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

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

well, here we are...

 My morning coffee is almost gone, I'm making it last because the second cup is never as good.  Never mind, I downed it, and made a new cup, ahhh.  



I have a few autumn mugs, had them set there all cutely near the coffee stuff, as decorations.  I made some pumpkin spice coffees with warm foam for Grace and Kathryn a few weeks ago, and one of them requested it in a "fall mug"...it hadn't occurred to me to actually use these, ha, they were just sitting there, but duh!  Of course we should use them!  The coffee tastes better!

This fine morning, I came out to the kitchen to discover that the girls forgot to put the garbage can away.  The last ones up are responsible.  I could have left the garbage strewn all over the kitchen floor to await them, but nah.  I put on a plastic glove, and started picking it up.  Suri acted like she didn't know who did it.  (One thing I thank the whole Covid thing for:  when it first started, yes I did buy plastic gloves, now I have tons of them for cleaning up messes).

Kathryn is coming over in a few minutes, I'm going with her to the small city...she has to run in and sign some papers at the dr. to switch files, and why bring two small children in when Grandma can wait in the car with them?  I am not sure what else we will do when we are out and about, or if she'll just come here for a visit for a bit.  

Yesterday, after physical therapy, Camille and I just came home.  She has school work to do, and I found plenty to keep me busy. When Sonja got home from class, we went on a little adventure...one of the older girls locked her keys in the car, in the city, and needed the spare set.  Sonja so nicely drove, I do not like driving in city traffic.  I can do it, and will if I have to, but prefer not to.  

We went into the thrift store afterward, and found a few fun things.  

Then home, ahh home.  It was time to make dinner, I got frozen chicken breast out that I had cubed up and put into marinade, and started browning it in some olive oil...added chicken stock, frozen veggies, rosemary, pepper, and thickened it up a bit...we cook our egg noodles on the side, so the girls can have their soup over them, I don't eat them.  I also put some biscuits in the oven...what a nice cozy meal!  Lydia came over, she was going to activity club with me.  She is the most delightful little girl, so much fun.  

Activity club:  we painted pumpkins, then did some apple stamping, then Emily unrolled some big paper and traced the girls so they could color themselves.  She made them tea, and served pumpkin spice pumpkin shaped cookies from  Trader Joe's:  I tasted one, and oh dear, I couldn't have them in the house, can't resist it.  I brought some fruit snacks,  and cheese balls, but saved the drink pouches for another week, as they were having tea.  

Driving Miss Lydia home after activity club is always fun.  For some reason, she wanted to sing Christmas songs.  I started singing, "Something Barked on Christmas Morning", and she wanted me to sing it over and over again, so she could learn it and sing along.  Then I started, "I'm Gettin' Nuthin' For Christmas", and she was enchanted, wanted me to keep singing it...uh oh, it's probably canceled, these days.  She is just too much fun.

So Grandma went up to Dade City to a school there with her neighbors.  I'm sure it's no picnic, and I hope there's not too much Covid going around, jeepers.  The hurricane is looking like a monster storm, I'm praying for my Florida friends, and that Grandma stays safe and comfortable doesn't get too overwhelmed.

Let us know how you are all doing down there!

Monday, September 26, 2022

getting the most out of our Monday

 

Apple pie...I only had a spoonful, although believe me, I could eat the entire thing, no problem.  It tastes much better than it looks...and the pumpkin, why did I stab it so many times?  I'll tell you:  I was getting tired of waiting to eat it...it's a regular pumpkin pie, except for no sugar, just some monk fruit sugar stuff, that doesn't have any calories or raise the blood sugar...and the crust is very thin.
The apple pie before baking...
We bought some pumpkins today!
Miss Char and Miss Cam and a double rainbow...
Charlotte Claire:  she missed the bus this morning, so I had to drive her to school.  I gently reminded her that I DID tell her to get to bed last night.  Oh dear.  I picked her up from school today, and we went to the thrift store.  She found some cute things, and we got a nice pair of UGG boots for seven dollars.  We also went to Marshall's, and only bought a few baby clothes for grand babies, and a new hair brush for Miss Char.  Then to Aldi, for a ready made pizza for their dinner, some cheese, butter, coffee cream, seltzer, a bag of frozen French fries, some broccoli, and some mixed veggies.  Everything is SO expensive, a four pound bag of chicken wings:  $14.99.  $14.99!!!!  Not too long ago, not too far from here, we could eat three of those bags in one meal!   It makes me sad for people, seeing the high prices.
Camille measuring the flour, sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon/cloves/allspice/pumpkin pie spices.
Coffee...ah.

