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, March 30, 2022

bye bye....leavin' on a jetplane!, and I cried in the store...

 Oregon, here we come!  Suzanne and I are going to see Kathryn!  We're going first week of May, and are so excited that we get to see her, and her husband, and little Achilles and sweet little Rhys.  yayyayyay!

Next week, Paul and I are leaving for California, to visit Aaron and Riley.  

I love/hate traveling.  It's always so exciting to go on a trip, then there are the lines to wait in, and the scary TSA screenings...we've gone to Florida twice this year, one time I was going through the pre-check line with Miss Char and Miss Cam, and one of the TSA guys was just standing there yelling.  Just yelling.  He gets paid to yell and threaten.  "Just because this is pre-check, doesn't mean you can get away with water in your water bottle.  You need to empty your pockets, blah blah can't stand here and argue with us, either..."  okay.  He was yelling at all of us, in general.  whatever.

Getting patted down is one of my big fears, because it has happened.  The one time when I had a dress and leggings, and that mean lady pulled my dress all the way up over my big ,round ,leggings-enclosed tummy, for all the world to see.  Because I DO have a tummy, I choose not to wear clothes that show it off, so what made her think it was okay to yank up my dress like that?  ouch.  She kept asking me if I wanted a PRIVATE SCREENING.  Luckily I kept my smarty pants mouth shut, because I very easily could have gotten myself in trouble.   As one of our old friends once said, "I was sitting down on the outside, but standing up on the inside..."  I complied, but I was STEAMING, then...yeah, I burst into tears.  So humiliating...that lady had HANDS, and they went EVERYWHERE.  dignity doesn't exist at security checkpoints.  

So there's that dreadful part.  Then there's the teeny airplane seats.  At least I can buckle now, before I lost the weight, I could BARELY get it snapped.  I was terrified I wouldn't be able to, and would have to get the dreaded seatbelt extender.    I actually don't mind going to the bathroom on the plane, for the most part.  If you like flying through turbulence, just ask me to get up and go to the bathroom, it never fails:  the plane starts listing and bouncing when I get into that tiny stall.   The captain has turned on the Fasten Your Seatbelts Sign, please return to your seats.

Then there's the missing home part.  It's like the grass is always greener syndrome...I miss my moved-away kids terribly, but when I'm with them, I miss home....not enough that I won't travel, but I do like home.  Obviously we cannot travel with sixteen grown kids, especially because seven of them are married, so I can't be with everyone at the same time for the most part.  Those days are gone.  

Anyway.  This fine afternoon, I wasted gas and went to the small city.  I didn't really want to, but we had some beef, which is like gold these days, to go into the insta-pot, and no potatoes!  I made a list:  apples, bananas, onions, celery, eggs...okay, enough to go to the store.  I got a few bags of rice, some jars of salsa, another box of crackers...stock-up things.  

The prices are creeping and leaping up.  Pretzels went from 89 cents to 1.24, eggs are now $1.89 a dozen.  The end cap with the Easter hams looked like it had been looted, and the prices went up from just the other day.  So I did what anyone would do, I stood there and cried.  I didn't cry for me, I cried for all the people who have been barely scraping by as it is, now they have to buy even less with the same money.  It's sad.  Now to be clear, it wasn't a loud wailing cry, just one of those tears-prickling-heart-aching kind of cries.  

The Fun Aisle had too many fun things in it.  Calico Critter sets!  I LOVE them.  All the tiny little accessories, and the sweet little clothes on the little bunnies and bears and doggies...but I didn't buy any.  I just don't NEED them, and besides, I wanted all of them.   So I was a big girl, still sniffing from my cry, and I walked away.  (If I had any of my kids with me, they would have told me I don't need them...). That's the thing about things you like, you rarely need them.

Thrift store:  I did sneak in for a quick look-around.  I didn't find much, just a book, one shirt for me that caught my eye and was two dollars, and one cute Zara top with the tags still on it.  

Home...ah, home.  Dinner is in the Insta-Pot.  It did flash the BURN signal, but turned back on after a few minutes.  It'll be later than usual, because things always take longer than you think they will...oh yeah, I'll just run to the store for potatoes...ha.   Run.  oh dear.

Oh well...have a really good day!!!  (I say this when the day's almost over...)

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

oh yeah, it's spring....


