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

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

oh the days just fly...

...when you're trying to get things done, it feels like trying to run in deep water, expending all the energy but not getting anywhere. Sonja had a Regents exam yesterday, then a dr. appointment. So Suzanne, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and Anne were all with me to pick Sonja up at school. Sonja got her stitches removed, and the doc was absolutely amazed at her progress, she can bend that knee all the way! She's been cleared for physical therapy, so we'll be driving to the small city twice a week for the next four weeks.

A stop at Dunkin for cold brew, they have $2 mediums right now, and some donut holes for Miss Anne, who announced, "I'm hungry, I'm hungry", as soon as I pulled in.

We then went to the craft store so Suzanne could get more yarn. I did get a few things too, of course I did. Then Lowe's for a new stairway railing, and the little brass thingies that hold it up, and a stud finder so we can hang that heavy thrift store mirror in the foyer. I felt like a real do-it-yourself-er walking through the store with that railing. Okay, Paul will cut it for me...and probably install it for me. But I'm going to paint it! And those brass thingies, yes, they will be spray painted black.

Then to Walmart, for half and half, and a pair of shorts for moi. I had a nice comfy pair that I wore, shh, every day, around the house. Then I forgot to change into my painting clothes one night when we were finishing up the foyer, and dang it, they were covered. They were huge and baggy and sloppy anyway, but now, ugh. So I bought the same ones in a smaller size (yay me!), where else can you get a pair of shorts for under seven dollars? We also got some shredded cheddar cheese and a few boxes of elbow macaroni, because the girls decided to make Mac and cheese for dinner.


Time to start dinner. A whole stick of butter, melted, dump in some flour, remove from heat...add some milk, cook until thickened, dump in some cheese...boil that pasta, and for me, microwave some cauliflower florets until just thawed...we had one 13x9 pan made with pasta, and one made with cauliflower. We also had bacon, the nice stuff from Aldi, peppered bacon.

So I started a new thing...for a while now I've been eating only two meals a day, trying like heck to find the thing that will start weight loss again for me. Then I read a bunch of stuff, and decided to do this more religiously, with absolutely no snacking in between, and nothing in the evening. So I eat breakfast/lunch around noon, then dinner whenever dinner time is, and nothing after. Low carb, lots of veggies, eggs, meat, etc., and of course my coffee and maybe an herbal tea in the evening. I've lost a few pounds, and feel okay. The point is to get that insulin to go right down between eating meals, and to burn some fat. My poor metabolism is so shot, I'm hoping this plan works. If and when I do something about my knees, I would like to be a bit lighter first. Seeing Sonja use her good leg like such a pro, pivoting herself around and using the crutches so easily, I just couldn't do that. So I have a goal, ha.

So we've been working to get things done around here, but there are dogs and children, so maintenance alone, plus watching little Anne every day, keeps me busy. I need to wash the couch covers before Saturday, but not yet, because, dogs. The same with mopping the floors, I swept today and mopped the other day, but it'll have to be done Saturday. Mowing the lawn, making the cuppy-cakes, preparing the food...I do have a list, but still have to buy everything. (We are having Suzanne's graduation party on Saturday). Only like 70 people are invited, :).

Pulled pork, bbq chicken breast, hot dogs and coneys...pasta salad. Mirielle's making homemade Mac and cheese, and bringing cut up fruit. We'll have some chips and dips, and maybe celery and carrots. I need plates and forks and drinks, and ice, and to wash the coolers.

Tomorrow night is Anya's kindergarten graduation, and rehearsal for Suzanne, Suzanne's graduation ceremony is Friday night. So when does a girl go shopping? (Tonight is activity club for a few of the kids...maybe I can get them a ride, or Paul can bring them...).

Never a dull moment, but I am truly not complaining. One of the benefits of getting to live 'til middle age is that you know, from experience, that things WILL get done. Or if they don't, you'll live. But also, there are fewer helpers around here than in previous years for previous parties. I am pretty good at managing, at giving orders and directions, but when it's just me bumbling around, it takes forever and a day to get things accomplished.

Anne will be here soon, and it's a nice day out. Our pool is almost clean, but someone needs to get in and scoop out those leaves in the middle. Our weather has been cooler than normal, and so rainy. But warm weather will come, and we will want to swim.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

it was a dark and dreary morning...

