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, January 31, 2019

deep freeze!!!

Our kitchen pipes are frozen again, just the hot water. We keep the water running at night when it's this cold, but the hot froze anyway. So brrr to washing up the dishes this morning!

It's sunny out, just so cold. It's above zero now, at least.

And this afternoon I go out and about for my hair appointment. Hair is such a silly thing to make such a big deal about. I used to have tons of hair, long and thick. Then when I started losing weight, I started losing hair too. It really thinned out. Some grew back, but never like it was. It may have something to do with age, too. It doesn't grow very fast anymore either. Way back when, I cut it all off and donated it, twice, and it grew back lickety-split.

So here I go to this nice salon, not even sure what I want done. It would be fun to get it barely grazing the shoulders, but how would I clip it up in a lovely plastic clip when it started driving me batty? Also, there's the old comfort, "It'll grow back". But go ahead and get old, and it takes forever and a day to grow your hair out. So I might just end up with a nice safe trim...

I am actually heading out the door this I mean, who wants to come sit there while I get my hair done? It feels weird. I usually have a secretary, a co-pilot. Someone to hand me my sunnies, (I know they're in there, keep looking!), hold my coffee while I change lanes, answer texts and even make a phone call for me, check the balance on my Dunkin account.

But today, off by myself. They plus side is I can actually think thoughts, without interruption. I will have to mute my phone. I actually pictured myself sitting there at the hair place, with the big black bib on, scissors snipping, my phone blissfull muted, and Emily or Abigail coming in with a look on their face...what happened? I don't really think anything bad will happen, and it's okay to mute the phone, but a mama needs to be connected these days. Heaven forbid you don't run back and get dental floss if they run out!

So poor me, ha.

The day after tomorrow, Mexico! There's a hilarious Family Guy clip on youtube of two girls going to Mexico, and they keep looking at each other and saying, "Mexico!!". I can relate. Evelyn and I have been having a blast planning for this trip. It's amazing that we live in this day and age: leave a freezing place in the morning, and afternoon, wow! Warmth! We'll be an hour south of Cancun, the forecast is for some thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon, a few passing showers on Sunday, the sunshine and 80-85 degrees the rest of the week. Bliss. Hopefully not blisTERS. We have lots of sunscreen:).

So as of now, I'm not thinking of dragging the MacBook along. I might wish I had it, when I get the strong urge to blog, when my fingers start itching to write...but then I'll have to take care of it, and if it got stolen, blah. That means if I don't get a chance to write tomorrow (taking Jon for a haircut, maybe Camille too, stocking up on things for the kids here, etc), then this is goodbye for a week. Maybe I can talk my sister into stepping in for me. Or maybe I'll just suck it up and bring this...because, you all want to go with me on this trip, right?:)

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


I may as well. My girls got me a gift certificate to get my hair done, for Christmas. Not to get my hair done for Christmas though ha. I have gone to Super-Cuts twice in my life, the first time before Margaret's wedding. My younger years my mom cut my hair, then I trimmed my own.

So I am going to get a hair cut, and shh, some highlights. My girls just wanted me to have that experience, to do something for myself. I considered using the gift card to get an inexpensive haircut then one for Cam, maybe one for Char, but that's not what they on Thursday afternoon, I'm headed to the salon. I don't know for sure what I want, I'll be one of those nightmare customers. But I am rather excited about it.

Today, we are headed to the library before the snow starts in again. The ground is covered, it's Christmas card-y out there still. But tonight, oh the polar air rolls in, and tomorrow, brr! Single digits with wind-chills well below zero. And tomorrow Anne will be here again, so we won't be venturing out. I mean, 6 degrees (-14c) with wind...nah. (With Anne AND Lydia! nah.)

I actually had a really good night's sleep. Most nights I wake up at four or five and toss and turn, sometimes falling back into a delicious sleep right when it's time to get up. But last night, I woke up at two, and was so delighted that it was still so early, I fell back to was nice.

Ashley came over with Elise and Anya, for the afternoon and dinner, yesterday. Lydia delights in her cousin Anya, they are besties. Anne was pretty excited to have friends over too.

We had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I don't eat pasta anymore, so I had cauliflower rice, and canned green beans with sauce and meatballs.

We were supposed to have lasagna. I made an extra one a few weeks ago and put it in the freezer. Imagine my puzzlement when I couldn't fine it. Jonathan looked first, and uh-hum, when your kid can't find something, you get all huffy, jeepers, I know it's there, Jon. I sent him looking twice. Okay, I'll get it myself, I KNOW it's there. Well. It wasn't. Turns out someone was rumpling through the freezer, maybe looking for a stray corn dog or ice cream bar, and took that yummy lasagna out, and set it on a stack of camping supplies...and left it there accidentally. I found it sitting there, warm and thawed, and headed for the garbage-i0. dang it. I don't like wasting food, and now I had to make something else for dinner. We had already made two loaves of homemade bread to go with it.

The smell of baking bread, oh heavenly yum. I did try a little bit, mmm. Camille likes kneading the dough, and of course Lydia has to help. Anne saw them at the counter stools, and was like, "I want dinner, I want dinner!", which gave her the idea of pancakes. She wanted pancakes. And once she gets an idea, ha, I made her pancakes.

It's so windy out, so dark and foreboding, I'm not sure I want to venture out to the library.

I am pretty excited to go to Mexico, leaving at 3 a.m. Saturday morning. We should land in Cancun by 2. The weather there in February is very pleasant. Our resort is an hour south of Cancun, a few thunderstorms the first afternoon we're there, maybe continuing to Sunday morning, then...sunshine all week, high in the low eighties. Ah, sunshine!!!!

It's not easy to just step out of my regular daily life and go on vacation. There are so many details to take care of...dogs, children, babysitting responsibilities, menus and food for those at home, taking care of the doggies, etc. I still have to pack, ha poor me.

I never did lose those fifty pounds, but alas it could be worse. At least I didn't gain fifty pounds, and I have no doubt that could have easily happened.

