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

Monday, August 31, 2020

Monday funday, end of summer wah....

Suri, the best dog name ever, courtesy of Mariel...Suri means "princess". Princess Piggypants, Princess Snugglebum. Tubby Tubster. Bill. Does anyone else have like twenty names for their dog?

Anyway, today I stayed home the whole day, except for driving Jon to work. Wulf came over for the afternoon, his mama is now overdue and had an appointment, and his daddy had his first college class. Wulf was a very good boy, he played with play dough and read some books and played with blocks, and rode his trike. He helped me water the plants, and he hung out with Grampa for a bit.

With butter chicken in the crockpot, and rice measured out in a sauce pan, we decided What The Heck, and made naan bread. We didn't have plain yogurt, so used a different recipe, and it was pretty good. I don't eat bread, but I did taste it, twice, just to make sure it was really that yummy. The dough had to rise twice, then we flattened the little balls of dough, and I stood there slaving over the panini maker.

I didn't want to eat the rice, so I made some cauliflower florets sautéed in butter, and mmmm. Butter chicken with fresh cilantro on the top, while watching Parks and Rec, well, that's a pretty good summer night! (We don't always eat at the table anymore...but we have fun together...)

Tomorrow, we're going to the grocery store bright and early, then, a trip to the beach in the afternoon. Miss Sonja K. has started college, she commutes a few days a week, then the rest is online. Miss Char and Miss Cam went on a tour of their high school today. I waited in the car, parents aren't allowed, which was fine. I've had kids in that high school since 1999.., so...been there done that, ha.

We did go sit on the pool deck for a bit. I ventured into the 71 degree water, cleaned out the leaves gathered in the center, scooped out the bugs, dipped in for a bit, then got out and sat in the sun. Pool season is never long enough.

But I am thankful for the beautiful summer we had. It was truly gorgeous.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

a happy ending!!!!

That Lindt store was open today! Evelyn Joy, Sonja Kathleen, Charlotte Claire, and Camille Anaya went to the mall today, and lo and behold, the store was open! They went in, and bless their hearts, they picked out 78 delicious chocolate pieces, for twenty bucks. It was my credit card, but whatever. They told the ladies in the store about our sad venture the other day, so the ladies gave them all a free sample, and added a few to the bag.

Coconut cream in milk chocolate, citrus, dark chocolate almond, butter pecan, mango, hazelnut...mmmm. I don't actually eat things like this, but I did try a small section of the coconut one, and a taste of milk chocolate orange, mmmmm.

I just like them because WHAT FUN! We had grilled burgers, then after dinner they passed the bag around and chose a few, and really enjoyed them.

The Princess Party was quite fun. Here is Miss Lydia, the birthday princess:

Anya, Elise and Ashley...

Anya, Lydia, Elise...

Adrian with Anne, Elise, Wulf, Anya, Lydia, and Suri-the-dog.

Sonja K. rocking little Ophelia to sleep...

Sunny, Little Miss Sunshine, Princess Lolly...just because...because she's so stinking cute. So cute that
She's so cute we can forgive her for her role in eating this entire buttercream frosted brownie cake. Suri may have eaten it all, but I suspect they both had some, at least I HOPE they shared. It was up on the counter, not high enough, I guess. We left for a bit today, and bam, they partied. It's NOT good for the, we need to remember to put things up higher when we leave...ugh.

Florida this Thursday, yay! I am excited. We are also thinking to go to California soon to see our kids there, and maybe head up to Oregon to see Kathryn and Darius...wouldn't it be nice to have an unlimited travel budget?

Saturday, August 29, 2020

life is just one big party!

Yesterday was Cupcake Day. A double batch of homemade lemon cupcakes...the kind you "zest" the lemons to make. With a glaze of lemon juice and sugar, adding a bit of tartness, to balance Camille's buttercream frosting, which she learned to make from moi, with no recipe. A bit more of this, a bit more of that...and when it's right, you know it.

