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

Monday, April 30, 2018

after pics: white painted cabinets!!!!

Not a very good "before" pic, but of course I forgot to take them.

The tile behind the stove was chosen and installed in 1992. I was 27, is that a good excuse? "Country" style was all the rage.

So I decided to paint it. I picked out a light gray, teetering between that and a shiny white, but then discovered I could get the small can of premixed semi-gloss for $3.87, so I dark gray won.

Again, it could have come out better, but it still looks better than it did. I just primed it, and painted it. Suzanne is going to help me by touching up the grout lines with white paint so it looks more like a new tile job.

We spray painted the hinges, and put the knobs on, Adrian installed the drawer pulls and hung the doors back up.


And in the process, I lost a day. Yes, a whole day. I spent most of the day yesterday thinking it was Thursday. we went to the big mall in the big city.

We were blissfully shopping the clearance racks when my phone rang. Paul was calling to tell me my guests were at the house. What? What guests? The three children who were coming for the weekend were there. Um, why? They were supposed to come on Friday...wait. I was getting a niggle. I got off the phone, and asked my daughter what day of the week it was. Friday, Mom. oh no. All day long I thought it was Thursday. I thought I had a whole day to prepare for the coming of these little children, for Jonathan's birthday bash...I thought I would go to the grocery store on Friday morning, but little did I know, Friday morning was already in the past.

So with some scrambling, we got our act together and had a good weekend with the extra three little children.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

cabinet makeover part two: reality.

I have read probably hundreds of stories about kitchen cabinet renovations. Blogs and articles and how-to's, scouring for the perfect way. I wanted to do it right, but also, was scared of such a huge undertaking. And seriously? I don't have a huge-0 garage laden with power tools! Our garage is one of those tent-like gray monstrosities, with ripped flaps for doors, with our lawn mower, bicycles, and old lawn chairs in it. And the pictures in the articles, the houses with the gorgeous counters, with spotlessly clean cabinets, all cleared out for the work...ha. We are in knee deep right now. Chaos-city here. The living room is overflowing with stuff that was in our way.

So I read that you can hammer four tacks into the back of the cabinet door after painting it, then rest it on the tacks while you paint the front. That didn't work for us, even after we gathered up so many tacks. Evelyn didn't actually use the hammer though, she said it didn't work, and she "tried with the scissors." Yes, that is our reality, why run and find a hammer when you can pound with scissors?

Our solution was better though, and to be fair, I did steal it from one of the articles I read...we propped the doors up on canned food covered in clean hand towels. We then realized that boxes of cereal and crackers also worked well.

The paint we used went easily and dried quickly. We did two coats, and think it might be enough. The cupboard doors had lots of issues, and we used wood filler and sanded it off. There are areas where it wasn't sanded off enough, and there are drawers where you can see where the old screw holes were. We're hoping the new hardware will cover those.

The reality of this project is that it is long and tedious. Even with a really good work crew, it takes forever.

And it's not done yet. We have cabinet doors and drawers all over the place. It takes a while for them to cure, and one thing I didn't realize was that we shouldn't have done the second coat so soon after the first coat, oops. Even if it feels dry to the touch it needs to cure more. And, we should have used the semi-gloss. So learn from us.

And I don't like using expensive paint, but after all this work, I wanted to choose something that would hold up.

I do not get paid to endorse products, but so far have been happy with the primer:

Zinser 1-2-3 water based.

And the paint:

Sherwin Williams Emerald in satin, color - Alabaster.

I also paid an un-Godly amount of money for one of the paint brushes, a Purdy, and it was SO NICE compared to the Walmart brushes.

Here's something I learned from the process: patience is not only a virtue, it's a necessity. I am the queen of thinking I am the most careful, but my girls were coming behind me and finding drips. I checked a drawer this morning that I had painted yesterday, and dried drips, oops. I also learned that having the four girls here helping was worth golden treasures. We had more fun than humans beings should have doing tedious work, and they also warmed my heart with their thoughtfulness. I didn't want to break for brekky yesterday when only Sonja was helping, so she made me Ezekial toast and some pepperoni. They kept working when I thought they must be sick and tired of it, fixing things and giving touch-ups and cleaning up spilled drips. Kathryn cleaned all the brushes and paint bowls, voluntarily. Suze and Evelyn just kept on like Energizer bunnies, until we were certain it was done.

