summer 2011

summer 2011

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Sunday, September 29, 2019

weekend soccer fun!

Jonathan played in a church soccer tournament, his team placed second.

Lydia and Anya playing with grandpa:)

Benjy with Lydia and his little Elise...


It poured on Saturday evening! Emily took Wulf to the edge of the pavilion, he was fascinated with the downpour.

Cousin Danielle with Camille...

Waiting out the rain with seven of my daughters, and Wulf...Camille in front, then Evelyn, Margaret holding Wulf, Abigail, Emily standing up, Mirielle, Charlotte Claire, me.

It was a fantastic weekend, meetings full of hope and encouragement, friends, family, fun.

Some of us are planning a trip to visit Sam and Grace and Grant, in Virginia, with a little trip to Delaware too, next weekend...then the weekend after that, a really big trip....:)

Thursday, September 26, 2019

national daughters day...

This pic is from two years ago, but it's a good one for National Daughters Day, even though that was yesterday. (I am also a dollar short, if you must know.)

So yesterday I promised my two little girls, who are in seventh and eighth grades and aren't so little anymore, that I'd pick them up at the end of the school day. The bus ride is long and hot, and the day was a beauty, umbrella sky and warm sunshine. Our plan was to hang out at home for a bit, then go to Target.

We went to TJMax first, as I am looking for a area rug for in front of the t.v. console-thingy. I realized how raggedy the old one was. I didn't find one, but the girls each found something, and although they might seem spoiled...they didn't really go back-to-school shopping. They're good girls, they don't just get something to get something.

I got an outfit for little Wulf, and had to restrain myself. The girls were stopping me, I want to buy all the things for the grand kids.

We went into Target, and yes, I did get something for Anya for her birthday.

(no, I didn't really buy it)

Sonja, Charlotte Claire, and Camille are so much fun, and Suzanne deserves a million for staying home and looking after Anne. Anne doesn't nap, I guess she won't sleep at night if she naps, so she's a small child who just turned three, and she gets very tired in the afternoons. She would have done okay if we brought her but we also would have had to hurry, as she gets picked up usually around five. I did feel bad that Suze stayed back, but she said she didn't mind.

Dinner was ready when we got home, because those pork chops that I had marinating were put into the oven by Suzanne, and I put some potatoes in the microwave, and made some tossed salad quick. But, Sonja is doing independent gym now, and has to get her hours in each week, so I had agreed to go to the pool with her. Once we got home from shopping, I didn't WANT to go to the pool. No sir. I wanted to eat dinner and chill. But I went. We stayed in the deep end, and I treaded water, exercised, swam around, for half an hour. It felt fantastic.

Happy me after the pool. I loved it so much, it renewed my interest in going. I told Sonja that when she needs to go to get those hours, and I balk and make excuses, to just MAKE ME GO. I know I'll end up loving it, the feeling of moving and working those muscles. I forgot how nice that is.

I also have to mention that I hadn't eaten since dinner the day before, except for about ten almonds I had in the car on the way home from the stores.

I also am doing my push-ups every day. It isn't much, but I figure if I make it habit, it'll be good for me in the long run.

While we were swimming, Miss Mirielle was at an awards ceremony, and I don't know much about it, but Abigail snapped this pic of her:

Isn't she so cute? She is an oncology nurse, working in a chemo/infusion clinic at the hospital, and she got a care award for excellence I'm sorry I don't know more of the specifics, but Mare is one of those people who doesn't realize how nurturing and smart and amazing she is. The patients who get her for a nurse have gotten a good one. She's certified in chemotherapy, it's like a nursing specialty, works full time and is going for her Master's, and will probably teach.

Emily has picked up a teaching job, as well as seeing patients as a Nurse Practitioner. She teaches nursing students. I am proud of my girls:)

Abigail is doing well too, my accountant. It's interesting how different my girls are from each other!

Have I mentioned how proud I am of Char and Cam? They get up each morning all by themselves (I am up too, but I don't wake them up, they are very self-sufficient!). They wash and take care of their own clothes, pick out their school clothes, pack their lunches, get their homework done right after school, and get themselves all ready and out the door on time each day. For girls who were homeschooled for FIVE YEARS, that's pretty darned good. And they're doing fine in school. I needn't have worried if they learned enough, they're doing well.

Today is a rainy day, and it's cozy in here. I am drinking my coffee in my comfy chair. Life is good. :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

a little bit of fun...

We went to a really fun playground yesterday! Jonathan does his school work in the morning, and sometimes we go out and about. He is a good sport about Anne, and we both get a kick out of her. She thinks everyone she meets is a friend.

I ran into the thrift store yesterday, and it only made me want to go back another day when I can browse more. :). I did get a huge board book with animals in it, Anne loves it, and a pair of Osh-Kosh gray camo overall shorts for one of the grandsons for next summer.