I ordered a few new dresses from Amazon, which is totally out of my comfort zone, to not try something on. Only one arrived so far, and I LOVE it!!! It's a simple sleeveless swing dress with pockets, so comfy, and it covers a multitude of sins ha. But oh my upper arms...they jiggle and flop and if I fell off a cliff I could prob fly with these wings of mine. I detest them. But I'll be danged if I wear a cover up beside the pool or at the beach in Mexico. Because, no one else really cares. I actually don't care, but I sort of do, make sense? I don't plan to wear shorts, but bathing suits and sundresses. I do have one pair of old-lady capris...

Anyway...I'm super excited for sunshine, and relaxation. I've never been to Mexico...I read there are cenotes right across the highway from our resort...deep, naturally formed swimming holes with salt water on the bottoms and fresh water on the top, really cool. In one, you can swim through a tunnel into a fresh air, no! Sounds like a nightmare to me! We'll be really close to some of the ruins too, but I'm not inclined to go on any excursions. When it's 80+ degrees and humid, I'll stay by the pool or on the beach, thanks.

Okay...time to decide if we're going out and about or hunkering down and staying home...


Monday, January 28, 2019

I'm baaaack!

So much fun has been had since I've written last...first, look at Mr. Sweetie-Pie, baby Wulf. He is my daughter Margaret and her husband Adrian's little guy.

He came for a visit yesterday.

Yesterday...oh I was tired. We had our old ladies hotel night on Saturday, and do you think I could sleep? I think I dozed off a few times. But yesterday I was determined not to give in to misery ha. So in the afternoon, when I was home, and the older kids were wanting to come over, of course. I made dinner: pork chops (I marinade them in lemon juice and seasoning, this time a Tuscan garlic)...cauliflower rice, regular rice, broccoli, apple sauce, and a veto almond bread with apples and cinnamon.

Lydia is here this morning, sitting in my chair with me. Anne will be here in a little while...:)

It's cold here, and snowing off and on. My humble opinion is that if it has to be winter, it may as well be pretty. And it IS pretty.

I had to dig out some birth certificates recently, and came across this one:

Baby Robert...his feet were so tiny.
He was born sleeping.

Since I've already ranted about abortion, I'll just stop it.

There are too many sad things in this world, and I can only do what I can do, and not waste my life complaining about other peoples' choices. I certainly have enough to work on, enough on my own plate.

Friday, January 25, 2019

because I said so...

I hated when my own mom said that, but those words are golden, there isn't always a reason.

Here's another one of my favorites: Mama's a people too.

I think moms/parents can do TOO much for their kids, so that their kids see their mom as a servant, instead of a person who also would like to be waited on sometimes, ha.

So I shy away from politics because the world is so corrupt. If you don't hate the president, they say, you are part of the problem. But I don't hate anyone. I don't like some things about him, but some things I admire, like how he says what he means without caring whom he offends. I like that he opposes abortion.

But anyway. Do you know there is an actress who said, "I haven't had an abortion, but I wish I had." It's the new cool thing. What sort of message are the young people in our world getting?

This post is all over the place this morning. I just don't know how it happened that morals and basic respect have gotten so out of style.

The three little children who were with me for 12 nights are back home again. Lydia comes each day, and when she left yesterday afternoon, it was like, wait, no small children to look after? We made dinner, and guess what? Char and Cam fixed their own plates, I had no chicken to cut up, no little cups to fill. It was strange. Paul was working at the basketball game, it was only Suzanne, Sonja, Jon, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and cousin Dani, and me.

Today is my little brother's birthday. From my grown up prospective, we simply ran wild as kids. All the kids in the neighborhood did. We waited at the bus stop with no parents present. We went sledding in the around-the-block neighbors' backyard. We played in the creek for hours, and ice skated on the swamp a few blocks away. No parents. We didn't even call our friends, we just went and knocked on their door, or went outside and got on our bikes, and met up. We played hide and seek all over the neighborhood, and huge games of kickball in the road. Drugs? When I was in middle school some kids smoked pot at the bus stop, and I was horrified, so I told my mother, and there was a neighborhood meeting...and I wasn't so popular. :(. But other than that, we felt safe. Things did happen to other kids in other places, but we weren't scared.

(Lest you think my life was idyllic, listen to this: when I was in 6th grade, in science class we had a tank of fish, and each student was assigned a fish, to name and observe. I was a nerd, and very excited about this. Then all the fish died. Someone had poured hydrochloric acid into the tank. I found out who did it, she was bragging about it, and I told on her. So...a whole group of really rough girls found out who told, and bullied me relentlessly. They pulled my hair on the bus, called me, "Narc", shoved me in the hallway, and worse, told me repeatedly they were going to find me alone and kick my arse. I didn't tell my mother this time, telling on people didn't seem to be doing me any favors, ha. Thankfully this blew over without me getting beat up, but seriously, sixth grade wasn't my year.

Anyway. Growing up with a strong sense of right and wrong isn't easy. Plus being a tattle-tale ha.

But shh, I wasn't an angel in high school, I'll leave it at that. I didn't go around killing innocent fish but...when I got converted, my senior year, things went much better for me.

Anyway. Sorry the disjointed post this morning.

Here's what's going on in real life: it's snowing out. There's white stuff everywhere. I have a roast to put in the crock pot, and some laundry to do. We are running out of bread and milk again, didn't I just go to the store? I made a triple batch of chocolate chip cookies yesterday and didn't eat any, nor any of the dough. Lydia loves helping me bake.

