaving him home alone (it also allowed them to visit uninterrupted) and I had the money so we decided...SURE!

Liz, Carrie and Eileen had been the only ones to go to school and I'd already decided to yank them out early but they didn't know that. Almost on cue, as soon as I agreed to Della's trip, Liz texted Michelle asking if I'd pick her up from school. It seems she spent most of the school day in the guidance office. Michelle let her know I'd be there soon. I called all three schools and asked for the 3 girls to be released. I also picked up one of Della's boys while I was there so he could hang out with Luke and Jake.

There were 20 of us. I'm sure we were quite the spectacle coming in. But oh well, we spent a good chunk of cash with 3 pizzas, 12 sodas and about 400 tokens. The older kids took the little ones to play and ride on the machines while Della and I sat and talked. It was hilarious when all my big kids and their friends came walking into the place. It was one of the stops on Val's birthday day on the town. I think they might have been just as excited and had just as much fun as the little ones. I swear sometimes they never grow up. We were there for over 2.5hrs! By the time we were ready to leave I was ready for a nap. I couldn't imagine how exhausted I'd have been if I'd had to chase the kids around myself! I realized we picked a good time to go there. By the time we were leaving it was getting busy there.

We've been trying to make a difficult decision for the last few days. Do we keep Shelly Roo (Billy's dog) or do we allow Tom's cousin, who was Billy's bestfriend, take her. Tom's aunt is a place that Shelly Roo loved to visit. We were worried that she'd be looking for Billy here, his scent was everywhere. She's also 13yo and very skittish. She they found her she was living under a trailer, catching and eating snakes to survive. When she was living at Tom's parents house she'd run and hide whenever anyone came over. She slowly got comfortable around my kids while she lived here. Still, she didn't like a lot of commotion and noise...which our house is full of. She'd been doing really well this weekend and we thought...maybe we could keep her. All the kids wanted to keep her and I think Tom really wanted to also....she was a connection to his parents and Billy.

This morning our decision was kind of made for us. I got up from the computer desk and went into the kitchen to make coffee. Sean was the only other one up and was playing in the livingroom. While at the stove I heard Shelly growl and Sean start crying. I don't know exactly what happened but I'm pretty sure Sean was bugging her. Unfortunately it ended with Sean sitting on the floor crying with a small scratch across his nose, I'm assuming she scratched him. She wasn't happy here, and we couldn't "trust" her with the kids. We called Scott and he came and picked her up. It was like I was giving away a prized possession. The only consolation is that I know he loves her almost as much as Billy did and he'll take really good care of her.

One of the things that kind of bugged me this weekend is that I haven't paid a ton of attention toward the kids. Friday night I was concentrating on Tommy and his brothers and sisters. Granted I knew that they had each other and there were friends helping them too. Still even when Sean woke up and I had to go in the house, I still wasn't THERE for them. Saturday we got them out of the house and spent most of the day and evening at Bobby's house. I keep telling myself it was ok. It was really beneficial for them to be with their cousins...talking, remembering, and playing. Oh well, I can't beat myself up about it. I have to remember that you can be there and help someone in a lot of ways.

Tomorrow we're having an informal get together at a local restaurant. I'm hoping that it can really help the kids process this and bring some closure. I know it's only the beginning of the process but it's a step. The girls have really enjoyed making posters for Uncle Billy. There's one certain picture I HAVE to find or there will be some pretty upset girls. I hope I can find it, it's one of my favorite pictures of him. It epitomizes his nature, humor and how he was with the kids. He's sitting in our kitchen, hat on backwards with Val sitting on his lap and she's in a paper bag! They've always called it the paper bag princess picture. I also want to find the picture of Carrie hugging the snot out of him when he was visiting her in Boston during her bone marrow transplant.

I need to do laundry and search for that picture. Some sleep might be nice too...It's going to be a long day tomorrow.

Very raw day

Today was a day of acknowledgment and it was a very hard day. I've been wiped out both emotionally and physically. Shortly after finishing up writing here Tom got up. I had just finished reading an email from a faraway friend and I wasn't totally composed from it. It didn't matter, neither was he. He walked into the kitchen and said...I'll never get away from it. Everything reminds me of him. I asked him if he wanted to read the email and told him about my post here. He said he wanted to read both and he did. It was extremely difficult but for the first time Tom didn't hold back. I think it was good for him to see we were on the same page, that he wasn't alone in how he felt. While we were a mess externally, I think it was a bit healing internally.

All morning long I kept hearing the kitchen door. It was the wind, a cat or one of the chickens. It was never Billy like I thought it was and the crying would start. Every trip into the kitchen came with a glance out the backdoor to see what he was doing, if he was coming up. And then I'd remember and the crying would start again. As much as I missed my kids (they had spent the night at various places), I was thankful that they weren't here. Danielle had slept in and Sean had gone back in for a nap, allowing Tom and I some alone time to talk....much needed alone time.

