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, December 29, 2021

to the dreaded mall!


It's nice to have Miss Evelyn back in town...
Evelyn, Sonja, Charlotte Claire, Camille...

I wasn't going to accompany them.  They had things to return and exchange, and Sonja had to pick out perfume...Evelyn bought her a sampler from Sephora for smell them all and decide which one to get a full sized bottle of, too much fun!  She chose Juliet Has a Gun.  Don't ask me, but it DOES smell really good.  

I only bought a few things:  sleeper jammies for Anya, two outfits for Ruth, two shirts for Wulf, and some little boys' socks.  I also bought two shirts for Char, one for Sonja (and some sunnies), and some coffee.  I only wore a mask in the coffee shop, because it was required, and I wanted a coffee.  Yes, I am one of those people.

Emily, Benjamin, Margaret, and I made chicken wings for the youth kids' gathering last evening.  Honey chipotle, hot Buffalo, barbecued, and some really good dry rub wings.  We deep fried forty pounds of wings, along with fries, and I made some brownies (I melted milk chocolate on the top, then added sprinkles, they looked good).  After I helped prepare the food, I ate some wings with them (yes, good!), then went was just Paul and I here, so quiet!

It won't be too quiet for too long, because Sam and Grace and Grant and Ruth are coming tonight!!!!!  I have some vacuuming and cleaning to do, and I am so excited.  Not about the cleaning ha...about seeing my boy, and Grace, and the little ones!  :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

on the walls he left nothing but hooks, and some wire....

 Oh, I dread the un-decorating part!  Our house is so absolutely cozily Christmas-y!  It's cheerful, and it's warm, and it's too soon to take it down!  How does one even decorate in January?   

It's not happening today, Samuel and Grace are coming tomorrow night, and we have to leave it decorated a bit longer, right?  

Margaret had the day off yesterday, so that meant:  Target!  Wulf was my little friend, with his special drink.  He only consumed a few inches of it, but he certainly enjoyed it.
Random Christmas shots:  Miss Char got an Apple Watch!  She was shocked.
Evelyn Joy and Sonja Kathleen...good friends, together again, as Miss Ev is home from Seattle now.
Camille, Abigail, Jon on the couch, and Benjamin...
Sonja, Emily, Char, Margaret and Adrian...(at Ben's house)
Anya and Elise, Margaret and Wulf

Elise, Camille, me on the couch, and Suzanne and Tennyson (and Suri!) on the floor..
I stole this pic from Emily....
And, some cuddly critters....too cute.

Yesterday was a good day, I visited Margaret for a bit, stayed with Wulf (and Evelyn) while Tennyson had a check up.  I totally spoiled the boys in TJ MAXX, as I had them while Margaret looked for some gifts for a Canadian friend who is having a baby.  I bought Wulf a remote control car, and Tennyson a boat for the bathtub.  I know, it was JUST Christmas, but sometimes you just gotta be Gramma!

We got a package of chicken in Target with the $3 off coupon, so we made some excellent air fryer chicken for dinner.  You just cut it into cubes, sprinkle with seasonings, and cook it in little batches.  We put some dill, and salt and pepper, it tased almost like Chik-fil-a.  Margaret makes this sauce by boiling brown sugar with hot sauce, and a splash of water, it's so good.  

Today the girls are going to the mall with Evelyn, and I'm staying home...I think.  I might try to tag along.  I'm going out to church this afternoon, the youth are having a special conference/camp/celebration tonight and I'll help in the kitchen.  

Tomorrow, Anya and Elise are coming over while their mama goes to an appointment, and I have a surprise for them, a holiday edition of Candyland.  Elise and I can play several games in a row, and we have two different boards, with different cards, so now we'll have even more!  I love the time spent with them, the older you get the more you see how temporal everything is, you just have to stop and enjoy the moments!  

Ah well, stay warm...mostly stay warm in your heart.  

Saturday, December 25, 2021

we wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas....


Margaret, me with Tennyson, Evelyn Joy, Charlotte Claire with Wulf, Sonja K., and Camille...only 6 of the 16 kids here on Christmas morning (Jon wasn't in the pic, nor was Adrian, who is here, and of course Paul....)