...but the warm memories of the day before sustained her.

I got to go out and about with five daughters! Evelyn had the crazy idea to take her sisters to get their nails done. They made the appointment for bright and early, and asked to use the van. Paul and Jonathan were here, doing yard work, mowing, trimming a few trees. The girls asked me if I wanted to go, and how could I turn that down? No, I didn't get my nails done, I have zero interest in pretty nails. It just does not appeal to me, so I dropped them off, and went to The Burlington Coat Factory, and wandered around all by myself for a while. I found some Nike pants for Anya, a cute top for Lydia, a bra for me, a water bottle for Paul for Father's Day, and a rug for the foyer. I exercised some self-restraint, because oh boy were there some nice things I didn't "need". A gray framed mirror for $14.99, and a cute little pale pink with white polka dots ceramic tea pot for $12.99. A gray and white table runner which would be perfect for the top of that ugly cube storage thing in the foyer, $9.99. A hard-to-find bathing suit in my size, but not exactly my favorite color, so that wasn't hard to pass by.

When the girls were done, we went to the grocery store. Evelyn had to buy flowers, plates, ect. for a youth gathering, and I let the girls each get some of the Wegman's Chinese food. We stocked up on ice cream bars (they have the best 60 calorie no-sugar-added fudge bars at Wegman's!!), got some strawberries, and some raw baby spinach.

Home...ah home. The kids eventually all left for their youth activities and party, and wow, Paul and I were here all alone! So, we finished painting the foyer. It's all painted!!! I put the light switch plate back on, the one I spray painted black. The railing needs to be re-installed, and the huge-0 thrift store mirror has to be hung. I chalk painted the frames of a few pics that were on the wall down there, and they need to go back up.

We're having a graduation party for Suzanne this coming Saturday. That means all week I moan and fret about what needs to be done around here, then Friday I get my arse in gear and do the work of ten men. I haven't even planned the food yet. The old, "the kids will help me" is expiring, ha. Sonja K. is on crutches, has a dr. appointment tomorrow and will prob start physical therapy this week. Suzanne is in her senior year, not sure how many tests and finals she has to study for. Jonathan is extremely busy, he has a summer job doing mowing and maintenance, and is rarely home. So what gets done, gets done. Although I do admit when I have something like this party coming up, it inspires me to do those little projects.

Last night I had a dream that our family rented an airbnb for a little getaway, and the people left a little boy and a newborn baby there! I just couldn't believe they left them there! I was huffy and indignant, how could we be paying to stay, yet they were getting free babysitting? At the same time, I loved it. The little boy was adorable, and the newborn...well, we were all fighting over the newborn. Margaret took over, just took that baby and took care of him. But I kept mentioning how I simply couldn't believe the people would just leave their kids there without even mentioning them, assuming we would take tenderly good care of them, and the rest of my family just took it in stride. soon, then to Ben and Ashley's nice big house for a Father's Day gathering...I have pulled pork in the crock pot and have to cut up a watermelon...

Friday, June 14, 2019

...not going to cry today...

...but then, I already am. Time dulls pain, but it never goes away. 16 years ago yesterday was Friday the 13th of June. It was at a regular O.b. check up at I found out that baby Robert William, 27 weeks gestation, didn't have a heartbeat anymore. I won't go over the whole story again. But when these dates roll around, and I think about him being wrapped tenderly up in that hospital receiving blanket, and wishing with all my heart he would just breathe, I just can't believe that life went on.

Yesterday I ended up with a headache, I think because I took the vacuum cleaner apart to try to unclog it. I think there is a curse between Me-Vacuum cleaners. Oh, the trouble I have! When I wanted to get on from facebook marketplace, Paul said I could, as long as I don't complain about it. What? Me? Rant about how that stupid vacuum cleaner has something stuck somewhere I can't reach? So when this happened yesterday to the newest vac, the sweet unblemished model that was all I had hoped it would be...ugh. I spend over an hour with a broken arrow from Paul's bow, seriously the best vac hose unclogged ever, and a pair of tweezers, pulling out clumps and clogs, but there is still something in there I can't reach. I got out all sorts of screwdrivers and tried to take the beater brush assembly apart to reach it, but wasn't very successful. When I mentioned to Paul that I think my headache started from so much dust from my unclogging endeavor, he just looked at me and shook his head. I wasn't complaining! Vacuum cleaners just hate me! So I just used a different end piece and vacuumed that way.