We lost track of time and before we knew it Tom's older brother was here to pick him up. They were heading to the funeral home to make arrangements. Now I was alone with Sean and Danielle. I was exhausted and Sean was taking full advantage of my slowness. He got into Olivia's barely touched birthday cake, getting frosting EVERYWHERE including plastering his hair before I could get to him. While cleaning that up he got into Liz's backpack and found her mascara, making himself a unibrow and a goatee by the time I caught up with him. It was then that I decided....I need a nap. I woke up Michelle and asked her to babysit so I could jump into bed for a while. Sleep was slow to come but it did eventually arrive, lightly. Still it helped. I was trying to decide if I wanted to try to fall back to sleep for the third time in an hour when Tom came home, so I got up.

I needed to get some fresh air so snuck outside (because Sean wouldn't think of allowing ME to go out without him lol) and visited Tom. Then the hustle and the bustle of the house started to return. A friend brought Jake home carrying the supplies he needed to do a major Egypt project, which is due tomorrow. My parents came over for a visit. Della brought Eileen, Olivia and Luke home. They had posters and cards they'd made and lots of stories to tell. Pat came over after dropping Alex off at work and hung out. Val came home and John came over shortly after that.

It hit me that I had to feed these people...but what? Tom saw me rummaging through the freezer and told me to just order pizza and wings. It was nice to not have to think about or make dinner, but OUCH! Oh well, at least we had the extra cash to do it and it was yummy! I had an OMG moment when I looked around me and realized...I'd forgotten Carrie wasn't home! She was at Tom's oldest brother's house and I'd totally forgot. Luckily he lives in the village and the kids could pick her up when they picked up the pizza and wings. Drew and Allison came in shortly after the pizza got here. Cory was here as soon as he got out of work. I sat here, looked at my overflowing livingroom full of pizza eating kids and thought...I AM SO BLESSED!

And on that note, I'll end this and head to bed. But first I'm going to go down to the big girls room, give Val a huge hug and wish her a Happy Birthday.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

One of the worst weekends of my life

Warning....death and raw emotion involved. Those that personally know me and are involved may want to skip this next post. It is not my intention to upset you, only to try to get through this extremely difficult time as best and the only way I can.

Through the almost 5 years I've been blogging here there's been mention of Tom's brother, usually referred to BIL or UB (Uncle Billy). He's been a part of this house for a lot of years. Some years he was a semi regular resident, staying in the library or on our couch. Other years, because of commitments to others he couldn't be here. For the last 2 years he's been living on our property and was a constant part of our lives. So much so that I almost wrote him up a bio in my Meet the Kids page in February, but I didn't think he'd appreciate it, he's a pretty private man. On Friday night, everything changed. I won't go into the how and no one knows why. The only thing that matters is that he's gone...forever.

I'm sitting here in hysterics trying to write this, trying to not wake anyone. I have to be strong for Tom. He has had to live through a nightmare that no one should have to experience. Friends and family have been great, even while trying to deal with their own grief. They've taken our kids in, kept them busy, helped them remember the good times. Tom's surrounded by his siblings, for that I am extremely thankful for.

Billy as people tend to say...danced to the beat of a different drummer. Many people didn't get him, but then that meant they didn't know him. I think if he was a kid in the school system nowadays he might be labeled on the "spectrum". But he wasn't. It was just how Billy was. He didn't hold to conventional lines of thought. Money, job and whatnot didn't matter to him. As long as he had enough to get by, it was all he needed or cared for. He was perfectly happy to be outside...digging in the garden or tinkering with an engine. I know he'd have loved to have had a wife and kids of his own. He'd have made a great dad. Instead he had all his nieces and nephews. In his own special way he was a father figure to my kids. Actually he had the pretty cozy end of that deal, being able to talk with them and have fun with them...without having to deal out discipline. lol When they were outside, they were "hanging with Uncle Billy". On hot summer days they'd sit out there with him, drinking his sodas, listening to his stories. Him explaining how things worked or what things meant. Being silly, making up or teaching them goofy songs (like Hit me with your best snot!), making up odd games for them to play together. He had a quick wit and was always ready to share it. :o) He was Tom's bestfriend. There was hardly a day that they didn't have coffee together or a beer. Sitting out back or in Billy's trailer, talking all day long and/or well into the night. It could even get to the point that I would get jealous.

