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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

great adventures!!!

Charlotte Claire, Camille, me, and Evelyn Joy...

We went to the great New York State Fair today, bright and early, with Suzanne, Jonathan, and little Lydia. We got on the bus in town at 9:40 a.m., and if you're reading this and thinking that it's not really that early, well. YOU try to get out the door with a small child who is a brand-new three year old, a 12 year old who takes a shower when everyone else wants to use the bathroom, and a 14 year old boy who made a big breakfast...only one of them forgot their waterbottle, and we never even opened the cooler bag of snacks I insisted we needed to bring.

Now, when we go to the fair, we stick to the tamer side of things, like the horticulture building and the dairy building. We had one dollar baked potatoes, and 25 cent chocolate milk. We bought some honey, and got to see the queen bee surrounded by her workers, in a glass enclosed hive. The little girls got to sample honeycomb, and we tried some cherry juice made in a local town. We did the blind maple syrup test, and all knew which one was real (I can taste Mrs. Butterworth's!). We bought maple syrup caramel corn.

Bright and early on the bus, Suzanne with Lydia, and Evelyn.

This cow behind me was named Della. I don't run into many with my name, so I introduced myself.

Lyd, Suze, and Cam...did I mention that Suzanne took that driver's test a second time, and PASSED??!!! uh-huh, she did.

I love this pic, Suze looks like a celebrity mom, even though she's not even a mom. She's Lydia's auntie, and Cam's big sister, ha.

Jonny is a good sport, hanging out with all of us girls. He is more efficient, more impatient, sees no need to dawdle, but oh dear, we're like a herd of turtles. I like to look at things, and take it slow, and he's all ready to move it.

Lydia was DELIGHTED with the baby chicks.

This is why children are so wonderful to be around, they appreciate things, and their joy is contagious.

Camille loved those chickies too!

Yes, we had fun.:)

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

stormy and cozy....

Emily went waterfalling with a few of the younger kids...this is Camille and youngest and oldest, ten years old and 33 years old.

It's a dark and stormy night, the rainy and thundery kind of storm. We had a hot day, 90+ degrees, and SO muggy and humid, the sweaty kind of day. Our pool is crystal clear, and still refreshingly chillyish. So yeah, we spent some time in there today. Now we are having a changing weather pattern, this storm is bringing in a cold front, so tomorrow will be a delicious sunny and seventy something.

Evelyn and I went out and about this morning for a bit, first to visit with Grandma. We went to one thrift store, where we bought a nice coloring book for the grandkids, and a few outfits, for the grandkids. Then to Walmart where Evelyn found a few cute plants (mums!) for a dollar, a rug for $9, and some torilla chips and cilantro for our taco salad dinner.

Home...ah, home and into that pool. Lydia is here now, she is in the middle of potty training, and keeps asking to put a diaper on, which means one thing: she has to poop. Suzanne brought her to the bathroom and played a kids' show on her phone for her, but she still didn't go. I totes thought I was done with this stuff, ha.

Evelyn and I took a ride, half hour away, to pick up Mariel's car from the shop, as Mariel works late on Wednesdays and her car was all fixed. I drove her car home, all by myself, and shh, it was quiet and nice.

The power blinked a few times, so I filled some pitchers with water, we have a well and when the power goes out, no water. My friends who live in town do not understand how lucky they are when they lose power, they can still drink, wash, and flush. I have also located the matches, and there are some candles lit on the table.

So, it's cozy in here. Dark and rainy, rain just pelting down. I love a good summer storm, as long as it behaves.

Tomorrow, we are going to the New York state fair! We decided to drive to town and take the bus, so we won't have to walk so far when we get there. Mali took Lyd to the fair the other day, and said her favorite part was the bus ride, so she'll be happy. It'll be fun taking a stroller again, ha. We have some snacks packed, and will bring extra drinks and water, we resort to putting a pull-up on Lydia? The lines for the bathrooms are extra long at the fair. I think we'll have to.

We don't plan to go on the rides, too pricey, but to visit the cows and bunnies and piglets, and go to the horticulture building and see the sand sculpture, and the flowers, and the honeybees. We'll visit the dairy building for chocolate milk, and ice cream. Did you know that New York is the fourth leading state in producing milk? One of the leading producers of yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream, and cottage cheese? Some people think New York = Tall buildings, but upstate NY is farm land.

Anyway, we're going to the fair...summer is almost over.