I also made brownies, to have something for those who would prefer chocolate. Not everyone likes lemon, but Miss Lydia sure does! We also cut up a watermelon, a cantaloupe, and added blueberries and grapes, mixed fresh fruit for tomorrow.

Camille made a batch of homemade bruschetta yesterday, with basil from our plant, and tomatoes from the garden.
We had taco salad last evening, with tomatoes and peppers from the garden. It's satisfying, and so yummy. We don't have a huge garden this year, nor tons of different things. Summer squash is ripening, and there are an abundance of grape tomatoes, which taste like sunshine and summer. There are also some cantaloupe in there, we've never grown those before and they are looking good.

So today is a birthday party, and the weather is not complying. It's supposed to rain and storm, that means all the excited kids will be inside the house! I can't say I love the chaos, but it doesn't bother me too much. I like to see kids having fun, and I really hope they do. Lydia stopped in with her mom last evening to drop off some decorations, and she is so excited she can't stand it.

Did I mention that it's a princess party? We're all supposed to dress up as princesses. I will not be doing that. I will put in a dress, and put my hair up, but I was thinking I should actually just be Cinderella, BEFORE the ball, ha. It's more what I feel like, that's for sure!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

time to blog....

Ah, here I am in my comfy chair, dinner all done and cleaned up: oven roasted pork chops and broccoli, with garden summer squash, fresh steamed beets...mmmm.

Today we decided to do something we haven't done in ages, since maybe February...go to the dreaded mall. We had Davian here visiting, and Margaret and little Wulf too. So we piled into the car, on this fine rainy day.

Isn't the pic of Wulf with Davian just adorable? Wulf was copying Davian, so cute!

One of the stores on my agenda was the Lindt Chocolate store because when I looked at the mall website to see if the carousel was open (it wasn't), there was an ad there, 75 assorted (you pick!) chocolate truffles for twenty bucks. Yes, that is a lot for a bag of chocolate, sounded like so much fun, to choose all the varieties! I am a kid in a candy store when I'm in a candy store!

Well, we finally found the store (all the interactive map kiosks in the mall are turned off, because you wouldn't want to be touching the same surface as the other hundred customers in the was dismally under-occupied...)
Anyway, I interrupt myself too often. We finally found the store...and this note:

" right back.." it said. Well, does that mean in a month? A week? Five minutes? Wulf ran over and started shaking the gate/barrier, it was so funny, like, Let Us In!

We did go to the food court, and the kids had some of that awful food court Chinese food...I just sipped my local Finger Lakes coffee, Canandaigua roast. MMMMM! (I bought some beans to bring home)

We shopped a little, mostly went to get out and walk around. Ms. Margaret is due on Saturday, so it's good for her to walk and to keep busy.

We're having a birthday party here on Saturday, so tomorrow is cupcake day again. Camille is turning into a buttercream frosting expert. I am making lemon cupcakes, she is making the frosting, rainbow style...

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

a minimalist...ha.

I would LIKE to be a minimalist. Or at least a graduate of the Marie Kondo institute, if there were such a thing. I would like people to come into my house and remark on the vast emptiness of the spaces, the sheer lack of clutter. Wow, they would say, you need more stuff!

It isn't likely, at the rate I'm going here. See, yesterday we took a trip to the Rescue Mission drop-off place. I actually parted with a really nice dollhouse, and it almost killed me. I cleaned out the bookshelf and donated our JunieB.Jones collection, as well as many other kids' books. That's hard, too. But maybe other kids will enjoy them now, right? Oh, the cuddle times we had reading those books! I would start out to read a chapter or two, we would end up reading the entire book, because we had to see what happened. I didn't get rid of my Little House books though, they're staying.

After clearing the vehicle of thrift store drop offs, we went INTO the thrift store, to shop. We found a few cute things, and I found these:

Ten new Dr. Seuss books! Just what we needed, ha. I was surprised the girls didn't give me a hard time. I know the grandkids like them, and for a dollar each, well...