These pics were taken last night, after nine o'clock! I love the longs days and late sunsets. When it gets really dark, it looks even more cool out there on the deck.

It's a chilly rainy morning, again, and yeah, I love it. I'd love it more if I had absolutely no responsibilities today, and could crawl back into my warm comfy bed with the coffee and a good book. I turned on the little fireplace to take the chill off, and to cozy it up in here a bit more.

Anne will be here soon, and Sonja is home from school. She had only one class amidst several study halls (end of the year!), so considering how much effort it is for her to just get into the school right now, she's just having a long weekend.

I won't blab on about my latest headache, although I will take a moment to be thankful for acetominophen and migraine relief tablets. I don't take any meds unless I have to, and I endured the headache as it picked up steam yesterday, until it was bad enough that I almost tossed my cookies, even though I don't eat cookies anymore. I slept like a log, seriously, but woke up exhausted. Right now I feel like I could just close my eyes and I would be asleep on the keyboard.

But, I have done 30 push-ups, and a few sets of lifts with my handy dandy ten pound weights. It's what I do when I'm waiting for the kettle to boil for coffee, ha.

Tomorrow the kids are all going to an end-of-the-year youth picnic, so Paul and I will be here by our lonesomes, working in the garden, getting a few things done...then on Sunday, lots of the kids are coming over for Father's Day. I'm making pulled pork....

Thursday, June 13, 2019

a rose among the thorns...

Or rather, a nice sunny day in the middle of a rainy-ish week.

That sundog! Davian was here yesterday, and in all of his seven year old wisdom, informed me that this phenomenon means a storm is coming. Ice crystals in the upper atmosphere, cirrus clouds...rain coming. And, today, cool and breezy, cloudy...and rain is coming.

I did manage to get some spray painting in yesterday. I have a collection of spray paint, by the way, from the dollar store. Nice, brand name stuff, like Valspar. I found a Little Tikes table and chairs at the thrift store the other day, for $6.99! It was splashed with paint, and was a bit dirty. (It said, "Pre-K", in marker, on the bottom of the table, so it was used in a school). With a little bit of scrubbing, removing some stickers, and my handy dandy white gloss spray paint, after a spray of Zinser 1-2-3 primer, it looked much better. I ran out of that paint, so I taped newspaper on the top of the table, and sprayed the legs light gray. Then the chairs, a nice blue color.

The grass did get a little bit paint-y.

But Paul mowed the lawn last night, so it looks fine.

Oh, I ran out of the white because I spray painted an old chair that was downstairs, one that was just used for things like standing on when you paint.

I should have taken a before pic. It was pretty bad. But a quick sanding, wiped it down with a damp cloth, needs another coat, the bottom of the legs are not even painted. And I ran out. Oh well.

Am I the only one who wanders around wondering what I can paint?

The foyer needs like one more painting session, and I'll be able to put the switch plate back on the light was an old chrome-y brass thing, but with a little bit of, yep, black spray paint, it looks so cool. I just know if I put it up before we're finished, it'll get paint dripped on it.

Anyway. Yesterday we had Davian here and Anne, and it was gloriously beautiful out, and the day went by too fast. Kim came over for a visit, she rarely comes here any more because she moved away, to the suburbs, to take live with and take care of her parents. I have seen less than a dozen times in the last year and a half. It's sad. (she's Danielle's mom).
But it was nice to see her, and have coffee and talk for a bit.

Okay, weight loss: it ain't really happening. I have lost a few pounds in the last few weeks, but, so that's better than gaining...but I am trying intermittent fasting. But, with coffee with cream in the morning. I ate two meals yesterday within a 6 hour window, nothing in the evening. So that's what I'd like to do for most days, then have a day to switch it up, like eat a big brekky, then a lunch/dinner meal, then nothing in the evening. Most days I just skip breakfast and eat brunch. Low carb, no sugar, lots of water, good healthy food like meats and veggies, occasional fruit with a meal, like some blueberries. It's hard because that one voice in my brain that is singing, "Life is short! Summer is short! Just get an ice cream! It's SO good!".

