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, October 31, 2017


This is from a few years ago. Tonight, our Trick or Treating will be different, as Jonathan is going with Joseph and some other boys, then to Margaret and Adrian's for a boys' party, the older girls are having a youth gathering/party, so I am left with only the two youngest, but we are also taking Anya. Mali is coming too, with little Lydia. It's chilly out, so we will have to really bundle up.

The weekend went by too fast, once again. Sunday I worked at the high school band competition, in a food stand, with Paul and Evelyn and Suzanne...Abigail worked an earlier shift. This is Suze with me...

Let me tell you about donuts...there were trays and trays of them there, at the food stand, that weren't going to be sold because apparently the cash registers hadn't been programmed for them, so they were to be thrown away. Dozens of them, racks of fresh beautiful donuts, to be thrown away. If that's not sinful, what is, I ask? We were told we could eat them on our breaks, and even take a few home with us on the down-low, shh, we aren't allowed to leave the Dome with any food. But most of them went...into the garbage. Some nights, our leftovers go to the local Rescue Mission shelter, but not this past Sunday. So into the can they went. I did take a few home for the kids, but I did not eat any. The white frosted with sprinkles, the chocolate glazed, they called me, they screamed my name, but I stood firm. I just can't.

Anyway. It's very chilly here, and windy, and we've had lots of rain. Gloomy and cold, perfect for Halloween. I hope the rain lets up for tonight.

Anne is due here in just a few minutes, I have to put the dogs' dishes up, and do a second check for small things, you know, things one small girl would put in her mouth, like a penny or a small lego or a doll shoe, or even a piece of kitty chow. I sweep and mop each morning before she comes, because she still crawls, although she is taking steps now!

Benjamin is coming over with Anya today to finish up our furnace. It'll be nice to see him, and Anya. Lydia was here for quite a while yesterday. When she was getting ready to leave with Mali, she kept asking where the moon was, and I told her it was bye-bye behind the clouds and rain, and she said, "Like the dun!". Her mama translated. Like the sun. Yes, Lyd, like the sun. Cuteness overload.

Yesterday started out was windy and rainy, and I was no way going on my walk, since I had worked a long shift at the band competition on Sunday. The little girls were with Margaret, so it was just Jonathan and me. We decided to go to the store, since were were out of bread and fresh fruits and veggies. We stopped in at the thrift store first, and contemplated buying a wood rocking chair, I was itching to repaint it, but the seat was cracked, so we said Nah. We got some new glasses, as they disappear around here. Then the dollar store, which didn't have anything fantastic, but the girls wanted face paint for tonight. Then, the grocery store. There was a deal where if you bought five participating items, you got five dollars off your bill, and there were coupons in the paper for most of the things, plus special dollar double coupons. Jon was most patient while I chose shampoos and conditioners and razors, for almost free.

We got home and put things away, then Margaret brought Lydia over...Mali works nights as a nurse, 12 hour shifts, and doesn't get much sleep when Lydia wakes up as soon as she gets home from work in the morning. Daddy is in college now, so Mali gets only a tiny bit of sleep when Lyd naps, which is not enough at all. So Marge went and picked her up, and when the three high school girls got off the bus, they were delighted to find Miss Lydia here. :)

Saturday, October 28, 2017

simply enchanting...

Autumn...the blast of color here in the northeast is so brilliant, that I find myself saying that it's more beautiful this year than ever. "You say that every year, Mom." Last evening, I was able to go along on the haunted pumpkin walk, or as it's properly named, Enchanted Pumpkin the nature center, there are hundreds upon hundreds of carved pumpkins, all lit up, on the edges of paths through the woods...pumpkins carved as Winnie-the Pooh, Tinkerbell, Shrek, the Yankees name it. There was a magic show (which was lame, but hey, the kids liked it), then there were donuts and cider. I didn't have either, as I am trying hard to abstain from sugar.

The other night, I took these three girls to the village for a walk (Danielle (cousin/best friend), Camille, and Charlotte Claire), with Sunny. It was chilly out, but we still managed to stop at the ice cream place, which is closing soon until spring. I wasn't going to get a soft-serve vanilla/pumpkin twist, but then I reasoned that What The Heck, and I got one.

And it was good. Darn it, I was almost hoping it wasn't wonderful and delightful, but darn it, it was.

