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, January 23, 2021

stuck in January....

 January in the north, if you love darkness and cold and snow, you'd be quite happy here in NY.   I sort of like it when it gets dark at five o'clock, it's snuggly.  When the days get longer, it's hopeful and amazing, but also like that I'm-not-ready-to-get-out-of-bed-yet feeling.  

The kids were supposed to go play volleyball last evening, but the snow kept them home.  The girls got out some beads and wire and string and made bracelets and rings.  I had some hot decaf, and avoided the cookies and milk they were chomping on.

The ones with sprinkles are for Princess Camille, she doesn't like chocolate chips.

It was snowing out last evening!  They weren't even out there for very long!

That little car!

After 11 last night, I snapped this pic of the weather radar.  We live right in the path of the yellow, the heavy snow.  Lake Effect snow just comes down in bands from Ontario (top left of the pic).  

I'm going to get my boots on and go out and shovel the deck...

Well, that was fun, I'm back in now!

Have a warm cozy day!

Friday, January 22, 2021


 It's not actually too cold out, but it sure is pretty!  The snow isn't cracking underfoot like it does when it's really freezing.   Days like today, when the snow is floating down like a snow globe, coating the branches and brightening up the living room, I love winter.  

There is fajita soup on the hob for dinner.  I browned up five pounds of chicken breast sprinkled with lime juice, with chopped onion, added taco seasoning and chili powder, and two boxes of chicken broth.  It's simmering, then later we'll add black beans and corn, some tomatoes.  We unfortunately don't have any peppers.  It'll be served with Basmati rice, sour cream, and fresh cilantro, and probably tortilla chips.

I'll be wandering into the kitchen to bake some cookies in a bit, cookies that I won't eat.  It's not fair, I tell you.  I just have to think about cookies to gain weight.  I don't even want to talk about my weight loss plan, because it's not working!  One meal a day, usually, sometimes two, if the first one is eggs.  Mostly just meat and veggies, sometimes tortilla chips, and I did eat that turkey pot pie, crust and all.  Most people who fast, and eat only one meal a day, can take a bit of liberty with what they eat, but not me!   No bread, no cookies, but sometimes chocolate after dinner, chocolate covered almonds.  It should be enough to at least maintain the weight I lost, but no, the scale is creeeeeeeping back up.  I think it's the cream in the coffee, so I've backed way off on that, and we'll see what happens.  I might have to do alternate day fasting, but oh dear.  I'll admit:  these days of being home in the winter, with not much going on, not eating all day, dinner is sort of a beacon, something to look forward to.  

Between the weight, and my hair being thin and not growing, Suri getting old (she's been so limp-y, she was hit by a car when she was a puppy, and has an innovative hip socket, fashioned out of muscle...) and things being closed and not being able to travel,  I'll admit to having to work at being happy sometimes.  It's shown me how much stock I put in earthly things though.  This is still the day that the Lord has made, whether my arse needs it's own zip code, or new wrinkles decorate my face.  I don't want to just fake it til I make it, although sometimes that's necessary.  (No used getting all bummed out and dragging the kids down too.)  I'm working on seriously and genuinely being thankful for all things that God sees fit to send my way.  

Also, not making excuses, nor giving up, because what the heck, I may as well just EAT COOKIES.  You know when you're reading a book, and the character makes a stupid decision, and you're like, NO, don't do it!  I know that if I were reading my book, I wouldn't want me to eat the cookies.

Anyway, life isn't a bed of roses, but if it were, we would stop to smell them, wouldn't we?  There are thorns, and there are things I can't always write here that I go through, but life itself is a gift, and we do have today.  

Thursday, January 21, 2021

excuse me, it seems I have lost a day...!

 "Well Jonny, " I said today.  "I think we should have taco soup tomorrow night, and pulled pork on Friday."  Jon replied, "you do know that today IS Thursday, right?"  oops, no, I thought it was Wednesday. I somehow lost a day.  

Tonight was supposed to be soup night, it's actually tortilla soup, not taco soup.  Sonja is making it, we have all the ingredients, but with the busy schedule she had with online classes today, she forgot to get it started.  So, we had taco salad.  I do love fresh cilantro and lime tortilla chips, mmm.

The days are busy for the kids, I'm just here throwing in a load of laundry, sweeping and mopping the floors, and keeping spirits bright.  Sometimes I go outside and shovel the deck, or play with the dogs, or read a few chapters of a book.  

