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

Saturday, July 4, 2015

happy fourth of july!!!


Memories of our time together at the camp contrast with this weekend's reality...Paul and I actually found ourselves off on our own this afternoon! We went to one of the Finger lakes and walked along the shore...it was lovely.

The kids were here and there and everywhere...four of the girls on a hike, two of the kids in Ohio, Ben and Sam back in their Washingtons, Em at the catering event, two of the girls working at the baseball game, the three youngest at their friends house for the day...Mali texted and wanted to know if anything was going on today...and no one was home!

Five daughters are home now, plus Sonja's friend. Jonathan is spending the night at Emily and Abigail and Mirielle's house.

The catering event went well. I managed to deliver two hundred cupcakes without smushing any. They looked pretty nice all spread out on the table, and I know they taste good because I baked them from scratch and used the best ingredients.

I am going out in the driveway to watch fireworks with Camille...

Friday, July 3, 2015

friday night...what a day!

Yesterday, I baked over 200 cupcakes, then frosted them today. I made over a hundred chocolate chip cookies this morning. I grilled burgers for dinner. I swept, mopped, washed a few loads of bedding, and washed lots of dishes.

But the best part was this: Ashley and Anya came over! Little Anya is getting more comfortable here, she is a little sunshine! It's so nice to just have them here...

After dinner tonight, I hopped in the pool with Char and Cam for a quick cool off..., ha. More like climbed the ladder carefully...anyway, after our swim we went out for ice cream ... Abigail, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille...I didn't have ice cream, I stopped and got a coffee with sugar free raspberry in it. The soft vanilla and chocolate twist looked yum. I decided that next Friday, my fiftieth birthday, I am going to have an ice cream cone. It will be the first ice cream I have had in over ten weeks. I don't guess it will kill me. And if it does, I will die happy:)

We went to visit Grandma after the stop at the ice cream place...

Tomorrow, Evelyn, Suzanne, and Sonja are going on a hike with Abigail and some other girls from church. Jonathan is going over to one of his friend's house, and that leaves Paul and I, and the two princesses. I have to deliver my cookies and cupcakes to the event that is being catered around noon...then I have the day free. What shall we do with just two kids?

The house is quiet now, the girls all doing their own thing and Paul watching, "The Simpson's" with Jonathan. I am tired enough, after all that baking and washing up and and and...



Thursday, July 2, 2015

the little details of life....

1. Today was Cupcake Day. Evelyn helped me bake 52 chocolate, 70-ish lemon, and about 60 vanilla, from scratch. We grated lemon peel, and separated eggs, mixed and washed the bowls and baked...it took five hours.

2. Tomorrow is Frost-The-Cupcakes Day. And, Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. It's all for a fourth of July barbecue that Emily's company is catering, for a church fundraiser.

3. Margaret took Suzanne, Sonja, Irene (Sonja's friend), Jonathan, Char, and Cam to the park at one of the Finger Lakes...they played chess and cards and played on the playground.

4. Kathryn and Joseph left this morning for a weekend trip to Ohio for a soccer tournament.

5. Duke, oh poor Duke. He is going to the vet next week to re-check his ear. It doesn't look good, and we have to decide what to do. :(

6. Ashley, Ben's wife, is still in town...she came to visit the other day with little Anya...and is coming again tomorrow.

7. The weather today is absolutely glorious. Sunshine and a slight breeze, low humidity...just perfect, but horrible weather for baking cupcakes! I just wanted to go outside today!

8. Tomorrow is supposed to be more of the same weather, so I need to get those cupcakes frosted early on.

9. It is quiet-ish here, just the hum of two push-mowers, as Paul and Jonathan tackle the lawn. We were gone on vacation, then got all that rain...

10. It's that time again, time to mosey on out to the kitchen and decide what's for dinner. With Joe and Kap gone, there are only nine of us for dinner. It's a far cry from just a few years ago...oh yeah, Margaret's going out with some friends tonight, so only eight!

11. Paul brought flowers for me today. He has tomorrow off, and came home a little early today...early enough for us to drive to town together and pick up the truck from the repair shop. This has been repair year for us, with our three clunkers.

