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

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

what is WRONG with me?!

I just can't do a thing with my hair these days! This pic is ridiculous!
Okay, that's better, it was the glasses! I have paint-y hands, from yesterday. Today I couldn't move to the next step, which was taking things down from the walls and spackling...nope. I watched Davian and Anne today. They are so hilarious. We colored and play-dough-ed, and played with cars. The day flew by. Miss Camille...she hurt her leg on Saturday playing laser tag, popped the old knee out, and back in, it's sore and swollen. I made an appointment for the same orthopedic dr. who did Sonja's two knee surgeries...poor Camille. I hope that knee stays in there... Paul is working late tonight, from home, and the kids are all at a Halloween gathering.(that's why I dug this wig out, but no one wanted it for their costume!) So here I am. I certainly don't mind the quiet. For dinner, I browned up fresh sausages with red onions, added some vodka pasta sauce, and served it with spaghetti squash, mmm. Dessert was two 60 calorie, no sugar added, frozen fudge bars, and a spoonful of peanut butter. The evenings are the most difficult when you're trying to avoid eating garbage, or overeating anything. Chewing gum or having hot tea helps... Anyway. Life is good.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

did I actually forget to blog?

I didn't forget to vote though! I almost failed the test though, filling in the little bubbles, didn't fill one in all the way, and my ballot slid right back out, beep beep beep. No, everyone, do NOT look over here at the lady who made the voting machine reject a ballot! I fixed it right up, slid it back in, and yay, I voted! It's crazy, because I'm always doing something like that, and it makes me not want to do things. Last time I voted, I inserted the paper the wrong way. Home, so cozy and cuddly, but, I didn't sit around being cozy today. I painted the ceiling in our bathroom. That sounds simlple, but can YOU stand on a chair in the shower without killing yourself? Well, I did not die, obviously, but there was a minute when I realized it was easier to get up on that chair than to get down, with the soap dish on the ledge, and the shower maybe being slippery, and a cup of paint in one hand and a paintbrush in the other... I sorted through drawers and threw things away, the bathroom is all clean, ready for tomorrow: painting. So I threw away some travel sized shampoos and lotions, old bobby pins, stray tampons and pads, and...would you believe: instructions for a pregnancy test? I haven't taken one of those in YEARS. Our last pregnancy was 9 years ago, which sadly we lost after seeing that little heartbeat... Anyway. I sorted through clothes too, you wouldn't believe how many clothes I have, yet I wear the same things all the time. Dinner tonight: burgers! Do I feel like cooking? Of course not!

Monday, October 26, 2020


As you probably know, I am a mom of 16. That's a lot of kids. It was a lot of pregnancies (there were a few losses too, and one little stillborn). So it's been busy through the years. Now there are only four kids at home, but also four pets. Two beautiful Labradors, and two kitties. On Saturday morning, Paul got up before the sun rose, to go hunting. He let the pups outside quick, and well, they got tangled with a skunk, and yeah, they got sprayed. He didn't go hunting, he gave two pups a bath. They've had three baths so far, with baking soda and dishwashing liquid and peroxide. The furniture covers have been washed, the floors mopped with bleach, we've burned wax warmers and turned on diffusers. It just smells faintly of skunk in here. I have a super sniffer, I can detect the faintest of odors, and it's driving me batty. Anyway. As soon as I finished washing dishes and putting things away and sat down in my comfy chair with my coffee this morning, THIS GUY starts meowing frantically to get in. I get up, with a tiny sigh, okay a huge one, and let His Magesty soon as the door opens, he walks every so slowly, I guess that's why they call the modeling walk the "cat walk". In no hurry, he slinks in the door, already purring and begging for food and fresh water. I no sooner sit down and he's begging to go back out.
My girls went off and had lots of fun this weekend, they played laser tag and went go-carting. Camille fell and twisted her knee, it popped out of joint and went back in. Benjamin had to give piggy back ride, but she didn't want to come home. She stayed there for bubble tea and fun with her friends. It's a bit swollen and she needs to see an orthopedic dr., dang it. Miss Margaret has had some health issues come up, and since it's her story to tell and not mine, I'll leave it at that, but I did watch baby Tennyson and Wulf on Friday. Yesterday, all 12 of the kids who live locally were here to visit! (also 4 spouses and 6 grandchildren). We had crockpot roast and gravy with potatoes and carrots, and oven roasted butternut squash, and roasted asparagus, brussel sprouts and apples. I made two pumpkin pies, and one sugarless pumpkin pie.
Benjamin had a turn holding baby Tennyson. Isn't Ben a handsome guy?
I like this pic, with the tire pump lying there on the floor (Wulf, I blame Wulf! He likes to explore and find things and get them out:)). The three granddaughters eating together with Josh and Molly, and Ashley and Ben and Emily.
Elise (love her red curls!) holding her baby cousin Ophelia, with Wulf, and Molly.
Messy fun. I made these kids some jello jigglers in building block molds. They played with them a bit, ate some bites, it was fun.
Margaret, Sonja, Evelyn, Ben, Jonathan, Emily, Molly...
Lydia playing with the Waffletown blocks.
Evelyn with Tennyson. So I guess things still get a little bit busy around here!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