Anyway, Charlotte Claire has this idea that she wants to bring Sunny Trick or Treating. Sunny is adorable and sweet, but she's no angel on the leash, and she's very shy. So it seems obvious to me that she would ruin the night, but Char...not so easily convinced. So we went to the village and let her walk Sunny, and it wasn't terrible. She wasn't as skittish as I thought she would be, she was extremely happy to be out exploring, she tugged a bit, but didn't shy away or bark at anyone at the ice cream place. She sat for a taste, and wagged...but thankfully, Char agreed that it would make Halloween night difficult. :)

Now, it's no secret that puppies and kittens together are my favorite. I don't know why it tickles me so, to see them live in harmony. Sunny absolutely loves the kittens. The kittens have no fear of the dogs either, they rub against their legs, and snuggle up and sleep with them, all purring. It's really sweet....and yes, we have three kittens to give away still, as we are keeping one. I have an appointment for vet next week for mama kitty, she's not having any more kittens...

Paul is back from hunting, and is going to the dump. Two of the girls went to a Harry Potter festival, and the little girls are having their friend Amanda over. Jon is having a friend come over later with his puppy, to socialize it with our dogs. I'm not sure what the day will bring for me, yet. I am thinking of going to the home improvement store to buy a new kitchen faucet, as ours is still works, but the handle falls off if you don't turn it just so. I also am itching to do the countertop resurfacing and kitchen cabinet refinishing...I might just have to say NO to lots of things that come up, once I start these projects.

Have you ever had your feeling so hurt you just had to cry? It happened to me last night. I felt like such an idiot. It doesn't matter what the circumstances, but I couldn't help the brimming with tears that overcame me. It's why I could never be the President, I would cry too easily. Anyway. I couldn't help it. But is what I CAN the afterthoughts, the suggestions that flit through my mind that could easily lead to bitterness...and we all know that it's written about bitterness, that we should see to it that no root of bitterness should spring up, because by it, many will be defiled.(He. 12:15) We can't help our reactions sometimes, but we can help what we allow to grow and take root in our hearts, hidden where no one can see, no one but God. It's really amazing, actually, as I prayed that my heart wouldn't grow hard, that I wouldn't give in to offendedness, that I was able so see something about myself, something I did, came back to me...

Anyway. God is good. We don't have to be plagued by sin! It's hard and heavy to hold grudges, but to forgive, to let it go, it's light and good and free!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

sugar and spice and everything nice...

Just two days old, little granddaughter Elise Rose...sweetness.

In my book, there's nothing so heartmelting as seeing your husband hold a newborn baby.

And this fine morning, I went on my walk...

And now I am sitting here waiting for little Anne to come over, sitting here with kittens all over me. The one we are keeping, the little orange guy, is purring loudly. The black one is seeking to attack the keyboard, and one is on my feet...they are going bye-bye to new homes soon...tonight the orange guy and our old kitty are going to the vet at the tractor place for shots...and big mama kitty is going in next Friday, she is getting spayed, finally. It's so expensive, the only way you can do it low cost around here is if you get some sort of government assistance. I found one place that would do it, but in a few months, and if we wait that long, we'll have more kittens.

Anne is here now, and the little girls are making breakfast, pancakes and bacon.

I have lots of pictures from Ireland, and I was thinking about long ago, when I was a kid, people would go on vacation then invite friends over for a slide show of vacation pics, which was fun and exciting only to those who actually went on the trip. Those people only existed on television shows to me, we didn't have a slide show projector or screen, and we certainly didn't go on vacations. Our camera when I was little actually used flash-cubes, then the film had to be taken in for development. Cameras improved as the years went by, and when I was ten or eleven, I was so lucky to get a Kodak 110, with an automatic flash! Oh, happy girl I was!

Digital cameras came out, and the little drop box for film development disappeared from Walmart, that drop box which ate so much money during the years that Mariel and Aaron liked to take pictures, before digital.

Now iPhones photos are as good as most reasonably priced cameras, so why tote around both? Unless you are professional photographers, like my nieces, Susan and Janet (two of my sister's girls), who are in Amsterdam right now, shooting a wedding...

Anyway. Phones, cameras, televisions have changed so much, and of course kids these days can't imagine that I actually grew up before the invention of the internet.

With so much technology, it's important to remember the important things in life, like hugging the kids and actually listening to each other. We can have evenings where I look around the room and there are like ten of us here in the living room, all on a device. That's sad. I do nag my kids, make them have times when they put the iPod down, and communicate like real human beings.