Here's a totally random thing: I got bonked on the head with the awning while we were camping. We have one of those pop-up awnings, wasn't staked down, the wind picked up, it flipped over, came right towards me, I put my hands up to stop it but they only hit the fabric and didn't even slow it down...clunk, the metal corner hit me square on the top of my head. I heard the sound, and it hurt SO TERRIBLY bad. Oh dear, I couldn't believe how badly it hurt. Emily-the-nurse-practitioner, Mariel-the-registered-nurse, and Mali-the-registered-nurse were all there, and basically said since I didn't pass out, and wasn't dizzy, I was probably okay. I have a nice big bump on my head, and was kind of surprised there wasn't any blood, but wah. I know I am a huge baby, but wait, I had several babies without even a hint of painkillers, so I am not THAT big of a baby.

Tonight, we are going to watch a movie, Toy Story or something...there is lots going on here, Suzanne is tucking Lydia in, and some girls are making smoothies, and they're also making cheese fries...never dull around here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

steamy and humid....

It's hot, and the humidity is oppressive...just swampy hot. This fine morning, I got up with the birds and took Miss Kathryn Grace to the dental surgeon to have those pesky wisdom teeth removed. She did fine, and in the recovery room, she was quite giggly. Now, it doesn't take much to make me laugh, and when Kap told me a whole story which I barely understood, seeing she had a mouth full of gauze, I said to her, "You just told me you like marshmallows." She said, "I did?" It was just too funny, because I don't actually know what she said, but I don't think that it was that she liked marshmallows.

We're home now, Kathryn is actually helping Lydia with playdoh. We are doing some wedding planning, Joseph and Bethany are getting married on September 22nd.

Next week we're having baby Grant while his daddy (Sam) goes to Army training. It's when school starts here, so we'll be watching little almost-two-year-old Anne, and will also have Lydia a few times a week when Mali works. So life isn't slowing down any...

Kathryn, Evelyn, Sonja and I are sitting here talking while Lyd plays playdoh. Emily took Suzanne, Char, and Cam on a waterfall hike.

Bye for now.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

a wee bit of heaven....

This was the view from our campsite. Paul and I, nine of our daughters, one son-in-law, one baby grandson, Wulf, and little Lydia, who celebrated her 3rd birthday. (Ben and Ashley weren't able to go, unfortunately...)
In the evenings, we would wade out and was lovely.

Morning coffee in the lounge chair before anyone else was up...

The view from the tent doorway as Paul kayaked away to fish in the morning...

The beach, the sun was hot and the water was cold.

Sunny on the beach, even though no dogs were allowed. She was SO good. She likes nothing better than to go out into the water and fetch a stick. She slept in the little tent with Charlotte, Camille, and cousin Danielle.

Paul took some of the girls for a boat ride.

Happy and relaxed.

Paul making dinner. Well, heating it up, anyway, pulled pork which spent the day in the crockpot, then was frozen...heated over the charcoal, served either on buns or with diced tomatoes with cilantro, and tortilla chips...mmmmm.

Camille, Danielle, and Charlotte Claire...(Camille read those 7 Harry Potter books in about three weeks, now she's reading, "The Knee-Bone Boy".)

Char and Sunny....Sunny got so tired out from all the swimming and running.

Suzanne, Sonja, and I working at the concert the night before we went camping...

More pics and more stories to come....bye for now.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

around the bend's not so bad...

Lydia is almost three, and she doesn't care much what other people think. She sang her little heart out the other day when we were shopping, she can sing, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on a loop, so that it really never ends. She stopped abruptly and wanted me to sing. "Grandma, you sing!" So I did. My teenagers didn't even seem fazed. (We should all be like Lydia.)

Anyway, we have a thing in our family, I don't know what it's called, but it's when you randomly break into song, a million times a day. The kids say that as soon as they start singing something, I start singing something else, and maybe that's true, but I think it's just coincidence.

So, tomorrow, camping!!!! It's only three nights, but my goody-good-goodness, you still need to bring a ton of stuff! Towels, frying pans, matches, mugs, Jiffy pop, chairs, bedding, five tents (Ben is bringing his own). Air mattresses and a dishpan and soap, washcloths, plates, instant oatmeal, eggs, bacon...I bought six pounds of bacon, for two mornings. I have an almost 9 pound pork roast in the crock pot right now, when it's done, it'll be baggy-ed up, frozen, and warmed up on a large aluminum pan over the fire on Saturday night. We made 25 burger patties yesterday and froze them, and we're having hot dogs and coneys on Friday. We're making a pasta salad today, and bringing that to have with the hot dogs. We have pancake mix and syrup, and those awful cup-of-ramen noodles that the kids love that I never buy except for things like camping. Coffee and tea and cocoa and and and. Marshmallows. Twizzlers.

