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

Thursday, April 30, 2020

sixteen years ago today....

...there was a beautiful baby boy, born into a family SO excited to meet him, they could scarcely believe he had really arrived. Mama had lost a baby boy at seven months, June 16 the year this new baby boy, Mama was actually in disbelief, until he cried...and announced his...alive-ness. I'm serious here, when you hold a tiny, perfect baby, a baby who ISN'T breathing, a perfect little guy, all wrapped in the familiar striped hospital blanket, and then have to say goodbye, and visit that baby in the cemetery, well...your trust that a pregnancy will produce an actual crying, breathing baby...well, it's just not something you ever take for granted again. So when Jonathan made his entrance into this world, he was the loudest crier, and he cried for the first hour of life...I didn't have a name yet. All babies are blessings, and all of mine, I've received with thankfulness, straight from God, straight from heaven, but oh dear, can you just imagine how much of a blessing little Jonny was, right from the very start?

He's been a sweetheart all of his life.

With Lydia, with Elise, with Wulf...what a good Uncle Jonny!

With newborn Achilles, and newborn Ophelia...

With Paul, and with me...

(with Abigail and me...and with Paul and Emily)
Jonathan liked his brownies, with peanut butter (melted in the microwave, with some powdered sugar, and brown sugar) swirled in before baking. Camille made peanut butter buttercream frosting, and we bought chocolate ice cream. His gifts: a new phone case, some good coffee, a nice water bottle,(Emily) the expansion pack for The Settlers of Catan, a new x-box controller (thank you Sam!), and gifts from Evelyn: more coffee (Starbucks expresso), a nice coffee mug, and a silly one too.

We had his favorite: hot sausage with peppers and onions, onion rings, tater tots, and a huge tossed salad. I'm not sure salad is his favorite, but anyway. It has been a cozy evening, as it pours rain outside. There are candles lit, and we're happy.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

hmm, what shall we do today?

The girls made cake pops yesterday...vanilla cake, homemade buttercream frosting, then dipped in white chocolate. I had the great idea to put them in the empty egg cartons as they dipped them...:). And no, I did not eat one.

We went for a walk the other night...Paul lets the dogs off leash for a bit, on an uninhabited part of the road...

Yesterday was supposed to be sunny and warm. Well, it was neither. Since the clouds refused to move the heck out of the way for the sun, it was just that coolish, 50+ degree day, which was okay to be out in, but just a hint away from being gorgeous. I wanted sunshine on my skin, darn it!

Spring time in central NY state, I guess.

We "need" a new gas grill, as the old one is all rusted through. Is it worth it to spend a little more, or just plan to replace it in two years again? We use it so much, winter time too. I don't know. It is a luxury, isn't it?

The dryer if fixed, but it still stops frequently. So in you go to the laundry room, open it up, close it again, place the black electrical tape across the door to help it stay firmly closed, turn it on again, and sometimes, most of the time, it works fine. I had to really stop myself from grumping about it this morning, and be thankful that we have one.

The kids are not up yet, probably awake in their beds...I have to admit, I am feeling like this whole thing is getting old, but I am not going to give in to that feeling. As the mom here, I acknowledge that like it or not, I do set the tone here. What good will it do if I give in and cry, and feel sorry for myself? Honestly, I do feel a bit sorry for the kids. Sonja is a senior in high school. She is in this excellent program where she went to the hospital every day, witnessed procedures and learned about different medical specialties, first hand. She misses it, misses her friends. I know she is one in several million across the world who is in the same boat, but I still feel bad for her. It's the old, "Just because other people are suffering, that doesn't negate one single person's suffering." (I just made that up).

In the big scheme of things, there is no cause to "feel sorry" for Sonja. She has a loving family, a warm home, plenty of good, hearty meals, siblings to "lockdown" with...and she is being a great sport about everything. But, she is turning 18 years old on Sunday, none of her older siblings, or her friends, will be able to come over to celebrate. Again, just like everyone else in the entire world. But still, right?

