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

Friday, June 28, 2019

life changes and yeah, I cry...

Look at this little girl. My baby, Camille Anaya. She's like a mini-teenager with a baby face. Evelyn calls her, "Christmas cookie face". She's eleven and a half, and this was last night at the end-of-the-year party for Activity Club. She's the oldest kid in A.C., when she turns 12 she'll be in the youth group. The other kids were splashing and swimming, and she was sitting with the adults. To me, that's sad. She doesn't see it that way though. And I can't make her just be a kid, but believe me, ha, I have tried.

Sonja K. had a rough time at the beach. She cannot swim yet, with the leg, and it got hot up there on Lake Ontario. See, we went up there around one o' a nice picnic table in the shade for our cooler and snacks, then sat on the beach several feet away...the girls were just lying on towels relaxing, reading books, I was in my comfy chair...sunglasses over reading glasses, reading my book while watching all the action around us. I am a people watcher, and I do not get bored. My girls, however, were getting hot, didn't feel like swimming, and Sonja K. was miserable. She wasn't being rude, she just wanted to go home because she couldn't swim, and she was hot. And, she didn't bring a book.

The reason we went up there was because there was the Activity Club party, and we thought we could go early and enjoy the day. Well, the party didn't start until 6:30, and they were not wanting to stay until it ended at 8:30. So. Yeah. I drove them all the way home. Okay, it's only 26 minutes, but still. Camille and I went back up, by ourselves, and joined our friends.

Poor me, ha, two trips to the beach in one day.

This fine day, is part and parceled all up. Physical therapy for Sonja, grocery store, strawberry picking. The girls do not want to go shopping, don't blame them, but...

The thing is, here, this summer, is it's different. I told myself this morning that I can't just live in the past, and compare these days of more quiet, and wish it were more like it used to be. This is NOW, and it's life, and I want to be thankful for it.

But oh, how my heart aches with nostalgia for when the kids were all little. Every single summer day was an adventure. Now, in contrast,'s quiet. Mostly quiet. Jonathan is working full time during the week and stays at our friends' house, comes home on weekends... Evelyn works full time and lives with Margaret and Adrian during the week, so we only see her on weekends. Kathryn is married and living in Oregon. Joseph is married and living in town. (Emily, Abigail, and Mirielle live in a big old house in town, five miles away, Benjamin lives ten minutes down the road, Aaron lives in Oregon, Mali lives in the city, Sam is in Virginia...) so here at home we only have Suzanne, Sonja, Char, and Cam.

I know, some people have four kids and think four kids is a lot of kids. But it's only 25% of MY kids. And it seems so quiet. They aren't clamoring to do this and that, and sometimes we can hear the clock tick. They all do their own laundry, sometimes I even wander into the laundry room and nope, there's not enough of anything for a load. This is the SAME FAMILY, same house, that sported a LAUNDRY MOUNTAIN in the doorway of the laundry room....for years. And don't forget about the couch monster, that pesky rotating pile of clean laundry that was routinely dumped on the couch when the older kids (or Paul!) needed the dryer. (No matter how busy I was, I hung everything up when the dryer buzzed, but if I wasn't right there, dang it, someone would dump it on the couch.)

Days were so busy, but kids were so easy to please. Freeze pops and popsicles and afternoon movies with towels hung over the windows to make it dark and cool in here...back in the day when we had one television, and there was no such thing as streaming Hulu or Netflix.

Sonja is going off with her friends after physical therapy, to the mall. Suzanne is going to be here for a while, but then she's going strawberry picking with Molly and Josh and little Lydia and...her boyfriend. Yes, Suze has fallen in love. It's not easy here, for us, because we don't do the whole dating thing. But Suzanne is 18, and she gets to choose, and she chooses Zech. (He's been a family friend all of his life, our good friend Dave of the Cancerchronicles was his dad, who passed away in December).

So things change, and she's gone a lot, and mostly it's just the three girls and I. I promised the little girls we would still have a really good summer. And Danielle will be here quite a bit, too.

Tomorrow starts our church summer conference. We won't be staying in our camper. The roof leaked over the winter, and though it's patched now, it's too musty to stay in. I'm not sure if it's worth the work of ripping it all apart and replacing walls and ceilings and flooring, either. So we'll still keep our food in the refrigerator there, and use the yard, but dang it, we can't sleep in it. It makes me too nervous. Emily told me of one healthy man who was a patient years ago when she worked in the hospital, he died of fungal pneumonia. We try so hard to keep healthy, why take a risk like that , and sleep in a place with possible black mold?

So a new (used) camper is now on the list. The one we have is 35 feet long, and hasn't been towed in years. I'd like something smaller and lighter that Paul and I can use on weekends, since our kids seem to be busy doing so many things. Well, one we can fit a few of them in, of course...

After summer conference, next Friday, we're off to a cabin in the Adirondacks for three days, ahhh. Paul and I and Mirielle and some of the kids. Then a few weeks after that, Norway! Then the week after that, camping for three days. So I can't complain, can I?