We also went to Walmart because Jon needed a few things. I took Anne over to see the Christmas trees. I bought a Christmas decoration, in September, a white clapboard looking sign with tin cut out letters spelling "joy". Slap me silly. Walmart has some nice decorations this year! I was impressed. The old-fashioned Christmas vibe, the farmhouse-y feel, is so cool. I want to buy all new stuff, ha. (The little red pick up truck, oh dear, it had two trees in it, AND: a black lab. If it wasn't $18...)

Anyway. The Halloween stuff has been on the shelves since July, so it's rather ordinary to buy Christmas trinkets in September, although shh, I did leave that one particular item in the van when we carried the rest of the stuff in.

Today is nice and sunny, and we plan to spend lots of time outside. Anne is in her element outside. She likes bugs and is interested in everything. She will play in water for hours, so we'll put some clean water in the little pool. She'll water all the poor plants, and dump water and "jump in muddy puddles!", like Peppa Pig.

Monday, September 23, 2019

and the pictures....

Aaron and I, Marge & Evelyn, Riley, Aaron, Suzanne, and Jonathan...Miss Margaret Cheryl...Riley and Miss Suzanne...Sonja K. with little Mr. Wulf...sweet Lydia on the pony! Anya and Lydia with ice cream, at the table sweet little Elise next to Miss Camille and me...and Sonja K. and me.

Today...a rainy day, lovely and cozy. Jonathan and I took little Miss Anne on a little adventure, to Walmart to get a new battery for Paul's truck. Then to the grocery store for chicken and cheese and milk and veggies. Anne was such a good girl, she chattered and made friends. Home...ah, home. Lunch for Anne, and some play dough, and the markers and fairy coloring book...

We made a meal plan last night, but altered it today when I found different things in the store, ha. Tonight, we had coneys (central NY hot dogs that are white and spicy!), a tossed salad (mine with green olives, and olive oil and salt and pepper on top), pasta salad with cucumbers, black olives, tomatoes, and green peppers, for the kids, although shh, I took some of the veggies from it for my salad...

I ate only one meal so afterward I had some dark chocolate with crunchy peanut butter, mmm.

Anyway....not too much going on!

Sunday, September 22, 2019, I'm not dead...

I am still here, enjoying the last teeny bit of summer, this lovely second summer we're having in central New York state.

For some reason, my pics aren't loading, so I'll just have to do what we tell the little ones to do, use my words.

It was a nice visit from my son Aaron, and Riley, from California. We had lots of time to talk and catch up, and we also went to both Seneca Lake and Cayuga Lake, visited a few wineries. Riley made us his chili verde, and I made beef brisket. They headed back, and it's sad to say goodbye.

So on Saturday morning, I got up bright and early so we could watch little Wulf, so both his mama and papa could go work at the football game stadium, Paul went too. We had Lydia here too, so we decided to do something really fun. Sonja and me, Abigail, cousin Danielle, Charlotte Claire, Camille...and Ashley, Anya, and little Elise. We went to an autumn festival.

Now, this sounded fun on paper. Free parking, free admission! Well. The parking lot was a loooooong way away from the event, so they so nicely offered tractor-pulled wagon rides, for two dollars each. I know, that's not too bad. But when we got over to the festival, oh dear. A pony ride, in a little fenced in circle: $5 each. Face-painting? $5. A turn in the bouncy houses, which were more like MAD houses, you guessed it, five bucks. It was more like a carnival, with fried everything for way too much money, there wasn't anything "fall-ish" about it.

We did find a donut stand, selling a bag of 20 miniature donuts, just out of the fryer, for $6.50, so yeah, we got two. (I didn't have any. I SHOULD be thin, no fair, but that's a whole 'NOTHER story.)

We walked around a little, rather disappointed. But we didn't want the little girls to realize that it was anything but an exciting outing, so we offered them a pony ride! They really loved that, we took lots of pics, then excitedly mentioned going on that fun wagon ride again, back to the vans, then to get ice cream! Yes, they were happy!

It was a very nice day, but we would have been better off just going to a regular apple orchard and picking apples...which we will do, on a cooler, more autumn like day:)

Today, we are going to the beach! It's warm sunny weather here, 85F, 29.4c, this afternoon. Summer is going out with a bang! So yes, we are packing up the beach toys, towels and chairs, and heading to Lake Ontario. I made pasta salad yesterday, and Paul and Jonathan grilled some chicken breast, there is leftover. Abigail bought beach snacks, so we'll have a good day.

I had to get up bright and early this beautiful morning too, because Mali had to come pick up little Lydia because she has a Sunday visitation schedule with her daddy.

Sleeping in is over rated. Shh, don't you tell me any different.

It's always something, right? Paul came home early the other day, it was a gorgeous day, umbrella sky, the best color blue...he loaded the kayaks into the back of the truck, he and Jonny were goin' fishing! Well. The truck wouldn't start. They fussed and messed with it, blew a fuse, which needs replacing. The new one is ordered, won't arrive until Wednesday. So now we're down to one vehicle again for a bit. And no fishing for them, Paul just mowed the lawn instead.