Now the doors need to go back on, so off we go to get spray paint for the hinges. Don't be like us, get it ahead of time. These hinges could have/should have been painted already, but we live and learn.

But we didn't decide for sure what color to get until we got to the paint store yesterday, so what do we know? Sonja K. was the best helper there though...she didn't roll her eyes and focus on her iPod, she actually helped make a good decision. Who knew there are like fifty shades of white?

cabinet painting, the DIY nightmare...

After day#2 of painting, still smiling in spite of ouch...hunching over and painting hour after hour. Imagine what it would be like to do this every day all day for a living, I mentioned to some daughters. NO WAY no how, they say. We did take a trip to the small city this fine morning, Sonja K. and I. We had to buy the cabinet paint! Since I was too scared to buy the gray stuff and regret it, I decided to go with white. Alabaster, to be exact. It's a tad bit creamier than a stark white. I made a huge mistake in getting the satin finish, should have gone with the semi-gloss. I went to Sherwin Williams because I thought they would give good advice, but the guy said satin should be fine for cabinets, then I google it this evening and whoa, not so sure. It was pricey, but it was only one gallon of paint. The primer was $19 in Walmart, then this stuff, Emerald latex satin, was eighty something dollars a gallon, but they gave me the 40% discount even though it expired yesterday. First the one boy suggested I wait until Friday, it'll be on sale for 30%, no. My kitchen is torn apart. We are all ready to paint...we have cleaned and de-greased and filled holes and sanded and primed.

So we got the paint, which came to $55. ouch.

We also went to the store and got food, because the kids are all on vacation...eggs and sliced turkey and M&M's...

So, the cabinet restoration: it has been going well, the girls are amazing. They have been working so hard without complaining. Their cousin Grace came over today and helped for a while (Davian and Anne's older sister).

It's a mess, but we do like the new color.

I was planning to spray paint the hinges and put the doors back on tomorrow, but now I am reading that they have to cure for longer. We have to go buy the spray paint, and the new knobs and drawer pulls. We figure that after all this work, we may as well get new ones.

Tired as can be, but here I am, staying up well past midnight. The girls are watching, "Letters from Iwo Jima". wah.
(I do love school vacation, three high school girls get to stay up late very night...:))

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

what in the world have i been doing?

Taking my morning walk - three days in a row! Yesterday's walk was cut short, as I was walking down the road admiring a black and white kitty, who was sauntering down the middle of the road...not a good idea. The propane man came barreling down the hill, I waved to him, then looked up the road to see where kitty was, and wah. He was down, and it was hopeless. I wanted to help him but it was too late, and I couldn't bring myself to drag him out of the road, because he was looking at me, but not breathing, and I sort of freaked. I love kitties, this one wasn't mine, but still. I turned around and went home. Walk over.

This fine morning, I ventured out again, and I did not look at that kitty.

On a better note, we are busy doing lots of projects. I need a good kick in the pants for not capturing the Before and After pics. We had these chairs from the thrift store...and later I'll post at least the after pics, but right now, I am sitting here having coffee after my walk, after feeding the kitties and taking care of the pups. Anyway. The three chairs were structurally sound (except for one which tilts at a weird angle, but it's still fine). They were straight out of the eighties, rose/mauve seats with cream painted metal bases and arms, swivel chairs on round bases. Anyway, I bought some iron gray metallic spray paint, and we sprayed those chairs, mesh seats and all. They look amazing. Five dollar chairs, and six dollar spray paint.

Then, there was sweeping off the deck, washing the deck window, wiping down the side of the house, washing all the deck chairs and table, painting the outside door...(our outside door had a rough winter...there was a piece of the vinyl torn off, then one day the dogs were out there with their "cousins" (Margaret and Adrian's dogs), and they got rambunctious. There was ripping of vinyl, the bottom panel of the screen door was just exposed wood, and it wasn't pretty. We do plan to get a new door, but it has to get in line. You know, the list of things the happy homeowners "need". In the mean time, I took a can of paint I had gotten marked down to five dollars at Walmart, and just painted the door, right over the exposed wood, right across the tear, and it looks...better.

Then...the kitchen cabinets...they are being painted, but not right this minute, because duh, I am taking a break and blogging!

