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, February 18, 2019

the sunshine state...

Surprise of all surprises, the boys from Oregon decided to come visit Grandma too, for a few days! Aaron and Riley are here in Florida too.

We stayed in a really nice place on Saturday night, and enjoyed the lazy river, floating in the sunshine.

Now we're with Grandma, catching up, and relaxing. Not sure what we're doing today...

Sunday, February 17, 2019

here in Florida....

Today we'll go on to Grandma's place. It took a full 24 hours to get here, driving straight with just rest stops, and one three hour stretch to snooze. Paul did most of the driving, thankfully. My eyes just won't stay open! But oh, that's a long long time to be in the car, even if it IS a really nice car. We rented an 8 passenger Chevy Suburban, and of course it's brand new with all the bells and whistles. I am not complaining about our 2008 minivans, but...

We spent yesterday in the lazy river and hot tub here at the hotel. We went to Disney Springs, which is crowded and expensive, but also quite interesting. So much to look at!

Everyone else is still sleeping here in the hotel room. I got up super early and took a bath, a long, water-wasting bath, very hot and relaxing. The shower and tub are separate units, and the tub looked super clean.

I washed my tangly hair, got my jammies back on, and here I am!

Sunshine. It's good for the soul. Good for what ails you. And vacation is grand, especially with Paul. My last two years of coming down here have been without him, he had to work. So it's really nice to have him, and he's so much fun in vacation mode.

It's nice with the four girls, too. Suzanne, Sonja, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. Who ever would have thought we would go on vacay with only FOUR kids? Jonathan chose to stay back to hang out and enjoy winter with his friends. They have a snowmobile, and are always adventuring. Sitting by a pool, the long car ride...he was a bit torn about not seeing Grandma, but.

I am absolutely reveling in spending time with these four youngest girls. It's crazy how happy it makes me to see them enjoy things.

Here's my dilemma: it's 8:30, and we have to check out by 11:00. I want to go out and get some sunshine first, enjoy the lazy river a bit. So do I start crashing around and wake everyone up or let them sleep? Paul and I pretty much missed a whole night of sleep, these kids dozed between stops.

I slept like a baby last night until 1:45 when I must have stretched in my sleep, and dang it, leg cramp in the calf. The weird thing is when I got up to try to walk it off (I also took some ibuprofen, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin D, and drank a huge glass of water), the other calf started cramping too. Car ride? Dehydrated? It has happened before, but dang, both of them! If you've ever had a leg cramp up, you'll know what I mean when I say: agony. It sounds like such a mild wimpy occurrence, but OUCH!!!

I did get them to calm down, and fell back to sleep. The bed is comfy, shared with Miss Cam. Sonja K. and Char are in the other bed, Miss Suze in a nest on the floor on one side of the room, Paul on the other. (Paul likes to sleep on the floor. I know. It would be sheer torture for me.)

Anyway, I have much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

I had a dream....

...that I had a baby. The birth was quick and painless, and I pulled that baby up onto my chest, and he looked right at me with his newborn eyes, and I knew he was a baby boy without even verifying. He was breathtakingly beautiful, and I had no idea it was only a dream. (although the "quick and painless" thing should have clued me in ha)

Obviously, I am all done having babies, at 53 years old. But oh, I want that baby from my dream!

I think maybe it was Robert.

There has been so much in the news lately about abortion, late term abortion, ect., and it always brings me back to the saddest day ever, when little Robert arrived. I would have done ANYTHING to breathe life into his poor little body. And I simply cannot fathom why anyone would CHOOSE to TAKE life from a poor pure innocent little infant.

Anyway. When we went to Mexico, we took two huge suitcases and checked them, so we only had our backpacks/purses to carry. Most of my stuff went into Mariel's bag, which went to her house. I wasn't anxious to get it back, because, duh, it's winter, and that was all warm weather stuff...then wait! Yesterday, I realized that DUH, I am going to Florida in a few days and all of my summer stuff is still packed in that suitcase at Mariel's place in town!

And, to make it more fun, our washing machine is broken again. Lucky Camille did two loads of her laundry yesterday, then I washed a load of towels, and bang, it started blinking a code, and those soggy towels have taken like three rides in that washer, and it won't spin them. Paul worked on it a bit last night, but it's still not fixed. So, I may have to go to the laundromat tonight.

After I get my suitcase stuff.

So this fine morning, Lydia and Anne are here but it seems quiet because the little family of Margaret, Adrian, and baby Wulf just left. They are flying up to Winnipeg for a week because Adrian's grandma isn't doing well, and stopped here for a few hours because their flight was delayed. Adrian so nicely drove me up to town quick to pick up the red minivan, which is fixed, again, while Margaret held down the fort.