I've been checking the weather daily, and oh my it looks nice! We're leaving bright and early tomorrow morning (Thursday), and no rain is in the forecast! We have had rainy vacations there before, and twenty people crowded under an awning is not fun. Well, it's sort of fun.

And Sunny, because she's cute.


Because she's cute...the Osh-Kosh jumper is one my own little girls wore...

Today is packing day, then at 3:15, it's time to go to the Amphitheater, ugh. I do NOT WANT TO WORK today. But I signed up, and am not going to back out. I won't get home until midnight, and I'm old, ha. It does kick my butt. But it's fun too.

Kathryn, Evelyn, and Suzanne are here talking, so off I go to join, and solving the world's problems!

Monday, August 20, 2018

how we spent our monday...

But first, my puppers...Miss Sunny, and Miss Suri...they come out with me in the mornings when I turn on the pool filter.

The pool, cold and clear....

Sometimes Orange Guy comes too.

Evelyn's flowers...

Today, we decided to stay home for a while, to enjoy that cold clear pool, enjoy the sun...then, we went to the library, then Target. We found matchy matchy dresses for little Anya and little Lydia, a few clearanced bathing suits for the girls, and some other odds and ends, then the girls got slushies...Kathryn, Suzanne, Sonja, Char, and Camille...Evelyn and I got iced coffees instead. Home, ah home...

Taco salad for dinner before heading to a meeting with Evelyn, about Joe and Beth's wedding. Only a month away, lots of details to fall into place still. item I listed on ebay sold, so I have to package it up and mail it in the morning. Evelyn and I are going to get our camping groceries tomorrow, so we can precook things and get the meals prepped...we have to work the Ampitheater on Wednesday, then leave for camping in the Adirondacks, in tents, on Thursday morning....good night!!!!!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

luxurious spontaneity....

Just so you don't think I live the dream life, I'll tell you how my morning started: with a headache. It was pounding in my sleep, a headache that started lazily, a background annoyance, last evening. I worked at the kiosk at the Luke Bryan concert, it was busy and I was busy. By the time we wound down, cleaned up the stand, and headed to the car, I was beat. My poor feet. I didn't pay enough attention to my headache, sometimes they go away, but sometimes if I don't take ibuprofen, they get baaaaad.

So, I woke up this morning with a headache...the kind that won't even let you laze in bed on a Saturday morning. I got up, turned on the pool filter, washed some dishes, puttered around, made a pot of coffee, and took two ibuprofen. I did some laundry, and fed the dogs, then sat down and put my still aching feet up, and started sipping the coffee. My head was hurting...really aching, like it was in a vise. It was the full-on migraine drumming, the oh-dear-I-can't-even-move-my-finger kind of thing I knew, sorry for TMI, but I was throwing up. I felt like death, not like I know what that feels like, but I headed back to bed.

Blah. After lying there and eventually falling back to sleep, I felt a bit better. I was NOT going to waste a Saturday being sick. So up I got, drank lots of water, took one more ibuprofen, since I reasoned that I barfed the other ones up, and had more coffee...Paul made me an egg and bacon, and I re-started the day.

If you've ever had a migraine headache, you'll know what I mean when I say it was a rough day. There's a feeling of euphoria, that yay, I'm alive, and my head doesn't kill anymore. That feeling is accompanied by a worn out, wiped out, exhaustion, and today, a low-grade background headache, lingering all the live-long day.

But, I wasn't going to waste a Saturday, and since Sonja and Suzanne are in Montreal with Emily, Kathryn and Evelyn and Charlotte Claire and Camille wanted to do something fun! Paul was staying home to fix his bow, and Jonathan was with Abigail.

So fun things we did!

We have Lydia this weekend, too...we decided to start out going thrift store shopping...

The things we find! No, I didn't buy them.

Charlotte Claire and me...

Cam, Lydia, and Char...

Evelyn, Kathryn, Camille

We had fun...we went to a greenhouse, but it was almost closing time, so we only bought four plants.

Dinner: Evelyn grilled chicken, I sauteed green peppers and onions, and sliced tomatoes, opened some black olives, and we had fajitas. mmm, it was yummers.

Lydia is spending the night again, she is so good. Kathryn tucked her in...

Thursday, August 16, 2018

summer happenings...

