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

Sunday, July 31, 2016

who knew?

Who knew life could be so busy? I said "yes" to preparing three meals yesterday for about 130 people at church, there for a music practice day. Friday was spent procuring the food...four stores plus a farm stand.

Yesterday was slicing, dicing, marinating, measuring, baking, washing up, and doing it all over again. I sneaked in a little visit with my sister, whom I barely ever see anymore. And of course it wasn't all drudgery, ha. We make it fun! Mirielle took a Dunkin run with Evelyn, brought me back an iced coffee.

The veggies...:)

I never fit in a dip in the pool, the day went by too quickly. And unbeknownst to me, today is day # 2, and I am heading out the door to help with food again. I am not complaining though. I like keeping busy. I am thankful to have something good to do in life.

And this afternoon, I think a few of the older kids are coming over, and we are having chicken barbecue from a church in Gramma's town, thank you Gramma! It's a pleasant thought that I won't have to cook dinner, except for something on the side...ahh, it sounds nice.

But now, the teenagers are ready to go for their music practice!!!

Friday, July 29, 2016

chocolate chip cookies

Chocolate chip cookie recipe:

2 cups of butter (4 sticks)
creamed with
1 cup of shortening
(you can replace some of this fat with coconut oil, like half of the shortening, the un-refined coconut oil makes the cookies taste slightly coconutty, like almond joy cookies almost)

3 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
beat together.
add 6 eggs,
mix, beat, whatever.

Separate bowl:
6 3/4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
sift together and add to wet mixture, mix thoroughly

Add chocolate chips...
6 cups of them:)

I make the cookies small high mounds, bake at 350 for 9 minutes. I love baking with parchment paper, I can just pull the whole paper off the pan too cool them, and reuse it for several batches.

My day has been just fine. I woke up early to go shopping with Emily, for a gathering tomorrow and Sunday...breakfast lunch dinner Saturday, and breakfast and lunch Sunday - for 140 people. We had a budget of $20 each, for all the meals, but came in at less than ten. Menu:

Pancakes with blueberries or strawberries, and syrup...scrambled

Taco bar (taco seasoned beef, black olives, salsa, tomatoes, green peppers, lettuces, shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, flour wraps, red onions)

Grilled chicken breast marinated in spiedie sauce, salt potatoes, roasted zucchini with red peppers and onions.

Dessert: Brownies, ice cream bars, fudge bars, orange creamsicles.

Sunday breakfast:

Ham or turkey sandwiches with lettuce, tomatoes, cheeses, chips and Doritos, carrots, and celery.

Phew. We went to four stores, then had to put it all away.

Home...ah, home. I went in the pool with Camille, then Grandma came to pick up some of the kids to go watch their cousin's softball game. Only six of us are here now, but some girls are coming over to practice a song with Suzanne, and I am going to grill some burgers.

Our weather is still gorgeous here! It was 88 and sunny today, and is still warm and pleasant. Paul is home from work, outside exercising. I am tired from my day, where does he get his energy?

Kathryn isn't home from work yet, she is doing some landscaping for our friend's company these last few days. I'm proud of her putting in these full days of work in the hot sun, and not complaining about it.

Emily and I stopped at a Mennonite farm stand this afternoon. We got some fruits and veges for the weekend, plus I got a loaf of fresh baked pumpkin bread, and some oatmeal raisin cookies. Big mistake. I should have gotten something the kids like more and I like less. I tasted the pumpkin bread, and duh! I liked it! What was I thinking? OF COURSE I LIKED IT. I LOVE pumpkin stuff. It was surprisingly light and airy, rather spongy, not dense and moist like I imagine pumpkin bread. MMMM. And the cookies...I had TWO. There are more sitting on the counter, and I cannot eat any more. Not a one.

Ah well. Time to get going. Company's here, and I am sitting here in my bathing suit, my favorite summer outfit.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

blissful days of summertime....

Sonja, her friend Irene, and I went out on a little adventure today....because Emily took the rest of the kids waterfalling, which Sonja K. can't really do right now, with the injured knee and all. So I let Sonja choose what she wanted to do, where she wanted to go, and remember, it was a really hot day, and she can't walk too she chose to go out to lunch, to Chili's.

We then went to the dreaded mall, just to one store, Old Navy, after we finished our laughing fit in the parking lot. My stomach hurt so badly from laughing, I almost threw up my lunch, which was mostly the appetizer, chips and salsa. I didn't eat much of my food, choosing instead to bring it home for the other kids, as I don't usually eat such quantities anymore, although honey chipotle crispy chicken is really tasty.

So nice big sister Emily took six siblings...

(Suzanne and Jonny in the back, Kathryn with the hat on, Evelyn, Emily taking the pic, then Camille and Char in the front)

Em took them to the store for Doritos and waterbottles and bubble gum, then took them out for ice cream...

When I got home with Sonja and Irene, we took a swim...then Mirielle arrived...then Em came back with the rest of the kids, and they wanted dinner...I grilled chicken and we had veggies...zucchini and yellow squash, broccoli and snap peas.

Lydia spent the night last night, baby granddaughter Lydia...she slept in the Graco bed in Jonathan's room...right through the night like a good girl. She was nothing but sunshine.

Never mind. I thought it was a good time to write, but Cam's having tablet problems, and wants to talk to me...:)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

a surprise getaway!!!

Paul surprised us! Remember on my Saturday post when I said I hoped we were going to do something fun? Paul had booked a hotel up in Watertown without telling me! The girls and I had cleaned up the house...(I had asked Camille to steam mop the floors, she dragged her feet a little, then I told her I would sit on the deck with her afterward and have a cold drink...she mopped speedily, and did a nice job of it...)...I did laundry, vacuumed the furniture, wiped down counters and washed up dishes...then we sat on the deck and had iced tea...then a little swim. We were headed into the house to make bacon and eggs when Paul asked us what we wanted to do. Cam said, "Something fun." Well, how about going to a hotel? hmm, what?