Sonja starts community college soon, and has to go in today for orientation for school, and for the part time job she will be working. She'll be a health screener, taking temps and asking questions. I think she'll be excellent at it, as she is headed for a medical career, and has such a bubbly personality. She is a joy to be with.

Summer is winding down, it was 57 degrees when I drove Jon to work this morning. The grass was chilly under my bare feet when I turned on the pool filter, and the filter was full of...leaves. wah. Every year when I start mourning the passing of summer, I remember a book called, "Silly Sidney", about a squirrel who didn't want winter to arrive, so he taped, glued, stapled, tried everything to adhere the leaves to the tree so they wouldn't fall off. My mother used to read it to my kids when they were little, she got a kick out of it. So I think of her when I think of that book too.

Maybe today would be a good day to take Miss Camille to the library. She has been itching to go! I buy books from the thrift store, 49 cents, then donate them back, it's like renting. But she can't find what she wants there.

Ah well...time to get moving...

Tuesday, August 25, 2020 started out as an ordinary day...

...the sun was shining, and the pool shimmering with cool, refreshing promise. Margaret, five days to due date and now on maternity leave, came to visit with little Wulf.

Out to the pool we went, I dipped in and got cooled off while Margaret played in the dirt near the deck with Wulf, with his diggers and shovels. So you know how when you're a mom and you hear someone yell MOM in that tone, that emergency tone? You know, the one where you KNOW something is really wrong, not just a "MOM, she ate my pop tart!", or she took my spot, or she keeps repeating what I say...

So I got out of the pool, intending to sit in the sun, bake dry, and get back in, when I heard Charlotte Claire yelling the dreaded MOM. Then I hear, "Mom, mom, Sonja cut herself, and it's bad, Mom, MOM!!!!"

At the first Mom!, my adrenaline started in, by the time I heard the "cut herself" part, I was ready to faint, because calm cool collected are not my adjectives when it concerns injuries, especially with my kids.

So I go into the house, see Camille, tell her to go get dad, then I tell him to go look at Sonja, because I was saying repeatedly, "I can't do this, I can't do this..."

I slowly made my way to the kitchen while hearing him say that yes, it's bad, she needs to go in, can you take her? Yes, I said, I'll go change.

She was crying. She was upset, he was helping her wrap it up, and comforting her, and I was shaking like a leaf.

Charlotte Claire got dressed and came with us too. We were out the door in record time, and I tell you, we were behind every slow driver in the county. A tractor trailer pulled in front of us from the Thruway entrance, and then another one pulled out in front of us a few miles later. We were going so slowly, and Sonja said, "Are you going as fast as you can, because I feel woozy." Well, I did too, but I felt like if I said that it would scare her, and make it worse, so I started singing every encouraging song I knew..."I thank you for days full of sunshine, for trials of deepest night, I thank you my precious savior, for all things, Thou guidest aright..."and "...let come what may, upon my way, I'll give my life each day..."

It wasn't really that bad, seriously, it was a large gouge between her first finger and her second finger, she was de-pitting an avocado, and the knife slipped. It was a bloody cut, though, and it hurt her, so it hurt me. Of course we sent a picture to Emily, or family doctor, as we tease and call her, although she is an NP, she suggested the urgent care we went to. She said if the tendon was cut, to go to the regular E.R., and ugh, just that phrase, oh dear...but thankfully it wasn't.

While driving to urgent care, I did feel like I was going to faint. It was not fun. We got there and signed her in, and because of Covid, and because Sonja K. is 18 now, she had to go in alone, and that broke my heart a little. When you're a mom, your big kids are still little to you, and it was like the kindergartener getting on the bus and trying to be brave.

Five stitches later, and we were headed back home, after a coffee stop.

I got her some pumpkin donut holes too, because she deserved a treat after going through such a thing.

