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

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

a proper blog post...

 Oh, I've been here there and everywhere, just busy.  I don't like to neglect the old blog too much.  

Kathryn and Darius and the little ones, Achilles and Rhys, have moved into their new place, just last evening.  They don't have all of their stuff yet, it's being shipped across the country in a pod, but they have enough for now.  The house seems very quiet and empty, they were here for over a month.  I got used to holding a cuddly footy-pajama-ed baby Rhys in the morning while her mama got her a ba-ba.  Achilles would wake up with his hair all messy, and he'd be a bit cranky, and Kathryn would turn on "Curious George", he'd cuddle on the couch with his juice...yes, it's too quiet here now.

I won't be sitting around all day whining about it though, Mariel is picking me up in a little while, then we're picking up Molly Rose, and going on a little adventure, to a couple of wineries in the Finger Lakes.  It's a beautiful day, blue skies, and it'll be 75, absolutely perfect...

There is a project in my kitchen, an old medicine cabinet that I'm re-doing.  I forgot to take a before pic, as usual, but it was an oak cabinet from when we built our house.  One of the girls had chalk painted it a sage green several years ago.  I removed and discarded the old handles, I had some brand new ones I had gotten on clearance a while ago, silver ones:  spray painted them black, they look spiffy.  I also removed and spray painted the hinges black.  Then, a nice coat of primer, then a coat of Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze, one of my favorite colors.  It'll need another coat, then back on with the hinges and doors, and I'll take a picture.  

Renovating things like that is satisfying, and it's better to reuse than buy a junky new one.  There's bathroom vanity in orange-y oak I have to re-do to match it, which we got from Marketplace, in very good condition.  (It's for the house that Sam and Grace are moving in to)

This fine morning, after I did a coat of paint on the cabinet and doors, I wiped down my cupboards.  White are nice, but they need a lot of upkeep.  My hands hurt from painting, Paul and I went to the house Sam and Grace are moving in to, yesterday afternoon to paint the walls.  I think I have carpal tunnel syndrome, my hands just ache all night long after painting.  I am almost ambidextrous though, can paint with either hand and I kept switching.  I was doing the cutting in/trim, Paul was rolling.  I think the rolling hurts worse.  

Oh, the joys of getting old!

But, the joys of going to the pool for water aerobics!  I absolutely love it.  It's almost miraculous how much better I feel afterwards.  I am so very thankful I'm able to go.  Also, I've made some friends in the class.  There are just some nice people in this world.  People need other people, and I think the whole lockdown stuff has really made us appreciate just being together.  One of the nice ladies lost her twin brother last summer, and is still reeling from it, one woman lost her son a few years back to an overdose, and...does the hurt ever go away?  To be able to talk about things, and to connect with each other, is really a gift.  

Tonight is activity club, and tomorrow I'll go help Kathryn get settled in.  This weekend we'll work on Sam's house, and there's a church picnic on Sunday.  I'm making cupcakes for that, thinking to get some cute little American flags to put on them, maybe strawberries and blueberries too.  

Okay, I just went in the kitchen for a second cup of coffee, and oops, I ended up painting the other side of the doors and started putting a second coat on the cabinet, then had to stop myself.  Mariel will be here soon, and I'm not dressed yet, because I have to do that thing where I blog until the last minute then hurry hurry hurry.

Camping season is coming up, and I'm excited.  We'll be tenting, ugh, but other than that, ha, it'll be fun.  I mean when you're old and fat and you have to lie down on the air mattress, and then in the morning, you have to get back up, that alone is a challenge, and that is if you're lucky and don't have to get up to go to the bathroom in the night:  it's a long lonely trek to the bathhouse, and no way is this old lady going to squat in the bushes, no way no how at this campground...nope.  Well, I SAY this, but never say never...if you get any sleep at all, it's a bonus.  

Anyway.  I used up all of my time, now I have to hurry hurry hurry!!!!  Bye for now!  I'll take pictures of the wineries and of the cabinet when it's done!  Have a good day!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

pictures of a muggy hot Saturday...

We spent the day at a church conference...Wulf had his face painted... 

Benjamin Paul...
Mariel Joy with little Tennyson...

Camille Anaya...
Rhys Harper...
...with Auntie Sonja...

