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

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

drawing a blank...

 The day was warm, windy, sunny, but not really warm...rather coolish, in the wind.  But the sun was brilliant, not a cloud in the sky.  

Sweeping, mopping, washing bedding, filling the sand box.( I carried TWO fifty pound bags of sand up those deck at a time, ha.)..we had some visitors out on the deck today, little Wulf and baby Tennyson, with Margaret and Evelyn.  Evelyn made chicken wraps with the girls, then butterscotch lattes.

Paul, oh dear, he seemed a bit better, but had to take two naps today.  He is just exhausted.  One of my RN daughters, who has worked on a Covid floor, said that as long as he's breathing all right, and is eating and sleeping okay, he just needs to rest and recuperate.  It's disheartening.  I thought he was improving,  it really is one step forward and two steps back.  

I'll tell you this:  it's easy to count your blessings when you are feeling it.  But when your very soul is hurting, and the strong, responsible man in your life is blah and quiet, and just tired...well, then you really need to fight! "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places..."Ephesians 6:12.    Yes, I do trust that God causes all things to work together for my good, but that knowledge is not the same is being tried.   It's easy to say, but then for it to be true, for it to be true in my life, I need difficulties.

Anyone can be happy when the sun shines, right?  

There is such rest in giving it all to God, but that doesn't mean it's easy, it doesn't mean my heart doesn't hurt.  And when "bad" things happen, it doesn't mean that God doesn't love us.  It's the very time for us to prove our trust in Him.

In other news, there isn't much going on.  We're getting a boatload of snow on Thursday, seriously, 6 - 10 inches!  Happy April Fool's Day to us!

Monday, March 29, 2021

well now we KNOW it's Covid-19....

 Paul seems a bit better this morning, but:  he cannot smell anything.  He asked me if the soap he washed his hands with had a scent, and yes, it has a very nice lemony scent, but he cannot smell it.  

He's so cute, even when he's sick.  Orange Guy, on the back of the couch!   It seems like one step forward, two steps back.  (this was yesterday).  This morning, he's at work, from home, of course.

The animals are all lazy today, they must have Covid too.

I made new cushion covers for the kitchen stools over the weekend.  I love the fabric, it's Waverly, and was marked down at Walmart because the wrapping was ripped, so it was $6.88 for two yards, which was just enough for three cushion covers.  (the pillows were a red print before, one red buffalo check)


The empty baskets:  I cannot wait to fill them with treats!  I love filling Easter baskets...the five smaller ones are for the older grandkids, except for Grant, who lives in Virginia.  Tennyson is too small, and Achilles is out in Oregon, so only five baskets.   I put them in the large bin/basket so the kitty would stop napping in it.

Last night's dinner:  chicken breasts, cut into smaller pieces, marinated all day in lime juice, salt and pepper...dredged in flour, dipped in egg, then breadcrumbs, placed on a well (olive) oiled pan lined with parchment paper (prevents sticking, you don't lose the yummy part!), baked in a 400 degree oven, flipped over during the process to make sure the whole pieces of chicken are crunchy...this is basically oven fried chicken breast, and it's amazing with a salad.
Salad:  spinach, lettuces, shredded cabbage/carrots (so sweet and crunchy!), cucumbers, chopped tomatoes, radishes, red onion, mandarin oranges, strawberries, dried cranberries, homemade toasted pecans (one egg white, a splash of cinnamon, some sugar (1/4 c), 1 cup of pecans, stir together...make a bowl shape out of foil, melt a few tablespoons of butter in the air fryer, the add the pecan mix...air fry on 300, for 3-4 minute increments, stirring every few minutes.  They make the salad so good!  I would add some ground red pepper if we had that...

Ah, Monday...I've got bedding in the wash, and in the exciting!  Miss Char and Miss Cam are on break this is cold and windy, tomorrow warm and 60...then by Thursday, snow again!  Welcome to spring in central NY!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

sunday...dark, rainy...and home.


The dogs don't care what day of the week it is, no sir.  Just give them a comfy couch, and they're set.

Paul is still sick.  He sleeps and sleeps then is still tired, it is just so out of the ordinary for him.  The girls are fine and well and back to normal...

