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

Monday, January 15, 2018

still here....

It has been such a good weekend, I haven't had time to blog!

From Friday with 60 degrees and pouring rain, to Friday night with temperatures plummeting to zero and a foot of new snow by Saturday morning...I didn't leave the house Saturday except to pick up pizza and chicken wings in the evening, in the Town of Frozen, it was just a few degrees out and the snow was just packed on the roads. Sunday was cold cold cold, so we stayed home. Today: out and about, ah it was nice to get out, and it seemed so warm, at 21 degrees and sunny.

Friday we were out and about too, in the warm rain. Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, Camille and I went to the library, then Target, Walmart for a haircut for Jonathan, and here's a sad story about that: New York state has passed a new minimum wage law, so the Sam's Clubs stores around here are all closing, and this Walmart has announced it's closing the hair salon part. It's so handy to go there, and it's only $12.95 for a haircut for Jon, and those girls (and Brian!) do such a good job. Anyway, it's closing at the end of the month.

Anyway, we went out again today, first to the thrift store...I found a really pretty white bowl, a nice glass pitcher. Then to Bed, Bath, and Beyond where we got two little sleds for the kids, they are heading out the door to go sledding in the back right now. We also got a stand for an UppaBaby bassinet that we got there previously for $17.99, the stand was $26. I am thinking of putting it on Ebay.

We went to Marshall's, where I got some grandbaby clothes, and a few things for the girls, from the clearance rack of course.

Then to the craft store because Suzanne needed more yarn.

Then to BJ's for some chicken, peppers, kale, and snacks for lunches.

A few of us got coffees from the Simple Roast, a local place which roasts their own beans, yummers, then the kids got a few things from the afternoon menu at Arby's.

Now I am heading in to the kitchen to make chicken fajitas, Abigail is coming over for dinner.

Paul is in India, which means I stay up way too late. Margaret and Adrian and Mirielle came over yesterday, so we solved the world's problems until late late late. I made a triple batch of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies with milk chocolate chips, regular chocolate chips, and butterscotch chips, and dang it, I ate cookies yesterday. gets in my system, and all bets are off. So today, I am behaving. :)

There is fresh roasted olive oil kale, courtesy of Suzanne, which smells so yummy. mmm.

Tomorrow, I am watching Lydia as well as Anne.

Anyway...bye for now!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

staying on the straight and narrow...

I've had a couple of days of mostly healthy eating, and it feels nice. The less sugar I eat, the less I crave. Last evening I did eat one super yummy thing: a Lindt truffle, coconut cream with milk chocolate. I could easily eat the entire bag, I am not one of those people who feel sick eating too much chocolate, or perhaps I just don't care if I feel sick, I just like chocolate.

Anyway. It's nice to just eat one, and be happy, which I am saying, but have never experienced, ha, but I ate only one anyway and mentally slapped my hand.

I stayed home yesterday, and it was nice. I decided to paint the trim on the kitchen window behind the sink, but after sanding it and wiping it down, I decided not to. Because, Anne woke up from her nap, :) Staying home all day was nice though. My granddaughters Anya and baby Elise came to visit with mama Ashley, then Ben came too, after work. I made meatballs and sauce, some pasta, and heated up some canned green beans, because that's what I eat my sauce and meatballs with.

This fine morning, Lydia came over in her jammies. She wasn't a happy camper at first, but then she got over it, and settled in, and got excited about our outing. We went to a place in the mall where the kids can run and play, down slides and through tunnels, ride little bikes and throw foam balls. Anne liked it there too.

Sean and Danielle, on the left side and on the right side, then Jon, Cam, Char with Lydia, and Anne in the stroller. Kim, the mama of Sean and Dani, my sister-in-law, had the tickets to this fun place, and shared with us, so nicely. It was a good day, and the older kids were so kind to the little ones, and took turns playing with them for hours, while Kim and I kept an eye on things and caught up.:)

I like proofreading posts and seeing lots of the little smiley face things:).

Anyway. Bad weather is coming again! Tomorrow, rain turning to snow...from 58 degrees in the morning to 12 in the evening, then more snow. Paul is leaving Saturday for India, I am watching a few of my sister's grandchildren, my niece Susan's two boys, and bringing Paul to the airport. The older kids are going here there and everywhere, a few to Ohio....Emily will be back from visiting Aaron and Riley in California, but will be working.

