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

Saturday, August 31, 2019


Grant and Lydia playing in the sunshine on the deck...
just a pic of loveliness...the Auntie Evelyn Joy with Grant and Wulf.

The cool crisp morning has warmed to a low seventies day, sunny and bright. It feels like autumn. The pool is clear, but oh so cold! Sam and Grant are still here, leaving this evening. I'm going to go through Grant withdrawal, after watching him for seven days, and having him here all day today with Sam.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

....and, Wednesday and Thursday...

Shopping with Miss Sonja K. after her doctor's appointment. We didn't buy these sun hats, but we should have.

Tomorrow is day #7 of watching little Grant.

Isn't he so cute?

This is Elise and Wulf, two of my grandchildren.

Lydia was here too, still is, she's spending the night! So two of my grandkids are spending the night! Anya was here all five, but oops, no pics of them all together.

Anya is so sweet. She is Elise's big sister. :)

This is what I did today...cookies! Some with no chocolate chips, for Miss Camille, and because I thought they would be ideal for grandkids, but their parents don't seem to be nearly as picky about things like falling chocolate chips onto nice shirts, as their Grandma seems to be. I also made some with Snickers bits, which came in a bag from the dollar store. I did not taste one bit of cookie dough or cookies.

We had our pulled pork nachos for dinner. Tomatoes from the garden, peppers, olives, cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips, and homemade cheese sauce. Margaret and Evelyn put a few trays of tortillas layered in cheese, beans, etc., into the oven, and made some extra yummy nachos.

It was a busy night. Of the sixteen kids, Emily, Abigail, Benjamin, Mirielle, Mali, Samuel, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Suzanne, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille were here tonight. 14 of them! Plus Ben's wife Ashley and their two girls, Margaret's husband Adrian and their little Wulf, and Adrian's nephew Taylin, Kathyn's husband Darius (brother of Adrian!), Mali's husband Josh and little Lydia. And Paul and me, and cousin Danielle, too. So 26.

It's busy when everyone comes over, the kids get rowdy, and a game of Apples to Apples at the kitchen table was a bit loud. Toys! Silliness! Solving the worlds' problems. Some teasing, a few differences of opinion, maybe a little quibble here and there, but basically, we all get along quite well.

Having Kathryn (and Darius) visit from the west coast is bittersweet. Seeing my Kappy Sue, having her here on the couch, washing up some dishes, petting the's like she never left. But alas she's only here for a visit, and I won't be seeing her again until I go out there when their baby is born in December. It is just too sad. I know, you can't always have all of your kids near you, but jeepers. It's nice as can be that Sam is here from Virginia at the same time too, with Grant.

When the kids were growing up, I used to tell them quite frequently, "Oh, how good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity..."(Psalm 133)...of course that includes sisters too.

Anyway. "Today is gone, today was fun. Tomorrow is another one." Dr. Seuss.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

sunday fun day at the beach, monday at the park, and...

Lake Ontario: just gorgeous.

A beautiful day at the park!

Grant with Grampa (Paul), and with his daddy (Sam).

Today, we did go out and about again. Sam is doing Army training, he unexpectedly had the day off yesterday, so we went on a little adventure. Today he's gone, so we packed up little Grant and went to the small city. We had a birthday gift to find for a special little girl who turned 14 (Miss Danielle!, the girls' bestie, and cousin). We also found new insulated lunch bags for Char and Cam, as they are returning to public school this year, and already have Bento boxes for their lunches. We found an outfit for the baby boy that Kathryn and Darius are expecting in December, and a tiny little sleeper for the baby girl that Mali and Josh are having in January, Lydia is getting a sister! I also got a cute outfit for Grant, and one for Wulf.

And then the dollar store, for a few odds and ends like highlighters for school, and a bag of chips. Then to the tractor store for a big bag of grain-free dog food, and ahh, home.

It's a chilly, overcast, windy day, and I am having a coffee with some sugar free pumpkin spice. It's no Dunkin Pumpkin Swirl, but it'll do. Suzanne is making cake balls with Charlotte Claire and Camille.