Our pool is not clearing up yet, those dang cottonwood trees blowing all the fuzz and hulls into the pool. We can't leave the filter running when we're not here because it'll clog up so quickly. We need to continuously empty the basket. And, the sand filter has a broken piece, and has sent a good pile of sand into the pool. Paul already took it apart and fixed it once. I could have gotten a filter on facebook marketplace, but he said this one's fine, ha, he is a glue-er and a fixer, but oops, it's not really fine.

Ah, the story of my life. Sometimes I think everyone else has everything fixed and working and has their poop together and I'm just flailing around pretending.

Sunny is turning into a maniac. She chases shadows on the walls, the reflection of the sun or a person walking by, or whatever. She jumps up on the couch and scratches the walls trying to catch the shadows.

Anyway...Char is up, and is telling me her dream...:)

Monday, June 24, 2019

our twelfth child graduated..., and weight loss is working!

Miss Suzanne Eleanor, class of 2019!

Now, when those babies are born, you think you have them forever. You know other people's kids grow up, and your eyes glaze over when they brag about where they are going to college. Your own kids just aren't going to do that, go and grow up on you.

Then it happens. It all moves so slowly, until the day it speeds up and shocks the bejeepers out of you.

The house did get clean, mostly, and the party went well. I'm very thankful for all who ended up coming, it was mostly a family party with a few friends. We had: pulled pork, marinated grilled chicken breasts, coneys (New York regional spicy hot dogs, really good!), a few hot dogs for small children...and Mirielle's homemade mac and cheese, fruit (watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, strawberries, honeydew...all cut up, yum!)(also from Mirielle and Abigail). We had pasta salad and chips and dip, and three bowls of candy (mini Snickers, Sunkist Fruit Gems, and Russell Stover individually wrapped chocolates.). There were homemade vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting, which Suzanne and Camille made. Cam can make my own kind of frosting now, no recipe...

Some of the guests stayed late, which was really fantastic, we had a fire in the fire pit on the deck. The kids roasted marshmallows and ran around in the dark.

My sister and me...

As we sat at the fire, I heard a rumor that Char and Cam and cousin Danielle were going to sleep on the trampoline. One of their little cousins said the girls said they didn't have to ask permission, because they are old enough. hmmm. Imagine my surprise when I saw how they rigged up their sleeping quarters. This pic was taken in the morning. They made it through the night and said it was very comfy indeed.

Now, the weight loss all know I've tried, and tried, and tried, and it's the battle of my life, secondary of course to my fight of faith. So I lost 70 pounds a few years back, when Ben was in Afghanistan, that's how long ago it was. Some of those pounds trickled back on, as they tend to do, especially when the unsuspecting victim is a now post-menopausal woman with a love for all things food. A woman with a deep respect for beautiful baked goods.

Anyhoo. I was up to 30 pounds gained back, ugh. I tried all sorts of things, but would lose two pounds, eat one ice cream cone, and gain three back. I don't eat much, in general, rarely sugar, no bread, ect. So I had to try something new. I started skipping breakfast, but that didn't help much. Until I started reading about what happens when you snack, and when you eat before bed, even if it's healthy stuff. I decided to skip all snacks, and eat ONLY two meals a day. If I get really hungry, or kind of shaky, I will eat earlier, but sometimes I make it until one, two, or even three before I really need to eat. One day I was super hungry in the morning, so I just made some Ezekial toast with peanut butter, which I don't eat very often, and it was heavenly.

I actually haven't been overeating at those two meals, either. I just have say: leftover pulled pork, and some veggies, a handful of tortilla chips, then a sixty calorie fudge bar. Or last night for dinner, it was a sausage/burger (Paul mixed hot sausage and burger together and grilled it, summers), and a bunch of the veggies from the pasta salad with like five of the spiral noodles. I was full and satisfied. In the evenings, I do get peckish, start feeling snacky. Ice water, or a cup of herbal tea helps.

So far I have lost eight pounds. Most must be water, of course. And now I'm only 22 pounds over my lowest, which was way back when. BTW, that seventy pounds didn't include pregnancy weights. With the last few babies, I was really up there. It also didn't take into account that when I went in for the dr. appointment that was the catalyst for my new Try To Get Healthy life, I had already lost eleven pounds since the year before.

My lowest weight, also to be noted, was higher than a lot of people's "Before" weight, but whatever.

My REAL lowest weight, besides my birth weight, was in high school, at my junior prom I was 123. So I wasn't always fat.

And you know, I don't think thinness and happiness go hand in hand. It's not about looks for me. It's about being able to move, and I also am leaning towards knee replacement...I want to be smaller, able to move easier. Heaving this arse out of a chair with one leg: impossible! Seeing Sonja, all young and healthy, maneuver after her surgery, holy cow.

Also, is "arse" a really bad word? My mother always said it.

And, about eating two meals a day, so far, I've felt okay. A little shaky a few times here and there, but not craving or starving, surprisingly. I still drink my coffee with half and half in the morning, two huge-0 mugs of it. And one in the afternoon. This morning, I had a tablespoon of coconut oil, too. I plan to change things up here and there, like have a higher carb day with maybe three meals, but stick to no snacking in between. The point is to burn your own fat, not have your insulin levels high all day.

We'll see. So far it's moving the scale like nothing else has been able to do, so we'll see.