I did get an invite to go to California next week, but I can't leave Paul when he's of these days he'll get up in the morning and feel better...

Friday, March 26, 2021

what can I possibly say?

 Today, I decided to get the sewing machine out again.  I don't quite have a sewing room yet, although I could set one up in one of the empty bedrooms.  Instead, I store the machine and all the sewing stuff in the bench in my room, and bring it out to the kitchen table.  Today,  decided to line the metal bin/basket/container we keep seltzers and drinks in, so we can use it as our family Easter basket.  (I am going to fill some baskets for the grandkids, because I love filling baskets).  Then the kids here can share a big basket...but Mr. Kitty, Orange Guy, hopped right in as soon as I finished making it..

Yeah, so I'm going to have to wash that before I put candy in it...

Today was Tiki Marsala day, with naan bread...

Yeah, some of them got a wee bit dark, oops.  After the second rise, I flatten the little pieces of dough, brush them with olive oil and garlic, and put them in the panini maker for a few minutes.  I was sautéing a pan of shredded cabbage at the same time.

Emily just stopped by, wearing an N95 you'll be glad to know.   She wanted to check on Paul, as he is still quite sick.  He was back in bed today, mid morning, and I was very worried.  It just isn't like him, and it's been over ten days since he started feeling lousy.  She brought him some nasal stuff, and just wanted to see if he seemed to be breathing all right.  She works with a pulmonary doctor now, seeing patients in the clinic, and at the hospital.  It's nice, oh so nice, to have your own doctor in the family ha, even if she's a Nurse Practitioner.    She thought he seemed okay, there isn't much that can be done, this thing has to run it's course.  

Then there are these two:

Lazier than the day is long, as my mother would say.

Just for the record, the comment section gets a bit spicy sometimes, a little heated, and please please don't let that stop you from leaving one!  I sincerely welcome different points of view.  I am programmed that way because duh, I have teenagers.  I've had teenagers under my roof for over 23 years in a row now, a constant flow of them..same play, different actors ha...teenagers can't help it, they are obstinate, strong, and everything that is remotely cool is something that mom couldn't possibly understand.  Some of them lie in wait, for mom to fall into the argument trap.  So along the way, I've learned just a little bit, to listen and keep my mouth shut, to respect them and treat them like they're grown up.

Anyway, I am super distracted right now, can you tell from the above paragraph?  I get an idea, and then the dog wants to go out, the kids are in here, Kathryn texted thanking me for her birthday gift, even though shh, it was lame...a gift card, a water bottle, and a water bottle brush/cleaning kit.    So off I go, to text with Kap, and talk to the kids...

Thursday, March 25, 2021

anyone have way too much?

 ...way too much patience, or joy?  Long-suffering, got extras of that?  Are you overflowing with gratitude, so much that perhaps you should be a bit more unthankful?

That's okay, me neither.  But I am working on it!

Here are some good things, in random order:

1.  Cake balls.  These are dipped in white chocolate melted with a 7 ounce Hershey bar, and a bag of mini chocolate chips.  How can they not be good?  The kids had some, then put them in the freezer, oh dear...mmm.


1.  Elise and Anya

2.  Wulf and Tennyson...

(Wulf fixing the walker!)

3.  Lydia and Ophelia

4.  Grant!

5.  Achilles!

6...Jonathan, being such a good Uncle Jonny...

(with Tennyson and Ophelia)

7.  Miss Charlotte Claire and Miss Camille Anaya, being good students...

8.  Me, still alive after some hard work...

Just hauling some old wood from the hot tub base and the old deck it was sitting on, wow, it's gotten hot out, or is it just me?

9.  My sister, Cheryl...
My mother-in-law, Eleanor, made this cross-stitch for Cheryl, isn't it pretty?  And doesn't my sister look good?  Can you believe that she has Covid-19?  Well she does.  You could never tell by looking at her!  She tested positive over a week ago, so her quarantine will be ending soon.  She did get sick, but not bedridden, or hospital sick.  She had one dose of the vaccine, and this proves to me that it DOES help lessen the symptoms.  Cheryl is in remission for breast cancer, and has some other health issues, lots of them, including really bad, lifelong, asthma.  We always thought that this virus would be the end for her, so she has been careful.  She's not walking in the park with it, but she's doing all right.  As she says, with all of her issues she never feels great anyway, ha, so it's hard to tell.  Anyway, I am super thankful for her!