Anyway. This is a disjointed post, started early this morning, stopped abruptly when Lydia arrived here, and started again before Jeopardy! started, then again a few minutes ago. We had a slapdash dinner tonight of all the chicken from the freezer, a five pound bag of Buffalo wings, the rest of a bag of barbecue chunks, some breaded chicken fillets, and a chicken patty. I also made a salad of fresh spinach, red and yellow peppers, craisins, croutons, and green olives on the side.

Maybe tomorrow I'll stay home and make a nice dinner...

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

31 degrees and sunny?!!

We'll take it! Just a tad under 0 c, it's all good, feels like spring.

Camille, me, Charlotte Claire, all comfy in my chair, doing our research on one of the very best things one can research, besides maybe getting a new puppy or baby names, anyway, we were looking up: theme parks in Florida. Yes, we are hoping to go to either Universal, or Magic Kingdom again, or maybe Busch Gardens again. Universal is winning, we're just not sure about the long lines, as we're going on a regularly scheduled winter break instead of going a week early, ha. Honestly though, the girls are THRILLED and are talking non-stop about this upcoming trip. They aren't thinking of the looong tiring drive, the traffic, the possibility of bad roads and stormy weather through the Pennsylvania mountains. No, they are thinking ROADTRIP! Sunshine! Camille said yesterday, "One of the very best parts of the trip is getting there, getting out of the van, and seeing Grandma. And hugs, definitely hugs."

We already reserved a hotel for one night in Amelia Island, Georgia, a hop, skip, and a jump from the ocean. It is about four hours from our destination of Zephyr Hills, Fla. It gives us a nice rest for the last leg of the journey, and hey, it's the Atlantic Ocean, wow.:) I am almost considering reserving a second night so we can have an entire day there...

Speaking of happy exciting things, yesterday a huge box came in the mail. The delivery guy honked, and Sonja was voted to go out and get the package, as we grumbled that we never get anything in the mail, it's always nutritional supplements and vitamins for Paul and Joe and Kathryn. But the box came in, and it was for me! It was from Margaret! She had told me something was coming for me, and not to get too excited, but who can not get to excited when a huge box comes in the mail?

It was a dustpan on a stick! It's shiny and new, and the handle doesn't come unscrewed and fall off. The handle on the old one came off for good, so we put a wood broomstick/paint roller extender thing on it that's way too heavy for the dustpan, so if one leaves it standing by itself, it tips over, scattering the mess. Anyway, it was a very welcome surprise, but ha, such a huge-0 box for it!!!

Camille has the box now, she spent an amazing amount of time in there last night with her flashlight. I'm not sure if she was playing office during a power outage, or practicing being homeless, or what, but she had that box covered in blankets and here it is in the middle of the living room, she wants to keep it.

This fine morning, Kathryn took Charlotte Claire and Camille out and about, she took them to Target and to TJMaxx, and spoiled them, each a new shirt, and new neck-pillows for our Florida trip, which Cam so nicely said I can borrow if I get a chance to sleep. They are home now, and will do some school. I don't worry too much if our hours are random, last evening we did lots of science, geography, and vocabulary. They're learning.:)

Anne is taking her nap, so we're having Quiet Time. Jonathan is doing his own school work. He and I, and Anne, had a nice breakfast together. He made bacon and scrambled eggs. He says he is trying to eat healthier, cut the carbs. It's nice to see, and nice that he came to that decision by himself. He said some of the boys are going to start some sort of martial arts...they're always doing something fun.

Tomorrow we are having a fun field trip, to the big mall in the city, to one of those indoor play places. I will have Anne and Lydia, and yay for going bye-bye with a one year old and a two year old! It makes it tricky, but also makes it so much fun. The little ones are such blessings, despite diaper changes and melt-downs. Watching them keeps me on my toes.

