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

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

....I'm leaving, on jet plane...

If you are curious about where we're going, look up Oslofjord Convention Center, Brunstad Christian Church. I will be taking lots of pictures, and perhaps I'll learn to blog on my phone while I'm there.

I just realized I'm leaving in 45 minutes, so I decided to write a little bit first, because I have a hatred of getting ready too early and waiting, but ha, I don't know where that comes from because it's never happened. I like to wait until the last possible second to get ready, then scurry around like a crazy woman.

Emily arrived last night, she stayed for a youth camp in Norway, but doesn't have enough vacation time to stay longer, for the conference the rest of us are going to. So Camille and I picked her up at midnight, got in bed by 1:30, and of course I didn't sleep in this morning. The next time I'll be in a bed is Wednesday night in Norway. Tonight, I'll be wide awake on the plane, watching movies, while the smart people get some sleep.

When we arrive in Oslo, the fun begins. The train route is under construction, so we'll de-train, get on a bus, then re-train. With Ben, Ashley and their two little girls, Margaret and Adrian and little Wulf, and Cam, Abigail, me, and the strollers and car seats, and all the luggage. ugh. After the final train, we are going into the grocery store to get some staples, then taking a taxi to the conference center. By the time we get there, oh dear. I'll be done for. Ready for a nap. But I can't wait to see Evelyn, Sonja, Jon, Char! They are in the apartment we rented there, and said it's lovely. So bye again, and maybe, just maybe I'll write a line or two while we're there!

Monday, July 29, 2019 fan club...

This fine morning, I went outside to take care of the pool, you know, backwash it and turn on the filter. The pups AND the kitties followed me. They were all excited to go back into the house, because: food! The kitties like me especially much in the mornings, because they know I'll give them a splash of half and half when I get my coffee. Cats are smart. They know what's going on, but they're smart enough to just sit there when you yell to get off the counter.

Orange Guy is the "kitten" we finally kept, out of all of Kettler's kittens. His official name is Buster, but he's really Orange Guy. He is a super nice kitty, he's purring and snuggling. They both get along well with the dogs, rub against them, and sleep next to them.

I have to pack! We had Lydia here until almost bedtime last night (past her bedtime, almost my bedtime, ha). Camille managed to get most of her stuff packed, but not me. Camille, Lydia, and I went out and about a bit yesterday. We returned the library books, went to Aldi for three items (steak, heavy cream, and lemon juice), stopped at McDonalds for a McChicken for Cam, fries for her to share with Lydia, small shakes for them, and an iced coffee for me. Then we gassed up the car, and came home.

Lydia and I drove over to Ben and Ashley's house for a visit, so Lyd could play with cousin Anya. We talked about our trip, and how they aren't packed yet either...I am riding in their van with them and Camille down to New York City, so that should be fun.

Emily is heading home from Norway today, she'll arrive at the airport at midnight, and we did a trade: I could use her nice orange car all week, if I picked her up. That seemed like a swell deal at the time, ha.

So today is a lovely day, and today, I'll pack.

And...I am not sure whether I'll bring my laptop with me or not. On the one hand, I'd love to be able to blog while I'm there, but I do hate lugging it through security, ect. So this might be goodbye for a while, but it might not be. I'll see.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

...these beautiful days!!!! and weight loss is happening!

Yesterday was a blank slate, so we filled it in nicely. Mirielle and Camille, Paul and I, and our granddaughter Lydia, went to the beach.

Paul helped Lydia dig a hole, and then a river, and he played with her in the water. He took her to the playground, too. I got her washed up and gave her some lunch, but she wasn't ready to leave yet, so she played some more and took another swim.
When we got home, we had to take a dip in the pool, and Abigail joined us!

Paul grilled some of the salmon he caught in Lake Ontario a few weeks ago (don't worry, it was frozen!), and a steak which I had put salt and pepper, and fresh squeezed limes on, an hour or so before. I made a quick pasta salad because I knew Ab was coming over, she loves it. I also made some steamed broccoli. We ate on the deck. I love summer.

The weather in Norway right now is fantastic, the kids are having a good time there. Sonja, Charlotte Claire, and Emily are doing the water sports group, and they've sent some cool pictures. (Emily is a mentor, and a medical consult if needed). By the time we get there, however, the weather will take a turn...more rainy, and highs in the sixties. But I figure that if a day has a 50% chance of rain, that means there's a 50% chance it won't rain, right? We prob won't be doing much swimming, but that's okay.

Lydia is here, she spent the night. She's sleeping with Camille, in a nice comfy nest on the floor. She is such a sweetheart. She likes me to tell her stories. I always ask her if she wants a cup of coffee, in my most serious voice, and she thinks it's so funny. Yesterday she responded, "I am NOT a big Grandma, you know!"

Anyway...weight loss is happening! I am so stinkin' superstitious, I feel like if I announce I'm losing the pounds, I'll curse myself and it'll reverse. After so many years and years of trying, I feel like I've found what works for me. I can only hope and pray it continues!!! Several years ago, when Cam was two or so, I lost 70 pounds, walking and calorie restricting. I slowly gained back 30, but not by utterly pigging out, it just came back in fits and starts, tricking me. I would work my butt off to lose a few pounds, then gain it back with a bit more, until the math just was against me.

Then the knee problem. I never totally gave up. I cheated here and there, and yes, I made homemade popcorn too often. But I always battled.

Then I decided to go Keto again, and incorporate intermittent fasting. I ate two meals a day, absolutely no snacking, not even a strawberry in between meals. If I wanted a berry, I could have it with one of the meals. I did keep the coffee with the half and half, there are some who say this is not a true fast, but I will give that up when hell freezes over, or when I stop getting results, whatever comes first.

The two meals a day was okay, but then I thought, I can wait this long to eat, I can wait a little longer. So I would do 24 hour fasts almost ever day, and the weight started coming off. I only started this at the end of June, and had a few grand cheat days in there, when we were at the cabin in the beginning of July, ice cream happened. Wine and popcorn happened.

But I just got back to it, and it's only really been a month, and I'm down 13 pounds.