So we packed up, which is one of the girls' favorite things to do. They packed Barbies, and agonized about what clothes to bring for them. They were a chittering and a chattering the whole time. I had to nicely ask that they let me think for a minute or two, so I didn't forget anything.

We stopped at Walmart on the way, to get a few healthy snacks, and some cheese popcorn for the girls, which we ended up sharing with them. Paul says I take forever in Walmart, it took twice as long as it needed to, and I was hurrying! He just puts things in the cart, I mull and decide.

The hotel was very nice, a Hilton Garden Inn, and no, I am not getting paid. We had a suite, with a television for the girls, and one for us. The room was very nice, and the girls squealed about every detail

. We went in the pool and in the hot tub, then went over to Chipotle for some takeout, which the girls voted to eat in front of the t.v., because they love watching the house shows...Little Homes, or Flip or Flop. We went in the hot tub again in the evening...

It was a beautiful summer night to sit outside for a bit...

And this morning, we had a breakfast that the girls adored! Blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes, made to order, fresh fruit with whipped cream, pastries, bacon, eggs, sausage, juice...I avoided the carbs, but I did take a croissant, just to taste it...and it was hands down horrible compared to the ones in France. I had a few red raspberries with whipped cream with my eggs and bacon, and otherwise behaved myself. The coffee was yummy, and it was so relaxing. I tell you, as much as I miss the days with all the little ones, I also revel in being able to just eat my food while it's hot.

After breakfast, we checked out, which is also super easy with two well-behaved little girls, ha, and headed...

The beach!!!

It was breezy and hot, the water was clear and warm. I hadn't remembered the sunscreen, oops, so I burnt my nose. We also forgot the cooler, but it was fine...I packed baggies of ice in the paperbag from Chipotle, and put the cucumber slices and baby carrots and strawberries on it...we had a few cashews, lots of water, and it was nice.

On the way home, we stopped at the store for coffee, Paul just ran in, and he brought out donuts for the little girls. I took a teeny bite of Char's, and oh kill me it was good. What was I thinking? I KNEW it would be good. It tasted just plain heavenly. But I didn't have anymore...

Home...ah home. It was nice to go away, but nice to be home. We had grilled hot sausages, fresh Italian bread (not me!), and zucchini and yellow squash from the garden.

Now I am going to watch a movie with the teenagers....:)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

saturday in july...

I'm getting too old, by the time I get used to a particular month, it's almost gone. July. The most glorious month of the year here in the northeast. We've had drought conditions, hot days, lots of sunshine, it's almost like we've all been on a month-long Caribbean vacation. Except for the cooking and cleaning and driving kids places, and the E.R. visit, you know. Oh, and Sonja's name is now on a little paper next to the receptionist's phone, to call if there's a cancellation, so we don't have to wait a few weeks for the MRI. I never thought it took so long just to get a diagnosis. The poor girl. She's tough though, she manages to hobble up the ladder and float around in the pool. She's also very kind, if she can get something herself, she does it, I honestly thought she would be taking advantage of her lack of mobility to have the other kids (and me) wait on her. But she tried to carry in bags from the store, no, honey, you're on crutches there, we can get them. I think the novelty is wearing off, she's getting tired of hobbling, and wants to be done...

The older kids all left for the day again, leaving Paul and I here with our two little girls. It's like playing house, playing "small family". Paul has some things to do around here, like order new windows:). We built our house ourselves...well, I took care of the five kids, he worked full time and came directly here to the building was framed in July, and we moved in the following April. My two brothers also worked full time at their regular jobs, then worked on this house evenings and weekends. My other brothers and brother-in-law also helped, along with friends who helped paint, ect. The windows, Andersen windows, were gorgeous. Wood frames, tilt-out, but they have rotted. Some of the sashes have actually crumbled. There are 20 to replace, and of course we are doing it ourselves, with help from a he's just ordering a few to see how it goes.

It's never a dull moment when you own a home. Last week it was the septic needing pumping, we try to do that every year. The guy came, and there were two vehicles in the driveway that were in the way of the big truck, but when we tried to move them, fun kicked in! Kathryn tried the Bravada, and the key got stuck in the ignition, it wouldn't budge, the car wouldn't even turn over. Then the big van wouldn't start, so the septic guy just hitched it to the back of his son's truck, pulled it out of the driveway. Okay. The whole time he was asking me questions I didn't know the answers to, and I hadn't had time to change from my shorts and tank top to something more respectable, and I was sweating like chubby people tend to sweat on hot days. Then he announced that the septic pump wasn't working ($$$), and he had to get to the fuse box...which is in one of the girls' bedrooms, which meant he had to come in the house, and of course the kitty litter really needed to be changed, but at least the bedroom was nice and clean. Anyway. Turns out it was just the switch on the pump, so the whole ordeal only cost $400, which seemed like a bargain, after us imagining the price of a new pump. The we ordered fuel oil, to get the nice summer price....$300. Then we had work done on the was only $75, it seemed like a give-away!

And you know, all the little things, like the skunks getting into the garbage, and the dogs and their fleas...I buy them the nicest flea-remedy, (I've tried Frontline Plus, K-9 Advantage, the nice stuff from Walmart) I also flea comb them and use flea spray, which Duke doesn't mind, but Suri is terrified of. The fleas are in the yard, and with the grass so dry, they are flourishing. I have been resisting, but Paul is going to spray the yard with something to kill them. It does no good for us to wage this war against them in the house when they are having a big party in the yard.