In the summertime, one should sip coffee in the morning breeze, barefeet wiggling in contentment. The schedule should be kept as clear as possible, to support spontaneous excursions. The pool should be sparklingly clear, and the refrigerator stocked with sugar-free seltzers. The freezer, of course, should have a variety of popsicles, and hopefully some no sugar added 60 calorie fudgesicles.

The house should be kept clean, the laundry caught up, yet one shouldn't do much work in the summer, as the days are best spent relaxing.

ha, right?

If you breeze through your friends' facebook or instagram posts, you might well think that THEIR lives are like that.

But here's the thing: life isn't always pretty. Our living room, for example, doesn't exist solely to model pinterest photos. There is a Labrador Retriever sprawled on the back of the couch, for goodness sakes! And I mean on the TOP of the back, so she doesn't miss anything good to bark at. At this very minute, I see three empty cups/glasses, two of which are mine, two coffee cups, two water bottles decorating the top of the book case, towels from the pool draped on the back of kitchen chairs, the fort Paul built for our granddaughter Lydia the other night, the half finished Labrador Retriever puzzle on the coffee table, bins of toys, the container of formula that Adrian accidentally left here last night, the clothes drying rack from the deck, some stuff that's listed on ebay stacked on the kitchen table, bags of camping snacks...

We'll clean it all up, we will. We vacuum and sweep every day, and clear up the clutter. Then in then we will LIVE here, and leave things, and clean it up again.

(just a wee bit messy!)

(a wee bit picked up...actually, after writing about it, I took a blogging break: vacuumed the floors, including the hallway, mopped, picked up, removed all couch covers and put them in the wash (which entailed removing clothes from the dryer, then the washer, of course), wiped down the counters, picked up and straightened, and dismantled the fort Paul built for Lydia the other night.)

Samuel is here for the week, he's in the Army Reserves and has drill all week, but he's here for dinner, and for evenings. There have been church things every evening, but tonight the schedule is free. (there's cleaning, but Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Lydia have gone out to do their part this morning instead!) So tonight, a nice evening with Sam here. Sam, who has gone and grown up, but not really. He still gets all ready and gets his shoes on, and walks all over my floors, looking for his coffee mug or his phone or his keys, but now those shoes are Army boots. He's the same little boy in a grown up body...he's responsible and respectful, but still Sammers. He likes to tease, mostly Jonathan and me. :)

Have you ever taught someone to drive? Have you ever taken them to a driver's test? Waited on the curb while they drove away? Had your pulse pound and palms sweat and wished wished wished with all of your heart that you could steady their hands and calm their nerves, so they didn't mess up their parallel parking and fail their test? Have you ever gotten back into the car after the test, the car that's filled with sadness and tears, hopes dashed...?

We waited in line for SO long, then finally, she was next...

This was us, so optimistic before the test. I did not take an "after" pic, are you kidding? I'm treading thin ice just writing about this at all, teenagers do not like their mamas telling their stories, but in a way, this is MY story too, because I went through it with her. And sometimes, standing up and admitting we don't always succeed on the first time is strengthening for others, so they don't feel like the only one. I also mentioned that although I have been driving for 30 years now, I would probs fail a driving test, being all nervous and forgetting my left and right. are on their way home, and we have plans today....loose plans, I want to visit Robert's grave, we want to get homemade ice cream somewhere, and a beach somewhere sounds nice...

Sunday, August 12, 2018

finger lakes beauty....

Our friends Hobie and Karen, me with Paul, and Emily and Mirielle...Evelyn took the picture...we were at Keuka Lake, absolutely gorgeous.

With Mirielle and Emily...

Sometimes it's almost a waste of time to take pictures, because they don't begin to capture the beauty.

Mirielle, Paul, me, Emily.

With Evelyn Joy:)

With Emily:)

And Mirielle..:)

Our friend Karen.

Paul and me...because he's so cute.

We tasted wine, we reveled in the scenery, and we laughed. Tasting wine is a fantastic learning experience, the grapes grown in the Finger Lakes are unique and oh dear, the yumminess of that Cayuga White! Some of the drier wines have flavors that sneak up the nose and mmm.

We came back here for dinner, the girls here made burgers, Paul grilled them. We had some corn on the cob, and the girls cut up cantaloupe and made a nice platter with grapes. Shh, I brought home some nice bottles of wine to share too.

This fine morning, we are going to Family Day for Samuel, in the Army Reserves. This afternoon, there are calling hours for my sister-in-law Kim's brother Brian, who passed away way too young. We also have a surprise birthday party planned for Sam, who knows about it and is very excited.