Evelyn and I sneaked a trip to the thrift store in yesterday, we had a coupon for $10 off of a $25 purchase. We dug through the sweaters, Ev found one for me that I really like. She found some too, along with a book, a shirt, and some other little things, all for $18 after the coupon.

Yesterday, we went to the library...Anne likes the library. She likes playing with the blocks and the train, and the wood puzzles that make sounds. We got stacks of books. We went to Target, where the backpacks were finally 70% off! I had promised the kids a new one this year, these home schooled kids of mine. They still use them when they spend the night at Margaret's or go to friends' houses, or on road trips. It's part of the fun, when school starts, to get that new stuff, so I wanted to make sure these guys had that fun too, albeit a bit late, ha.

Our van was inspected yesterday, to the tune of $344. It's always something, this time it was the brakes, the front ones were under warranty so we only had to pay for labor, the rear ones...pricey. Paul or Ben or our friend Seth could have done them, but sometimes it's nice to just get them done, and not have to bring it back for a second inspection. We had the tires rotated and the oil changed, and it's all nice and good. We had a new furnace installed this year too, propane. Our old oil unit was falling apart, and Benjamin just happens to be an HVAC (heating/ventilation/air-conditioning) apprentice. So...he installed it for us. How lucky are we that he moved here right when we couldn't get through another winter with that old furnace?

Ah well. I'm staying out of the kitchen while the girls cook because they like to pretend they are working in a restaurant or are on a cooking show, and then they eat it like they are going out to eat. So I stay in a different room if possible, so as not to start in on my little suggestions, ha.

Ha, off on a tangent is my favorite, Margaret and Adrian are moving to a new apartment which they are renovating, so she just texted me asking about painting kitchen cabinets, which I googled, to make sure I shared my vast, yet unused knowledge, of cleaning, priming, and painting cabinets, correctly. The little girls and I really want to tackle some of these projects around here this winter..."no ifs and buts about it", as my mother used to say.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

welcome to the world baby elise rose!!!!

She was born yesterday!!!! Anya got to have a sleepover with Grandma (me, ha! She says sometimes, "Grandma!", and I'm like, la-de-dah...oh wait, I AM the Grandma!!!) Anyway, Anya got to come to my house, play with the kittens and doggies and toys, then we went to McDonalds for dinner.

Anyway, she spent the night here, with Camille and Charlotte, and she did amazingly well for a little girl just-turned-four.

She woke up this morning all happy in her jammies, and sat in my chair with me for a snuggle while we watched Curious George.

Then her daddy picked her up to take her to see her new baby sister, Elise Rose, who is almost nine pounds!

I haven't met baby yet, maybe tonight or tomorrow night, whatever works.

It's very exciting, isn't it? Three granddaughters I have now!!!

Miss Lydia came to visit today...

Sunny, Jonathan, and was such a nice day outside, after the rain stopped.

Sunny was tired from chasing Jon's remote controlled car up and down the road.

I made cookies today....just to torture myself. I ate a few tastes, just to make sure they were good, then I practiced what I preach, ha, and stopped.

Charlotte Claire wants to look at nice houses with me, so I am signing off now.....

Monday, October 23, 2017

autumn coziness....

The morning walks are getting beautiful as the leaves change. There is nothing in this world like the smell of leaves in the fall, that tea-like aroma, and crunching through them reminds me of being a kid.

I won't lie, this picture made me want to straighten those baskets up, but why oh why didn't I do that BEFORE I took the picture?

Two of my boys, from the soccer weekend, Samuel and Joseph.

Grace and Sonja :) (Grace is Davian and Anne's big sister, cousin to my kids, my sister's oldest grandchild, she is a very sweet girl)

Miss Charlotte Claire, just because.

Benjamin got a deer, an 8 point buck, with a bow! It's his first year bow-hunting, too. (I stole this pic from Ashley). It was very exciting.

This fine morning, my little girls are up at Margaret and Adrian's, doing their school work, then helping Margaret paint their nursery. They LOVE packing their backpacks and spending the night at siblings' places. I am on-call to help with sweet Anya when it's time for her baby sister to be born, which is any time now, as she is three days overdue. Anya was a week early, but her baby sister is nice and comfy where she is, I guess.