Teeny took those off the presents under the tree...
Camille and Margaret, twins...eleven years apart...(Margaret is #9, Cam #16 :))
Uncle Benjamin with Wulf...
Evelyn is home!!!!!!  She surprised us yesterday!!!!  Tennyson missed his Auntie Ev.
So pretty...
Just some cookies and fudge...
Someone got an Apple Watch !

A pretty gift from Evelyn...Seattle Chocolates!

We've had a good Christmas, there is a brisket in the new smoker, along with some ribs and a chuck steak...there is overnight French toast in the oven, cinnamon rolls on the counter, and smells heavenly in here.  

Last evening, we had quite a full house, eleven of the 16 were here, with six of the grandkids...a few son-in-laws, a few daughter-in-laws...

And, in a few hours, we'll be heading over to Ben's...

Paul got me a MY PILLOW, and MY PILLOW slippers, so extremely comfy....I got him a pillow too, which is too funny.  I also got some coffee, coffee beans YUM, and a huge-0 things of the best chocolate covered almonds...

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!

Friday, December 24, 2021

tomorrow is Christmas, it's practically here!


I did NOT frost these ones...and I'm not saying who did, but there was some silliness!

We made a big mess...

But now we have two containers full of cookies, and a whole batch of fudge.  Camille made brownies while the cornbread was baking, and we had our chili for dinner.  It's nice to have some evenings with everyone at home!   We Facetimed with Aaron and Riley and the kids opened their gifts from them.  I am super thankful for how we can communicate and still spend time together even though we're on opposite sides of the country.

Our power was out for a bit this morning, I had to light a match and use the gas stove to warm water in the kettle for coffee, instead of just turning on the electric kettle.  Our water is well water, so no power, no water, but thankfully we had some in the Brita pitchers!  Because, coffee!

I said this morning, oh no, I can't do dishes or vacuum or anything!  I guess I'll just have to sit in my chair and enjoy my coffee!

But alas, it's back on....and we're having a houseful tonight, so I have quite enough to do!  Let's see:

Emily, Abigail, not sure about Mariel, she's working so many hours these days...Benjamin and Ashley, Anya and Elise, Joseph and Bethany, Molly and Josh with Lydia and Ophelia, Margaret and Adrian and Wulf and Tennyson, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, Camille, Paul, and me.  So not that many, ha.

We are having our appetizer/air fryer buffet tonight:  bbq meatballs, spring rolls, pizza pockets, mozzarella sticks, chips and veggies with dip, butter chicken...

Tomorrow, it's the same cast of characters, adding in Suzanne and Zech, and subtracting Joe and Beth, and Molly and Josh and girls, at Benjamin's house.  We'll be having our meat feast, with Mac and cheese.  And, now I'll tell you Paul's gift, since I don't think he reads this anyway...and if he finds out now from this, oh well, right?

It's a smoker!  An electric smoker, to prepare all the venison he gets.  

I know, it's no boat or four wheeler, but I think he'll like it.

Six years ago, my youngest, Camille Anaya, and oldest Emily Anne...time flies.  It sure does.  I want today to go by so slowly....mostly because I have a boatload to do, ha.  Jonathan has a new-to-him four wheeler, with a plow, so he's having fun with the snow we got, cleaning the driveway.  

Have a Merry Christmas, and enjoy the moments...

Thursday, December 23, 2021

eve eve!

Out and about this fine morning...Miss Evelyn's little Suburu had to have it's NY state yearly inspection done...Sonja and I dropped it off, and walked through the snow to get a coffee...long story short, it was over three hours for this inspection, because it turned into a repair (we were hoping we didn't get ripped off, but it seems like it was a legit repair).  We left Starbucks and went back to the shop, but it was another few hours before it was done.  The huge-0 tv in the waiting room was blaring, "The View", and if it's your favorite show, I do apologize, but:  vomit-rocias.  Vomatrocias?  Yucky lucky.  Those ladies were rude, rude, rude.  Then it ended abruptly, because the local news network lost one of their anchormen to cancer, he had worked for the network for 44 years...his entire service was broadcast.  And there we sat.  Oh dear.  It WAS sad, but we didn't really watch the news, and didn't really know him, other than know OF him, and it was...well, never mind.  We sat there.  
Fudge!  We needed more fudge, for Christmas, the five pound batch from the back of the fluff container!

