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, June 30, 2021

shh, it was too hot at the beach...

 ...and don't you dare take the comma out.  :)

So yeah, we fried alive at the beach, don't you feel sorry for us?  Lake Ontario usually blesses us with some waves to play in, but yesterday the water was like ripply glass.  It was refreshing, but there was nary a breeze on that beach!  We drank our seltzers, and had some cherries and pepperoni, sandwiches for the girls, and we relaxed and watched the goings-on.   One lady had had just about enough out of Alex.  How could she possible do everything herself, she was just ONE PERSON.   There were people who arrived with floats and swim rings, goggles and masks, all hopeful, and I watched as they found out that NY state park beaches don't allow all that fun.  I wondered where these people came from, that they didn't know this already.  

We stopped at the store on the way home because of the 8 piece fried chicken special:  $4.99.  We had to wait six minutes for it to come out of the fryer.  Fried chicken, for five bucks.  Two huge breast pieces, the thighs, the drums, and the wings, mmm.  Hey, I never said it was healthy!  But when it's over 90 degrees, and you've been to the beach, and you have to hurry home to go to the Activity Club party, well, you aren't making dinner!  We also got two pizzas, from Little Cesaers, $6 each.  It was fantastic.  

So weight loss hasn't been going well.  I'll be honest:  I've gained 25 pounds since last summer.    How?  Well, if I knew that, it wouldn't have happened!  I blame some of it on the months the scale needed new batteries, it was freeing, but also...ugh.  A few snacks at night, here and there, some chocolate.  I still don't eat bread or cookies, cupcakes or cake, but the trail mix, well...I had some.  I still mostly eat one meal a day, and am trying to figure things out.  I'm not asking for advice, I just wanted to be honest on here because...well, when I was losing weight, I put it out there, right?  I am NOT giving up, however, no sir, no how.  

The good, the bad, and the ugly, and voila: the clothes I wore to the hardware store.  

Last nights Activity club pool party was a blast!  What's better than swimming with a bunch of kids, then serving them ice cream sundaes?

Miss Lydia...
Anya and Lydia, cousins and besties.

This morning, bright and early, we went to pick up our paint.  The girls chose Alabaster, the color we painted our kitchen cabinets.  We also bought a second gallon, separately so we could use another ten dollar coupon.  Then a quick trip into Aldi for cilantro, fresh salsa, cheese sticks, seltzer, cherries, seltzer...a lady with small children was heading to line at the same time as us, I waved her in front, she was thankful.  I remember what it was like shopping with little ones, they were like ticking time bombs, you need to get through the register before they lose it about something, sometimes. 

I only had teenagers with me, they stomp and slam a little at home, but they're good in the store ha.

We also went into the thrift store, because why not?  Char found shoes and pants, and I found a silver pitcher...

...and an armetale metal...pot...
I thought it would make a good planter, but lo and behold, you can cook in it!  

Our garden is doing well:

Anyway, we got home with the paint, put things away, and started painting!  We did one coat, and a second coat on most of the trim and edging.  We wanted to finish tonight, but the kids all left to go play volleyball.  After painting for a few hours, we went in the pool, floated around and talked about what to make for dinner.  We decided on meatballs, because Camille had chosen a bag of frozen cheese ravioli from the store today.  

Now it's quiet in here again.  Cam didn't go to volleyball, she's in the middle of sketching a picture.  She keeps busy.

Ah well, their room is in shambles, but one more coat of paint, and it'll be so nice.  

Oh, this is the seltzer I bought today:
Le Croix....God bless America!

Tuesday, June 29, 2021


 So now when we last talked, the painting had not begun.  I got into my painting clothes:  a tank top with paint already on it from a previous job, and shorts that I wouldn't wear out of the house if my life depended on it.    Lo and behold, I found myself trouncing off to the hardware store in that outfit.  We could NOT find the roller things.  We had the poles for them, we had a package of new covers, but no rollers.  Char suggested I just hop in the truck and head into town, it would take 15 minutes.  But I just changed into painting clothes, I'd have to change again!  The girls thought I was ridiculous.  They were like, oh mom, who cares, just go.  Now, it was 90 degrees in here, and I really didn't feel like changing, so I went.  It kind of killed me, and I wanted to tell the cashier, "I don't usually dress like this, but..."  But honest to goodness, who really cares?  (um, me, apparently)

Charlotte Claire was smart, she protected her eyes, and looked cute at the same time.

Anyway.  We got that ceiling all finished, it took two hours.  I won't even tell you how hot and sweaty I was, but I will say this:  the pool had never felt so refreshing as it did after that painting job.