From what I've read (Dr. Jason Fung!), one's metabolism doesn't slow down with fasting, so I'm hoping that's true. Here is one thing that makes me so happy, I could dance in public about: I don't get shaky anymore!!!!! I get up in the morning, have my coffee (with half and half!), and go about my day. Shopping, beaching, cleaning the house, whatever. I don't worry about having to grab a Balance bar, or swallow down an egg I don't really want, just so I don't get shaky. I used to be such a slave to Having To Eat, but now I don't get that shakiness. My tummy rumbles here and there, but I get used to it, and ignore it, then I feel fine. By the time dinner time comes, I am very glad to eat, but I try to eat good healthy foods, meat and veggies, with butter or olive oil. And if I'm going to have a square of dark chocolate or some berries, or a no sugar added fudge bar, this is when I do it. Then, I'm done for the day.

Today, I'm going to mix it up and have two meals, just because. And I haven't changed too much, because shh, I'm excited about that, ha.

And when I'm in Norway, I'll definitely have ice cream. I'm going to try to do an every other day fast there. Because seriously, chocolate.

I know if you eat sugar and carbs, it makes the fasting harder. I had to really get the sugar out of my system before I started fasting, and it was still really hard to acclimate to it. I still drink some salt water in the mornings sometimes, and make sure I take my magnesium and potassium.

I assume now that I must be burning fat for energy, because I've cut back so much on the carbs, and don't eat sugar. I have enough fat to keep me going for quite a while, ha. I could stand to lose at least fifty pounds to 70 pounds.

The theory behind the IF is to lower the insulin levels, thus change the body's fuel to burn fat.

Anyway, it hasn't killed me, and I feel mostly good. I do have to run to the bathroom more than I like to admit, having no gallbladder makes things tricky. But I feel a lot better than I did before, and it's nice to have goals, and to see hard work actually working.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

cashing it in....

So our trip to Norway is something that Charlotte Claire and Camille have saved for, for years! They have set aside Christmas and birthday money, cash from bottles and cans, and saved up coins. Yesterday, Camille and I cashed in the coins, and brought back bottles and cans. The girls had lots of rolled coins, which we brought to the bank, and lose change, which we dumped into the change machine at Walmart. $66 dollars, mostly pennies, nickel, and dimes. But the machine takes 11.9%, so next time, we roll all of it.

Bottles and cans: $29!

The girls will use this money for spending money while we're there, so they can get ice cream, go to the candy store, get food, ect.

It's a big trip. I am excited, nervous, apprehensive, but mostly happy. I do not like crowds, do not like going through security or customs. I'm the kind of girl who feels like I've done something wrong just seeing the black and white of a police car. I don't like long lines, because of, well, being heavy. My feet hurt, my knee hurts. I don't like when you have to hurry through an airport, I get hot and huffy and I can't keep my 30 pound purse from sliding repeatedly off my shoulder.

Going through security is almost hell-ish. We usually fly out of Syracuse, where the security people are all really nice. But some of those bigger airports, it reminds me, I hate to say, of the movies I've watched where the people are getting off the trains at the concentration camps, all shocked and scared, and they're being relieved of their luggage and ordered into lines. I know, this is nothing like that was, and the Political Correct police will be knocking at my door, but it still reminds me of it. When you're going through security, taking your shoes off as fast as you can, getting your electronics into a separate bin, taking your sweater off, while being barked at to HURRY, HURRY, SCARF OFF TOO! In essence, you are being treated like a criminal, guilty until proven innocent. And for some reason, I'm always the one who gets patted down, my fingers swabbed for gun powder residue, my suitcase searched.

And I'm a law abiding citizen. I don't even take a Tylenol unless I can't function, so I wouldn't have illegal drugs. I take potassium and magnesium, vitamin D, and fish oil. That's it. As for the rest of it, seriously? Do I look like a threat?

Anyway. I've had some bad traveling experiences too, like when Paul and I went to Dominican, and I developed the migraine from you-know-where on the plane. All through the airport, then onto the transport bus to the resort, I couldn't even speak up to ask the driver to pull over, because if I opened my mouth...then it happened, I barfed right into my jean jacket. I did. Right on the bus. I felt momentarily better, but as soon as we got checked in and to our room, I barfed my brains out, it was a horrible migraine. I got one when I flew to Seattle one time, too, so I get kind of nervous, they don't seem to have rhyme or reason.

So I'll avoid, carbs, and sugar, and try to hydrate, and try not to get anxious. Because it's a HUGE trip for Camille, and we can make it all fun. Even the inevitable pat-down, I guess...

Friday, July 26, 2019

bits and pieces...

Can I say first of all, that I love when I tune in to my blog and...there are comments!!!!? I just love it. When I sit here and write, I ignore the fact that someone's actually going to read it, I just write because I like to write.

Samuel is going home to Virginia! He has been training in New Jersey. He's a Civil Affairs Specialist now, in the National Guard. Poor Grace has been home with little Grant without Sam for a bit. The unsung heroes of the nation, the stay-at-home spouses.

We're getting ready for our trip! We have a suitcase on the kitchen table for odds and ends, and food. The kids will be eating probably a meal a day,(eating out a meal a day) plus maybe an ice cream, or some candy from the candy store, maybe a chai tea, but I don't have much interest in Norwegian food. I don't eat cheese, or sea food, so ummm....I love their bread, but it doesn't love me. We'll buy eggs and half and half, and bread and cheese for the kids, but we're bringing our own coffee to make in the apartment we're staying in. I'm also bringing things like pepperoni, ready cooked bacon, some ramen noodles and instant oats, and almonds and cashews, as well as some Quest bars.

In the suitcase, two things Jon ordered on Amazon, which arrived after his departure, minimalist shoes and an S.D. card, as well as his swim trunks. My lovely Walmart sneakers are in there, too.

I also ordered this fanny pack, I'm going full-nerd. No offense, but even in the eighties and nineties, I wouldn't be caught dead with one of these. But now, according to my kids, they are "in". Charlotte Claire and Sonja K. have Adidas ones, Evelyn has a Calvin Klein, and Emily has a sensible gray one, like the one I ordered. Abigail ordered one too, it has pineapples on it, which is typical for her. It just seems so practical to travel with! Passport, credit card, cash, phone, all within reach, no rummaging! I'm sure with that on, and those sneakers, I'll look hilarious, but who cares?