And here's a funny one: coffee coffee everywhere and not a drop to drink. ha. We ran out of regular coffee. Evelyn has a new Keurig from Grandma, but we use only bottled water in it because our water wrecks coffee makers like there's no tomorrow. We ran out of bottled water. I just make pots of coffee in the regular maker anyway, but we ran out of coffee. Well, we have caramel swirl, and chocolate fudge, and even a bag of vanilla, but Paul does not do flavored coffee, no way, no how. So there's one cup left in the pot for him...I had a pour-over cup of caramel swirl, and it's yummy.

Anyway, after Paul does the things he has to do today, I am hoping we can do something fun with the little girls.

And that's all I have to say this morning.

Friday, July 22, 2016

well I blinked and two whole days went by...

Yesterday we went to our friends' pool...soaked up the sunshine and played with small children...and too soon, it was time to get out and go home, to get ready for the concert...Zac Brown. It was too much, but fun.

This morning, Paul and I, Mirielle, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille went to services for Uncle Allan..he passed away a few weeks ago, Paul's mom's last remaining sibling. :(

The heat wave continues here, I have been in the pool three times today. We at taco salad out on the deck, then went in for another swim. The house is warm, but it's nice. It's summer. I had a light beer with a slice of lime, which has lasted me like two hour, I like the taste of it tastes like summer.

The zucchini and yellow squash are coming in, the tomatoes are starting to turn pink, we might get some sweet corn, and hopefully lots of melons. Our flower garden is blooming, and the grass is barely growing because of no rain. We get these scattered storms that bring maybe a downpour, maybe some sprinkles, then pass by. Not enough. Thankfully our well is deep, and we have had enough to water the garden and keep the pool full.

I do like summer...bare feet and the sound of crickets and soft ice, I haven't in a while, but...I am thinking about it. Maybe tomorrow...maybe not. I have to think about what I eat, decide whether I can or not, and usually I shouldn't, but also...I have to LIVE. :)

Paul's cleaning up the kitchen, listening to Journey...I am a lucky girl...oh, and all the teenagers are getting along at the moment.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

and it's wednesday....

A lovely summer morning...woken early by Duke, barking to come in...which is ironic, because the teenagers were up late watching a movie, and had let him out, and he barked to come back in and they didn't hear him...I was already asleep by 12:18, and rrr, came out here and let him in...sleep is overrated anyway, right?

The cat had kittens in a laundry hamper, a fact discovered by Miss Char, who dropped a pair of undies in there and realized Kitty was in there, then saw spotted things...the new kittens! Now, we didn't mean to have kittens again, although the kids said they were hoping, of course. She needs to be spayed, after these kittens are given away, although the kids will no doubt try to convince me of the absolute cuteness of one or another of them, and beg to keep it. We dodged it last time, and gave them all away...ugh.'s a lovely summer morning, the sun is shining, and I hopefully don't have to go anywhere. The doctor's office called this morning and set up the MRI for Sonja for the second of August, then the followup appt. with the ortho dr. on the 9th of August,la-dee-dah. No hurry. For them. I guess it's another opportunity to lay hold of patience.

Kids are up and about, and chattering in excitement about the new babies...they are absolutely thrilled...six of them. Six new kittens. I feel bad that I wasn't with mama when she birthed them, she's a people kitty, and last time wanted to be pet and reassured during labor. But part of me is relieved that it's all over, because I get so anxious...worried the poor things aren't breathing, and but kitty knows what she's doing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

from the word go!

A day out with six of my daughters...I wasn't going to go to the library today because I had an appointment for Miss Sonja in the small city in the afternoon, and the library is in the other direction...but first I had to bring the minivan to town for an oil change, and a few other things...and Paul had a book ordered that he I had renewed our books the max amount, and really had to get them I wanted another book, and the girls wanted off we went to the library.

Then...Target. I don't regret it, I got Jonathan three shirts and a pair of pants, a pair of jeans for me ($8!), and other various necessities, like folders and notebooks for school.

Home...for ten minutes...Evelyn decided to stay home with the little girls, but Kathryn and Suzanne went with Sonja and I. The appointment with the orthopedic doctor was inconclusive, as she has to get an MRI. The dr. was very sober and serious, he said he rarely sees such an injury in such a young girl, and hopes it's not a tear in the meniscus or a torn ACL, or possibly a hairline fracture of the patella. Sonja went into the exam room full of hope, half convinced it was nothing, and was getting better...but the doctor seemed to think it was pretty serious.

So. We wait, and encourage Sonja not to think the worst. She said she didn't WANT to have bad knees, she wants to play soccer, she wants to run. She almost started to cry. Well, I told her, lots of people have things wrong they don't WANT. We don't get to choose our trials. And, I told her, it doesn't help to get worried about what we don't know yet, but hey, if she wants to cry a little, she can cry. She's been through a lot in the last few days, with hobbling around on crutches and the pain.

So this week, more appointments, a concert (Zac Brown), then next week Ben and Ashley and Anya come. In between, just lounging around in the sunshine reading library books, ha.:)

Monday, July 18, 2016

the glad game...

So this morning, I had to play the Glad Game. You know, Pollyanna? She wanted a doll for Christmas, but in the missionary barrel was a pair of crutches, so she decided to just be glad she didn't need the crutches...anyway.

This morning, I woke up to SURPRISE, Duke should have gone out one more time before bed last night! He's getting old, and he doesn't always hold it 'til morning...not just pee, either. A nice trail from Jon's room, down the hall, in the living room. It took the better part of an hour to clean it all up. For some reason, while I was cleaning it up, and counting my blessings rather than cursing the dog, I started thinking of my son Benjamin, and what a blessing he is. I texted him, and ended up calling him, we had a wonderful conversation. We talked about being happy about having a job instead of complaining about having to go to work (him, not me).

