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, February 24, 2024

rude, rude, rude!

Have you ever read an article about a big family?  Did you read the comments?  My goodness, I don't know why I did, so crass and disgusting.  I know there are people out there who hide behind their keyboards and say awful things, but who are they?  Do they look normal in the grocery store?  Do they even give you the cart free at Aldi, and smile at your grandkids?  What makes them so hateful?  Are they seriously so mean just online, and nice in real life?  Or are they horrible ogres who live somewhere far far away?   

I went adventuring today with my friend Annetta.  Ollies, where I bought chocolate covered almonds for Charlotte Claire, and Mallo Cups for Camille, and hot and spicy cashews for Paul, and Lily's sugar free chocolate chips for me.  I bought some nice coloring books for Activity Club, and a nice tablecloth.  Then to a bargain warehouse, which buys entire truckloads from Amazon, where I bought Mariel a birthday present....a HydroFlask cooler.  

Then to Walmart, where I bought two $3 shirts, some sugar free whipped cream, and a few clothes for the grandkids.

We got some lunch, solved the world's problems, then headed home in the dark chilly rain.  

Home...ah, home.  I decided to call my sister, so with a nice big hot cup of coffee, I headed to the guest room to talk to her while the girls watched The Pirates of The Caribbean.   Dinner:  the girls had left early to do a cleaning job to earn money, so they ate random things as they went out the door, but weren't hungry because they must have had some good snacks earlier.  So, I made some burgers...then decided I really wanted scrambled eggs, and no burger for me.  Then some Greek yogurt with a few fresh blueberries and some sugar free whipped cream.  

The kitty cat did not wake me up last night, and Paul got up early to go to the gym.  Somehow I fell back to sleep, and slept until 7:24!  Char is on school break, so I don't have to get up before seven this week.  A good night's sleep is delicious, isn't it?  Elusive and rare, and amazing.

So to tell a story without telling a story, I recently had my feelings hurt.  It was not a huge-0 deal, but I did not like it one little bit.  Here's the thing, in THEORY, I do not care what people think of me, and I will NOT get offended.  In REALITY, sometimes life sneaks up on you and someone says something, maybe someone else agrees with them, and mortally wounded.  nobody likes me.  No, it wasn't that bad.  But later, the thoughts swirl around, and perhaps a root of bitterness would like to come in and set up camp.  We all know what a terrible idea that is though!  I had a sudden flash of how absolutely ugly it is to be offended.  Let.  It.  Go.  Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  All those good things.  A chance to put them in to practice!  Oh, stubborn, proud me, be humble and find peace!  

Life is a series of trials, mostly small ones, testings of our faith.  

And, I wrote this post a few days ago.  I went to the pool twice yesterday, once for water aerobics, then in the afternoon with Char and Cam, and Achilles, Rhys, and Jamie.  We met Ben and Ashley there with Anya, Elise, and Declan.  Forty minutes went by fast, but little ones don't tend to last too long in the pool, Rhys was getting cold.  Getting them all dressed was a breeze, because Char, Cam, and I each had one child to help...we picked up pizza and wings on the way home, and settled in for the evening.  Kathryn and Darius were out together, so we were holding down the fort.

Stories and silly nonsense and then brushing teeth and saying their prayers, they went to bed so nicely for us.  I stayed up too late and woke up too early, but I'm not complaining.  I could have gone back to sleep.  I wanted to go with Paul to get supplies to do our stairs, but he left when I was in the bathroom, dang it, I didn't tell him I wanted to go.  The girls are going to a girls' tea party/gathering/volleyball, fun sleepover thing with some friends from Toronto, Jon is going to the farm show with Ben, Adrian, Darius, and lots of little kids.  

I am having company for dinner, so I should get busy and clean up the house....I'm not positive what we're having with our steak yet, because yesterday I had a very tight schedule.  I had to buy a whole list of stuff for the girls' weekend (my budget was $150, and I spent $149.23, and no, I didn't use a calculator, just estimated while I threw things in the cart...). Miss Camille was out and about with me, she wanted to go to Marshall's to look for something, and she kindly agreed we should go to the dollar store too.  By the time we got home, it was time to go to watch the kids at Kathryn's.  It was too challenging for me to plan for the dinner at the same time as getting everything on that list.  I did buy strip steaks though, and I have blueberries, strawberries, and Brussel sprouts...and potatoes.  So we'll be fine, don't you think?  I am thinking to make something sinfully chocolate for dessert....

