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, August 30, 2016

Back from Washington

And it was too much fun. Abigail and I got up before the birds on Sunday, watched the sunrise from the plane to D.C., then spent the entire day with Samuel. We got some breakfast from McDonald's, which was my vote, it was far to nice out to sit inside somewhere....and we headed to the beautiful national park on the Potomac. We sat in the shade and sipped coffee and solved the world's problems, we walked on the trail and took pictures. We found a nice grassy place to sit and take our shoes off, just enjoying doing nothing, and catching up. Abigail was in Norway for an entire year, it was the first time she and Sam saw each other since she got back. (Sam so nicely took care of her car for her for the year). We headed to the hotel, which was only a five minute drive from the Army base, checked in, then walked around town to find something for dinner. Abigail and I decided on Five Guys, which is a burger place that makes the patties from fresh ground beef, and cuts their own fries. Sam opted for a tortilla place. We also stopped at a local coffee place for iced coffees to go....we took it all back to our nice air-conditioned room to get out to the 93 degree heat. We didn't turn on the t.v., we just talked and laughed and enjoyed each other's company.

We brought Sam back to base thinking we would see him for lunch on Monday, but he wasn't able to have an official lunch...they were doing the Old Guard/Honor Guard, they practice practice, practice....Abigail and I didn't know this until noon, that he wouldn't be able to see us, so we hung around the Marine Memorial, and walked in Arlington National Cemetery for a bit.

We left around 1:00 and arrived home at's a long day, but pleasant. We had beautiful weather, and don't seem to run out of things to talk about.

Today I have to bring Sonja to physical therapy. I need to mail things and make phone calls and plan lessons. Paul and Margaret's fiancé, Adrian, installed eight new windows on Saturday. They are white vinyl, so I want to paint the trim white. The Abigail and I watched some home decorating shows after bringing Sam back to the base the other night, and talk about making me hate my awful house! Not really hate, but you know, makes me itch to buy chalk paint and fix things up.

Another summer is coming to an end, and once again, wah. Only three of our kids are heading to public school, Evelyn Joy, Suzanne Eleanor, and Sonja Kathleen, all in high school. The warm lazy days were warm enough but not lazy enough. I want more nights to grill in my bathing suit, sipping a light beer in bare feet I want corn on the cob a few more times, and watermelon! More spontaneous trips to the beach, no, I'm not ready for them to start school.

But I will say this: I am sipping my morning coffee, and yes, it's pumpkin spice.

I do like autumn. In central New York, it means apples, crispy mornings and sunny afternoons, chilly rainy days, and those wild windy days that strip the trees bare. The smell of those crunchy leaves, the long shadows, the foreboding of bitter weather...I do love it.

I took my walk this morning, yay me, Suri came with me and was a very good girl on the leash. Our new puppy is darling, all five pounds of her. She isn't housebroken yet, she likes pooping in here. The girls have been taking turns having her in their rooms at night, Evelyn took her out four times during the night to potty. It takes time, but Labs catch on quickly, I'm hopeful. Our old Duke doesn't like little Sunny much. Paul and I had a talk this morning, we're going to give him a little more time. He still enjoys life, it takes so little to make the old boy happy. Just look at him and he thumps his tail.

My laptop is broken, the screen was iffy for a while, but no one broke it while I was in California. It just magically broke all by itself! Now I'm blogging on the iPad that Aaron gave me for my has a nice wireless keyboard, but I haven't figured out how to put pictures on the blog with it yet, don't laugh. One of these days.

For the first time in a long time, I have no trips planned! I do have other plans though, like kitchen remodeling...painting cabinets and resurfacing the countertops, painting the living room and foyer....fitting it in is challenging...but it's fun...sort of.

Ah well, things to do....

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Puppy love

A new puppy in the house keeps me humble. Anything I thought I knew about training puppies ugh. She's a little bundle of love but oh my she keeps us hopping.

Tomorrow morning I'll be on a plane to Washington D.C. Abigail and I will be getting up at 4:00 am....and visiting Samuel!

I have pics to post but haven't had a minute... All eleven of my daughters were at Lydia's birthday celebration today.