The new paint has been ordered, we'll probably pick it up tomorrow, because today, we are going to the BEACH!!!!  I am very happy about that, Lake's where we camped when I was a kid.  We loved it so much up there, my parents bought a camp there when I was ten.   It feels like coming home, when I go there.

Abigail will be here soon, and here I sit, off I go, poor me, to get ready to go to the beach!

Monday, June 28, 2021

well THAT went by too fast...

Speedy weekends these days!  Today, here in the northeast USA, we are hot.  We are humid, and sticky, and sweaty hot.  We do not have air conditioning here, except for a window unit in Jon's room.  We do have a few windows units we could install, but then we hang a curtain at the hallway, and have to keep all the windows's nice and refreshing, but we must gain some sort of satisfaction in toughing it out. We DO have a pool, too.  You feel all cool and fresh for like ten seconds after getting out.

Camille painted this in art class.
Fire Lillies in the garden box...
The pool is so clear and clean, and getting so warm, in this hot weather.  

Charlotte Claire and Camille Anaya are painting their room.  The ceiling in there hasn't been painted probably since we built the house, and we moved in back in 1992.  So when they started in on upgrading their room, I jumped right on that.  I am going to help them, of course.  We'll paint the ceiling, then they get to buy the wall paint.  Sadly, I am hooked on expensive paint.  All the rooms I've painted through the years, and now I know that Sherwin Williams is such good stuff, and no, I'm not getting a red cent to say so.  I just like it.  When they have their sales, it's not exorbitantly expensive.  Now, I used to just go to Lowe's or Walmart even, and get paint.  But when I painted my kitchen cabinets, I wanted something really good and durable, so I went with their Emerald  I painted my bedroom with it, and it goes on so smoothly.  Love covers a multitude of sins, so does this paint.  It is 25% off right now, and they have a ten dollar off fifty coupon, so....

They want to paint the walls white.  To me, white is an apartment color.  I don't see the fascination with it these days.  But I'm letting them choose, because it'll be nice to upgrade the room.  I did let Joe paint a room dark brown once....

The years go by, slowly, then faster, then you realize you're getting close to the end of the ride, and things like paint colors are just tiny little drops in the ocean of life.  If we'd realized at the start how quickly the years would actually pass, we would have let so many more things go...  Those older kids of mine don't quite need me anymore.  That's the point, I push them into that upright position, then they walk away.  It's how it's supposed to be.  They still call me and ask me how much spaghetti to make, and if a fever is normal with teething, and thankfully they still like to visit and hang out with me, but day to day life...they're good.  

The chaos and the hubbub and the busyness have all faded away, now we have four kids at home.  To some people, wow, four kids!  To us, it's way too quiet.  

Anyway, it's nice on the weekends when the older kids visit, and the house gets some of it's old vibe back, when the grandkids scatter the toys and get on the ride-ons, it's so good.

Today is not a good day for painting.  No sir, but I'll do it anyway.  I've done my share of begging and cajoling the kids to help me with projects, it's the least I can do.   One thing's for sure, our kids have grown up and headed out into life knowing how to paint a room, because they've all done it!  

Tomorrow, we might take a little break and go to the beach...are we lucky or what?!  We live half hour from Lake Ontario!  If you want to drive for an hour and 20 minutes, you will land on the eastern shore of that beautiful lake, and there are beautiful sandy beaches that rival any ocean beach I've been to, without the salt water and crabs.  The waves are sometimes huge and fun, too.  Abigail, our second oldest, is starting a new job, and has a little time off between, so we need to do the fun summer stuff!

The girls have started, and here I am, sipping the second cup of coffee and procrastinating....the temperature here in the living room is 86...ugh.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

a nice quiet start...

 Paul got up with the birds, and went out fishing in his fishing kayak.  Sometimes he goes up to one of the bays on Lake Ontario, sometimes the little lakes/big ponds.  The dogs object to him leaving, especially Sunny.  She keeps her eye on him, and when he leaves, she's my shadow.  

So this fine morning, I watered the garden (all those thunderstorm warnings for yesterday, and we got nary a drop of rain), watered the plants, watered the dogs, pulled some weeds, turned on the pool filter, put a little bit of water in the pool, made my coffee, and shh, got back in bed.  I'm all dressed, I made the bed, and am lounging on top of the covers, with the fan blowing on me, and a nice hot cup of coffee.  I'm weird, but I don't like to get in bed with clothes on.  I take my showers right before bed, get into jammies, THEN get into bed.  

