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

Saturday, January 19, 2019

boom it's winter!!!!

So this storm is supposed to track a bit more to the north, so we're looking at two feet of snow from this afternoon until tomorrow...then more snow, lake effect, and wind...and cold! Polar air! Can you tell that I have somewhat of a fascination with weather? Living south west of Lake Ontario makes for some really snowy winters.

Oh, I did forget to tell my tooth story: I left that dentist chair just as happy as can be, because we did my favorite thing: wait and see! Procrastinate, ha. The insurance company has to pre-approve a cap, which is what the tooth needs. If it's really pricey (I know they can run over a thousand, maybe two), I can opt for a filling, tooth reconstruction that isn't guaranteed to last. But, apparently insurance companies won't cover two separate procedures for one tooth in the same calendar year. And since it's January, ugh. So I'll wait and see how much coverage we have, my next appointment is in two months. So I am learning to remember to chew only on the one side, and how to shield the owie tooth from heat and cold, so fun, ha. (so basically I can't just have it repaired, then crowned later, unless it's in a different year)

So this fine morning, I made three pounds of bacon, and fried up some eggs. The kids made the toast, and a few waffles, and a few had cereal. It's a lovely Saturday. The kids are watching videos of a gymnast doing floor routines, and are planning to go outside to play soon. It's 14 degrees now, relatively balmy compared to what's coming. And there are small pre-storm flakes fluttering down. If your favorite color is white, you would be happy here in central New York this weekend. The house is so bright!

The three small children are still here, 8 nights down, four to go. But it's nice to have them here. They have tons of energy, and bring the level of crazy up a bit here, but they bring so much fun, too. They get up in the morning in their cute little jammies, and they're still little enough to delight in the little things. Paul brought our big purple Little Tikes coupe from the basement, and Sebastian (one of the 7 year old twins) has been driving around and around. They love our doggies, and seem really happy here. Here's what Sebastian made for me yesterday:

Ha, dear "ant". But oh it melted my heart.

Last evening, Linnea came and sat with me in my chair, cuddled under the blanket, and talked about school. Poor me, ha.

Ah well, today we're making some homemade play dough, then making chicken wings and pizzas for dinner. Kids like to "decorate" pizzas. It's a lovely Saturday.

Friday, January 18, 2019

well snowstorms!!!

But don't worry, we're in the '10-'18 inch area. After this storm though, the lake effect comes in from the north, and we'll get a bit more.

Ahh, winter. How I hate thee. The wind and the ice, the theft of spontaneity. Plans? Not set in stone, not around here in January. The ice on the windshield, the frigid tile floors in the kitchen, and bursting out of the shoe area, winter coats piled and stacked and draped on chairs, big coats that fall off of hooks.

Today, is the official Calm Before The Storm day. The weather lady said to get your store runs in, and fill your car with gas. Camille heard, "Go to the library! Get tons of books!" She didn't really, but this was our plan. Until...

Someone didn't feel well at school, and while I won't say what she's sick with, Miss Sonja has to go to the dr. this afternoon. It's no fun, she feels lousy, and to make it more fun, she thought she'd be okay, and went to school, which meant...I had to go get her. She texted me from class. So, I arrived in the office at the high school, and said I was there to pick her up, she was sick. They were fine with that, the nice office ladies, but the principal was standing there, and said, "Just so you know, it'll be an illegal absence." hmm. Why? "Because she didn't go to the nurse." Okay, I said, I'll send her down to the nurse when she gets here, because we don't want to be doing illegal stuff." Oh, I was too snarky. So the principal says, "You know, in case there's an epidemic or something, we have to have a record of everything." The nurse came into the office when Sonja came in, I told her we had to go down to her office just so we weren't illegal, and she said, "Oh bless her heart, Sonja, just go home, you don't have to come to my office, it'll be fine, I'll fix it." Some people are so kind and good, but others just seem to love their authority.


We're not going to the library after all. It's in the entirely opposite direction from the dr. office.

This afternoon, when I get home, we're having a party. I missed the twins' birthday this year, so I have a gift for them, and Jon found something to give to William, and I have something for Lydia too. We baked chocolate cupcakes and made buttercream frosting, and we're having a party. Just because.

