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

Sunday, March 31, 2019

it's my party, and I'll cry if I want to...

It started out all fun and games...after all, going out and about with three of my favorite daughters, yay!!!

(Mirielle, me, Sonja K., and Evelyn)(And before you say, "No wonder she's fat!", it's diet soda, which I did officially give up a few months back. But the bottled water was just as expensive, so I decided it wouldn't kill me to have some Diet Coke...and the popcorn...what?! Four of us shared it! And we didn't finish all of it because, shh, one of us dropped it and spilled it...oops.)

So it was all fun and games...until the movie started...Unplanned. The movie was intense, eye opening...Planned Parenthood is a sham. The movie is based on the life of Abby Johnson who worked for Planned Parenthood for eight years. She was told at one point that the whole company, operation, or whatever they called themselves, was pushing for doubling the abortion rates at each clinic. She was told to talk the girls and women into the abortions, using euphemisms, and outright lies (the baby is not even a baby yet, just a ball of cells, it doesn't feel anything, ect.) One day Abby had to go into a procedure room and hold the ultra sound wand on a pregnant girl's tummy while the doctor performed an abortion, killing the 13 week old baby. Abby watched the baby on the screen wiggling around, heard the heart beating, was suctioned away. She dropped the wand and left the room and cried her eyes out.

It's a fact that P.P. sued her, tried to gag order her, not to spill secrets, tried to bully her into silence. If they're all on the up and up, why would they do this?

Anyway, we went to see the movie, and cried our own eyes out.

Then we left the mall at a bit after midnight, we went to the late showing. The doors were locked. We couldn't get out of the mall! So we turned around, retraced our steps and walked to the front of the mall, then around the whole building, and to our car, in the mostly abandoned lot. It was a bit scary, especially when a yellow Camaro with the windows rolled down cruised down the right next to us, going really slowly...blah. Country girl here, doesn't like being in the big city at night.

I can't believe those doors were locked though. What if there was a fire? The stores were all closed, so you couldn't exit through was not fun.'s almost 2 a.m., and I felt like writing...

Friday, March 29, 2019


Lydia, Jon and Lydia taking a rest (Lydia was snoring), Me, and...Suzanne and Camille's baking adventure...chocolate half-moon cookies (black and whites)...and the cute little salt and pepper set I had to get...:)

Target is always fun. Camille got a new sweatshirt, we got some Reese's eggs for the baskets, and contact solution for Jonathan. A stop for French fries on the way home, and they were happy campers. I didn't eat any fries, but I did eat three nuggets.

Home, ah home. It's always nice to get home. I marinated the chicken breast in lime juice, with olive oil and garlic and other seasonings, then Jonathan grilled it outside. With rice and fresh cauliflower, and sliced Italian bread, yum. Suzanne and Cam were baking while I was making dinner, so the kitchen was a busy place. Camille made the frosting, and we don't use a recipe, just a bit of shortening, then some butter, whip it together, add confectioner's sugar, half and half, and vanilla, to the Kitchen aid, and add more of whatever it seems to need, ha. I helped her out a bit, but she basically had it right. Those cookies though, the aroma...I didn't have any, but I did taste the frosting a few times, to get it right, of course.

Today we're not staying home. The kids will do some school for a few hours, then we have to go into the small city for some appointments. Lydia is spending the night tonight. She's here right now, playing dollhouse.

I didn't fit in my work out at all yesterday. So I have a one day streak, again. ugh. I'll be kicking myself when I'm walking around D.C. and all huffing and puffing. Today, today I'll fit it in....

Staying away from sugar, fitting in the exercise, cutting out the carbs, it's not easy, but for me, it's essential. I'm not whittling away to nothing, in fact, the pounds are creeping back on, which is no fair. But I'm fighting, and I'm not giving up.

I have to behave especially well this week, because next weekend...a weekend away with Paul and Karen and Hobie...right smack in the middle of wine country...we're going to some wineries, which means tasting the wine, which means buying some. :)

Thursday, March 28, 2019

how in the world?... in the world did I ever get anything done? Yesterday I had 2 year old Anne, and 3 year old Lydia, which leads me to the above question.