Sonja K. with a stack of presents that came in the mail from Aaron and Riley in California!

Sonja with her latte....we went to two stores afterward, for just a few simple things:  seltzer for tomorrow night, one box of spring rolls for the air fryer, more fluff (to make the fudge), and a can of black beans, because there's a pot of chili on the hob, and we're making some corn bread.

It was an absolute winter wonderland this morning.  We still have a good bit of snow, I hope it stays around for Christmas!

We have cookies to frost, and we're cleaning the guest room because Margaret and Adrian and Wulf and Tennyson are staying over on Christmas Eve!  When you have little ones, you always have to leave early to get them to bed, but if they put the boys down here, they can stay up, AND be here for Christmas morning!

I am a little bit excited now, but there is a constant low-key drone of I'm forgetting someone!  I'm forgetting something!  I only got like one thing for someone and don't realize it!  I totally forgot someone!  

It's a bit unreasonable, and yes, my kids know I love them,'s there.

Ah well, today went by way too fast....all that waiting in the waiting room at the shop, knowing I had things to do, it was...frustrating, but Sonja is an absolute gem, she's a good sport, and we definitely made the most of our time.  At one point, she reached up and stretched, sighed, and accidentally hit the light switch, turning off the lights, which made the other people in the waiting room think the shop was closing or probably wasn't as funny to them as it was to us.  oh dear.

Dinner is simmering, and that in itself is an AMAZING FEELING!

Have a really good Christmas Eve Eve, and maybe I'll even blog tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

doom and gloom or hope and joy?


Yesterday I frosted some cookies I had baked on Sunday...then I made a few more batches of cookie dough, gingerbread, and regular butter cut outs.
I like to do things all at the same time, so I was browning up burger and sausage for the lasagna for today, and making the butter chicken for yesterday's dinner while I made the cookie dough.  All alone in the kitchen, head spinning, getting things done.  Not too many years ago, I would simply long to be able to just get things done.  Get things done.  It was the unattainable, the running-in-deep-water sensation, the rocky road...a baby to nurse, a diaper or two to change, (I always got the two year old potty trained so I would only have a one year old in diapers when the newest baby arrived)...messes to attend to, and of course laundry and sweeping and and and.  I couldn't just waltz into the kitchen and make lots of stuff, although I actually did do that...but there wasn't any waltzing.  There was stepping over toys and a baby on the hip, clearing children out of the way before opening the oven, with some Little Tikes ride ons whipping by.  

The goal was never actually To Get Things Done.  It wasn't to Get Through The Day, either.  It was to be saved in all the trials of the day, to get oil in the lamp, to endure to the end, to learn patience, to live each day pleasing to God.  God wasn't interested in whether I got the house clean, but rather if I remained in love during all the challenges.  

Looking back, which I do like a foolish old woman these days, I see how absolutely rich and blessed those days were, with their stickiness and noise.  Sometimes it's too quiet here, and I wouldn't mind someone tugging to be picked up while I ran the mixer.  

So anyways, I have cookie dough in the 'fridge, and two lasagnas (one is for Margaret, today is her birthday, and I am going to deliver it to her so she doesn't have to make dinner tonight...).  We had our butter chicken and rice, no rice for me...and then I went to the activity club party, with presents and cookies and wow was it fun!

I wrapped up some simple things for the kids:  play dough sets, pop-rocks, little Christmas lights gum, and ring pops.  They made jingle bell necklaces, and colored and played with play dough, then ran around and played tag.  One of the moms gave each of the leaders a nice gift:  a mug and a Dunkin gift card.  Jonathan is one of the leaders for the boys' group, so he got one too, it was just so nice!

Anyway, everyone already knows that our president is a very sad man.  He's obviously told what to do, and does it, but this statement:

Merry Christmas, right?  

..."6 of which are unvaccinated", so 17 vaccinated...hmmm.  

My hope is that this new variant, which is by all accounts milder, will give widespread immunity, herd immunity, and we can be done with this sooner rather than later.  Is this medical advice, or official?  No, it's just me, blogging.  

Happy Birthday to my dear daughter Margaret, my Engine Engine #9, little Margie...she's 25 years old!
Miss Marge is an amazing mama, she works full time and takes care of the boys, Adrian is in college full time, plus he picks up jobs on the side, so it's busy for them...but they are such good parents, and such good friends to us.  