Jonathan turns 16 tomorrow. We'll make his favorite dinner, hot sausage with peppers and onions. Then, peanut butter fudge brownies with peanut butter frosting. I have one gift for him, and yeah, I do feel a bit bad for him. He has been trying to get his four wheeler working lately, I wish I could just go buy him one that works, but that ain't happening, ha.

Miss Charlotte Claire turns 14 next week...maybe we'll order food out or something...curbside pick up. :)

The bottom line is that I want my kids to have a good life, but apparently we all need a good shaking up, and we KNOW that tribulation produces perseverance...(Romans 5). Our faith needs to be tried by fire.

So maybe I'll look through my paint stash and decide on a color to paint the laundry room door. Maybe I'll drag the sewing machine out and make some more masks.

My daughter Emily is heading to Buffalo this Sunday for a six week stint in the ICU, Covid patients. She has made herself available for NYC, Boston, ect., but hasn't been needed. She was actually offered a position in NYC, but it was rescinded because they don't really need more right now. I don't love it, but she has been adamant that she would help where needed, sort of like when war breaks out and all the young men line up to join, they want to do their part.

Have a really good day...are all doing okay? I do have concern about a blogger named Tracy, she writes has 14 kids, she was writing every day, and the last day she posted, she wasn't feeling was March 23rd. She had a cough, ect. Now she hasn't updated, so I've been praying for her...anyone know anything?

Are all of you doing okay?

Monday, April 27, 2020

going for a drive...

We live north of the Finger Lakes, and our last ride was around the whole of Owasco Lake. This time we headed to Cayuga Lake. We drove by the state park, and by the beautiful houses on the water. We drove by the smashed up businesses that the local Native Americans disputed, one group destroying a small store/gas station, a day care center, and a school house, a cannery, miniature golf, and several cottages. What a mess. We drove to a creamery, where the ice cream is home made. We waited outside, got our ice cream, and got back in the van with it.

We stopped at our favorite winery, thought maybe we could get just one bottle of Cayuga Lake Diamond, but...


So we stopped at a different one. You call them from the parking lot, pay on the phone, and they bring it out and set it down on the sidewalk. It felt like a drug deal. But we have two bottles of lovely local wine.

It was a nice day for a ride, rainy and chilly, but it's cleared up, so we took our evening walk. Then dinner: nachos, taco salad....yum.

Sonja and I did the grocery shopping early this morning. We went into Wegmans for chicken, burger, seltzer. Then Aldi for some veggies, tortilla chips, fresh salsa, bacon, orange juice. It's still so strange to go into the stores and have everyone in masks. I think it's worse, they don't tend to maintain a 6 foot distance, it's like with masks, they feel less vulnerable.

We use our hand sanitizer, and our disinfectant wipes: wipe down our phones, our glasses, our steering wheel, door handles, shopping cart handles. It's all we can do, right? And pray. We pray for our leaders, and for our friends and the old people and the sick. We pray for mercy and wisdom and that we can be long-suffering and humble. And we use our time wisely, to get oil in our lamps, and to bless, and to learn.

Friday, April 24, 2020

country roads...take me home...

Emily and me...
The whole place closed, except for the restrooms and the drive through...

We just look so...suspicious!

We drove to Virginia to bring Samuel back home.

We got to see little Grant, he was so glad his daddy was back home! Sam is back home, safe and sound.

We stayed for half hour or so, and hit the road again, for the almost four hundred miles back home hotel this time, no sightseeing, no wandering around D.C., no Smithsonian, no Arlington. No, just back home.

We stopped at Dunkin for an afternoon caffeine fix, then ate some Wendy's food...a salad for me, a chicken sandwich for Emily, who was driving.

It's weird out there, on the road, these days. There's very little traffic, and masks are required everywhere. Driving by empty malls and stores just seems so apocalyptic. Dystopian. Stephen King-ish.

Sixteen hours for all that driving, now I'm home and tired. And that was my road trip.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

a thankless job...but thank you!

Molly gave me permission to use this pic of her. She has had some busy days, working on a Covid floor. Just the though of wearing all of that gear make claustrophobic. I would have a panic attack for sure.

