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, May 31, 2021

so much thankfulness for the land of the free and the home of the brave....

 Oh what a blessing to live in such a wonderful country!  I was telling Samuel and Jonathan today about going to Normandy when we went to France a few years back.  We had one completely free day, and Paul asked what I wanted to do.  We could go to Paris....Paris!  Who doesn't want to go to Paris?!  Or, we could go to...Normandy.  Well, as soon as I had this thought:  I will go to Normandy, it's the least I can do, to honor all the mothers who weren't able to visit their sons' final resting places.....there was no Paris for me.  (We drove through it, and flew into and out of it, spent one night there in the airport hotel, and no, it's not really experiencing the city, but.). 

What a day it is for us, to be thankful for those who fought so we can be free.

We had a good weekend, I enjoyed having Sam and Grant here.  

Two of my patriotic kids, Jon and Sam.

Grant and Wulf...cousins.

Raindrops on roses...from the other day, in our garden.
Miss Evelyn Joy...
Suri and Sunny, so cute.
Mr. Grant, keeping busy.

Paul and I went to Bass Pro shop today, he needed some fishing stuff.  I just gazed at these fish swimming around while he chose what he needed, because, boring!

We went to the greenhouses and chose some plants:  tomatoes, grape tomatoes, spaghetti squash, summer squash, butternut squash...we planted radish seeds too, and two blueberry bushes, just Paul and I.  Sonja, Jon, Charlotte Claire, and Camille went to help Margaret and Adrian move into their house.  (Sam and I helped them a bit last night, to clean up the floors after they had installed new flooring...Sam watched the kids!  He brought baby Tennyson, Wulf, and Grant to the playground.).  Sam and Grant had to leave today for the long ride back to Virginia.  The girls came home from helping Margaret, and are at a picnic at Emily, Abigail, and Mariel's house.  Jon went to his friends' house.  So it's just the two of us.  Suzanne came over for a bit today.  Molly and little Ophelia also came over for a little while.

Dinner:  Paul grilled some steaks from our part-of-a-cow, oh mmm they were good, lots of salt and coarse ground pepper.  I made some simple salads to eat with them, with some fresh strawberries.  

The pool has been misbehaving, leaking!  We think it's the filter, and Paul figured out a way to outsmart it, we hope.  It's not a good time to have pool problems, the parts are harder to find.  Wait, it's NEVER a good time for pool problems.  It's never a good time for any trials, good thing we aren't in charge ha.

Samuel is coming up again from Virginia, on Wednesday, for an Army drill weekend.  We will only see him in the evenings, but it'll be nice!  They are going to have a new baby sister for little Grant in August, can't wait to meet her.

The school year is winding down, and we are very excited for summertime....

Friday, May 28, 2021

"C" is for cookie, that's good enough for me!

Cookie, cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C!  (Cookie Monster, Sesame Street U.S.A.)

 Before I put those chocolate chips in, I always make on tray with just sprinkles, for Camille.  Why someone wouldn't want chocolate chips in a chocolate chip cookie is beyond me, but hey, when you're the baby of the family, with sixteen kids, well, you have your little dislikes.  

I like making cookies.  It's relaxing.  If you've ever baked cookies with 8 or ten or 12, or 16 kids underfoot, then you can imagine how peaceful it is to do it all alone in the kitchen.  I find myself telling the dogs (THE DOGS!), watch out, I'm opening the oven door, careful, this tray is hot...

I'm not saying it was awful to bake when I was knee-high in small children, but it had it's challenges.  If a nursing baby is hungry, you stop to feed that baby.  There may be diaper changes, children who need to be wiped, helped with hand washing, perhaps someone thinks it's a good time to dump the box of cereal, or even a few of them get together and dump ALL of the boxes of cereal.  Phones ring, fights break out, maybe someone even gets sick at school, meaning all kids at home have to be presentable enough to go bye bye in the van, and get out and go to nurses' office, to sign out sick child.  Once a few of the boys were little and playing house with their sisters, and someone at school needed picking up, those boys were in sundresses.  These days I'd get a nod of approval, ha, but of course I had to change them before bringing them into the school.  

Anyway.  I like baking cookies.  I made a big pasta salad yesterday too, with olives, red onion, cucumber, green pepper, and little tomatoes.  Our cookout was nice, I grilled hot dogs and coneys for everyone, Sonja and Charlotte Claire and Camille helped me set the food out, and clean it up.  