Before we started painting...

(this is the view of the kitchen from my chair right now. utter chaos.)

We have run out of surface area to put cabinet doors. So far, the most difficult part has been the cleaning. It took sooooo long. With plastic sheeting spread on the deck, the girls sat out there scrubbing, blue gloves on, music playing, with iced tea and coffee. Not a fight to be heard. ha. We started bright and early with the drama, some of us don't know when to stop, myself including. I mean, all these girls! Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, and Sonja, and ME, all trying to get along! A few of us know how to do things, and when to do things, and then there is Suze, hardest worker prize goes to her, but Ev is an excellent manager. We had a rough start, mostly kidding around and there's always one, and usually a different one each time just to make it fun, who gets offended, leaving the rest of us scratching our heads and wondering what we said. Then there are apologies, and we vow to be nicer, and encourage each other to forgive and forget, and then we have a glorious time together. Margaret arrived with baby Wulf, and needed some help with him, since she just had surgery the other day. Adrian was building us a front porch over the cement slab which was our "stoop" all these years, using mostly old deck lumber from the old deck. Charlotte Claire, Camille, and cousin Dani were playing in the creek with the dogs. Seriously? Getting all wet and muddy while we were doing all this work? Those dogs were going to need baths...

Then we all needed to stop working and go to a training class for working the concession stand at the amphitheater this summer. That was majorly a pain, I worked until the last second. Then we came home, did some more painting, then ahhh, the hot tub. That thing was worth it's weight in gold last night.

Anyway. The kitchen is a grand mess, and we still have to live here and eat, and I have to get it done because we are having three extra children here for the weekend, as their parents are going away. Then a birthday gathering for Jonathan on Saturday night, lots of boys we have to get it put back together, and I hate rushing it. AND, all of my girls are going out to do a cleaning day at church...ouch. I don't like to tell them they can't go, because it's good for them to go, it's fun for them, it's nice for them to be with their friends, ect...but ouch. We are in the middle of a mess and they're leaving!

Paul has been exhausted since his return from India. He got home on Saturday, and his sleep schedule is all messed up. He gets up at three or four a.m., and is a zombie by evening.

And, I woke up this morning with a pounder of a headache. I decided not to be a martyr, and took a few ibuprofen. And I went on my walk. Now I am home, sitting here with my coffee as the girls get up and get ready for their day. The little girls and I are going to go pick out the cabinet paint. We have not yet decided: dark gray or white. Any votes? I am the absolute queen of indecision as it is, but this, this is just too hard to decide! I bought two paint samples yesterday morning, and I am so stupid sometimes. One sample was gray, the other...ha, white. I did not realize that we are priming the cabinets with white primer, so we get a pretty good idea how they would look white, without spending $3.49 on that tiny jar of paint. I don't like the gray we got, it is too blue-y, and I don't know...I am leaning towards white.

Lots of coats of primer still, and buying the paint, and it's gorgeous outside, I just want to lie in the sun...but painting awaits.

Stay tuned for progress pics, and of these days: after pics!!!!!!!

Friday, April 20, 2018

when life throws a fast ball...(and good biopsy results!)

Now, I am very good at telling stories that aren't mine to tell. So bear with me as I figure out what to write here...

The other night, Margaret and Adrian were here with baby Wulf. And long story short, we had to head to the Emergency Room because Margaret was having some heavy duty abdominal pains, which she has had before, even during the pregnancy. She did go to the E.R. once during pregnancy for this pain, and it was assumed it was caused by the pregnancy. Anyway, Kathryn and I drove up behind them, to help Adrian with the baby.

After some poking, prodding, a few scans and some bloodwork, it was determined that Margaret was to be admitted, and that her gallbladder would have to come out. With the pancreas inflamed, she would have to wait a bit. She ended up having the surgery last night, Evelyn and I went up to visit, and to hold baby so Adrian could get a little bit of sleep. Wulf is only four weeks old today, and sleeps in little naps, still. And, he doesn't drink formula, although now he has to for a bit. It's not easy, to have a newborn together during a painful experience, but Adrian is such a nice young man, such a good husband, and honestly, the hospital staff, both doctors and nurses, have been amazing about letting them have that baby with them through all of this.