It was a HOT one, so muggy!

Sonja with her friend Carmen, cousin Grace, friend Irene, and Miss Camille...
Rhys and Sunny....
Ruth, pic courtesy of Samuel
Two adorable grandsons, cousins, Wulf and that Achilles is going to live here on the East coast, they'll get to grow up together, instead of seeing each other like once a year.  They are double cousins, and their daddies are brothers (Adrian and Darius), and their mamas, my daughters Margaret and Kathryn...:)

Thunderstorms are forecast to come through soon, hope they're not too bad...we had an excellent day despite the heat.  We went to an amazingly encouraging church feast, where we celebrated the life of one of our friends, 70 years old, a faithful man, a man who lives to please God, a man who doesn't seek his own, but to serve others.  We were really blessed.  

Thursday, May 19, 2022

this and that and everything else...

 Pool yesterday, then a trip to a little Mennonite farm out in the middle of nowhere, which is absolutely beautiful, for some plants for the garden, and a few more flowers.

Just a random tractor...
Lilacs from our yard...
Rhys in Aldi today.  Achilles sometimes wants his mama, so Grandma gets this one, she's the little sunshine of the store.  Even little kids like to say hi to her.

Tonight there's chicken drumsticks for dinner:  marinated in lime juice and spices, then bbq sauce in the oven....and a bbq chicken pizza.  

We're having a busy week getting ready for a church conference, cleaning and setting up.  There's something going on every night. 

Yes, I've been busy...especially with two small children in the house again.  How did I do it?  :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

and just like that, she drives....

 Oh the years fly by, making me type things like the days are long but the years are short, turning me into a sentimental old lady.  Miss Charlotte Claire came into the world in a beautiful way, Emily had just finished her first year of nursing school (Sonja just finished HER first year, she was four when Em finished her first year), and was with Paul and I at the hospital.  She was the best, simply intuitive and gentle and caring, and it wasn't weird at all.  Paul has always been good when we were welcoming the new babies, but Emily brought a different dimension, and she was so awed by the whole process, too.

Well, Miss Char was born, and there was silence in the room, and a flurry of activity, murmuring.  I got a glimpse of her, forehead misshapen, swollen, something wasn't right.  I asked, is she okay? several times, no answer, they were assessing her...okay, she's fine, she was just hitting her forehead on the cervix, was responsive, breathing, ect.  I mean, I had been through this FOURTEEN times before, not including with baby Robert, and when that baby is born, there are usually joyous exclamations and congratulations mama, and that baby is placed right in your I was unnerved for a few minutes there, but she was actually fine.

Fast forward, and bam, she's sixteen years old.  We had fun at the department of motor vehicles.  You have to go in there with a good attitude.  Miss Char was a-chattering the whole time, quite excited.  She kept the straight-faced mug shot for the the ID pic, ignoring me telling her SMILE!  She got 18 of the 20 questions right on the test, and half the ride home, she tried to figure out how she got the other two wrong, turns out she misunderstood what they were asking on one of them.

We decided not to waste any time, and found an empty parking lot, after getting an iced coffee at a little place.   She climbed in and adjusted the seat, and did pretty well navigating around in little circles, practicing backing up and parking and going left, right, stopping.  When it started pouring rain, I decided we were done, and duh, we switched seats and got soaking wet.  That girl had pulled that seat up so far I couldn't even get in without moving it back, I really got wet, but we were laughing our heads off, and it was truly fun.  

Charlotte is a good student, she gets high nineties, is on the Principal's High Honor roll.  She does all of her homework and stresses about doing well on tests.  There used to be a show the kids would watch, Sid The Science Kid, in the theme song, Sid knows everything about everything.  That's Charlotte Claire.  She loves to learn, and retains the knowledge, then when we're talking about something, she knows history and back stories and facts, it's quite wonderful to have discussions with her.  

I credit those years of homeschooling for fueling her love for learning.  She rather likes the structure of real school now, and that's fine.  Don't get me wrong, this child is not a perfect angel.  She has a thing for arguing with me, and giving me attitude.  But come on, been there done that (does anyone else still stay that?  I am such a dinosaur).   I know the drill:  remain calm, cool, collected.  Let it go.  Important points needn't be made when the teenager is growly.  Wait until all is serene and gently mention what you need to say.   You don't win any prizes by winning arguments with teenagers, nor with toddlers.  