It IS Emily's birthday today! 34 years ago tonight, it was a Friday back then too, at 9:53, I became a mama. My first birth was a rough one. She was transverse, and mid-forceps, which shh, that meant huge-0 episiotomy. :(. I also wasn't awake for the birth. I was told it was just a try it thing, the dr. was going to try to go up and turn the baby and bring her down, if it didn't work I would wake up from a c-section. We signed the papers, and went to the operating room/delivery room, and goodnight to me, I woke up and Paul was crying, and saying, "We have a girl first, a baby girl." I said, "What time is it?", and, "What do you mean FIRST?" ha, little did I know. And thankfully I had an experienced doctor who maneuvered that baby out without surgery.

Emily was a delightful baby. It took a week for me to get her to latch on properly and nurse, but after that, she thrived. Oh, she had a high fever at six weeks, and we took her to the E.R. I had to be shown to the waiting room because they were trying to take blood, and she was so small, I heard them say, "Try a vein in the neck...", and I was going DOWN. But she was okay, and got better. She fell off the changing table when she was seven months, and I thought she broke her collar bone, but she didn't. She was fine. She grew and grew, and learned to read and tell time by four years old. Paul told her she couldn't turn five, she had to stay four. Every year on her birthday, he would tell her, "You're still four." Well, she's still four all right, thirty four. I've loved all of my babies, but there is something about a first baby. I truly was the only one who understood her needs, and she was my life and reason for existence. I dressed her to the nines for even a trip to Kmart.

I spend too much time prancing down Memory Lane. The kids are outside playing in the snow. Charlotte Claire told me that Lake Superior is so big and deep, there's enough water for one foot deep all over North America AND South America. So we started googling the depth of other lakes, and there's one in Russa: over 5,000 feet deep! Seneca Lake, home of my favorite wineries, is 607 feet deep!

Anyway. The three visiting children have been here for seven nights now, and they're doing fine. The oldest boy is ten, and he informed me the other night that he needed poster board for THE NEXT DAY. He had a book report due. He said, "I like leaving things for the last minute." Well, he is definitely related to me, ha. Then he tells me that tomorrow morning, wintery tomorrow morning, at EIGHT A.M.!, he has a math competition. um. What?

Kids are coming back in, time for me to get moving. The snow is falling gently, and Jonathan is out there using the Sawz-all, cutting a shield from plywood...the boys newest thing is plastic sword fighting....

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

feeling quite accomplished...

When you're as lazy as the day is long, you do one little thing and you feel great.

Today, I did lots of little things, so I feel fantastic ha.

Besides sweeping the floors and washing up the dishes, and doing a few loads of laundry, I mean.

I did help five kids out the door to school. The two high-schoolers didn't need much help, but the three younger ones needed clean clothes on, hair done, and lunches packed.

Lydia got here around we had brekky with lots of kids...(7, after the two older ones left...Jon, Char, Cam, Lydia, Will, Sebastian, and Linnea).

Then, some school with the kids, and play dough with Lydia.

And, two loaves of bread made, now risen and in the oven baking. And, a pan of almond flour bread for me! It smells absolutely positively heavenly in here.

I don't know what's for dinner tonight, but there will be bread today.

This afternoon, Linnea has a ballet lesson, so my sister is going to bring her, my sister is Linnea's grandma.

Then I'll pick up Linnea and bring her to activity club with Camille, Will, and Sebastian.

Tomorrow, I have to go to the dentist in the afternoon because you KNOW there can never be a dull moment. Yesterday afternoon, after a nice trip to the library and to Target, we came home and had a nice healthy lunch...and when I bit into the first piece of chicken, a molar broke. Half of it, broke right off, right down to the gum. Ouch-y. I mean, exposed nerves and the whole bit. I can't even take a huffing breath without that cool air cringing that tooth. And coffee, oh the joy of my day, has to be sipped ever so carefully. I won't even tell the story of how I momentarily forgot this morning, and bit blissfully into a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter, my favorite breakfast...and OUCH. OOOPS. Dang. phew.

But tomorrow, I'll go into the dentist, and for real cheap, he'll fix it up, and it won't even hurt. And it'll be super quick, and I'll be out by myself, so I'll stop in the store for a few things, and mosey on home all slowly because it won't be windy and snowing out.

I'm going to fit in some exercise this afternoon, and figure out what to make for dinner, and write report cards up...

Monday, January 14, 2019

procrastinators anonymous

I am the chief queen head of P. A.

My new thing is that I want to get rid of stuff. That's not the fancy way to say it, even "decluttering" is passe', we're now "going minimalist", or "Marie Kondo-ing". Or even "Death Cleaning", because you do it yourself instead of others having to deal with your junk after you pass. (Now THAT's a scary thought!) I want to go through every single drawer, every bin, every cubby, and throw things away. I have always been a saver, because when someone needs something, I want to have it for them. And we all KNOW that as soon as you throw something away, you NEED it!

