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, August 19, 2017

what could be better.....?

Than a Saturday morning in the summertime...?
And, kittens! Can you believe that I was absolutely correct in predicting seven kittens? They're so lively and cute already. I took a few pictures, but our internet is so slow it's going backwards, so I cannot even post them.

Also...summertime...Ben and Ashley and Anya came for dinner last night, Mariel came over, Margaret, and we had little Davian and his baby sister Anne for the afternoon.(and can I just mention how absolutely adorable they are? Davian's mama bought him a surprise, something he as been asking for...a planner! ha, what five year old wants...a planner? He is just precious.)..then their mama and daddy came to get them, and Grace stayed, to play Monopoly with Sonja and Suzanne. Emily stopped in after work, too. We had steak kabobs, and marinated chicken kabobs, some summer veggies grilled, a salad.

Paul's mom is in an old-folks home for rehab, just to get her more functioning before she goes back home. I will go see her tomorrow, because I have to work at the amphitheater tonight with Sam, Evelyn, and Suzanne. Any prayers for her would be appreciated, I love her so much and it's hard to see her struggle with expressing herself.

Mariel and I are talking about going to Ireland in October. Tickets straight to Dublin are really reasonable from a small New York Airport, direct flights, round trip for under $300. We really really really want to go. It would just be a short trip, but oh my goodness, how much fun would that be...? And, anyone read this who live in Ireland who have any tips or comments, or ha, invitations to visit you?

Realistically, this is not top ten on our financial priority list, which includes the rest of the windows being replaced, and a new furnace, a new pool motor, and ect.

But. Life is short, right?

Next Friday, Sonja and I are going on a little adventure, flying to California for five days! much going on right now....bye for now.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

summer morning....

Life isn't always fun. The other night we found out that Paul's mom had gone into the E.R., and was being admitted to the hospital. Paul and I went up and spent some time with her, along with other family members...and left when she was all tucked into her own room. I visited yesterday morning, then Paul was there in the afternoon while I headed to the Amphitheater to work a concert, with Mariel, Sam, Evelyn, and Suzanne. Abigail took the three younger kids for a visit last night, and saw Ben and Ashley and Anya there.

I hope Grandm makes a full recovery. She's been so strong and independent, she's so smart and opinionated and caring...she's also a rememberer of birthdays, she's thoughtful and giving. She will be 88 years old next week, but she's still as sharp as a tack. She still lives on her own, drives, takes care of herself. So it's been beyond difficult to see her, sick.

With all the nurses in the family, and a cousin med student, there's input and speculation, but also a good support system, and people who love her who can help make informed decisions.

The one thing that has become so clear: Grandma has so many fans! So many who love her so dearly!

So my days pass by seems by the time we get things in order around here and decide what to do with the day, it's half gone. Evelyn is home from California, Sonja surprised her by chalk painting the bunk beds in their room, from ugly old 30 year old wood finish, to a nice gray.

Samuel signed up for the Army Reserves, six years of one weekend a month service, along with a two week stint each summer, and of course the ever possible threat of being deployed. But there are benefits too, healthcare and further training (he's changing his M.O. from just Infantry to some sort of civilian/Army liason officer). But the good thing is, he got free t-shirts, shh, 17 of them! One for almost all of us, ha, because yes, mom wants one too!

You know what? My whole life feels like the children's book, "A Cow In The House"'s a story about an old woman, who is trying to roll out noodles in her kitchen...but her kitchen is just too small! So small! The whole house is too small! She starts fussing and fretting, so her husband goes and asks Grandpa Wiseman what to do...and is told to bring a chicken into the house...then a goat...then the pig! and finally, the cow. The house gets REALLY small. Then the wiseman tells the old man to start taking the animals out, one by one...then finally, even with just the cow in the house, the house feels bigger! Then...the cow goes back outside, and that house is huge!

Having eight kids in the house seems like just a few chickens, and ha, maybe the pig.