Tonight, to the airport to pick up Sonja from Germany. Tomorrow morning, to the airport again to pic up Kathryn and Darius, who are visiting for a week from Oregon. Tomorrow the younger girls have physicals, so off to the small city again, in the afternoon. Then, on Thursday, a check up for Sonja at the orthopedic surgeon, AND middle school orientation at the same time. There's only one of me, so I'll have to get clever. Maybe Kathryn can bring the girls to school.

Thursday night we're having the whole family over for dinner, pulled pork nachos. Last week when I was going to make those, I didn't get the pork on time, so we had burgers and hot dogs grilled.

Last night, we had local corn on the cob, left-over grilled burgers warmed up in bacon grease, served with tomatoes from the garden, and bacon, and, I made some Keto buns, which came out really nice. (Almond flour, mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, eggs, bacon powder, and topped with melted butter, salt and pepper, a little Italian seasoning...then baked...mmm.). I don't eat buns anymore, just the burger on the plate with a fork, and I just craved a burger with a bun.

Tonight, I'm grilling a few steaks, and making some veggies, keeping it simple. Maybe I'll make some rice for the kids, too. I'll toast one of the Keto buns maybe....

Anyway, life is busy yet not terribly busy. I keep going, but it's certainly not like it used to be. Grant keeps me hopping! He's super easy going, but he's still a small child who likes scrambled eggs for brekky, and needs his diaper changed, and likes stories read to him. It's actually very nice to have him here.

Sunday, August 25, 2019's FINE...

Stretch the word "fine" out into two syllables, and you get a glimpse of my son Benjamin. He likes to say, "It'll be FIINE." And it is. With little Grant. He did wake up a bit confused, baffled, suspicious. But it didn't last long.

We stayed home all day yesterday, it was a little preview of autumn, with the chill in the air. Charlotte Claire and Camille had their friend Amanda come Friday night and spend the night, so they were busy playing Wii race games and Monopoly. They played with Grant too, he brought his Dr. Seuss books with him, and he likes to be read to, thank you. They way he just brings the book, like it wouldn't enter his mind that one wouldn't read it to him.

It's obvious he has been parented well, and that makes my heart just swell with thankfulness. Sam and Grace might be young, but they're doing a good job. Grant is so well-adjusted and sweet.

And today, we're going to the beach! Our suits and towels are packed, sugar-free seltzer waters are in the refrigerator, ready for the cooler. The girls packed themselves, and Grant, lots of snacks last night. We'll try to remember the stroller, and his sippy cup, and the beach toys. I felt a bit rusty, but taking care of Grant yesterday was like slipping into well worn Birkenstocks. A poopy diaper? not a big deal.

These two will be disappointed they can't go to the beach. For one, they won't fit in Emily's car, and for two, dogs aren't allowed on the beach, not in state parks in NY state. We got away with it at Cranberry by keeping them out of the swimming area, and tying them up in the grassy area where they are allowed, after they tired out from swimming and fetching the stick. They are Labs, they love water, but unfortunately, not everyone loves dogs, and not everyone would clean up after their dog, so no dogs on the beach.

They were good when we were camping. They were off-leash most of the time and just stayed in the camp site. They tend to be people oriented, instead of the running away and exploring types. Sunny DID run up and start barking at a girl walking a Golden Retriever, so we had to tie her up for a bit. She prob just wanted to play, but still.

They did whine when they were tied up, which was annoying, but they are spoiled brats, and not used to being tied up.

Last evening we did pack up Grant, and with the girls, went to visit Paul's mom. She turned ninety on Friday. She still drives, and lives by herself here in the summer, and in Florida in the winter. She still does cross stitch, she gave me two new ones for my birthday. I want to be like her when I grow up.

I think I might hear someone waking up....

Saturday, August 24, 2019

can't believe I'm gramma-ing...

Yes, I am. Grant is here. Samuel, my eighth child, all grown up and married and in the Army Reserves, is training here in New York state for the weekend. He lives in Virginia but is still stationed in NY for the Reserves. This means frequent visits:). His wife Grace is working home in Virginia, so he brought their little guy here with him. Samuel arrived at four a.m., and put little 18 month old Grant to bed in the Pack and Play in Sonja's room (Sonja is still in Germany), and there he sleeps. Sam left to go to his unit, and won't be back until tomorrow night.