We decided to go out to lunch, later in the day, a late lunch, at Moe's, a Mexican Chipotle style place, because on Monday's you get a discounted price and a free drink...because I'm still five years old inside, I like the drink machine. You can push the buttons and choose from like fifty varieties, I got ginger lime Diet Coke...I would have liked a shot of 5 calorie Minute Maid lemonade, but that was all out. (When I was little, my mom worked at K-Mart's snack bar, in the back of the store, where you could buy a small soft drink for like 17 cents. (I know, I'm old!). My little brother and I were allowed to get them a few times, and we would mix them all together, I can still remember the taste of root beer and orange and cola...) You get free fresh salsa and fresh hot tortilla chips with every order, too.

We then went into Marshall's, where it's hard not to buy everything for the grandkids. Margaret and Adrian do not know the gender of their baby, so I bought some little pink blankets and outfits, just in case. :). I've been trying to wait, but these were marked down, and so stinking pretty, muslin floral blankets and ruffly flowered onesies! I bought some buffalo plaid fabric napkins to use for decorating for Christmas, and want to go back to get the matching table cloth, as I realized that I can cut it, make a table runner, then make a few pillow covers. I don't care if the buffalo plaid look is in this year or not, I like it, so Christmas-y!!!

It's another beautiful day. We don't have particular plans, but I need to get Jonathan's homeschool curriculum straight, and we haven't been to the library since March. We kind of need groceries, but can get by another day, for sure. We are having a birthday party here this Saturday for Miss Lydia Eleanor, my dear five year old granddaughter....

Monday, August 24, 2020

shh, criminal activity is going to commence...

These days, traveling to another state, especially one on the governor's restricted list is SCARY, and RISKY, and oh no, you're going to get in trouble!!! But. The governor has an aging mother, her name is Mathilda, I believe. He has the money to keep her safe and sound, and no doubt has been able to visit with her freely. (Where he got all of his money is your guess. I have my thoughts, and it ain't from being fair and square...but this is another story, right?)

Paul has an aging mother, too. She just turned 91 years old. She has been a snowbird for years now, coming back to NY to roost for the summers. This past spring, she sold her NY house, because she got tired of the back and forth. She didn't know this virus was coming, she didn't know that visitors would dwindle down to nothing, that her friend that sometimes stays with her wouldn't be able to, that even her next door neighbors down there would be stuck in another state.

She's 91. She is doing well, still drives and lives alone, functions better than I do, most days. But she's lonely. And we miss her. So is it a crime to go visit her? In NY state, the governor has decreed that if you visit any of the states on his POOP list, you will quarantine for 14 days upon return. It is frowned upon to travel to these states, but not forbidden. The director of our county health department read a statement a few weeks ago in an interview, and when mentioning travel by county residents to these restricted places, she made it sound extremely distasteful.

I just hate to see a society so brainwashed that they all believe everything the government tells them. Yes, this virus has been awful. Yes, it has caused pain and suffering. But the real crime is when prisoners...rapists and assaulters and liars and stealers...get released from prisons so they don't get Covid, and nursing home patients are not allowed visitors. Our state technically allows visitors now, but the homes themselves haven't opened to them yet...those poor old people. I know, we have to keep them safe, and I don't have all the answers, but still, it's tear-water tea.

Anyway, we are going to visit Grandma, Paul and I, on Labor Day weekend. We are flying down, renting a car, and staying for a few days. We are both very reasonably certain that we already had this virus, back in March, with dry coughs and aching chests and feeling lousy. So we're very reasonably sure we won't bring any illness to Grandma.

Yesterday was hot (90F!, 32.2c), and sunny! We spent the day going in and out of the pool, Emily, Abigail, Mariel, Evelyn were here. Ben and Ashley came later, Margaret and Adrian came was a good day. I had a brisket in the oven, made a pasta salad and had some local corn on the cob, and watermelon. mmmm. Summer food, yes! Emily took home several fresh tomatoes from our garden and is going to make us some sauce.

(Elise on the balance bike, so cute!)

Some pics of the girls' rafting trip on Saturday, six of my daughters were on the raft. They hit a huge rock and the raft started tipping, it was scary, they said, but such a blast.