Having pets isn't always all sunshine and wagging tails, especially when they get old. In my humble opinion, the blessings far outweigh the trials, but then I don't have young children underfoot as I clean poop off the carpet. In the old days, our dogs only could go on the rug inside the door, not have free reign of the living room like our two Labs have now. They are part of the family.

Anyway. My day started out pretty $hi##y, ha. Because no matter how you look at it, it's not pleasant to step in it.

I'm waiting on a call from the Dr.'s office regarding Sonja. They have to review the report from the E.R. to decide which dr. she needs to see, and when to fit her in. Such is life, the mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.(prov 16:9)
We were thinking of our Adirondack trip this week. ha.

I can't help it, my heart is heavy about Sonja. She LOVES soccer. She lives and breathes it. She follows the international games, and talks about it all the time. She practices with Jonny every day, and lives for practices, games, and tournaments. She is hoping to be better by next month for the big tournament. And hopefully she will be. But I have my doubts, and I hope I'm wrong. I am thinking if she has ligament trouble to any extent, it's going to be a long road ahead, and not out of the realm of reality for her to never play again, but again, that is me crossing bridges before I get to them, jumping right off of them. I love her so much, don't want to see her suffer, don't want to see her face if/when she realizes the extent of the impact of this knee accident. I hate this part of being a parent. I hate how I hurt so much for them, how there's nothing I can do to ease it for her.

We did stop for Chinese take-out on the way home, and I got her a raspberry iced tea from Dunkin. The interesting thing is that I have been thinking so much lately how I need to spend some time with her, and voila! I got to spend the day with her! And yes, ha, my hair was clean.

So I am trying to be hopeful, trying to get myself in the right frame of mind, because I know that God causes all things to work together for the good. I know that. But that doesn't mean that my heart doesn't hurt when my kids suffer. That is one of the things that's hard about loving them all so much, it's such a vulnerable feeling. They hurt, I hurt.

But on a good note, Camille likes to get me coffee, especially if I let her get a cup for herself...she only gets an inch, but she likes to be big.

On another good note, Benjamin, his wife Ashley, and little Anya are coming again from Washington state at the end of the month!!!

And, Abigail and Margaret are coming home from Norway in August! They've been gone for a full year!!!

And on a really really good note, Paul and I are going on a little trip in August....:)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

never a dull moment episode # one million and one

So Sonja came in from playing soccer last evening escorted by our friend Erica, who is a nurse, who worked in orthopedics for a few years so she knows her stuff. Erica was helping Sonja into the house, accompanied by Suzanne, who let me know, "Sonja's hurt!", causing my stomach to tumble before my head even comprehended....the bandage wrapped around her knee had a red logo, which at first glance looked like bright red blood, and calm cool collected mom that I am, oh dear. Joseph told me later that I always think the worst. "That's not true!", I said. "I didn't think at all, I just almost fainted."

Anyway. It wasn't THAT serious, but she was in some heavy duty pain. She iced and elevated last night, then I took her in first thing this morning to the E.R. Oh, the emergency room on a sunny Sunday... there was too much going on: a man who couldn't stop crying, causing the nurse to reassure him that it was fine to cry, after all, it's not everyday you get hit by a car. The man who had multiple abscesses on his leg and since there were no rooms left, was in the hallway outside our room, cuddling up with his girlfriend on the hospital bed reading the newspaper. There was an old man who insisted he was okay to go home..."just give me some antibiotics, and I'll be fine!" No one listened to him, they admitted him. Then there was a young man who had done something to warrant having a security guard placed outside his door.

We were only there for four and a half hours to find out that nothing was broken, which is good, but there is lots of fluid behind her kneecap, which is bad. It could mean a torn ligament. It could just be a tiny tear which will heal itself with lots of rest, or it could be a surgery situation. We'll go into the orthopedic office this week and find out. In the mean time, Sonja thinks she's going to be back to playing soccer sometime soon, and I am just not thinking so.

She kept herself busy in the E.R. thinking about what she wanted to eat...she decided on Chinese takeout.

Anyway. Never a dull one.

Our plans to visit the Adirondack amusement park are put on hold for a bit.

And now I must say goodbye because I have daughters here talking to me, oh poor me, ha.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

the sweetness of summer....

Char, Cam, and Dani painted the vase for me.:)

Jonathan and Suzanne...shh, don't tell Jon, I am not sure he knows that Suze gave him a virtual floral headband.

Paul and I wandered out to the garden this morning, and picked some zucchini and a few summer squash. The rasberries are ripening (YUM!), and we will have peppers, tomatoes, and some corn soon.

He's at the dump, and I am here with just Charlotte Claire, Camille, and Evelyn. We had bacon and eggs, and texted someone regarding a lab puppy, and I half hope they don't reply. The kids are begging for a puppy, oh, they'll take care of it!
Duke here is a-hobbling along, but I'm thinking we won't subject him to another harsh New York winter, because if he slips on the steps like he does all the time, and it's icy, oh never mind. Duke is not at the top of his game anymore:( Anyway.

Today is rather a blank slate...warm and sunny-ish, and summertime...

Friday, July 15, 2016

so so sad....

Not only the people of France, but tourists from so many places...what a horrible thing. I cannot comprehend it. In the book of Luke it's written about wars and rumors of wars, and the failings of men's hearts from fear, how the powers of heaven will be shaken. I took comfort in, "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch, therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." Jesus spoke these words (chap 21, 34-36).

I took comfort because there isn't much I can do about world events, I can only pray, and "take heed to" myself, that I am not weighed down with the cares of this life. What can I do to be found worthy to escape these things?

This is the whole essence of my life.

It's easy to trust in God on a sunny day, but when these things happen, I honestly find myself quite terrified. And mad. And sickened. But all of mankind knows that ultimately, evil will not triumph over good.

And there is so much goodness in life. Today, I have three little girls here who are doing projects...