When Margaret was born, 25 years ago, it was a Sunday afternoon, back before cellphones and internet.  We called our church's kitchen phone, when she was born, and my sister answered, because all of our friends were gathered there for the Christmas celebration.  My sister cried, because Margaret is named after Paul's one sister (Margaret), and my only sister, she's Margaret Cheryl.  

So she was born on December 22, we came home from the hospital on Christmas Eve.  Our oldest child, Emily Anne, was 11, Abigail had just turned 10, Benjamin 8, Mariel Joy was 6, Joseph 5, Aaron 4, Molly Rose was 2, and Samuel had turned one in August, so he was 16 months.  So we had nine kids, Margaret was a tie-breaker baby, we had had four boys, four girls.  (Little did we know she was the first of five-girls-in-a-row in five years, then Robert, then Jonathan, then TWO MORE GIRLS, ha).  

I brought her home from the hospital, and of course we had to go to my brother's house that night, it was our Christmas tradition...the best night for the kids, running around with all of their cousins!  We had a friend staying with us to help, a teenager (she was a nice girl, but she was a teenager).  That afternoon, Mariel got sick to her stomach, so Paul stayed home with her, and off I went with the other eight kids, and our helper, to Uncle Bob's for Christmas Eve!

No resting up, no down time, just got back into it.  I'm sure I had a few naps here and there, but when I tell you that I was tired for approximately 25 years, I am not lying, ha.  

But Miss Margaret, what a doll baby, such a blessing.  She is such a personality, so strong and independent and capable and fun, and funny.  We aren't going to talk about the teenage years, but my goodness, she has a good heart!  (By the way, teenagers in a way can't help the way they are, they need to be dealt with with warm hands, goodness, patience...all the things we simply don't have enough of, hence our prayer life when we parent teens!!!)

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, but that doesn't mean I won't be back tomorrow...!

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

....not gonna argue...

You know, I put out info that I find, that's helpful to me.  It's plain and clear that there's a lot going on in this world of ours, and if you choose to believe that the politicians and lawmakers are honest and upright and doing everything for your best, then good, I am honestly glad  that you have's almost enviable.

If you choose to ignore the fact that so many lawmakers/spouses have stock in pharmaceutical companies, good.

If you don't know people working in the medical field who are alarmed at the sheer numbers of strokes, blood clots, and heart attacks in people who have been vax-ed, then good.

If you didn't see the woman post the pic of her 16 year old son this morning, he had a major stroke after the vax, good.

In our county this week, there are 19 hospitalized with Covid-19, 13 are vaccinated, six are un-vaccinated.

This is taken directly from the county website.

This is a free country.  That is my point.  Censorship is not freedom.  Healthcare is not one size fits all, and people should do their own research and choose what's best for them.  Not long ago, our very own CDC declared that having the virus would be good immunity, then they changed their mind and said to get the V too.  There was talk about herd immunity, way back when, where is that now? 

So should you just listen to random people like me?  No way!  But shh, have you noticed that anyone with a different narrative than what's being pushed is villianized?  Joe Rogan treated his Covid-19 with the antibodies, and a few other meds, and I saw someone refer to it as his essential oils.  He's fine!  Aaron Rodgers is fine!  But don't just listen to someone like me.  Do your own digging, and do what you have peace for.  I don't write things here to start trouble, or to fight with anyone.  

I think it's important that we remember history, however, or we're doomed to repeat it.  

So in any case, our adventure to The Great Outdoors was great fun yesterday.  What a place!  So many cool people in that store.  Everyone was seriously so nice, too.  The guy who helped us with our purchase, and the lady who saw me looking at something and so kindly gave her opinion, as I had no idea about these things...above and beyond, seriously.  

We picked Miss Charlotte Claire up from school early, after her college credit class, which she cannot miss.  We went to Target to do an order pick up (the dog chow we buy had a five dollar gift card, so why not?), and some of the best coffee, Kicking Horse...I'm not getting a penny to say how yummy it is, 35% off last week...still a bit pricey, but oh so good!  We of course went in and looked around, and oops, a few more grandkids' gifts!  It's sad though, for people who shop last minute:  the shelves are ravaged.  There isn't a Hershey kiss in the store!  The Christmas candy is simply decimated, gone.  If you're thinking to go on the 26th for half price candy, nope, not this year.  