Ah well, there is laundry to do and kids to teach and so so so many little projects to tackle. I like the keep the stovetop cleaned off, and the microwave wiped out, and the front of the refrigerator shiny, the tile on the back of the stove clean, and and and. I swept and mopped this morning, and washed all the couch covers, and and and. But, it never ends. Until some day it does, ha. I read an article on yahoo, which someone also posted on Facebook, that a 27 year old girl wrote before she died of cancer. Oh the things we waste time fretting over, as if we had our lives stretched out before us with no end. She wrote about using your money to bless, and not measuring your worth in "likes", or letting social media influence your self-image, letting go of caring about a flabby tummy, and being thankful for your days. She said she would desperately love to grow old with her partner and raise a family, and that she loved her life and didn't want to die, but there wasn't anything she could do about it. I did cry when I read it. Our days ARE numbered, and the fact that I have already lived twice as long as this lovely young lady, what do I have to complain about, ever?

And you know, in God's eyes, it's a level playing field. We might always think others have it easier, or better. But when it concerns grace from God, help from Him, He is no respecter of persons. Anyone who prays for help, who wants to put their life in order and start listening and being obedient to what God speaks to him, has the opportunity to be blessed by God. He resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble. It is never too late to turn to Him, nor is one ever put to shame, who puts his trust in Him.

And that is my sermon for today, :)

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

oops, sorry!

Sorry Evelyn! She had to go to a public meeting for an assignment in one of her classes, so it was a school board meeting last night, and I was supposed to go with her. And. I forgot. Well, I remembered a few times, felt confident I had plenty of time, then forgot again.

But it's not like I was just sitting around twiddling my thumbs, forgetting about things. No sir. First was the pool with the three homeschooled kids...getting out of the driveway was a challenge, the packed ice in the driveway had melted into a cement-like slush, keeping my wimpy old minivan captive. I had to reverse and gun it several times, which is much more fun than shoveling it. We moved forward a few feet at a time, but eventually, we were out of the driveway.

The pool was amazing, as usual. Putting my bathing suit on is NOT amazing, but I'll spare you the details. Margaret had the day off from work, and Adrian worked half a day, so they met us there. The kids love swimming with Adrian, he plays with them and is lots of fun. Margaret and Adrian agreed to bring the kids with them on their errands, and took them out to lunch, while I headed home to be picked up by my sister. She had a dr. appointment to prepare for an upcoming kidney stone surgery, blah. So I cut coupons in the waiting room while she saw the dr. I asked her if it would embarrass her, ha, because when I say "cut coupons", I mean RIP coupons, because I didn't have my purse scissors with me.

Our shopping find of the day: Bumbo seat, with tray: $13.79. We both have grandchildren, so we each got one.

Then the grocery store. I must say, it's nice to go use lots of coupons without kids there rolling their eyes and sighing. The donuts were half price, and ugh, why oh why did I buy some? But, alas, I did. And...since I had been swimming and was starving and it was past dinner time, yeah, some donut eating happened on the way home. Does it matter if I truly enjoyed it (or ahem...them!)?

So I had a handful of nuts for dinner when I got home, and called it a night, as far as eating goes. Not ideal, but oh well. I can only hope the swimming made up for most of it:(

Home with groceries...Mirielle was so nice, she went with Evelyn to the meeting. I felt bad, but when I remembered, I was already in the city, already had my coupons ready, and we were out of a few things at home, so I texted her and said I wasn't going to make it. eeks. I COULD have headed home. But, I have Anne today, tomorrow, and Thursday, and that means ha, no coupons, and honestly, I don't mind running in a store quick with her, but not a long shopping trip.

This fine afternoon, Sonja and I have to have fillings at the dentist. I have a super small cavity all the way back in a wisdom tooth, which means my jaw may just crack and stay open forever, which is my primary concern, along with the fear of my nose being dislocated. I'll have every single muscle in my body tensed, which may make the whole ordeal count as a workout!

Anne is going with us to the dentist. It's one of the rare times I'll break my "no tablet" rule, or phone, or whatever. Babies like those silly little songs videos at such young ages.

She is taking a nap right now, in the stroller with the fan on, so we're doing school quietly. Don't think for one minute that I just sit here typing, I have been helping Charlotte with the word, "devise", taking the loud bone away from Sunny, answering Camille, directing them what book to go to next, answering texts about watching kids, and of course, drinking coffee. Oh, poor busy me, ha.

Monday, January 8, 2018

is it spring yet?

See that snow overhanging the deck, built up from the roof?

There it is, after if fell down with a huge BANG.