See all those fanny packs?

So my days with Camille have been just golden. She is a sweet girl, and has just blossomed with me. There's something about not having the siblings there to influence behavior, she doesn't have to try to act older or different. We watched a movie together last night, and yesterday we went in the pool, and puttered around here kind of packing, kind of just relaxing. We stopped at the store so I could get heavy cream for that Keto pie like the one I made last week, but it was $8.19 a quart in the small store in town, so nope. I did get some mozzarella cheese though, to make Keto pizza for dinner. (The fathead pizza recipe, tweaked:
3/4 cup almond flour with a bit of garlic and onion powders, salt and pepper, and some crushed red pepper
1 and 1/2 cups mozzarella AND cheddar cheese, shredded...mostly mozzarella.
a hunk or a few spoonfuls of cream cheese
melt it for thirty second intervals, stirring between, until just melted together
add one egg. Mix it up.
I divided it into two pieces, and rolled each piece out between parchment. Drag each dough onto a baking sheet, remove top parchment, bake at 400 for 7 or eight minutes.
spoon some olive oil on top, spread around, put parchment on top of olive oil, flip it over, remove top parchment which used to be bottom parchment, and top with sauce, cheese, bacon, peppers and onions, pepperoni, or whatever, and put back into oven until melty and crispy.)

It was really yummy, it was the first meal of the day for me, and I loved it.

Ah well, things to do bye for now.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

life with Miss Camille....

Camille Anaya, the youngest child, the baby of the family, #16. She was one of life's greatest blessings, I've told this story so many times, but it's my blog, so ha, I can tell it again, unlike when I launch one of my oldie-but-goody stories, and one of my kids rudely interrupts to tell me they've already heard it. HARRUMPH. I just might tell it more interestingly this time, mister. Anyway.

When I was pregnant for Camille, I started spotting, bleeding, cramping. I specifically remember cramping so badly I thought I was going to die. I was 42 years old, and thought maybe miscarriages were harder when you're an old lady. I don't know. But this went on for a few weeks on and off, and I won't get too graphic, but it was rough. Then I stopped bleeding, healed up, and thought it was over. I went into the dr.'s office several weeks later, just too check and see if everything was okay. Now, during these weeks, I felt awful. I thought I was depressed from the loss, I was tired, and sick and just blah. So, I went in for my check up, and the dr did a urine test, still showed pregnancy hormones. He sent me next door to do a blood test, just to see what was going on. The next morning, I still remember exactly where I was standing, the midwife called and said to come in right away, my hcg numbers were really high. Now, this was a little before the Google-The-Heck-Out-Of-Everything time, so I thought right away, "I have ovarian cancer."

So, I went into that dr.'s office with a feeling of dread. The midwife. met me in the hallway and said, "Let's do a quick sono to see what's going on..." As soon as that wand hit my mushy white tummy, there she was, waving at us. I could. not. believe. it. I simply couldn't. 16 weeks pregnant. She was in there all along. A lost twin? Subchorionic bleeding? I don't know. But it didn't matter any more. And I didn't know yet that she was a girl, the little stinker was turned the other way at each sonogram, so we didn't know until she was born that she was Camille Anaya.

Anaya means, "God answered."

So I started this blog the summer before Cam was born, 12 years ago. She was such a gift, still is. But when all the kids are here, the youngest tends to be treated...well, like the youngest. Teased a little, spoiled a little.

Now it's only the two of us here all day, then Paul in the evenings, and it's we're enjoying it! At least I am, she might be sighing with boredom, but I really don't think so. We've libraried and Targeted, and visited Grandma. We went to the dollar store...

Russell Stover chocolates for a dollar, and yes I bought one. Only one. Cam has always loved picking out a piece of a box of chocolates, now she has this huge one and there are no other kids here to fight over the caramel with.

We also went to Walmart, where I let her get that gel nail-polish protector. And a new beach towel, and a pair of the cutest pink sandals. You should see the ugly sneakers I bought for Norway. It hurts my pride, but I don't care because I hate pride anyway, if that makes sense. They are pretty hideous, but they don't hurt my wide feet, so...

Here's something random, I want a new camper. Our poor camper has suffered from leaking, and I think is irreparable. It's as old as Aaron, a 1992 model. It's too old and big to tow anymore anyway, because we don't have that swanky 15 passenger van anymore. So I've been looking at those hybrid campers, the ones that have just a few beds that fold out of them. Some of them are pretty sweet, and for around five thousand you can get a nice used one. I am picturing us using it while we go camping, because let's face it, tents are the devil. And I am picturing just Paul and me going camping with it in the years to come, as the kids go on their youth things, ect. I like to go camping, but I really don't like roughing it. I like a refrigerator run on propane, and a little stove that you just turn on. A bathroom in the camper is much nicer than a trip through the woods in the dark (or shh, a trip TO the woods in the dark). And rainy nights, I can just picture Paul and I sitting at the table in the lantern light, playing gin rummy. It'll be like going full circle, we started in tents, bought a pop-up camper, then got the huge-0 35 footer, now we use tents and blah, I would like to upgrade.

This isn't going to happen this year, the Norway trip is pricey, to put it mildly, but some day, that's on my list...along with the new kitchen floor and a few new windows, they've not all be replaced. Then there's the minivan with closer to 200 thousand miles than 100 thousand, ugh. I would like a Mitsubishi Outlander with seven seats, all wheel drive. Our minivan doesn't stand a chance when it's really snowy.

It's nice to have goals, but also to remember that this life is temporary, and our purpose here isn't to amass the best and the latest, but to get oil in our lamps and gain wisdom, things of eternal value. "Remember to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." (Heb 13.16).

And now I'm going to vacuum the floors, shedding summertime Labradors...:)

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

....across the ocean they go...