This is what the kitchen table looked like when I got up this morning. I didn't have them clean it up because their bottles needed more coats of paint.

They are hard at work now, I will take some pics of their finished projects later.

The side yard...

The pool this morning...

I took four girls out shopping yesterday.

Evelyn found some nice sneakers, which I got her for her birthday which is next month. We found cute clothes for baby Lydia and a few nice things for little Anya. After we got home, I took the little girls over to visit Grandma, then home again to grill burgers and see Lydia. She sat in the walker on the deck eating crackers and making us all smile while we had dinner.

Our weather has been glorious...we are needing some rain, but it has been so warm and sunny.

Tonight, Jason Aldean concert! I don't love working, but it's not too bad. It's nice to be with my friends.

With Emily at the Journey concert:)

I was thinking about a trip to the library, but the kids are so settled in doing crafts, maybe we'll wait...what's another few dollars in library fines? It's too busy to run around town then leave for the concert.

There are five kids here in the living room, and we are talking about important things, so bye for now...

Thursday, July 14, 2016

summertime....sweet summertime....

With Mirielle....

Working at concerts isn't all bad...Paul and Joseph worked...

Emily worked..

Kathryn and Evelyn also worked. It was so hot and sticky and humid...then the breeze picked up, then it turned windy, then the rain came in torrents, while we were setting up the concession stand. By the time the fans started coming into the venue, the rain had stopped, the air was a little bit cooler, and people were happy. Who wouldn't be? The Doobie Brothers, then Journey!

Anyway, no time to write this morning, we are going shopping! The girls have been saving up money, plus I give them my tip money from the concerts, and they need things for school, and they just like off we go...(I'm glad I have so many daughters!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

you are my sunshine, my only sunshine...

Miss Lydia, the baby the beach.

Camille playing with Davian...he went along with us, and was pretty happy when we stopped for gas on the way up...I offered the kids cookiewiches, which are chocolate chip cookies with ice cream between them...Davian asked for a popsicle, and the only kind sold there were these huge bombpops, red white and blue, his favorites...

Emily, Mirielle, Mali, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and Davian went. Emily grilled hot dogs over charcoal, we took turns taking Lydia in the water, and chasing her across the sand, until Mali washed her up, changed her into clean dry clothes, and put her into the playpen under the umbrella and gave her Cheerios...

We were at a beach on the east shore of Lake Ontario, and the water was calm and refreshing, the sand soft, and the sun was out. There was a nice breeze when we got there, but when it calmed down, it was almost too hot. Just sitting and talking and relaxing and drinking cold diet Coke with lime, snacking on cherries and cucumbers and melon...I can't complain.

I had the best iced coffee on the way home...

Home...ah, home...after emptying the coolers and putting things away, a few of us got into the pool...

Today is hot again, even more hot than yesterday, more humid. I have weeded the garden and watered it, taken care of the pool, cleaned up in the kitchen a bit, put a load of clothes in the washer, made a pot of coffee, fed the dogs and cats, and ah, here I am. This afternoon is the Doobie Brothers/Journey concert, and it's going to be hot working concessions there! I am not looking forward to melting.

I plan to spend as much of the day as possible in the pool with the kids before I have to leave to work.

The princesses are up, and I am done writing for now.

Monday, July 11, 2016

in the heat of the summer....

1. Tomorrow: beach! 91 degrees and sunny! Emily, Mirielle, and Mali ALL have the day off from work! So of course we are going to the beach!

2. The concert last night was busy, not crazy-busy, but still. We got home at 1 a.m. It's half a mile from the van to the concession stand, and that half mile seems looooong after working for seven hours. We get a break to eat a hot dog (or a pretzel, blah) and a bottle of water, and there's no place to sit except to perch on a concrete tent anchor thing, which feels like a recliner after being on my poor feetsies for a few hours, ha. And they give us unlimited bottles of water, which is nice. There were 20,000 people at the concert last night though, and those Phish phans are an interesting bunch.

3. It was my birthday, and yes, I signed up to work at the concert. Poor Cam asked yesterday what time the party was. Um, honey, there's no party. But TODAY, there WAS a party...

4. We had a pool party! I woke up this morning, tried to get out of bed, and yay, I did it! I walked to the bathroom like Frankenstein, and remembered in a hurry that it was the day after a concert. After a bit of morning work, Evelyn and I set out on an adventure...air in the tires, then coffee, then grocery store...then another grocery store...we had to get corn dogs and pizza pockets and a watermelon and Gummy Bears and a huge bag of ice for snowcones. We also had crackers and pepperoni and lots of fresh veggies, chips and dip.

5. Kids are what life is all about. Their joy in the little things is contagious, and I enjoyed having little friends here to splash in the pool with, and share treats with. Jon loved running around the yard, jousting matches.

6. I hadn't even finished my morning coffee when I was grilling burgers for dinner, no kidding.

7. After dinner, I made a pasta salad for the beach, Evelyn made brownies, and I cut up a cantaloupe and some cucumbers for the beach.

8. Wednesday is another concert....and it's going to be really hot...but I won't think about that yet...

9. Anyway, when I was at the concert, I had a few customers who were whiny, you know, I'm filling the order and I hear one of them say something about how long he's been waiting for, "that lady to get his food...." I wanted to stomp my feet and tell him it was my birthday, how would he like to serve ME on HIS birthday? ha. Then the ones who get mad when we cut off the alcohol, as if it's our decision...


Sunday, July 10, 2016

large families and happy birthday to me...

From the wedding, I did not drink it all.

All of my siblings were there! Six of us now, that Billy is gone, but we rarely get together, so it was nice. (Cheryl has seven kids, Bob has 10, Tom has 12, Joe has one, and Casey has two...and we have 16...48 grandchildren for my late parents)

Today I am 51. I am working at a Phish concert. Not what I would choose to do on my birthday, but we all know by now that life isn't all in doing what you like, but liking what you do. Camille was sitting on the arm of my chair, and just said, "What time is Mommy's party?" ha. I don't know that there IS a party, but I am having coffee in my favorite spot, and have no complaints.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

busy crazy house...