But. Realistically. No one wants or needs the christening bonnet, yellow and crunchy, that all of my siblings and I wore...or the first boy baby outfit we purchased after having two girls...with no sonograms or gender testing way back in the day, when Benjamin was born, yay, baby boy clothes! And the fact that Paul went and bought it...:)

See? I get sidetracked so easily. Every item has a story. Oh, I know! I can just take a pic of each sentimental item before deep-sixing it!

When you have grandkids, you need to have a playpen, a walker, a high chair, a stroller, a booster seat, and some bibs...a few spare sips cups and bottles, and some little spoons and forks, plates with the dividers, ect. So you can't just get rid of ALL of it.

So here's the thing: I am now officially thinking of cleaning things out. Hoeing out. But not today.

Today, we have plans! See, we have been very busy lately. We usually have our little girls here, and now we have three older children staying with us for 12 days. But today, we don't have Anne, and poor Mali is sick, so she has Lydia home with her, and the three children got on the bus and went to school (phew, I did it! Hair brushed, lunches packed, showered and folders in backpacks, phew!).

So today it's only the three homeschoolers and me. And we're going on an adventure! There is a place called Wonderworks, rope-climbing, laser tag, interactive museum, etc, with special homeschooling pricing....:)

When you live south of Lake Ontario in the winter, you have to plan around the weather. Even if it's 5F (-15c) degrees out, which it is, you're happy if it's not snowing, in fact it's a perfect day to go out and about.

It WOULD be a perfect day to start in on a few junk drawers, but ahhhh....we need an adventure.

I have a list of adventures coming up, besides today...

February: Mexico in less than three weeks, all inclusive, no plans to explore ruins or to leave the beach and pools...just relax.

February: Florida a few weeks after that. Last night we reserved a hotel a block from the ocean, just for one night, on the way to visit Grandma. We don't have many plans for our visit, maybe Busch Gardens, but lots of lying by the pool. I hope it's seriously hot and sunny. Get this: Paul and I and only four of the kids are going! One fourth of the kids! The older ones are all working, etc., and Jonathan doesn't want to come with four sisters, well, he does, but would RATHER stay with Margaret and Adrian and hang out with his friends on their week off from school.

March: Norway for long weekend, sisters' conference with Emily, Abigail, and Mirielle.

July: We rented a small cabin near Algonquin Mountain in the Adirondacks for a three day weekend.

July: Norway!!!! WE are going for ten or so days, not sure dates yet.

August: Three days reserved at a water site on our favorite lake in the Adirondacks, tenting! Several of the older ones in the family have also gotten sites, so it'll be really fun.

Of course all this traveling costs money, I save every bit of my babysitting money towards it, plus sell things on eBay and craigslist. (The Mexico trip is a gift from my dear sons:).), I am going with two of my girls.

Wow, in four days is Emily's birthday! I became a mommy 34 years ago...our 35 wedding anniversary is coming up in March. The days are long but the years are short, right?

From Saturday's adventure, Evelyn and me...then friend Amara, my daughter Margaret, me, friend Karen, and daughters Mirielle and Evelyn Joy, we went on a wine tour on Seneca Lake. Did you know that the Finger Lakes region has excellent wine? Evelyn was our driver, and we had too much fun. But not too much wine. Just enough.

Friday, January 11, 2019

brrrrrr!!!! it's January!!!!

I brought Lydia outside for a few minutes yesterday, it was so cold and windy. The snow was deeper than her boots are tall, and her snow pants a little short, so I knew we couldn't stay out too long. Back in the house and dry clothes on, so cozy!

She was back again bright and early this morning.

The snow has stopped, leaving us in frigid temperatures, 11F (-11c), with wind. brrrr.
But it IS pretty...

The kitties know where to sleep.

Lydia wants to put on her "morning clothes", she arrives in her jammies. Anne will be here soon, so the busyness of the day will start...and this afternoon, the twins and William arrive...:)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

oh winter, thank you!

The snow is coming down, the world is silent, the school is closed. Anne is not here today because her mama is a teacher. Lydia IS here, good thing she spent the night! Charlotte Claire and Camille are putting cinnamon buns in the oven and making orange juice. We don't buy o.j. on a regular basis anymore, as it's not as healthy as I once thought, but the kids love it for a treat. And today is a special day! A snow day!!!