I do live through my children, I admit it. They go do fun and interesting things, and it truly brings me joy to see them happy. Jon and his two friends made it safely to Amsterdam. Those boys took a bus to NYC and flew out of JFK. I ought to qualify that they aren't all exactly boys, young men more like. Jon is the youngest. The other two are like 18 and 20. Anyway, he messaged me once that he suddenly didn't feel well, oh dear. My arms don't extend to a New York City bound bus, but my prayers reach God. After a nap and a few Tylenol, Jon messaged me, he felt better. They made it to Amsterdam, next stop, Torpe, Norway!

The girls left yesterday too...

Emily, Charlotte Claire (first time traveling to Europe!), Sonja K., and Evelyn Joy.

They drove to Boston first...

They have an 8 hour layover in Zurich, so of course they took a train into the city!

The drinking age in Switzerland is 16, so Miss Sonja got to have some beer!

And she sent me this:

I'll take one of those!

After dropping them off at the airport to pick up their rental car, Camille and I went to Kmart. There aren't too many of those left, and oh boy nostalgia for old mom here! My mother worked at Kmart for years (the very one we went to), in the snackbar. Way back then, there was a proper snack bar area in the back of the store, with balloons hanging there, you could pick one, pop it, and a paper inside would have the price of your ice cream sundae, which I never had, we just didn't waste money on stuff like that. We were allowed, however, to get a fountain drink sometimes when we went there to pick up my mom from work. 17 cents for a small. I cringe when I remember the mixtures of orange, rooter, and cola that Casey (my little brother) and I created. (There was a tiny little deli in that Kmart too, where you could get sliced ham, in the front of the store). (And there truly were Blue Light specials. That little cart with the twirling blue light, and the man coming on the announcements, "Attention Kmart shoppers! We'd like to draw your attention to the flashing blue light, as we are discounting....")

Anyway, my kids do the whole eye-rolling groan thing when I take them to Kmart.

Cam was a good sport though. I think she likes having me all to herself. We tried on shoes that we didn't buy, we looked at the toys, and only ended up with an outfit for little Elise, and a bra for Cam, for a total of $8.30.

Then, we met Abigail at the park for lunch!!!

When Ab had to get back to work, we left the park and Target. Camille found a bathing suit, a dress, a pair of jeans, a nice jean skirt, and two shirts, plus a package of underwear and some socks. She is going to Real school this year, and we are heading to Norway next week, so...yeah, I spoiled her. But to clarify, it was all on sale or clearance. And Camille is so un-greedy. She won't get something unless she knows she'll really like it and wear it, and would never ask for something unreasonable or expensive, aka full-price, ha.

And here are a few pictures of Mr. Wulf...isn't he just cute?

So next week we'll be joining the girls and Jonathan in Norway. They went earlier to go to youth camp,(Em and Evelyn are mentors) which is a variety of different activities they choose, like water sports (tubing, water skiing, jet skiing, exploring islands in the fjords), or paint ball or yoga and wellness, or gymnastics.

And...unless my scale is broken, it's going down! It MUST be broken! Seriously, the girls had it out here to weigh their suitcases, which was a whole 'nother funny story, take things out, put other things in, weigh it again...but I brought it back into my bathroom last night, and sometimes when a scale gets moved around, it might get unreliable. I don't know. When Cam gets up, I'm going to ask her to weigh herself and see if she's a few pounds less than yesterday. If not, then yay! If she is, then oh well. The thrill of seeing a lower number is null and void.

Last night I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Camille loves spaghetti. Remember when she was little, and she said, "I used to say "pisgetti, but now I say scabetti!", as if she had it mastered? Oh cuteness. I had canned French cut green beans with a little bit of sauce, and some meatballs.

Our garden looks promising, small, just tomatoes, peppers, and a few different squashes.

Summer: I love it.

Monday, July 22, 2019

...on losing weight...and rainy days...

Today is one of those delicious rainy days, gloomy and warm, the rain just drumming down on the metal roof. (I never realized how much I would absolutely adore a metal roof, it raises the coziness factor by 200% on a rainy day!)

The coffee is hot, the feet are up, but not for long. Wulf is coming over! His mama has a big project/assignment/whatever, for work, and Wulf is a teeny bit distracting. He is a busy little boy, my grandson Wulf. He doesn't care much for toys, he'd rather see what's in the cupboards! He is always finding something he cannot have, and he doesn't walk slowly and carefully, like Grandma tells him to. He can now climb up onto couches, which brings whole new possibilities of falling and hitting his head, but he doesn't think about that, no sir, he just runs across the couch, perilously near the edge, and tries to climb into the abyss between the couch and my chair.

You can try to Wulf-proof your house, but he will still find the bobby-pins and pennies.

Abigail and Wulf...

Yesterday, I stayed home all day. It was a gloriously beautiful one, too. The sun shone, a few nice clouds would sail by in the breeze, it was so warm the pool was bathwater, 86 degree water in that pool. Abigail came over, then Margaret with Wulf. We swam and lounged on the floats, passing the day away. We rested in the house for a bit, Wulf took a fantastic nap, then went back in the pool after grilling burgers.

Oh, I almost forgot, the losing weight thing:

It's hard! The scale isn't budging too much, but I hope it will soon. I've been doing mostly one meal a day, but yesterday afternoon I had some chicken around 4:00, then dinner around six, which was just a burger and a half, no bun, and some pickles, plus some raspberries from the yard with a big spoonful of crunchy peanut butter, and sprinkled with a bit of heavy cream.

Today I will mix it up a little maybe and try to fool my metabolism, ha.

My cravings for junk have mostly gone, but the other day I found myself thinking it might not be a bad idea to just go ahead and eat an entire bag of Cheetos. Why do we have a bag of Cheetos in the pantry? I ultimately came to my senses and didn't open them to eat just one, because we all know how that would have gone.

I am not shaky during the day with fasting, and that alone is a huge thing for me. I used to get so shaky and I would HAVE to eat. Now I can leave the house in the morning, just with coffee, and not HAVE to eat until dinner. It makes life easier, and I am calmer, which I never would have believed.

Magnesium and Potassium and fish oil I take, and sometimes a little bit of sea salt in water, to keep those electrolytes balanced.