We have their two dogs here at our house, and that hasn't been the most relaxing picnic. They are crate trained, so they slept fine last night, but oh the energy they have! They are just happy to be here, happy to play with Sunny, happy to jump all over Suri, Suri who doesn't pay them any mind at all. They go out on the deck and bark at the trees and the birds and the cars that go by. They come back in and play tag all over the kitchen and living room. :)

Anyway, Margaret should be feeling much much better soon, after she heals up.

The night she went in, I stayed with her until 5 a.m., so Adrian could go back home and take care of their dogs and get diapers and supplies, then I went home and slept for only a few hours. Anne was here, and the kids. I have a new respect for parents who don't get enough son Samuel works nights and has baby Grant during the day, baby Grant who is four months old now, and doesn't sleep as much as he used to. I lost my share of sleep back in the day, and I thought I remembered how it felt to survive on two or three hours, but ouch, nope.

To live life tired, that's what it's like to be a parent. And to worry. It's part of the deal. Adrian was telling us about the worries that come to him, SIDS for example, and how he'll be glad when Wulf is older and has outgrown that threat, and I just laughed. Oh dear Adrian, don't you know that that concern will soon be replaced with lots of other ones? Even when Emily drives during a snowstorm, I am tempted to worry. And Emily is 33 years old.

Today we are rehoming our last kitten, which we hope is our last kitten ever. Our mama kitty is being spayed next week, and our orange guy is being neutered the week after. So today we are going out and about, picking Sonja up from school in an hour or so, to go with us. She has been sick with a wicked cold, she had a fever on and off for a few days. She insisted she was better enough for school today...

Well, I truly hope I didn't tell too much that's not mine to tell. I am a momma to sixteen kids, and even when they grow up, I have a strong inclination to comfort them and do what I can for them when they need it. My youngest is ten years old, but I still find myself busy enough. I am truly thankful that I don't actually "work", because there is plenty to do at home, still, and I treasure that I can spend time with the grandkids and be here with the younger kids who homeschool. If I ever complain about anything, please, remind me to shut up.

Here's another thing: I called the doctor's office about my biopsy, you know, that horrific affair which makes me tense and cringe just thinking about it...and the nurse said she had the results, but would talk to the dr. and call me back. Uh-oh. I thought when the receptionist connected me to the nurse, she would just tell me what the results were, which I had assumed were fine, because duh, the dr. thought things looked good when he did the procedure. But all of the sudden, I was more than concerned, and dread was trying to seep in. No, I said. No. I am not going to worry. But. BUT. If I get good results, I am going to be so good! I am going to use my life for good things! I am going to make my days worthwhile. I am not going to take TIME for granted!

Then the nurse called me back, and said everything looks good, the biopsy was benign, and that things that happened were just menopause related..."Welcome to the club!", she said.

Anyways, here I sit, with so much to do. I am such a last minuter, picking Sonja up at noon, and here I sit. bye.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

just let me write....

Can we have a random post for once? Here are a few of my favorite things...
Spring weather. There is actually a cardinal perched on a branch in this pic, but it's hard to see, taken through the screen.

Baby Wulf. I just love him.

3. Lydia. Grant. Elise. Anya. I love love love them, all five of my grandchildren. I'm not simply being lazy, not including all their photos, I don't have much time before Anne gets here. Guess what? I love her too.

This guy. He's in India in 90 degree weather, we are having a nice snowy spring. But he's working too much to enjoy the weather.

Sunny's bestie is The Little Orange Guy, who we named, "Buster", and will always be called Orange Guy. He is the nicest kitty, he went to the vet yesterday and purred right through the vaccinations. And Suri...she is just adorbs. Her face. :)

My daughter Mali and her little Lydia Eleanor....:)

This post was started yesterday, but life happens, and yesterday was busy, somehow. I fit in a phone call to my sister, we have a friend in Canada who was diagnosed with cancer, has spread to her liver already, and just wow. It's shocking. She is a mama to seven beautiful kids, so please, pray for Deb.

It's snowing here like it's February. The ground is soggy and muddy, but the birds are still singing.