Why lounge on my comfy bed instead of my comfy chair?  It's insanely comfortable...and I think for years and years and years, I didn't get nearly enough time to just sprawl out and relax.  I could have slept in, but I woke up at 7:30, and was like, yay, it's Sunday, and it's beautiful out, and I want coffee.

Jonathan is the only one home, and he's sleeping.  So it is very quiet here.

Yesterday, Benjamin came over and cut down some trees for us, mostly smaller trees that were easier to cut.  We have some bigger ones I want cut down, but they are for another day, and with lots more help.

Ben is such a good guy.  :)

And, here are some nice things...

This throw was on sale...
...and this shower curtain...
I just love my pour over coffee maker, and this mug is too funny.
My new chair!  

Today is going to be a scorcher, 95 degrees and very humid.  The girls will be coming back from their fun weekend, all tired with laundry, ha.  Miss Char and Miss Cam went ziplining at the second longest ziplining in the world, 600 feet above the ground, 4.6 miles through the Catskills at up to 50 miles per hour, a three hour zip lining tour.  How did they get so brave?
Charlotte Claire, friend Page, Amanda, and Camille...

I can't wait to hear about it!  The other girls went kayaking.  

So it's a hot day, but not as hot as it is out west!  Poor Kathryn, 116 degrees in Salem!  Then 104 tomorrow, then into the nineties, with full sunshine, not down into the high eighties until a week from Tuesday.  dang.  

Summertime...I love love love it.  I love bare feet in the yard, watering the garden.  I love eating dinner on the deck.  Emily brought over some marinated chicken breast strips, and a pasta salad with pesto and fresh basil, along with some teeny cans of Diet Coke.  I had some additional chicken, and made some Brussel sprouts and broccoli in the air fryer.  I grilled the chicken, and ahh, the breezy summer nights on the deck. Margaret and Adrian came for dinner with their little ones.  

So I don't like being overly hot and sweaty, who does?  But I do love summer.  I am thankful for today.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

the day is taking shape... blank slate is filling in.  My girls are all on their weekend getaway, but Emily is at home, on-call for work.  Jonathan is here, he's going fishing with his friends, but they might land here later for some snacks. It's a thunder-stormy day, might be nice to be outside between downpours, but not the best day for making big plans outside.

Anyway, Emily is coming over for dinner, and maybe Margaret and Adrian too.  I'm going to invite Ben and Ashley....who knows, we might have a regular party here later!

Yesterday, Miss Lydia Eleanor came over for the afternoon.  We did not get bored, Miss Lyd and I.  We played with little things.

This is the bakery.  According to Lydia, I was the bakery worker, and she was my daughter, so she was calling me Mom.
This is the bunny dr. in the clinic.
The market...
Our house...
The ice cream shop...
The Lydster...

We played until Grandma couldn't sit there on the floor anymore, then we filled cups with ice and seltzer, gathered our towels and went out for a swim.

Five years old already, turning six in August, she's something else.

Her dad came to pick her up right after Margaret and Adrian got here with Wulf and Tennyson.

Tennyson doesn't crawl, he scootches, but he manages to get where he wants to go.  He likes the sand.
Wulf and Margaret had too much fun with the play dough.
Silly nonsense.

Even the kitties enjoy the nice weather on the deck.

It's quiet here for now, but Ben is coming over to help Paul cut down some trees.  It's warm here, but oh my goodness, nothing like out west!  That heatwave is intense!  In Salem, they're looking at 116 for tomorrow!  And then 104, then nineties all week!  They aren't prepared for weather like that.  Kathryn and Darius only have one a.c. unit in their room, and that is HOT.  I feel bad for the old people, and the babies, and the toddlers who still run around, and the mommies who have to chase them.  

Since company is coming later, maybe I'll wander into the kitchen and make some...dessert!

Friday, June 25, 2021

those summer nights....

 ...tell me more, tell me more...

That full moon, in the warm summer sky, while we headed to the airport to get Molly from her trip to California:  perfection, unreal.  

The girls here are going on a fun weekend away, to an Airbnb in the Catskills.  Paul and I will be home with just Jonathan, Jonathan who keeps pretty busy.  But the weekend is already filling up:  Margaret and Adrian and Wulf and Tennyson are coming over tonight for dinner, and a swim in the pool.

Yesterday, we went to our friend Karen's house to lounge around by the pool...ahhh, such a beautiful day!

With Abigail...I went to the grocery store with her after the pool, to get things for their weekend away. 

Well, there's not much going on to write about.  I'm still happy with my chair.  I'm planning to stay home today.  I am not bored.  I have so many things to do around here!  This fine morning, I watered the garden, and all of my flowers, turned on the pool filter, added some chlorine, folded some towels, puttered around...the birds are singing, and it's another really nice day.  