Is my blog stuck in a boring rut?  Sometimes it's joyful for me to write, but sometimes it's a chore to navigate what's my business to tell about, and what's not.  It overlaps, of course.  Things that pertain to me, and effect me, often are personal to others.  

Winter came back for a visit, it's like 16 degrees out.  
Yesterday was absolutely glorious.  Sunny and in the low fifties.  Yes, I did manage fifteen or twenty minutes on the deck in my sundress, in my tight schedule ha.  I was almost glad when the clouds rolled in and the wind picked up, brrr, because I had to move it move it.  Spring and warmth, ahh, cannot wait.  

Ah well...time to mosey out to the kitchen and make some decisions on dinner and dessert...have a really nice day!

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

oh so lazy!

 I can't seem to get up and get moving again, I'm stuck in my chair!  My life has been a whirlwind, so give me some downtime, and I will take it.  Yesterday I had the boys over, they spent the night on Monday.  We have too much fun.  They are enjoying Little House in the Big Woods, I like reading to little ones.  Wulf settles right in on the arm of my chair, Tennyson starts out there then be-bops around playing with things, listening with one ear.  

They like helping to make their bed, on the futon in the living room, while I make mine on the couch across from them.  We bring out the fan, and get all comfy...then the silly nonsense begins.  It was a while before they were actually asleep.  

Yesterday, we had waffles...Tenny wanted waffle bowls, and Wulf wanted heart waffles. 

With sprinkles, of course.

He was trying so hard not to smile, Mr. Wulf

Charlotte Claire, Camille, and I took them to the thrift store yesterday.  Wulf found a Nerf Bow, and Ten got a truck with Duplo blocks in it.  Char found black Levis and a pink sweater.  Then to the grocery store quick for a gallon of milk, and a donut for the boys.

Home...I made dinner:  pork chops marinated in some lime juice, baked with a mixture of brown sugar and corn starch sprinkled on top, with chopped apples and onions....then broiled to caramelize it...mmm.  Also, a sheet of cubed red skinned potatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, all nice and crispy.  

Hurry though, we had to get to Activity Club!  

Last night I was so tired...wouldn't you know the cat woke me up in the wee hours?  ugh.  I got up to let him out, and Suri ran out...took her sweet time, I finally got coat and boots on and went out on the deck to call her...she's just old and slow, like someone else I know.  

I had to get up to go to the pool anyway, so blah.  I am so very thankful for the pool though.  It was fantastic today.  

Home...but not for long!  Sonja needed an oil change, so off we went, Charlotte Claire, Camille, their friend Amanda, and me.  

(Cam, Sonja, Amanda, Char)

Target first...they got bathing suits, 30% off...I got a pair of Levi's, I don't much like wearing jeans, they have to be baggy these days, ugh, but oh well, I found some really reasonable that fit reasonably well.  I also got a pair of loose green sweatpants type pants that will be good for traveling in.  We got a package of chicken, and some tomatoes, so exciting ha.  

I have to go make dinner in a few minutes, but am staying home tonight.  Tomorrow morning, I'm going to Ollie's with my friend Annetta... 

Monday:  a visit from Achilles and Rhys, some cartoons with Grandpa
This was around a hundred dollars...but there are two sets of twin sized sheets in there.
Camille made chocolate cake from scratch...I didn't taste it, but it looked scrumptious.
I took a break from the comfy chair and vacuumed...then puttered around cleaning up, then made dinner, burgers.   Jon is making chocolate chocolate chip cookies, then taking the girls to their Norwegian lesson.  Sonja is leaving for work, and Paul is getting home from the dump.  I'm looking forward to a quiet evening, I might almost fall asleep in this comfy chair.  Have a good evening, all!

Sunday, February 18, 2024

my most favorite place...ahhh, home!


Beautiful Seneca Lake in the morning sunshine...

This one was taken Friday afternoon, before the snowfall.  Seneca Lake is 618 ft deep, and is fed by underground springs pumping 328,000 gallons of water per minute!  Can you even imagine?  It's a glacier lake, one of the Finger Lakes.  Is this what you think of when someone says New York?

Friday, out the door with all the food for the weekend, except for the frozen cinnamon buns, which I forgot, and the pepperoni, which I forgot.  oops.  I'm glad that's all I forgot though, because it was fine.  Cheryl was the co-pilot, Linda and Patty in the back seat, ready for a nice snowy drive through the countryside.  