Charlotte Claire, Camille, and I took a little trip to the library last evening. We were thinking of going somewhere for dinner, as the rest of the family was doing other things and it was just us...but we sort of just wanted to go back home and have a cozy evening. We needed like two things from the store, and then discovered that the chicken wings, hot to-go, were half price after six, so we just got some of those to take home. Now, these kids of mine had already had a huge-0 treat earlier, we had visited Margaret and Adrian after the vet visit, and then stopped at a local apple place that sells regional products, and bought maple syrup and pancake mix from around these a housewarming gift for some friends. Then...they picked out some mammoth half moon cookies. 'Fession: I tasted ONE BITE of the vanilla frosted side, and ONE BITE of the chocolate frosted side, and oh deary dear dear. yummers. Anyway. We got home with our library books, and shared the wings with Jonathan, Joseph, and Bethany.

Sundays are usually busy here at our house. It's like an open invite to the family, the older ones who have moved out, to come on over for dinner. This past Sunday, I had been so smart and efficient, and put three London broil cuts of beef, about ten pounds, in the crock pot with some carrot chunks. Well. Someone must have jarred the cord when they were getting a coffee mug, because when we got home from church, that crock pot was unplugged. It was still very warm, but not cooked. There wasn't time to keep it in there, so into the oven it went. It was edible, but not tender like it would have been...I peeled almost ten pounds of potatoes and made mashies, then heated up some long green beans. We had like twenty here for dinner, including four little cousins, children of two of my nieces who like coming here to play. And play they did: hide and seek and tag and waffletown and dollhouse and coloring at the table. It's nice to have kids in the house.

Anyway. In closing, I would like to say this: I did indeed find myself getting sick and tired of the oppressive gray skies and the cold here in central New York state. It started feeling almost claustrophobic, never seeing the sun. And I like gloomy days! What must it be like for those who don't like them in the first place? I really had to pray my way through, renew my thankfulness for coziness, find the good in it all. I do long for sunshine on my face, for warm days of barefeet in the yard. It's of these days...I say this as the April snow swirls down onto the poor robins...

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

the golden hour...

My niece is a photographer, and prefers to take pictures in this time, an hour-ish before sunset, when the light is just right. In medicine, for traumatic injuries, treatment in the golden hour, within an hour of the injury, determines the best outcome.

And for me, the golden hour is in the morning, after the high school girls hustle and bustle out the door with their coffee and backpacks and lunches. The dogs go out and in a few times, get some water, kitties get fed, floors get swept, counters wiped down, dishes done, maybe a load of laundry put in...and then, if the other five kids are still sleeping, starts my golden hour.

Right now the clock is ticking, and the birds are singing, and not much else.

I love it.

I know I should go out and take my walk. I should work out. I should drag out the sewing machine and start the deck chair covers. I really should. But after so many years of so much busyness, I just enjoy the silence. I don't get much of it in the evenings, my kids can out-stay-up me.

And besides, I am going to re-start my walks and my exercise program tomorrow.

Spring WILL come, and I am excited to deck-orate the deck, ha. It needs to be washed and sealed, so that will be fun. Then I am thinking to put some shelves up with the old deck lumber, with Adrian's help. ha, I will help him, that is. Then the four chairs I got from the thrift store last year are getting a make-over. They are dusty rose/pink seats, with cream/off white metal bases. They were only five or six dollars each, and 3 are very structurally sound, one is a bit lopsided. But I am thinking spray paint...and I have outdoor fabric, if I can make some covers...and new throw pillows...doesn't it sound fun? (and I vow to take before and after pics, so stay tuned!)

Solar lights and little potted plants and the little outdoor rug...I cannot wait.

But anyway, for years, a little quiet time was what I craved, and never got. Except for when I got up during the night with babies, and I did enjoy that. If I could perhaps do the whole thing over again, I would enjoy it more, knowing as I do how fast it blurs by. Other moms tried to tell me, but oh no, it would go on forever....there's a line from a Dr. Seuss book I used to quote,
"Could this go on all day and night?
It could, you know, and it just might."

There were babies who wouldn't sleep unless they were in my arms, and there were fever nights with sick babies, me wondering if and when they "needed to be seen". There were teething nights and throw-up nights, and bad dream nights when older kids would wake me up just for confirmation that no, they couldn't sleep with me, and yes, everything is fine and God is watching over you. A good night's sleep would simply never be mine, and being tired all day was a fact of life. The older kids would roll their eyes in the morning and say, "Mom's gonna tell us how tired she is..."