Just driving down the road in the springtime...enjoying the scenery.
I picked Miss Char up from school yesterday, so we went out and about a little.  I knew it was a snowy, but wowza.  The sudden whiteouts, and the buildup of snow on the roads, so spring-like!  I did see in the news the huge whiteout crash in Pennsylvania, so scary!

This fine day I had a Grandma Day.  Elise came over, then Ophelia...
Ophelia likes to pretend to go nighty-night.

Sunny stole her bed!

After they went home, I put some chicken breast to marinate in lime juice, salt, pepper, ginger.  I did some toy picking up, talked to my sister on the phone, and before I knew it, it was time to leave to go to the pool!  After a nice swim, I picked up Anne and Davian, and went to Activity Club.  We colored and did crafts and played with Duplos and magnet tiles, and ran around like crazy.  Home...ah, home.

I ate a small bit of chicken and nothing else, before I flew out the door to the pool.  Swimming makes me hungry, and I had to get through A.C. without eating the snacks there...I did it!   When I got here, I made chaffles:  1 and one half cup mozzarella cheese (shredded), 3 eggs all whisked up, a tablespoon of almond flour, and a fourth teaspoon of baking made five chaffles.  I also heated a sausage patty in the microwave, then threw it in the waffle iron for a few minutes.  I ate them with 3 teaspoons of raspberry jam.  I know, sugary, but it was the BEST dinner.  It was breakfast, lunch, and dinner, besides that little chunk of chicken I ate.  Dessert was a handful or two of peanuts.  

Today was a talking to my kids day.  Well, yesterday too.  I talked to Suzanne, and Sam, and Margaret on the phone, and Kathryn.  Molly was here today, with Josh, to drop off and pick up Ophelia.  Ashley came in and visited when she picked up Elise.  I love love love having so many to talk to!  

Kathryn had a rough few days, little Rhys has croup.
Isn't she so cute?  She sounded awful, Kap sent me a video of her doing that distinctive croup-y breathing, so I encouraged Kathryn to call the dr.  I then forwarded the video to Emily, who is a Nurse Practitioner working in pulmonary.  She agreed that Rhys should be seen.  When Kathryn called her dr., the dr. heard Rhys breathing like that in the background, and said to take her right to the E.R.  Scary stuff, but she's okay with some steroids.  (Another rough night for her mama though!)

Never a dull moment.  I will say this though, it's harder than words can explain to have this sweet little princess growing up on the other side of the country, without seeing her..but maybe twice a year, if I'm lucky.  

Monday, March 28, 2022

party time, and the big trick called spring!

Cupcakes!  Suri didn't eat these ones!  I made little ones this time....chocolate, with peanut butter buttercream frosting...
Our dear friends Karen and Hobie...we've known them for almost 40 years.  Hobie is a walking miracle, he was knocking on death's door not long ago, as he had a flesh eating bacteria, he was septic, endured many surgeries on his ankle/leg, and here he is.  We were so very thankful to be together at their house with our friends for the evening.  

Miss Suzanne Eleanor...and Parker (Suze's fiancé's little cousin, they had him for the day, he's a sweetie)
Emily, Zach (Suzanne's fiancé), Adrian, Jonathan, and Wulf...
Paul braved the wind and snow to grill for us, hot dogs and hot sausages. 
Paul (Grampy!) helping Wulf open his presents, with Anya and Elise (and Emily and me!)
Lydia and Ophelia...

There were only 21 of us here yesterday, which seemed like where is everyone?  

You would think, with that many people in a house on a cold day, it would be absolutely crazy.  But it wasn't.  I got out the "little things", Calico Critter/Lil Woozeez, they played with those.  There were games of Candyland, and some train stuff was set up.  They played hide and seek, and with all the balloons.  

Margaret made Wulf a whale cake...
He was pretty happy!
Jonathan, Aunt Suzanne holding Ophelia...
Elise, Lydia, Anya, Margaret, and Wulf...

Tennyson had someone's phone!
Granddaughters, what blessings!

This fine morning, snow!!!!
Is it a bear, or is it the cupcake snatcher?

Yeah, so Welcome Spring!


Saturday, March 26, 2022

...big doings...

 It's the calm before the storm, and I should be doing more to prepare.  I'm being dramatic, but tomorrow we're having a boatload of people here for Wulf's birthday.  The family gets bigger, the house doesn't, and it also doesn't clean itself.  The helpers are few and far between these days, too.  