12. The lawn mowers are quiet now, perhaps I'll jump up and pretend I'm busy:) ha.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

babies and kids and shopping...


Shopping at the big mall in the big city with this girl...Sonja K. She's a sunshine, always game for a selfie with Mom.


with Suzanne and the princesses, and Sonja K.


Cam and Char...


Sonja with Camille.


Char, Sonja K., and Kathryn at Mali's apartment.


Miss Mali...she's due in 8 weeks. I went with her to her sonogram today. I found myself holding my breath as the technician ran the wand over her belly. The volume was turned down, and when I didn't hear the heartbeat right away, I was...nervous. Then she turned it up, it thump-thumped, and I could see that baby girl moving around on the screen. She has chubby cheeks and lots of hair. I was pretty much almost crying with joy, it's quite a feeling to be in love with a grandchild who isn't even born yet.

And we went to the mall...oh, the dreaded mall. I was outvoted, I suggested we go to the "far away Target", but these daughters of mine are no longer little kids who think a far away Target is somehow more magical, they wanted to go to the mall. So, I took them. I suppose I must have let it show how much I wasn't loving it, one of the girls said we didn't have to do this if I didn't want to...so I decided that I had better change my attitude. After all, we know that it isn't doing what one likes that makes one happy, it's liking what one does. Life is short and all that, so I decided to enjoy my girls and just be happy.

I let the little girls get new bathing suits for $8 in Old Navy. I couldn't have made them happier. The other girls got a few nice things, then we headed to the food court, because of course, they were STARVING. I didn't remind them that they don't know what starving actually is.

I abstained from foodcourt food except for three pieces of sesame chicken, taken from three different children's plates. I opted for a blonde roast coffee from Starbucks instead, remembering that I had had a good breakfast, and then a few cashews. (I ate some sweet sausage and a nice big salad when we got home)

The little girls are being silly, and need attention...










Monday, June 29, 2015

happy monday, better family picture...and our summer bucket list



So here we are, all home from vacation...reality is hitting me. Responsibilities...blah. I have end-of-the-year reports and testing grades due, and in just a few short weeks, my intent-to-homeschool notices will be due for next year. Duke's ear isn't looking good, and we just aren't comfy with having his ear removed...he's ten years old. He's limpy and lumpy and it breaks my heart, but having such a surgery on an old dog just doesn't make sense. But trying saying that out loud at the vet's office without feeling like a total cheapskate dog hater. I told Paul I want him to come with me to Duke's next appointment, so we can make a decision together. I mean, I don't want to make a decision based on what the vet thinks of me...or what I perceive the vet thinks.

Then there are the cupcakes. Always the cupcakes. My daughter Emily bought a catering company, to do fundraising for our church. It has always been one of her dreams, but she is a full-time registered nurse on a busy floor in a hospital in the city, plus she is a college student, taking classes on her way to be a nurse practitioner, and has also been teaching a class of nursing students...so. This new business is taking off at the same time, and wow.

Anyhoo. This weekend, on July 4th, we are catering a family barbecue. I am making the cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies. Sounds easy. Well. The lemon ones alone take hours. I am sort of excited about it, but there is always the worry that they will flop or tip over in the car or burn or or or. Wake me up when it's over.

Paul is leaving for a work trip to I think Massachusetts on Sunday.

So...we do sort of have a bucket list for the summer....

1. Get the pool clear again. We came home from vacation to a green pool. wah.

2. Beach! Lots of times!

3. Go to the amusement park in the Adirondacks! I have five free tickets for homeschooling, and do not want them to go to waste. I just have to figure out who is going, and if we'll camp up there, or get a hotel room for the night, if Paul can go (I want to go during the week when the lines are shorter).

4. Take the kids to the park to ride bikes and scooters.

5. Sell stuff on ebay and make extra money for...
a. Evelyn and Kathryn's trip to Norway with Mirielle in August.
b. Jon, Char, Cam, and my trip to Washington state in September.
c. Our trip to the amusement park.