And life didn't stop just because mom was tired. There were still doctor's appointments and grocery shopping to do, and the laundry mountain in the laundry room doorway to climb over on the way in there to wash more important laundry. Ha, I had a washing machine that was finicky, too, for years. The agitator wouldn't agitate, to be technical. I would put a load in, then go in an hour later, and the washer hadn't spun it out, so I would have to give it a nice spin manually, while holding down a certain button, and voila, it would work. Sometimes it stopped again, and I would have to go in and do it again, and there were times when it took all day to get a load done, then Paul would "fix" it.

My days consisted of continuously assessing the situation, and deciding what was the most urgent thing to do, with things like washing the windows and cleaning out the van never even making the invisible list, until the day they not only made the list, but actually got done, and WOW! I accomplished something! Look at that van, hon, I would say. It's so clean! So what if I did it with the four year old pushing the baby in circles in the stroller while the two year old helped.

Anyway. Life was certainly busy. I could have had a cleaner house, but I admit this: I went on adventures. The beach, the mall, my mother's house, let's go! I tried to get basic stuff done before we went out the door, and I made sure the kids were dressed neat and clean, but please, don't visit unannounced and look under any beds. And when I could have gotten windows washed or closets organized, I chose to bake cookies, or decorate an elaborate birthday cake, or make new jumpers for some little girls.

I still read books, somehow, eking into what little sleep I was already getting.

This is why now, I am still reeling from how crazy life was, and still enjoying any quiet moments I can get, yet...somehow, I still manage to be busy sometimes. Anne comes over three days a week, and I have had to re-learn the art of having eyes in the back of my head, and what it feels like to step on Cheerios. And the grand kids visit, and sometimes my sister's grand kids visit too. Having little ones in the house make the house feel alive again, and I have never minded the toys in the living room.

My job description these days is vague. I am a stay-at-home mom, and sometimes I feel like I should be more than that, like I really should have gone to college and should be earning some money now. I feel like I am just in between gigs. But then there are the homeschooled kids, happy and well-adjusted, and it's SO worth being here for them...and in my opinion, being here when those three high school girls get off the bus is important too. Being a parent is more than changing diapers and making food. And also being able to be here to make this house a home: I am thankful for that. Have you ever seen the sign, the little wall plaque, that reads, "It's Love That Makes A House A Home"? Well, what love makes a house a home? Isn't it sacrifice? Giving your time to clean it up, to make it nice? Isn't it being hospitable when maybe all you want is a nap? Maybe making a big meal when you would have been happy with some pepperoni and an apple?

Anyway...some days I do go on and on.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

first world probs....

The fact that many object to the mere mention of the term "1st world countries", because then there are the "3rd world countries", and I am not sure what happened to the seconds, but it's apparently not nice to label countries anymore.

But, we still have those first world problems...

I lost my 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

The price of eggs has gone way up.

Aldi ran out of the $29.99 patio umbrellas.

Our water has iron in it. Even the Brita pitcher water looks orange.

The internet is sooooo sloooow.

My iPhone 6, is getting...obsolete, ha, doing strange things, needs updating (it's urgent, proclaims my teenage daughter)

Spring refuses to arrive, even though it's April. Today's forecast: snow flurries. I go from winter boots straight to Birkenstocks.

Enough's something funny: yesterday was Paul's birthday. He arrived at his final destination in India, Coimbatore, and the hotel staff had gotten word from his Indian co-workers that it was his big one of the hotel workers accompanied him to his room, where another worker was waiting, all smiles, with balloons and a cake! Paul doesn't love birthdays, and this was embarrassing to him. I thought it was hilarious.

Margaret and baby Wulf came today. I admit, it's hard for me to keep my big mouth shut, so I make sure I preface all advice with, "I don't like to tell you what to do, but...", ha. I know caring for babies is part instinct and part learning from other mamas, but it's nice if she can get the confidence by figuring things out her own way, along with Adrian. She is doing fantastically well, Wulf is growing and gaining and seems very content and wise. He peed through one outfit, then spit up on the next one, and guess what? I enjoyed changing his clothes, and his diaper. The handling and dressing of a small infant...oh joy. Then I rocked him, him with his pacifier, and his eyes wide open, me rocking him and singing to him...oh bliss.