Nothing too exciting is going on.

Except for this: Jonathan and I are going to Oregon!!!! Kathryn is due to have her baby on the Monday after Thanksgiving, so Jon and I are flying out there on Thanksgiving day! It's not ideal, we miss turkey day with the family, BUT. It's the busiest travel weekend of the year, and the flights are outrageously expensive. The prices go down AFTER her due date, but the whole point is to go out there to be with her while she has that little baby. It's a difficult thing to time, and Oregon isn't just across the street. We're staying until the 13th of December, a red-eye flight, so we'll get back to New York on Saturday morning, the 14th.

I am so excited! I am so extremely thankful that I get to go out there for this! It's not fair nor fun to have one of your very favorite daughters get married and move a few thousand miles away, but then a baby! I cannot miss that! It's going to be hard to leave, I can tell you that right now. I already had a nightmare that she was way overdue, and I had to leave right after the birth!

Anyway. It's a good day.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

...hanging in there... in keeping with my long term Never Give Up policy, I am still eating my OMAD (one meal a day). It's going okay, the weight isn't falling off, like it does for every single other person in the world who does it, according to the facebook Intermittent Fasting group success photos they post. No, sloooow and steady, but at least it's going in the right direction now. And I eat good healthy food! Today, I'll have two meals just a bit apart, some eggs, meat, veggies, lots of good calories. I ate almost nothing for last evening's one meal of the day, because I just wasn't that hungry. And it got late, I can't eat so much before bed anymore, or I won't sleep well.

Also, I have decided that I'll do ten push ups every time I heat water for coffee:)

Yesterday morning, Grandma came over for a visit (Paul's mom). She is ninety years old, and drives a spiffy little red Chevrolet. I wanna be like her when I grow up. She's still sharper than a tack, although she does forget things sometimes. She says it drives her crazy because she KNOWS she is forgetting. Shh. I am the same way.

Anne also came over, for the day. We spent a few hours on the deck. She likes to get into her bathing suit and play with water. She washes the Little Tikes cars and dumps water on the deck and pretends it's a muddy puddle, like on Peppa Pig. She also love playing with Playdough. In addition, the Playdough cans make nice towers and castles.

When she went home, it was time to go to the grocery store. Sonja K. and Camille went with me...

We had to stock up on milk and bread, cheese and veggies, and the no sugar added frozen fudge bars I like once in a while.

We also went to Marshall's, where I got a few things for my oldest granddaughter Anya, her birthday is next month, turning 6!, and little Elise turning two!

So I enjoy getting up in the morning and guiding the little girls out the door. They don't LOVE school, Char enjoys it more, Camille tolerates it. I think it's good for them to go. They've been amazing about getting up out of bed and getting ready, packing their lunches, keeping track of their homework, finding what to wear. I don't regret one minute of the five years they homeschooled, but it's okay that they're back in school.

Samuel, Evelyn, son-in-law Adrian are in college full time, and Mirielle part time (Master's degree). Next year, Miss Suzanne, and Miss Sonja K. will also be going. Jonathan will join them at some point, too. We NEED to get another car for the kids still at home to commute. Our blue van is almost dead, with almost two hundred thousand miles, a 2008, needs a lot of work, is it worth it? The red van isn't too much better, same year, but at least it runs. It's in the shop again, for a valve stem on the tire, and to fix the air conditioning. It gets SO hot in their, and the driver's window doesn't work, so. So we sort of need two new vehicles, ha.

And, I need to buy my airline ticket to go visit Kathryn!!! She and her husband, Darius, are expecting their first baby, and yours truly is cordially invited...for the birth! Now, I do not take this for granted! The thing is, baby is due on the Monday after Thanksgiving. So, traveling that weekend is crazy and crazy expensive, so I'm thinking of traveling on Thanksgiving day! I'll miss turkey with the family, ouch, but, I want to be there for the birth. If I fly when the holiday rush dies down, I might well be there too late. And I figure I have to stay for at least two weeks, because if the baby is a week late...or ten days...any way you slice it, it's going to be SO hard to leave! I'm going to fall completely head over heels in love with that newborn, and then say goodbye and fly across the country. Oregon isn't across the street. No sir. Sometimes Europeans get confused about that, they are surprised if a New Yorker has not been to California. Well, it IS a five day drive, if you don't fly. And flights within Europe are so cheap, not like what I'll be paying to go to Oregon around the holidays. Christmas prep and the twinkling season will be fully underway by the time I come home...

So buying the ticket is on the agenda today. And cleaning the house. We have extremely special company coming for a visit this week...any guesses?

Friday, September 13, 2019

Friday the thirteenth...