It's quiet here still. I have to go turn on the pool pump. I got in it yesterday to scoop out the remnants of the leaves from the middle, and it was so nice and warm. Those dang cottonwood trees blow all that cotton, it clogs the filter and you have to go out and empty the skimmer basket like every fifteen minutes. It's like having a nursing baby.

I'm sure I forgot all kinds of important things, but this is it for today...

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

oh the days just fly...

...when you're trying to get things done, it feels like trying to run in deep water, expending all the energy but not getting anywhere. Sonja had a Regents exam yesterday, then a dr. appointment. So Suzanne, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and Anne were all with me to pick Sonja up at school. Sonja got her stitches removed, and the doc was absolutely amazed at her progress, she can bend that knee all the way! She's been cleared for physical therapy, so we'll be driving to the small city twice a week for the next four weeks.

A stop at Dunkin for cold brew, they have $2 mediums right now, and some donut holes for Miss Anne, who announced, "I'm hungry, I'm hungry", as soon as I pulled in.

We then went to the craft store so Suzanne could get more yarn. I did get a few things too, of course I did. Then Lowe's for a new stairway railing, and the little brass thingies that hold it up, and a stud finder so we can hang that heavy thrift store mirror in the foyer. I felt like a real do-it-yourself-er walking through the store with that railing. Okay, Paul will cut it for me...and probably install it for me. But I'm going to paint it! And those brass thingies, yes, they will be spray painted black.

Then to Walmart, for half and half, and a pair of shorts for moi. I had a nice comfy pair that I wore, shh, every day, around the house. Then I forgot to change into my painting clothes one night when we were finishing up the foyer, and dang it, they were covered. They were huge and baggy and sloppy anyway, but now, ugh. So I bought the same ones in a smaller size (yay me!), where else can you get a pair of shorts for under seven dollars? We also got some shredded cheddar cheese and a few boxes of elbow macaroni, because the girls decided to make Mac and cheese for dinner.


Time to start dinner. A whole stick of butter, melted, dump in some flour, remove from heat...add some milk, cook until thickened, dump in some cheese...boil that pasta, and for me, microwave some cauliflower florets until just thawed...we had one 13x9 pan made with pasta, and one made with cauliflower. We also had bacon, the nice stuff from Aldi, peppered bacon.

So I started a new thing...for a while now I've been eating only two meals a day, trying like heck to find the thing that will start weight loss again for me. Then I read a bunch of stuff, and decided to do this more religiously, with absolutely no snacking in between, and nothing in the evening. So I eat breakfast/lunch around noon, then dinner whenever dinner time is, and nothing after. Low carb, lots of veggies, eggs, meat, etc., and of course my coffee and maybe an herbal tea in the evening. I've lost a few pounds, and feel okay. The point is to get that insulin to go right down between eating meals, and to burn some fat. My poor metabolism is so shot, I'm hoping this plan works. If and when I do something about my knees, I would like to be a bit lighter first. Seeing Sonja use her good leg like such a pro, pivoting herself around and using the crutches so easily, I just couldn't do that. So I have a goal, ha.

So we've been working to get things done around here, but there are dogs and children, so maintenance alone, plus watching little Anne every day, keeps me busy. I need to wash the couch covers before Saturday, but not yet, because, dogs. The same with mopping the floors, I swept today and mopped the other day, but it'll have to be done Saturday. Mowing the lawn, making the cuppy-cakes, preparing the food...I do have a list, but still have to buy everything. (We are having Suzanne's graduation party on Saturday). Only like 70 people are invited, :).

Pulled pork, bbq chicken breast, hot dogs and coneys...pasta salad. Mirielle's making homemade Mac and cheese, and bringing cut up fruit. We'll have some chips and dips, and maybe celery and carrots. I need plates and forks and drinks, and ice, and to wash the coolers.

Tomorrow night is Anya's kindergarten graduation, and rehearsal for Suzanne, Suzanne's graduation ceremony is Friday night. So when does a girl go shopping? (Tonight is activity club for a few of the kids...maybe I can get them a ride, or Paul can bring them...).

Never a dull moment, but I am truly not complaining. One of the benefits of getting to live 'til middle age is that you know, from experience, that things WILL get done. Or if they don't, you'll live. But also, there are fewer helpers around here than in previous years for previous parties. I am pretty good at managing, at giving orders and directions, but when it's just me bumbling around, it takes forever and a day to get things accomplished.

Anne will be here soon, and it's a nice day out. Our pool is almost clean, but someone needs to get in and scoop out those leaves in the middle. Our weather has been cooler than normal, and so rainy. But warm weather will come, and we will want to swim.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

it was a dark and dreary morning...

...but the warm memories of the day before sustained her.

I got to go out and about with five daughters! Evelyn had the crazy idea to take her sisters to get their nails done. They made the appointment for bright and early, and asked to use the van. Paul and Jonathan were here, doing yard work, mowing, trimming a few trees. The girls asked me if I wanted to go, and how could I turn that down? No, I didn't get my nails done, I have zero interest in pretty nails. It just does not appeal to me, so I dropped them off, and went to The Burlington Coat Factory, and wandered around all by myself for a while. I found some Nike pants for Anya, a cute top for Lydia, a bra for me, a water bottle for Paul for Father's Day, and a rug for the foyer. I exercised some self-restraint, because oh boy were there some nice things I didn't "need". A gray framed mirror for $14.99, and a cute little pale pink with white polka dots ceramic tea pot for $12.99. A gray and white table runner which would be perfect for the top of that ugly cube storage thing in the foyer, $9.99. A hard-to-find bathing suit in my size, but not exactly my favorite color, so that wasn't hard to pass by.