Today, Suzanne and her fiancĂ© came over for a visit.  They have moved back from California, and it is SO nice to spend time with them.  

This afternoon, Jon and I headed to the auto repair shop in town to drop off one of the van tires for a repair.  We waited there in the little waiting room, watching, "Let's Make A Deal" on the little television.  Oh.My.Goodness.  I feel for all the patients in nursing homes and hospitals and for lonely people across the planet who have NOTHING BETTER TO DO.  It was the peak of stupidity, such nonsense.  

We aren't Leave-The-T.V.-On type people.  We turn it on when we want to watch something, sports usually have volume down, but always when commercials come on.   We just don't like the stupid thing blaring into our home!  So right now, it's off.  The kids are all at a church youth meeting, Paul is reading his bible and scrolling on his computer, and I'm in my chair with my own laptop.  We're talking a bit, the dogs are snoring, life is good.  But the television, with the news (so dreary!), and prescription drug ads (the side-effects!), no thank you!

I'd rather hear the clock tick.

But shh, true confession here:   I got rid of the ticking clock, our actual kitchen clock that...ticked.  When it's too quiet in here, the last thing I want to hear is an actual clock...ticking.  So I bought a new one, a nicer one, and the old one is sitting in the laundry room.   

You've probably realized by now that I don't have too much to say.  Jonathan is taking his driving test on Monday, so we'll probably go out again tomorrow and practice.  We drove around today after getting the tire fixed, and went into Aldi for a few things, like coffee (their whole bean Organic medium roast, mmm), tortilla chips, fresh salsa, chocolate covered almonds, little mini clementine oranges, apples, heavy cream, brown sugar, and a chocolate bar.  You get so much for your money from Aldi, and no, I'm not getting paid to say so.

Anyway, Jon learned to parallel park, and do a three point turn, just like that.  He still needs a little polishing up, but shh, the last five kids I taught to drive were girls, and shh, they don't catch on to things like that so fast.  They would be more likely to sit there next to the car near the curb, asking me, "Now WHAT way do I turn the wheel?", and I'd be like, "I can't explain it!  Just park behind this car!"   But with Jon, well, he just does it.  

So tomorrow, Sonja goes into work at the college, the little girls go to in-person school, and Jon and I will go driving after he does his school work...

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

did you SEE what's going on out there??!!!!

 Jonathan was out working on his four-wheeler yesterday, when he came in and asked me that.  My heart lurched, and I thought immediately he was talking about in D.C....that something bad was going on.  Well, he was talking about snow.  It was a white-out, very cozy, it got dark in the house, it was snowing so badly.  

Yesterday, breaks of beautiful brightness...

This morning...more snow.  I love living here, can I say that?  I love my yard.  The windows in our house are better than framed pictures.

The Little Tikes car just adds a pop of color, ha.

I did make  turkey pot pie yesterday, two of them.  I forgot to take a pic until I was going back for seconds!

The broth from the turkey, thickened up a bit with flour, some rosemary and sage, a bag and a half of frozen veggies, and lots of turkey.  I use an all-butter crust recipe, then add some more to the top, with a hefty sprinkling of salt and pepper.  The top is so tasty.

Rice Krispie treats with sprinkles!

I made these for our junior activity club.  Emily and I work with the youngest group at church, every other Tuesday.  Last evening, I brought our Calico Critters/Lil Woodeez stuff.  Emily always brings a sheet and a blanket and makes them a cozy tent, so they played with the little stuff there.  We then had coloring time, with a snack and a drink pouch.  They range from two and a half years up to four years old, and when all are there, it's six of them.  Wulf is getting ready to join soon!  (yes, they wear masks, which is SAD, but unless they are having a snack, they do wear them, and we wear them too.)

Jonathan is all signed up to take his road test next week.  I'm not sure how to feel about this.  He was just born, for crying out loud!  He is a decent driver, not as careful as I would like, but then I drive like a grandma, my kids say.  Jon is always doing things like checking to see how icy the roads are, swerving just to see how it handles.  I tell him he needs to give me a heads up, there I am stomping the invisible brake and grabbing the dashboard for nothing.  He pushes buttons and tries things out, and uses cruise control.  The beauty of being young is that lack of fear...we get older and know all the things that can happen, but that unfettered freedom of being young, I do envy it.  

These two:

Yes, I do want to go out!

