summer 2011

summer 2011

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012
family

Monday, September 25, 2017

hot hot hot!!!!


And the weather is pretty warm too, ha. Paul and I worked the Paul McCartney concert on Saturday night...with Abigail, Benjamin, Mirielle, Joseph, Samuel, Kathryn, Evelyn, and Suzanne. It was steaming hot in that Dome. But the music was fantastic, and the customers were happy...sweaty and happy. Then just a little bit of drama, as Benjamin had some poison ivy, which he is allergic to, and it was swelling and spreading, on his face...then he was having trouble swallowing. uh oh. Never you mind that he is 28 years old. He could be two years old still by the way I still feel:) Anyway, he left with Mirielle and Kathryn to the hospital, and is doing fine after some steriods and other meds. Never a dull one, I tell you.

Yesterday was a perfectly beautiful day. We spent the afternoon swimming in the pools at church, after grilling burgers and hot dogs...it was SO NICE! Then home, relaxing on the deck with Margaret for a bit, then...popcorn for dinner. The yummy stovetop stuff, with lots of butter. Samuel asked if I was making dinner, and I said I already made a nice lunch, as I was the burger griller. So popcorn it was. A lot of the kids finangled their own dinners...there's this container of cheese sauce in the 'fridge...I bought one of those huge-O cans of it, so they heat up little bits of it at a time, and eat it with tortilla chips and on everything else too. blah, but they like it.

I walked this morning, but the little girls didn't. I woke them up but they chose to sleep in a bit. That's okay. It was a busy weekend. They spent the night at their friend's house on Saturday, and we all know how much sleep they didn't get.

It's supposed to be 90 degrees and oppressively humid today. The summer we never got, is here!

So two weeks from today I'll be arriving in Ireland!!! My head is swirling with things to remember, so I made myself some lists this morning. We are running out of doggie chow, and we buy good stuff from the tractor store now, so I have places to go. We are running out of coffee, and I want to get protein bars for my trip, and small things of almonds. I know there are stores in Ireland, and shh, I look forward to visiting them! But I am funny about going places without backup snacks, in case of getting stranded, or whatever. And we ARE flying the cheapie airline, so there won't be anything served on the flight. We should be good girls and get some sleep anyway, it's an overnight flight. And we can't check into our room/apartment until afternoon.

Ah well...school must begin.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

foggy morning, sunny day...


Suri likes going on morning walks. For the most part, she just walks along without tugging the leash, but when you least expect it, she lunges towards a dead frog, her 82 pounds yanking at my arm and pulling the leash into the skin of my palm.

Miss Charlotte Claire brought Sunny. She is leash training her, mostly in the yard, and thought this walk went well. She stops every time Sunny tugs, and gave her a treat when we got home.

My morning walk is usually my time to think, but I told the girls how magnificent the fog is to walk in, so they got up early this morning to join me.

Yesterday's donut shop quest was a success! Fresh made donuts, chocolate and pumpkin and cinnamon and plain and cherry, to customize with frostings. A pumpkin donut with cream cheese frosting, or a chocolate with vanilla buttercream. A cherry donut with vanilla frosting and Fruity Pebbles cereal? The kids said it was yum. I tried a cannoli donut, with real fresh filling and chocolate chips around the edges. It was fun to pick them out, but more fun to go to the park and try them. The park was perfect! There was a shaded pavillion with tables, and it was clean! There were bathrooms there, and a working drinking fountain, as well as lots of nice playground equipment. Now, going to the play ground with a one year old is challenging. Little Anne wanted to crawl around and explore, so I let her. But why did she gravitate toward the pavement from the grass? And the woodchips, oh man they are not good for babies to crawl in, or to taste, either. But she liked to explore, and didn't mind when I redirected her when she started slapping that pavement or finding the dirt underneath the woodchips. I don't know who tired out first, but I think it was me. I told Ashley that I didn't know how I managed this stage SIXTEEN TIMES, ha.

Anya and Lydia liked the playground better than the donuts. It was a beautiful day.

We got home and played on the deck for a while. Anne seemed hot,so we took her clothes off and let her splash in the little pool for a bit, then she ate some pudding and played with some toys.

I made taco salad for dinner, then Evelyn and I went to the thrift store...the little kids went to Activity Club, and the older girls were doing homework. We found a huge mirror to be chalk painted (the frame), a few books, and not much else. We went to the dollar store for granola bars and good chocolate, then...home.

Today, after school work, library. Anne is on her way...so bye for now.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

the little tiny things in life....

Small people are delightful. I have two grandchildren, little girls. One is Anya, almost four, the other Lydia just turned two. They are my heart. When I hear, "Grandma, Grandma!...", every time, after realizing that it is ME being spoken to, ha, I melt.