I've tried a lot of things, to lose this weight. You may think I'm just vain, but it's not that. It's hard to function when you're heavy, and I'm thinking of my knees, too. (One more thing, my knee has been so much better with this new way of eating! It's not perfect, but it's not giving out on me when I just walk across the room, either!). I'm thinking of my liver, and of the specter of type II diabetes, which seems to run in my family.

Well, Mr. Wulf has arrived, so bye for now!!!!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

summer Sunday...relaxing bliss...

We are having some warmth here in the northeastern United States! I dare say that yesterday was almost ungodly hot. Suffocatingly humid, and drippy warm. Steaming. But after the airport run, then the trip to the small city with Miss Evelyn and Miss Charlotte Claire...after stopping to visit Grandma and pick up the barbecued chicken halves she so nicely got for us...home, and into that pool!

Lots of daughters came for a swim and a visit yesterday. Emily, Abigail, Mirielle, Margaret (and Wulf!), Evelyn, Sonja, Char, and Camille, which makes 8 of 11 of the girls. Mali was going to come, but she went to the car show with Josh and they got hot and tired, so stayed home in their air conditioning. (Kathryn is in Oregon, and Suzanne is there too, for a visit.)

We had dinner on the deck. With the chicken, we had fresh broccoli, steamed, some russet potatoes, and cherries. A few of us had some of the Keto pie I made Friday night...oh it was good. Here's how I made it:

About a quarter stick of butter melted in a glass pie pan, a scoop of crunchy peanut butter, microwave for a few more seconds...add some almond flour, just sprinkled on top until moisture is absorbed, then add some more melted butter. I put it in the 'fridge while I made the rest.
12 ounces of cream cheese (softened by taking out to warm a bit), beaten with a few tablespoons of Swerve (or Aldi fake sugar), and a splash of vanilla. In a separate bowl, a cup of heavy cream, beaten until soft peaks form. Add this to cream cheese mixture, beat it up gently, add to pie dish. I then melted 4 squares of 70% dark chocolate, and drizzled it on the top, and refrigerated it for a while. It was quite yummy.

(This dessert was topped with berries I picked in the back yard!)

After dinner, on the deck, we did family push-ups. Paul showed the girls how it's done.

None of the boys were here, they're on a camping trip. (Benjamin, Joseph, and Jonathan, and Adrian).

Today is a blank slate. Emily and Mirielle took the girls and their friends on a hike in northern New York state. So I got up bright and early and drove them to the village, where Em and Mirielle and Abigail live, so they could meet up with all the other girls, and get going on their outing. They packed lunches and brought cold drinks in coolers, and I wanted to go with them!

Paul is home from Nevada, so I didn't think it would be nice to leave him here all alone. Plus, Margaret didn't go with little Wulf, so she is coming over today. And I think Abigail will join us for a swim too.

So that's what's going on with me. I am enjoying summer. Some of the the kids leave for Norway on Tuesday. And tomorrow is going to be busy. Jonathan needs a hair cut, we need to go to the bank, and we are watching Wulf for a while because Margaret has some important work to do.

Anyway. Life is good, the days fly by. I'm working on clean eating, and clean thinking. The thoughts that come into our heads can be random, and can be things we really don't want to think about. Things we know are wrong, perhaps. (like maybe the Poor Me garbage. Or unthankfulness. Or criticism of our very friends and family.) So we got to choose whether or not those thoughts get to take up permanent residency, or whether we resist and boot them out! Because the thoughts that stay are the rudder of our being! Good, pure thoughts make joy radiate. Jesus loved righteousness and hated iniquity, so he was anointed with the oil of gladness more than his companions.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

...going going going...

Today, I am going to one of my favorite places, the airport! But I'm not going on and adventure, I'm picking up my dear husband, he's been in Nevada all week.

It's hot here, hot and humid. The pool is warm and clear, and today is packed full of plans. Plans to swim in the pool. Molly and Josh are coming over, Margaret and Wulf are coming over. We're having barbecued chicken, courtesy of grandma Eleanor, she is buying us some halves from her church's fundraiser.

I just thought I'd stop by and say hello, need to leave in like 30 seconds. I like to do things until the very minute I have to leave, so I can run around like the headless chicken when it's time to go, looking for the water bottle and the keys and where are my sunnies?

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

sweet! a rainy day!

...and out and about we Target!

My daughter Kathryn, and her husband Darius, who live in Oregon, are expecting their first baby! They got married in February, and baby is due December 1st. :). They are having a sonogram today to find out the gender, my sixth grandchild. (Anya and Elise, Lydia, Grant, Wulf). I am waiting to buy baby clothes! And Mali and her husband Josh are expecting a baby in January! I do love being a Grandma...and Lydia is so excited to be a big sister!

Today's crew. It's been a day, I'll tell you. Sonja had physical therapy at 9:30, and it's been constant errands all day. I did take them to Taco Bell, but a few chose McDonalds...they get the dollar menu stuff. I resisted, oh it's hard.

Summer days, rainy or not, are fantabulous.

Tonight, we are having taco salad. I am fasting, doing one or two meals a day, trying to get my insulin resistance to crack, trying to burn those fats, and this fat. The weight loss is very slow, but it is happening. From what I've read, eating less on a fasting regimen doesn't lead to a stall in metabolism rate the way just lower calories do. I hope it's true. I've tried so hard through the years, I decided to go all in for this Keto/intermittent fasting way, and stick to it until Christmas, and see what happens. What I HOPE happens is at least fifty pounds of weight loss.

There will be a few cheats, like the wine tour in August, and you know, a little bit of Norwegian chocolate when we're there. But none of this Off The Rails stuff.

So today, I haven't eaten since yesterday's dinner, which was bacon and eggs. Lunch yesterday was a salad from Wendy's, which I had remembered as a healthy option. I don't do blue cheese, or dressings for the most part, because I'm picky and don't like them. So I had a bunch of lettuce, grilled chicken, and pecans, which I know have sugar on them but oops. I skipped most of the craisins, even though I love them. I also skipped most of the apple chunks.