Home from shopping, got the pies into the oven, after the pizza was done...I made some burgers too, as I rarely eat pizza.  Charlotte Claire is at Norwegian class, Camille is working on her story, and Sonja is doing homework.  It's quiet in here, and smells like a bakery, an autumn bakery, apple pie and pumpkin pie...it's like:  home from Florida, now do all the fall things!

So it was hard to leave Grandma, with a hurricane coming!  Her next door neighbors are sweet, and lots younger than she is.  They're planning to bring her along if they have to evacuate.  I really wish I were there with her, she's not scared, but still...   and all of my Florida friends, be smart, and stay safe, and let us all know how you are faring!  


(Grandma). 


Sunday, September 25, 2022

ahhh, home!!!!

 So Florida for the weekend, what warmth and fun!  

We left here on Thursday morning, all snug in the car with Paul driving us to the airport.  Molly and Kathryn, both married and mamas to young children, Camille, and I...looking forward to a few days away.  As we prepared to go up to security at the airport, we got our boarding passes on our phones, and took out our ID...and oops, Camille hadn't brought any!   I had thought a few different times to remind her, but then never did, and oh dear.  Molly called her husband, he was heading over to my house to pick it up, then would bring it to the airport...it would take just under an hour, if all went well...we were going to be cutting it close.  Molly and Kathryn went up to go through security, and were going to tell them at the gate that we would be coming, as if they would wait a plane for us.  

As we sat there helplessly waiting, I flagged down a nice TSA lady, and asked her about a minor flying within the U.S. with a parent, and no I.D.  She recommended we go on up and ask them, so we did...I have TSA preCheck, so Cam does too, and we were able to go right up and ask someone...it was FINE.  As long as I had my passport and she had a boarding pass, right through we went...we were through before Kathryn and Molly, and when we called over to them, they were shocked to see us...we let Josh know that we appreciated his efforts (he was already at my house), but we didn't need it...ahhh.  stress.

Soon it was time to board, and more stress!  We flew Frontier Airlines, and they are cheap.  Direct flights from here, not expensive, but they get you on the extras:  even a carry-on bag...you can bring a personal item, but it has to be small.  Well, we've flown them before, and not had any issues just each bringing a backpack.  Well, this time they had each and every passenger with a backpack, line up and drop the backpack into a bin...if the passenger even had to use one hand to push it down, the lady sent them over to pay ninety nine dollars.  $99.   Camille's backpack isn't tall, but it was fat, as everything smushed down, so it wouldn't go in, thankfully Molly brought her to the back of the line and put some of the stuff into her own backpack. 


 

It was just a little bit of stress.

(We decided to just go online and pay $64 for an carry on, and bought a duffel bag at Walmart, to put extra things in, so we didn't have to stress on the way home)

Anyway, once we got there, the fun began!  We got to pick out our rental car, chose a Jeep.  We stopped and got some food on the way from the airport, and ahh, got to Grandmas and could relax, what a day.  She was so glad to see us.  

Friday morning...we sat around solving the world's problems and catching up with grandma...it's sad, because she is sharp and smart and capable, but her short term memory is not always there.  She is 93, and does tire out, so around eleven, we headed for the gulf coast, and the white sands of Clearwater beach...the sun was shining, the ocean was warm, the waves were fun...ahhh.



Iced Americanos on the way home, then Chilis for dinner, catching up with Grandma...

Saturday morning:  coffee, and talking with Grandma, and some shopping...the beautiful heated pool...then Starbucks, burgers from Five Guys, the quick trip to Walmart, and back to the pool...ahhh.

We had to stop at Publix!  Molly Rose, me, Camille, Kathryn...


We did take a quick trip up to Culver's for ice cream too...we ate it outside in the beautiful warm weather...and laughing until our stomachs ached...