So, when Grant wakes up, in a strange bed in a strange room, he'll see strange faces. Hopefully he'll adjust quickly and love us to pieces, as we do him.

And hopefully this old granny can keep up with him.

Yesterday, I was really bad. We had company coming over for dinner, and the PLAN was: wake up early, get our rear ends to the store to get some food, namely a pork roast to put into the crock pot quick to make pulled pork nachos. Well. Things moved slowly here, and then we got invited over to Karen's pool. Karen and Hobie are our dearest friends, and their pool is not only fun and fantastic, it's warm and welcoming at their house. So of course I blew off our previous plans with a simple text back, and voila, we were headed to Karen's!

Then, as plans usually go, a monkey wrench was thrown in, but not a bad one. I won't get into the details, but we ended up bringing Davian, my niece's 8 year old, and his little sister Anne, whom I babysit for, to Karen's with us.

Anne, Karen giving Davian pointers on how to dive in, and Miss baby! How did she grow up so fast?

Anyway. We enjoyed some lovely weather, with good company, then it was time to rush to the store, get home and clean the house, and make dinner, and have our company come over. Margaret is married to Adrian, and they are parents to little Wulf. Adrian's mom, sister, and her little boy were visiting from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. So they were coming for dinner, along with Ben and Ashley and their little girls, our my niece Katie and her husband Dave, and Davian and Anne, Emily, Abigail, and our younger kids.

It worked. It was busy, but it worked. We ended up having hamburgers, hot dogs, coneys, and a huge tossed salad. Paul grilled it all. Margaret made a beautiful chocolate cake, and we also had sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies that I bought, no cookie making time for those who lounge in the sunshine with friends.

It was a really fun and fantastic evening, and it went by too fast.

Tomorrow, a trip to the beach, Lake Ontario, yay! I hope Grant likes it, doesn't eat all the sand, and takes a little nap there when he gets fussy. I feel a bit rusty, but hey, I used to take a dozen kids to this beach all by myself, give or take. All sixteen, for sure.

Anyway. Next week our daughter Kathryn is visiting from Oregon with her husband Darius, who is Adrian's brother. They are expecting a baby in December, and Kathryn is going to look so cute!

Sonja will be coming home from her Norway/Germany trip (she is also visiting Amsterdam, and France!). So it'll be lots of fun and busyness.

Today, we'll probably stay home and get acquainted with Grant. So yup, I'm gramma-ing. :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

adventures in the sunshine of the finger lakes....

Mirielle, Emily, and I...we spent the entire day together, and what a joy it was. I consider it quite an honor that my daughters would spend time with me like that. We visited a few wineries on Seneca Lake, I was the driver, so I didn't taste, but I bought a few bottles.

The Finger Lakes are so beautiful, glacier formed, deep, clean. Seneca Lake is 618 feet deep! We met a couple of older ladies from Illinois, a retired teacher and a retired prison nurse, best friends. They called themselves Thelma and Louise. They gushed about what a beautiful state New York is. I think people really think it's all city, before they experience it.

We stopped for lunch at a brewery, and no, I didn't sample there either. I might be immature and silly sometimes, but I don't drink and drive. :). But I did buy some peanut butter stout to bring home, for some other time. I don't drink much ever, but sometimes a little bit is nice. Peanut butter beer, oh it's good. It's not sweet at all, just has the essence of peanut butter, and I love it.

Today is Evelyn Joy's birthday. Evelyn is twenty today. She is my eleventh child (Evelyn - eleven), and she lives up to her middle name.

With six of the kids who were in Norway with us, Ev next to me.

Evelyn, granddaughter Anya, and Miss Sonja K., in Norway.

Charlotte Claire, Sonja K., Camille, and Evelyn in a meeting in Norway.

Anyway, it's a lovely rainy day, glad I don't have a really good book. We're heading over to Grandma's house for a visit, if I can get the girls out of bed and moving. We're going to get Evelyn a birthday present today, then come home and make a nice dinner, grilled pork chops and steak, and homemade macaroni and cheese.

But now, another cup of coffee sounds good...