Today I decided to skip lunch, so dinner is sounding really good right now.

Sonja, Jonathan, and Evelyn and Emily, and Charlotte Claire, are leaving for Norway on Tuesday. Camille and I are going to be rattling around like peas in a pod for a week, until we leave ourselves.

We've been stocking up on healthy-ish bars (Quest), and some Mac and cheese cups and oatmeal cups for the kids to eat there, and TicTacs and gum and Skittles for their bags for the traveling. I also am bringing cashews, almonds, beef jerky, and the individual peanut butter cups. Not the Reeses candy, the little things of peanut butter, portion sized. But oh dear, Norwegian chocolate dipped into those...oh dear.

I wish I wasn't so in love with food. There are actually people out there who are indifferent to eating. People who think marshmallows are gross, or those licorice Good and Plenty's aren't excellence in a box. There are people who don't like circus peanuts, those marshmallow nail polish remover tasting delights. Kettle corn, caramel corn, cheese popcorn! yes please. Caramels, toffee, taffy? yup. Chocolate covered mints, chocolate covered anything, oh yeah. Chocolate with almonds, with hazelnuts, with sea-salt, mmm. Skittles I could pass up, Starburst too, but if I had some, I would love them. Banana Laffy Taffy? mmm-hmm. Licorice, red or black or anything in between, affirmative. And let's not get into the donuts, cakes, muffins, cookies, pastries, breads...or pies. We'll leave pies right where they are, and won't even start drooling for them. All of them. Coconut cream? Pumpkin? Apple? Blueberry, homemade with butter crust? oops.

Anyway. It will never be easy, not for me. Soft ice cream, scoops of ice cream, never going to despise it.

But just because I love it doesn't mean I need to eat it.

I wish for a huge serving of self control, with a side of indifference, with a scoop of the attitude, "it's just too sweet", for dessert.

I'd like a tall glass of motivation.

But here's the thing: I don't feel like doing this, but I know it's best for me. I need to stay far away from type II diabetes. My poor mom, before she passed away, the bottom of her feet were turning black, and she could barely walk. She was on kidney dialysis for nine years. She suffered so much. If I can avoid this, it's worth it.

It's not because I want to wear shorts without dying of embarrassment, or fit into a bathing suit that's not a bathing dress. I just want to feel good, and be able to move! To enjoy life, and go on adventures!

Anyway, if you have questions about intermittent fasting/Keto, and the reversal of fatty liver, type II diabetes, insulin some of Dr. Jason Fung's stuff.

Monday, July 15, 2019

sloooow down, there, summer!!!!!!!

It inches away, slips through the fingers, whittles itself away. The cicadas? Crickets? Whatever those warm weather sounds are, the birds singing, the pets stretched their whole lengths on the cool floor, panting. Bliss.

The girls are bored, they say. "Bored" is a bad word, not to be spoken, my mother wouldn't have stood for it. My mother was a woman who made taking the bus to get her chemo into a great adventure, so being bored simply wasn't an option when I was growing up.

But the day stretches before us, and they want to know what we are doing today, as we have no plans. A day with no plans is a glorious thing, full of possibility.

I had to drive Miss Sonja K. to physical therapy this morning, then go pick her up, now we're here...Paul is in Nevada for work, Jonathan is at work, Evelyn is at work, and Miss Suzanne is leaving today to go out west for a few weeks.

So that leaves Sonja K., Charlotte Claire, Camille, and me.

Our van is in the shop, getting inspected and and and. The engine light was a simple fix, the code showed evap, which means the gas cap seal is loose. All that stress for that! But, in order to pass inspection, the bearing, and the something-arm needs replacing, one in the front and one in the back...and the brakes, which Paul and Ben worked on, but two of the calipers were stuck...anyway, anyhow, it's around $1400 to get the 2008 Town and Country back into shape. Ouchers. But it's a nice van, even though the driver's side window doesn't work. It has leather seats, and power doors, and the air conditioning works. So I am not complaining.

And it works out nicely that Paul is out of town, and we can use the truck. Our other minivan needs even more work, ugh.

Anyway, summer is my favorite, and we are enjoying! Saturday, we went to the beach! Emily, Abigail, Ben (and Ashley, Anya, Elise), Margaret and Adrian (and Wulf), Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and me...and little Lydia. Ben and Adrian grilled hot dogs and sausages, and we played in the waves...I love Lake Ontario.

Anya and Lydia, happy cousins!

I haven't been taking enough pics. Elise on the beach, Wulf on the beach, too cute!

We've been wrapping up our Norway plans, it's exciting. I do love to travel. Emily and Evelyn are taking Sonja K., Jonathan, and Charlotte Claire, leaving next Tuesday, they're going to a youth camp there before the conference. They have an 8 hour layover in Zurich, and Em is taking them on the train into the city. I told them I'd like a bar of Swiss chocolate, please.

Sonja K. is very lucky. After Norway, she's visiting friends in Germany for a few weeks, and going on a little trip to the Netherlands for a weekend. So four different country's passport stamps.

Camille is saying, "So...", which means, "What are we doing today?"

Now, if it were up to me, I'd vote to stay home. The pool, the deck, the dogs...a good book, sunshine...but you know how kids and teenagers are...the grass is always greener, and they want to DO SOMETHING.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

when dreams come true....

So 54 chicken wings! And you know how I fussed and fretted about not wanting to leave any of the kids out...? Well, turns out they tricked me good!

Ben and Ashley picked me up, and we headed up to the lake to the restaurant...with Anya, Elise, and Sonja K. Mirielle picked up Suzanne, Char, and Cam, and met us there. We didn't opt to do the rooftop dining because it was noisy up there. If you have heard anything about the flooding of the shorelines of Lake Ontario, you'll realize that dining on patios at these shoreline places has gotten tricky, or impossible. There were pumps pumping, and it was noisy. So we ate inside.