The news though, the building collapse:  horrible, so tragic.  One minute you're sleeping, the next, boom, it's unfathomable.  

Our president, what is wrong with him?  I feel quite sorry for him, he doesn't seem right at all.  And our governor, signing a bill that you can now put "X" as your gender.  Okay.  I honestly never knew there were hordes and slews of people just chomping at the bit to change over, but these days...I mean, I don't care if people feel compelled to do those things.  

The corruption and cover up, and prevention of the knowledge of the effectiveness a certain medicine which is widely available, and is very cheap, for the early treatment of a certain virus, but corrupt pharmaceutical companies, in conjunction with social media compliance....oh the truth sounds like conspiracy theories....never mind.

Anyway, the girls are getting ready for their weekend...they're going kayaking, and zip lining, and having a s'mores bar...oh to be young again...but Lydia is coming over here soon, and I have floors to sweep and dinner to plan....

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

new chair, don't care...

...fits my giant derrière.  

I was not in the market for a new chair.  You all probably remember how I was slightly traumatized last year when I said goodbye to my comfy chair.  I bowed to family peer pressure, my old chair was big, it was ugly, an eyesore.  So when we inherited Grandma's cute, trim, little rocker recliner, well, it only made sense to drag my beloved comfy chair to the dump.  I wanted to bring it back in, even after it got rained on.  This new chair was no comfy chair.

Well, time passed, and I got over it.  Then, today, I took two little girls to the thrift store.  They are redoing their room, and had two huge bags of donations.  Of course we had to take a little look-see around the store and see if there was anything good.  Well, oh my dear goody good goodness, there WAS something good!  This chair, brand new with the tags still on it!

That couldn't be right, $44.99?  For a new Ashley recliner?  hmmm.  It was sitting outside the store, so I poked my head in and inquired, and yup, it was still for sale.  I'll take it, I said!  

When Charlotte Claire and Camille realized what I was up to, they groaned.  For some reason, my kids aren't as excited about these things as I am.   I was wondering the logistics, it wasn't going to fit in the Mitsubishi, although shh, I did suggest we try to cram it in there, just to torture the girls a tiny bit.  Then Char was the hero of the day when she suggested that Sonja meet us there with the truck, as she was at work not five minutes away from there!  Oh joy, I was getting a new chair!

Sonja was NOT going to drive the truck home with the new chair in the back, no sir, I had to switch vehicles and let her drive the Mitsubishi.  She had a dr. appointment, and she isn't a fan of parallel parking, but in the truck with a chair in the back, I guess that's just too much.

So we had a few places to go in the small city, Lowes:  two gallons of ceiling paint, a new light fixture, a nice edging paint brush, and a big plastic tarp.  The little girls are re-doing their room, and starting with the ceiling.  I'm excited about it, because it'll keep them busy.  I promised them I'd help, we'll turn on some music, and make it fun.  There's no reason to be bored, when you can do a room makeover.

We stopped at the store too, because we had to replace some refrigerator things that had to be thrown out.  Paul is amazing though, he fixed that refrigerator.  It's so nice and cold now, and we don't have to buy a new one!  I did learn a lesson though:  if you repeatedly, over several days, have the thought: hmm, this refrigerator doesn't seem very cold...then, DUH, it probably isn't very cold!

Anyway.  It's been quite a day, such fun!  Miss Char had her last state test, so I had to get up and drive her, then when I picked her up, I had Camille with her (ha ha Char, back seat!), and off we went for our outing.

Home, ahh home.  Paul and Sonja brought the new chair in, and who says money doesn't buy happiness?  

The girls made lunch, I made bacon and eggs...eggs so fresh, from Ben and Ashley's chickens, mmmm.  Now it's afternoon coffee time....

Oh, the cupcakes came out nice yesterday!

...and a pic from a few years ago, Jon was just a little guy!

The sky was just lovely today, I asked Miss Cam to take a pic when I was driving...

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

being thankful....

 Today is a dark cozy day, the birds are singing, and the sun is hidden behind thick gray clouds.  We had a storm come through last night that cooled us from muggy nineties to more comfortable 60's today.  I've been awake since dawn, because I had to drive Miss Charlotte Claire to a state test this morning.  My alarm was set for seven, but I woke up at 5:22, and that was it for me.

Lots of leaves in there this fine morning!

Yesterday, Charlotte Claire, Camille, and I went out and about.   There are two birthdays we are celebrating at junior activity club tonight, so I had to get a few gifts for the two birthday girls, and some little prizes for the other kids.  