I hurried out the front door, which THANKFULLY I had shoveled out, that door wouldn't have opened for anyone with all that snow on the porch...anyway, Paul had just gotten home from running a few errands and a trip to the dump, so he got up there first, but I helped him shovel it out...we could NOT have gotten out the door. The snow was almost halfway up the window. It's kind of scary, to get that much snow, to almost be literally snowed in.

It's stopped now. The local airport reported 66 hours straight of snow, and I daresay, it was even longer here. Every weather map I looked at for a few days, our house was right smack in the middle of that lake effect snow band coming off of Ontario.

But now, it's an almost springy 20 degrees, going up to maybe....33 today! But, with more snow...

We have plans though, to the pool at noon, then I may go with my sister to her dr. appt., then of course we may or may not gallivant as long as we're out.

Plans are coming together for Margaret's baby shower, which we are having here in a few weeks. She is due in March. I am so excited! Guess what! I am not barred from the delivery room! I have actually been invited to be there! I am so thrilled, and honored, and wouldn't miss it for the world. But anyway, we are having the shower here. The girls have invited like 30 people, but then with our fam here too, it's going to be a full house. This all means of course, that I have to CLEAN, more than usual. Because we get used to the hard water build up on the faucets, and the stuff piled up in the hallway...but oh dear, company's coming, all of the sudden I see so many things that are out of order, too messy!

Anyway. I had this minor epiphany the other morning, as I shuffled out here in my sweatpants and messy bun, in my $4.99 Walmart slippers...(sometimes I feel so old, doing the slipper shuffle)...but I realized something that's very obvious: this is my life. It's it. This. Waking up, wiping down counters and making a fresh pot of coffee, letting the dogs in and out and giving them water. Throwing in a load of laundry. Hugging Cam when she wanders into the kitchen with her blankie around her shoulders. This IS life. When you're young, you tend to think about life in terms of preparation for the future, then you all of the sudden get old, and you try to slow it down, this life that speeds by.

So here's something really special: I'm 99% sure we're going to Florida next month! Now, lots of people go to Florida every year, no biggie. But me, I never ever went there until I had five kids, and after that it was another 15 years or so before I went again. When I was a kid, only the rich kids went to Florida. My mother used to say it was overrated, as she did with all things we couldn't afford, ha. But Paul's mom is there, and has invited us down, and Paul and I talked, and decided that although he cannot go with me because work is way too busy for him this quarter, with a few trips to India thrown in for good measure...I can go by myself with the kids. Evelyn can help drive if we go on winter break, so that's what we're doing. I am hoping and praying for good driving weather. We looked into renting a van, but oh dear, with an 18 year old driver, it's $57 per day extra!

But anyway, we are leaving winter behind for a week in February!!!

And here I sit, with kids to teach, and a house to clean. Anne isn't here today, so I have been relaxing for too long. If I was smart, I would start with little projects each day so the house would be all clean by the baby shower, so there won't be a few days of panic cleaning accompanied by wondering why the heck I waited until the last minute, along with baking the half-moon cookies or cupcakes.
These happened the other day...I wanted to keep the little girls busy. When the high temp outside is 0, (-17.7), with 30 MPH wind gusts...they can't very well go out sledding. I did encourage them to go outside a few times, just for 10 or 15 minutes at a time, just to experience it, and because I think it's healthy. I went out at least four times a day during all this bad weather, it's so magnificent, the forces of nature. When the road is full of snow, and the wind is howling, and there is only's exhilarating. So they did most of the mixing and measuring, then I made the frostings and let them finish up. It kept them busy, and heated the house, but oh dear, they were hard to resist. Chocolate half-moons! I sampled a few tastes, then when they were all frosted, I did have half of one, the white frosted half. It was my homemade, no recipe, white buttercream, and on the chocolate cookie, oh yummers. But, I am behaving myself. Yesterday I did much better, and now that the entire supply of post-Christmas clearanced York Peppermint Patties are gone, I'll be really good. Because you know, a cup of hot coffee and a few Yorks, mmmm.....

Friday, January 5, 2018

snow day!!!

There's not much we can see out the windows today, with so much snow on the screens.

Some snow on the deck...

School was cancelled for today, yesterday! So the girls stayed up late, and when we got up this morning, it was a tiny bit like Christmas. A snow day! But, it was waaayy too cold to go sledding or build a snowman. The weatherman said frostbite can occur within 15 minutes in temperatures like these (one or two degrees F (-17), plus wind blowing...)