When the girls were done, we went to the grocery store. Evelyn had to buy flowers, plates, ect. for a youth gathering, and I let the girls each get some of the Wegman's Chinese food. We stocked up on ice cream bars (they have the best 60 calorie no-sugar-added fudge bars at Wegman's!!), got some strawberries, and some raw baby spinach.

Home...ah home. The kids eventually all left for their youth activities and party, and wow, Paul and I were here all alone! So, we finished painting the foyer. It's all painted!!! I put the light switch plate back on, the one I spray painted black. The railing needs to be re-installed, and the huge-0 thrift store mirror has to be hung. I chalk painted the frames of a few pics that were on the wall down there, and they need to go back up.

We're having a graduation party for Suzanne this coming Saturday. That means all week I moan and fret about what needs to be done around here, then Friday I get my arse in gear and do the work of ten men. I haven't even planned the food yet. The old, "the kids will help me" is expiring, ha. Sonja K. is on crutches, has a dr. appointment tomorrow and will prob start physical therapy this week. Suzanne is in her senior year, not sure how many tests and finals she has to study for. Jonathan is extremely busy, he has a summer job doing mowing and maintenance, and is rarely home. So what gets done, gets done. Although I do admit when I have something like this party coming up, it inspires me to do those little projects.

Last night I had a dream that our family rented an airbnb for a little getaway, and the people left a little boy and a newborn baby there! I just couldn't believe they left them there! I was huffy and indignant, how could we be paying to stay, yet they were getting free babysitting? At the same time, I loved it. The little boy was adorable, and the newborn...well, we were all fighting over the newborn. Margaret took over, just took that baby and took care of him. But I kept mentioning how I simply couldn't believe the people would just leave their kids there without even mentioning them, assuming we would take tenderly good care of them, and the rest of my family just took it in stride. soon, then to Ben and Ashley's nice big house for a Father's Day gathering...I have pulled pork in the crock pot and have to cut up a watermelon...

Friday, June 14, 2019

...not going to cry today...

...but then, I already am. Time dulls pain, but it never goes away. 16 years ago yesterday was Friday the 13th of June. It was at a regular O.b. check up at I found out that baby Robert William, 27 weeks gestation, didn't have a heartbeat anymore. I won't go over the whole story again. But when these dates roll around, and I think about him being wrapped tenderly up in that hospital receiving blanket, and wishing with all my heart he would just breathe, I just can't believe that life went on.

Yesterday I ended up with a headache, I think because I took the vacuum cleaner apart to try to unclog it. I think there is a curse between Me-Vacuum cleaners. Oh, the trouble I have! When I wanted to get on from facebook marketplace, Paul said I could, as long as I don't complain about it. What? Me? Rant about how that stupid vacuum cleaner has something stuck somewhere I can't reach? So when this happened yesterday to the newest vac, the sweet unblemished model that was all I had hoped it would be...ugh. I spend over an hour with a broken arrow from Paul's bow, seriously the best vac hose unclogged ever, and a pair of tweezers, pulling out clumps and clogs, but there is still something in there I can't reach. I got out all sorts of screwdrivers and tried to take the beater brush assembly apart to reach it, but wasn't very successful. When I mentioned to Paul that I think my headache started from so much dust from my unclogging endeavor, he just looked at me and shook his head. I wasn't complaining! Vacuum cleaners just hate me! So I just used a different end piece and vacuumed that way.

These pics were taken last night, after nine o'clock! I love the longs days and late sunsets. When it gets really dark, it looks even more cool out there on the deck.

It's a chilly rainy morning, again, and yeah, I love it. I'd love it more if I had absolutely no responsibilities today, and could crawl back into my warm comfy bed with the coffee and a good book. I turned on the little fireplace to take the chill off, and to cozy it up in here a bit more.

Anne will be here soon, and Sonja is home from school. She had only one class amidst several study halls (end of the year!), so considering how much effort it is for her to just get into the school right now, she's just having a long weekend.

I won't blab on about my latest headache, although I will take a moment to be thankful for acetominophen and migraine relief tablets. I don't take any meds unless I have to, and I endured the headache as it picked up steam yesterday, until it was bad enough that I almost tossed my cookies, even though I don't eat cookies anymore. I slept like a log, seriously, but woke up exhausted. Right now I feel like I could just close my eyes and I would be asleep on the keyboard.

But, I have done 30 push-ups, and a few sets of lifts with my handy dandy ten pound weights. It's what I do when I'm waiting for the kettle to boil for coffee, ha.

Tomorrow the kids are all going to an end-of-the-year youth picnic, so Paul and I will be here by our lonesomes, working in the garden, getting a few things done...then on Sunday, lots of the kids are coming over for Father's Day. I'm making pulled pork....

Thursday, June 13, 2019

a rose among the thorns...