As a mom of four nurses, one now an NP, but still, she was in the ICU for ten years...I know a a few stories. Stories about no lunch breaks, over worked and under staffed, sad stories, stories of harassment, disrespect, and exhaustion. I've always been proud of my nurse kids, but now more than ever. They would absolutely KILL me if I put those hero signs in their yards, but this is MY blog, so I can praise them here if I want to, ha.

We went for a nice cold evening walk, Abigail and me. We're looking forward to some nicer weather, on Saturday. But tomorrow, I am actually going on a road trip, but shh, don't tell anyone...I'll take lots of pics.

everything and nothing, same old same old...

This fine morning, shh, we had to go get some groceries. Now, I made myself a mask:

(it does go over my nose, this was after I took it off)

It has a special little inside pocket with a piece of pipe cleaner in it, to mold it to my nose, so as to keep my glasses from fogging up. Now, I have bifocals, which I cannot adjust to. So I wear readers, and my normal is to take them off and on, or to look over the top of them. I can't wear them low enough on my nose to look over top of them with the mask on, and don't want to keep touching them to take them off and on when in the store, so I have to take someone with me who can actually see small things, someone like...Sonja K. She went with me into the store, and my glasses stayed safely in my pocket.

We only needed a few things. There was toilet paper there, but we didn't need any, so we didn't get any. Bananas, bagels, peanut butter...peanut butter though, 18 ounce jars of Peter Pan, one dollar each! Yes, I got...ten. Yes, ten. There is nothing in this world like a spoonful of fresh, crunchy, peanut butter.

Anyway. At the risk of incurring the wrath of commentators who believe in total lockdown, shhh, we also went into Target. I believe in social distancing, but also in keeping the economy afloat. We split up in the store, Miss Char went with me, Miss Cam went with Sonja K. They each found a little something they wanted (a dress and a top from the clearance rack, some nail polish). I got some good coffee (Peet's medium roast, the fruity blend!), a bag of frozen mixed berries, some dog chow, and some cute pajamas for little Lydia, Grant, Wulf.

Essentials? Well, what in this world is essential? Is it an individual thing, what is considered essential? I don't know. But we sure did have a good time, going out and about. Starbucks drive through on the way home, their iced coffee with heavy cream, yum.

Riding in the van is always a good place for good conversations. None of them have service on their phones, their phones are all old hand-me-downs, so when we are out and about with no Wi-Fi, they can't use them. So it's a great time to talk, ha. We talked about end of life conversions, how Jesus will welcome one to heaven, but how much better it is to use your life, from a young age, to be faithful and gather oil, get wisdom, be faithful. We talked about Miss Suzanne, living in California, how much we miss her. The ride home was almost too short.

They had school work to do once we got home, and I face-timed with Kathryn and little Achilles.

Samuel is ready to go back home to Virginia, and shh, again, Emily and I will be driving him home, probably. There are risks in flying, risks in driving, but he needs to get back home...we'll see. Bye for now.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

snowy day in spring...

This fine morning, well below freezing, cold and windy and looking like Elsa and Anna were out in the yard, I decided we didn't need another pic of snow. Plus, shh, I was too lazy. But I did turn around and take one FROM my chair, out the front window...

It was one of those wake-up-early-and-sit-in-the-chair days. I washed up a few dishes, swept and mopped the floor, and puttered around...between sitting in my chair, answering questions, talking to the kids, making bacon and eggs, then some Ezekial raisin toast, more coffee...and sitting back in my chair.

There is butter chicken in the crock pot, asparagus all washed and cut and ready to steam, and naan bread dough rising in the oven, all parceled out to flatten and fry up in the panini maker. I've never made it before, but one night Emily had us over for dinner and made butter chicken, served with naan bread. You know me, I don't really eat bread, but oh dear, much to my despair, I tried some, and mmmm. I was going to make some Keto stuff for me, but in every recipe I looked at, there was something or other I don't have, so I decided the world isn't going to end if I just have some of the real stuff tonight.