Tuesday, August 20, 2019


It is STILL summer, despite the Halloween candy aisle in Price-Chopper. I know, the pool floats and water pistols are on clearance, and it's a darned good time to buy a gas grill, but it is STILL SUMMER.

And I refuse to believe that it's waning and winding down as quickly as it is.

Today, I am going on an adventure! A few wineries with Miss Em and Miss Mirielle, two of my favorite daughters, doesn't that sound fun? We live between the gorgeous Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes region, wine country. It's so beautiful, one wouldn't think that New York would have such treasures, one would think: New York = city.

Anyway, this week is lovely, warm and sunny. Tomorrow is Evelyn Joy's 20th birthday, yay! We are getting her a computer/laptop for her birthday, because she is going to college this fall. She is also working full time, she's a busy girl. So we'll celebrate with a nice dinner and shh, perhaps a wine slushy.

Friday night, we're having company! Adrian's mom, sister, and nephew are in town from Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Adrian is married to my daughter Margaret, dad of Wulf)(My daughter Kathryn is married to Adrian's brother, Darius, so Adrian and Darius' mom is two of my girls' mother-in-law). Anyway, we're having dinner on the deck on Friday night.

Then, sometime in the night, Samuel will arrive with the little grandson Grant! Sam has Army Reserve training on all weekend, so we'll have Grant. Grace, Sam's wife, is working two jobs, so she can't come up for the visit. We'll have Grant from Monday-Friday, too, during the days, as Sam has drill.

Then, next week, Sonja comes home from Germany, AND: Kathryn and Darius are coming for a visit from Salem, Oregon!!!! They are expecting a baby, and I can't wait to see how cute Kathryn looks all pregnant!

So with them in town, Sonja home, and Samuel here, it'll be busy here.

Yesterday, Miss Charlotte Claire and Miss Camille went with me on a little shopping trip. We Target-ed, and got a few school supplies. Char found a nice jean jumper, and we got a little gift for Evelyn, as well as a few toys for the present closet. What?! Grandkids have birthdays! I mean, could YOU pass up a Paw Patrol microphone, regular $19.99 for $5 ?

We grocery store-ed, and stocked up on meals for the week. Last night was taco salad, with tomatoes and green pepper from our very own garden, yum. (My girls teased me that I was going to blog about that.). Tonight, pork chops that have been marinating in lemon juice, rosemary, salt and pepper, since right when we got home from the store. Tomorrow, steak that has been marinating in almost the same thing. There are burgers in the freezer for Thursday, and Friday is pulled pork nachos. (The packages of burger had five dollars off coupons on them!). The taco salad was so good. I browned the burger until it was crispy, before adding taco seasoning.

Anyway. Time to get moving.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

we're back from camping, and....

Our trip to the Adirondacks was great fun. We stopped at the gas station, and I couldn't very well go in and use the bathroom and leave the girls outside with the pup, so into the minimart she came. She was an angel while the girls got slushies.

We were there by ourselves (at the campground) for several hours before Mali got there with Josh and little Lydia. Then Benjamin and Ashley arrived with Anya and Elise, and their border collie Baxter, and their NEW PUPPY, Lila, an English Shepard. The next day, Paul and Jon got there with Suri, then Margaret and Adrian and little Wulf arrived with their dog, a boxer/Lab, Bunny. Then, Emily, Mirielle, and Suzanne came.

(Isn't that cute, with Sunny, Baxter, and the puppy?)

Elise with the puppy, Anya and Lydia and Mali (Lydia's mama), me, hanging out by the water at our campsite, and Camille with little Wulf, one of my sweet grandkids.

Charlotte Claire with cousin Dani, Sunny and Suri sad that Paul was going off fishing in his kayak without them. The nerve. Just action in the campsite, Jon on the beach with the pups and Anya running, and Anya playing on the beach.

Emily under her umbrella during one of the rain showers...

Preparations for celebrating Lydia's birthday (four years old!), a campfire, saying goodbye to the beautiful lake, and Suzanne helping Paul fold up the tent...

We are home. The fourth load of clothes is in the washer, and we are recuperating. The dogs are exhausted. They were so good. We had 20 people, including four grandkids, and FIVE doggies, so it was so much fun. And...bye for now.