Tomorrow is our old ladies' hotel night, my girls are all going cross country skiing. Then next weekend I leave for Mexico! I had hoped to lose like fifty pounds by now, and I tell you, it's almost depressing to try things on. My jiggly arms and my jiggly thighs. Why didn't I work out every day like I wanted to? I did a little yesterday, because a week to get into fantastic shape, why not? I was actually disgusted at the depth of sorrow that I felt over how horrendous I looked in some of the things I tried on at Target the other day. Those awful florescent lights, those big mirrors, my back fat! oh mercy. I almost had to slap myself silly to get out of the funk! I preach to my girls about not caring what anyone thinks of you! I personally don't care, but then, wow, I really do, and I don't WANT TO. It's so silly and ridiculous when you think about it, to be so vain. When you're with someone you love and care about, do you really care if they have a little muffin top? okay, a BIG muffin top. Nah.

I'll tell you another thing, if you're not careful, you'll lose a lot of joy being fooled by internet envy. Here in my clutter, wishing I had Marie Kondo-ed my house. Following fat-girl-fed up (she IS amazing), and wondering why I can't seem to reach my goals, seeing someone's gorgeous house on Instagram and WHAT?

Nope, I am choosing to be thankful for who I am, for what I have (all the boxes and bins and piles of it, ha)...

Time to teach some children about their rights, and do some spelling...

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

because this is my blog, my unpopular opinion is...abortion is wrong.

I am disgusted at the new abortion laws in New York state. Absolutely abhorrent, and to call it "choice", ugh. Pro life is a no-brainer, to me. You make the choice when you choose to dance, even Ma Ingalls said, "Those who dance must pay the fiddler." But these days, heaven forbid you are saddled with an "unplanned" pregnancy. See, when you light a match to a stick of dynamite, the dynamite explodes. Things happen when things happen. duh. So if you don't want it to happen, stay away from the dynamite.

I can't help relating to it on a personal level. If you've been reading this for a while, you know I've lost some babies. The first loss was our third child, when Emily and Abigail were small. I was 12 weeks along, and out of the blue, on a Friday evening while serving dinner, I started spotting then bleeding and cramping, and I'll spare the worse of it, but a tiny little baby was "born", a miniature, fully formed almost translucent infant. At the time, suffering physically, being terrified, and grief-stricken, I literally wailed my head off when I saw it. I only controlled myself because my mom was in the living room with the little girls...we went to the hospital for an emergency D&C for the placenta.

It was hard. It was sad. I can't unsee it, that baby of ours. I couldn't talk about it, who wants to hear it? A friend asked me a few days later why it was such a big deal, she had heard that miscarrying was just like having a heavy period. Okay, whatever. Life went on. I had Benjamin a year later, his due date was the exact date I lost that little one, a year later. And guess what? Benjamin was a TREASURE.

Now, you can imagine how horrified I am that women CHOOSE to actually and purposefully KILL their little babies, because....whatever, their reasons, I cannot, simply cannot fathom it.

I lost four more babies to miscarriage. The last one, I had already had a sonogram and that little heart beat, oh the joy! Then the loss. So. much. pain, the tears, the sadness. Again, who would do that on purpose? The helpless little these women think babies don't feel pain when they're killed?

And baby Robert...7 months along, and all of the sudden he had no heartbeat. Delivering him had to have been the absolute lowest point of my life. If I could have sold my own soul to have that floppy little sweetheart take a breath and open his eyes, I would have. It was sheer torture. I loved him with all of my heart, and no amount of wishing or snuggling could change anything. He was gone, and I was shattered.

Are these other women simply stronger than I am? Or are their hearts made of stone? Have they believed the lie that it's okay to do this because it's not convenient for them? And don't even tell me the sob stories about those who were's extremely uncommon, and I have actually known someone who decided to keep the baby, that baby has grown up to be one of life's greatest blessings. can they sleep at night? I know some younger women might have done this without fully comprehending their actions, and may have realized at some point and are sorry...but what kind of society are we who reassure these youngsters that it's OKAY to have an abortion? That it's actually their right, their choice.

But speak out against the behaviors that lead to these unwanted pregnancies, and whoa! You're prudish, you're old fashioned. And if you're a Christian too, get out, shut up.

Speaking out against abortion is not in vogue.

But here's a thought....approximately half the babies aborted are girls...what about THEIR choices?

And here's another thought: one in FOUR pregnancies in New York state ends in an abortion.

I honestly can't believe it's a real thing, to scoop out a baby because you don't want it. And now that it's legal in New York all the way until birth, as long as a doctor agrees, and now it doesn't have to even be a doctor, it's ambiguous who can perform the abortion, the baby can be killed at any stage of pregnancy. Gruesome doesn't even begin to describe it.

It's like a nightmare, something I cannot fathom. And here's what I think: Jesus is coming back soon. Evil is taking hold on the earth, and if you speak out against it, are a women hater....when it's absolutely the opposite.

So today, I am crying for all the babies, and observing with great sadness as New York slides further into moral decay.

and then they got sick....

Oh, the plans of man! We were very excited to get out of the house yesterday, the library and such. We wanted to wait until the temperature outside clmbed above zero. But, the school nurse called: Linnea was there with a fever. Okay, I would come get her, of course. It's been a few years since I was in the elementary school office:).

Poor Linnea, not feeling well. I got her a drink and some medicine, and some comfy blankets on the couch. The girls turned on a Barbie ballet movie, and she was as happy as can be, next think I knew, she was dancing with Lydia.

When my high school girls got off the bus, I did go to the library with Miss Char and Miss Cam. They got stacks of books, and we got some books on government, and a huge spelling book. Then we went to Target, I really really needed a new bra. I got one, it was expensive, ouch! And it's not even that great. I think I need to go somewhere else. But after all the work of finding the size, and trying it on, I almost put it back, but...blah. Anyway.

Then the grocery store...the kids at home were wondering what was for dinner, thankfully I had made some really fine chicken stew/soup the day before and there was some left. And since it was after six, all the hot foods at this particular store went half price, so I brought home three varieties of chicken wings, and some other chicken chunks, the kids really appreciated it.