Camille and I did a tiny bit of online shopping yesterday, why is it so much fun? I ordered some sweet baby things for Kathryn and Darius' little Achilles, and earned $20 in Old Navy cash. Cam and I found things on sale and got 3 dresses and a shirt for $34 with tax. Then today we picked out a birthday gift for Joseph, some shiny, glittery nail polish for her, and a surprise for Miss Char's birthday.

Did you know that four of my kids have birthdays in a 16 day span, starting with Jonathan on April 30th? Sonja comes next, then Miss Charlotte Claire, then Joseph on May 16th. Jon, poor Jon...he was counting the DAYS until he turned 16, so he could get his driving permit! He has been obsessed with cars and driving since he was a mere little tot. He was quite small when he insisted we call him Dodge. He drove everywhere we went, from his car seat. If he didn't have his toy steering wheel, he used what he had, a fast food cup lid, even a nickel, one time. He would turn that wheel every time I turned, he liked his car seat placed where he could see me driving.

But alas, here in New York state, in this strange time we are living in, the motor vehicle department is closed.

Something about quarantine birthdays makes me want to get them huge-0 gifts, as if I can make up for all that they are missing out on.

Ah well...time to go make that naan bread...

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

a campfire solves everything...

Abigail and me.

The kids have been suggesting and talking about having a fire on the deck, for weeks now. Here in New York state, the weather is taking it's sweet time warming up. We'll have one dry day with a bit of sunshine, followed by rain and sometimes snow. This week, snow is flying around, mixing with the rain, with chilly dark cozy wind. But last night, it was clear, and chilly, and we finally had our fire.

The kids had s'mores, and marshmallows. We covered up with blankets and solved the world's problems.

So today is cold and dark, and life goes on. Abigail is at work, she is an accountant at a food distributor, so therefore essential. Evelyn is also at work, she works at a construction place that installs and maintains furnaces, etc., doing the paperwork, receptionist, ect. Paul is working from home, the other kids homeschooling. We have to bring our truck in to be fixed, the brakes are gone. The dryer stopped working, too. Go buy a new one? Not a chance. Paul takes things apart and orders parts. Who knows how long it will take to get a new part. I washed some clothes yesterday, thinking to hang them out, but forgot, so they're just hanging in the laundry room.

It's snowing out like crazy right now, seriously. Windy, with thunder, a bit of hail, and now snow.

Ah well...things to do. We've organized the drawers, but there are still some messy cupboards we can go through and fix up...

Monday, April 20, 2020

law abidin' citizens...

Evelyn needed oil for her car, and a new wiper blade. So we left bright and early this fine morning, and went into Wegmans, too. Bananas, burger, milk, half and half, some ginger seltzer, you know, the non-essential essentials.

She stopped at the auto store, then to Wallyworld we went. The heavy whipping cream there is half the price it is in Wegmans. We followed the little arrows on the floor, which wouldn't be necessary if people used their brains, but even WITH the arrows, um...we were walking down the aisle, following the green direction arrows, and a lady turned into the aisle, going the wrong way, passing within a foot of me, so I said, "You're going the wrong way." I said it quietly, and kindly, and it was still way beyond my personal comfort zone. She, bless her soul, replied, "Oh, sorry, you're right!" I was glad I said it, with no hard feelings, instead of harrumph-ing and thinking bad thought about her. It's just a new way of thinking, I guess, this social distancing.

The masks don't really help, in my humble opinion, they possibly make things worse, because everyone touches them, adjusts them, feels more confident wearing them, when it seems that keeping a distance from each other would help more, but what do I know?

I just wear them because we're supposed to. As one of our dear friends once said, "I'm sitting down because I'm supposed to, but I'm standing up inside!"

No, I didn't buy it.

What?! Clearance Easter candy is essential!

I cannot believe how much candy there still is in Walmart. It's usually decimated, this long after. It was 75% off. So we have some put away.

It's a lovely day in the neighborhood, sunny and cold, but it'll hit 50 this afternoon. We'll shiver, but oh the sun...!