It's still busy sometimes. Today, Camille is getting her wish to go to the library. Then later, Mariel and I are picking up Paul's truck keys from a lady in town...the keys story is a good one:
Joseph took some of the boys to the canal, and oops, he dropped the keys into the water! Down the stream the went, swirling in the current...he had to a ride back here to the house to get the second set of keys (Paul is just NUTS about always knowing where BOTH sets of keys are, and ha, yeah, one is usually in one of my pockets or in the deep recesses of my purse). Anyway. A few days later, Mariel sees on Facebook this set of lost keys...and is certain they belong to Dad, not knowing the story of Joseph losing them. She called me, I told her story, she contacts co-worker who posted story...turns out a small boy found them while fishing in a creek a ways away from where they were dropped. Anyway, we are going to pick them up today, and believe me, we will be bearing a gift card, for their kindness in looking for the owner:)

Well, kids are up and talking and I can not write right now...

Monday, August 14, 2017

dog days of summer....

These two...lazy as the day is long...although Sunny still has crazy energy sometimes...this very morning she has destroyed one plastic bag, a scrubby sponge, and has chewed off the plastic tabs attached to the Melissa and Doug's shopping cart, eaten half a bowl of kitten chow, and is now playing tag with that kitten...Suzanne's kitten, you know, the one she said she'd keep in her room?
Kitten and Sunny are besties. Sunny plays so gently with that kitty. They run around the house, and the kitten is one thing, but Sunny is the bull in the china shop...kitty goes behind the couch no problem, so Sunny tries it too. Kitty jumps up to the window sill, Sunny almost topples the lamp in her hot pursuit. It's way too much fun. But Suzanne is giving the kitty away tomorrow, to a lady who works for a vet office and is looking for a small orange and white kitty. But, shh, our other kitty is having kittens...again...she's a kitty making machine, and yes, we are going to get her spayed...I am going to make an appointment as soon as this new litter is born...

But enough about the animals, except to mention this: Suri seems really sad. She's down in the dumps. Sunny is young and dumb and life is fun and there's stuff to chew on and chase, but Suri misses Duke. We've all noticed her gloominess. Poor girl. I miss Duke too, much more than I thought I would, and that sounds mean, but honestly: I thought there would be more relief...relief from seeing him suffering as he heaved himself up to follow me a measly three or four feet away, just to lie down again...relief from seeing the look on his face, and me knowing how numbered his days were...but instead of relief, there is just sadness, a huge sadness, and having the other two doggies helps...but I still miss him like crazy. When I find myself looking for him on the couch...holding the door open because he was always dead last coming up the deck steps...then realizing he's gone, and having that punched in the gut feeling. The fact that he was "only a dog" hasn't made any difference to my heart.

We had a busy weekend here...I worked at the Ampitheater on Saturday night for the Luke Bryan concert. The music: meh. I'm not a huge fan. It all sounded the same, and his voice is just so-so. It was crazy busy though, and our prices are high, which isn't our fault, we just work there...but it gets tiring, hearing the complaints. I know, five bucks for a bottle of water is crazy, but do you really need to decorate your disdain with the "F" word? One guy asked Paul how he could sleep at night. "Just fine", he said.

Yesterday was Fix The Leaky Washing Machine Day. It took the better part of the day...Paul watched videos and did it himself. He had to remove the dryer from on top, and to have room for that, bring half the stuff from the laundry room out here to the living room, after I had already swept and cleaned up...but I did sort some things and match some socks. He got it all fixed up, and we put in the trial load...and yay, it works! It didn't leak!

I made pasta salad, and some chocolate chip cookies, then put together some chicken kabobs...just marinated chicken (Italian dressing and lots of Jamaican Jerk seasoning), made some potatoes, Paul cut up summer squash, onions, and green peppers and grilled that was a nice summery meal, eaten outside with Mariel here, and Margaret and Adrian, and Mali and Lydia.

Today is a nice day, sunny and pleasant, with the morning cicadas making their high pitched sounds. Apparently in New York state, we have annual cicadas, named, ha, Dog Day Cicadas. They make their shrill noises in...the dog days of summer.