This fine morning, I had time for two cups of coffee on Grandma's porch, before we packed our stuff and hit the road, for the Orlando airport.   Security was a breeze for Cam and I, with preCheck, it took Kathryn and Molly a good half hour to get through.  Once we were off the tram and close to our gate, with time to spare, the girls got sandwiches.   The rest of the trip was smooth sailing, we watched Alice in Wonderland on the way home, then Paul was there to pick us up...home, ahh home.  

All the stress of travel is worth it, and it's interesting how in the moment, how intense things can be, but later, it's easy to see it's just another trial.  It was a short trip, but so much fun...now, back to reality.  



Thursday, September 22, 2022

a work in progress....

 ...not the cabinets, me!  Well, the cabinets too.  I'm almost finished giving them a fresh coat of paint.  I've done them here and there when I can fit it in to my tight schedule, ha.  Actually it's that painting up high like that is not the easiest for long periods of time.  I poured paint into a little plastic jar with a screw on lid, and I wrap the paint brush in plastic wrap after using it every time, so it's easy to just pick it up and do a few doors.  I only have two panels left to paint, side cupboard panels.  

But yes, I am also a work in progress.  You can know something, and believe something, but you have to be tested in it to make it true, right?  I mean, we know that all things work together for the good for those who love God, because it's written in Romans, chapter 8, verse 28.  

Here's where blogging is tricky.  There is MY story, then there is other people's privacy.  Obviously, dealing with my kids strains and stretches my very soul sometimes, but that doesn't mean I can sit here and blab about things they are going through.  So you'll have to just believe me that my life isn't all rainbows and puppy dogs, although it is rather puppy dogs.

Miss Camille presented with what I thought was a rash, the other day at physical therapy.  I wrote it off, thought it would be fine...then later, her older sisters saw it...Emily is an NP, and Mariel is in oncology...I won't say they freaked, but they did ask me what happened when I pressed down on the rash.  Nothing.  Nothing happened.  No marks at all.  Ding ding ding, it dawned on me, this was not a rash.  It was petechiae.   Now, I won't get into other people's medical history, but two of my nieces had childhood leukemia, and I remember some of these symptoms very well.  I also remember the feelings of fear and despair and sadness, and these came welling up in one big sleepless mess.  I didn't just lie there and let it assault me, however, I prayed, and I asked God to help me believe that whatever happens, is weighed and measured just perfectly, and to be thankful and at rest.  It's one big spiritual battle.  

So the pediatrician's office couldn't fit her in yesterday, and today we're going to Florida, so I brought her to urgent care yesterday.  The NP there didn't scoff or scorn or dismiss the rash, in fact she confirmed that it wasn't a rash, it was the petechiae.  She asked a million questions, then ordered the bloodwork...

We stopped at Wegmans for some protein bars for our plane journey (you never know about flight delays, it's good to be prepared so you don't starve to death), and some other essentials like ginger seltzer (love it!), and pasta sauce (it's still only 99 cents a jar, and it's so good!).  

Home, ah home...what can you do when you're waiting for the urgent care to call you back?  Now, all this time, Camille has absolutely no idea why her sisters were concerned, or why we took her right in for just a rash.  She's just blissfully, naively, innocently, happy.  She doesn't complain about waiting for four hours at Urgent Care, she doesn't complain when the nurse couldn't find a vein, even after giving Cam water, and a heat pack for her arm...she poked, the vein disappeared, she didn't want to just poke again...if she couldn't get it on the second try, she was sending us to the hospital for a draw.

Camille wasn't worried.  She took it all in stride.  After holding the warm pack on for a while, the nurse still couldn't find a vein, so she took the blood from the top of the hand.  Camille took this like a champ, when it was over, the nurse praised her, saying that some of the adults cry out when that happens.  Camille said, "Well, I surprised myself."  She is a very squeamish girl.

So home...finally got the call:  the bloodwork was good, CBC (complete blood count), the other tests they tried to run were "inconclusive", which I'm not sure was a fault of the lab, or what, but I was told she could come in for another draw, or wait until she's seen by her pediatrician next week to see what's going on.  Her pediatrician will have a copy of the bloodwork, and if she thinks Cam needs more done, we'll do it, but for now, knowing the CBC was good, I feel better, and am not going to worry too much.  Why she had this happen, I do not know.  