It's quiet here...quiet because six of the kids left at 7:30, Paul left a few minutes ago (he's grilling for the event Emily's company is catering today)...he went on a run this morning with Suri, and Duke followed, so both dogs are sound asleep, exhausted. The princesses are still sleeping, or in their beds reading.

That leaves me. I was washing dishes, having already worked on the pool (just backwashing the filter, putting in a new chlorine tablet), watering some flowers, puttering around folding towels, ect...then I realized that it was QUIET. I can do dishes later, I want to sit down and think straight in that rare commodity of quietness.

And ahh, it does feel nice...stretching my legs out in my comfy chair, sipping coffee, hearing the birds sing and the branches rustle in the breeze. It's looking like rain, which would be nice for our poor brown grass, all the rain lately has gone north or south of us.

Today, I am going to my newphew's wedding, with Evelyn. Paul does not like weddings. He does not like events where he has to dress up and be inside. I have missed more things through the years because he simply didn't want to go, now I just go by myself or take someone else with me. It's better to go with someone else than have to endure Paul being ready to leave after the first avoiding even looking in his direction, because I know he's giving me the "can we leave" look. He's fine with me going, and I'm kind of fine going without him. Of course I would love it if he would be thrilled to go, simply to be with me, no matter the event, but as long as we're dreaming, I would love to be fifty pounds lighter, and a millionaire too.

Don't get me wrong. I know him well enough to not take it personally, not TOO personally anyway, ha. I still love him. I think you don't have to absolutely love each and everything about someone to love them, love covers a multitude of sins, and to give each other freedom is good too.

I can't even imagine how many things he has had to overlook with me, ha.

But here's the thing: he's making bonebroth again. It's awful. He gets these beef bones and simmers them with vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower, simmers it for a few days...the whole house smells like soup, you walk in the door, and it's like the hallway of an apartment complex with no ventilation. He says it's really healthy, it's good for your joints, good for your bones, he sips it, and puts it in French onion soup. It's probably all true, but I am Miss Picky, and just cannot make myself sip bonebroth.

So here's the other thing: tomorrow's my birthday. So Paul stopped at the store yesterday and bought me flowers, donuts, and light beer. Donuts? Why did you do this to me? Wegman's donuts, no less...they are scrumptious. And, there were two chocolate peanut ones in there. He said, "The kids love donuts." Well duh. And so do I. And because I hadn't eaten in a while, and my resolve was weakened, because I reasoned that it was close to my birthday, and so on, so I broke off a few pieces of that chocolate peanut donut, and oh dear, yum. Lydia was here so we let her choose one just to be funny, it was hilarious. She chose the chocolate glazed, so we let her eat some little bites of it standing at the coffee table. She was like Cookie Monster, only about 10% of it actually went down the hatch, the rest was flying everywhere and the clean up was totally worth seeing her joy.

And the light beer...I only drink beer very occasionally, and since I don't like to consume lots of calories, I choose light beer...I mean a half of one every once in a while when I'm grilling he bought me some really nice stuff...after getting home from food prep last night, I sat down and drank a whole felt so un-feminine, but I glugged was too good.

And surprise surprise, the scale was the lowest yet since vacation, almost back to where I was before I left.

Summertime...I love it. Barefeet and spontaneity at it's best. On Monday, we are having a little pool party for the kids...they can invite friends over for corn dogs and snow cones, and run around the yard and go swimming. Just planning it gives the little girls something fun to do.

We are going to Lake George sometime this summer, to the amusement park (free tickets homeschooling program). Ben and Ashley and Anya are coming for another visit:)! Margaret and Abigail are coming home from Norway...and Paul and I may be going on a little trip...too much fun.

All of this fun is in the midst of raising all these girls...and Jon, of course. (My other boys are already raised, ha, but Samuel will be moving back home next year when he's done with the Army, at least until he figures out what he'll be doing, police academy or college or whatever). But teenage girls, oh they're interesting. I had this thought last night: I am so sick and tired of being patient with these girls. ha. I come to the end of my rope with them. They're so vibrant and funny and lively and full of good ideas and sometimes they are so full of life the house can barely contain them. They break out in song, then sisters join in, and we have our own chorus. But they can also be snappy and argue-y and moody and unpredictable. And I'm human, I can be snappy too, but God is good, he has bigger plans for me, and I am so thankful when I can see that tendency in myself, and go beyond what I feel capable of. I would rather suffer and be good than to just give in to temptation and be miserable.

It's a huge responsibility to be a parent. I don't want to dish out punishments because I feel irritated. That's not right. Just because I happen to be the mom, and I get the last word, because I'm the mom. I don't want to be like that. Not at all. Blessed are the merciful, they will obtain mercy. Let patience have it's perfect work. Humble yourself, and you will be exalted.
I find that parenting is more that I work on my own salvation, fight my own sin, then everything else falls into place.

Lydia is coming over again this afternoon. She was too much fun yesterday. Evelyn put her in the walker and gave her a popsicle, which she loved until she hated it, it was too cold...she went for a dip in the pool, and loved that too. We had to take everything off the coffee table because she pulls herself up and likes to grab everything and throw it on the floor. She's busy and quick, a challenge to Grammy here, but she's so cute, Grammy's willing to try to keep up with her.

Anyway. Life is good.

Friday, July 8, 2016

ahh, summertime....and cookies!!!!

Tiger Lilies!