I had the chicken breast chunks marinating in lime juice, so I cooked them up in the soup pot and added chicken stock and coconut milk, along with a baggie of spices (curry, cayenne pepper, garam masala, garlic, ginger, pepper), then I added a chopped red pepper, and some frozen broccoli stalks.  I had made the Dutch Oven bread (I stirred in some garlic powder and rosemary into the flour).  It was hot out of the oven right as I went out the door.  

Saturday morning we had a nice brekky of eggs, bacon, chocolate chip brioche bread toasted with butter, and coffee, along with some oranges.  Karen and Mary arrived, along with a delivery from Karen's daughter-in-law, who owns the Airbnb, who sent some amazing goodies from a local bakery!  Then brunch:  salami and cheeses, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, chips and dip, three kinds of cookies, chocolates...then the dinner of strip steak, baked potatoes, and salads...we never even had our homemade popcorn, we didn't need it. 

Sunday morning's brekky was simpler, sausage links, bagels, yogurt...fruit.  I had some sausage and a few berries, because shh, I had lots of goodies on Saturday.  But oh well, it was an AMAZING time with such good friends.  We laughed and talked and even danced a little bit.  None of us slept very well, and we stayed up too late.  But oh dear it was fun, a very treasured weekend.

Time goes by too quickly.  You wait so anxiously for the fun to begin, and next thing you know, it's done and gone, just a vapor.  This weekend brought an even greater appreciation for my friends, and my sister.  We are all different, but we are drawn together by our common faith in God.  We don't argue or bicker or backbite.  We encourage each other, and I tell you, these girls are good listeners.  It's a rich and amazing time.  

We had Sam and Grace and kids over today, along with Anya and Elise.  They did some crafts, then there was running around and hide and seek and just joy, they love being together.  Paul made a nice big pot of venison chili, Jonathan made rice.  Camille made a fantastic three layer homemade chocolate cake with pink buttercream frosting for a Galentines party with her friends...Sonja and Char went, too.  

It's quiet here now, and I'm tired, but oh so thankful.  Tomorrow, pool then I might be bringing a couple of little boys here to spend the night...then more grandkids here on Tuesday...:)

Friday, February 16, 2024

going away for the weekend...

I'm always in a conundrum about going away.  I like my house.  I don't want to leave my house.  My comfy chair, the pups, the peoples, I like it here.  But one cannot be in two places at once, and since I love being with my friends and going on I go.

My favorite sweatpants, black, had too much Sunny hair on them, so into the washing machine they go...with a few more things I decided I need to bring.  I'm weird, but I almost always wash clothes before a trip, even if they're from the drawer or closet, already clean.  So I am not packed yet, and am leaving in three hours.  I need to measure out the spices and seasonings for the soup that is tonight's dinner, and I'm thinking to make a loaf of bread.  I wasn't supposed to sit here in my comfy chair right now, after the pool, because...I have things to do.  I sat down to look up a recipe, and ha, here I am.  But I am going to get up and make a coffee (the after pool coffee is the best!), and make the bread...

Ahh, the after pool coffee now, the bread is rising in the warm oven.  The chicken breast is cut into little pieces and in a marinade of lime juice and pepper, for the coconut lime ginger chicken soup for dinner.  (with broccoli, carrots, and red pepper).  If that bread comes hot out of the oven right as it's time to leave, maybe it'll still be warm enough at dinner time...

It is a snow globe here right now.  As I drove to the pool, the road was covered, and it was snowing sideways, huge fluffy flakes.  I could barely see...then as I reached town, the roads were clear and the snow dissipated.  Lake effect snow bands just vary so much.  It's supposed to stop this afternoon, which is fine with me, as I don't like driving in it.

Yesterday, Kathryn wanted to get out of the house.  She had things to drop off at the thrift store, as she's been cleaning and yes, I wanted to go too!  

Rhys...and yes, it was $4.99 and I bought it for her.  
Camille with Achilles...

We also stopped at the bakery:  

(The smelled amazing but I didn't have any...because I know myself, and what's good for me, and what triggers me, and shh, I have a few treats that I'm saving for tonight, at the Airbnb with my friends:))

Stolen pictures:  Evelyn had Tennyson and Wulf over to her apartment, and they helped clean.
Anya, Elise, Declan
Grace posted this, Sam with Grant, Ruth, and Maeve...

Paul remembered Valentine's Day:)

Ah well, time to go get that bread baking, and start packing up the car...have a really nice weekend!

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

well. THAT was a busy day!