love love love being grandma!

Baby Tennyson Paul...
...his big brother Wulf...
Anya, cousin Lydia, and Elise.
Lydia's baby sister, Ophelia.
Achilles, our Oregon grandson.
Grant, our Virginia grandson. Being grandma is wonderful. I never understood how grandparents would rave about their grandkids, adding how nice it was to send them home at night. Now, however, I know, ha. You get old and you get tired, and you wonder how in the living heck you ever managed! I had baby Tennyson and little Wulf for a few hours yesterday, and don't get me wrong; rocking a baby is bliss. But getting Wulf to the potty and letting the barking dog in and getting Wulf a drink and changing a diaper and remembering that Wulf should go to the bathroom again...well, wow. I love it, but how exactly did I do it for days and weeks and months and years and...over two decades? hmmm. By the grace of God, that's for sure. Ah well, life is good.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

it just isn't right!

I watched a video this morning of a business owning man in NYC getting a ticket because he had the doors to his restaurant open, on a warm autumn day. Because of new restrictions in "hot spot" areas, these places cannot have customers inside, but only for pick-up. There were absolutely no customers inside, but the inspector was allowed inside, wasn't he? The proprietor was a Jewish man, and I can't help but wonder if they are being targeted on any case, it just isn't right. These days, one cannot speak out about anything without being "canceled". If I agree with Hollywood, then I'm fine, otherwise, I am a racist who doesn't care about old people. I simply don't like to be pegged or pigeonholed. I care about freedom! I don't want to be tracked, traced, or watched. I just want to go about my business, assessing risks and doing what I feel comfortable with. There is so much to learn in life, and if you are only watching news from one source, you are likely getting a distorted view of reality. There are graphs showing the number of deaths in different countries in different years, and guess what? It's not any higher this year than other years. Hunkering down and closing things is NOT helping. Yes, case numbers are rising, and some people are still getting very sick, but doctors and hospitals are dealing with things more efficiently, learning, and there are much better outcomes now than in the beginning. Most people are NOT getting sick, just a positive test. I do understand that there are vulnerable people, who do need to be careful...but we can't just live in fear! I don't pretend to have all the answers, and I have no problems with contrary opinions. I just think truths get buried in political agendas. Local businesses getting fined for masks not worn properly, people being encouraged to report each other in the name of "safety", it's just awful. If YOU don't feel safe, stay home. Isn't that a horrible thing to say? Anyway. I figure I have to get on my soapbox once in a while, because the media portrays conservatives as such outlaws. In reality, I don't want to push my beliefs on anyone, I just want the freedom to have them, and to live according to them. I've swept and mopped and looked around on marketplace for a new sinktop for my bathroom vanity, the blue laminate isn't looking so great anymore. What? When we built this house, it was all the rage! I pondered starting the painting in there today, but I just wasn't feeling it, and wouldn't you know, Wulf called me and asked if he can come visit me! So I'll be making some bacon and eggs, maybe some blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes...Sonja is at class, but the others are doing school work from home and are almost finished...the big bin of Duplos (big, fat Legos!) is out, all ready for Mr. Wulf!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

well that turned out...not too shabby...