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

brrr. chilly morning!

It's a windy, overcast, chilly morning here in central New York state. Okay, 57 degrees isn't COLD, but with the breeze and the lack of sun, it feels like late autumn.

Here are my morning accomplishments:

Ten push ups and some weight lifting in between coffee number one and coffee number two. (Coffee made from freshly ground beans, oh dear yum.)

Laundry: re-washed a load that stayed in the dryer overnight yet wasn't completely dry, because it just didn't smell fresh.

Wiped down counters, picked up the fluff from a pillow that Little Miss Sunshine attacked.

(She's such a dum-dum. She goes crazy when I turn on the flashlight on my phone and project shadows from my hand on the wall...)

I checked and my passport is indeed processed, printed, and ready to mail to me. Yay! I was getting concerned, and I misplaced the papers they give you with the number to track your passport. It turned out to be a simple as can be to track it without that, phew. After buying plane tickets and registering for the conference we are attending in Norway, it would be a bummer to not get the passport. The little girls applied at the same time as me and got theirs weeks ago.

Last evening, Paul reinstalled the chandelier! The pics don't do it justice, it looks so much better black! Maybe also because now it actually has five working light bulbs in it, instead of the one.

We worked on painting a bit last night, too. Charlotte Claire, Camille, and cousin Danielle helped. We still have to finish up, but we got the downstairs hallway done.

Yesterday, we went out and about. First stop: thrift store. I'm looking for an old bench or chair to chalk paint and put in the foyer. The only chairs there were rickety or ugly beyond my DIY restoration expertise, you know the chairs, with the fabric seats...I am not into recovering or reupholstering, just painting and throwing a pillow on it. The girls were game to go because they were looking for jeans to cut into shorts. We also found a Little Tikes table and two chairs, which yes, you guessed it, I am going to clean up and spray paint. The table, anyway. I got a book I had already read, The Pilot's Wife, by Anita Shreve, she's good, the book is good, and I may have stayed up too late and read the entire thing last night.

Anne will be here any minute, and as much as I'd like to say we're staying home today, we are doing some school...then library...then stopping for some dog food at the feed store, and ugh, we are running out of half and half. We went to BJ's yesterday, the warehouse store. My membership ran out in January, and it's over a hundred for renewal when it't the 2% back rewards membership. So I just stopped going there. I decided to go there yesterday because I had a coupon for a free trial membership, but that is only for those who have never been I got suckered into buying a new one, but for only $65. You get a better deal if you let it lapse for a few months. It's a trap of a store, you fill your cart and empty your wallet like magic, things you didn't know you needed! Like this giant bunny, for Anne!

I did feel evil, buying this huge bunny. But it was only $4.98! And if you could have seen the way her eyes lit up! She named it Little Bunny FooFoo, and it's almost as big as her. Her daddy took the last pic, she insisted Bunny get buckled up too. When he came to pick her up and saw the bunny, ha, I did feel evil, but she liked it so much!!!

Anyway. Time to get moving.

Monday, June 10, 2019

progress pics...

Look at that dusty brass light fixture. I did look into replacing it, but...spray painting is rather rewarding. Paul took it down, Sonja cleaned it up, and I took it to the front yard on a pizza box, and yay!

I know, it's still in it's pizza box, on the kitchen table. These things take time!

I spray painted the brass doorknob...only the one half that shows when the door is closed, then when I re-installed it, I realized duh, that it looked ridiculous...I didn't want to remove the handle again, so I got out the black chalk paint, and painted the outside part. It looks fine. Of course I sealed it with wax after, so it'll hold up okay. I hope. I also spray-painted the brass light-switch plate. And those hooks on the white board.

Instant Gratification is my real name, this is KILLING me, I want it done yesterday! I am not a ladder person at this stage, or rather WEIGHT in my life, so all this high up stuff...I have to wait for Paul, or Suzanne. Slowly by slowly, step by step, inch by inch. During the week days I have small children here, and since they aren't MY small children, I can't just paint when they are here like I did when my own were small.