It started out slow, just puttering around, then Kathryn texted...and yes, I did want to go to Ollie's with her.  I got Rhys out of the car and brought her in, while Kathryn got Achilles and Jamie.  We stopped in the store foyer to say hello to the big Ollie statue.  Rhys was very interested in him, but also a bit scared.  We wandered up and down the aisles, looking at all the books (I got her an ABC lift-the-flaps book), the snacks (Starburst for Char for Valentine's Day, and Mallo Cups for Cam).  

We went to Walmart for formula and and and, it's always an adventure in Walmart.  It's a big store, and if you are scatterbrained or just not completely organized, you get in a lot of steps.  Achilles didn't like when I dashed away to get some things for the AC party, he thought I was winning the race, because I passed his mama's cart and proceeded down the, Grandma!  Come back!  You can't win!

Home....ahh, home...but not for long, we had to get new passports for Charlotte Claire and Camille.  

Just a mere $360.  

We only brought two checks with us, and needed three, so Paul had to go to the post office for a money order.  Never a dull one.

Home again...but not for long, again...Sonja had made pulled pork in the instant pot, so we made some nachos...then it was time for Activity Club.  We were having a party.  Grace had the idea to paint with puffy paint; shaving cream mixed with glue, and food coloring, and we added lots of glitter.  The girls really liked it.  Then the party:  a red tablecloth, pink plates and napkins, adorable mini donuts ($2.02, marked down, from Walmart...they were so cute and little!), Rice Krispie Treats I made with lots of sprinkles, cut with heart and flower shaped cookie cutters...and little conversation hearts, water bottles with different colored straws...just fun stuff.

Home again...and, ahhh...well over 5,000 steps.

THIS fine morning, pool...the out to brekky with my pool friends.  It was quite fun, one of the guys was a farmer, and a bus driver...some of my older kids remember him fondly.  The ladies in the class are a fun group, it's always a nice outing.  

Home...but only to run to the bathroom and pick up Camille...this coming weekend is my Airbnb on the lake weekend, with my sister and five friends.  I am doing the food, so I went to get that today...first, we went to Target, because...wait, do we have to have a reason?  We only bought two bags of coffee, some vanilla almond bark (on clearance), and one box of gluten free crackers.  

Price Chopper:   I bought NY strip steaks for our Saturday night dinner, I knew there would be Valentine's Day sales on steak this week.  Baked potatoes, and salads will go with that meal, we'll have charcuterie for lunch, and a nice big brekky with sausage and bacon, and chocolate chip brioche bread for toast...

Home...ahh, really home, and staying there for a while, if I have anything to say about it.  Dinner:  burgers, salads, some fries in the air fryer (only one fry for me, but oh they are good!).  

Now it's a quiet evening, a very cold one...but so cozy.  I'm hoping to stay home tomorrow too...have a really nice, warm, cozy evening...

Monday, February 12, 2024

quite super...


Tulips already?  It isn't Easter! But I love them, and they were in Aldi...
Cookies, and getting prepped for the kids coming over...

Chocolate dipped strawberries, mmm.

Aunt Emily with Blythe, Aunt Evelyn with Denzel...Blythe is two days older than Denzel.
Emily with Achilles
The girls brought wood cutouts with magnets on the back, for the kids to color with markers...Tennyson and Wulf, and Rhys, and Lydia..
Oh, and there's Achilles..
Evelyn with Jamison, and Paul
Adrian with his baby Blythe
Emily with Ten and Ophelia, cousins...frenimies...
Margaret and Kathryn made it so much fun for the kids

Auntie Em with Jamie
Margaret's giant Super Bowl cookie-cake...:)
Rhys loves Blythe

Lydia loves helping
Tennyson, Achilles, Wulf, Rhys...I was showing them a Cookie Monster video, of him singing C is for Cookie...

Lyd, Achilles, Wulf, much fun when cousins get to hang out together.  We didn't pay too much attention to the game, but we did have chicken tacos, chicken wing dip, Oreo cheese cake cookies, chocolate strawberries, chili, mozzarella sticks and pizza bites, plus chips and dips and baby carrots.  Oh, and those chocolate chip cookies.  

I got up this fine morning and went to the pool, ahh, so nice.  This afternoon, I'm going on an adventure with Evelyn.  We've been wanting to go to this store where they buy entire Amazon pallets, truckloads, and sell the stuff way cheaper.  I need a retractable baby gate for the top of the stairs, and who knows what else, ha.  