Or rather, a nice sunny day in the middle of a rainy-ish week.

That sundog! Davian was here yesterday, and in all of his seven year old wisdom, informed me that this phenomenon means a storm is coming. Ice crystals in the upper atmosphere, cirrus clouds...rain coming. And, today, cool and breezy, cloudy...and rain is coming.

I did manage to get some spray painting in yesterday. I have a collection of spray paint, by the way, from the dollar store. Nice, brand name stuff, like Valspar. I found a Little Tikes table and chairs at the thrift store the other day, for $6.99! It was splashed with paint, and was a bit dirty. (It said, "Pre-K", in marker, on the bottom of the table, so it was used in a school). With a little bit of scrubbing, removing some stickers, and my handy dandy white gloss spray paint, after a spray of Zinser 1-2-3 primer, it looked much better. I ran out of that paint, so I taped newspaper on the top of the table, and sprayed the legs light gray. Then the chairs, a nice blue color.

The grass did get a little bit paint-y.

But Paul mowed the lawn last night, so it looks fine.

Oh, I ran out of the white because I spray painted an old chair that was downstairs, one that was just used for things like standing on when you paint.

I should have taken a before pic. It was pretty bad. But a quick sanding, wiped it down with a damp cloth, needs another coat, the bottom of the legs are not even painted. And I ran out. Oh well.

Am I the only one who wanders around wondering what I can paint?

The foyer needs like one more painting session, and I'll be able to put the switch plate back on the light was an old chrome-y brass thing, but with a little bit of, yep, black spray paint, it looks so cool. I just know if I put it up before we're finished, it'll get paint dripped on it.

Anyway. Yesterday we had Davian here and Anne, and it was gloriously beautiful out, and the day went by too fast. Kim came over for a visit, she rarely comes here any more because she moved away, to the suburbs, to take live with and take care of her parents. I have seen less than a dozen times in the last year and a half. It's sad. (she's Danielle's mom).
But it was nice to see her, and have coffee and talk for a bit.

Okay, weight loss: it ain't really happening. I have lost a few pounds in the last few weeks, but, so that's better than gaining...but I am trying intermittent fasting. But, with coffee with cream in the morning. I ate two meals yesterday within a 6 hour window, nothing in the evening. So that's what I'd like to do for most days, then have a day to switch it up, like eat a big brekky, then a lunch/dinner meal, then nothing in the evening. Most days I just skip breakfast and eat brunch. Low carb, no sugar, lots of water, good healthy food like meats and veggies, occasional fruit with a meal, like some blueberries. It's hard because that one voice in my brain that is singing, "Life is short! Summer is short! Just get an ice cream! It's SO good!".

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

brrr. chilly morning!

It's a windy, overcast, chilly morning here in central New York state. Okay, 57 degrees isn't COLD, but with the breeze and the lack of sun, it feels like late autumn.

Here are my morning accomplishments:

Ten push ups and some weight lifting in between coffee number one and coffee number two. (Coffee made from freshly ground beans, oh dear yum.)

Laundry: re-washed a load that stayed in the dryer overnight yet wasn't completely dry, because it just didn't smell fresh.

Wiped down counters, picked up the fluff from a pillow that Little Miss Sunshine attacked.

(She's such a dum-dum. She goes crazy when I turn on the flashlight on my phone and project shadows from my hand on the wall...)

I checked and my passport is indeed processed, printed, and ready to mail to me. Yay! I was getting concerned, and I misplaced the papers they give you with the number to track your passport. It turned out to be a simple as can be to track it without that, phew. After buying plane tickets and registering for the conference we are attending in Norway, it would be a bummer to not get the passport. The little girls applied at the same time as me and got theirs weeks ago.

Last evening, Paul reinstalled the chandelier! The pics don't do it justice, it looks so much better black! Maybe also because now it actually has five working light bulbs in it, instead of the one.

We worked on painting a bit last night, too. Charlotte Claire, Camille, and cousin Danielle helped. We still have to finish up, but we got the downstairs hallway done.

Yesterday, we went out and about. First stop: thrift store. I'm looking for an old bench or chair to chalk paint and put in the foyer. The only chairs there were rickety or ugly beyond my DIY restoration expertise, you know the chairs, with the fabric seats...I am not into recovering or reupholstering, just painting and throwing a pillow on it. The girls were game to go because they were looking for jeans to cut into shorts. We also found a Little Tikes table and two chairs, which yes, you guessed it, I am going to clean up and spray paint. The table, anyway. I got a book I had already read, The Pilot's Wife, by Anita Shreve, she's good, the book is good, and I may have stayed up too late and read the entire thing last night.

Anne will be here any minute, and as much as I'd like to say we're staying home today, we are doing some school...then library...then stopping for some dog food at the feed store, and ugh, we are running out of half and half. We went to BJ's yesterday, the warehouse store. My membership ran out in January, and it's over a hundred for renewal when it't the 2% back rewards membership. So I just stopped going there. I decided to go there yesterday because I had a coupon for a free trial membership, but that is only for those who have never been I got suckered into buying a new one, but for only $65. You get a better deal if you let it lapse for a few months. It's a trap of a store, you fill your cart and empty your wallet like magic, things you didn't know you needed! Like this giant bunny, for Anne!