Bedtime! Paul is taking lots of kids to the beach tomorrow. Joseph is staying home with pup.

And....good night!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Yes I am alive

It won't happen to me, I won't just give up the blog without notice, leaving old news hanging there forever. My laptop screen broke while I was in California, I don't have time to put up pics on this rainy morning. So I will just give a random update.

California was lovely. Visiting cities is fun but you won't catch me moving anytime soon.

We just got back from Lake George and the amusement park

Margaret is indeed older than 17, she'll be 20 in December.

We go pick up our new Labrador retriever puppy tomorrow.

We still have four kittens

Tonight I am working the Keith Urban concert

Thus morning I am food shopping for a celebration feast for 72 people Friday night.

Tomorrow, puppy (2hour drive each way), then food prep and celebrate, then Saturday...cupcake making time! Lydia's first birthday party!

Sunday morning as the sun rises, I'll be on a plane with Abigail, heading to Washington D.C. To see Sam and then drive back home on Monday. (Abigail just got back from a year in Norway and got a good job already! She was interviewed Monday and offered the job on Tuesday. )

Next week is the last week of summer for my three daughters going to high school. We plan to take it easy and train and enjoy new puppy, Sunny, although we happily spend hours discussing puppy names.

I have school plans to make

I have to get Sonja into physical therapy.

The mama cat needs to be spayed

The garden bounty needs preserving.

And now I need to grab a coffee and go out the door with Evelyn. We also need stuff for here....

And I thought it was going to get easier when they grew up.

(Oh, and Charlotte threw up last night)

Monday, August 15, 2016

the grass is always greener

Emily and I have read a few of the same books recently, and one line jumped out at me,"She craved solitude but hated loneliness." Kate Atkinson.

Our house has been Grand Central this past weekend. I do love it, yet...this morning it's just me and the dogs, in the quiet of the morning and it's soothing and relaxing. I swept up and tidied up, brewed a big pot of coffee and here I sit. I am all showered and ready for my trip: we're leaving for California in a few hours.

I am the traveling mom this year! Within the past year, I've been to Washington state, drove to California and flew back, Norway, (with a day in London), Washington D.C., France, now California, and next week...I'm flying to D.C. With Abigail to get her car, and of course visiting Soldier Sam.

As far as flying to visit my far-away kids, I am so thankful that I have been able to do this. I would rather they just stayed close by and saved the trouble, ha, but I'm still glad to be able to visit them.

In a few weeks, baby Lydia will be turning one year old and her mama is having a birthday party for her. When my own kids were little, turning one meant they got a cupcake on their highchair tray and smushed it all up. Nowadays birthdays are out of control. I have been guilty of Birthday Snark, wondering why people have nothing better do. But somewhere in the midst of that criticism, I realized that the world changes. I remember my own mother's way of parenting seemed so dated to me, yet here I am, so unwilling to embrace new ideas of fun.

So Lydia will have a whole slew of us singing to her and bestowing her with gifts. For me, it will be to say how much sunshine she has brought to my life. And my daughter Mali, who has made her own choices in life, has worked so hard to get on her own two feet and be independent...she's only 22, she graduated a year early from high school, went through nursing school, and is working her butt off to pay off college loans, car payment, ect. Grownup life happened fast for her, but she's taken her responsibilities seriously and gracefully, she's such a good momma. So I want to celebrate with her because this is what families do these days:)

Anyway. Time to get ready to leave!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

puppies and weddings and california!

We are getting a new puppy! This is Sunny. She's a white lab (yellow), and will be ready to come live with us in two weeks! Paul's mom is buying her for us. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if we will have a three labs of the three colors (black, chocolate, yellow) at the same time because...Duke isn't doing well. He rarely makes it through the night without accidents, and is having more than trouble on the stairs. He also has a tumor regrowth on his foot, and Duke is too old for more surgery. I am in the "put him down before he suffers too much" camp, and Paul is getting there. It's not fun, it's not pleasant, but it's the merciful thing to do. One of the kids pointed out that if he actually falls down the deck steps, he's going to really suffer...he misses steps and stumbles...I try to take him in and out the front door with less steps, but no, he is a follower, and it breaks my heart.