When they come in from outside, they have to sit on the towel and have their paws wiped off, then they get a treat.  A treat?!  Yes, a treat!  It's they're favorite word.  If you ask, "Did anyone feed the dogs?", they will wag, they're ears will come forward, and their begging faces will be in full cuteness mode, even if they have already eaten, for they are big fat piggy liars, when it concerns eating.  Their faces say, "What?  food?  No one fed us yet!"

Today, Jon wants to go driving after he finishes school.  Sonja K. has done an online class, and is heading to the college for work.  She screens and takes temps as people enter the building.  The sun is out once again, hope the drive is easy for her today.  Lake effect snow comes in bands.  You can be driving down the road, and find yourself in a white-out, then drive out of it back into pure sunshine.  When you can't even see the road, ugh.

All this squawking and blabbing, trying to distract myself from what is going on in the big W today.  I'm thankful that Samuel isn't part of this inauguration.  Four years ago, he was, right there at the White House.  Back then, there was a bit more respect.  I won't be saying, "Not my president!", out of respect, but I'm not exactly elated.  Mr. Trump mentioned a bright future, as he exited, but the new guy has already said how we have dark months ahead of us.  

What I'd really like:  lower taxes...much, much lower, fewer programs, no new ones, fewer  laws, no new ones.   With this new administration, this ain't gonna happen.  It's like they're already rubbing their hands together, plotting more restrictions.  Okay, you may not all agree, and I hope you're right.

In any case, this IS the day that the Lord has we will rejoice, and be glad in it. 

Monday, January 18, 2021



Sonja, me, Evelyn Joy, Camille...walking in the cold. (Char went downhill skiing!)


Jonathan with Suri...


4.  These guys again, they are such blessings.


Ben and Ashley's new puppy, Kobe Jack.


Achilles is going to have a baby sister!  Kathryn and Darius are having a girl!


Rocking baby Tennyson...


Coziness with the grand babies.


Cold, snowy Sunday turkey dinner...


Uncle Jonny with baby cousins Tennyson and Ophelia.


My new bathroom floor...look how awful the old one was!


My new bathroom, love it!

Yes, there are good things in life.  Today, for example, is my oldest daughter's birthday.   

We aren't celebrating in person, yet, but we will, one of these days.  I did drop off flowers, chocolate, and kettle popcorn.

This afternoon we went to the library.  A stack of books, that's happy!

The numbers here are going down.  Less positives, less deaths, light at the end of the tunnel.  Tomorrow, school begins again, in person school!

It's winter, it's been dark and dreary, but this week:  snow!  Snow brightens things up!

Our turkey dinner was fantastic!  Tomorrow we are having turkey pot pie, how's that for positivity?

Friday, January 15, 2021


 Happy happy day, Miss Char and Miss Cam both tested negative for Covid-19, through an asymptomatic testing program at school.  Sonja tested negative on Monday.  It's eight days since Florida, and we're doing all right.  phew.

Just a couple of bathrooms selfies, because, well, there's not much going on!  A few pics here and there on the blog are nice, and the animals haven't been cute enough for photos lately.  

I was just talking to the UPS lady.  Suri was outside when she came, and of course BARK BARK BARK. I had to go down to the driveway in my slippers to fetch that bad girl.  After safely locking her on the deck, I got the package, and the lady told me that she was almost attacked recently by a dog.  The dog was "friendly" according to the owner, and the owner was right there outside.  I chatted with the lady for a few, she is a really nice woman. 

There are all sorts of negativity, and not all as good as a negative Covid test.    I try not to stir things up, I rather like peace.  I think I was born with a black and white striped shirt and a whistle around my neck, or maybe it just appeared when I had more than one child.  When you have kids, they don't magically get along.  One can gripe about another, but as the mom, you have to let them vent, then gently steer them back to consider the possibility that they might be partly to blame.  Forgive and forget, you tell them.  Love covers a multitude of sins, you might say.  Or my personal favorite, "Behold good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity." (ppl.133)

In my book, part of growing up is learning how to get along.  When the name-calling starts on social media, I think they sound like kindergarteners.  We, as people, are vastly different.   But there is this distortion that happens, this equation that doesn't add up, this "if you are X, (or support X!)then you are automatically Y".    I am not a racist.  I am not anti-gay, nor am I "part of the problem". I am not pro-cop, nor anti-cop, as "cops" are people, whom are vastly different.  Most went into law enforcement for a steady career, maybe some turned into bad apples, maybe some were born into racist families, maybe some are as crooked as the day is long, as are many others in this world:  lawyers, judges, POLITICIANS!, even the local Little League treasurers.  