This is when we first started painting the room. See those closet doors?
(This is Jonathan's closet, just for reference, the doors are the same)
And, after! I like them so much better!
Autumn is so lovely, even when it's rainy and chilly. Part if it's beauty is that we know how fleeting it is, the starkness will be here...the bare trees, with their dismal forebodings.
They haven't all peaked yet, hopefully the wind won't take them before they're brilliant.
See how I'm behaving myself and posting only pics from home, because I'm quarantinging?
These days we live in can be tedious, boring, stressful, uncertain, scary, or downright terrifying. I am personally more afraid of the strict government controls than of the virus itself. I do not like rules, laws, mandates. But then again, I know for certain that not a sparrow falls to the ground without Him knowing, and that the very hairs of our heads are numbered. All of these things are happening for a reason, and we need to wake up and use our time wisely. We can wish it all away, and not learn a thing, what a waste.
Isn't this cute? Walmart, $12. And no, I didn't get a red cent for saying so. I just finished vacuuming and mopping the floors. Yesterday afternoon, we had Lydia here for a bit. Homemade meatballs, sauce and pasta, spaghetti squash for some of us, mmm. Lydia loves spaghetti. She also likes when Grandma reads to her, and to play with all the little toys I still have. Sonja is off to college, and the kids are doing school work. I'm taking a break, ha.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

paint on my hands...

I forgot the "before" pic, again! We have sliding doors on our bedroom closet, stained hollow core wood. We built our house in 1991, moved in April of 1992. We built big, but cheap. You know, doors by the dozen. Our house is a big rectangle, not much character, but it has more than suited us. When we bought the land, it was like a dream come true. We lived in a mobile home (on a beautiful lot with lots of trees, and a nice playground/swingset), in a small was very nice, we bought the mobile home brand new, it was spiffy. It had three bedrooms, and we fit there fine. We started building when Joseph, our #5, was a newborn, and moved in when he was almost a year old. The house was so big compared to our trailer, I would lie in bed at night and wonder how I woul fill all those rooms and closets. Well, ha. Eight bedrooms. Three bathrooms. A laundry room, a utility room. I cannot complain. Anyway. I decided to paint the closet doors in my room the same Urbane Bronze as the laundry room door. I've got them primed, now just have to paint them. Small, doable project, but so fun. The emergency brake is stuck on my new car. The brake itself isn't stuck, but the warning system came on and won't stop beeping. It has to go into the dealer to get fixed. It's covered by warranty, but oh my goodness, never a dull one. We had some really good stir-fry for dinner last night. Chicken sizzled up in olive oil in frying pans, some spaghetti for those kids who love it with General Tso's on it, cauliflower rice for me, all sauteed in butter, stir-fried veggies, and some spring rolls that we bought frozen and put in the oven. Dinner tonight: I think spaghetti, because I have a spaghetti squash, and some fresh ground beef for meatballs. It's rainy and gloomy and I love it. Sonja is at college today, and Charlotte Claire and Camille are in school. It's too quiet, but shh, I don't really mind!

Monday, October 19, 2020

projects upon projects....and I always forget the "before" pic!