And the cookies...I made two triple batches of dough, Evelyn helped me bake well over two hundred cookies. 156 for the catering event tomorrow, a few for Kim, and the rest I brought home. (I paid for the ingredients so we could have some) I did try a few, because they were coming out dark, but they tasted really good, too good, which led to me breaking off a piece here and a piece there, but I put the brakes on, and am done with cookies. I think I had three altogether, but seriously, I could eat a dozen.

So now we are home, and it's hot out. I want to take a dip in the pool quick, Mail is coming over with baby Lydia, and Mirielle just pulled in. I am going tonight to help Emily with food prep, she is catering a family reunion for a church fundraiser. Tomorrow a wedding, then the concert Sunday (Phish).

Bye for now.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

shopping was fun after all....

We went to the dreaded mall...Old Navy, where we found sweet leggings and tops for the princesses, and the other girls got a few things too. Then to Sears...where I tried on a few dresses and all the girls gave their opinions. I found one I felt comfortable enough in, that they gave the thumbs up to, that I can wear without a sweater, that was only $17.49, to wear to the wedding I am attending on Saturday.

Sonja 14, Suzanne 15, Kathryn 18, Evelyn 16, Camille 8, with Miss Charlotte Claire 10, peeking from behind. (Jonathan was at Will's house)

Suzanne got her fish! They carried it through the grocery store, as I bought celery and lettuce and peppers and a package of diving plastic fish that sink to the bottom of the pool for the kids to find (I sneaked it in and surprised them later), sandwich baggies (I put leftovers in baggies, and am always packing things up to take here and there and send with people), chicken, pepperoni, coffee, frozen veggies, half and half, yogurt, cheese, eggs, turkey, and ham. We also bought a 20 pound bag of ice for snow cones.

On the back of the grocery store receipt were two buy one get one free beverage coupons for the McDonalds right across the parking lot from the store, so yeah, we went. Evelyn and I got large iced coffees...they put sugar in mine, so we had to go back. Evelyn was driving, and I felt mean making her navigate in the traffic, but I couldn't drink it. I don't like sugar in coffee, nor do I need it. The nice thing was they gave us another one and we got to keep the one we had:) Oh, the little things.

Home...ah home, the place I wanted to be the whole time...we put the groceries away in record time, and got into the pool to cool off...and then...the headache that had been threatening me all day came on in full force. I try not to take ibuprofen unless I have to, and dang it I should have just taken it earlier...I had to sit quietly for a bit, which isn't easy as dinnertime approaches and they start asking where it is, ha. The ibuprofen worked quickly though, and I felt good enough to make some chicken wraps for them, not that they couldn't do it themselves. In this heat, no one is really too hungry anyway.

The older kids all went to the youth meeting, they are staying to play beach volleyball afterward, so it's only Paul and I and the two princesses. I took them in the pool, which was much better this time without the headache, then made them snow cones. I had one too, with diet lemon iced tea on it.

Now they are playing SIMS, which is a house-design computer game, which they are totally and completely in love with. I have to drag them away from it to do things, which is why it was probably a good thing to go out and about today. It was actually quite fun. And maybe I'll try on the dress and post a pic. The clothes the little girls got are too cute, they don't really NEED them, but they are so cute, and they grow up so fast, and it's fun...little floral leggings and long t-shirts, sweet striped summery zippered sweatshirts ($3.99!) was all very reasonable, and they enjoy it so much.

We had wanted to make it to the thrift store to get jeans, they like to cut them off and decorate them, ect., make them into nice shorts. It was too hot though, and we had all had enough shopping. We didn't even go to Target, yay us!

Paul brought dark chocolate home from France...oh the creaminess...I had one square after dinner, I want to just eat all of it and get it over with, ha. I am definitely going to have one more piece. mmm, chocolate. Why oh why is it just so good?

Anyway...I had a fantastic day with my girls.


It's summertime...the weather is absolutely glorious. 91 degrees today and sunny, the pool is warm and clear and refreshing. The grass is dry and doesn't need mowing, the garden needs lots of water. The fan on a stick is on here in the living room, in front of it is the only place that's truly comfortable. It's hum makes me sleepy, and want to sit here and read a book.

See, I want to stay home today. My schedule is dotted with things to do every day this week, right to Sunday, but today, my calendar is empty. So I want to have one of those summer days...the stay-in-the-bathing-suit kind of days. But no sir, the kids will not have it. Apparently I promised them a fish for their little fish tank...they have it all set up, filled with water, just waiting for a cute little fishy to swim around in it. So, they reason, today there are no plans, so I should take them to buy their fish. Please Mom, we've been home so much, please. But it's a beautiful day, kids, I say to no avail.

And they are now all getting ready to go on a fishy purchasing adventure. I warned them that I am not spending all that gas money to go to the city just to buy a fish, that we need coffee and some ice and some veggies. They know this, yet are still getting ready to go out and about.

So I am sitting here writing, dreading dressing in bye-bye clothes because it's hot out, yet I'm not about to go in a tank top and these ridiculous skorts I have on now. What I'm doing here isn't just writing on my blog, it's getting my attitude adjusted. I'm taking them because I said I would, but now I have to get happy about it. As easy as I find it is to encourage them to come to peace with what comes their way, be happy, be thankful, count the blessings...when it comes to ME doing it, well...I realize it isn't all that easy.

We know that life isn't being happy doing what we want, but finding happiness in what we have to do. I love my kids, and want to be a good example to them, so today's the day. Ha, listen to me, taking them shopping isn't exactly forced labor...first world probs, ha. We'll have fun.

all work and no play makes jack a dull boy...

Today, I had to drag myself out of the refreshing pool in the back yard, and get dressed to go to work, at the new concert venue, our church staffs a concession stand for a fundraiser. It's not so bad, once you get used to the heat. But one of their deep fryers wasn't working, so the orders were backed up, people were getting mad at us, and there wasn't a thing we could do but apologize and ask them if they wanted to order anything else, like something NOT deep fried.