So this morning, I got up to get kids ready for school...I didn't have to wake for Lydia coming, because she spent the night,(trouble with heating at her apartment), and Linnea wasn't going, but Sebastian and William were. Then Sebastian said he didn't feel well...okay, I said, you can stay home. So Will and I were yakking away, fixing his lunch while he ate his brekky, and what?! The superintendent called is NOW CLOSED. I hadn't even known there was a delay, ha. Will and I got a huge kick out of it. The high school girls were snoozing in bed, and here I thought I had slept in just enough to miss them get on the bus, and felt bad.

The thing is, I am not feeling the head hurts, and my eyes ache. It could just be a headache, but...I hope I don't get sick. I usually manage to fight it off, and I can hardly get the thermometer to go to 98, this morning I took my temp and it was 97.7, which is actually a little high for me. I hope I don't get sick. But in any case, today is a Stay Home Day. Suzanne, Sonja, Jon, Char, Cam, Will, Sebastian, Linnea, and Lydia are here:)

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

enough about all this winter stuff..

Even though it's -4 out (-20c). The sun is coming out, and it's going up to 15 or 20 today, so it's therefore a great day to go out and about. We're thinking library again, and maybe Target, and a quick grocery store for bananas and milk and bread.

It's been nice having three extra children here. They've been here for eleven nights now. I won't lie, I've had my moments, when my patience has run out, but that's when God gives victory. I am very thankful for that! Having small children really highlights how selfish I can tend to be, too. I'm going to have a hard time giving them back, ha, all the hugs and their sweet little comments. Sebastian said, "You are so lucky you have so many animals! It's like you live In a zoo!" And bless his heart, he meant it as a compliment.
They're at the part now where they miss their parents so much...

This coming weekend is, yay, our sporadically planned old ladies' overnighter at a hotel, Saturday night. We are all mamas of far the ones who are attending have 10 kids, 7 kids,7 kids, 6, 6, and me. Hopefully our friend with 14, and the ones with 12 and 8, will decide to join too! As you can guess, we never run out of things to talk about! And a night away from everything, ahhh. The pool, the hot tub...:)

Then the following weekend, I'm off to Mexico! Can you even believe it? I can't. I am just so excited. I don't mind my "job" here, teaching and testing, sorting out problems and giving help, advice, the house and making meals and snacks, going to appointments and driving kids places...but oh how nice it is to take a break, and oh how I crave sunshine on my skin.

And off we go...

Sunday, January 20, 2019

all snowed in...

It's a nice cozy day, and I've ventured outside twice. It's COLD out there, 6 degrees (-14c), snowing lightly, and getting windy. Jonathan made banana bread...

And, brownies...he put chocolate and peanut butter chips on top when they were hot, and plans to frost it with peanut butter frosting. It's hard to behave myself!

I made three pans of lasagna today, one veggie, no pasta: spinach, summer squash, and zucchini with peppers and onions and hot sausage, and two regular. I put one regular in the freezer for another day, and the other two are going in the oven soon. I made pancakes and sausage for the kids this morning, and washed all the chicken wing pans from last night.

The twins have lots of energy, and I'm mean: I let them be on their tablets this morning, then told them we're done for the day. They have colored and played games and ran around in circles. They don't seem bored yet. I am going to go make them some new play dough right now...

I am surprised at how busy it still is here, but it's nice, too. I'm thankful for heat and running water, and for a comfy chair when I take my breaks.

Okay...break over!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

boom it's winter!!!!

So this storm is supposed to track a bit more to the north, so we're looking at two feet of snow from this afternoon until tomorrow...then more snow, lake effect, and wind...and cold! Polar air! Can you tell that I have somewhat of a fascination with weather? Living south west of Lake Ontario makes for some really snowy winters.

Oh, I did forget to tell my tooth story: I left that dentist chair just as happy as can be, because we did my favorite thing: wait and see! Procrastinate, ha. The insurance company has to pre-approve a cap, which is what the tooth needs. If it's really pricey (I know they can run over a thousand, maybe two), I can opt for a filling, tooth reconstruction that isn't guaranteed to last. But, apparently insurance companies won't cover two separate procedures for one tooth in the same calendar year. And since it's January, ugh. So I'll wait and see how much coverage we have, my next appointment is in two months. So I am learning to remember to chew only on the one side, and how to shield the owie tooth from heat and cold, so fun, ha. (so basically I can't just have it repaired, then crowned later, unless it's in a different year)

So this fine morning, I made three pounds of bacon, and fried up some eggs. The kids made the toast, and a few waffles, and a few had cereal. It's a lovely Saturday. The kids are watching videos of a gymnast doing floor routines, and are planning to go outside to play soon. It's 14 degrees now, relatively balmy compared to what's coming. And there are small pre-storm flakes fluttering down. If your favorite color is white, you would be happy here in central New York this weekend. The house is so bright!

The three small children are still here, 8 nights down, four to go. But it's nice to have them here. They have tons of energy, and bring the level of crazy up a bit here, but they bring so much fun, too. They get up in the morning in their cute little jammies, and they're still little enough to delight in the little things. Paul brought our big purple Little Tikes coupe from the basement, and Sebastian (one of the 7 year old twins) has been driving around and around. They love our doggies, and seem really happy here. Here's what Sebastian made for me yesterday:

Ha, dear "ant". But oh it melted my heart.

Last evening, Linnea came and sat with me in my chair, cuddled under the blanket, and talked about school. Poor me, ha.

Ah well, today we're making some homemade play dough, then making chicken wings and pizzas for dinner. Kids like to "decorate" pizzas. It's a lovely Saturday.

Friday, January 18, 2019

well snowstorms!!!

But don't worry, we're in the '10-'18 inch area. After this storm though, the lake effect comes in from the north, and we'll get a bit more.

Ahh, winter. How I hate thee. The wind and the ice, the theft of spontaneity. Plans? Not set in stone, not around here in January. The ice on the windshield, the frigid tile floors in the kitchen, and bursting out of the shoe area, winter coats piled and stacked and draped on chairs, big coats that fall off of hooks.