All day, I looked out the window...while I read the entire book, "The Kite Runner", while we baked a few loaves of bread...

We made chili, and put it in the crockpot, and there is huge satisfaction in knowing all afternoon that dinner is already done.

But I kept looking out the windows...I just wanted to go out in it, see how cold it really was.

So I bundled up and went outside. Evelyn went too, and lasted like three minutes. Sonja showed up for another three minutes. Even the puppies wanted to go back in before I did. I shoveled the steps, and some of the snow from the bottom of the driveway. My hands started to hurt, even with gloves on. I had to get in out of the wind. Jonathan had cleared the driveway twice, thankful for the snowblower, but the snow came down all day here, and the snowplow goes by and the end of the driveway gets full of snow again.

Anyway. Once I got back in the house it felt really warm in here. It's what I tell the kids if they complain about being cold: Go outside for a few minutes, and you'll see how warm it is in here, ha.

Anyway...we watched some netflix (the girls are watching Barbie and The Island Princess (AND, eating freezepops! Jonathan found them in the downstairs freezer, and jackpot, the kids are eating them like crazy!))

The day was leisurely, but it went by too fast. I felt better when Emily assured me that both Abigail and Mirielle had made it home from work safely. Then Paul came in, and phew. Good.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

arctic air is a comin' for a visit...

But I hope it's not too rude of a guest. Have you ever read the book, "Owl At Home", by Arnold Lobel? Well, you should. Get it for your kids or your grandkids. Or read it to your cat. Owl felt sorry for winter, so he invited it in. Well, winter was a rude guest! It turned Owl's hot pea soup into green ice, and blew snow all around his house! So he shooed it back out the door, which it slammed when it left!

Reading stories to kids is golden, it should never be replaced by letting them watch a you-tube video or playing a game on your phone. In my humble opinion.

So our weather forecast is dismal, we live southeast of Lake Ontario, which is a lake effect snow making machine. It IS pretty, snow is falling right now, huge flakes, like living in a snow globe. The tree branches are all sparkling with snow, and more just keeps swirling down.

Maybe today I'll venture outside and take some pictures.

Yesterday, we took a quick trip to Costco, although Kathryn will tell you that "quick" wasn't the word she would use to describe it. I love Costco, it's rather new to the area, and Emily surprised me with a membership a bit ago. I have only gone a handful of times because it isn't so close by, but yesterday I was heading out to get a few things, and Mali texted. She was wondering what we were doing, so we decided to meet at Costco, since it's near her house.

Little Anne, and Lydia, and Cam and I...Camille is getting so big!

They are so adorably cute.

After Costco, Mali headed home for a few things, then to my house. We took a detour to Target, Kathryn had a few things she wanted. Since Emily had taken Jonathan and Charlotte Claire cross country skiing:

So I spoiled Cam a little, and let her choose a few things in Target...a discounted Christmas bingo game, which we had fun playing last night, and a few small clearanced toys.

We had hamburgers for dinner, but honestly, it's not the same eating it with a fork and no bun, I rarely eat regular bread or buns anymore. :( There are lots of recipes for substitutes out there, and believe me, I have tried some. This very morning I baked a double batch of cinnamon almond bread (with flax seed, coconut flour, and a whole dozen eggs)(and a little bit of honey, ha) It just came out of the oven, and mmm good, with hot pumpkin coffee.

Camille made pancakes, she adds a pinch of cinnamon, some vanilla, and a dab of brown sugar, and fries them up in butter, oh dear they looked good. She wants to make a cake today, Char wants to make half-moon cookies, and I say blah, snow me in with fresh baked goods and expect me to be thin by spring?

Grandma is heading back to Florida soon, she was very sick back in the summer, so she stayed up here in the frozen north for way longer than she likes. She invited us down, and oh my goodness I want to go in February! We just might...we just might.

The thing about winter here is this: if we're going to get cold weather, at least we get lots of snow to go with it! It's pretty! It's rough to drive in, but it really is cozy. The whole house has that different light to it, that comes from the whiteness of outside. It feels Christmas-y, and celebratory, and just snug.

On Saturday, I am working at the basketball game, and oh dear, it's going to be cold walking into that Dome! The high temperature is forecast to be zero, (-17c), and that's the HIGH! With wind! And snow!

Anyway. Time to do more school.