I did feel evil, buying this huge bunny. But it was only $4.98! And if you could have seen the way her eyes lit up! She named it Little Bunny FooFoo, and it's almost as big as her. Her daddy took the last pic, she insisted Bunny get buckled up too. When he came to pick her up and saw the bunny, ha, I did feel evil, but she liked it so much!!!

Anyway. Time to get moving.

Monday, June 10, 2019

progress pics...

Look at that dusty brass light fixture. I did look into replacing it, but...spray painting is rather rewarding. Paul took it down, Sonja cleaned it up, and I took it to the front yard on a pizza box, and yay!

I know, it's still in it's pizza box, on the kitchen table. These things take time!

I spray painted the brass doorknob...only the one half that shows when the door is closed, then when I re-installed it, I realized duh, that it looked ridiculous...I didn't want to remove the handle again, so I got out the black chalk paint, and painted the outside part. It looks fine. Of course I sealed it with wax after, so it'll hold up okay. I hope. I also spray-painted the brass light-switch plate. And those hooks on the white board.

Instant Gratification is my real name, this is KILLING me, I want it done yesterday! I am not a ladder person at this stage, or rather WEIGHT in my life, so all this high up stuff...I have to wait for Paul, or Suzanne. Slowly by slowly, step by step, inch by inch. During the week days I have small children here, and since they aren't MY small children, I can't just paint when they are here like I did when my own were small.

And honestly, in the evenings, when the small children have gone home, dinner has been served and cleaned up, I am just too tired to jump up and open the paint cans. Also, the teenagers are always gone here and there, and who wants to paint all alone? Paul works hard, so I don't like to nag him too much. Just the right amount ha.

I want to get the painting done, the light fixture back up, and I'm thinking of ordering a bench to put where the cube thing is, and putting the cube thing under the hooks...I have a lovely vintage mirror from the thrift store, which I painted white, ready to hang over the bench I might buy. We don't NEED a bench, but oh dear, it would look so cute. The stairs are going to get new carpeting, a dark gray. One of these days. And the tile down there will be covered with that nice waterproof vinyl planking that looks like real wood. One of these days.

Anne will be here soon. I've cleaned up the house a bit, and am on my second cup of coffee. Miss Sonja K. actually went to school this morning. She got a ride from her friend, as she cannot get up those steep school bus steps yet. I told her to go to the nurse and call me if she needs to come home. She is amazing though. She has barely taken any of her pain meds, she didn't even take an acetaminophen this morning. She just pushes herself. I am quite proud of her. is cloudy, the rain is coming this afternoon. The sunshine was nice, but ha, shh, it's easier to watch Miss Anne when it's rainy(she always wants to go outside)...except when she wears her cute little rain boots, she suggests we go stomping in the puddles...

Sunday, June 9, 2019

just brilliant...

The sun shining, not a cloud in the sky brilliance is not something we see too often here in central New York state. That deep beautiful blue of a sky on a sunny day, oh joy. And three days in a row! We almost felt like we live in Southern California!

Sonja and I were alone for most of yesterday. Paul had to work on the camper, and do some other errands. So we went out onto the deck, put on some sunscreen and dug out the sunglasses, sprayed ourselves with a little misting bottle, then got too hot and went back inside. We repeated this little ritual three times.

I went to town to pick up some chicken wings in the afternoon, then Paul grilled steak for dinner. Steak, because why not? How often are there only THREE people home here?

This morning, Sonja was doing well enough to navigate the deck stairs on her crutches, so the three of us went to church. We left right after, instead of staying for lunch, wah, because Paul had tomato and pepper plants to put in. Last year we didn't even plant a garden because of his work schedule, so it's nice we can do it this year.

Sonja and I enjoyed the sunshine on the deck some more today, with cold brew coffees with chocolate almond milk...

The girls returned from their camping trip. Some stopped in for a chat, Paul's truck and the kayaks came home. Sleeping bags and tents and extra snacks were put away.

Shh, we had steak AGAIN. It was actually some nice chuck roast, which I had planned to put in the instant pot with some gravy mix, but Paul likes grilled meat much better, so he sliced those roasts thinner, and I marinated them in vinegar, olive oil, a bit of red wine, and steak seasoning. They were still a bit chewy, but yummers. We had jasmine rice (not me!), and fresh cauliflower, steamed and soaked in hot Buffalo sauce.

Sonja is doing better. She still has a long road of healing, but she's quick and nimble and is learning to get around on those crutches. I don't really mind waiting on her. Getting her pills (antibiotics, blood thinner), filling her water bottle, serving her dinner. She's seventeen years old, and hasn't needed my help for much in a long time, so I don't mind.

Having all the kids gone this weekend (except for Sonja K.), has made me realize in a very strong way that: it's coming. It really is coming. The day they all move out, and it's actually quiet in here. I told Sonja today that I wish wish wish I could go back in time and visit my mother more, when she was so lonely. She went to kidney dialysis three times a week for NINE YEARS. I visited her at dialysis ONCE. Granted, I was knee-deep in small children and babies when she was going through her dialysis years, but still. She passed away when Charlotte Claire was a new baby.