Today, is the official Calm Before The Storm day. The weather lady said to get your store runs in, and fill your car with gas. Camille heard, "Go to the library! Get tons of books!" She didn't really, but this was our plan. Until...

Someone didn't feel well at school, and while I won't say what she's sick with, Miss Sonja has to go to the dr. this afternoon. It's no fun, she feels lousy, and to make it more fun, she thought she'd be okay, and went to school, which meant...I had to go get her. She texted me from class. So, I arrived in the office at the high school, and said I was there to pick her up, she was sick. They were fine with that, the nice office ladies, but the principal was standing there, and said, "Just so you know, it'll be an illegal absence." hmm. Why? "Because she didn't go to the nurse." Okay, I said, I'll send her down to the nurse when she gets here, because we don't want to be doing illegal stuff." Oh, I was too snarky. So the principal says, "You know, in case there's an epidemic or something, we have to have a record of everything." The nurse came into the office when Sonja came in, I told her we had to go down to her office just so we weren't illegal, and she said, "Oh bless her heart, Sonja, just go home, you don't have to come to my office, it'll be fine, I'll fix it." Some people are so kind and good, but others just seem to love their authority.


We're not going to the library after all. It's in the entirely opposite direction from the dr. office.

This afternoon, when I get home, we're having a party. I missed the twins' birthday this year, so I have a gift for them, and Jon found something to give to William, and I have something for Lydia too. We baked chocolate cupcakes and made buttercream frosting, and we're having a party. Just because.

It IS Emily's birthday today! 34 years ago tonight, it was a Friday back then too, at 9:53, I became a mama. My first birth was a rough one. She was transverse, and mid-forceps, which shh, that meant huge-0 episiotomy. :(. I also wasn't awake for the birth. I was told it was just a try it thing, the dr. was going to try to go up and turn the baby and bring her down, if it didn't work I would wake up from a c-section. We signed the papers, and went to the operating room/delivery room, and goodnight to me, I woke up and Paul was crying, and saying, "We have a girl first, a baby girl." I said, "What time is it?", and, "What do you mean FIRST?" ha, little did I know. And thankfully I had an experienced doctor who maneuvered that baby out without surgery.

Emily was a delightful baby. It took a week for me to get her to latch on properly and nurse, but after that, she thrived. Oh, she had a high fever at six weeks, and we took her to the E.R. I had to be shown to the waiting room because they were trying to take blood, and she was so small, I heard them say, "Try a vein in the neck...", and I was going DOWN. But she was okay, and got better. She fell off the changing table when she was seven months, and I thought she broke her collar bone, but she didn't. She was fine. She grew and grew, and learned to read and tell time by four years old. Paul told her she couldn't turn five, she had to stay four. Every year on her birthday, he would tell her, "You're still four." Well, she's still four all right, thirty four. I've loved all of my babies, but there is something about a first baby. I truly was the only one who understood her needs, and she was my life and reason for existence. I dressed her to the nines for even a trip to Kmart.

I spend too much time prancing down Memory Lane. The kids are outside playing in the snow. Charlotte Claire told me that Lake Superior is so big and deep, there's enough water for one foot deep all over North America AND South America. So we started googling the depth of other lakes, and there's one in Russa: over 5,000 feet deep! Seneca Lake, home of my favorite wineries, is 607 feet deep!

Anyway. The three visiting children have been here for seven nights now, and they're doing fine. The oldest boy is ten, and he informed me the other night that he needed poster board for THE NEXT DAY. He had a book report due. He said, "I like leaving things for the last minute." Well, he is definitely related to me, ha. Then he tells me that tomorrow morning, wintery tomorrow morning, at EIGHT A.M.!, he has a math competition. um. What?

Kids are coming back in, time for me to get moving. The snow is falling gently, and Jonathan is out there using the Sawz-all, cutting a shield from plywood...the boys newest thing is plastic sword fighting....

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

feeling quite accomplished...

When you're as lazy as the day is long, you do one little thing and you feel great.

Today, I did lots of little things, so I feel fantastic ha.

Besides sweeping the floors and washing up the dishes, and doing a few loads of laundry, I mean.

I did help five kids out the door to school. The two high-schoolers didn't need much help, but the three younger ones needed clean clothes on, hair done, and lunches packed.

Lydia got here around we had brekky with lots of kids...(7, after the two older ones left...Jon, Char, Cam, Lydia, Will, Sebastian, and Linnea).

Then, some school with the kids, and play dough with Lydia.

And, two loaves of bread made, now risen and in the oven baking. And, a pan of almond flour bread for me! It smells absolutely positively heavenly in here.

I don't know what's for dinner tonight, but there will be bread today.

This afternoon, Linnea has a ballet lesson, so my sister is going to bring her, my sister is Linnea's grandma.

Then I'll pick up Linnea and bring her to activity club with Camille, Will, and Sebastian.

Tomorrow, I have to go to the dentist in the afternoon because you KNOW there can never be a dull moment. Yesterday afternoon, after a nice trip to the library and to Target, we came home and had a nice healthy lunch...and when I bit into the first piece of chicken, a molar broke. Half of it, broke right off, right down to the gum. Ouch-y. I mean, exposed nerves and the whole bit. I can't even take a huffing breath without that cool air cringing that tooth. And coffee, oh the joy of my day, has to be sipped ever so carefully. I won't even tell the story of how I momentarily forgot this morning, and bit blissfully into a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter, my favorite breakfast...and OUCH. OOOPS. Dang. phew.

But tomorrow, I'll go into the dentist, and for real cheap, he'll fix it up, and it won't even hurt. And it'll be super quick, and I'll be out by myself, so I'll stop in the store for a few things, and mosey on home all slowly because it won't be windy and snowing out.

I'm going to fit in some exercise this afternoon, and figure out what to make for dinner, and write report cards up...

Monday, January 14, 2019

procrastinators anonymous

I am the chief queen head of P. A.