Little Miss Anne was here today too. She got tired, and ready for her nap, but I rocked first and sang, "Frere Jacques", and she sang with me. She keeps me on my toes, but to have a little one in the house again is so nice.

Last night after my shower, I was SO ready to get in bed and read, then I remembered we had turned up the hot tub! So I wrapped up in a towel and went to the little girls' room and reminded them, and yes, they would LOVE to go in the hot tub at eleven o'clock at night! Jon thought it sounded fun too. So into my suit and out we went, under the clear starry sky...the hot tub is a good place to talk, no distractions, no electronics, just conversation and steamy hot water.

Ah well...I started this post this fine morning, but then Anne arrived, and I put away the laptop...and now it's night time...what a good day though!

Monday, April 9, 2018

one of these days....

Spring is going to arrive...the robins are here, the birds singing in the trees but it's oh-so cold out still! When those warm days come, we'll forget this cold, forget the longing we had for sunshine on skin, and it'll seem like spring was always here. But we will love every minute of it, the newborn green of the leaves, the daffodils!

Mariel and our friend Janette and I, at the Monster Jam. Can we talk for a minute about Monster Jam? Over 30,000 fans pile into the Dome, where 200 dump trucks full of dirt have created an indoor mess, so trucks can roar and fill the air with dust and gasoline fumes, driving around crushing cars and racing...people just love this event. They are hungry and thirsty too, and visit our concession stand by the hundreds. They order nachos and Mountain Dew, and hot dogs and pizza slices. Hour after hour of hurrying and serving and running the cash registers, the afternoon flies by, but not without thoughts of How Am I Going To Survive This, thirsty, aching knees, and sometimes, having those short-circuits that come with such busyness: what did that guy just ask for? My head is spinning. This is crazy. It's hot in here. What? We're out of pretzels? And we ran out of popcorn? dang. Then the lady who waited in the long long line and asks for popcorn CANNOT possibly fathom that we have none. She screeches at me. I calmly look her in the eye and state, "I'm sorry, I ate it all." I didn't mean to say it, it just came out. I mean, I'm just doing my best. And I got screeched at. So I said it. Her eyes narrowed as she realized I was being snarky...and I felt bad. So the next time that happened, I just apologized.

Anyway. It was busy, and I didn't want to be there one little bit because my son Samuel was here for the weekend for Army Reserves Drill. He got in on Friday late, after I was in bed, and left early Saturday before I got up, then was here on Saturday afternoon/ the time I got home at midnight, he was I did see him after drill yesterday afternoon for a few hours before he headed back home to Virginia, but it was SO hard to be at the fundraiser while he was here visiting. ugh.

Anyway. It's a nice quiet Monday morning. We had lots of company yesterday: Sam was here, and Emily and Abigail and Mirielle and Molly, with Zac and Lydia, and Margaret and Adrian and baby Wulf, and Joseph's fiance Bethany....we had chicken wings, 20 pounds of them, and a huge salad. There was Norwegian chocolate, and a triple batch of chocolate chip cookies.

Let's just say today is a new day, and leave it at that, okay?

Paul is in India now, so yeah, I stayed up too late reading. I actually brought my computer, the Sunday paper, AND my book to bed last night...I hadn't had a quiet minute all day, so it was lovely....I only read the Target ad and the Aldi ad, but still, it was fun.:)

The girls are anxious for me to stop writing, so we can get going on school...the quicker we start, the quicker we're done, we have some lounging around to do, ha!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

what do april snow showers bring?

April showers bring May flowers, but April snow showers bring wet sneakers and cold feet. I mean, who gets up early enough to shovel a APRIL?

Sunny didn't mind her bunny ears at all.

And the baby bunny suit: how could a grandma resist? Baby Wulf wore this for his first Easter!

Well, the good news is that this fine morning, I WANT to blog. I like writing. But our internet has been SO extremely sloooooww, it takes several minutes to load one picture. We have called the Time Warner/Spectrum multiple times, but they won't install service on our rural road until 2020 or so. So we have local internet, and it keeps stopping and starting. Things don't load, they stop running...but, I still like writing.

This fine morning, we have snow. Not just a dusting, enough that we have to shovel the driveway.

My son Samuel is coming "home" for the weekend, he has Army Reserves drill. He is coming without baby Grant, and Grace because Grace has to work, and he's not up to driving seven hours with a small baby in the back seat, all by his lonesome. It'll be really nice to see Sam, although it's sad that it's just him, and that sounds mean, but I will enjoy seeing Sam.