Winter is coming back this week.  It's been so nice having our warm spell, going out and about and not worrying about sudden snow squalls.  Those white-outs, where you can't see the road, ugh.  Scraping off the car, shoveling the steps, I haven't missed winter.  But February only has 17 more days, then March has 31, so that's 48 days....and March usually has some nice weather, although has also had some huge snowstorms, blizzards.  April can still be snowy, but seems wimpier, somehow.  So we're rounding the corner of this winter, it hasn't been too bad.  I don't like driving at night so much, add in some snow flurries, then some wind, then swirl the snow around a bit, and no thank you, I don't want to go.  

Ah well, we live here and winter is part of it, so I'll take it one day at a time, and enjoy what I can about it all.  Have a good day!

Saturday, February 10, 2024

simple bliss...

Yesterday, I was restless.  It was a beautiful day, and I wanted to go out and about.  I had a few things I needed, too.  Camille and I went to Target.  A few baby outfits for Molly's little Denzel, some things for Grace's birthday, a package of chicken breast, some coffee cream, and some cleaning spray (one of my guilty pleasures is Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Peony (Mums smells lovely too!)). (It makes it so nice to clean when the cleaning spray smells so amazing!).  Then to Price Chopper, just a quick loop around the store for a few things, then to Aldi.  Camille was dubious that we needed to go to a third place, but I wanted strawberries, and they were $4.99 a pound in P. Chopper.  

Home...ahh, home.  Steak for dinner, which is my absolute favorite, with some salads, curly fries in the air fryer (I try to avoid these things, but did eat just a few, why oh why are they so good?!)

The kids made chocolate covered strawberries the night before, oh dear, so good.  I plan to make more with the strawberries I bought, for tomorrow...

Today, I slept until 8:24.  It was extremely wonderful.  I really really liked it.  No cat meowing to wake me up, no having to get up for Miss Char, just slept...ahh.  See, if I always slept well, I wouldn't appreciate it, now would I?  

I cleaned up and vacuumed and washed dishes, did some laundry, then Margaret was here with Wulf, Tennyson, and baby Blythe.  Then Suzanne came over with her pup, Winston. (her fiancĂ© is camping with his brothers this weekend).  Then, Joseph came over with his dog Bucky (his wife was working, and his other pup was at home). 

Don't I take such good pictures?  Joseph with Bucky, and Suzanne over there...Paul in the mirror. :)

Margaret's friend Tenylle came for a visit with her little daughter Lyra, who is almost two.  She discovered we have fruit snacks here:). She didn't love the dogs, but she seemed to get used to them quickly.  

Everyone left by and by, and it was time to make some dinner, for just Paul and I...ribs in the Instant pot, good idea.  Salt, pepper, steak seasoning, and brown sugar rub, lime juice in the bottom of the pot,  then the two racks cut in half, in the pot on the rack, high pressure for 26 minutes.  Then, two kinds of bbq sauce mixed with brown sugar, pepper, hot sauce, and into the oven at 475 on a cookie sheet with foil...then broiled for a few minutes.    Not as good as smoked, but really good.  The instant pot gets them so tender, so quickly.

Dessert for me, a zero sugar Chobani Greek yogurt with sugar free whipped cream and fresh blueberries, and two chocolate covered strawberries...mmm.

Tomorrow, we're having a Stupid-Bowl party...not a big party,  just Grace with Grant, Ruth, and baby Maeve, and Margaret with Wulf, Tenny, and Blythe, and Kathryn with Achilles, Rhys, and Jamison.  The dads are all going to a Super Bowl thing, and the girls here are going to one, so we thought we'd have one here for ourselves.  We're having lots of goodies, and don't care much about the game, which is a good thing because....nine grandkids, ha.  

Jonathan got a hair cut.  His friend Matt cut it for him, at two o'clock in the morning.  And no, they weren't drinking.  They are very healthy kids, like working out and eating right, ect.  But they're crazy sometimes!  

I think he looks cute...with Sunny, Kettler, and Suri...

Paul went fishing out on Owasco Lake (one of the Finger Lakes)  today.  He did get rained on a little, but said it was nice out there, but a little windy.  60 degrees.  Poor Tennyson was walking around with the hose sprayer attachment, asking if he can put it on the hose.  He has Playing-With-The-Hose-On-The-Brain.  It's not really that warm out, Ten, the ground is soaking wet and muddy, we cannot really play with the hose.  He thinks it's summer now.  Wulf was running around in the driveway in bare feet when Grandpa got back from fishing, and Ten had just socks on.  They love it, but I told them winter is coming back in a few days.  

Ah well...our day was busy, and now it's quiet, and wow, I'm tired!  Maybe tomorrow I'll take better pictures...have a good night.  :)