We went to Aldi to get our Christmas Eve stuff, cheeses and the like, and to Walmart to get a box of mozzarella sticks, which are SO GOOD in the air fryer.  We're having appetizer things on Christmas Eve:  meatballs in bbq sauce (Stubbs, which I am not getting a penny for endorsing, ha), the mozzarella sticks, cheeses, butter chicken on skewers from Emily, pizza pockets, veggies and dip, and maybe some nacho cheese sauce and tortilla chips...with fudge and cookies, of course.

Christmas Day we'll have dinner at Benjamin's house, a proper Texas de Brazil knockoff:  brisket, pulled pork, Mac and cheese, ribs....

So now is the calm before the storm.   I have so many things to do, but I don't want to start them.  Well, yesterday I wrapped 28 little gifts for the activity club kids, we're having a small party tonight.  Emily will bring her guitar, we'll sing some Christmas songs, color some Christmas pictures, play with play dough, and have some treats.  

I have cookies to make, but all of my gifts are wrapped, can you believe that?  Shh, I'm actually not that busy.  But, we created a menu for the week, and today is butter chicken, or curry, or whatever, Indian chicken I guess...I have to get that going and into the crock pot, and make the lasagna for tomorrow.  The girls were adamant that we make it, as we have a container of ricotta...we'll put it together today, and have it tomorrow.  I don't want to be eating all those carbs, so I might just make some with frozen veggies, for me...

Sonja is on college break, so she likes staying up later and I still get up at 6:30 to see Miss Char out the door, so I'm tired!  And Char doesn't like it, she has to get to bed earlier, she's like don't watch anything fun without me!

Anyway.  Paul is out bow hunting.  He saw a nice deer yesterday and missed the shot.  That's always tough.  He took some back-straps out of the freezer the other day and grilled them, I tasted but wasn't impressed, sorry, I try to like venison, but there's just a wild taste that just ....blah.  He, however, loved them, and is newly inspired to get more, ha.  (I'm such a grinch, I hope he doesn't get a deer right before Christmas, but if he does, at least now he takes them to a local place to get them year, yes this is true, he had that deer on the kitchen table, hacking it up....on a table cloth of course, but I was at the other table frosting cookies, true hicks, right?  oh dear.  ). But for HIS sake, I do hope he gets one.  

Yeah, I need to get up and get busy....maybe make some gingerbread cookie dough....and one more batch of butter cut outs...

Monday, December 20, 2021's practically here!


($2.98 at Aldi, so why not?)
The evil Kisses...trickery, I tell you!  So small and harmless, ha.

Tennyson, aka Tenny Ten Ten....
Page, Camille, Sonja K., then Amanda and Charlotte Claire across, at our Christmas concert yesterday.
Elise with just a few desserts...
Patty and Page, and Abigail...

Paul and Benjamin...
Sonja and Mariel...
Mariel, Margaret, friend Page, and Emily sang a son...
Cookies!  I made a small batch!
This fine morning, Sonja K. and I are going on an adventure, to Bass Pro shop to buy a gift for Paul.  I don't think he reads this, but I'm still not saying what it is, which may be a bad thing because they sell boats and four wheelers, and we aren't getting either of those ha.  

We had a nice dinner last night of taco salad, Paul chops things up so nicely when he helps with dinner.  Emily and Abigail came over, and Margaret and Adrian and the boys.  It was great fun.  We were trying to plan Christmas Eve food, and it went like this:

Me:  I think barbecued meatballs in the crockpot, and mozzarella sticks in the air fryer.

Margaret:  you want to cook an egg in the air fryer?

Me:  No, I said...

Emily:  Wait, what are we having on Christmas Eve?, I think I'll bring buttered chicken.

Charlotte Claire:  Why are we having eggs in the air fryer?

And so it went, sillier and sillier, then we retired from the dinner table to the living room, and The Sound of Music was on, which some of the younger girls had never watched.  It's such a good movie.  It was during the movie that we texted each other and decided what to get for Paul, so funny, as he was sitting right there.  

It's cold cold cold here this morning, brr.

  I do not really want to get dressed and drive to Bass Pro, but...we'll get a coffee and make it fun....