The simple dynamics of taking care of small children turn regular events into grand productions. Going to the bathroom, for example. I had a hard enough trying to pull off this spectacular feat when my own children were small, wrestling with the conundrum of whether to sneak or announce. Sneaking almost guaranteed I would be back before they decided to get into the cereal or paint with Desitin, but if they noticed I was gone, it could trigger panic, and if one started crying, you know...the announcing it was almost like telling them, "Go ahead and run into your sisters' room and get into her powder, quick, you're going to be unattended for a bit." It could also backfire, and mama could end up with little friends in the bathroom keeping company.

These little girls aren't my own children, and I do not leave them unattended, so I have to summon Jon, Char, or Cam when I run to the bathroom.

When Lydia has to go, Anne NEEDS to come too. She sometimes needs to take her diaper off and sit on the toilet like Lydia, which is a good thing, but not always a fun thing. She also needs to wash her hands.

When they have their snacks or eggs or yogurts, or even a banana during the day, I put them up to the table, or even at the coffee table in their little chairs, because we don't run around with food. This means washing them up when they're done, and cleaning up the little plates, ect. And they both always want the same plate, even though I have identical pink plates. I poured them seltzer (sugarless sparkling water) yesterday, in identical glasses, with different colored straws so we could differentiate the drinks and keep using the glasses...yes, they both wanted the green straw.

They are friends 90+% of the time...the other ten percent, don't even ask.

It's good for them. They learn to share, they learn to get along, they play together.

It's good for me, too. I have noticed I have much less patience than I thought I had. And if I am feeling irritated or bothered or just plain get sick of the silly nonsense, that's a good place to be, because it's where I am and who I am, and there's so much grace and help from God to get when we ask in humility.

Because above all, children are straight from heaven...the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. And they need to be treated with goodness. That's easy when they're agreeable and they didn't just spill their drink.

(It's nice to have some little friends!)

Sometimes I feel like I should be doing something more important in life. I didn't go to college, I don't work, and when I bumble around here in my comfy around-the-house clothes, I feel like a lazy slouch.

It's not esteemed in the eyes of this world to take care of kids. You need to to it ALL, and I applaud the mamas (and daddies) who can manage that. But I'm almost 54 years old, not starting a career anytime soon...I've thought about it. I've actually been thinking about getting a realtor's license, because I love people and houses. And to get the people connected to the right house sounds very fulfilling. But I'm not sure I can fit it in, not sure I have the dedication it takes to leave the house so kids are growing up so fast, I don't want to miss out on any of it.

Today we only have little Lydia. And, we need to go to Walmart, as soon as the kids are done with their schoolwork. Important things are on the list, like a contact solution for Jon, and and and.

It's warm here, but cloudy and we're getting some rain. Spring takes it's own sweet time coming to central New York state. But when it does arrive, when the sun shines and the jackets come off, oh my goody-good-goodness, no one enjoys it like we Northerners do.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

....the empty room....

Can we talk about when kids grow up and move out, leaving gaping holes in mamas' hearts?

When the first few moved out, the other kids would have dibs on the vacated space before they were even out the door. Remember, once upon a time, not too long ago, there were 18 of us living here. One by one, they started out the door...some commuted to college, so they were here for longer. Joseph was married last September, he stayed here until he was 27. We don't need the boring details of who left for what when.

But...they started growing up and moving out. The bedrooms became more plentiful. Sonja has her own room now, at one time there were FIVE kids in there, two sets of bunks and a toddler bed. Jonathan has his own room, too. And Suzanne. And Evelyn, and she's only here on weekends! Charlotte Claire and Camille share a nice big room, Sam's old room has become another storage room, but Kathryn Grace's's empty. She left a few months ago, bringing only what she could fit in her suitcases, to live in Oregon. She got married, and Oregon is her home now.

Her room...with the nice bed set I bought her, her electric blanket, the hanging lantern, her movie collection. It's just empty. Some jackets still hang there, jackets I can just see her in, jackets that didn't make the cut, to fit into the suitcases.

You walk in there, and it just hits you, she's far far away.

She is happy, where she lives. She has a decent job, and lots of friends, and of course she's newlywed, and that's still bliss. So I don't feel sorry for her at all.

I feel sorry for ME.

