~The Ten of Us~

*A Day In Our Life*
*It Is The Sweet Simple Things of Life Which Are the Real Ones After All*
"And thank you for a house full of people I love. Amen."~Ward Elliot Hour


ben14 and bran 19..july
sweet 16 and beautiful laura
before haircut...maybe

some pictures
savannah 3 playing dress- up


my son who i love with all my heart went back to his 2nd year at uva. after spending  3 months with us this summer, i had a hard time sending him back.. i know he has to find his own way. i just want to go back when he was a little boy. the best times in our life. but he has best times of his own coming his way.  brandon is awesome and much loved. he is funny, smart, thought provoking, good conversationalist, good hearted, and great company.  all the kids hate to see him go because they have so much fun with him.  he's already busy getting to know his 5 roomates and going to events and meetings. classes start on tues. 17 credits this semester the most you can have plus he's trying to get an on-campus job. but he wants to reach his goals and pay his way for the most part, and keep debt down. we miss you bran only 6 more weeks til fall break


six of the kids audrey, jonah, savannah, livy, laura and emily. brandon thought he was too old to get in the picture and ben did too.
it was hot so the shade was nice..our five girls and jonah. i have some pictures of bran's birthday maybe i'll add later.


brandon's 19th birthday is today. i can remember bringing him home from the hospital and laying him in his crib. our then neighbors said enjoy having him so tiny and small because he would grow up so fast. that is the truth. i can't believe so much time has passed so quickly. i wasn't ready for it.  the last 4 yrs the hardest of my life. had no idea what i was in store for. so many things have changed. and the changes have been overwhelming at times. i have a hard time emotionally connecting and then being disconnected. my sensitivity can't always handle it. and from my experience it's going to be an ongoing issue which makes it tough.
i love being with the kids when they don't notice i'm there...watching livy, audrey, and emily play,  fix each other's hair, savannah talking to her dolls, jonah playing his cars on the bed....it's peaceful...talking to laura in the late night hours, peeking in on bran and ben trying to capture the moment for the weeks ahead when i know it'll get tough.
i've spent a lot of time away this summer taking the kids to appts, going to the pool, getting out and finding things to do....staying away is sometimes easier than having to deal with the emotions so i go when i can. I took bran to get his birthday present tonight and then we got something to eat which was a lot of food. went to the mall and shopped a little bit at my favorite store. got ice cream at ben and jerrys. talked. people watched. trying to do normal things that bring some sense of direction back. it is not as easy as it appears to be. trying to find your way back to a place where it use to come so easy .it just doesn't. happy smiles from the inside. joy. feeling anything at all. how could anyone understand if they've never experienced it.
watching bourne identity. i would love to sit down and watch the whole thing but usually only get movies in bits and pieces. unless it's late at night with my undivided attention. finding time. we're going somewhere tomorrow as a family on bran's birthday. just being together like it use to be. i want to have some real connection to my old life. it was really that important and i didn't even know it. good news...charlottesville named one of happiest cities to live in. it really is a great town. don't wont to forget that brandon is in a great place for knowledge and learning. he's excited to go back and work on his double major. a gift we're going to give him is an upgraded meal plan so he can swipe his card at the cafeteria once a day. last yr he could swipe as much as he wanted but it comes at a price. the one we're getting him is $1000 extra but he'll be eating a good meal a day. one less grocery meal needed. college is expensive but bran is so good with money he's figured out almost the exact amt he might be paying in 3 yrs. bran likes to have a plan for everything and if that doesn't work out have a back-up plan. he's got a good head on his shoulders. perfect student for uva.