And honestly, in the evenings, when the small children have gone home, dinner has been served and cleaned up, I am just too tired to jump up and open the paint cans. Also, the teenagers are always gone here and there, and who wants to paint all alone? Paul works hard, so I don't like to nag him too much. Just the right amount ha.

I want to get the painting done, the light fixture back up, and I'm thinking of ordering a bench to put where the cube thing is, and putting the cube thing under the hooks...I have a lovely vintage mirror from the thrift store, which I painted white, ready to hang over the bench I might buy. We don't NEED a bench, but oh dear, it would look so cute. The stairs are going to get new carpeting, a dark gray. One of these days. And the tile down there will be covered with that nice waterproof vinyl planking that looks like real wood. One of these days.

Anne will be here soon. I've cleaned up the house a bit, and am on my second cup of coffee. Miss Sonja K. actually went to school this morning. She got a ride from her friend, as she cannot get up those steep school bus steps yet. I told her to go to the nurse and call me if she needs to come home. She is amazing though. She has barely taken any of her pain meds, she didn't even take an acetaminophen this morning. She just pushes herself. I am quite proud of her. is cloudy, the rain is coming this afternoon. The sunshine was nice, but ha, shh, it's easier to watch Miss Anne when it's rainy(she always wants to go outside)...except when she wears her cute little rain boots, she suggests we go stomping in the puddles...

Sunday, June 9, 2019

just brilliant...

The sun shining, not a cloud in the sky brilliance is not something we see too often here in central New York state. That deep beautiful blue of a sky on a sunny day, oh joy. And three days in a row! We almost felt like we live in Southern California!

Sonja and I were alone for most of yesterday. Paul had to work on the camper, and do some other errands. So we went out onto the deck, put on some sunscreen and dug out the sunglasses, sprayed ourselves with a little misting bottle, then got too hot and went back inside. We repeated this little ritual three times.

I went to town to pick up some chicken wings in the afternoon, then Paul grilled steak for dinner. Steak, because why not? How often are there only THREE people home here?

This morning, Sonja was doing well enough to navigate the deck stairs on her crutches, so the three of us went to church. We left right after, instead of staying for lunch, wah, because Paul had tomato and pepper plants to put in. Last year we didn't even plant a garden because of his work schedule, so it's nice we can do it this year.

Sonja and I enjoyed the sunshine on the deck some more today, with cold brew coffees with chocolate almond milk...

The girls returned from their camping trip. Some stopped in for a chat, Paul's truck and the kayaks came home. Sleeping bags and tents and extra snacks were put away.

Shh, we had steak AGAIN. It was actually some nice chuck roast, which I had planned to put in the instant pot with some gravy mix, but Paul likes grilled meat much better, so he sliced those roasts thinner, and I marinated them in vinegar, olive oil, a bit of red wine, and steak seasoning. They were still a bit chewy, but yummers. We had jasmine rice (not me!), and fresh cauliflower, steamed and soaked in hot Buffalo sauce.

Sonja is doing better. She still has a long road of healing, but she's quick and nimble and is learning to get around on those crutches. I don't really mind waiting on her. Getting her pills (antibiotics, blood thinner), filling her water bottle, serving her dinner. She's seventeen years old, and hasn't needed my help for much in a long time, so I don't mind.

Having all the kids gone this weekend (except for Sonja K.), has made me realize in a very strong way that: it's coming. It really is coming. The day they all move out, and it's actually quiet in here. I told Sonja today that I wish wish wish I could go back in time and visit my mother more, when she was so lonely. She went to kidney dialysis three times a week for NINE YEARS. I visited her at dialysis ONCE. Granted, I was knee-deep in small children and babies when she was going through her dialysis years, but still. She passed away when Charlotte Claire was a new baby.

Anyway. I did go visit her at least once a week, and took her out and about and brought her here. I probably couldn't have done it more, but my point is that now I feel her pain. Just a glimpse of the future, and the quiet is coming.

Well, then again, maybe not. We have five grandchildren, and two more on the way, so I'm sure it won't get too quiet for too long, ha.

Anyway. It's been a brilliantly glorious weekend, lots of down time, and it was nice. Sonja is climbing the walls, but I didn't mind it one bit.