We live near a tiny little regional airport, and today is a nice calm clear day for the small planes to fly, so they are buzzing overhead too. The birds are singing, the dogs are snoring...ah, summertime. Today, we are going over to our friends' house to swim in their inground pool...the kids love the diving board. I love talking to our friends, and cooling off, and who doesn't like sunshine on their skin? It's what I dream about all winter! We have to leave soon to pick up the little girls' friend Amanda. Then pack up our lunches and get moving. :)

Tomorrow, Evelyn is coming home from California, so airport trip for me.!!! a few weeks: I am going to California with Sonja!!!!!! Warmth and sunshine...and redwood trees, the Pacific Ocean, seeing Aaron and Riley...yay!!!!!!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

sad sad day....

Sam feels really bad...Duke was his friend.

Jonny too...he was with me when we went to pick Duke up, back four summers ago...Duke jumped right into the van, hopped onto that back seat next to Jon, and Jon called him, "Friend".

Paul was in Germany when we got Duke. I found him on to good home, it said. He was lovely, so I called. Yes, they said, he's excellent with kids. He's friendly and good, but they had moved into a small apartment from their big farm, and weren't allowed to keep him. He was seven then, and already a bit hobbly. The owner told us, as we stood in the doorway of that small apartment, that three people had already come to see him and declined to take him, because he was too old. Well, that sold me immediately.

So we took him, his bling chain collar, his sturdy orange leash, his next dose of K-9 Advantage, and the rest of his 20 pound bag of Old Roy. We took him home. Paul called that evening, and asked, "What's new?" "A chocolate Lab!", I said.

After he settled in, and fathered one puppy, after which we got Suri spayed (the puppy didn't make it, but that's a whole 'nother story)...Duke belonged here. Suri wouldn't go outside without him, he wouldn't go outside without her. They would stand there on the deck and wait for each other. They barked at company together, and they shared the couch. They were companions and friends. Then we got Sunny last summer, just a wee baby pup, because Duke's days were numbered...but he lived and lived, with us watching and speculating and knowing, his time was running out.

It was pretty clear lately that he was seriously ready to go...his muscle mass was dwindling, he was barely eating, getting thinner and more wobbly....

So today we brought him to the vet. He settled right down on the green blanket on the floor, and that was the end of his story. Mostly. Can I tell the rest? Is it okay? Okay. So Duke was kind of an old man of a dog. He had this disgusting habit of clearing his throat, kind of gag-like coughing. It was so loud and gross, and we would all be like, "Duke, yuck!". Anyway, the vet explained that after he passed away, his body would perhaps give some involuntary shudders, ect. So he died...the vet checked for a heartbeat, and gently told us that he was gone. Then he did that yucky barfy sounding throat clearing thing. Once. Twice. We left that room, and walked through the waiting room crying our eyes out, Sonja and I...then we laughed our heads off at Duke being so rude, even in death. It was comic relief. We kept laughing about it, and kept crying for him. Off and on, all day.

I am sad. I am really sad. I have his collar here. I am thankful we have Little Miss Sunshine, so Suri doesn't worry about where Duke is.

We did go to the beach...we sat in the sun, we talked about things, we talked about Duke....and life goes on.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

sunshine and puppydogs...

And going out and about with teenagers...

Suzanne, me, friend Irene, and Sonja...

Sonja had to go to the doctor for her post surgery check up, and she's doing fine. She is clear to go to Washington D.C. with some of the girls for some sightseeing this weekend. She just has to rest, elevate, and ice the knee if it swells. But overall, she is doing well, she has good range of motion, and minimal pain.

We went to Marshall's after the appointment, and dang it, we found too much good stuff. Clearance stuff...our receipt was full of $2, $3, and $4 items. I also bought a really pretty throw rug for the living room. They don't look nice for long, with all the dogs and the general traffic through here, but a new rug always brightens things up.

Then to Walmart...for shaving cream and laundry starch to augment the little girls' latest obsession: making the perfect slime. We also needed doggy chow and kitty food, milk, and apparently several other things that jumped right into the cart.

Home...ah, home. Suzanne and Camille helped me make kabobs from the beef I had marinating...I cubed it all up, cut up zucchini, yellow squash, sweet onions, green pepper, a few sweet potatoes, and tossed it all in olive oil and rosemary, some salt and pepper...we made piles of skewers, then I grilled them. We also had seasoned potato chunks, which we ended up microwaving...they went well with the kabobs, which were SO GOOD. And so easy, just grab a few, and sit out on the deck for a lovely summer dinner.