beach 2014

savannah 3, jonah 6, livy 8, audrey 10, emily 11, ben 14, laura 16, brandon 18


Getting ready to go to beach....packing is not fun but getting there will be. the kids are so excited. we're going to the same condo we've been to for the past few yrs so looking forward to sun, beach and all that goes with that. i can't forget to take our annual picture of all the kids at the shore.
brandon's working a lot....going to the gym....so we don't see him as much...but we're happy when we do.and we get a whole week at the beach.  we talked about his classes for next yr. i'm sort of hoping he stays closer to home. a good job but not far away. being in a city closer to everything would be nice.  i fill my gas tank up way too often as much as i go out.
laura has had lots of ortho and oral surgeon appts for her upcoming surgery. liquids and soft foods for six weeks. i'm not worried about the surgery as much as figuring out how to keep her weight up on a liquid diet for so long.
summer hasn't even arrived but we've been spending lots of time at the pool which we love. it's a little bit of a drive but worth it. hanging out by the pool not thinking or doing to much is nice.
the girls are having fun just being girls....fixing hair, doing nails, practicing cheerleader stunts. emily starts her practice in august. school starts aug 14. homeschooling had it's benefits. but so does public school.
i've been married a long time, so has my husband. we joke about this all the time. we've been through a lot.
life goes on busy as usual. i'm still in the thick of it. and it'll be that way for awhile. but there's plenty of reminders of people going through a lot harder times than i think i am. supermom i'm not. the kids might think so...maybe not. they are so helpful though. i really do have good kids.
well tomorrow will be spent getting ready for our trip....taking the dogs to the kennel....we put way to much stress on ourselves but the way to look at is it could be a lot easier if we eliminated some things. trying to get brandon to pack his stuff but he wants me to do it which i don't mind. most of the kids pack their own clothes except for savannah. even jonah did his own after i looked through it and approved. but he did a good job. kids always need you no matter how old they are.
our family went on a boat ride with laura's boyfriends family...the kids went tubing...we went to a little island so it was a lot of fun. Savannah's a handful....but sure is cute.

3 1/2 y.o spunky savannah cute in her pigtails


what a busy week...emily's trying out for cheerleading....searched for all-white shoes which is not as easy to find as they use to be, specific black shorts, physical that she almost didn't pass because of a heart murmur..she had an echocardiogram done several yrs ago showing it was ok....went to a fun tumbling class last night at the gymnastics academy...lots of rules and commitment so we're trying to make sure this is something that's doable and something she's able to commit to and keep grades up at the same time. she really wants to do it so we're encouraging but realistic too. bran made the dean's list at uva. he wants to double major. his advisor says it'll be difficult but it has been done. next yr he's taking a different foreign language,i think arabic. he's coming home around may 10. we'll enjoy having him home this summer because as time goes on he won't be coming home as much. i have not quite adjusted to him being gone...there's still an important piece of our family missing...things have changed and it's bittersweet for me. i'm just happy he's in such a good place...could not be prouder of him....all the kids make me proud. car insurance...it goes up alot even for a 2-kid family. we have to figure out a car arrangement that works for everyone. may have to juggle things to make it work which is not a bad thing. ben made me happy by getting into drawing again...he really is very talented. each of our children is unique in their own ways. laura is a beautiful dancer and singer...singing for her youth group band. i heard such nice things said of her at her sweet 16. she is a special girl and loved by many. it's fun watching audrey,livy, jonah, and savannah's personalities develop... some happy pictures of me and my baby....

she made block necklaces

enjoying a nice spring day...i love my baby...she is so smart..s growing way too fast ..enjoying the time we have together before she starts school....what am i going to do with myself...a new stage of life not known for a long time.....not sure how that's going to go....just enjoying savannah fix my hair, put jewelry on me, she loves to fix people up and put lipstick on....my little girly girl. audrey is our outdoor lover,...want to shoot guns, hunt, camp, fish so dad's going to get his canoe and sailboat ready. ..there's so much to keep up with and yet i want the kids to experience the things i didn't get to.. find interests and try to give them the means to enjoy it. it's a careful balance that can easily be overwhelming. parenting can be difficult to the point of saying how much more can i offer to be the best i can be or at least keep my head above water and not become mentally exhausted.....i tend to worry a lot about how we're going to do this and that... but i am really proud of my kids. they are amazing to me.