6. Make lesson plans for next school year.

7. Take walks!

8. Pick blueberries, freeze some.

9. Library. Library. Library.

And that's all I can think of right now...we are going to the library this fine rainy Monday morning...there are stacks of books to return. And, we are almost out of dogfood and coconut oil, so a stop at BJ's is in the picture.

I have a mammogram next week, blah, but family history and all that...I am also bummed about my lack of weight loss during vacation...it isn't fair. I did not have a single piece of candy, nor a chip, nor a can of beer. No marshmallows...have you ever sat around a fire and not had a roasted marshmallow? I did. No marshmallows. All toasted and ooohy-gooy...not a taste. I behaved myself, but I guess I had a few too many nuts, or cherries, or maybe just didn't exercise as much as I thought I did. I gained four pounds, while Joseph, who had everything he wanted, lost four pounds. I seriously thought I would come home, step on the scale, and voila! Pay off for all the denying myself! But no! Oh well. I think I'm broken.

Ah well, off to the library.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

and, we're home...!


All sixteen kids, and Ben's wife Ashley with our little granddaughter Anya. When the kids were little and I set the table night after night for SO many...it didn't seem possible that some day it would be so absolutely glorious to just have everyone all together for a few days. We celebrated my 50th birthday, even though I am still 49 for a few weeks. Mali made me a watermelon cake...huge round slices of watermelon with whipped cream, berries, and topped with chopped walnuts. Marge bought me a coffee mug, Abigail got me a scrub brush that holds dish detergent in the handle, AND lots of new forks! And the best thing...they promised to get the hot tub fixed for me.

The very best thing was having them all there though.

No one leaving in the evenings for meetings, and long leisurely days spent tanning on the dock, and jumping in the clear cold water to cool off. They canoed and kayaked and row-boated. We went on a hike through the woods to find a waterfalls. We had coffee on the screen porch in the mornings...I slept like a log, and woke up early...brewed the coffee, and visited with whoever else was up, usually Mirielle. Mirielle made some fabulous breakfasts, since she was up so early the days she was there...


Miss Emily...all relaxed.



The birthday cake...there were two of them. yum.


Evelyn Joy in the kitchen at the cabin...


Suzanne caught a fish!


Lucky Cam lost a tooth, and it turns out there are lots of tooth fairies in the Adirondacks, aka older siblings.


One of my favorite things about this vacation was seeing Paul relax and enjoy himself so much!


Sweet little Anya, our granddaughter.


Abigail, Jon, and Miss Char...she had a huge ball of mud from our hike..she called it elephant poop.


Sam and Suze...relaxing.


Joseph...sketching.



Happy me!


Only a few more weeks 'til 50! I used to think fifty was OLD. Now I know different.


Kap and Ev and Sonja K. and Char and Suze and Cam and Ab...


And with me...the last night at the camp...only seven daughters left with Paul and me.

We had too much fun. Then the boys had to go back to their Washingtons...Ben flew out west yesterday morning...when I said goodbye to him from the cabin the other night, my eyes filled with tears that wouldn't stop overflowing...Sam was sitting next to me on the couch...he put his arm around me and patted my arm. Because he was feeling it too. He hadn't been with Benjamin in two years. And the days flew by too quickly...goodbyes aren't fun.

Then this fine morning while it was dark and rainy, at four o'clock, I left with Samuel to go to his Washington....D.C. wah.

All in all...best vacation ever.
















Saturday, June 20, 2015

my happy place....


Grilling burgers on the deck...I realized last evening that I absolutely love our deck. It's old and splintery, and our patio furniture consists of those plastic chairs, one glass topped table, and a nice lounge chair from the second hand store, which we play musical chairs with. But we have a grill that works, and we get the sunshine out there all day...shade in the afternoon and evening. We have a fire pit out there too. Summertime is just plain sweet...

And:!!!
My very own granddaughter in my very own minivan! She was exhausted from her overnight travels from Washington state, although her mama and daddy said she was a good little traveler. She was headed to her other grandparents' house to catch up on some sleep. We won't see them until Monday...


And:!! Samuel James is home, on leave from the Army! Bad mom award, I fell asleep before he got home, fully intending on coming out to say hello..oops. So I took this nice pic of his backpack..

He's up and the day is starting...bye for now.