10.  Today.  Today was sunny and warm and summery, a very beautiful day.  

Is my life ideal?  Nah.  If I go down the I wish road, I'd find plenty things to want.  I could list twice as many things here to be unthankful for, easily.  There are times and seasons, different times of testings and trials, and it's totally up to us how we want to take things.    (Just look at my sister!).  So in essence, my life IS ideal!

I am looking forward to spending time with those grandkids again, and seeing all of my older kids, and going out and about, of course. 

I am also weighing and measuring and wondering and pondering whether to get the vaccine, now that it's available to my age bracket here in New York State.  I cannot get it until my Q ends anyway, so I have time to consider.  One thought:  if I've lived in this house with two positive kids, and Paul who tested negative then proceeded to get very sick, so most likely a positive, then..?.my California nurse son says to get it, just for the peace of mind.  My nurse daughters are adamant that it's my choice, and no one should be forced into it.   There are numbers to consider, and there's herd immunity, and there's the possibility to travel more freely with it, but it's still putting garbage-io in the body.  

Ah well.  It's now dinner time.  Last night we had lime-juice marinated pork chops, roasted in the oven, with red skinned mashed potatoes, baked green beans with butter and those little French onions on the top.  Cam's having  leftovers of that tonight, and the rest of us are having taco salad...

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

rainy, cloudy, cozy...and stuck in the house!

 Okay, it isn't funny anymore, let me out!  We're in a vehicle desert here too, only the one car running, my nice new car.  Miss Sonja K. had classes and work all day, so the driveway is actually empty.  Our minivan is in the shop, needs work, and an inspection, and as you all know, the truck died a gruesome death, and has been towed away to be picked apart by parts vultures, or maybe compacted up and...?  

We can neither vehicle shop, nor rent a car, which would be covered under our insurance, because we cannot leave the house, so we wouldn't have anywhere to go anyway.

It's strangely comforting, while being slightly unsettling.

Jonathan accidentally called nine-one-one this afternoon, so if I have to drop my computer and run to answer the door while looking totally not guilty, that's why.  I didn't do anything wrong, but cops make me feel like I probably did.  My main reason for not wanting to get arrested EVER is that my hands don't really reach each other behind my back, and handcuffs would hurt really bad.  I watched the video of the 60 yr old lady in Texas, going into the Bank of America without gasp!, you aren't going to believe the audacity, but without a MASK.  She just wanted to withdraw some money, she said.  A police officer was not having it, nor hearing it, he tried to herd her out of the bank, she just wanted to withdraw her money.  No offense to anyone, but just watching this video made it obvious to me that this poor woman wasn't dealing a whole deck, she was slightly addled, or maybe just upset and rambling, I don't know.  But I do know that she was ungently lowered to that bank floor, and that poor woman was handcuffed, then told to get up.  Now, can we just stop right here for a minute?  If I were lying on a floor, and was told to get up, it would take me a few just to figure out how exactly to do it...I would get up on my knees, I think, but to do that with my hands behind my back?  What am I, a magician?  I couldn't do that!  I've often thought of that as I watched "Cops!", if they held a gun to my head and said, get up, I would have to tell them to go ahead and shoot, because it's not happening.

That was a long tangent, but anyway, Jonathan did accidentally call that number, hung up, was called back by the emergency call center, to confirm it all was okay, but sometimes they send a car out anyway.  So we're behaving ourselves just in case the cops come.  Jon said, "Mom, you do know you are crazy, right?", as I told them if the police come, don't mention we are quarantined, because then if we go for a walk...

Anyway, it's not the first time it's happened, one of the girls called 911 when she was little, and when the cop came, he asked to talk to the child who made the call.  He sternly told her it was not funny, and that poor child, with her mouth turned down, waiting for the chastisement to end and that officer to leave, so she could run down to her room and cry.  