She was my sweetie little tenth child, she looked like Mary Kate and Ashley when she was little. She was a tomboy teenager, obsessed with the Yankees. She homeschooled the last few years of high school, but she was extremely hard working and diligent. She was here at home doing her schooling, she worked from home for a while, then had a few different jobs, and still lived here, was going to go to college, and commute...then she got engaged...and just like that, she's far far away.

Technology makes these absences easier, of course, it's not like when I was a kid and my mother waited until weekends to call her sister because it was cheaper, a long-distance call was a BIG DEAL. I remember my brother calling COLLECT from the Navy base...a collect call was also a BIG DEAL. Young people today prob don't even know what that is.

Anyway. Kathryn has moved out, and we have an empty bedroom, and it makes me sad.

There are many things that make me happy, however, one is that today, I am going out to lunch with some friends! Some of my friends are older than me (imagine THAT!), and have retired, we try to get together during the day once in a while. Today is our friend Hobie's birthday, so we are once again meeting at the restaurant up on the lake which gives the birthday person the number of chicken wings for number of years, on their birthday. I think Hobie is 62 today:). My brother Bob, and sister Cheryl are going, along with some other friends.

It's a nice sunny day, and Emily, my sweet Nurse Practitioner daughter, is going to watch Lydia and keep a general eye on these other kids of mine. Don't you love how I brag endlessly about my kids? I figure, my blog, I can brag, ha. Em worked hard to get where she is, ten years of floor nursing in a hospital, and lots of years of school. She's such a nice girl, and hey, having a health care provider in the family is helpful, not that the others who are nurses aren't helpful too...

Anyway. Sam's wedding date is coming closer, and we have been busy buying dresses online. I seriously hope they fit and we like them. I actually went out on a limb and ordered a pair of shoes, because I will die just shy of a million deaths if I have to wear my Birkenstocks to a wedding at this nice feet are super picky. They are wide and fat.

Lydia is playing with this little toy Keurig coffee maker I bought. It has batteries, it dispenses water while making a brewing noise. She gave her little Polly-Pocket sized dolls, her "girls", showers with the coffee maker. The water of course went all over the coffee table, but it's only water. And she likes cleaning up messes.

She's singing and wiping up the table.

Our Norway trip planning is in full swing. The train from the airport, the rental car to JFK, accommodations, registration fees, airline tickets, wow, ca-ching. We won't be doing this ever summer, ha. We are super excited about it, but ouchie wah wah it's pricey. I mean in the neighborhood of ten thousand dollars pricey. We have saved up for a long long time, but still have a ways to go, I have to start selling more things on eBay.

I have things to do and places to go...but writing here really helps me straighten out my thoughts. It's my therapy.

Monday, March 25, 2019

having a full house, and a full heart....

Yesterday was simply golden. That's all there is to it. All the kids were here, (except for Sam in VA, Aaron in OR, Kathryn in OR, and Jonathan, who was at his friends' house). So 12 of them, and four spouses, four of the five grandkids, were here. Benjamin, Ashley and their two littles, Anya and Elise, left before Joseph and his wife Bethany got here, but still. :). Abigail had taken Charlotte Claire and Camille to Connecticut for the weekend, but stayed for dinner and a nice visit when she brought them home. Emily had been to a Nurse Practitioner conference for the weekend, but stopped in for a few hours, though she was tired. Mariel has been drowning in homework, she's going back to school for her Master's in something...nursing education maybe? But she came over for a few hours too. It was a special occasion, little Wulf turned one year old!!!!

So in no particular order, some pics of the fun and chaos of having a big family!
(Mali, Suzanne, and Margaret holding her little Wulf)

I don't know if the dogs particularly LOVE the little ones, but they certainly tolerate them, and Suri will just get up and move if they bug her too much. They are good doggies, Suri and Sunny.

(Wulf got to go to the zoo for his birthday, he got a toy Wolf)
(Lydia and Anya loved the cupcakes that Aunt Margaret made!)

Doesn't every family sit around and sing after dinner? Paul likes watching March Madness (college basketball), poor Paul, so much else is going on around here, ha.

But it was a golden day. I got up in the morning and browned up two nice chuck roasts, put them in the crockpot with two gravy packets and some baby carrots. In the afternoon we peeled 8 pounds of red skinned potatoes, mashed them up with lots of butter, salt and pepper, and steamed three bunches of asparagus.

