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

Sunday, August 2, 2015

sunday night musings...

Oh happy day, it was nice out today.

The little girls had breakfast on the deck....

If we go out on to the deck, the doggies go out there too. They follow us in and out, all day long.

Out in the front yard...

Abigail...she is leaving Tuesday morning with Margaret...they are driving to Washington D.C. to see Samuel, and say goodbye to him, as they are both going to Norway for a year. Not Sam, Abigail and Marge.

These nice four sisters visited Samuel this weekend, for his birthday. Happy 20th to my dear son Samuel...this is him with Mirielle 24, Evelyn 15, Suzanne 14, and Kathryn 16. They just got home from visiting him in Washington D.C./Virginia.

Mali came over today to visit. She is due in three weeks, and boy is she feeling it! She still works, as a registered nurse, and she works 12 hour shifts. She works hard, too.

Tomorrow morning, I am getting up early, taking the van to the shop, again, because it is leaking something, hopefully it's just power steering fluid and it's just an inexpensive leaky hose or a gasket that needs replacing. Then I am picking Abigail up and taking her, along with Jonathan and Margaret, out and about to run errands before she leaves. It's not like I HAVE to go, I just want to spend time with these daughters of mine before they up and leave for a year.

Jon is going because he just happens to be best friends with both of these sisters, who are 28 and 18.

Ah well. We had a nice dinner tonight, Paul grilled the chicken. I made the veggies and sweet potatoes and a pan of brownies for dessert, then we ate on the deck.

The princesses and Sonja got haircuts. Mali helped me...:)

Time to talk to girls about stuff...

Saturday, August 1, 2015

summer evening.....

Suri and I...Paul and I found ourselves home alone this afternoon, and he suggested we drive down to the canal and take a walk. Suri got to come along too, she took a swim when Paul threw a stick in for her to fetch. She had lots of fun off the leash, because there were no other people there. Duke can't walk very far these days, so he had to stay home, poor guy.

Paul walked her for a bit on the leash when we got closer to civilization.

Our little alone time didn't last long, Sonja called to be picked up, and please could she have two friends sleep over? Home we went, then I went to fetch Sonja and her friends.

Emily and Margaret took Camille and Charlotte "waterfalling" today, and Jonathan went with some of his friends. Some of the girls are in Washington D.C. to visit Sam, and Abigail spend most of the day here with me. Paul was gardening and puttering around. Ab and I were lazy...sat in the sun, went in the pool...she is leaving on Tuesday for her year in Norway, so she wants to soak in the sun while she can.

There are eight kids here now, although admittedly not all of them are actually kids, Joseph is 24 and Margaret is 18. Camille asked me to roast her a marshmallow on the stove, since there are too many mosquitoes to make a campfire enjoyable. Hmm. Em already took her for ice cream on the way home from their adventure....

I love my husband. This isn't meant to be husband-bashing. It's meant to explain my interpretation of how things could go wrong in a marriage. I noticed recently that I was letting myself think critical thoughts about him. Oh, they weren't totally groundless, he's not Mr. Perfect. He actually did some really awful things, like driving with his window down when the bugs were out, one flew right into my mouth and when I complained about it, he didn't roll the window up, he just said, "Huh." He got up and walked away when he was explaining how gut bacteria help maintain something or other because I was scrolling through the email on my phone, but I WAS listening to him. I was just trying to find something. He spilled coffee all over the floor this morning, plus on the garbage can, and when I pointed it out, he cleaned it up like a two-year old. Willingly, but...

Remember, the point here isn't for me to complain about Paul. It's this: I realized that when silly things like this were happening, I was getting more than tempted to be huffy. I was really letting myself get upset with him. I was rolling things around in my head, things that hurt my feelings, things that made me feel slighted. I was thinking about these things and letting myself grow cold. Thanks be to God that I woke up! I don't want to grow bitter because of stupid things. Honestly, sometimes the things don't seem so stupid at the time. I find myself wanting to revisit a conversation we had, to clarify something or point out that I was in fact right, or whatever. Let it go! Forgive and forget. I do love him, he's cute and funny and sweet and smart and I still find him very attractive:)

Yeah, he drives me crazy sometimes, but I am not going to let those little irritations get to me and take root, no bitterness from me, not happening. I do believe that when a person gives room to those thoughts, the devil has a field day! Love grows cold. Arguing and fighting and bickering and on and on, until what once was love turns to hate.