That being said, there are things I am firm about, and I do remind her about being respectful, and honestly, she does apologize for when she's defiant, but I get it, too.  Teenagers are just wired to be like that, it's hard for them, too.  They didn't ask to be angsty.  

We actually had some really good conversation on the way home about backbiting.  She said, "My policy is that I don't say anything about anyone that I wouldn't say in front of them."  That's golden, isn't it?  Shh, she is quite liberal about what she WOULD say in front of them, ha, she doesn't mince words, Miss Char.

We might celebrate the end of Sonja's first year today, Kathryn thought we should go out to lunch.  I'm wondering if I should just stay home with Achilles and Rhys, so she can relax, but then children like to go out and about too, it's so good for them.  We'll see.  

It's dark and rainy and deliciously cozy, we needed the rain here.  I have some flowers I need to transplant to the flower box, and so many things to do outside, and so many things to do inside.  I don't get bored, that's for sure.  Have a really nice day!

Monday, May 16, 2022

oh the rain!

 This fine Monday morning, I finally made it back to water aerobics class!  I wasn't there at all last week, Friday morning I had to take Miss Cam in for a check, so that was crossed of the possibility list, making it a whole week with no swimming.

We don't do anything difficult, but the repetitions in the water are doing something, because I do feel that after-work-out soreness, which is lovely.  My whole body just feels better when I go, even if it was hard to get out the door, harder than usual, because Kathryn is here, and she was tired, and Rhys was awake.  I wanted to stay here and help her, but I NEEDED to get to that pool.  Kathryn can't just come with, because Rhys has a bad track record in the bathtub, and she would probably poop in the pool, ha.  

Kathryn and I and Achilles took a quick trip to town, to Joseph's house, to wish him a happy birthday!  My dear son Joe, my #5 child, my favorite child, according to my other 15 children...we brought him some steaks from the part-of-a-cow we just got, and some seltzers, and some Norwegian chocolate, and a package of strawberries, and a nice birthday card:)

Sonja is all finished with year #1 of nursing school, YAY!!!!  Her last final was today, but she does have tons of summer homework.  Whoever invented summer homework has an evil streak, at least a mile wide.

In just a few minutes I'm headed to pick up Charlotte Claire from school, and taking her to get her driving permit!  Here in New York State, 16 years old and you can drive, with a licensed driver 21 or older in the passenger seat.  I am NOT ready for this, for child #15 driving.  It's one of those things that seriously challenges me, I'll be pumping my invisible brakes, and praying.

It's scary, that's all there is to it.  It's also a thankless job, the kids remember things like me hitting my palms on the dashboard and saying SLOW DOWN, or YOU'RE FOLLOWING TOO CLOSELY, BACK OFF, STAY NEAR MY SIDE, NOT THE MIDDLE LINE!  They don't remember all my patient tongue-holding inner turmoil with a big smile on my face, saying, "Of course you can drive!"

Yes, a thankless job.  But someone has to do it.  So off I go...

First, a few old pics...

With Kathryn...
Evelyn on top of the slide, she's 22 now.  Camille going down the slide, she's 14 now...

Soldier Ben...and nine siblings...


Saturday, May 14, 2022

happy Saturday!

 It's warm and sunny, and I'm heading outside.  

Earthly things seem so important in the moment, but none of it goes with us to eternity, so we need to make sure it isn't taking up the prime real estate of our heart.  Selfishness takes up a disproportionate amount of room in the heart too, better to do things for others and get oil in our lamps.  But shh, money DOES buy happiness, sometimes:

I visited the Mennonite farm in town, went in the greenhouse, tried to somewhat behave.  Those succulents in the top pic, on the bottom, were two dollars each!  Then there's the local honey...I would rather buy it from another lady only a few miles from me who keeps bees in her backyard, because it's important to me that it's actually local honey.  (It's supposed to help with allergies).  So I asked the nice young man (how do those Mennonites raise such respectful hard workers?) where the honey was from, he said what they all say when I ask that, "It's from just down the road, a few houses down."  Who knows, maybe it is?  I bought some for Camille, because we were all out, and a teaspoon in a hot cup of tea, mmm.