Margaret is officially on maternity leave, so she is coming over today with Wulf. She is 39+ weeks along! I think we're going to be in and out of the pool again today.

School is starting soon, Evelyn and Sonja are both going to college this year, not sure what I'm doing....the kids will be doing school virtually three days a week, and Jonathan is homeschooling again, so I won't be alone, nor will I be bored...

Ah well, I guess somebody should clean up a bit around here...

Saturday, August 22, 2020

in the land of lakes!

Lake Ontario today with Paul and the pups! They do not get tired of chasing the stick, but when they start really slowing down, we say bye-bye to the beach.

We brought them home, and ordered some chicken wings...then went to ANOTHER lake, Owasco Lake, for a picnic dinner. (We went to Cayuga Lake yesterday, that runs parallel to Owasco).

An entire day with no kids home...we went in the pool, puttered around in the garden...prepared the brisket for tomorrow, and made a Keto-ish cheese cake with a crunchy peanut butter/butter/almond flour crust and strawberries on yeah, we did basically nothing, but went on our two outings...we're talking about getting a little tiny camper in a few years when the kids grow up some more, ha...

good days....

Our little boating expedition was a roaring success! We had one little moment where the motor stopped running, out in the middle of the lake, but it was because there are two fuel tanks and one doesn't work well, ect., a quick phone call from Paul to his brother, who owns the boat, cleared it all up. What times we live in, right? To the kids, the fact that we can just call from the middle of the lake was normal, to me, still wondrous.

And wondrous is an apt description of the day.

Cayuga Lake is amazing, all of the Finger Lakes are...formed by glaciers, they are long and deep and clear, with excellent grape growing conditions on their hilly shores. There is actually a sandbar in this lake, four feet deep, out in the middle! There were several boats anchored here, and it was really fun!

They all jumped in and swam a few times, but I didn't venture out of the boat, as I knew I wouldn't be able to heave my considerable rump up and over the side to get back in. It was rather hilarious to watch the girls do this, and they are young and in good shape. Oh, how I wished for a ladder! I am definitely a get-in-the-water person! The spray when we drove fast was refreshing though, I have no complaints.

Evelyn turned 21, so we stopped first at a winery. Paul bought ice cream for Sonja K., Charlotte Claire, and Camille, while Evelyn and I went in and picked out a tasting flight. This place packs it all up to go, so we brought ours out onto the boat. The five little cups of wine were color coded, so you could remember what was what, and they gave a cute little wine glass, some crackers, a piece of fudge, chips and salsa, and a bag of fresh popcorn. We shared, of course. And we bought one bottle of bubbly something, a sweetish but yummy one, which we didn't open until we got home...I HAD to take a dip in our pool before starting up with the party...Evelyn joined me, we had a glass of that bubbly, all cooled off and refreshed, before picking some tomatoes from the garden.

Yes, we made fresh salsa for the pulled pork nachos, oh so good!

(Wulf is so cute!)

So this fine morning, my girls got up BEFORE the birds, and went on an exciting adventure, zip lining and white water rafting! A bunch of them met here, so Char and Cam left the pups in their room, so they wouldn't bark their silly heads off when the others pulled into the driveway. Well. Sunny is a very high strung Labrador. She knows how to relax and sleep all day on the couch, but separate her from her humans, and, well, she gets distressed. So the barking and whining started, and I got up, too early for a Saturday, and went to let them out of the girls' room, and that dang dog:

She tried to chew her way out. Oh dear.

Keep Margaret in your prayers, she's due next week...she had a difficult time birthing Wulf, lots of suffering, and now with this virus and more mandates...for instance, if Adrian were to test positive, he couldn't be there at all, so I am her #2, but even if Adrian is fine and tests negative, he cannot leave at all during anything, or he cannot return. Margaret is such a sweet girl, she's working very hard on not being anxious, but prayers are powerful!

We are all so excited that Wulf will be a big brother soon! A tiny little newborn around here again!!!!