And it's lovely. There's a full moon tonight. Last night, I found myself driving, drove the kids to the youth meeting, dropped them off...and all the way home, in that lovely moonlight, all by myself. Emily drove them home, so I didn't have to go back and get them, but I still enjoy the quiet times that happen so infrequently.

It is not quiet, once Anne arrives for the day. She was a bit on the cranky side yesterday, to put it mildly. She is only just three years old, and she has to get up and leave her house every morning, so I know it's tiring for her. I read her stacks of books, painted, colored, and played play dough with her. She played doll house and blocks and had her eggs and toast, and her snacks, and the daily banana. Mostly when I had children that age, they had siblings close in age to keep them busy.

I'm still plugging away at the intermittent fasting. I've learned so much about myself, and am forming better habits, but what I'd rather be writing is: I'm losing weight hand over fist, it's just falling off! But alas, no, it's dripping off in little bits, but at least I'm slowly losing, and not gaining. I don't know why my body is just so resistant to losing. I read about people who say, "Oh, I gave up soda, and lost a million pounds." Or, "I stopped eating bread, and went from a size one hundred to a size zero, in just six weeks!" I haven't drank soda or eaten bread, in years! Oh, I've had a bit of bread here and there, as the odd taste or treat, but generally speaking, I have a clean and healthy diet. So I can't just slash out a whole group of something and get results. My poor metabolism has taken a beating, and my weight was just creepy-crawling back up. At least I've found something that is reversing that frustrating trend! (look up Jason Fung. I can't say enough good about him. He's a nephrologist (kidney doctor), interested in stopping and reversing type II diabetes though diet.)

Anyway. I feel better since I've been fasting, mostly eating one meal a day, more flexible sometimes. I don't get all shaky anymore during the day, and am not actually very hungry. I am trying black coffee, for at least the morning cup, to see if that speeds things up a bit. And don't worry, I am eating enough! My dinner is a grand affair, but very healthy. Lots of meat, a bit of fat, and veggies. Sometimes a square of dark chocolate with peanut butter afterwards:).

Well, Anne will be here any minute. I think we're taking her out and about today, to the library, and to a store Jon wants to go to, to buy a drill...

Thursday, September 12, 2019

...didn't mean it that way...

Things don't always translate from the page properly. Yesterday, when I reflected here on 9/11, I took my own moment of silence. But when you read my post, it seems I skipped right to the frippery, as if it were just a lighthearted happening. That is not how I meant it.

Have you seen the pic of the actress, taken in NYC? She has a blouse that shows more than it hides, a big smile, and she captioned it something about 9/11. um. no.

One thing I always think of on 9/11 is when we worked at the concert amphitheater, and the tipsy customers would request a cider which is made by a local apple orchard. It's called "1911", referring to the first year of the orchard's existence. Well, those customers would come up and ask for a 9/11. "I'll have a, gimme two..." I was dumbfounded. Did they really think someone would name a hard cider for that tragic happening?


It's a very cozy morning, which is my favorite kind. The rain and the darkness, and the chilly edge to the day, making it a perfect coffee/blogging morning. The girls have headed out the door to school, and Anne will be here soon. Jonathan is still homeschooled, he has a huge stack of books, and he learns math from Khan Academy. He is supposed to be up already, but it is a good morning for sleeping.

I stayed up too late finishing my book last night, which is my usual when Paul is out of town. We need a trip to the library soon. Jonathan is finishing up his book too.

Did you ever wonder what this world would be like if each and every person had even a tiny bit of self-acknowledgement? If each one put others first, was more patient, a bit kind, maybe a bit forgiving...?

The news is depressing. A teenager in Florida stole her parents' credit card, and paid two guys to murder them. Child abuse, drugs, theft, corruption, abortion. I cannot do a thing about all of that mess, but I CAN be more patient, and I CAN open my home when I don't really feel like it, I CAN forgive and apologize and make someone a cup of tea. God has been so good to me, and I am thankful! Being thankful is the best weapon we have to fight sin and unhappiness.

It's such a big lie, to have in the back of the mind, that someday when all my ducks are in a row, I'll be happy. When I figure things out, when I lose this weight, when we get our new floors, when our loan is paid off, when we get a new van, then things'll be really good. But guess what? TODAY, this MOMENT, this is life! This! NOW! It IS the day that the Lord has made. Waiting in line, waiting in traffic, running hither tither and nye, and grumping all the way through it is a WASTE of YOUR life!

Anyway...time to throw in a load of laundry and sweep the floor. I have spend half my life sweeping the floor, ha.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

a moment of silence...

Today is a sad day in the history of the United States. And as Sonja K. pointed out, most of the kids in school today weren't even alive in 2001. New York state has a new law, allowing schools to start the day with a moment of silence.

They probably don't get the significance. They KNOW what happened, and I've told my children how it was, from my own perspective. Today I mentioned to Jonathan how strange it was during the four days of planes being grounded, to look up at the sky planes.