Now it's Monday morning, a sunny and cold one. Lydia spent the night, Anne will be here soon. The kitchen is mostly back in order after yesterday, and most of the toys are put away. I'm sitting here with my coffee, enjoying the quiet before it gets busy in here again...:)

Friday, March 22, 2019

..... tickets to paradise!!!

Ben, Ashley, Anya, Elise, Abigail, Margaret, Adrian and little Wulf, Camille, and I have purchased the tickets to go to Norway this summer!!!! It was SO exciting to actually purchase them, also they were much more expensive than we know, you go to actually buy those five hundred dollar tickets, and um, a 13 hour layover in Zurich? If one had all the time in the world, and some extra money, a layover in a foreign city might be fun. But when you're traveling with small children, nah. So we got direct tickets, from New York to Oslo.

Paul is going too, but flying all by his lonesome, he has airline travel points.

Em, Evelyn, Jonathan, Sonja...they're flying separately because they're going earlier.

I know, booooring details, but for me, very exciting. We've been planning this trip for a long time. Charlotte Claire and Camille have been saving up birthday money and Christmas money and bottle and can return money for a few years now. They have saved enough to pay for their own plane tickets! This is really a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us all to go like this. Although it may be just so fantastic, we'll start saving up for another on in like two years.

So I joke about losing fifty pounds for each upcoming event. It seems like a grand plan, especially when the weeks stretch before me, giving me lots of time to accomplish it. If I had a dollar for every time I've thought along the lines of how much I can take off per week times the number of weeks, I'd be flying first class.

So yesterday, I decided I was going to work out a bit. I have to start these things slowly, because a few months ago I decided the very same thing....and seriously, I stretched out on the mat on the living room floor, lifted one leg, and pulled a muscle. So yesterday, some push ups, some planks, some stretches and leg lifts and lifting the ten pound weights, then going up and down the stairs a bit, because I hate getting out of breath so easily. Well, wouldn't you know it, I go up and down those stairs and notice they really need to be vacuumed. So, yeah, I vacuumed the stairs...then the hallway, and my room...then it was time to peel potatoes for dinner. I was halfway through that five pound bag of red-skinned potatoes when I noticed the exercise mat in the living room, with my socks on it that I had taken off. Oops, I got sidetracked.

Our dinner was yum. We took a quick trip to Aldi yesterday, and bought a 6 1/2 pound package of chicken breast. As soon as we got home, I put them in a marinade of lemon juice, olive oil, and chicken seasoning with lots of pepper. Jonathan grilled them later, and oh my goodness, summery-tasting goodness. I made mashed potatoes...a whole stick of butter, some half and half, onion powder, salt and pepper, not too shabby. Sonja prepared some broccoli, and wow, what a dinner. I only had a tablespoon of those 'tatoes, and believe you me, I could have eaten an entire bowl of them.

Here's what's happening around here: we are getting new kitchen flooring! I'm not sure when, but soon! Our tile is lovely, but so many of the tiles are cracked! It's also cold, and very slippery when wet. So we're thinking to get the waterproof vinyl planking, which is a snap together plank flooring, which looks like real wood. It has texture and variation in color, looks real, but doesn't scratch as easily, waterproof. The hard part will be to rip up all the tile, unless we decide to install it on top of it, which you are supposed to be able to do.

Here's the other thing: we have this fake wood in the living room, which I really like. It's like ten years old, and is showing some wear...the new stuff in the kitchen won't match. see where I'm going, right? Ca-Ching. The whole thing would cost a pretty penny, and...the living room still looks okay. I know for a fact that Paul won't get it, he'll be like, "What?!!!"

In any case, it's clear that with home improvements, it's like the kids' book, If You Give A Moose A Muffin.

Ah well. Life is short, and we can't take it with us. That's one thing my mother used to say all of the time. You can't take it with you. When Abigail was three years old, she had a favorite purse she used to carry around at all times...she was afraid to put it down, because she thought if Jesus came back, she needed to bring it with her. Um, honey...oh dear.

My mother also used to say that people wanted heaven on earth, making these kingdoms for themselves, but it'll all just pass away. The only thing we can take with us are those heavenly treasures we gain through our trials. Not to be a huge downer, but it puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

So...there are so many fun and interesting things in life, but let's get some of those heavenly treasures today...