They are on their way now, and the little girls are playing in water. Because yes, I always believe the following: we won't make a mess! I fall for it every.single.time.

So they are quarreling and spatting, each of them having a hard time sharing. There's a Barbie swimming pool and some Polly Pocket dolls, and the battery powered sink with a working faucet. They want what the other one has, and on and on it goes. Anne has an older brother, but Davian is seven, and a sister but Grace is 15, and of course Lydia is an only child, so...they're a work in progress.

So the trials of life will continue as long as there is life, but in the right perspective, that's what they are: trials. We had an incident on our flight to Mexico, where the plane parked and everyone unbuckled and started gathering bags from overhead bins, when the flight attendant announced we were at the wrong gate, so replace the bags, sit down, buckle back up. Oh, the sighing and crabbing! As soon as all were seated again, the flight attendant got back on the microphone and said, okay, this gate has been approved, you can deboard the plane. Well. People were just so upset! I turned to my seat-mates and said, "That was just a test." They looked at me like I was from Mars. It's just par for the course to complain about everything, I guess.

Anyway, it's almost snack time for little girls, then time to lie down for a bit. Lydia spent the night last night and slept in late, so she's not as tired as usual. Anne has been yawning.

Off I go to fix some snacks...

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

snow day!!!! no school!!!

February in central New York state, ugh. We're right in the path of the lake effect snow, and it's coming down. Not only seven inches of snow, but freezing rain later? We are staying home today. I'm glad we stopped in Walmart yesterday and have milk, bread, and eggs. Today might just be a baking bread day. hmmm.

Lydia is here, and is spending the night. She is such a cuddly little sweetie pie. I brought home Kinder eggs for the girls, and for Lydia and Anya, and haven't passed them out yet, except Cam had one on Saturday. :)

The kids are still sleeping, and oh my goodness it's cozy in here. The fake fireplace is humming, my coffee is yummy, and the snow is coming down out there, making the house bright and Christmas-y. I like the sunshine on my skin, but I admit to being totally in love with COZY. Blankets strewn on the couches, lighting candles on the coffee table in the evenings, hot tea when I've had enough coffee.

There are building blocks and dollhouses, little trucks and cars, toy dishes and foods, strewn around our happy living room.

Ah well....maybe I should go put some dinner in the crockpot. Shh, Aldi sells the best chuck roast. I used to avoid both chuck roasts, and meat from Aldi, but I have discovered their beef is really really good. It's packaged shrink wrapped, and lasts longer in the refrigerator. Chuck roast with all the fat...well, that's what makes it so good, I guess. I dredge it in flour, brown it on all sides in hot olive oil, then put it in the crock pot, sprinkled with a packet of brown gravy mix. Add some carrots, potatoes, and a sliced onion, and oh dear, you've got a yummy dinner. In my book, there's nothing quite as satisfying as knowing what's for dinner.

Monday, February 11, 2019

in between vacations

Getting back to Real Life after a tropical vacation in the middle of winter isn't too bad, when you're unpacking the suitcase only to repack it with the same bathing suits.

Real Life is nice, hanging out at home and doing school, mopping the floors, watching 3 year old Lydia play with 2 year old Anne, taking care of the puppies, snuggling the Orange Guy, whom, if he could talk, would say, "Purring is my favorite."

This afternoon I had the opportunity to take Jonathan and Miss Cam for haircuts. Have you ever been absurdly proud of one of your kids? ha, multiply that by sixteen and you know how I feel. Seriously. But today, it was Jonathan. He is such a gentleman. He sat there talking to the haircutting lady (stylist?), Mr. Social. Then we went to the auto store for coolant and oil for the blue minivan, and he also knows how to open the hood and which place to pour them. Driving the blue minivan is no picnic. The mileage is creeping toward 200 thousand, it's a 2008, and if you go over 50, it starts to shake. The heat only works in the front, and there is a headlight out. We bought one, but haven't installed it yet. I told Jon I am not driving anywhere until we do. The red van, also a 2008, is in the shop. One of the coolant hoses came apart. That van only visits us, it really lives at the shop.

Anyway. We also went to Walmart, because we're crazy, and we needed milk and bananas and pizza dough. I got some chocolate for the kids for Valentine's Day, too.

We went into Marshall's while we waited for our appointment, to try to find a swimsuit for Camille. We did find nice sneakers for Jon for ten dollars, and a cute floral top for Cam for Florida for five. I also bought an outfit for Lydia, and one for Anya. :)

Then to the tractor supply store for a huge-0 bag of dog chow, the nice low carb meat and veggie kind.