I did get tired though, ugh.  Elise, three years old, asked, "Gramma, why are you walking so slow?"  I'm old, Elise.  I'm not really that old, but sometimes I feel like it, after a busy day...

The girls don't have school today, so we're going on an adventure...if you call Target an adventure ha.  It's nice to go out and about with them, they tend to talk more freely in the car, for some reason.  I could sit here all day, I have a good book (Tana French), and it's a chilly rainy day, and I have coffee....but they're itching to do something...and Sonja is at her friends' house, so it's down to me....

Thursday, May 27, 2021

doing what you like, or liking what you do?!

 Wouldn't we all just like to do what we liked doing!  We tend to gear our lives towards that, but even if you are very successful, there will be things that you do not enjoy.  That is where you can choose to have a good attitude and be thankful, or to be a huge-0 grump-a$$.  

Anyway, this fine morning, I went out to switch on the pool pump, it started purring, then...nothing.  I turned it on and off a few times, nope.  It wasn't turning on.  Oh my heart!  I know I'm a drama queen, especially when it concerns my pool.  I love it too much.  The thoughts came fast:  oh no!   How will we find a used pump when pool supplies are in such demand?  We've got this nice deck, and won't be able to swim in the pool?  oh no!!!  

Turned out it the breaker just had to be switched.  One little button pushed, and it was humming along again.

Today is a baking and cooking day, and a cleaning day.  The couch covers are in the wash, and I've been puttering around doing things.  I started a triple batch of chocolate chip cookies, and oops, we only have 3 cups of flour!  Sonja is out and about with her friends today, so she is picking some up for me.  

I'm making a big pasta salad too.  Tonight, I'll be grilling hot dogs, serving a simple dinner to our friends at church, as we've had a big week of prep for our conference weekend.  There are some new cabin buildings that needed finishing and cleaning, and outdoor furniture sets to be put together.  We've been out there every evening, so tonight there'll be dinner before everyone gets to work.  (all the young people who work get money towards their trips/youth activities) (and it's fun!)

That's a fire pit, amongst the newly planted grass.
Paul washing windows...
Emily, Camille, Char, Amanda, and Sonja...
They're cozy new places to stay for those who travel from other places...
Our friends from Canada can't come here yet, but we're hoping and praying it'll happen one of these days.

As good as new!  Those collision guys know what they're doing, you'd never know there was an accident.

Oooh boy, it's chilly today here in New York State.  Our heat and humidity have been replaced with BRRR.  It's supposed to be sunny and refreshing today, but so far it's just cloudy and cold...a perfect day to bake cookies!  

You know, I try to be real here, on my blog.  Life isn't all sunshine and roses and puppy dogs, because trials are part of life.  Big trials and little the pool filter that ended up being fine, ha.    I don't always feel hoppity skippity, but I work hard on not letting dismal thoughts rule me!  The NO FAIR thoughts, and the WHAT ABOUT ME thoughts.  God has been good to me, should I waste my days complaining?  

Ah well, the dryer has buzzed, there are clothes in the washer, and more waiting to go in.  I have food to make...and another cup of coffee is a MUST today!

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

two sides to every issue....

 ...this is actually really good news, and it should be proclaimed loudly on every news channel:

And no, you can't dismiss this because it's from Fox News, because it isn't.

The reason this is good news is obviously that those who have HAD Covid, do not need to be vaccinated! Medicine is not ONE SIZE FITS ALL!

But we all know that vaccine passports are coming, despite protests that they're not.  I've heard young people say, "I'll just get vaccinated, it'll be easier that way."  Is that how we determine what we want in our bodies?  Convenience, because of peer pressure?  

Sometimes I wish I just believed that the politicians really were concerned for our health.  Gretchen W., such a saint, cares so much about her fellow Michiganites, that she flew by private jet to Florida, then went out for dinner and drinks with a large group of friends - gasp- unmasked!  These things are fine, but when you're not only TELLING others not to do them, you have mandates and laws in place forbidding such things...  

Sorry, totally off on a tangent.  I'll stop.

But one more thing:  Did you ever hear that it's a huge conspiracy theory, a Republican ploy, that the virus is from a lab in Wuhan?  