My new thing is that I want to get rid of stuff. That's not the fancy way to say it, even "decluttering" is passe', we're now "going minimalist", or "Marie Kondo-ing". Or even "Death Cleaning", because you do it yourself instead of others having to deal with your junk after you pass. (Now THAT's a scary thought!) I want to go through every single drawer, every bin, every cubby, and throw things away. I have always been a saver, because when someone needs something, I want to have it for them. And we all KNOW that as soon as you throw something away, you NEED it!

But. Realistically. No one wants or needs the christening bonnet, yellow and crunchy, that all of my siblings and I wore...or the first boy baby outfit we purchased after having two girls...with no sonograms or gender testing way back in the day, when Benjamin was born, yay, baby boy clothes! And the fact that Paul went and bought it...:)

See? I get sidetracked so easily. Every item has a story. Oh, I know! I can just take a pic of each sentimental item before deep-sixing it!

When you have grandkids, you need to have a playpen, a walker, a high chair, a stroller, a booster seat, and some bibs...a few spare sips cups and bottles, and some little spoons and forks, plates with the dividers, ect. So you can't just get rid of ALL of it.

So here's the thing: I am now officially thinking of cleaning things out. Hoeing out. But not today.

Today, we have plans! See, we have been very busy lately. We usually have our little girls here, and now we have three older children staying with us for 12 days. But today, we don't have Anne, and poor Mali is sick, so she has Lydia home with her, and the three children got on the bus and went to school (phew, I did it! Hair brushed, lunches packed, showered and folders in backpacks, phew!).

So today it's only the three homeschoolers and me. And we're going on an adventure! There is a place called Wonderworks, rope-climbing, laser tag, interactive museum, etc, with special homeschooling pricing....:)

When you live south of Lake Ontario in the winter, you have to plan around the weather. Even if it's 5F (-15c) degrees out, which it is, you're happy if it's not snowing, in fact it's a perfect day to go out and about.

It WOULD be a perfect day to start in on a few junk drawers, but ahhhh....we need an adventure.

I have a list of adventures coming up, besides today...

February: Mexico in less than three weeks, all inclusive, no plans to explore ruins or to leave the beach and pools...just relax.

February: Florida a few weeks after that. Last night we reserved a hotel a block from the ocean, just for one night, on the way to visit Grandma. We don't have many plans for our visit, maybe Busch Gardens, but lots of lying by the pool. I hope it's seriously hot and sunny. Get this: Paul and I and only four of the kids are going! One fourth of the kids! The older ones are all working, etc., and Jonathan doesn't want to come with four sisters, well, he does, but would RATHER stay with Margaret and Adrian and hang out with his friends on their week off from school.

March: Norway for long weekend, sisters' conference with Emily, Abigail, and Mirielle.

July: We rented a small cabin near Algonquin Mountain in the Adirondacks for a three day weekend.

July: Norway!!!! WE are going for ten or so days, not sure dates yet.

August: Three days reserved at a water site on our favorite lake in the Adirondacks, tenting! Several of the older ones in the family have also gotten sites, so it'll be really fun.

Of course all this traveling costs money, I save every bit of my babysitting money towards it, plus sell things on eBay and craigslist. (The Mexico trip is a gift from my dear sons:).), I am going with two of my girls.

Wow, in four days is Emily's birthday! I became a mommy 34 years ago...our 35 wedding anniversary is coming up in March. The days are long but the years are short, right?

From Saturday's adventure, Evelyn and me...then friend Amara, my daughter Margaret, me, friend Karen, and daughters Mirielle and Evelyn Joy, we went on a wine tour on Seneca Lake. Did you know that the Finger Lakes region has excellent wine? Evelyn was our driver, and we had too much fun. But not too much wine. Just enough.

Friday, January 11, 2019

brrrrrr!!!! it's January!!!!

I brought Lydia outside for a few minutes yesterday, it was so cold and windy. The snow was deeper than her boots are tall, and her snow pants a little short, so I knew we couldn't stay out too long. Back in the house and dry clothes on, so cozy!

She was back again bright and early this morning.

The snow has stopped, leaving us in frigid temperatures, 11F (-11c), with wind. brrrr.
But it IS pretty...

The kitties know where to sleep.

Lydia wants to put on her "morning clothes", she arrives in her jammies. Anne will be here soon, so the busyness of the day will start...and this afternoon, the twins and William arrive...:)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

oh winter, thank you!

The snow is coming down, the world is silent, the school is closed. Anne is not here today because her mama is a teacher. Lydia IS here, good thing she spent the night! Charlotte Claire and Camille are putting cinnamon buns in the oven and making orange juice. We don't buy o.j. on a regular basis anymore, as it's not as healthy as I once thought, but the kids love it for a treat. And today is a special day! A snow day!!!

Once I woke up, I couldn't go back to sleep, but it was really nice to be able to lie in my warm bed for a bit, since I didn't have to get up for Lydia's usual seven a.m. arrival, she was sleeping snugly in Char and Cam's room. I washed all of our bedding yesterday, and it's especially comfy when your bedding is all fresh and springy smelling (laundry beads, summers!) .

Char got up early too, so we snuggled in my chair and looked at houses for sale in the area. Right over on the Seneca river, a nice one. Only four bedrooms though, Char mentioned. Well, we almost fit in that now. We are going in the other direction now, our family who used to have 18 under one roof. They move out, they get married, and leave the big messy nest. Kathryn has gone out to Oregon, she'll come home for a few weeks before she gets married maybe, but for all intents and purposes...her room is EMPTY. Evelyn still lives here, but spends the week day nights up at Margaret and Adrian's because she works in that city. So when she's gone, it's Paul and me, then Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Char, and Cam. And of course Lydia most of the time, and sometimes Anne. And for 12 days starting Friday, Will and Sebastian and Linnea. And on Sunday afternoons, we're bursting at the seams:)

Anyway. Today the high school girls have a snow day, so there's a festive atmosphere.