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

and then spring starts...

It's well under freezing this morning, 24 degrees.'s going to get up to 50, with sunshine! Happy face!
I don't know why I am so obsessed with the weather, maybe because it's just so changeable. The calendar will say that spring starts today, at 5:58 this evening, and it'll be warmer, but guess what? Tomorrow, colder...snow...

My granddaughter Lydia and me...and Lyd dancing with Anne.

Yesterday they were both here. You know how those days are, you look at the clock, and it's ten, and you're like, "how am I going to get through this day?" That sounds mean, and I don't mean it to be, it's just that small children are challenging, right? Anne has decided that she wants to sit on the potty because Lydia does, which is fine, but she stands there crying while Lyd pees, which stresses Lydia out. And so on. But they're also hilarious, and good for each other. Anne decided she wanted dinner, which is how she says she's hungry, so we had some eggs. Lydia tends to eat all of her food when she's at the table with Anne. They play together amazing well for 90% of the time. The other ten, do not even ask.

It's good for me too, dealing with small children always takes just a tiny bit more patience than I possess, sometimes TONS more than I possess, so it leaves me in a good conversation with God, asking for more, please. Anne talks a blue streak now, and always says, "please", it's so cute.

So I take it very seriously to deal righteously, gently, and lovingly with the small children, because they have come to earth directly from heaven, and they really belong to God. ..."the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these..", Jesus said.

So it's all a good work. We have to get creative to get the homeschool work done, but we have been managing.

Emily, Abigail, and Molly were all here for dinner last evening. I made quiche with onions and peppers and sausage, and three pounds of bacon. I just run out of ideas for dinner, and honestly, it's like, "What? Dinner again? I just made it last night."

So, upcoming events: In two weeks, Paul and I and our friends Hobie and Karen are going away for the weekend to an AirBnb near Lake Ontario. We plan to visit a few vineyards, explore the area have a nice dinner. We are all very excited about this. Then the first weekend in May, a wedding! A spring wedding! Grace has found her dress, and Samuel will be wearing his dress blues, his Army dress uniform. It's going to be at the Officer's Club at one of the bases down there, a very classy location, a small wedding, 40 guests all together, yes, half of them our family. I don't have a dress, and of course I want to lose like fifty pounds ha.

Some of us will be heading down to Virginia a few days early, and will have Friday to walk around Washington, D.C., which is always nice. The three homeschooled kids really like the museums, and we all really like visiting the World War II monument. (I particularly like meeting the older vets there, I met a WWII vet once who had been involved in the D-Day invasion of Normandy).

Then the cabin in the Adirondacks in July...

Also on the agenda is a HUGE trip to Norway this summer, in August! Here's who is going from our family: Paul and I, Emily, Abigail, Ben and Ashley with Anya and Elise, Margaret and Adrian and baby Wulf, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille. We only have to pay for Sonja on down, Suze isn't actually certain if she's going, but we're buying plane tickets tonight, so...:)

It's a ten day trip, and we're very excited about it! I had a dream last night that I forgot all of my charging cords, and I kept getting lost.

Then a camping weekend in August.

After that, well, we'll just have to fill it in! I want to go out west and visit Kathryn and Aaron and Riley at some point.

And, there are things to do and off I go. I have been in a really good optimistic mood lately, but the hard part is that it doesn't always last, sometimes I get a bit down, and start seeing things in a negative way...and then I really have to pray, and work on not being selfish and dark. Oh poor me, never any time to think straight, not enough friends, can't seem to lose weight, my knee hurts, or whatever it may ain't always just perfect, but God knows just what I need, and I believe that.

One of the things that is really hard for me lately is how fast time is passing. My kids are growing up, and I don't like it. Ha, it's of course very satisfying when each of them finds their own way in this world, and learns to stand on their own two feet, that's what it's all about. But when they leave the nest, one after the other, the nest gets a little lonely.