The yellow flower, a Tuberous Begonia, is gorgeous.  Google told me that the bigger flower is male, the smaller female, and to pinch off the female to allow the male to grow bigger and more plentiful.  What, pray tell, did we do before the internet?

Kathryn is still here with the kids, Darius and Jon, Darius' brother Josh, and another friend, are headed across the country with their vehicles, and should get here tomorrow.  Paul is putting a beef brisket and some ribs in the smoker for tomorrow, we'll have a houseful.   Kathryn and fam will stay here until their house is ready, and their things arrive from their pod, which is being shipped slowly and surely across this huge country of ours.

So Miss Camille is doing okay, she's playing Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch, which Suzanne so sweetly let her borrow.  She cannot do much yet, but she's managing and not getting cranky.  

I am super thankful for the days.  Spring is just a total gift, so breathtaking.  We may have challenging winters here in the northeast, but spring is a huge apology for it, and apology accepted.

Those flowers are calling me to repot them, some want to go in a hanging basket...I don't know much about these things, because all those years raising babies and small children and medium children and teenagers ALL AT THE SAME TIME left me with little time to raise other things.  My thumb is not green, but I enjoy the flowers and sometimes you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Off I go...

Friday, May 13, 2022

why so early?!

 These new "day" surgeries sort of fool us into thinking they're going to be so easy, because no overnight hospital stay.  (Jumpin'Jehosaphats, I sound like an old man!)

Laparoscopic surgery HAS changed things, those little cameras making huge incisions unnecessary.   Here's the thing though:  It's still rather major to have a screw screwed into your kneecap holding a graft from a deceased person.  

The surgeon is an Indian man, from India, and is a teeny tiny bit hard to understand.  I admit I was unclear on the after-care...should she remove the T scope brace, or change the settings?  Dr. said to bend the knee the next day, but...I wasn't sure on the details.  I thought I'd just clarify with Sonja, as she had this same procedure done a few years back, but oops, she didn't remember!  

I had to call the office yesterday and ask, they had me bring her in this morning.  It's not just a hop, skip, and a jump away, but it's a nice drive.  Paul carried Camille down the deck steps and put her right in the back seat of the car.  

Camille can't hobble on those crutches very far yet, so I dropped her off, then went and parked.  Oh dear, remember when you just walked where you wanted to go, so easily?  Anyway, the dr. said the incisions look good, the swelling of her foot is normal, elevate and ice the knee, bend it frequently with the brace on but unlocked, but make sure to lock it when standing up, no weight on that leg, ect.  

We got home, and Miss Cam got into the house by herself!  She went up the steps on her butt, backwards, she insisted.  She is able to get to the bathroom by herself now too, it's amazing how well she's doing so quickly.  

There have been tears.  There has been pain.  There has been calamity, in that Suri-the-black-Lab laid on the fan cord and unplugged the fan during the night, the night before the cat knocked it down.  Cam has been sleeping on the couch, and she sleeps with a fan blowing on her.  

Anyway, life's not a picnic, but it's good.  Kathryn and the kids are here, and I help her juggle them.  They are so sweet and funny and we are so glad they are staying on the east coast.  It was 85 and sunny today, and we managed to get out in it for a while.  The little pool gets filled every day...

Kathryn took this picture this fine morning...
Jonathan, somewhere in Nebraska, on the drive across the country from Oregon...
Random:  me, and my sister Cheryl.  She is one of my very favorite people in this whole world.  She's funny and fun and adventurous, and most of all:  faithful to God, and absolutely certain that He sends all things for her very best.  This isn't always easy, but she works through it, and holds on to it, and trusts Him.  Please keep her in your prayers, along with her family.  She is the mom of seven girls, no boys, although all seven are married now, so she has sons:). One of her girls has a serious health issue, not my story to write about here, but if you are a praying person, please pray!  

Off I clean up our mess...we had a charcuterie style dinner while watching Tangled...dinosaur chicken nuggets for Achilles, pizza pockets, strawberries, cucumber slices, apple slices, cheddar grilled cheese squares, Swiss cheese grilled cheese triangles, fresh mozzarella...I had scrambled eggs and sausage, and Ezekiel toast, but shh, also a few pizza rolls.  

Achilles wants play I really go, ha...