It's strange to fly on 9/11, but nonetheless, I drove Paul to the airport today so he could fly to Boston for work. Suzanne and Jonathan stayed here with little Anne. I took the opportunity to go to the store. I mean, chuck roast is on sale for $2.99 a pound! And the bone-in chicken breast, 99 cents a pound, as well as pork chops, for 99 cents a pound. We needed a gallon of milk, and the girls "needed" nail polish remover. I also got some coffee, a pound of butter, and some seltzer water.

Home, ah home, I put some chicken in marinade for dinner, and froze some in the marinade (a few glugs of vinegar, a glug of olive oil, some Montreal chicken seasoning). I also put the chops into some similar homemade marinade, and froze on of the chuck roasts. Tonight, barbecued chicken...I'll roast it in the oven first, then put it on the grill. Tomorrow, chuck roast in the crock pot. Friday night, leftover beef or chicken soup form the leftover chicken. (Sunday is beef brisket). Saturday, we'll see!

It's hot and humid today, but my pool has started to turn, we stopped running the filter. Fake autumn tricked us, ha.

Isn't my sister cute? She does NOT look 64. And Anne and her little cousin Elena...adorable.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

happy birthday to my one and only sister...

This was last year's celebration, this year we're doing something different...

We're going to the place up on the lake, where you get one free chicken wing for each year of life, and believe me, my sister is getting a lot of free wings! She is ten years older than me:)

I am very thankful to celebrate with her. She's had her share of health scares, between breast cancer and the episode of anaphylactic shock after one of her surgeries, to kidney issues, knee problems...but she is alway looking on the bright side, trusting in God, and is truly a living example of thankfulness. She has seven daughters, and now seven son-in-laws, which is hilarious to me. All those years of raising girls, now it's a different story when her family visits, right? Guys are just messier, louder, a bit more untamed. Of course she loves them all. And the grandkids she has! 16, with two more on the way!

Anne, the little one who comes here every day, is my sister's grandchild.

Anyway, this fine morning is starting out with me going to the dentist, for a filling in a molar, underneath an old filling. For heaven's sake, I hope the whole tooth doesn't collapse, crowns are pricey, and I'd rather give birth in the middle of Target with no meds than have a crown installed. I can say things like this now because it's not gonna happen, and if it did, it would be a win-win...well, lose-win. It'd be terribly embarrassing, but I'd take a newborn.

I HATE going to the dentist. Hate hate hate. Oh, sure, I'm thankful my teeth aren't falling out of my head, and thankful we have dental insurance, which is super pricey, and a few fillings help us get our money's worth, ha., but I still hate the dentist. Not the man himself, he's all right, just the whole rigamarole of it. The needle. The needle actually going in. The cotton stuffing in the cheek, the having to open your mouth way too wide, I'm always afraid my jaw will lock or crack. The bib, the stretching out in the chair and seeing how the toe nail polish from two months ago is chipping, my Birkenstocks slipping off, those glasses you make you wear, sitting up and spitting all over yourself, not knowing which button rinses it, heaving yourself up out of the chair after the big chain gets caught in your hair, then walking around with a lopsided grin.

Yesterday afternoon I had to take Suzanne in for an eye exam, in the Walmart vision department. That means we take a little trip around the store. You can always find good things in Walmart. They sell beef brisket for $2.96 a pound. We're having on this weekend, mmm.

Our house is all decorated for autumn now. It's been downright chilly here, but today is going to be warm and humid, we're getting an Indian summer, is it still okay to say that? Some of my kids had NEVER heard that phrase!

Oh well...Anne will be here soon, and off we go...

Monday, September 9, 2019

just lovely...

I was the driver on Saturday for our wine tour. We took it nice and slow. At one winery, there were loaves of fresh baked bread from a bakery in Skaneateles, and the girls enjoyed some while taking a break from tasting. I fasted for most of the day, then imbibed in some cajun trail mix in the early afternoon, yum.

We took a long walk at Taughannock Falls.

Ahh, getting to the Airbnb is always fun! We decided to order pizza and wings for dinner, and I had a slice and some wings, as well as a glass or two of wine. We watched The Glass Castle, which is based on a memoir of a girl raised in a poor family. They moved about the country trying to evade and avoid CPS. It was though provoking and provided us endless conversation fodder.

Yesterday, on the way home, we stopped at a few more wineries on Cayuga Lake. Abigail drove, so I got to taste a few things.

It was nice to get home. It's nice to be away, and nice to get back home.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

the grass IS always greener....

Today, I am going on an adventure!!! It's a grand one, we're heading down toward Ithaca, you know, where Cornell University is. But we're not going to college, we're going wine tasting! Cayuga Lake has some amazing wineries, and Ithaca is down at the foot of the lake. We're staying at an Airbnb tonight there. I am driving, which is totally fine with me. I can have a glass or two tonight when we get to our place, and still buy a few bottles upon recommendation from Emily, Abigail, Mirielle, or our friend Anna.