Anyway, I do love my little Cam, she's such a treasure.  I started this blog when I was expecting her, 15 years ago, so her whole life has been chronicled, poor girl. (She turns 15 in November).  

When she was little...so cute!
Still cute!
I tell you, with 16 kids, I've spent more time waiting in waiting rooms!  Good thing I don't get bored!  

Of course I'm hoping and praying that this was just a one-time unexplained occurrence, and that everything is absolutely fine with her.  I cannot cross any bridges unless we come to them, much less jump off them, as in going straight THERE, straight to leukemia.  Oh our minds and thoughts can be torture devices, if we let them.  

Anyway...I'm leaving for the airport in an hour, should do some things before I go, like get ready, ha, and maybe sweep and mop...and I am going to check with Cam before I post this...because my story and her story rather overlap...she says it's fine...so have a good day, and off we go to the airport!
 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

a not-so-dramatic before and after....


 Before....we painted our kitchen cabinets from the orange-y oak, a few years back...but oh my, even with frequent cleanings, they were getting dingy.  

This is the same color paint!  This time we didn't go through all the rigamarole of taking them down and carefully rolling on the paint with cabinet paint rollers, removing the hardware, ect.  No, this time it's just me, myself, and I, so it's just a nice little paint brush and some paint.
Miss Camille got Achilles dressed in his Micky Mouse pajamas after his bath...
Rhys after her bath...
We walked to the playground...Rhys was very tired.



We made them eggs, bacon, and toast for dinner, and boy did they eat it!  Achilles ate his whole egg, bacon, and three toast halves!

They went to bed nicely after their baths...Achilles got to stay up for a while, but he hadn't had a nap, and was so tired, he wanted to go to bed, takes after his grandma.  Camille and I had some quiet time, and actually had a good night sleep in the guest room at Kathryn and Darius' house.

This fine morning, we went to the thrift store after PT, with our friend Linda who just moved back to the area from Missouri, she lived here years ago.  We talked and shopped and looked around...I found a few things for the grandkids, Camille found a nice tea pot, worth a bit, but she wants to keep it.  She looked it up while we were in the store, we paid four dollars for it, it sells for $50 to $90.  I told her she should start her own business.  

In the never-a-dull-moment department, Cam has developed a strange rash on her shoulders, and her nurse sisters are worried, so a call to the dr tomorrow...prayers, please!

Monday, September 19, 2022

raining cats and dogs...

 ...and I'm not cuddled up with a book and a coffee.  This morning, Kathryn had to bring Rhys in for a check up, so I watched Achilles for a few hours.  I made him pancakes with sprinkles, and got out lots of cars.  I showed him pictures on my phone, and gave him a snack of some cheese puffs and a little orange, all peeled and sectioned nicely.  He ate ALL of the cheesies, and none of the orange.  :)

In a few minutes, I'm headed to his house, because his mama and daddy are going to Buffalo for a football game.  I'll be spending the night, because they will get home so late.  

After Achilles left, I got out the cabinet paint and painted a few more doors.  Yes, I probably should remove the doors and roll the paint properly.  But, it ain't happening.  The original paint job a few years back, we did all the right steps, the sanding and de-glossing and cleaning, and priming and rolling, with all the hardware removed (and spray painted).  I'm using the very same paint (Sherwin-Williams Alabaster, in flat, I love flat paint, probably should have gone with satin for cabinets, but I love it).  So I have a nice paint brush, and am just giving them a new coat.  They look so much better, and this paint is so forgiving, looks smooth even with a brush.  

Anyway, I filled up my time, packed up an overnight bag, my handy dandy backpack, and had a few extra minutes before I get up at the last minute and hurry out the door, so I thought I'd blog.

Yesterday, after church, Evelyn came over for a bit...then Margaret came with Wulf and Tennyson, then Emily came for a bit.  We had beef brisket, baked potatoes, roasted broccoli and red peppers.  They went out for ice cream (pumpkin ice cream and cheesecake ice cream, in a twist!).  I stayed here because Em had just gotten here, and she brought chocolate covered coconut almonds from Costco.  Do NOT buy them, especially if you adore Almond Joy bars, you won't be able to resist.  She brought them back home with her, but not before I ate just a few too many, oh they're good.  I don't eat much candy, but some things are just worth it.