Anyway. I did go visit her at least once a week, and took her out and about and brought her here. I probably couldn't have done it more, but my point is that now I feel her pain. Just a glimpse of the future, and the quiet is coming.

Well, then again, maybe not. We have five grandchildren, and two more on the way, so I'm sure it won't get too quiet for too long, ha.

Anyway. It's been a brilliantly glorious weekend, lots of down time, and it was nice. Sonja is climbing the walls, but I didn't mind it one bit.

Friday, June 7, 2019

peace and quiet are not overrated...

I should just get up earlier in the morning, I love the quiet before the day starts picking up steam. Today, I am reveling in this beautiful weather. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the exhaust fan is on because Miss Sonja K. is sleeping on the couch. I spent some time walking around outside this morning in my bare feet, emptying and cleaning the water table, straightening things on the deck, then...well, we have two dogs, who are SUPPOSED to poop over in the side woods, but they prefer the yard sometimes. So, especially when the weather is dry and sunny, it's good to get that taken care of.

My girls are all going camping tomorrow. Except for Miss Sonja, of course. And Jonathan has plans for the weekend which include a mountain hike in the Adirondacks. So lonely me, here with Paul and Sonja. But the weather forecast is unbelievable, warm and sunny today, tomorrow, and Sunday. We've had a cold and rainy spring, so this is very welcome. Our pool isn't open yet, but the new part did come in the mail. We have poplar trees (cottonwoods), which shed the fuzz in the spring, it looks like it's snowing cotton here. The pool gets filled with it, you can't even run the filter without being right there to empty the basket every few minutes. I really want to cut some trees down. Between the leaves that line the bottom of the pool, and the shade from those trees, blah. I like the sunshine in the yard!!!

So yesterday afternoon, after Suzanne got off the bus, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and I went to the library for a few new stacks of books. Then to Kohl's so I could pick up one teeny tiny thing that I ordered online. If you ship to store, you don't have to pay shipping. And the thing was a new bra, so not actually teeny tiny ha. The thing is, they have the same lines for returns, and for pick-ups. Some of the returns are complicated with Kohl's Cash involved, ect. So it took a while. Then, to Target to pick up a 'script of Xarelto for Sonja. This stuff is expensive! I googled it, over four hundred bucks! So I called the pharmacy, and our insurance coverage made it only $61. I guess she's at risk for blood clots with the surgery and all the lying around during recovery.

We enjoyed Target. I let Char get a silly t-shirt, and Cam found a lovely dress on the clearance rack, a women's size x-small. We didn't even look in the girls' section. They're growing up on me. We also skipped the toy section, apparently I was the only one who wanted to look at toys.

Then, Price Chopper for a few fresh veggies and some blueberries, some donuts (6 for $2.99!), some chicken and cheese and coffee and and and. What fun, I was walking along, and who did I see? My sister! It was so fun! She gave me one of her Oreo coupons. We dawdled a little, but I wanted to get home to Sonja, and the girls were being super patient. Then in the parking lot, who did we see? Abigail!!! I wanted to go in the store all over again, to walk with her and shop with her and talk with her! But we had to get home.

Home...ah home. I didn't have to make dinner, because they had already eaten various assorted things here, and I bought chicken strips AND olive loaf, the girls made sandwiches in the van.

Move more, eat less. That's my life. My goal. It's no fun to be fat and lazy and to hate getting sweaty. It's no fun to have things that rub and chafe and jiggle. So I don't give up. I do my push ups and avoid sugar like the plague. I subconsciously believe that if I was trim and fit and could move without aching and creaking, I would not have a care in the world. But shh, I also have this belief about if I lived in one of those big houses with the huge-0 industrial stoves, and an indoor pool. I'm not actually wasting my days pining for the house, but I'm not giving up on the idea of getting really fit.

Instead of pining for the dream house, I try to channel my energy into making this place nicer. That is also hard when you're lazy like me. I would prefer to sit on the deck in the sun, thank you. I would prefer to sit in my chair and blog, thank you.

Anne is coming over today, my little break is over. Her big brother Davian is coming over in a few hours, he has a half day of school and is getting off the bus here. So we'll have a nice day here. A busy day.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

home from the hospital...

Well, here we are, home from the hospital with a nice quiet time to boot. The kids are doing schoolwork, and Sonja is sleeping on the couch. She is just worn out, it's a lot of work to get from that hospital bed in the small city to the couch out here in the country.

Evelyn Joy came to my rescue and stayed the night with her. But I got up nice and early and went back up there, bringing Charlotte Claire and Camille with me. The dr. was in the room when I arrived, and he asked if Char and Cam were sisters of Sonja. I said, "Yes, Sonja has ten sisters." The dr. looked surprised, confused...then one of the nurses said, "Wow, all girls, no boys?" Well, um, there are five of those too. I kind of love doing this, but I kind of hate it too, because all of the sudden I went from being just a normal mom to an anomaly. I grew horns. One of the nurses put her hands in the praying position and said that I had earned myself a spot in heaven (if only it was that easy, ha!). The dr. then said, "You have 15 kids?!" No, I said, 16, there's Sonja, too. It was actually quite funny. He is a very wise dr., and to see him so flummoxed...:). Then Evelyn walked back in from the restroom, he hadn't seen her yet, and he was like, wow, another sister!