And: We are going to have a wedding! Margaret and Adrian are engaged!

(Miss Margaret,happy to back in the U.S.A.!)

Baby Lydia and Mali Rose (Lydia's mama)...they came for a visit. Lydia is taking steps now, and is too stinkin' cute.

And...Jonathan and Abigail are going on a cruise with Gramma...not me, THEIR gramma, Paul's mom. We have known about it for a while, but Jon found out today. He also found out about the puppy. What a day. Margaret and Adrian announced their engagement, the puppy news, the cruise...Gramma brought over pizza and wings, I made a salad and sliced up some grilled chicken, we celebrated....what a day.

And...the day after tomorrow...California!!!!!

why is this so hard!!!?

Little Miss Anya is my sunshine. Benjamin went back home to Washington state already, he had to get back to work. Ashley stayed on with Anya, and they would come over and visit. Visit and play. I would soak up Anya's cuteness, those smiles, the sweet hugs she would give out to all of us. She talks in complete little sentences, and nods her head yes to emphasize when she really means something. They're going to get on a plane and head home...far far away. I am really hoping to be able to visit them this winter, a whole year is far too long to go without seeing them, especially Anya.

Today we are having company, having burgers on the grill and garden veggies. It's so hot, humidity 85% and 81 degrees already, heading to 90 today. I worked on the pool, swept the floors, wiped down counters, took care of the dogs, and phew...I'm done, ha. I need to jump in the pool.

The concert last night was as hot as I thought it was going to be, but I felt okay. We survived. The prices are so high on the food we sell, it gets tiring to take the abuse about it, by the end of the night, I am so DONE. I am fully aware that five dollars is too much for a bottle of water. But I don't set the prices, and there's not a thing I can do about it, and no, I should not be ashamed of myself for selling it, as some people actually come out and say. I'm glad to work there though, it gives me mercy for those who work in retail, work as cashiers, work serving's not easy. There are those who drink too much at concerts, and are coarse and rude. I don't mind the swearing, but don't expect me to laugh at your blatant innuendos.

Anyway. Paul and I are leaving for California early Monday morning. Two daughters have driving tests while we are gone, oh poor me, I have to miss them, ha. I do feel bad, but also, shh, relieved. Standing there waiting for them while they drive off with the instructor is excruciating, maybe being on the other side of the country will be better. Also lots of the kids will be going on a camping trip next weekend. Char and Cam are going to stay with Susan and Thomas and the little twins and William. I wanted to make a meal plan for them while I'm gone, but I know they will just order pizza as much as they can afford to with the emergency money I leave them.

It's nice to have Margaret home. Very nice. Abigail got home yesterday! It's SO nice!!! Our cookout will be fun this afternoon.

And are up, Saturday is starting. :)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

hot hot hot....

Me, Margaret (Back from Norway!!!!), Charlotte Claire in front of Kathryn, Jonathan, Suzanne, and Miss Camille in front...we went out and about yesterday. Evelyn so nicely stayed home with Sonja K., who is recovering nicely. hot hot. Hot and humid. I stayed in the pool for an hour and a half. And I am headed back in soon. Ashley came over to visit with Anya...they are going back to Washington state in a few days, wah. It's been so nice to see them. As they were leaving last evening, Ashley mentioned being sorry about all the toys being out, and I said, "Oh my goodness Ashley, I've been waiting for years now for grandchildren to come over and play with these toys!"

It's so nice. Anya likes the little slide, and she likes to scan toys with the plastic cash register. :)

Abigail comes home from Norway tomorrow late tonight, Emily is picking her up from New York city this evening.

Tomorrow night we are working a concert, I hope we don't melt.

I am back to my pre-vacation weight, again. I gained a little bit at the summer conference, but lost it again, phew. I am trying hard to stay on the straight and narrow, because I am leaving on Monday morning for California, and I think maybe we might have to try a local donut or two while we're there.

And...there are kids here (nine at home again!), and the Olympics are bye for now.