I enjoyed my haddock, beer battered and fried, oh my. I had tried to do a 24 hour fast from yesterday, (I only ate one meal yesterday, at 2 in the afternoon). But by 1:30 today, I was done, feeling a bit off, so I had some peanuts, a coney with no bun, a handful of cherries, and a 60 calorie no sugar added frozen fudge bar. Then at the restaurant, lots of chicken wings, some haddock, and a few of the fries, a few sweet potato fries. Most of the fries went to the kids.

Anyway, after dinner, I suggested we check out the playground, there's a swings right on the beach near the lighthouse. No, they thought it was too late for the girls. Okay. So they drove me home. We got onto my road, and I saw Emily's car. And Margaret's car. And Abigail's car. A lot of cars! Oh no, I thought, they stopped over to see me on my birthday and I wasn't home! We pulled into the driveway, and I noticed some beautiful pink flowers in a hanging basket, and there were balloons and pink crepe paper! Oh no, they did not! They were ALL in on it! The surprised me but good!

Emily, Abigail, Ben (plus Ashley, Elise, Anya), Mirielle, Joseph (and Bethany) Mali, Margaret (Adrian and Wulf), Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Char, and Cam, and Paul, and my sister Cheryl even! All up there waiting for me...they had chicken wing dip and cupcakes and Mali brought angel food cake and strawberries and whipped cream! Ashely made Keto pumpkin muffins! Abigail brought Norwegian chocolate!!! And the new Birkenstocks! They're perfect! New and shiny and so comfy, I am pretty happy about those. The older kids all pitched in for them!

So what a day! The only kids who didn't make it were the far away kids, Aaron, Kathryn, and Samuel.

What a perfect day. It was lovely. 89 degrees and sunny, we went in the pool a few times, sat in the sun, cleaned up a bit around here, but mostly relaxed. We didn't have to go anywhere, and it was just a nice peaceful day.

Paul got me a new water bottle that keeps cold drinks cold for 24 hours, it's really nifty. And a white watch.

Em got me those new pink flowers in the hanging basket, they're beautiful.

And now it's almost midnight, my birthday is almost over. For all intents and purposes, it is. The kids are all in bed, even the dogs are in bed. The house is quiet, and I have to get to bed too because Lydia is coming first thing in the morning...sweet Miss Lyd. :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

...with all of my heart...

Summer is breathtakingly lovely, especially because...our long, cold, rainy spring isn't too distant a memory.
The pool is almost clear! The's nice to have something for the kids to fight over.

Here's what's been on my mind lately: my kids. I love each and every one of them. I never want them to suffer, have hurt feelings, feel left out, think I love one better than the other, although it's pretty much old news that Joseph is my favorite child.

We've been talking about renting a huge-0 cabin again next year, and there are mixed feelings about this. It's overwhelming, and with everyone so different, with spouses and grand kids, I feel like I would be wearing a striped shirt and a whistle around my neck, but not really. Everyone gets along, but sometimes one will make a comment, or roll eyes, or whatever, and ouch. It's typical family stuff, but a whole week of it is...well, honestly, if everyone was up for it, and we could afford it, I'd do it.

Because mom likes to see all of her kids, and to see them interact and get along and have fun together, and talk about days past and make new memories...I'd do it.

We ARE going camping in August, mostly everyone. We have rented like six campsites, at our favorite park in the Adirondacks. :)

Anyway, today is my last day of being 53. And ha, I thought I was old when I was 35. When I was a kid, my friend and I figured out how old we would be in the year 2000. We couldn't possibly fathom being that old. Little did we know, life went on after that, and we got even older.

Benjamin and Ashley are taking me out to dinner for my birthday, to the place where you get one free chicken wing for each year on earth. I'm taking some of the younger girls too, and Mirielle is coming. But I'm torn. I don't want the other kids to see a pic, and say, WHAT? Why wasn't I invited? But if I put it on the family site, and invite all, it gets complicated. Money is tight for some, and I don't want them to feel obligated. But I also don't want anyone to feel bad, because if I had my druthers, I'd see all of them all of the time. Except for a few hours each morning, some quiet time. And for a bit in the evening, ha, more quiet time.

Anyway. We got back from our little getaway, and the sun is still shining. Paul mowed the lawn, I put things away and made sure the pool was nice and swimmable, it is. Evelyn helped me grill burgers and coneys by going out back, picking some raspberries, and putting them into two glasses of wine, which we drank while we grilled. This is NOT part of my diet, but today is a new day, and honestly, it was lovely to sit there with Evelyn, especially when the food was all done but our wine wasn't, and we pretended we were still hard at work.

Today I have to bring Sonja to physical therapy. I have to get van inspected, but not until after Saturday, Paul is putting new brakes on it first. The check engine light will hopefully be a cheap fix. Sonja also needs a few pairs of scrubs for her new endeavor: she's been accepted into the New Visions Medical program! It's for high school seniors who want pursue a medical career. It's a combination of high school/hospital/occupational education, with hands on learning. She'll take a CPR class, and shadow or intern at the hospital, local clinics, and doctor's offices. Past students have witnessed births, surgeries, ect. She wants to be a Physician's Assistant, which is six years of school, but this program helps students get into the PA programs, which are hard to get into.

So she needs the scrubs, and a physical, and some immunizations if she isn't up to date, which I think she is, but we need to get it all in order and have the papers, so phone calls for me.

And since Charlotte Claire and Camille are planning to attend real school this fall, I need to officially register them at the school, and schedule a tour for them.

Shh, I'm glad for Char and Cam, they have made this decision on their own, to go back to school...but oh dear, my heart, it's sad. It's the end of an era, the sleeping in and doing math in pajamas, going to the library week after week, solving the worlds' problems as we drive in the minivan. Brunches and baking sessions, bike ride "gym classes", long weekends with no one to give account to.

School is good for a lot of things. It teaches responsibility, and getting up in the morning and onto the bus definitely teaches time management and is good discipline. I know my girls will get a good education, and will have every opportunity to do what they want in life.

But that doesn't mean I'm not mourning the loss of those years of having them here.

I've never been one of those Happy-The-Kid-is-Finally-Going-To-Kindergarten moms. Or the Yay,School's-Starting! moms. As lazy as I am, and as much as I like my peace and quiet, I like having my kids around me even more.