Yesterday, I made two apple pies. Two incredible apple pies.

I let Char and Cam each "fix" the top of one, the edges and cutting the steam vents, and adding half and half and sprinkling with sugar, I also sprinkled a bit of cinnamon and sugar on top of that. These pies were made because we accidentally left a seven dollar bag of apples in the minivan overnight, and I was afraid they would go to mush after they thawed. So I saved them, gave them a purpose, ha. Empire apples, yummy to eat, not the best for pies, but I added some lemon juice, oops too much, the pie is almost tangy, but shh, I love tangy...with the sweetness of the flaky all butter crust...oh dear. I did have some last night. Yes I did.

We had meatballs for dinner...they turned out yummy too. The kids had pasta, Sonja and I had spaghetti squash. If you haven't tried spaghetti squash, buy one! You just slice it in half, scoop out the guts, put the halves on a plate, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and microwave for five minutes...then I turn them, recover, microwave for four minutes or so...then just scoop out that delicious stringy goodness, and eat with the sauce and meatballs, or just with butter and salt and pepper...

The snow is just falling like we're in a snow globe. The thick lake effect flakes are adding up...Jonathan is snowplowing the driveway, and it's sloooow going! So. Much. Snow.'s a cozy day!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

one misty moist-y morning, when cloudy was the weather....

Yesterday we had a coating of ice all over the roads, the cars, the was delayed for two hours. In the city, three snow plows went off the road. But the air warmed, the ice melted, and we had a nice dark cloudy day. I went out in the afternoon with Suzanne, leaving Sonja here to babysit because it was the best option...going to the grocery store with the small children would be fun, but the two year old in Aldi last, no.

So before the snow, we went out to the small city...we picked up Emily's clarinet. She had it re-corked and fixed up, because Camille is learning to play it. Then the grocery store, to stock up on apples and bananas, chicken and burger, milk and bread, a big bag of kitty chow, eggs and pepperoni, and peanut butter and coffee.

Today the snow rolls in, and oh dear is it gloomy out right now. Dark and cozy. I rather love it.

Lydia is here, and Anne will be coming soon. They still have a huge fort set up in the corner, we play with play dough and color, and get out dollhouse stuff. They do keep busy. Yesterday there were a few tantrums, and I wondered at my lot in life, but no one ever said life was supposed to be easy.

Being older and dealing with young children is different. I have the privilege of not just KNOWING how fleeting the days are, I have actually experienced it. My three older children are 34, 32, 30...the years passed like a vapor, and sometimes I still see them when they were toddlers, or remember when one was sick, so sick and so needy, And I wish I could go back I in time and spend more time with that little one. I have memories of them as their newborn selves, and flashes of Emily singing, "Skinamarink-a-dink-a-dink-, skin-a-merink-a-doo...", and of Abigail losing a tooth...

Anyway, as a grandma, and as a babysitter for little ones, I KNOW how precious the moments are, and I'm not so likely to wish the days away. I'm quicker to drop the broom for a cuddle, and I know story time is a better choice than reading my own book.

I can't control much in this world, but in my little corner here, I can give up my own will and wants, and bless and comfort. I don't have a degree, and I am no fashion model, and don't look in my laundry room, but my life has worth when I am faithful in the little things.

Monday, January 7, 2019

my lot in life...

I am not complaining. No sir. I am extremely thankful for my lot in life....which seems to be me, knee deep in children. Some grow up, some move away, yet there are still toys strewn across the living room and sippy cups on the counter.

I watch 3 year old Lydia five days a week, and two year old Anne...well, all of this week, then...not sure. Probably two or three days a week. AND, on Friday, three more children are moving in for 12 days, 10 year old Will, and the twins, Linnea and Sebastian, who are seven now. (Their mama and papa are going to Europe for a wedding).

So I'll be getting elementary kids on the bus in the morning again, and afternoon snack will get...bigger. More fun.

I'll be honest, part of me loves it, but the lazy part of me suffers. The old achy lady lodged within doesn't like hopping up quickly when the two year old grabs the three year old's crayon. She gets cranky when she has to fish a favorite Little People from under the couch, because her, "I'll get it later" doesn't work on the three year old who is ready to melt down. Taking one to the bathroom, changing the other's diapers, making little lunches...trying to keep the play dough colors separate, and the tops on the markers.

But, the lazy part of me can just shut up, shrivel up, and die. I don't want anything to do with it, with all of its complaints. Children are a blessing, and they do fill the house with joy....even though they have their moments.

We all have our moments.

My lot in life. It also includes being fat, it seems. No, I am not making excuses, nor am I giving up. No, I'm staying no sugar, staying low carb...and today: I exercised! I did! The little girls were playing play dough, so I decided just to jump in with some push ups...I did four sets of ten, and some simple leg lifts and lifting ten pound I did my push ups, little Anne decided to join me, and ooh yup, she pooped. Time to change her diaper!

But weight loss is sooooo slow for me.

My lot in never know what's for dinner. But, tonight I lucked out: Charlotte Claire decided the other day to make broccoli cheddar soup, so she googled a recipe, and put the ingredients in the cart while we were in Aldi. Today, it was soup day! I also had some brown and serve rolls, so simple dinner! I had leftover chicken, green beans, and a little of the soup on top. She did a really nice job with it.

But don't ask me what we're having tomorrow.

It's hard to get the store when you have the small girls...and in winter, it gets dark, and who wants to go out and about in the dark evening? Not me. So we'll be eating more from the cupboards and the freezer.

I'm thinking I'll be using my InstantPot more this week.

As much as I enjoy the chitter, chatter, and cuddles of the little ones, I do enjoy the quiet evenings too...quiet when my girls are busy doing homework or playing or reading, and Jonathan is busy with stuff. He just got back from his Norwegian lessons.