These little wine tours are really fun, because when you have a stressful life, what's better than learning more about wine, tasting it, laughing about ridiculous things, and having a whole day away from the usual? Emily(my oldest) is now a Nurse Practitioner, in a doctors' office, and sees patients day in, day out, with a huge variety of ailments. She is challenged, saddened, and spread thin. Abigail(second oldest) is an accountant, and also does bookwork on the side, is ALWAYS busy. She is a high-strung girl, always has been, and it's SO nice to see her relax and have some fun. Mirielle (4th child, after Benjamin in the line up) is a specialty nurse, working in Oncology, so we know that's no picnic. It's sad. There's no way around it, cancer is sad. Anna is finishing up college, and is engaged to a very nice guy. :)

So the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, because after we got this all planned, the 50+ group of our friends from church is having a gathering! All of my friends! Without me! Paul is even going.

Now, one cannot be in two places at once, and in addition, I volunteered to be the driver for the wine girls today, so I'm not leaving them high and dry. But it's a teeny bit hard.

But on the other hand, I can't even begin to deny the bubbles of excitement on having such a carefree day with three of my daughters, and Anna. Just the fact that my older girls don't mind hanging with their mom. It's like a dream come true, isn't it?

I also feel a bit guilty because I made a vet appointment for Sunny, the earliest she could be seen is this afternoon. So Paul has to take her. I told him if he can't, he's welcome to reschedule. See how I took that little item off of my plate and scooped it right onto his? It left behind a small helping of guilt, believe me.

You cannot possibly be a mom of 16 and suffer no guilt, warranted or not. The two little girls, Miss Charlotte Claire and Miss Camille Anaya, successfully completed the first four days of school, and have their cousin Danielle here for a sleepover. (The coffee table is moved to the side, they danced like crazy in here last night!). They are to be here with Evelyn Joy and Sonja Kathleen, because Paul is taking Jonathan fishing this fine morning. I feel a bit bad I won't be here today, too, but they'll have fun without me. Evelyn is 20 years old, and can drive them to do fun things if they want.

Anyway, they'll be fine, but I still feel bad. Camille told me the other day that I have to stop feeling bad for everyone about everything. It's true.

And, a few pics...(yesterday, I brought Anne to the library)

Friday, September 6, 2019

just checkin' in...

It's getting downright chilly in the mornings, and with the excitement of going back to school dwindling, the girls are a bit more sluggish in the morning. They have a little bit of homework each night, and with packing lunches and picking out clothes and taking showers, their free time is not what it used to be.

Anne will be here in a few minutes, it'll be just her and I today. It's Jonathan's last day of work though, yay!

Anne with Sunny. She bugs the life out of the doggies, but they don't mind too much. The worst they do is get up and move. Anne thinks they like to read stories with her.

I miss Kathryn already.

Suzanne with Kap, the other day. It's not fair to be so far away from your little girl when she's pregnant.

Today is a blank slate. I know it will include play dough, coloring, and going outside to play in the play houses, the trampoline, the swing in the front yard, and with the toys on the deck. There will be stories read, and we'll listen to a few songs on my phone. Yesterday, we turned on ballet music and danced on the deck. So we won't be bored.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

what will THIS day bring?

You just never know, so keep your hair clean, ladies! You might end up in the E.R. unexpectedly! And I know, I know, having dirty hair isn't the worst of your concerns if that happens, but shh, what if it's mine? I am a firm believer that if you want to be treated respectably, you need to dress respectable. But anyway, on the last night Kathryn and Darius were here, Kathryn started having some heavy duty pain. I won't get into the details, but it was serious, so, I took her to the Emergency Room.

The final diagnosis was kidney stones, very painful. But the pain comes in waves, starting in the back and radiating to the front, she had to be checked and monitored to rule out preterm labor, as she is 27 weeks pregnant. Thankfully this was not the case! She had to spend the night in the hospital, but I came home and her husband spent the night up there with her.

She was able to leave yesterday and her flight home was okay, although she texted from Washington D.C., her layover, and was having some pain again. We all prayed for her, that her flight from there to Oregon would be bearable. She will see her doctor out there, of course, but I'm glad she made it home relatively uneventfully.

So lots of the kids were here for a cook out that evening, but honestly, I didn't mind just being with Kathryn. It's torture for me that she lives so far away.

Yesterday we drove them to the airport. Afterward, we went to Target, Suzanne, Anne, and I. We needed important things, like vegetable stock, so the girls could make homemade ramen. I got some canned pumpkin, and cake mix, did you know you can make the most moist and delicious pumpkin muffins with just those two items? Yes, one 15 ounce can, one box of yellow cake mix, and some cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. That's it. The cake mix was a dollar, and the pumpkin 91 cents a can. I won't eat those muffins (and it'll nearly kill me), but I do want to try pumpkin chaffles. Have you heard of chaffles? I have not tried them yet, but it's a waffle made with cheese, almond flour, egg...look it up. You can make them sweet or savory, so I am looking forward to trying the pumpkin kind.