Ah well, there is much silliness going on bye for now!

Friday, July 31, 2015

getting all sentimental....

Today is a brilliantly beautiful summer day, and all is right in the world. I woke up early, then remembered that I didn't need to get up right I decided to get dressed, then..shh, get back in bed with my book. As I was dressing, I heard voices, and remembered: Mirielle (24) was picking Kathryn (17) and Evelyn (15) and Suzanne (14) up to take them to Washington D.C. to visit Samuel for his birthday! Samuel is turning 20.:)

So I hurried out to talk to them before they left, and make sure they had plenty of good snacks for the drive. I told them to give Sam a hug from me, and tell him I love him. When they drove away without me, wah. I want to go see Sam.

I walked outside barefoot in the cool wet grass to turn on the pool filter. Then a quick stop by the front garden, and yes! Tomatoes! I picked five gorgeous one, wading through the soft dirt. I took a minute to look around...we aren't landscape-y people, and we live out here in the country...the lawn is mowed, but that's about it. There are trees on all sides of us, and the birds are singing, the breeze blowing, the sky blue...I just want to bottle it up and save it for those frozen tundra days of winter. I can't do that, so I just stood there and breathed it in. I wished I had my camera handy, but even pictures can't capture a fresh summer morning.

The house is quiet. Jonathan, Char, and Cam are all at Emily/Abigail/Mirielle's house. Sonja is here but still snoozing. The dogs have been out and fed, and are napping.

My mother passed away 9 years ago this week. Her body couldn't withstand kidney dialysis anymore, she had been there sitting in that chair having her blood cleaned with a machine, three times a week, for nine years. Her heart was misbehaving, her feet weren't getting enough blood/oxygen, she was in pain, and was not relishing the thought of either having a stroke, or dying in the dialysis chair. So...she quit. Stopped dialysis. It was a long time coming, it was inevitable. Her heart just couldn't take it anymore.

She had said so many times through the years that it was too much, and she felt so wiped out when she got home...but when she actually signed herself into the hospice room at the hospital, we knew that it was real, she was really going to die. Kidney dialysis patients can't survive without it, and she was just done. A person has a right to refuse treatment, she said, and she was done. And, she was happy. Seriously. She sat there on the side of the bed in that hospice room, swinging her legs, smiling at me, and said, "This is my death bed. Isn't that weird?" um, Mom, don't do this. My father was battling leukemia at the time, and was furious that she was "giving up". He kept calling me and telling me to talk her out of it. That she needed to keep going, she had lots of life left. She didn't. She had come so close to dying so many times, and had been rushed to the hospital by ambulance from that chair...

So there she was, all happy to be done with it all and to be going home to Jesus. I kid you not, she was happy. All the grandchildren came to visit, her room was like a three ring circus with all the kids' drawings taped to the walls, and the babies and siblings in there all day. She LOVED it.

She missed her dialyis that Friday for the first time. She checked into hospice on a Saturday. Monday morning came, and she stayed there, no dialysis. The doctor told us she would fall into a deep coma, and last a few weeks. Well, not MY mother. She stayed awake and alert, didn't want to miss anything!

On Thursday night, my sister Cheryl and I, and our youngest brother Casey, were with her...she tried to get out of bed to go to Jesus. We are not a mushy family, but we told her how much we loved her, and we were crying our eyes out. She wanted to go to Jesus, but we told her she didn't need to get up, He was going to come and get her as soon as He was ready for her. She was very happy about that. We shouldn't have left that night, but when it got really late, we did. My older brother stayed with her, and didn't mean to doze off, but as soon as he did, Jesus came for her.

No, she didn't want to miss anything, so she waited until all was quiet.