We lit some candles on the coffee table this evening, ate our yummy dinner while we watched JEOPARDY! Then the television was turned off, we don't watch much. It's so quiet now, the dogs snoring, the dryer humming, the washing machine is hopefully fixed...hopefully. (We don't always eat at the table anymore, especially on cold winter nights. It's just cozier in the living room, and there are so many less of us. Sometimes we do sit around the table though, and that's always nice.)

So 26 days until Mexico, yay!!!! I had hoped to lose like fifty pounds by then, but I don't know what happened. It could have been worse though...all the things I said NO THANK YOU to would have wreaked havoc if I had eaten them.

So let's be thankful for our lots in life. We had a celebration feast for our friend Dave, for the victories he won in life, and we heard that suffering is universal. Everyone suffers. But who can trust God in it, and be thankful for all the sin that's stirred up in it all, who can overcome and be happy? That's my REAL lot in life...and it's a good one.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

never ever a dull moment....

First of all, our dear friend David passed away the other day, and there have been so many tears around here. We knew Dave since back when we were first married. He was a true friend, so extremely easy to talk to, a confidant, honest, encouraging, and faithful to God in everything. His chief aim in life was to take each trial seriously, and he had plenty of trials. With a wife and eight children, then being diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus 12 years ago when their youngest was just a baby, right after finishing up a master's degree in Hospital Administration, (in addition to his other degrees, he was a very smart man).

Last night we went to calling hours for him. What can I even say? He's in a better place, but we're going to miss him like crazy. He wrote a blog,, The Cancer Chronicles, and he was funny, even when things were dire.

Also, a tree fell on Emily's house. The three girls were all sleeping in their upstairs bedrooms, but the angels were watching where this tree fell, as it hit the back of the house:

So the girls are all right, but they woke to a mighty crash, and their deck is in smithereens.

Paul and I had the pleasure of an outing with our friends, as Karen turned 66! There's a nice place up on Lake Ontario that gives one free chicken wing for each year of your life, so yes, 66 chicken wings!

Karen and her husband...:)

And my daughter Kathryn is leaving on Saturday to go to Oregon, she misses her fiancé' too much. She will be back, then will be leaving again, as she is getting married and moving out there, wah. It's a new beginning for her, but my heart aches. It's just not fair that you have these kids in your lives, then they up and leave, ha.

We are planning our trip to Florida, now Paul says he's not sure if he can go, work-wise, so we'll be left figuring things out last minute, we should have a van rented already, but oh well.

Also we're looking at plane tickets for Norway for this summer! Yay! Hopefully Paul and I, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jon, and Charlotte Claire will be going. Ben and Ashley and their two daughterss will be going too. And Abigail. Maybe Margaret and Adrian.

I am also going on a huge trip, one month from today I'll be in Mexico! Yes, I am going on vacation! Then Florida a few weeks after that, then to Norway in March for a sisters' conference, with Emily, Abigail, and Mariel, how sweet is it that they will travel with their mama?

Lydia is here, she spent the night last night, and Anne is coming any minute. I'll be having Anne every day for a bit, as her other babysitter is on school break from college, and is going on a little trip herself, to Florida with Emily.
(I usually have her two or three days a week)

So, today I'm going to be brave and attempt to take both Anne and Lydia out and about! We need a library trip, and a quick trip to Aldi. I used to do it with my own littles all the time, so it should be fine. Car seats and diaper bags and sleeves of crackers, right?

(I always had a sleeve of crackers in my purse, way back when)...which reminds me of a funny story. The day we brought Margaret home from the hospital, which was Christmas Eve, back 22 years ago, I of course went to my brother's house with 8 of our nine children, Paul stayed home with Mariel because she had the throw-up bug. So I brought my newborn baby, and all of the other kids, because it was the best night of the year for them, to be with all of their cousins. When it was time to leave, the roads were snowy and icy and I was feeling a bit woozy and tired, so my brother offered to drive us home, with my other brother following in his car. Anyways, he asked me where my keys were so he could warm up the van, and I directed him to my coat pocket...well. He said he was never putting his hand in my coat pocket again! There was a cookie in there. It HAD been a cookie anyway, before it turned into mushy crumbs. I remember going in to a store a few weeks previously, with lots of kids, and they were handing out Christmas of the kids took a few bites and didn't want it, so, into my pocket it went.

Ah well. Our washing machine is still broken. Kathryn washed some clothes and towels at Emily's house yesterday, and brought them home to dry. The part should arrive on Saturday, hopefully Paul will get it fixed. Have you noticed that we aren't the Call The Repairman kind of family?

And, one thing I am going to be working on in the next few months, is hoeing out the house. I am not going totally minimalist, but for ME, minimalist, ha. I am the Have Tons of Each Thing Just In Case kind of person. Hairbrushes, hair clips, coffee scoops...we have like six coffee scoops. Reading glasses, I used to have pairs everywhere. But now I have them all put (shh, lost, ha), and have only one pair to keep track of, and it's a teensy bit easier, but I won't lie. Seventy five times a day, I am asking if anyone knows where they are.

So I want to get rid of more stuff, minimalize more, organize more. I like less clutter, and now that the tree is gone, and all the trimmings and trappings put away, it seems calmer in here. And I like it. Now the toys, they're going to present a challenge, because I love them dearly, and love the joy the kids get when they come here and play...

Here's a pic of Paul and I on New Year's Day...matchy-matchy!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

and a happy new year!!!!

Baby Grant is here visiting us with his mama and daddy, so it's been busy, and hard to find a chance to this is going to be very short...he is toddling around the living room right now...

I did not buy either of these sweatshirts, rocking baby Wulf to sleep, and an early morning with Lydia.

I didn't buy the bear either, Sunny just because she's cute, and the mittens Suzanne crocheted for me for Christmas.

Today Paul and I are going out to lunch to celebrate a birthday with a friend, with lots of our friends. We rarely do this, so I am excited. And I need to go start getting much is going on around here...the washing machine broke, Paul ordered a part...a tree fell on Emily's house...(all occupants are okay though!), and so on...never a dull moment.

But this is going to be a good year!!!!