As I walked this morning, I prayed for wisdom. The longer I live here on earth, the more I see that I don't know and understand. Yesterday we celebrated a friend's 80th birthday, with a church feast. We celebrated because 80 year old Joe is a blessing. He has learned humility through his trials, and being with him is like a breath of fresh air. He isn't bitter and stiff, just the opposite! He is kind, gentle, and very young at heart!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

why, it's almost christmas!!!

66 days 'til Christmas Eve! This year, the Christmas season should be easy-peasy compared to last year, when we had a wedding for Margaret and Adrian a few weeks before Christmas. This year, we will have a new baby around, Ben and Ashley are expecting any day now. This year, Sunny is far as potty goes anyway.

Today, we have two year old Lydia here for the day, my second granddaughter, Mali's little girl. Anne is coming in half an hour. I have been up for two hours, because SOMEONE had to clean up the mess from the bad doggies...they got into the garbage...again. So sweeping and mopping and cleaning up...I had put pepper on the rim of the can, but they just sneezed right through it and got to the snacks in there.

I didn't get out for my walk, because by the time I got finished cleaning up, it was almost time for Miss Lyd to arrive.

We are planning a playground/park outing today. We are having the most fantastic streak of nice weather here in the northeast...I enjoy clicking on the weather forecast and seeing all those full suns lined up in a row, no rain expected until next Monday! Warm sunny days!

Lydia likes to get lots of toys. She has pretend food and dishes out all over, now she wants to play dollhouse. She's as happy as can be...she's also having some raisin toast, made by Camille. Joseph is putting on a pot of coffee, and Jonathan just brought Sunny in from tiring her out. Sunny has so much energy in the morning, she prowls around looking for things to chew on, but when Jon takes her out and shoots the airsoft gun, she goes crazy chasing the pellets. She sees that gun and goes nuts. It tires her completely out to run around like that. And a tired dog is mostly a good dog.

Mr. Jonathan with Sunny and one of the kittens...raising kittens with Labradors is way too precious. The dogs are so gentle with the kitties. Sunny absolutely loves them. She puts her nose down and lets them bat at her and tries to play with them, follows them around so curiously, but she's a gentle giant with them. Suri tries to ignore them, but will only lick them or sigh and lay her head down, and let them climb all over her. The kittens are not afraid of the dogs at all, either.

Anyway...things to do, kids to take care of....:)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

and yeah, I was wrong....

As pointed out in a few comments from kind readers from Ireland, they DO flush their toilet paper. I misunderstood a sign, but also a coffee shop we went to featured a can next to the commode, full of used t.p. But who knows, maybe lots of people were crying and wiped their eyes, or had colds. Live and learn, and I just wanted to apologize for my mistake.

The older you get, the more you realize that things you felt so strongly about long ago aren't so important, and that you may even have been wrong about some things, or even a lot of things. So if you're thinking clearly, you pretty much know that if you feel strongly about something, you may well be wrong, based on what you've learned in life. So it's easier to see the other side of issues, easier to realize that there is more than one way to skin a cat. This is useful when one is a grandparent, this acknowledgement that I am not the Queen of Doing Everything Right. We tend to judge and measure all according to how we think things should be...

My little friend Anne is on her way over. I swept and mopped the floors this morning, did some laundry, and went on my walk. I have been waking up at 5:00 a.m.! It's still dark then, and this morning, very chilly. It was 33 when I got home from the walk, frost on the pumpkins for sure! Now it's cozy in here with the hot coffee, pumpkin spice, and the little fireplace on. The girls joggle each other for a good spot in front of it, Char has it right now. They have to fight with the dogs and cats for that space, too, ha. to bring Anne in!

Monday, October 16, 2017

no time to blog? what?!

But I did walk this morning!

Yesterday, we had a birthday party! Little Miss Anya Jade turned four years old! Here she is with Ben and Ashley, her papa and her mama....

Ashley is due with baby #2 next week, but she still managed to bring over the whole party...chips and dip and veggies and drinks and hot dogs and mac and cheese...and homemade cannoli dip!!!

Isn't that puppy cute? It's Margaret and Adrian's, a Boxador. They're having a baby in March, but now they have a puppy and a dog too...:)

This fine morning, I had to drive Samuel to the airport. He received a subpoena to testify in a trial against a former sergeant in the Army who is accused of abuse of authority, abuse of the soldiers. He has to meet with the prosecutor, and has been warned that the defense will likely try to paint a picture of the soldiers who are testifying against the sergeant as trying to get revenge, and it might be very uncomfortable.