I let these two get a candle...
and drinks from Starbucks.  Spoiled youngest two, for sure!   They are going to re-do their bedroom.  Cam was all on fire to do it, Char more hesitant, but when they came to an agreement about starting, they were both pretty excited about it.  They want to paint it, which is fine with me.  They're sorting and cleaning things out, and it's keeping them busy.   It's worth the money that a few gallons of paint will cost.  

I baked some cupcakes this morning, for this evening's birthday celebration...
They're just Funfetti from the box, but kids like them.  I'll make some homemade pink buttercream frosting,  add some pink sparkly sprinkles, and they'll be celebratory.

Sunny, just because.

Me, just because.  

I'm getting old.  56 next month, how can that possibly be?  Life goes by too fast.  I told Sonja this morning that we need to enjoy the heck right out of this summer.  Char and Cam are determined not to waste too much time on TikTok, they acknowledge that those things are time eaters.  

It is such a strange time for me, to have so few kids at home.  Four kids.  That's only 25% of the kids.  It's such a far cry from past summers, from summers where like ten kids were out of school for the summer.  We can't even sing the No More Pencils, No More Books, No More Teachers' Dirty Looks song yet, because Char says we can't celebrate until after her final test tomorrow.    We will celebrate and be all happy and giddy...then it'll still be kind of quiet.  Not like those long ago days when there were always at least a  dozen here.    

Abigail is starting a new job, and has a week off between, so we're going to our friends' pool on Thursday, it's supposed to be warm and sunny.

This afternoon, Paul will attempt to fix our refrigerator.  The fan is frozen up, there is still cold air going into it, but it's not being distributed.  We've stacked the important food on the bottom, where some of it has frozen, ugh, but the top of the refrigerator is warm.  So he's watched you-tube videos, and is going to do the surgery this afternoon.  We'll get some ice, and put everything in coolers, and hopefully, it'll work.  He has to remove a panel, and melt that ice.  There is NEVER a dull moment.

I'm hoping it will work, because although it wouldn't kill me to spend a stack of money on a new refrigerator,  I would NOT like it.  

But, you get older and you realize how much life is NOT about the STUFF.  You can't bring any of it with you, not a thing.  I do always seem to want something.  Right now, I'm stuck on the idea of a Crosswave mop/vacuum.  I've always been in search of the perfect tool to make it easy to keep the floors clean, in the easiest way possible.  But, I have the time right now to vacuum, then mop, so I don't necessarily NEED this new contraption.  

Anyway, you can't take it with you.  I remember when Abigail was a little girl, like three or four years old, and she wouldn't put her sparkly purple purse down, because she was afraid Jesus would come back when she wasn't holding it, and she would have to leave it behind.  What could a mom possibly say to that?  um, honey, hate to break it to you, but....

Oh well, I have things to do, and floors to clean...without a fancy mop vacuum, sigh.

Monday, June 21, 2021

the rustling of the leaves...

 ...the cottonwoods have that distinct sound, and we are surrounded by them.  It's a breezy day, maybe some storms, it's humid, and warm already.  I like a dark, stormy summer day.  If I could choose a good day, it might look like this:

Home alone, with a really good book, on a dark and relentlessly rainy summer day, the rain just pounding on our metal roof, with some good gusts of wind, maybe some thunder and lightening.  Coffee, of course.  There is something comforting in a dark rainy day, and I'm weird, because if the sun comes out in the afternoon, filling the house with light, it breaks the spell, ruins the mood.

We don't have much on the agenda today.  Sonja is at nursing school orientation, Jonathan is doing landscaping at church, and the little girls are done with school, and still sleeping.  Paul is working from home, and I'm lazing around.  I haven't done much today, but that's okay.

Yesterday was one of those gorgeous days, could not have been nicer.  The sun was hot, the pool was cool, and the dinner on the deck:  mmm good.  We grilled burgers and coneys and sausages, had pasta salad, broccoli salad, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, and strawberries.  Dessert was extra fancy, I brought out the dozen donuts with a knife and a stack of napkins, and cut pieces off the ones they wanted to try.  

Evelyn with little Tennyson
Camille in her hat, Char in the black hat, Evelyn and Wulf...
Heavenly:  Wulf in the pool with a popsicle!

Emily with a popsicle...

Jon with Tennyson, and Paul, on the deck after dinner..

This guy will sleep anywhere...

Paul with our five boys a few years ago, at the cabin in the woods...

Camille is up now, we have to make some spontaneous plans...