Last summer, for example, lounging on the deck on any given day might be: Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jon, Char, Cam, and maybe Joseph would come out for a bit. Now, Kathryn is married and in Oregon, Joseph is married and living in town, Evelyn works full time and stays with Margaret and Adrian during the week, Suzanne will probably be working this summer as she is graduating from high school in June, and Sonja is hoping to be working too. So...Jon (who will probably be busy with his friends and working as much as he can too), Char, Cam...and me. I'll have Lydia too though. (Anne's mama is a teacher so I don't have her in the summer)

Anyway, times change, kids grow up, and wah. I thought about changing the name of my blog, 18 under one roof, ha. But. When it rains it pours, sometimes they all come over, and with the spouses and grand kids, it overflows here. :)

Sunday, March 17, 2019

the very long winter...

Once upon a time, there was a very long winter.

But guess what? I really don't mind. I kind of like the cozy, snowed-in feeling. I like sunshine to warm my skin, but I also like to cover up all my skin, bundle, and trundle, in boots and leggings. This fine morning, I went out into the 24 degree morning and shoveled the deck steps and part of the driveway.

Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja K., Charlotte Claire, Camille and cousin Danielle all went over to Ben and Ashley's house for brunch with lots of friends and their other sisters. Jonathan is at the young brothers' weekend, Paul is visiting his siblings, and ha...I am home alone.

Shh, I love it. The dogs are snoring, the cats are sprawled out sleeping, and I am enjoying the fragrance of the lemon blueberry cake baking in the oven. It's low carb, made with almond and coconut flour, so I actually get to have some!

Today is St. Patrick's Day, and yeah, I am Irish!!! My mother's grandmother "came right off the boat", as my mother used to say. I believe my father was also part Irish. In any case, I do love corned beef, so today, I am putting four of those briskets in the Instant Pot. It takes 90 minutes, (maybe longer for so much), then you take it out, and put in the carrots, cabbage, and red skinned potatoes. I hope it comes out okay. I'm used to getting up and getting it going first thing in the morning in the crock pot, it's scary to wait so long and trust it'll be done before all the kids get here.

I'm not even sure how many will come for dinner today. I just put it on the family chat, and a few said they're coming. :)

We had a fantastic Friendsgiving dinner last evening at our friends' house, Hobie and Karen. Karen made the turkey and stuffing, and everyone else brought side dishes. It was phenomenal...warm, fun, encouraging, and just good.

(That's Paul, group selfie expert)

We stayed up too late, but it was worth it.

I have towels in the washer, the floors need to be swept and mopped, and and and. It's funny how more and more often I'm here with less and less kids, sometimes no kids, yet there's still work to be done. hmmm.

In any case, I am super thankful for life, for today. Today I am going to count my own blessings, and not compare myself, or my house, or my kids, or my messy laundry room, to anything on instagram. :)

Friday, March 15, 2019

we'll take it!!!!

Spring is teasing us here in central New York state. More snow is around the corner, but today, it's mild and pleasant, fifty degrees!! It's cloudy, with the sun peeking out just a bit here and there, and I just long for it to shine on my skin.

Lydia spent the night, it's like the old days when she wakes up in the morning in her cute little jammies. We went out on the deck and cleaned up a few things from the long cold winter, which isn't really over yet.

The deck has taken a beating, my nice new deck. We sealed it last year, but it's going to need it again already.
(Isn't Suri just cute?)

Kitty in a tree...and me.

Miss Cam and little Lydia:)

The dogs ran around the yard and got super muddy, spring time blah. Charlotte Claire is giving Suri a bath, Sunny had one already.

Camille is studying her Norwegian, Lydia is playing with the toy sink and toy coffee maker, kids love to play with water.

Suri is giving Char a hard time. She does not want a bath. She keeps getting out of the tub and shaking off.

So last night I picked Paul up from the airport, he has been in Houston this week, so I hadn't seen him since I left for Norway. His flight kept getting delayed, and it was almost one a.m. when we got home. He's back to work today of course.

Tomorrow, he and I are going to a Friendsgiving dinner, a turkey dinner! Our Over 50 friends are all bringing something. Doesn't that just sound so warm and cozy? Since a cold front will be moving in with rain turning to snow, um, yeah, it does, ha.

Well, we have school work to do, and the laundry needs to be switched over, and and and...:)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

really really really?

But first, another pic of our friends we spent a little bit of time with in Norway...