Back to the vaccine, I am not against it, I love that it makes people feel comfortable, and that with it, life can go on with more normalcy.  I love people, and if it makes people happy, go for it.  I am also pretty convinced that it has stemmed the spread, and that's a good thing.  If the pharmaceutical companies are getting rich too, good for them.  

But, for the LOVE OF GOD, if people don't want/need/desire to be vaccinated, LEAVE THEM ALONE.  It's bad enough that colleges are requiring them.  My Sonja K. HAD Covid, yet had to be vaccinated for college.  

Okay, I'll stop.  

We have too much to be thankful for to waste so much time griping about such things.  Life isn't always fair, but we can rest assured that God causes all things to work together for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  (Rom 8:28)

I am reveling in this spring weather.  It's actually in the high eighties this week, and humid, but a cold front is moving in for the weekend...tomorrow, high 70 and sunny though, I'll take it.  I have not been in our pool yet, because the water is still so cold.  I checked yesterday, and the water temp was under 70.  

I have to leave soon to bring the Jeep back to the rental agency in the small city, Sonja will drive me back home.  I had to bring Jon to get his car inspected this morning, it passed!  He replaced the rear brakes, then last night the front ones, I guess he did it right if it passed inspection.

School is winding down for the year, soon I'll have a few kids around me during the day again, and we'll go on adventures.  We do have a summer Bucket List, but I'll tell you, it's a far cry from when I had ten, twelve, fifteen, sixteen kids here in the summer.  

Every day, we'd do our morning cleaning before we could go out to the pool, and then there were the spontaneous beach much work to get there!  Then when it was time to leave, ugh.  I always passed out cold drinks for the ride home, after we got all hot and sweaty packing up and loading the van...back then, there were strollers and the playpen, an umbrella, the coolers and chairs and blankets and much stuff!  Then home, and it all had to be unloaded and put away.  I was always a day late and a dollar short, but we did have fun! I go!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

a post, of course!


Hello, ello, ello, o, o, o....yes, it's echo--y in this mall!  So sad!  All the stores closing, and getting spooky and haunted!  Sears was down at the end behind me, I used to love going to Sears...

Old Navy is still open, Bath and Body works, and Claires, and Dick's Sporting Goods.

Sonja and I went today, didn't get much, but I wanted a print dress, a loose and flowy and floral dress, from Old Navy, the kind that cover a multitude of sins, ha.  No such luck, but I did get some things for some grandkids, and Sonja found a few things.

We went to Price Chopper after, because:  cherries!  They're back, it's cherry season!  They were $2.49 a pound, and, well, they aren't that sweet, but still pretty good.

My car is done!  I did have to pay $400 of the $500 deductible, but it's done, and it's beautiful, you cannot even tell it was smashed.  Tomorrow, the rental Jeep goes back.  

Tonight's activity club:  playing in boxes with doors and windows cut out, and painting them.

We also played on the play ground, and colored with chalk...
Anne learned to jump off this step by herself, she was thrilled!
The girls were delighted by a little golf cart ride!  Both of the little boys were absent tonight, Wulf is busy moving, they are moving into a house this week.
I stole this pic of him:
And sweet Achilles, double cousins with Wulf, because two of my girls are married to two brothers...

Too bad they live hundreds and hundreds of miles apart!

It has been a day!  I don't know where it slipped away to, but I am super thankful for it, it was beautiful.  Dinner was taco salad, but a hot dog and Mac&cheese for Lydia, and some strawberries and cherries.  She LOVES cherries, she said a few times.  I drove her home from activity club, she sang me songs and we had to play I spy with my little eye...  She is such a live wire, a chatterbox.  

Monday, May 24, 2021

random, for a change!


Suri likes to lie around on the deck and keep an eye on things.
Sunny is more likely to follow me back inside.  She can open the door by herself though, and let herself back in.
Orange Guy is a hunter.  He had a chipmunk the other day, NO, leave those alone, but if you see a cute little mouse, please pounce!

It's almost time to put away the fake tulips, and get out something more summery...(I do love fake flowers, I'm an old lady!)
I like real ones too...

Anya is such a good writer!  
And, she writes such nice things!

Elise is getting there, too!  She's such a Me-Too little sister, it's good that Anya is such a good girl, because Elise is copying everything!