I have often wondered if she realized it would be so permanent, her death. Life just goes on without her, but I miss her like crazy. She enjoyed life so thoroughly! Everything was an adventure with her. After she passed, I found that I had no patience for people who #itched about everything. They are alive, after all. I wondered why she had life cut so short, dying at 69. She who loved life.

I would seriously give a million dollars to be able to go pick her up and take her shopping, like I used to. I wouldn't even get irritated with her if she chatted endlessly while I tried to sort my coupons, or if she said to the kids, "Grandma doesn't like when you act like that!"

Life is short. Enjoy the day.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

and the fun goes on....

Ah, summertime...I actually drove to town the other my bathing suit. I mean, I am the one who brushes teeth and changes into bye-bye clothes just to go to Redbox. Granted my bathing suit is no bikini...but still.

And I didn't get out of the car, I was just helping Paul drop the truck off at the garage in town for an inspection.

Yesterday, I watched two of my brother's grandchildren for half the day. Miss E., the two year old, is entranced with this light saber. Her five year old brother had lots of fun with my niece's little boy, William, who is six, and was spending the night at our house.

As my brother was picking up E. and L., my five-girls-in-a-row pulled in the driveway from their going away breakfast party for their friend Nellie who is going to Norway for a year...they also shopped at the big mall in the big city for a bit, without me, thus without much money:). They brought with them two extra girls, Irene and Grace. Then Aaron came over with his dog Lilly, who stayed with us for five days while Aaron was in San Diego. Lilly has been depressed at home, apparently. She was pretty happy to be back here, running around with Duke and Suri.

Then Abigail came over...she's leaving, with Margaret, next week...for a year long visit to Norway.

I am extremely thankful for our was SO hot out yesterday.

My favorite thing: grill dinner, then hop in the pool to cool off before eating. Last night I microwaved some potatoes and sweet potatoes, then some green beans, then went out and grilled steak and some hot my bathing suit. Ah, summertime.

Evelyn is going with me to take Duke to the vet this fine morning.

We have kept his Cone of Shame, as Joseph calls it, on 24/7. It seems mean and cruel, but his ear has been so sliced and diced and patched up, if he got at those itchy stitches, it would be a mess. Also, he had a tumor removed from his foot, with the cone he can't get at those stitches either.

Today, the stitches come out, and hopefully his cone will be done with too. I have to hold the bowl for him to eat his kibbles, and he looks so pathetic. He still has a hard time getting around in that thing, but has adapted a bit. He is used to it, I think.

This afternoon, I am working at the baseball stadium, $2 beer night = busy! And last time, I made six dollars in tips. Six dollars. My register took in over a thousand dollars, mostly in beer sales. That a LOT of beer pouring. And I got six dollars. These college kids are cheapskates:) I usually share with the kitchen crew, and the runners, then give some to Jonathan for our trip fund, maybe get a coffee on the way home...but six bucks. harumph.

And now that I have used up most of my time sitting here, I have to go get ready in a hurry so I am not late for the vet appointment....

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

so many cuddles....

Miss Cammy is my cuddler. She holds my hand in parking lots, and doesn't miss a chance to climb into my lap, big girl that she is at seven years old.

Today is a sunshiny day. Aaron is coming soon to pick up his dog, then I am packing up the three youngest kids, and cousin Dani (yes, she spent another night, and yes, they did go to sleep earlier). Dani and Char are not being nice to Camille, according to Camille. They hurt her feelings. So she is hanging with me for a bit. I know a bit about three girls trying to get along. It isn't always easy, and Cam is...well, she is the baby of the family.

Anyhoo. It's a warm and sunny day, and I never finished my sentence...I am taking the kids to our friends' house to swim in their nice pool.

And tomorrow, I am watching Miss Em and Mr. Liam, a few of my brother's grandchildren. More cuddles from the two year old:)

And well, life is too busy to sit here any longer, I have things to do and places to go and kids to talk to, not necessarily in that order...

Monday, July 27, 2015

sweet sweet summertime....

I love summer. Simply love it.

Cam at our friend's pool the other day. We are invited there again tomorrow:)

And tomorrow it will be almost 90F (32.2c), and sunny. Today: 87 and sunny.