The transfer from her bed to the wheelchair was difficult, she was shaking and in tears. No weight bearing on the left leg, and it's extremely painful for her to move it around, even if someone supports it as she gets seated. We didn't know how we were going to get her into the van, so Paul left work and came to the rescue. He got her settled in the back, lickety-split.

Paul is back to work, Evelyn is back to work, Joseph and Bethany came over so Joe could help get Sonja into the house, they've gone home so Joe can go back to work...and here I am in the quiet. The sun is shining, finally, the birds are singing, and I have no small children here. I have to go to pick up a prescription for Sonja, but am not going to leave until Suzanne gets home from school.

As for me, I'm trying to behave during all of this. It's easy when things get busy or stressful to make excuses and eat a donut, but oh no, I am not going to. I just made some eggs, bacon, broccoli. Sonja fell asleep before she ate hers.

Shh. I think I'm going to change into a tank top and go out and sit in the sun...never mind the things I SHOULD be doing...

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

a day in the hospital....

This fine morning, which started somewhere after 4 a.m., because I have this thing wherein when I know I have to get up, I keep waking up to check what time it is, was frazzle from the word GO. I made my coffee, while Sonja huddled on the couch under a blanket, nervous, and not ready for this day. We had to stop and get gas in the van, of course, and I had to hit the ATM because I already owe Camille and Jonathan, and they weren't up to hit up for another few bucks, for the parking garage.

We were only five minutes late. And you know how it is, hurry hurry hurry, only to get there and wait wait wait. Sonja had her blood pressure and pulse and temperature taken, got an I.V. put in...then we waited some more.

She was still smiling though.

I waited in the waiting room, the surgery was to take two and a half hours. It went well, considering. Dr. said there was lots of broken cartilage behind the kneecap, which was tilted and totally on the side. She had the "new" tendon installed, and Dr. said he had to stretch it quite tight to hold that knee in place. I know, barf-a-licious, right?

I sat in the waiting room with a book I had already read and had brought accidentally. So I watched mindless t.v. and read articles on my phone. I also listened to the fellow waiting room people. One guy, 84 years old, lives out in the same neck of the woods as we do. He still works, he's a logger...he had on John Deere suspenders, said he has an American flag on his mailbox, and it's been there since the day "The Boy" deployed to Iraq. He then said, "I hate the government." Then the lady with the, "I just want to drink wine and pet cats" shirt came in. Life is stranger than fiction.

Sonja got moved up to a room in the ICU, and while she napped, I told her nurse I was stepping out for a little, mmm-hmm. And a salad from Wendy's. I brought Sonja back some fries and nuggets, and she nibbled them a bit.

Evelyn is staying the night there at the hospital with her, which is nice for me. Being there all day is tiring, and I wouldn't be able to sleep in a chair.

I'll get up early and go up there, and bring her home as soon as I can.

We started painting our foyer yesterday. Paul had taken down the chandelier, finally ha, and painted the ceiling. So I spray-painted the chandelier yesterday morning, along with the door handle, the coat hooks, and the light-switch cover, all black. Jon painted the downstairs hall ceiling, while Sonja and I started the foyer painting. It looks nice, but is half done. We just got tired, and we knew we had to get up early this morning. So it's half done, and who knows when we'll get back to it?

My whole life is just Under Construction, ha.

And here it is, 9:15, and I am ready to shower and head to bed...oh, I'm getting old!!!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

weekend away bliss...

Me, Margaret, Evelyn Joy...

Abigail, then Mirielle and Emily.

Margaret and Mirielle, then me, Marg, and Abigail.

That's our friend Karen in the pink sweater.

Me with Mirielle, Em, Ab, Ev in the front with Mirielle, me in the middle of them, Margaret, and Karen...then Emily and me.

The place where we stayed was very Magnolia-ish, and there were Joanna Gaines' magazines stacked on the cute little coffee table. We stretched out and enjoyed the fireplace and the coziness. Saturday morning, the five daughters went out back for a HIT workout, while Karen and I started making the bacon and eggs. We put pork in the crockpot for pulled pork nachos, which were delicious when we returned from our day of exploring the area and wine tasting.

This morning we got permission for a late check-out, which was perfect for a rainy day breakfast in front of the fire: scrambled eggs with peppers and tomatoes, bacon, strawberries, and lots of coffee.

We stopped at a cider place, then at a winery...the skies cleared up, and we sat in the sunshine for a few hours talking, eating popcorn. A stop on the way home for a coffee, and a nice long drive.

Home...ah, home. It's nice to get away, but always so nice to come home. My sweet little girls, there are still our daughters at home (five on weekends), and then Jonathan. It's nice to get home to Paul too, of course:)

Paul grilled pork chops and burgers, I made some spinach, the kids warmed up some leftover salt potatoes, and Camille made homemade crepes. I helped by heating up blueberries and adding some sugar and flour and water, boiled them up so they thickened. I didn't have any, but Cam said they were yummy.

The week will be a crazy one, Sonja has pre-admission testing at the hospital tomorrow, then her surgery on Wednesday.

I love these long days and late sunsets, summer is coming!!!