Some chocolate chip cookies yesterday afternoon, and the sprinkle ones with no chips for Cam.   Yes, when you're the youngest of sixteen, you are a little bit spoiled.

After the barbecue yesterday afternoon, the kids had a few friends over, so yeah, I made cookies.  It was a cool, cloudy afternoon, spitting a little rain, so they played board games.  I made some popcorn, stovetop in coconut oil, mmm.  Then they were STILL hungry, so I made them a tray of pulled pork nachos...I had brought home some leftover pulled pork, so it was easy peasy.

The weekend went well.  
Emily and Camille, my oldest and my youngest...
Miss Charlotte Claire...she didn't mind cooking the peppers and onions, she just didn't like mom taking her pic.
Slicing those peppers...
Irene and Sonja K. grilling the chicken...
Miss Grace, and Carmen, and the brownies I made for dessert.  (Grace is my sister's oldest grandchild, I was there when she was born, she is very precious...and she is Valedictorian this year!)

And this was just funny...

Today is a beautiful day, warm and sunny.  I've swept and washed dishes, watered the flowers, turned on the pool filter, have laundry in...I've got to clean up and vacuum the guest room and wash bedding, Sam and Grace and little Grant are coming this weekend!  

This afternoon, I am picking Camille up from school early for an orthopedic appointment for her knee.  She has been working hard exercising to strengthen it, hoping to avoid surgery!

It's going to be a busy week, as we are having a soccer tournament/gathering at church this weekend, so the evenings will be full of things to do to get ready.   It's nice to be busy, I do appreciate my down time, but being with my friends is golden.  A disclaimer though:  I do NOT have a lot of energy.  I go at a slow pace, and take breaks.  I simply do what I can do, give what I can, because then there is blessing.  
"Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,"
Says the Lord of hosts,
"If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it."  Malachi 3:10

Ah well....too much to do to sit here, but oh my, what a comfy chair...

Saturday, May 22, 2021

actually, I DO work!

 Yesterday was day two of shopping for this weekend...a weekend where 60-70 people get together to work at our church conference center (maintenance, ect.).  I also had to get the food for Sunday's barbecue, for about 60 people.  

Brekky served this morning:  breakfast sandwiches with eggs, cheese, sausage on an English muffin.

Lunch:  grilled marinated chicken tortillas with peppers, onions, toppings, and chips.

Afternoon snack:  apples, cookies, drinks

Dinner:  burgers and hot dogs, French fries, watermelon.

Dessert:  brownies & whipped cream

Tomorrow morning:  scrambled eggs, bagels, yogurt, bananas, oranges

Barbecue:  pulled pork, homemade Mac&cheese (courtesy of Mariel!), hot dogs, watermelon, chips, ice cream cones...

Last evening, and Thursday evening, we assembled furniture, as our church has built some new cabins.  Each set comes in a big box, includes a loveseat, two chairs, and a table. Once you get going, it's not too bad...actually, we had tons of fun.

Miss Camille, and youngest and my oldest.
Sonja K.

It was hot, working.  It climbed to over 90, and here in New York, we have humidity...ugh.

This is when I picked the girls up from school, and took them for ice cream.  No pics of them with their cones, sorry!

I am supposed to be leaving soon to go help with the lunch, and the dinner, but ahh, I'm dragging this morning.  It's not like I've been sitting in this chair all morning, either.  I got the pool filter going, and I put away dishes, washed some more, vacuumed...the dog hair around here is ridiculous, as they shed.  Suri was a bad dog when we were outside, she found...a snake.  She loves playing with them, and that usually results in one dead snake.  I do not like snakes, I don't even like the word SNAKE, but ugh, you don't just kill them.  

Now I have to go back out there and clean the pool filter before I go, and I know there are snakes slithering around...blah.

Jonathan put new brakes on his car last evening.  He ordered them online, and did them all by himself, with my great nephew William, who is 12, here "helping".  Will has been watching videos of brake changes to learn how to help, because he wants to learn how to do these things.  I love it.    It took hours, and Jon was pretty greasy and messy, and hot, but he did it!  He took the car for a drive after, and they worked, those new brakes!  

 Will was here with us for dinner last night, some chicken tenders I had marinated in lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, and grilled, with some random toppings and fajitas...we're on a fajita roll, with this warm grilling weather. (The chicken was half off in Aldi, so I couldn't pass it up!)

Time to get moving again...