Margaret had the day off of work today, so she came over for a visit with her new puppy. Joseph agreed to puppysit so we could go out and off to Target! I found some Christmas presents, and a pair of leggings for Camille. We were hungry and tempted to go somewhere for lunch, but decided to just come home and have a nice dinner. Camille cut tomatoes, Evelyn cut peppers, we had taco salad with black olives and that yucky jarred melty cheese (no, I do not eat it.). Ben and Ashley came for dinner too.

Life with kittens and puppies and small children visiting is fun, and busy. Tomorrow, baby Anne is coming over for the day. I will be on call for when Ashley has her baby, I will watch Anya. I hope it's not during the night, but if it is, it is, I am very excited to meet this new grandchild, our third grandchild, third granddaughter!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

the west coast of Ireland...

The Wild Atlantic Way...

We are staying at a little cottage up a narrow windy road, with stone walls and hedges, and cows, and a view of the sea....

This isn't the cottage but it's on the road to the cottage.

We may or may not have stopped in at a chocolate shop...

Fish and Chips!

Chips...they're just fries.

Coffee in Galway...

Back at the cozy cottage (don't you love the stairway?) We spent the day in the city...walking around, having coffee, then lunch, then an afternoon Guinness...which is not my normal, but hey, when in Ireland...

We came back here as the rain started. The little fireplace warmed it up, and we may or may not have a bag of pastries...I made some coffee, and here we are, almost packed to leave tomorrow to drive back across the green isle, all the way to Dublin to make our way back home.

Yesterday, we went to the Cliffs of Moher...

It was windy up there! And stairs! I walked up so many stairs! I'm glad I've been going on my walks every morning, so it wasn't so bad. It was so lovely...

After arriving at our cottage yesterday, after a long day of winding narrow roads, and beautiful views, we were hungry. We drove back down the lane to this place:

Right on the water!

A local brew from down the road...

A local cider....

Slow roasted beef and gravy over potatoes, with veggies on the was just the thing after a long day, and on a chilly night.

This trip has been interesting. It's been and adventure taking double decker buses in Dublin, and for Mirielle to drive on the wrong side of the road. We had to get used to the alarm system in the first apartment we stayed at, and figure out the shower, and how to lock the door, and how to start the car (there's a trick to it, we almost had to call roadside assistance but Mirielle figured it out!). We enjoyed the city today, but it was pretty touristy.

Things are different here. They don't flush toilet paper, and the sink spigots in the bathrooms, the taps, are usually two separate units, as if you want either cold water or hot water, and not WARM water. Seriously. Coffee, regular yummy not to be found. It's espresso. With...milk. Good thing we know to bring our own bag of Starbucks, some filters, and the pour through filter thing-y, and to buy the cream at the grocery store. The coffee in the shops is okay, but not just a real cup of coffee. But the people are friendly and fun, and we have had too many good laughs. Now, I'm tired, and we need to get ready for our last epic adventure...driving back across the country...:)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

a day in Dublin....

The bus stop is right across from our apartment, so we kept the car parked and took the bus today, the double decker, and yes we sat on the top floor.

The first bus took us into the city, then we had to walk a few blocks and get on a different bus, to go to the Guinness factory tour. Lots of walking, and we found it.

We walked over a bridge and saw the River Liffey.

At the factory...

We learned the proper way to pour.

We stopped at a pub in Dublin for some late lunch...the beer was a local brew on tap, we finished the pints but not the pizza.

We don't even feel like having any now, but this seemed like a good idea when we were in Tesco.

All comfy cozy back at our little apartment, my feet up on the coffee table...reflecting on the day. It was confusing to figure out where we were going, but it was adventurous and the Guinness factory storehouse was interesting. The best part was pouring our own pint at the end, then drinking it on the 7th floor, with a view of the whole city.

The whole country of Ireland only has 4.7 million people. New York state has 19 million something, even without New York City, New York has 11 million. It is very much a Catholic country, and the population is not racially diverse at all, 94 % white. The police here do not carry guns. Pepper spray and batons only.

Tomorrow we will leave the fair waterside apartment and say goodbye to Dublin, as we drive across the entire country (ha, 3 and a half hours!), to the Cliffs of Moher, then up to Galway on the west we need to pack.