The problem is sin.  Every person is vulnerable to fall into it's clutches, it doesn't discriminate.   When we start finger pointing and accusing and judging each other, well, how is that going?  There's no doubt about it, awful things happen in this world, there is corruption at every level of everything.  More laws aren't going to fix it all.   

One thing I encourage my kids to do:  speak to the hearts of others.  Don't be put off by a bit of grumpiness, sometimes life is hard and people go through trials.  But don't lose hope for people!  We may not be able to fundamentally change the world, but we can each do our little part, in our little corner, to not just add fuel to the fires.  I am in that place where I want to keep peace, but also value that I am an American, and have the right to speak out as I see fit.  

I also welcome different points of view, if you want to comment and shed some light on a different angle, please do!   

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

there's no place like home, there's no place like home...

If we could name the year 2020, that would be a good one. When all this started, we couldn't have perceived that the new year would still be so restricted. I am super thankful that I live in the country, and can still go outside, still walk down the road.

Politics:  I am neither on the left, or on the right, but in the middle.  Freedom, I value.  More laws and rules, I hate.  Arguing and strife, I hate.  Violence, racism,  I hate.  Hypocrisy, dang!  Why, oh why was it applauded and generally okay when Target was trashed, and Walmart was flooded, and multitudes walked away with "free" t.v.s, when police stations were set on fire and innocent bystanders beat up, small businesses looted and smashed, all in the name of "peaceful protests", but storm the capitol, and well, just for the record, I do not support this either!  And call me a conspiracy theorist, but some stirring up trouble were there just to make Trump supporters look bad.  And don't get me started about who is in control of the media.  It's just WRONG.

I do not like everything about President Trump.  But he's done an awful lot of good for this country, including improving relations with N. Korea, he's wise in his dealings with China, not in bed with them for heaven's sake.  I actually feel bad for him, that he's been so absolutely disrespected.  "Not my president", I can't imagine being like that, no matter who is in office.  Was there election fraud?  I won't even go there.  It's just scary how far the media will go to paint the world how they want you to see it.  

So I don't want to be dragged down into despondency by the news, yet I don't want to live with my head in the sand.  I feel I owe it to my kids to teach them not to believe everything they hear, to read between the lines, think for themselves.  

With all of this said, life is still a gift.  If you are alive today, that is a gift from God.  Last night, I had trouble falling asleep (coffee, how I love/hate thee!).  Anxious thoughts were trying to edge their way in, so I was tossing and turning, and counting my blessings.  I was listing every single thing I was thankful for, and I finally fell asleep.  

There is no doubt this is a troubling time to live in.  We have a nursing home in our county, the very home my mother-in-law was in for rehab a few years back, which is FILLED with Covid-19.  I'm not sure the latest numbers, but over 30 have died, and close to 200 tested positive.  This is beyond sad.  Not only are the residents without their loved ones visiting, week after week after month, but so many are sick and dying alone.  That is the most dismal thing I can think of.  So even when I'm enjoying quarantine, sitting at the sewing machine, or binge watching Grey's Anatomy with the teenagers, there is that somberness running through the back of the mind, that awareness that all is not well in this world.  

This is the day which the Lord has made, it's up to us how much we get out of it.  I know that in our home, how I take things seriously sets the tone around here.  We have a turkey defrosting in the refrigerator, doesn't a turkey dinner sound good?  Last evening, we had homemade meatballs, with spaghetti and sauce, canned green beans for me.  I would prefer spaghetti squash, but one cannot always have what one wants, ha.  I also made some cuppy cakes for a little sweetheart who turned one year old.  Mama Molly Rose is a nurse, has had a vaccine, and was willing to intrude upon our quarantine, as we were willing to have her.  A grandma HAS to see her little granddaughters!

   I know that Ophelia Madeline Rose doesn't actually understand too much about birthdays, but big sister Lydia Eleanor certainly does!  (I wrapped a gift for her, too!)

Today I have to bring the girls to be tested, it's a voluntary, at the school.  Hopefully they'll be negative, and hopefully it'll help school be in-person again.  Online school gets boring!  

This is how I actually feel today:

When you can't fall asleep at night, when you've gotten to bed after midnight, then morning comes and it's like, ugh!  I can't function yet!  Ah well, the culprit comes full circle to the rescue, thank you, hot delicious cup of coffee...