Once Camille called 911 when she was a baby playing with the phone.  I don't for the life of me know how she could have done that, but I was probably doing something really important like writing on my blog.  I quick got the kids dressed and took them out for a walk, and it worked!  The officer drove by, stopped and asked who I was and if I was all right, phew.  See, the house was a mess, and I was NO WAY inviting the police in.

Just some rain, but oh that grass is getting green!

Anyone know what this is?  It's a cake!  I made it today, so the girls could make cake balls!  They crumble it up when it cools down, mix in a can of chocolate frosting, and make balls...put them in the freezer.  In a little while, we'll melt some chocolate, and they'll dip them, and I'll drool all over, but no, not for me, I cannot.  I already know they taste good, I don't need to try them just to make sure.

So, I made a pie for ME.  The crust:  melted butter with a dash of coconut flour and almond flour, and toasted pecans.  The filling:  heavy cream with a box of no sugar pudding mix, mixed with cream cheese vanilla, and a dash of fake sweetener.  Topping:  berries.

Sonja is home now, it was weird to have her gone, after all these days of us being home together.  She is off quarantine, and doesn't have to be Covid tested for at least 90 days.

Ah well, I'm looking forward to eating the pie, and watching the girls make their cake balls...and yes, I'll share my pie.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

my life's story...and my tenth child is 23!

 Can you imagine if you inherited just a small amount of money, and decided to splurge on something totally unnecessary?  Imagine you had over a dozen kids, and rarely bought anything for yourself (okay, who am I kidding, I had strollers and prams galore!).  So you spend over three thousand dollars, all at once, on a brand-spankin-new hot tub.   Oh the glorious nights spent out under the stars, the fall evenings, and the falling snow...from when the younger kids had to wear floats in it...then it had issues, got fixed, had the cover replaced (six hundred bucks!), had more issues...then, imagine you had a new roof installed on your house, a nice metal roof, which sheds built up snow in mini, no-warning avalanches.  Imagine your non working hot tub, in the direct path of the avalanches...knowing it would cost big bucks to fix, and it needed another new cover.

Long story short, the hot tub is a goner, it is toast.  It has met it's end, and it wasn't pretty.  

This is after Jon and Char removed all the nice wood panels.
Jon was sawing and removing the motor, Charlotte Claire using the axe to knock out the supporting posts.
Jonathan used the sawz-all to cut it into four pieces...
There, that looks better!  Not really.  Those pieces need to be chopped or cut smaller, so we can bring them to the dump.  I know, it's sad, and it's a waste.  We could have had someone come get it, possibly, but it had many issues.  (Sunny thought the whole event was quite interesting).

The little deck it was on is all rotted, so we will be taking that apart, hopefully tomorrow.  Then, grass seed will be planted, and our yard will look a little more normal.

Well, as normal as a yard can look with a teenage boy who works on four wheelers...this one obviously has no tires on it at this time.

This one isn't running right now, either.  Jon is staying busy in his quarantine, but he usually works on the four wheelers at his friend's garage, where the tools are...

Anyway, I admit to being sad, saying goodbye to the hot tub, but also relieved to take back the yard.  It's been such an eyesore, and a breeding ground for mosquitoes, too.  I had to put bleach into it every few weeks, as it was never really empty, because of rain.  

I don't regret buying the hot tub, we did enjoy the heck out of it when it was running.  Maybe someday I'll win the lottery and get an endless pool for downstairs...

Today, Miss Kappy Sue, Kathryn Grace, turned 23.  She's a married mama now, lives in Oregon, and they're expecting #2 in June, a baby sister for little Achilles, aka Kiwi.
She's so pretty!
Kathryn, Suzanne, Margaret, Suzanne, Charlotte Claire, Evelyn, with Camille in front.
Sam and Mariel, with Kathryn and Evelyn
Kathryn and Evelyn
Kap with baby Kiwi
Cousin Becky, Kathryn, Emily
Kathryn, Evelyn, Sonja, Suzanne
Kathryn with Achilles and Darius..