Anyway, Suzanne and I decided to get an iced coffee from the Starbucks in Target for the way home, and while I was putting too much cream in them, my phone rang. It was Camille. She sounded like she was trying not to cry, she had missed the bus. Her last period teacher kept them after the announcements, made them sit there until they were all quiet, then her locker wouldn't open. She got out to the bus circle just as her bus was driving away. So there I was, twenty+ minutes away...poor Cam.

Five years homeschooling, and as I told them, you walk into public school and check your rights at the door. You are subject to arbitrary rules and the whims of teachers and administrators. No matter if you yourself are well behaved, everyone must walk quietly in line, and and and. But rules and regulations don't change surly and disrespectful children. The states can throw more money into the school districts, and change and update policies, but if those kids aren't taught basic morals at home, then it's all just putting bandaids on the issues.

Overall, the girls like school so far.

Miss Sonja K. is in a very unique program this year! She will be going to the high school only a few days a week for gym class, then to the hospital in the small city, for class room instruction, and to experience actual medical procedures. She will get to see babies born, and surgeries. It's for kids going into the medical field, and they will be taking college English, and a few other classes. Hopefully this will help Sonja get into the Physician's Assistant program, which requires a certain number of hours of experience. It's a Professional Studies Program, which integrates classes and actual work environment of the career area. She is very excited to be a part of it!

And this fine morning, I have to call the vet because Sunny's ear is bothering her. I hope to get an appointment in the afternoon after school so the girls can give me a hand with her. Never a dull moment, I tell you.

So that's all I have to say this morning. Oh, I got my book in the mail, and read it cover to cover already: The Complete Guide to Fasting, Jason Fung MD, Jimmy Moore. I highly recommend it. :)

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

some morning mom-guilt...

Sonja, a senior in high school, Miss Charlotte Claire and Miss Camille Anaya, 8th and 7th grades.

Now, when you send your kindergartener off to school on the first day, you might worry that you didn't prepare her properly. Does she know how to open her own cheese stick? Will she have to use the bathroom while the teacher is talking? What if the other kids don't like her?

Now imagine sending a few girls who haven't had a first day of school since 1st and 2nd grade! Are they behind? Will they figure out their schedule? Can they get their lockers open? Do they realize that they have to actually HURRY to get from one class to the next? Will they make friends, or be the "weird homeschooled kids"? Did they bring anything in case it's that time of the month? Did I TEACH THEM ENOUGH?!!!

My heart. My soul. I know, Drama Queen here, but ouchie. I'm going to miss them, too.

Jonathan is still homeschooling, he will finish up high school at home, then go to college. He is very determined and motivated, and hard working.

And today, little Miss Anne is coming over! My little friend, she's almost three now! :)

So I won't be alone, and I won't be bored.

Kathryn and Darius are still in town, they leave tomorrow to fly back to Oregon, wah. This afternoon, however, I will be buying my plane ticket for December. I want to figure it just right to be there for the birth of their baby, their first little baby! He is due on December 2, and I don't want to miss Thanksgiving, nor fly on Black Friday, and that whole weekend is super pricey. Also it gets pricey in December because of Christmas traveling. And I can't stay a month, ha, so I have to chance it that the baby won't be too overdue, or born early.

The house got quiet after Samuel and little grandson Grant left. It seemed so empty without the chatter and pitter-patter. And Sam, he's always good company.

This weekend, yay, I am going on a teeny tiny wine tour with Emily, Abigail, Mirielle, and our friend Anna. I have volunteered to drive. I don't mind. It's fantastic to get out and about with these girls, and to visit the wineries, oh the views! I can have a glass of wine later when we get to our airbnb, we are spending Saturday night, so it's really a nice little getaway.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

...time runs through your fingers like sand...

...and you don't even realize it.
(you have click on pic)
...once upon a time, all these kids lived here in this house with us. Now, seven are married, three of the girls live in a house in town, and Evelyn stays with Margaret and Adrian during the week. Jonathan has worked full time all summer, comes home on weekends. So four daughters left at home full time, six kids here on weekends. It's almost like having twenty dollars left of a huge Christmas bonus. Where did it go? It was so fun while it lasted.

Not that the ones left at home are a mere pittance, ha. I enjoy them even more, because now I KNOW. I know how time runs through your fingers like sand. I know how the days seem slow but the years fly by. I know that the girl going shopping with me after an appointment will have her own life in a few years, too busy to while away the hours with mama. So I try to listen more, talk less, make each excursion as special as I can.

See, I remember when that girl going out and about with me was Emily. Then Abigail. And especially Mirielle. She was a fellow coupon cutter, and we had tons of fun getting lots of good shampoo and razors for almost nothing.