Today, little Miss Lydia Eleanor is coming over with Mali, for a visit. Maybe Miss Anya Jade with join with her mama Ashley. I cleaned out and filled both little pools this morning, one on the deck, and one in the yard...I had to get up and get going this morning because Sam had to bring his car in for inspection and needed a ride home.

Tomorrow...tomorrow is Duke's goodbye day. I am trying to just be normal...and not fall apart. It's sad, but for Duke's not so sad, because he.doesn't.know. He has no idea. Part of me feels like a huge trickster, like, "Okay Duke, let's go bye-bye!", and he's going to be happy just to be going in the van, even though he'll need a boost to get in. He'll thump his tail, because he is like that. Happy with just anything. And I'll feel super guilty and like a horrible person. And it'll be sad. Really really sad. But it's time. It seems like once we were all on the same page here about it, and I made that phone call, he really declined, almost like he might suspect something. He ate not a bite of his breakfast yesterday, then no dinner either. He had some treats, but no kibble. Then this morning, I thought he'd be hungry, but no sir, he ate one bite and that was it. I bring his bowl to him where he lies, he hasn't been able to actually stand up and eat a meal in a while. He is mostly lying on the couch these days, although he'll still follow me around sometimes, which breaks my heart, because he lies down, then I move, he gets up so painfully slow it hurts my heart, and lies down again near me. He did this while we cleaned up under the deck yesterday. But mostly he just sleeps. At night, he has been sleeping in Sam's room. Bless Sam's heart, he lets these dogs sleep with him, all three of them. They give him very little room in his bed, ha. Sam is going to be having a rough time too. But we know it's time.

And is it horrible that we plan to go to the beach, after the vet? It's going to be 82 degrees and sunny. And I'm going to feel like a horrible person.

Monday, August 7, 2017

to everything there is a season...

A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die...(Ecclesiastes 3)

Duke is heading to the rainbow the bunny fields, heaven for doggies...where he can run all he wants, where his hind legs will no longer be wasted away, where his arthritic front legs won't collapse from under him.

He can't hear us ask him who's a good dog.

He has gotten more lame lately, has fallen a few times on the deck steps.

He is going on a one way trip to the vet on Thursday. Sam says we are going to look at chocolate lab puppies on Friday. He already announced it to the kids. But they don't remember that we got Miss Sunny to make up for the loss of Duke...last summer! Duke has had many calls from the governor, we just keep putting it off. But then we all realize this: it isn't about us. The poor boy is struggling too much, and the righteous thing, the humane thing, the loving to say goodbye. So this morning I finally made that phone call...and he is going bye-bye on Thursday.

I think we'll plan a fun last day for him.

Other happenings...a few of the girls are going on a trip to Washington D.C. this weekend.

We just got back from an amazing week spent in our camper at our church Fellowship Week.

Sebastian and Linnea, my niece's twins, are here while their brother hopefully gets the cast removed from his broken arm (trampoline).

I promised Camille a trip to the library, but shh, she may forget and continue to read, "Little House On The Prairie". She reads for at least an hour a night, in bed.

Suzanne brought home a kitten a few weeks ago, an orange and white little devil who thinks he is one of the dogs. He is sweet and purry and rambunctious and likes to walk across the kitchen table, sampling things.

Here is a pic Suzanne took of me holding my niece Katie's little girl, Anne Beatrice...(Davian's little sister)

(I had rocked her to sleep...)

It's fantastic to have Ben and Ashley and Anya nearby. I have to get used to that little voice saying, "Grandma, Grandma...!" It's music, it truly is.

Lydia was at our camper for one of the days...she's darling.

Camille helped me make French toast and sausage this morning.

Our swimming pool is a goner this year...from crystal clear to murky green...Paul is ordering a new motor for the filter...but all these sunny warm days, and dang it, no pool.

The kids are playing Mario Kart.

We had fresh sweet corn for dinner last night...I love summer. Our own garden hasn't yielded much, but I bought green peppers, cucumbers, peaches, and a huge tomato from a farm stand yesterday...and the corn.

Anyway...the summer days are lovely...even though my heart is sad about Duke...