But there is a time and season for everything, and I'm trying to be positive and upbeat about this, for their sakes. Because I am a mom, and it ain't all about me.

Ah well, I see what I'm doing here...I'm procrastinating those phone calls...:)

Saturday, July 6, 2019

hello from the Adirondacks!!!!

Oh heavenly vacation, this place is nice. Two full baths, brand new build (2016), wood floors, walls, ceilings...

And see that? It's an air conditioning unit. Our own place, back home, doesn't have central air. We don't even have a small unit in the window yet this year, and ugh. So we are camping in style AND comfort. It's humid and muggy and sticky and warm out there, but in here, mmm-hmmm. Mirielle and Evelyn are out in the yard working out, and I don't dare take a pic of them, they would murder. I did forty wimpy comfy push-ups in here, thank you.

The path to the water, the dock, and the hill to go back up to the cabin.

I felt very athletic, making it up this hill. Today, there will be hiking, but not me. Sonja K. can't very well hike, and someone has to stay with her!

We watched an episode of the new season of Stranger Things last night, then when I got out of the bathroom and was the last one left downstairs with all the lights off, I didn't like it one little bit, I ran up the stairs. I wasn't really scared, of course, but you know, jumpy. I thought if I saw a shadow I would scream and scare the daylights out of the girls. I do admit to stopping by their room and yelling, "RAH!"

Their room, btw, has bunkbeds and a trundle bed, plus a huge tv with Netflix.

So here I sit in the quiet, coffee and cool comfort, doing my favorite thing.

Oh, when Paul and I got here last night, we met the man who owns the cabin, and so cool, he raises Lab puppies to be guide dogs for the blind! I just watched a documentary about this, and am very impressed. He's a very nice guy. When he left, we carried in all the bags and cooler, put stuff away, and I put chicken wings in the oven. I brought disposable foil pans, yay! When the girls got here a bit later, starving, the wings were almost ready! Oh they were good, hit the spot.

Yes, camping. This kind of camping, I like. Paul is out fishing, and the girls upstairs are still sleeping, or they woke up and are watching tv. It's super quiet here, just birds singing and my keyboard tapping. I could get used to this.

Friday, July 5, 2019

stopping by to say hello...

I can't believe that I've been blogging here for twelve years. Hundreds of posts, millions of readers, and best of all, the commenters! And the best thing about the commenters, they're almost all positive and very kind. So I consider them (you) my friends.

Being alive during this age of communication, social media, ect., is a beautiful thing, when used rightly. I know "online" stuff can be bad, but it can also be really really good.

Anyway, life has been busy. We had our church summer conference, and oh my it was fantastic. Day after day of warm sunshine, activities for the kids, encouraging meetings, friends and family coming to the campsite. We had a little splash pool set up, for little ones and big ones too.

It was tiring, to be honest. Once I deemed the camper unsafe to sleep in, the kids were upset, so I promised to stay as long as they wanted to in the evenings. Turns out this was easier said than done, ha. We got to bed around 1.a.m every night, then got up in the mornings and went out there again. It's less than twenty minutes away, thankfully. We also had to leave a few times during the day for physical therapy for Sonja, and to stock up on ice, and get the propane tank filled. We celebrated my son-in-law Adrian's 26th birthday. Benjamin and Ashley brought everything for tacos, and THREE birthday cakes!

(isn't Wulf cute? (Margaret and Adrian's son))

Margaret Cheryl with my sister Cheryl...

Sweet granddaughter Anya at the campsite.

Granddaughter Elise...(Anya's little sister, Ben and Ashley's kids) mother would have loved this red hair, as she herself was a redhead...

Little Anne (the sweetie I babysit for), she LOVED the horses.

Grace (Anne's big sister, Davian is in between them), with Anne.

Wulf, Wulf with his mama, Margaret...he likes to stay up late.

Paul got to go on a fishing trip on Lake Ontario!

I tried to get Mr. Wulf to go to sleep..., more fun! We are heading to the Adirondacks in a few hours! Paul and I in the truck with the fishing kayak and all the bags and food. Then Mirielle is heading up after she's done with work, with Evelyn, Sonja K., Charlotte, Camille, and cousin Danielle.

We're staying in a pretty sweet little cabin, it's only a few years old, right on the water, Lake Algonquin. Two bathrooms (that's always nice), and one of the bedrooms has bunkbeds with a trundle bed, and a big screen tv. The girls will have fun in there. The cabin comes with a rowboat, a canoe, and three kayaks. We're bringing beef brisket, burgers, bacon and eggs, and popcorn, along with lots of snacks.

I have not yet packed, yet here I sit.

The weather is beautiful. Warm and humid, in the low nineties today. The weekend forecast looks amazing, some rain tomorrow but sunny and warm Sunday and Monday.

Life is interesting. There are so many things that clamor for my anxiety-attention. Worry about your headache! Worry about your daughter! Worry about this:

(okay, that one is a little worrisome)

I am tempted to just be bogged down in worry. But this is a battle that is worth fighting. Either I trust God, or I don't.
Trusting that He sends all things for my very best doesn't mean that I am automatically calm and serene, and filled with patience. No, it means that I fight the sin in my flesh, I fight and resist giving in to those thoughts of panic, and pray for patience and strength and to be free from the weight of worry.

Here's something to really chew on, don't just skim it, thinking, ugh, the Bible! It's living and real and amazing:

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the right time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares for you. Be sober;, be on the alert. Your adversary the devil walks around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith because you know the same sufferings are being accomplished by your brethren in the world. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered for a short time, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." (1Pet. 6-10)

Just think, he himself will restore and strengthen you! What could be better than that? Or is better just to worry and fret?

Oh, life is good. My knees are not good, I have a headache today (going away, though, with the help from one magical migraine relief pill!), and it's too hot for my liking. I have to pack, want to go to the library (those pesky books are overdue!), and oh the pool is calling me! The floors need sweeping, the dishes are piling up, and and and. But we have such a hope, and this life here is really just one big test...or rather, a series of very small ones, interspersed with a few biggies along the way...all weighed and measured exactly for us by a loving Father.