Monday, August 8, 2016

happiness is....

With Evelyn Joy...'s a feeling of elation, it's an excellent outlook on life, it's knowing that all is right in your world. it really? Here's the thing...sometimes I fell really happy,and sometimes I find myself letting the cares of this world weigh on me. In each and every thing that happens, there is a victory that can be won if we are willing to let God take the reigns, and fight against our sin. It's wrong to backbite. It's wrong to call someone a rhymes-with-witch. It's wrong to be offended and angry and spiteful and vengeful. We know this. Yet...something like a simple phone call can stir up so much in us. What do we do then? Just give in to sin? Just get mad, who cares? No one can see my thoughts, so does it matter?

It matters. When Jesus come back, he will come for those who have oil in their lamps. That oil comes from faithfulness in the hidden, where no one can see but him.

Being faithful in each and ever thing, no matter how small, brings happiness. God blesses us when we are kind, especially when we are very very tempted to be mean.

My daughter Margaret is home from Norway!!! It is SO good to have her here. It's been too long. I told her that I realize that now instead of just the four teenage girls in the house, there will be five again (she's 19)(they are 19, 18, almost 17, 15,14). One more added to the mix of hormones and tempers, but also the laughing and silliness and friendship and fun. :)

Our wild back yard...the yard behind the back yard, looking out from the garden.

It still amazes me when we actually get stuff from the garden.

What? We can just walk out to the side garden and get tomatoes?

The sweet corn, tomatoes, green peppers, and summer squash are all from our gardens.

The morning has gone by too fast, the day is slipping by and I have things to do. Sonja K. has her knee surgery tomorrow. I have tons of laundry to do from being at the camper for the week, lots is already hanging out to dry. Miss Lydia Eleanor was here last night, that baby is almost a year old! The pool didn't turn green when we were gone, and the garden survived. I gained a few vacation pounds, right after I got back to my pre-June vacation weight, just joy.

But we had an excellent time, and now I must go enjoy my day:)

Monday, August 1, 2016

under the knife...

Miss Suzanne Eleanor (15), Miss Kathryn Grace (18), and Miss Sonja Kathleen......Sonja got her diagnosis today, finally...and it's not as bad as it could be, but it could be better. Apparently her knee dislocated, then popped back in, taking some cartilage and tearing a few pieces off, leaving chunks of it floating freely around the knee. Those pieces have to be removed or they will cause further damage. The knee is still painful and swollen, and she isn't to walk on it, so no ditching the brace and crutches yet. She is having the surgery next Tuesday, and as with most operations these days, is a one day thing, done with two or three small incisions, depending on how easily retrieved the pieces are.

The recovery time from the surgery should be short and sweet, and he thinks she will be feeling lots better within a week or so. Kathryn Grace is out shopping today, and bought Miss Sonja K. a shirt and a nice soccer ball, because she is nice, and because she worked a few days last week and has money. I love this about the kids, they way they bless each other.

My schedule for August is filling up fast because guess what, Paul and I are going to California to visit Aaron and his friend!!! Abigail and Margaret are coming home from Norway I am hoping to fly down to Washington D.C. with Abigail so she can drive her car back here to New York, Sam has been using it for the year she has been gone. We are having a first birthday celebration for grand-baby Lydia. We still want to go to Lake George, but now I have no idea when we'll fit it in.

We're leaving tomorrow for the conference, which lasts through next Tuesday, but Sonja's surgery is now going to be on Tuesday, so I'll be leaving early.

Never a dull moment. Yesterday the battery died on the minivan, so I had to go to Walmart and get a new one. Today Abigail's car insurance was cancelled because of a mix up with a credit card that was cancelled because the account was compromised...the insurance agency called here a few weeks ago, so I went in right away to talk to them, no, they said, it's all good. Then today it was cancelled...ugh. I had to go in and pay it for her.

I also did the shopping for the meals for next week, forgetting who knows what. Ben and Ashley are due here any time now, Paul is bringing home sweet corn from the farm stand down the road, and I am going to grill burgers. Evelyn, whom I owe a million dollars, made a pasta salad today while holding down the fort with the younger kids while I took Sonja to the dr. and did the shopping for next week.