Both girls were visiting me yesterday. Well, not just ME. The house. The dogs and the kittens and the dollhouses and the swings, the trampoline, and their favorites: Miss Char and Miss Cam. And their other aunties, and Uncle Jon and Uncle Sam and Uncle Joseph.

Mali was here with Lydia when I had to leave to take Sunny to the vet. It's a good half hour+ of a drive, so I brought Jonathan with me. It was super nice to catch up with him, my 13 year old son. He is SO grown up, so respectful and I don't know...balanced? Rooted and grounded? He is just decent and moral and kind, but also witty and hilarious, in that young teenage boy kind of way, trying to fit in with the older ones. Anyway, we talked and enjoyed the warm afternoon.

I grilled chicken for dinner, and it took forever...well, over an hour and a half...the propane was running low. When Paul changed the tank, voila, big flames, and chicken was finally done. It was really good, and we had it with a nice salad and some red potatoes.

I read a story this morning... a lady was in Target with her small son, negotiating on which of three small stuffed dinosaurs he would get to have, when an older man interacted with the boy, gave him a $20 bill and told him to get all three...the man turned to the mom and explained, with tears in his eyes, that his two year old grandson had just passed away last week. For one, it's fantastic in this world we live in, for strangers to connect, and that this mom didn't just shoo the man away at first glance. I remember right after my mother died, I was in Kmart and an old lady in line in front of me had wrinkled hands, just like my mother's. Yeah, I get it that all old people have wrinkled hands. But my mom's death was so fresh and raw, and this lady's hands just made me cry. I wanted to talk to her, to hug her, to make sure she wasn't lonely, I wanted to connect with her, and be her friend.

Anyway. Anne is on her way over, and we are going on adventure today! Mirielle is watching little Lydia today, and we are meeting Ashley and Anya at an amazing donut place! We are hoping it's amazing anyway....then maybe a park with a playground...:)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

out and about....


Camille thought this was just too funny. We Walmarted after Evelyn's doctor's appointment, because we needed a bulb for the minivan's headlight. This doesn't mean we bee-lined for the automotive department then left the store, no sir, then we wouldn't have found the 15 pack of socks for $3.50. We wouldn't have discovered that Wallyworld now stocks CalicoCritter stuff. I let the girls get the tiny set of triple bunks, and the little loft bed, for $6.88 each, shh. They came home and played dollhouse with that stuff for hours.:)

We had gone to McDonalds drive through first, for drinks...their iced coffee is pretty good, and then the $2 small shakes, or other specialty beverages for the kids...Char ordered a small chocolate shake, and the guy at the window apologized for accidentally making it a large. It made her day. We also got one order of chicken nuggets, hate them/love them, and as we sat in the truck in the Walmart parking lot scarfing them down (what? I only had three. 150 calories.)(and we didn't order any fries), Camille said, "Look at us, eating McDonalds in Walmart parking lot." We could not stop laughing.

Anyway. Home, ah home. I had also gone to Costco with Mirielle and Jonathan during the day...and I found my new raincoat for Ireland there, who would have thought? They have too much good stuff at Costco! Emily got a membership and added me, so uh-oh.

Today, Miss Anne Beatrice is coming over, in just a few minutes actually. We will play outside in the little pool, it's so warm out!

Beautiful, right?

I walked this morning, yay.


It's lovely in the morning on our road.

This afternoon, I have to bring Sunny in to the vet to get her stitches removed and for her Lyme disease prevention booster. She's gonna LOVE that. ugh. Mali is coming over with Miss Lydia, too. :)






Monday, September 18, 2017

good morning happy monday!!!!


I walked again! Once I get back into the habit, it's easier to go, Nike sure got it right with Just Do It.:)
(I would like to insert a little complaint that the scale is stubborn, after all this work lately it should be getting busy going down down down, but what are ya gonna do? I figure it is still healthy to walk, and it's still healthy to to eat well. Losing weight isn't the ONLY thing I'm aiming for,...right?)


Sunny leaps for bubbles! She loves them!

Her wrinkled forehead...she's so cute. Do you know Char can make her jump through a hula hoop by holding a treat? Suri just walks AROUND the hoop.

This afternoon I have to bring Evelyn in to the doctor for a shot, then tomorrow I have to take Sunny to get her stitches out. I don't have Anne today, but I will have her tomorrow and Wednesday, maybe Thursday. Ashley and I have a date this week to go on a donut shop adventure, we can barely look at the pictures, they look so good. I know, I know, I lament about not losing weight, then start in on the donuts...but. But. But, I am faithful all day every day, so I get a break, a one donut break...?

The little girls are having breakfast, we will be starting school soon.