Anyway.  I really have to get out the door this fine rainy day...tomorrow, PT for Cam, and probably the thrift store, there's an Aldi across from it, and we need a few things...Wednesday, water aerobics (I need to get back at it!), and a meeting in the evening, then...Thursday:  Florida!!!!  A weekend in Florida with Molly, Kathryn, and Camille!  Just a short visit with gramma, a trip to the beach, some relaxing...and back home...a 3 hour direct flight, yes please...hoping it's not delayed or canceled...and off I go, last minute came quickly, ha!

Saturday, September 17, 2022

friday! where did you go?

 Well, sweeping and mopping, then out and about...Sonja K. had a bit of time, she needed to decompress.  Her nursing program is difficult and frustrating. There are 13 students left now, from a class of over 50.  So Kathryn was planning to bring Sonja out and about just for a change of scene, and Camille and I joined in...



It looked nice...

But um...no.



Rhys was in my cart, she's too much fun.  I had to talk to her the entire time to distract her from trying to stand up in the cart, even buckled.  She also liked to yell Mama, Mama!  She waves at everyone, and grabs clothes and plays with the tags.  In other words, she makes Target more fun.
Achilles rode in Kathryn/Sonja/Camille's cart...
I was going to buy her this dolly...but upon closer examination, it is a Crybaby doll, with a plug in the back of it's head to fill with water, so it cries real tears.  This is very cool, but the plug itself looked sketchy to me.  Rhys is a clever girl, and I could see her getting that plug out and putting it in her mouth.  To be fair, I didn't just take it from her, she threw the dolly into the back of the cart when she got bored of it.  

She is the cutest little thing though.  

We got home, all relaxed, but I had promised Charlotte Claire that I'd do something with her after school.  Kathryn came in for a bit with the kids, then left.  Sonja headed in to do school work, so Camille and I picked up Miss Char, and headed to pick up some paint...Sherwin Williams is having 40% off this weekend.  Then, to Marshalls where we didn't buy much, but I do enjoy walking around looking at all the things.  The girls found bras, I got one pair of grandchild pajamas.  (This is where I have to stop myself, I want to buy all the cute little outfits!)

We went to the thrift store, Charlotte Claire found some nice things...Nike Air sneakers in excellent condition for $7.99.   It's always an adventure.  Once, Camille found an old sterling silver Sheffield tea pot, it's worth a bit, for just a few dollars.  

Home again...ahhh, home.  The girls had to leave to go up to Margaret's for a fun girls' evening, Paul and I were here all alone, so relaxing.  

My mind is whirring with things I want to do, projects, things to paint, organize...I wish my body would catch up to my mind, and that I would have the time to do them, but such is life.  This fine morning, I have already returned from driving the girls out to our church...they are cleaning/sanding/staining decks of campers for our friends, as a fundraiser to help their trips to Norway.  

I'm headed back out there very soon to help make lunch...there is so much going on out there, we are now building a ski/sledding hill, with a lodge...with saunas and hot tubs!  The goal is to make use of our property more in the wintertime, to keep those young people busy!  So most weekends there is work going on there, as there are also more cabins being built.  This keeps us busy too, because we make nice meals for those doing the work.  

My hip is doing a bit better, a lot better, but it's still twinges with pain if I move the wrong way.  I'm hoping it will hold up for a kitchen shift, because I absolutely love being there in the kitchen with my friends.  I only signed up to do one meal, so I won't overdo it.  

The days just speed by.  Jonathan has been in Europe for two months already.  He keeps in touch regularly, which I appreciate.  He made chocolate cookies for the guys he's staying with, then peanut butter cookies. 


This is the group he works with most days, obviously doing construction.  They have a lot of fun, too, it's not just work.  They get paid for it, plus of course their food and lodging.  I do miss him, but he's having such a good experience, making lifelong friends too.  

Ah well...time to change into some comfy kitchen work clothes and put my hair up...