Then, I ran into the dollar store and bought one box of cereal, one 12 pack of Reese's (for a dollar!), and 3 Pereguina chocolate bars.

Home...ah home. I marinated some chicken breast in lime juice, Montreal chicken seasoning, and olive oil. Suzanne made half moon cookies...oh yumster. I didn't eat any, but oh they're pretty. (they're little cake-like cookies that are usually frosted half chocolate and half vanilla)(but Size wanted them Valentine-y, so one side is white, and the other side pink, but all flavored vanilla). While Cam and Suze baked, I cooked up the chicken in olive oil, chopped peppers and tomatoes and cilantro. Cam warmed up some pasta, and I browned up some corn tortillas. Dinner was: mmm mmm good.

The day flew by.

Tomorrow, I'm supposed to bring Jon to an eye appointment, but the weather forecast....snow, icy rain, freezing rain, more snow...and I only have the blue van.

So...we'll see.

I'd rather stay home. I don't get bored, no sir.

Just a few more days, then it'll be Friday, and off we go...first to Jacksonville for a night at the ocean, then to central Florida the next day, and all week there in the sunshine. Charlotte Claire wants to go to Clearwater beach while we're there, we'll see. We are going to Busch Gardens, yay! I'm not big on roll-y coasters, but still like the parks with the kids, and I can tolerate a few rides, like the water ones.

I'm now only a pound up from before Mexico, so that's good. But I still have a long way to go. But this year is my year, I'm going to lose like fifty pounds. I am also stating just for the record that I am not letting my fatness interfere with my happiness. You could tell me 'til you're blue in the face that being thin wouldn't make me happier, but no sir, I do not believe that at all, I could just...wear.clothes. So it WOULD make me happier. But. At the same time, I'm not going to let it get to me and weigh me down, ha, isn't that a good one?

Grandma is down in Florida waiting for our visit. I hope we don't wear her out too much. So far, only four of the kids are going with Paul and I. One fourth of the kids, ha.

Anyway. I'm thankful for these vacations, and you know, it hasn't always been this way for me, for us. We never went to Florida with the older kids, not until like six years ago. And I never went on a real vacation, a tropical trip, until we were married for 26 years. 35 is coming up next month. Can you believe that?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

home, home again...I like to be here when I can...

Pink Floyd anyone?

Yes, we're home, Paul's home, it's snowing out, and the dogs are happy as heck we're here.

Today was a good day with my girls. Margaret came over with her little Wulf, and went to Target with me, and Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, and Camille. (Emily is in Ottawa with Jonathan and Charlotte Claire, they were going to skate on the Rideau canal but maybe were going to tour the capital instead).

So we Target-ed, found a few important things, then went to the craft store so Suzanne could get some yarn.

Then to Aldi, because we were running out of some essentials, and because we decided we needed Mexican food for dinner...I was having withdrawl, ha. So we came home and made taco meat (beef), chicken cut in strips in fried up in olive oil and seasonings with a bit of lime, jasmine rice, chopped tomatoes, homemade pico, cliantro, chopped peppers, avocado, and other toppings. Dessert: grapes, strawberries, blueberries. Mmmm.

Here's the thing, I really enjoyed my vacation. I had some drinks that were too sugary (White Russian, mmm. Frozen Marguerita, Mojito). I ate the cake, I ate the churros. (oh my goodness, churros? too good!). So I dreaded the scale, dreaded it. Three pounds. I felt like I gained like 20, seriously. But three, I can do that. I can get that back off. I would rather have lost three pounds, but oh it was fun to just enjoy all the things.

Tomorrow we're going to Connecticut for the day, and on Friday, Florida! I need to unpack so I can repack.

And shh, this morning I swept and mopped and cleaned up...I wanted to sit at the table and wait for my coffee, ha.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

the Santa Fe steak house restaurant for our last night...

It's late at night, and yes, I did put the brownie a la mode twice. The first pic is the view from the beach lunch buffet. Then there's Evelyn Joy, so sweet.

Our steak dinner reservations were for 9:30, so it was past ten when we got our meals. Mine was a Cajun encrusted sirloin...very spicy, especially at this time of night.

We had another lovely day here, swimming in the ocean waves and relaxing by the pool.

We managed to escape major sunburns, mine has faded a bit. We went through so much sunscreen.

So tomorrow morning, we'll hit the breakfast buffet for the last time, and then off we go on our hour + trip to the Cancun airport. Then we fly to New York, then Syracuse, where we wait for Paul, who will be arriving an hour later from Nevada.

Phew. It's been too much fun.