We are having a heat wave here in central New York state, low eighties every day, and humid! We bought a little pool on clearance the other day, and the girls played in it with Anya yesterday. We also scrubbed out the hot tub yesterday, got it ready to be fixed. The parts have arrived! Now, I know hot tubs are tricky, and I know that it might not be that simple to just replace the obvious part, and voila, fill it up and have it work. The cover is in rough shape, we hope to save it with, shh, duct tape, at least until we are sure the thing runs well. Benjamin is so busy right now with his new job, he is an apprentice so has classes a few nights a week, and they are expecting their baby in five weeks.:)

It was a grand weekend for our kids! They were blessed to be at a soccer weekend with kids from England, Denmark, B.C., Salem, Ohio, Conneticut, Ottowa, Delaware, Missouri, and Norway. Yesterday afternoon Paul and Ben and Sam and some others took the kids from England to a shooting range, they liked that well enough.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

keeping busy...

I remember the days when going into the bathroom all by my lonesome was a luxury, but it wasn't even luxurious, because I had to hurry hurry hurry, and there was always the conundrum: do I announce my intentions, and give the kids a heads up that they can maybe get into stuff, or do I sneak away, tiptoeing down the hall, avoiding possible separation tears, or worse: requests to accompany me.

Anyway. My days were crazy. These days by comparison are easy, easy peasy.

But, it is still busy. We have little Anne here during the days, and she is a sunshine. But even a sunshine needs to be watched, especially a one year old sunshine. But shh, she also likes to read books and snuggle and yesterday, she fell asleep in my arms as I rocked her and sang the Winnie The Pooh song.."silly ol', silly ol' bear..."

Mirielle came over in the afternoon, as I was attempting to make healthy muffins...
2 cups flaxseed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon/pumpkin pie spice

5 eggs
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup water
a splash of vanilla
1/4 cup of honey or other sweetener (I used two tablespoons of honey, and a tablespoon of molasses)

You can add blueberries, or even chocolate chips, or maybe some unsweetened cocoa powder...

They aren't sweet, but they smell heavenly when they're baking, and if you add butter, and maybe some pumpkin jam...yum.

Anyway. Mirielle visited and we planned our trip to Ireland. We rented a whole "flat" near the Irish Sea for the first few days, then a homey little place a few hours from the Atlantic for the next few days...We will visit Howth Castle, the city of Dublin, then drive across the country, which is only like three hours, ha, who knew? It takes days to get across the U.S. Anyway, we will go to the Cliffs of Moher, then drive up to Galway and stay there...we rented a car, an automatic with a GPS in case our phones poop out on us. Mirielle is going to drive on the wrong side of the road! Oh the fun we're going to have. We just wish we could take all of the kids with us...

Anne is here! bye

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

apples and autumn....


It wasn't cool or crispy enough for a good orchard trip, that sun was warm! Warm sun is nice for the beach, you know, not for apple picking!


Mali went with us, Camille, Charlotte Claire, and me with Lydia...Miss Anne Beatrice was in the stroller...

Anne is one of my sister's grandchildren, she is Davian's baby sister. (Davian is in kindergarten now!) I am looking after her a few days a week. And she is pure sweetness.


I took this before my walk this morning...the reflection of the mess in my kitchen. The mirror is one of my thrift store finds, all chalk painted and waxed.


Miss Lyd, as we call Lydia Eleanor, the two year old granddaughter. She thought apple picking was grand. She pulled the first apple from the tree, and threw it on the ground. I don't know why she thought that was what we were doing, maybe because there were a lot of apples already on the ground. She is a sunshine-y chatterbox. We drove to that orchard with two carseats in the van, almost like the old days.

And...we got apple cider, freshly made. Also donuts, cinnamon donuts, still warm. I only had a taste, and a sip of cider, buy oh yummers.

The almost four year old granddaughter came for a visit yesterday too, Anya Jade. She likes coming over to play, the dollhouse stuff and the trampoline, the dogs and the kittens...and the little girls. She really likes her Aunt Charlotte and her Aunt Camille. I am still reveling in the fact that I get to see her on a regular basis, considering for the first three and a half years of her life, I only got to visit her and see her when she visited here. Now she lives twenty minutes away! I don't think I'll ever just take it for granted.

Anne will be here in a little while, and the little girls and Jon need to start in on their spelling. We are going to visit Grandma today, and I have to bring Paul's truck in to get something fixed. Mirielle is coming over so we can plan our trip to Ireland. I have been checking out the Airbnb places, and they look amazing! I would much rather rent out a whole apartment from a private citizen than a hotel room from a big chain. The question is...do we stay in the city, or relax in the countryside? Do we rent a car so we can go where we please, when we please, but have to deal with driving on the wrong side of the road, and traffic, ect., or do we just use the bus system and the train? Which would be more fun and relaxing? hmmm. We have decisions to make.