It was hot, working tonight. Very hot and humid. Then to add insult to injury, the mosquitoes came out...ugh.

We were the last few to leave, and were stuck in traffic forever and a day. plans...except to buy a fish for Suzanne. She has been begging for one to put in her little fish tank.

Thursday: another concert, starting around noon...a long hot day.

Friday: I have to make a triple batch or two of chocolate chip cookies for a catering event which takes place on Saturday.

Saturday: I am going to a wedding! My brother's son, who is Joseph's age, is getting married!

Sunday: another concert, Phish. And shh, it's my birthday.

There aren't enough lazy summer know, the ones where time isn't relevant, where you realize that you went all day without putting on a pair of shoes or sandals.

We are well stocked for popsicles and freeze pops, but could use some more ice to make snow cones with.

Ah eyes are trying to close here...very tired. It's been a busy day...and yeah, I had a few leftover chicken tenders after the concert...then I was breaking pieces off of a huge toasted pretzel...multitudes of I finally just threw it away...then I left with a bag of popcorn...salty and dry, not even tasty...I started dropping it in the parking lot so someone could find their way home, then Kim said she wanted it...blah. I get tired and just don't care...

But, tomorrow is another day.

Monday, July 4, 2016

free and independent....

Over at Emily's house tonight...a little campfire with sparklers...

Miss Cam...

Cam and Char...and the DIY bench that Emily made.

Emily with Lydia, and Camille...

Our day was pleasant enough here...we started with brunch, Mirielle joined us...Evelyn made crepes, we had them with berries and whipped cream. I fried a few eggs, and scrambled some too, and made sausages. Camille made a pitcher of ice water with berries in it, and helped decorate the table for Independence Day.

We gardened, and went in the pool, which is nothing short of wonderful when it's sunny and in the eighties.

Mare had to go to work, Sonja went on a hike with some friends, Jonathan went to play soccer with friends, and Gramma came for a visit. We grilled burgers, and ate on the deck. Paul made venison burgers, mixing the ground venison with ground Italian sausage. I didn't try one but he said they were really good.

Lydia came for a visit, and we brought her to Emily's house with us in the evening. Marshmallows, s'mores, and strawberry daquiris (with no alcohol), which Em made for us, yum.

It was a good day, we found the smell in the living room and it wasn't a dead was a nice rug in the play area which had been used for a litter box by a bad kitty or doggy....out went the rug. We disinfected and scrubbed and steam-mopped the whole floor, and phew, the smell is gone. Paul put ammonia out near/on the garbage cans, and so far no critters have come to feast here tonight.

I need to get to bed soon, Mali came half an hour ago to pick up baby Lydia...tomorrow I am working a concert (5 Seconds of Summer, blah) and need to get some sleep.

It was nice to be home for most of the day, nice to have Paul here, nice to see Gramma, nice to have Mirielle over, nice to see Mali and Zac and Lydia, nice to visit with Em and her room mate Page (and Irene!!!). And goodnight.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

summer fun....

Mali brought little Lydia over to visit, I love being Grammy. Lydia is such a sunshine, she comes over here and gets passed around from Cam to Char to Jon to Sonja, Suze, Evelyn, Kathryn...and Emily and Mirielle were also visiting yesterday evening, so they held her too. Paul was also here, Suzanne and I picked him up from the airport yesterday.

Evelyn grilled chicken, we had rice and veggies, and ate on the deck in the warm summer breeze. Some of the girls went to the lake to watch the sunset with one of their friends, and Jon went to the drive-in with some of the boys.

Today we are going on a picnic to the beach on Owasco Lake, then the symphony plays the patriotic music, then fireworks. It's lovely weather, all sunny and warm, and I am very thankful.

Don't get me wrong, ha, it's not ALL sunshine and roses here. We have skunks getting into the garbage every single night, they knock down the cans, even it it has a lid on it, and have a messy feast. We know they're skunks because Joseph saw a few one night, he threw a chair at them, and they didn't seem too fazed. I guess if you are a skunk, and you live near our family, not much scares you. So we have to figure out something do do, besides Paul's suggestion, which is to wait up for them with the rifle, ha. I am tired of picking up the garbage in the mornings.

And, we have something that smells in the living room, we can't find it. Yesterday we moved the furniture, swept, vacuumed, mopped, and still smelled it. It may be a mouse dead in the heat vent, although we had no clues of any mice here. Today we are going to move the bookcases and see if we can figure it out.

We weeded the garden yesterday, Kathryn and Evelyn and Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Char, Cam, and I. Evelyn had her snippers out there, chopping the weeds around the rasberries, and the rest of us weeded between squash and corn and beans and tomatoes. Afterwards we jumped in the pool...

I put flea stuff on the dogs, and they seem to have less. We need to treat the whole yard, as that's where they come from, but I am reluctant to put chemicals on where we walk with barefeet, and play.

Also, both girls failed their driving tests this past week. They'll probably kill me for putting it out here, but it happens. They are both good drivers, but one got nervous, and one almost hit the instructor's car when she was parallel parking, which I watched from the park across the street, oh dear. I have gone through driver's tests with eleven of them now, and some of them took a few, a few had to take it three times, although I think the boys all passed the first time. That's a lot of times to go through this...the nerves before hand, living with the sulky teen who fails...and you know us, we go take the test, then have errands to do after...and there I am, trying not to say the wrong thing, totally understanding that tears want to flow....I hurt with them, although I know better than they do that it's not really the end of the world.

So life isn't all sunshine and roses. But as I sit here in the quiet of the morning, sipping my coffee, the washing machine humming with a load of towels, after taking care of the pool and feeding the pets and taking a shower, I can't complain. The kids will be waking up and talking to me, and no, I can't complain.