When Kap was born, I had one of those horrible headaches afterwards, where you feel like you are going to throw up.  It got really bad.  Paul had come up with the older nine kids, my goodness, Emily was all of 13, and the oldest of ten kids!  Anyway, he left, and my headache got so bad...I finally pushed the call button and asked for something, and for someone to take the baby.  Okay, they said, but no one came...after a long time, I pushed that button and asked again...they were very busy, but would get to me soon.  Finally, a nurse came in, and by then I was sitting there holding newborn Kathryn Grace, and crying my eyes out, my head hurt so badly.  I got my acetaminophen, and the nurse took baby Kap, and as she wheeled that bassinet out into the hallway, I heard her tell another nurse, "I don't know what she's going to do when she gets home.  TEN KIDS."  I cried even harder, because honestly, I didn't know either.

But obviously I survived, and Kathryn has been the biggest blessing.  She's all grown up now, and she's my friend.  I just finished Face-timing with her and little Kiwi...they were outside, and he was going straight for the only mud puddle in the driveway, fun times.  So she brought him in the house, and he came walking out of the kitchen, dragging the base of the blender by the cord, like a pull toy.  Good thing he's so cute, ha.

Paul is feeling a little bit better than yesterday, so that's good.  You read about people taking a turn for the worst, and it's a bit tense, seeing how it all plays out.  He also doesn't say much, he isn't a complainer.  Sonja is doing better, her quarantine ended and she actually went to class today.  She has gotten her taste and smell back, for the most part.  Charlotte Claire feels a lot better too, but she went for a run with Jonathan, and felt really winded afterward.  I told her that might not be the best idea right now, to go running...

Everyone is busy doing their own thing right now, the house is quiet.  At least I got rid of that dratted ticking clock, I really did.  I bought a new one, for like five bucks, and took the batteries out of the ticker.  It was too annoying, and it seemed to shout, "Your life is quiet now!  The minutes are ticking away!"  I did not like it.  :)

Monday, March 22, 2021

sunshine, coffee, and hope...

 Sunshine...I do love the umbrella sky, when there's nary a cloud to pass in front of the sun to shiver us up as the temps are in the very low sixties.  We were actually too hot on the deck yesterday!  Oh, the things we can find to complain about, right?

Sunny days are nice, so refreshing and hopeful after a long cold snowy winter.  But to be truthful, I won't mind when the cloudy rainy weather comes, as it certainly will, along with at least a few more snowy days.  Cloudy weather, rainy days, are perfectly cozy, and I would not want to live in a climate with too much sunshine, partly because then I wouldn't appreciate the sunny days as much as I do.

Blah blah blah about the weather, right?  Central New Yorkers are known for their weather-plaining.  Too hot, too cold, have you ever seen this much snow?  We're also famous for driving with the car windows down when it hits forty degrees, and wearing shorts as soon as the sun comes out, snow on the ground or not.  

There's still a good bit of ice on that pool cover...

So Joy asked about coffee, the French Press...well, Jonathan makes his that way every morning, takes that thing with him on trips.  It's also from Target, a Bodem, I think.  I think a few grounds are par for the course, but I'll check with him on that.  I use the pour over, just a plastic Melita pour over, with a coffee filter in it.  Our electric kettle has died, so we're back to the stove top kettle until the new electric is delivered.  Anyway, put two scoops of coffee in, pour on some hot water, let it soak in for a bit, then then continue to pour that water over the coffee, letting it drip into the cup...mmmm.  Fresher and cleaner tasting than from a coffee pot.

Now, onto the third item from the title, hope.  (sometimes I write titles, then the blog has nothing to do with the title, I'd be fired if I were ever hired!).  Spring time symbolizes hope, whether you believe in God, or not.  I just want to say that in the midst of hoping for better days, we can stumble right past the moments that are now.  I have always had a fascination with the concept of now, the present.  I remember being little, and sitting on the scratchy brown plaid couch at home, looking down at the arm of that couch, and thinking, THIS is NOW.   I remember sitting on the floor reading the comics, perhaps using Silly Putty to copy Marmaduke or Family Circle, while the radio played, "....bye, bye, Miss American Pie...", and thinking, THIS is NOW.    We can't hold onto it, time slips and meanders and flies, and none of are guaranteed tomorrow, but we all have now.  So...let's make the most of it!