The little girls are helping clean up the house. Duke peed in the hallway last night. Wah. We take let him out late at night and first thing in the morning, but lots of times he still pees in the house. Or worse. He's old. I do not like this at all. Why can't he just be a despicable old dog, whom I cannot wait to do away with, ha. I love him so much. He's so gentle and kind and he follows me around so faithfully.

I am not sure when I'll be able to write again. Tomorrow morning, Anya will be waking up here and spending the day with us...with her mom and dad too. But there's something about seeing the little ones in the morning, something special. When I wake up and remember she's here, yay!!! Plus, Davian is coming for a visit tomorrow.

Time to make burgers...:)

momma, mommy, mother, della....

I answer to all of the above, except for when I am preoccupied and don't answer, which is not well tolerated by one particular teenage daughter who uses the occasion to flounce off with a loud, "fine, don't listen to me."

And yes, sometimes some of them call me by my first name. They don't mean any disrespect, it's just that sometimes they say MOM, and I don't hear them, and sometimes when we are working at a concert or something, they don't want to yell, "Mom!".

I thought of my own mother this morning as I poured the very last of the Whisk detergent into the washing machine...the container had been lying on it's side, you know, so the rest is easy to pour out. I haven't gotten ALL of the rest out yet, I may put a little bit of water in it and shake it up. My kids think I'm crazy when I do that. I thought it was normal.

My own mother used to make spaghetti like this: boil the pot of pasta, drain the water out by using a pan lid to hold the pasta in, tipping the pot over the sink, letting the hot water pour out...then she'd open a jar of sauce...pour it right in with the pasta, then fill the jar with water, put the lid back on and shake well, then pour that in too. She used to brown up the ground beef in the iron frying pan (which we always called "hamburger", or even "hamburge") with onions, and pour that in too. Mix well, and voila, a big pot of spaghetti. I always loved it, especially the next day heated up. In a pan of course, microwave ovens weren't in kitchens yet way back then.

Then one day I went to my friend's house for dinner. Spaghetti. A nice big bowl of pasta was passed around, then the bowl with sauce, and gasp, meatballs instead of bits of hamburger! The sauce was thick and tasty! I was in love.

So needless to say, I didn't inherit my mother's thrifty spaghetti recipe, but it does make my heart ache to remember her standing at the stove. Her own mother died when she was 14 years old, so she never really had anyone teach her to cook. My father didn't mind, he grew up extremely poor, one of 12 kids. His mother taught him, "Soap and water is cheap, there is no excuse for being dirty." She kept a spotless house, and even though they were dirt poor, she brought them up clean and tidy. But my dad appreciated the simple food my mother made, he often said to her, "Plain but nourishing, Maudie, plain but nourishing." But he said it in a happy way, because he really did like it.

Anyway. Last week marks the ten year anniversary of my mother's death. Whoever said it gets easier, had no idea. Time stretches on, and the longer she's been gone, the more I miss her.

But this isn't supposed to be a sad post.

Today is a happy day! Our son Benjamin, his wife Ashley and our little granddaugher Anya are coming over! They are visiting from Washington state! They are coming to spend the night. Ashley lived here with us when Ben was deployed to Afghanistan, and they are going to stay in the same room she had then. Paul is in charge of putting the air mattress in there, as there is only one single bed. I am in charge of everything else. ha. I have already done so much this morning, but have to leave soon to bring Sonja to the orthopedic doctor, I hope we finally get a diagnosis of this knee injury, and I hope it's a simple easy fix. Or perhaps just a, "Oh, you're fine! Take off that brace, put away those crutches, you're fine!"

A person who is leaving soon and has to also get groceries for a whole week of staying in the camper (we are leaving tomorrow for a week for church summer conference, (Ben and Ashley and Anya are going too!)should not just be sitting with her feet up drinking coffee... I have to go shopping, then come home and see my dear ones from across the country...we are having burgers on the grill. Then tomorrow we are packing up and leaving.

Oops, we really have to get going....