We have a laundry room off of our kitchen, and the door was painted a blue-ish gray which clashed with the kitchen and living room paint was sort of in between them. It was a little sample jar I had gotten for three dollars. It didn't look so bad when the kitchen was yellow, looked better than the original cheap wood grain. You know those hollow-core basic doors. We built our house on a budget. Anyway, I decided to order some Sherwin-Williams Urbane Bronze, because it's the 2021 color of the year, and no, I do not get a penny to say that I like their paint. (I had to buy primer, usually just get a quart at Walmart, but they had 40% off at SW, so I added a quart of the bronze...) And, I painted the laundry room door yesterday without getting that "before" pic. I removed the handle, spray painted it black, painted the door two coats, put the handle back on, and wow. I like it!
Yesterday was a quiet, at home day for me. The girls went out to brunch at their friends' place, and were gone for half the day. I put chuck roast, potatoes, and carrots in the crock pot, and then made a keto pumpkin cake with buttered pecans on top, mmmm. Then, I started looking for a project, and ended up painting the door. I also got out the white enamel and touched up the window and door trim. It's a rainy chilly cozy day today. The trees are lovely!
We did have a few extra over for dinner last evening, Evelyn isn't in the pic.
The house isn't always picture perfect, but these evenings are priceless. Baby Tennyson is so sweet, and Jonathan was on the floor playing with Wulf with his Hess truck collection. My next project, I think, unless I get side-tracked, is our master bathroom. It's tiny, so it'll be easy, right? The old oak vanity shall be painted with the Urbane Bronze, because I like it and I already have it. I'll paint the ceiling, and walls with the paint from my room. So a new faucet and a mirror, and some shelves are on the Home Depot list. I could spray paint the cabinet hardware, or get something cool, depends how much it costs. (I do like spray painting things!)

Sunday, October 18, 2020

what can be sweeter than home sweet home?

Off we went...headed home from Florida. The airlines are in shambles right now, our flights were changed around, canceled, re-instated, then delayed. We were supposed to layover in Boston, but with the delay on the first flight, we would have been stuck there, too late in the evening for any departing flights from there. We made a split second decision to fly into Hartford Connecticut instead, because it's closer to home...Abigail came to the rescue, drove all the way there on a Friday after work, and picked us up. almost 2:30 a.m., but ahhh, my own bed!!!!
Auntie Camille, my own baby, with Margaret and Adrian's little Tennyson Paul. Isn't he so sweet?
Miss Anya Jade turned seven years old!
Darling little Elise, almost three! Anyway, I'm home. I have a project list, which includes catching my bathroom up with my bedroom: ceiling and wall paint, which I already have. I want to paint the vanity, I have primer and paint. I want to replace the ugly medicine cabinet with a mirror, which I do not have yet. We need a few towel racks, and some cute little shelves for the wall, and a new faucet. We REALLY need a whole new sink and vanity, but, define "need", right? I bought a quart of Sherwin Williams "color of the year 2021" paint, urbane bronze, just because. Now I'm itching to paint something...hmm, ,laundry room door? Paul is replacing the broiler element in the oven. I have two chuck roasts, some potatoes, and carrots in the crockpot. I LOVE when I know what dinner will be, bonus when it's already started!!!!! Maybe I'll bake a pie or something when the oven gets put back together...

Thursday, October 15, 2020

bye bye, island in the sun....

From Monday to this morning, this was our view...that's the gulf right out there. We played in those waves, we walked on the powder soft sand. We went in that pool to cool off, to float, to relax. Now we're back at Gramma's house in Zephyrhills. Tomorrow, we leave for Tampa airport, and begin our trip back to New York. This evening, Mariel and I took a little trip to town for ice cream...
We took a long walk around the neighborhood this evening, said hello to all the old people. The Canadians of course aren't down here, nor the Europeans... Ah well, back to home and the crisp air and crunchy leaves...

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

a restaurant on the beach? yes, please.

Sorry for being such a New Yorker, but eating outside on the beach, wowza. It was a warm night, and the sunset was stunning. I wasn't adventurous, no sir, I had a medium well grilled burger, with a fried green tomato slice on top, with bacon, and I didn't eat the bun. mmmm good. We shared a slice of key lime pie afterward, oh dear.
We took a drive around the island, there are some sights to behold. There is money here, that's for sure. We played in the waves in the gulf yesterday, was invigorating, the water is warm, and I felt so good afterwards. Right now I'm having my second cup of coffee, looking out at the pool and the gulf...the sky is sunny, and I'll be putting my swimsuit on soon and slathering on the sunscreen.
We met some people down here, from Indiana, Connecticut, Minnesota...everyone is DONE with all the quarantines and restrictions, but life goes on, and we each have to make choices of how to live. What an interesting time we live in.