There were a few of the older ones who went through Making Dinner for the Family phases, too. Emily liked to make versions of chicken soup...Mexican once. Mirielle and Aaron would plan and make some good meals, too. They went to college together, with Mali, and if they ever had a day off together, yes, we would go out and about or on a hike or to lunch.

So yes, kids grow up. We all know this. Why does it make me so sad? Paul dragged out a big Tonka truck for grandson Grant to play with, and oh my goodness, Jonny once delighted in that truck. I saw a pic of Jon at the beach the other day, taken just six years ago, when he was nine years old, not a care in the world, burying himself in the sand. Seeing the smaller, unformed version of the full-grown man/teenager he's become, in such a short

Oh, and I don't think I was actually as unorganized as I always thought I was. Seeing Samuel try to keep track of Grant's sippy cup and the baby wipes, his shoes, and his keys and phone...well, that was multiplied by ! for me, and well, no wonder it was challenging!

BTW, Sam is a really good daddy. He would come home from drill, and Grant would do that thing that small children seem to do, which is sort of punish the parent for leaving them all day...he did this by not letting Sam out of his sight, whining for things, ect. He was not like that for me during the day, he was happy and well adjusted. Even though he thrived with me, he still was afraid his dad was going to leave him again once Sam got home, and heaven forbid Sam went down the hall to the bathroom.

Anyway. Can we talk about weight loss? As you all know, I've been struggling with this for YEARS. For many years, I did nothing at all to lose weight. I figured I was hopeless, it seemed insurmountable. I gave birth seventeen times, had a few miscarriages, and well, morning sickness equaled carb consumption for me. I was tired for 25 years, and hardly ever got naps, so a stack of cookies and a cup of coffee did the trick. I ate Cheerios (with sugar), or oatmeal before bed with some of the pregnancies, because I always felt sick and always craved carbs. If living on bagels and cereal made one thin, I would be the thinnest. Except for the ice cream and the chocolate.

So we all know WHY I was fat. Then, when Cam was like two, I went in for a check up, because I had acid reflux so bad, the over the counter meds weren't working anymore...and my blood pressure was creeping up. Prilosec was the doc's answer. I went home and googled the heck out of it, decided it wasn't doing anything but masking the problem, and decided to change my life.

I lost seventy pounds. Menopause happened, and I started worked like magic, the debilitating hot flashes went away. Then I strayed from Keto, still dieted, but the weight started creeping back on, little by little. I worked so hard, lost a few, gained a few, and up and up the scale went, whittling my weight loss down...

So a few months ago, I tried again in earnest. I started intermittent fasting. First, I skipped brekky and stopped with all snacking, not even one grape between meals. Then I realized it wasn't that hard to skip lunch too. One meal a day (OMAD).

I lost sixteen pounds. Then Norway, I did stick to this most of the time, but had some chocolate, an ice cream, a whole bag of Smash on the plane (chocolate covered Bugles!).

Anyway. I am still down sixteen pounds, which isn't bad. It's good. It's slow, but I don't get shaky anymore. I don't have that "I have to eat or I'll kill someone" feeling anymore. I eat mostly Keto, no sugar, no bread...but I did have an ear of fresh corn last night, and one small salt potato with this last night:

No, I didn't eat all of it!

I do drink coffee during the day, and am trying to drink it black until the afternoon, then I'll have a cup with half and half, when it's almost time for dinner.

But, Friday night, some of us went out for ice cream. Normally I just pay and am fine with not having any (this statement is a huge lie. I do pay, but I am not FINE, ha!). But Friday night, I decided that I had been really good lately, and it was close enough to my eating window, an ice cream would not kill me. Plus, the guy in front of me ordered a maple walnut in a waffle cone, and that thing was HUGE. So after the kids ordered, I ordered a SMALL pumpkin pie ice cream cone.

This ice cream was not small. It was two huge scoops, plus the cone was filled, not one of those skimpy ice-cream-on-top-of-the-cone rip-offs. It was pleasantly fragrant, pieces of pie crust immersed throughout the ice cream, it was good. But. I felt absolutely horrible afterward. No, not guilty horrible, physically horrible. I felt nauseous. So this is a good thing. I don't want to feel like that ever. ever. ever. again.

If I ever want ice cream badly, I will request a tiny baby cone.

And if you know me at all, this is a mammoth change.

I have always been all about Bigger is Better, when it comes to ice cream.

Anyway. Yesterday I did have brekky. It's okay to change it up a bit sometimes. Paul made scrambled eggs. He diced the green peppers and red onions into tiny cubes, and carmelized them in butter before adding the eggs, which he whipped up with cream. We had some sausages, too.

So I have committed to do intermittent fasting, mostly Keto, until Christmas. No quitting, even if the results seem bleak. I will take a few breaks for wine tastings though...because after all, time runs through your fingers like sand, and you DO have to live.