Once I woke up, I couldn't go back to sleep, but it was really nice to be able to lie in my warm bed for a bit, since I didn't have to get up for Lydia's usual seven a.m. arrival, she was sleeping snugly in Char and Cam's room. I washed all of our bedding yesterday, and it's especially comfy when your bedding is all fresh and springy smelling (laundry beads, summers!) .

Char got up early too, so we snuggled in my chair and looked at houses for sale in the area. Right over on the Seneca river, a nice one. Only four bedrooms though, Char mentioned. Well, we almost fit in that now. We are going in the other direction now, our family who used to have 18 under one roof. They move out, they get married, and leave the big messy nest. Kathryn has gone out to Oregon, she'll come home for a few weeks before she gets married maybe, but for all intents and purposes...her room is EMPTY. Evelyn still lives here, but spends the week day nights up at Margaret and Adrian's because she works in that city. So when she's gone, it's Paul and me, then Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Char, and Cam. And of course Lydia most of the time, and sometimes Anne. And for 12 days starting Friday, Will and Sebastian and Linnea. And on Sunday afternoons, we're bursting at the seams:)

Anyway. Today the high school girls have a snow day, so there's a festive atmosphere.

Yesterday, I made two apple pies. Two incredible apple pies.

I let Char and Cam each "fix" the top of one, the edges and cutting the steam vents, and adding half and half and sprinkling with sugar, I also sprinkled a bit of cinnamon and sugar on top of that. These pies were made because we accidentally left a seven dollar bag of apples in the minivan overnight, and I was afraid they would go to mush after they thawed. So I saved them, gave them a purpose, ha. Empire apples, yummy to eat, not the best for pies, but I added some lemon juice, oops too much, the pie is almost tangy, but shh, I love tangy...with the sweetness of the flaky all butter crust...oh dear. I did have some last night. Yes I did.

We had meatballs for dinner...they turned out yummy too. The kids had pasta, Sonja and I had spaghetti squash. If you haven't tried spaghetti squash, buy one! You just slice it in half, scoop out the guts, put the halves on a plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and microwave for five minutes...then I turn them, recover, microwave for four minutes or so...then just scoop out that delicious stringy goodness, and eat with the sauce and meatballs, or just with butter and salt and pepper...

The snow is just falling like we're in a snow globe. The thick lake effect flakes are adding up...Jonathan is snowplowing the driveway, and it's sloooow going! So. Much. Snow.'s a cozy day!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

one misty moist-y morning, when cloudy was the weather....

Yesterday we had a coating of ice all over the roads, the cars, the was delayed for two hours. In the city, three snow plows went off the road. But the air warmed, the ice melted, and we had a nice dark cloudy day. I went out in the afternoon with Suzanne, leaving Sonja here to babysit because it was the best option...going to the grocery store with the small children would be fun, but the two year old in Aldi last, no.

So before the snow, we went out to the small city...we picked up Emily's clarinet. She had it re-corked and fixed up, because Camille is learning to play it. Then the grocery store, to stock up on apples and bananas, chicken and burger, milk and bread, a big bag of kitty chow, eggs and pepperoni, and peanut butter and coffee.

Today the snow rolls in, and oh dear is it gloomy out right now. Dark and cozy. I rather love it.

Lydia is here, and Anne will be coming soon. They still have a huge fort set up in the corner, we play with play dough and color, and get out dollhouse stuff. They do keep busy. Yesterday there were a few tantrums, and I wondered at my lot in life, but no one ever said life was supposed to be easy.

Being older and dealing with young children is different. I have the privilege of not just KNOWING how fleeting the days are, I have actually experienced it. My three older children are 34, 32, 30...the years passed like a vapor, and sometimes I still see them when they were toddlers, or remember when one was sick, so sick and so needy, And I wish I could go back I in time and spend more time with that little one. I have memories of them as their newborn selves, and flashes of Emily singing, "Skinamarink-a-dink-a-dink-, skin-a-merink-a-doo...", and of Abigail losing a tooth...

Anyway, as a grandma, and as a babysitter for little ones, I KNOW how precious the moments are, and I'm not so likely to wish the days away. I'm quicker to drop the broom for a cuddle, and I know story time is a better choice than reading my own book.

I can't control much in this world, but in my little corner here, I can give up my own will and wants, and bless and comfort. I don't have a degree, and I am no fashion model, and don't look in my laundry room, but my life has worth when I am faithful in the little things.