We will be celebrating Paul's birthday here on Friday night, I think most of the older kids can make it...maybe all of them except for Aaron, now that I think about it. I'll be making chicken wings and some veggies or a salad.

Then on Saturday, Paul is leaving for India, and I am working the Monster Jam...the Dome where we usually work for college sports will be filled with dirt and monster trucks...oh the noise and dust, and the overpriced food...wah. But I'll be working with Ben and Joe and Adrian and Mirielle and Kathryn and Evelyn and Suzanne, and lots of friends.

So poor Anya now has the throw up virus. It makes me sad, because I love her so much, I hate when kids get sick.

It got me thinking of years gone by, when we would have a sickness and it would pass from kid to kid...usually, it started really sneakily, when you least expected it, right after you decided enough is enough and made sure a certain kid didn't waste their dinner, no, you need to eat that good healthy food if you want dessert kind of thing, then that night you find out they weren't just telling you their belly hurt and they weren't hungry, oh the apex of Mommy Guilt. Barf. So you avoided spaghetti meals for a while, just in case another one got it, ha.

And they did.

I did get much more lenient about what the kids ate, through the years. I gave them just small amounts if they didn't like something, and if they had something they really hated, I didn't force them to eat it. I am a super picky eater, so I am not really qualified to be a mom, but somehow I am anyway. It's hard when you yourself hate things like mayonnaise, then you raise a whole brood of kids who won't touch it.

Anyway. Life has changed, but it's good.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

I am still here...

Has blogging become a chore I no longer want to do, weighing on me when too many days have passed without posting? Sometimes.

There are pics I should put up, of baby Wulf, so adorable, growing and gaining and thriving, twelve days old now...

Yesterday was too busy here to blog. Seven of my kids were in Norway, and came home...I picked up five of them from the airport Monday night, got home around 1 by the time those kids showered and got in bed, there's no way they were going to school yesterday. So it was a day of hearing about the trip, sampling Norwegian chocolate, and getting their Easter baskets:)

I made pot roast and gravy with red potatoes and carrots for dinner. Abigail came over, Emily came over, and Margaret and Adrian came over with baby.

Today is back to school for the three high school girls, and back to normal here, with Anne coming over soon.

And today, I will behave and stay out of the chocolate. Norwegian chocolate, like all the European chocolate I have tasted, is smooth and silky, and tantalizingly good. I sent the kids with extra money to bring some back, so I can share it with friends, and yes, eat it. mmmmm. But today, I'll stay out of it. Jonathan brought home a whole mulit-pack of the Kit-Kat bars from there, which we HAD to compare to our Kit-Kats, theirs won hands-down, in my book.

Spring is being very mean to us, here in the northeast. It sent the birds, which tweet and flutter around the yard, in the chilly rain. It sent some warmth, but rarely any sunshine, and now for the next week or so, it's sending a bit of snow and wind, freezing nights and chilly days. Today we have a high wind warning, up to 65 miles per hour. It's dark and amazingly cozy in here,'s not exactly SPRING.

What we WANT is sunshine and warmth, even 55 degrees would be soak up the sun, and rake up the yard, start in on making the deck summer-ready. But instead we'll make the most of the coziness, and remind ourselves that we will not melt if we go outside in this stuff.

Anyway, here's what's going on with me:

My mammogram came back fine and clear. YAY!

The mama cat, Kettler, has a surgery date for getting spayed, YAY!

The orange kitty, is going in to the in two weeks for shots and pre-surgery check, he is getting neutered, YAY.

Emily graduates from college in one month from today, if all goes well, and will be an N.P. (nurse practitioner, not to be confused with an M.P., military police, ha.) YAY!!

Benjamin and Ashley have bought a house! They'll be ten minutes away, and it's a huge nice house, and I still can't believe they're back on the east coast...YAY!!!

Mirielle wants to make sure we do fun things this summer, so she reserved a cabin in the Adirondacks for a weekend in July, and bought tickets for a Finger Lakes Wine event for Emily, her, and I, with Evelyn going to as a designated driver, just in case we taste a bit much. YAY!!!

Anyway...Anne is on her way...have a good day!!!!