But now it's gone. After my initial shock of what was happening Friday night passed, the anger came on. I was SO mad at him! How could he! How could he put Tommy though a night no one should ever have to go through. How could he ruin a 9yo little girl's birthday party, put a black mark on it...for the rest of her life. How could he do this to my kids! To make them have to deal with this, be in the middle of it. I think the anger is what got me through the night. Otherwise I'd have been a hysterical mess. Now though, the anger is subsiding to a dull roar in the back of my head. True to form, I've held up for the parts I needed to. And now I'm falling apart. I'll fall apart for a bit, get through it and then get back to functioning. The problem is, I have to do it before daylight is here and everyone is up. I can't let Tom see me like this. It'd be too much for him.

I keep finding myself thinking Billy's going to come through the back door for his morning coffee. Or his midday one, or his midafternoon one or.... This morning before I got on here I thought...oh Billy probably has the Sunday morning paper. Then I realized, no he doesn't. You have to go out and get it yourself. And I fell's a NEWSPAPER for crying out loud! Although he didn't live IN the house, he was very much a part OF the house. I can't go into the kitchen without looking to see if Billy's heading up to the house. The light is on in his trailer. Tom refuses to turn it off.


It throws me for a loop each time I pass by the back kitchen door. For a split second I think...He's here, it wasn't real, it was all a bad dream. Then reality hits and my heart sinks again.

Tom and I were sitting here last night by ourselves. I said to don't take this wrong but Billy messed up my backup plan and I'm feeling pretty vulnerable now. Tom asked me what I meant. I admitted to him that I had a comfort knowing that Billy was here. That if anything happened to either Tommy or I, that the other would be sure to be taken care of. That Billy would be here to step in, help parent the kids, do stuff around the house, and whatnot. Tom said he understood what I meant because he'd had the same thought. People looked at the situation here and didn't understand it. What they didn't understand is that, what little we were giving to Billy, he was giving back to us tenfold. There's a hole in our house and And right now it's pretty huge. I know over time it will diminish in size but it will never go away. We'll miss you Billy...more then you will ever know.

Friday, March 06, 2009

One thing crossed off my list,

100 more added on. Or at least it feels like it at times. Tom took today off, not for a fun day but to run errands. First was to school to pick up Liz and then to the bank to get her visa papers notarized. We forgot to bring in her passport so they could verify her photocopy of it. So back home and then Tom headed back to the bank again. He mailed off all the papers, now she waits. Well and purchases tickets...but we're not sure of the exact dates yet so that makes things difficult. Not to mention there are a few girls she's coordinating things with too.

Tom had to head down to the social security office again. We were down there a few months ago to get replacement cards for the two of us. I managed to misplace the envelope with his replacement card before I could even give it to him. I think I left it in the car and someone threw it away in a mass car cleaning fit. We NEED that card so we can get on with last year's state audit of our tax refund. I'm guessing they didn't think we could possibly have as many deductions as we therefore want us to prove it. It's the only major thing that contributes to our refund. Sure will be nice to have that in our bank account finally. Just hope it doesn't take forever and a day for them to finish the audit. Oh well, we've waited this long, what's a few more months right?

On Monday we celebrated Luke's 16th birthday. He asked for pizza or chinese and I decided to have both! lol We ordered a few trays of take out chinese and made some frozen pizzas along with a few homemade. We had enough pizza for all day the next day lol. It was a low key celebration but all the kids were here. It never occurred to me until a few days later...We should've taken a family picture!!! RATS! Oh well, hopefully it'll dawn on me next time. With Liz leaving soon, times running out on us. We gave him Orange Box for the 360, a bag of peanut M&M's, and a 12pk of blue frost Gatorade. Everyone seemed to be on the same wavelength in terms of presents. Mostly energy drinks, sodas, lunchables, candy and the like. I think with him being quiet and easy to please, it was hard to have specific ideas of what to buy him. The fact is that he liked everything he got and enjoyed it, and that's all that matters. I am hoping to take him and his friends out for some fun one of these days/nights...maybe during spring break. I was thinking along the lines of laser tag/paint ball or bowling. I know he'd be just as happy sitting around playing Xbox with everyone, so maybe an Xbox party instead.

Today is Olivia's 9th birthday! Another low key celebration for now. She requested tacos which is easy enough to accommodate. She has activity club tonight so I bought her a box of rice krispie treats to bring. Actually I bought them for church AND school but she asked to stay home for her birthday, so I let her. Not sure if she'll want to do something for her birthday on Monday or not. We got her a huge bag of lemons (she asked for them!), a build a bear set and Tom's trying to find some webkinz trading cards. I do have a few lil kinz in my drawer I can opt in for the cards if he doesn't find them.