Yesterday's post ended abruptly because Sam called me. Sam is in hog-heaven right now, he is getting married! He's getting married in May! In Washington, D.C., and....lots of the family is already going down there that weekend, we have an airbnb reserved for ten of us for three nights. The rest of the fam is going to have to follow suit!

Yesterday we went out and about. It was a different type of school day, ha, I taught them about Norway, and Iceland, and about all the stuff I was encouraged to at the conference there. We went to Target, and Jonathan got some spiffy new clothes, he is going to Norway in April for Easter. He got a few pairs of nice pants, a new sweater. We got a birthday gift for Mali, and a few things for the grand kids. Oh, when we were leaving Norway, we stocked up on the chocolate in the airport, it's cheaper there than in the stores. And mercy on me, I found the KinderEggs, yay! Little Miss 3-year old Lydia Eleanor LOVES KinderEggs. I brought some back from Mexico, the foreign ones are better than the ones here in the U.S., they have little toys right inside the egg, here they are lame. Anyway, I was just thrilled to be getting two big packs of them, walking on air imagining Anya and Lydia being so thrilled...then the cashier at the checkout took them away from me and made me cry. No, not really. She simply stated that I cannot purchase them because they are illegal in the U.S. And she put them aside and continued to scan my other perfectly legal chocolate.

So, the Norwegian kids can eat wonderful and amazing KinderEggs, but the American kids get lame ones, for their own good, of course.

I told Emily that I am going to have to explain to Lyd why Grandma didn't get her those treats, stupid laws.

So in Target, I got her a few mini Hatchimals. There is this fascination that little kids have with getting surprises in eggs. I guess they watch You-Tube videos of other kids opening eggs too.

Anyway. We also went to the grocery store, for things like toilet paper, paper towels, coffee, and bananas.

Home...ah home. Jonathan grilled some burgers, the girls did some spelling, we stayed home, and watched Jeopardy!

This fine morning, two year old Anne is coming, and little Lydia too. I also have that pesky dentist appointment this afternoon. Ugh. I have to have a tooth crowned, a molar. Now, if they could just put me to sleep to do it! But no, I have to sit there and grip the arms of the chair, with my toes curled toward my shins while the remainder of that poor molar is grinder down to nothing, I am going to faint. Tilted back at an unGodly angle, choking, trying to think about the beach, just waiting for the inevitable twinge of pain...okay, sometimes it doesn't really hurt, but I cannot stand my jaw being wrenched open so wide for so long, I have an irrational fear that it's going to get stuck like that, and it could happen which makes it sort of rational.

Plus, that new shiny crown is going to cost the big bucks. I haven't checked how much yet, but I tell you, if it's over five hundred, I am not doing it.

So life isn't all sunshine and puppy dogs.

But it's good, and I'll take it. :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

I'm baaaaack!!!

Guess what? I'm happy.

Not just because of this:

It seems like a lot of chocolate, but then when I started figuring out what to give to whom, um, I should have bought a few more bars. We'll have to share. (The KvikkLunsj bars are Norwegian KitKats, but with yummier chocolate. Oh dear, I love them. I did not eat any at all when I was there, but I had ice cream twice, in one day. Their ice cream is so creamy and good...)

The roads, the round-abouts, and the tunnels...Emily navigated like a pro. She lived there for a year, both her and Abigail are fluent in Norwegian, so they are good to travel with. That's a pic of the fjord where the conference center is...Em and I explored Tonesburg a bit on Sunday afternoon. Most of the stores over there are closed on Sundays, so we walked around outside, which was beautiful.

The little apartment we stayed in...(very small, but efficient, once we figured things out anyway!)
The view from the balcony of one of the apartment buildings...
Some of the girls we hung out with one evening...I can't remember the first girl's name, she is from St.Petersburg, Russia, then Nami (not sure if I spelled that right), she's from India but lives in Dubai, Laura from Detroit, Elaine from China, and Esther from Oregon. There are more pics that Abigail hasn't sent me yet, with Indira from Sri Lanka, and two Dutch girls, can't remember their names, and I met Rebecca from India, Emily visited her there a few years back. It was SO nice to meet so many whole hearted girls!!!

We visited friends in Santifjord, their house overlooks a fjord.

And more later!!! Happy to be home...:)