The three little girls, my two youngest and cousin Dani, just went outside in their jammies to play on the swingset. They have been up for hours, just as I predicted, but they aren't fussy or grumpy, quite the opposite. They had their breakfast, and have been playing store with the adding machine and the toy shopping carts.

I realized this morning that these days of little chattering girls are not infinite. Cousin Dani is turning 10 next month, Char is nine, and Camille will turn 8 in November. In a few short years, they will be sulky teenagers:) No, they will still be fun. But they will inevitably lose their joy at the simpler things in life, and will scoff at things that now delight them. The word, "boring" will become part of their vocabulary, and they will learn to roll their eyes at their mama. Going bye-bye won't get them all excited, they will solemnly ask where we are going, then decide if it sounds fun or not. They will moan about early mornings, and spending the entire day going in and out of the pool will lose it's allure.

I am not one of those parents who can't wait 'til their kids grow up.

These dogs of mine...Lily slept through the night last night, she has adapted well. But she did leave me a present in the hallway. She's chasing her tail right now. She likes chewing up plastic water bottles, at least it's not shoes. Mirielle came over last night, and could only find one sandal when it was time to go. Whenever someone comes over who doesn't live here, Lil repeatedly picks up one of their shoes and carries it around. I found Mirielle's sandal this morning on a living room chair. At least it wasn't all chewed up.

We do have flea problems, and Aaron's not going to be too happy about it. These dogs have been treated with the best flea treatment available, from the vet, and the cats have been treated too. I vacuum and sweep, and still they have fleas. I think it's because they go outside. Life certainly ain't all sunshine and rainbows, and sometimes I get sick of the work of taking care of pets....shoveling up prizes in the yard, and the kitty litter box, and the dog hair on the floor, washing the couch covers even though they aren't allowed on the couches with the's a good thing they're cute.

I do have grown up things to do today, like banking and mailing things. I don't like grown up things. I just want to play.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

late night not-so-quietness....

Here I am again, wondering why I thought it was such a grand idea to let them have a sleepover, my two youngest children. My two princesses. My #15 and #16 children. We'll go to bed nicely, they said. It's almost midnight, and I'm tired! I don't really want to go to bed, fall to sleep, then have to get up and shush them again. They just took a trip to the bathroom, the kind that only three at a time can make, apparently.

Lilly is sleeping ON my feet...Aaron's dog, the dog who has been here since Thursday...wreaking havoc...not really. She's not too bad, she is actually sweet and nice, just bouncy and energetic and happy...

She woke me up twice on Thursday night, the first time I trekked outside with all three dogs at 4 a.m. When she woke me on Friday night, I just told her to LIE DOWN, and BE QUIET. She did. When she woke me this morning at 5:30, I did the same. She did. But I was WIDE awake. blah. I hope tonight's better.

Today, we went to the beach. It was foggy, then sunny and brilliantly warm and lovely. The water, Lake Ontario, was cool and refreshing and clear and clean.

The sand was warm on top, then nice and cool underneath...nice for feet to dig into while sitting in the sun talking with friends.

I didn't take a single picture. I just left my phone right in my bag on the table in the shade, and took an electronics break. I knew I would kick myself for not getting pictures, but I decided to just enjoy the beach.

This is going to be an interesting school year. My two oldest homeschoolers are going back to real school. I will still have the three youngest here, plus for lots of the days Davian will be here, which we thoroughly enjoy. My daughter Mali is having her baby next month, and when she goes back to work I will watch her sometimes, when her daddy can't. With the older two not here, I won't be able to go anywhere unless I take all the kids with me, just like the old days. I am planning to stay home a whole lot more. :)

I am planning next years' curriculum...we need a bit more structure, says me who doesn't like structure. It's a necessary evil, I think, so we can accomplish more than we did this year.

The girls seem to have settled down. I just hate when they stay up so late then inevitably wake up with the birds in the morning and are tired...then of course they will start in again, asking if she can spend one more night. Tonight, they will tell me, we will go to bed so nicely! And ha, I will believe them.

Ah well. Life is good. The dogs are all settled down for the night, and so shall is going to be a scorching hot week...I have very few plans, and am thankful for the swimming pool!