Val's 19th birthday is monday and she hasn't decide what she wants for her dinner yet. I'm waiting for her to say crab legs and I'd be thrilled if she did. (I've been wanting some myself) Although my wallet would scream at the thought. She mentioned having a few friends over Saturday night but I'm not sure how that's working out. It's a good thing I'm a fly by the seat of my pants type of person. Although if I wasn't, my kids probably wouldn't be either and these things would've been worked out months ago! lol

Carrie had a TODAY study appt yesterday. She went from 18% compliance, to 65%! Go Carrie! If she hadn't forgotten to pack her meds on the weekends to my sister's and then to Connecticut, she'd have been in the 85% area. The good news, her blood pressure was better. (she's taking blood pressure meds too) For some reason though her fasting glucose numbers are creeping up. So not sure what they're going to do about that.

I talked to Pat today, he had an interview this morning and another this evening. Hopefully he'll be calling to say he's hired! Michelle has today off, no driving for me! I have to laugh though because as much as I WANT to stay home, I'm still finding myself thinking of places to go.

Well, this has taken long enough to get published. Need to get some things done around here now that I'm home for the day.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Thank you Sean

Started this on 2/24 after posting my Island week pictures.

I was previewing the last post and Sean did something on the keyboard to publish it. So I guess I was done and just didn't know it. LOL

Anyways, so we're back to the same old. And I'm dreading it every morning. I hate having to wake the kids up and make them get out of their warm beds. I hate having to decide if they're well enough to go to school. I hate having to push them out the door into the freezing cold snow. I hate them being gone all day and that they are tortured every afternoon with an hour bus ride home.

As usual the idea of homeschooling is always a thought in the back of my head. Until now though things have been to the benefit of our small country public school. Now though I've heard rumors that a certain person, whom I never thought would agree to homeschooling, is wanting to do it. So the thought has moved to the front. Problem is, I still have the same doubts I've always had about myself. I'm a procrastinator, my follow through sucks, and I'm LAZY! Lots to consider.

Liz had a safe and exciting trip to New Mexico. She didn't want to come home! I don't really blame her but I was a bit bruised when I heard she had that attitude. Someone recently told her, once you leave home, I don't see you moving back, and they may be right. She has so many opportunities open for her. Right now she's trying to get her visa papers in so she can go to Norway after graduation, she'll be staying for a year.

And now a week later...

Liz has settled back in, Carrie got home safely from Ottawa and we survived the week of school with another one on the horizon. Liz and Carrie were out the door on Friday again, this time it was a roadtrip to Connecticut. Lucky ducks! I want to do a roadtrip!

I've been crocheting. Learning new stitches, and starting a few projects. I finished a fairly decent shell blanket. I'm thinking I want to put a border on it but not sure which one or what colors to use. I did a hat in basketweave that gave me fits at first. It kept looking weird and I'd tear the weave part out and restart...FOUR TIMES! It finally took reading the pattern to realize my mistake (was using a youtube video/tutorial on it before that). I finally managed to finish's big. Too big but not grossly so, it just doesn't fit snuggly like it should. It took me starting another project to realize why. I used the wrong crochet hook! I thought I was using my grey I hook and I was using my K hook. I didn't even realize I had a K hook! The I hook is polished grey, the K hook is "brushed" grey. So now I'm trying it again, this time with the correct needle. I also started a shell stitch hat that I'm almost done with.

Saturday I decided I was going to get the projects from Christmas done. I have 4 no sew blankets to do and Pat's apron to finish. So I cleaned up the kitchen, washed the floor (planned on laying out the blankets there to cut the fringe), grabbed my new cutting mat (can't find my old one) and went to get the new rotary cutter out of my sewing cabinet wasn't in there!!! WHERE IS IT!?!?! It was brand new, still in the package. It was RIGHT HERE! I put it RIGHT HERE so I'd know where it was when I needed it! UGH! No one seems to know where it disappeared to. These blankets will never get finished! Oh course I didn't bother getting my sewing machine out and finishing Pat's apron either. It'll only take an hour tops, once I start going on it again. Not sure why I didn't just switch gears, but I didn't.

Our septic has been slow to drain lately. It was in threat mode, mostly the washing machine was too much for it and it'd back up into the utility sinks and slowly drain. Friday it decided it'd had enough of the threatening and moved right into attack mode. The girls were taking showers and washing laundry...getting ready for their trip to Connecticut. They came up out of the basement after switching over their clothes to tell me the sinks were overflowing. They eventually went down but it put an end to any major water use for a few days. Tom dug up the septic yesterday, found the source of the sluggishness and fixed it...I hope. At least this morning's first load of laundry seems to be draining normally so far.

To end this post (because it is getting long) on a happy note. It was announced last week that THREE of my neices are expecting...all around the same time! I'm so excited. One of them was told they'd never conceive children naturally. This is so GREAT! I admit I'm a bit jealous. I want grandbabies!! I'd like them in the proper order though (marriage first) so I guess I can be patient and wait.