It's too early to be up on a Saturday morning, Paul's alarm went off at six-something, and I thought he set it by mistake...then I remembered he was going to cook breakfast at church...but I wasn't, so I tried to go back to sleep.  I stretched out and tried to close my eyes, then I thought about getting up in the quiet, having some coffee, putting in a load of laundry, and then of all the things I have to do, so here I am:  officially old, can't sleep in on a Saturday.  Life gets shorter, as you get old, you need to use your time, right?  

Since Miss Suri took it upon herself to eat all of the cupcakes, I have to make them again.  Now, I pride myself on making things from scratch.  But, when you can buy a box of cake mix for a dollar, and they taste fine indeed, why go through all that trouble?  I make them from scratch if it's for a wedding or something, but the ones Suri ate were from a box.  So to replace them, no problem-0, except...I don't have another box of chocolate cake mix.  The chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter buttercream were specifically requested for this birthday, as the birthday guy loved them.   So I googled it, and found out you can just add a box of pudding mix and some baking cocoa, and an extra egg to yellow cake mix, I am going to try it!

Yesterday was a good day, shall we visit it?  My friend Karen came to pick me up, and off we went for coffee with Hege.  We settled into her comfy art studio, and she served us this amazing morning snack, dessert for brekky:

I don't usually eat breakfast, but I DO make exceptions!  Hege paints, crochets, draws, writes, and her studio is amazing.  She tried to teach me to crochet a granny square, because I only know how to crochet a chain, learned in third grade.  She was very patient with me, but I cried uncle, and said I'd learn from you-tube ha.  We had a lot of fun, and made a date for next week, to go on a small adventure...

I was home for five minutes when Emily let me know she was coming on over for our trip to Costco...we decided to go to BJ's instead, as it's closer.  We had to get food for four meals for sixty people for the church weekend, as many are coming to help build cabins there.  We also had to get some things for the Sunday lunch there, which Emily is making this week.  Sunday afternoon the family and some friends are coming here for Wulf's birthday, and we're having hot dogs and sausages on the grill (even though it will be snowing!), and homemade macaroni and cheese.  (I was going to make pasta salad, but it's just not warm enough for that!). 

While we were in BJ's, I thought to check out the pool chemicals...we never bought chlorine tabs last year because they were not to be found, but we had enough left in a huge pail that it got us through the summer...there are pitifully few left in that pail, so I sort of needed some...I about barfed right in the aisle when I saw the price on the 35 pound pail:  $169.99.  There were only three left in the big display.  Emily checked on Amazon, and they were selling for even more there...(She said:  Oh, they're only $99.99 on Amazon....wait, that's for ten pounds.). But a  hundred seventy dollars!  It's crazy.

The pool shock was pricey too, $55 for a 15 pound box...but I bought both, and well, we're probably covered for the year.  What are people going to do though?

I hope I don't sound too Doomsday to say this:  hard times are coming, I can feel it in my bones.  It's a good thing we have time to make good choices though, those who trust in the Lord will not be put to shame.  My own salvation, which I am working out with fear and trembling, as it is written (Phil. 2:12), has absolutely nothing with judging other people or making rules about anything, but being obedient to that still small voice in my heart, which brings rest, peace, joy.  

So time to get out of the comfy chair, mix up some cuppy-cakes, and do some cleaning around this place...

Friday, March 25, 2022

are you KIDDING ME??!!

 ...nope, apparently not.  There are so many possibilities for good titles this morning:

My Labrador is a Piggy Pie

Oinker Strikes Again

Desperately Starving Suri Opens Clasped Containers

Who Scarfed The Cuppy-Cakes?

Suri:  Only 24?  Ain't There More?

Wrappers And All, Local Dog Hogs Down Entire Batch 

Woman Guilty of Canine Neglect:  Leaving Baked Goods in Reach of Overweight Labrador

Rumbly In Her Tumbly Leads To Binge-Eating for Local Pup

It's so not funny, and she had the audacity to still wag her tail and smile at me this morning!  I hadn't fount the empty containers over near the door yet, so I pet her and asked who's a good girl?  Who?  Are you a good girl?  She acts like she's never ever been the recipient of such pets and attention, every single morning, wags her entire body, oh so happy.  Then I saw the evidence, and asked her DID YOU DO THAT?  Oh, she did it all right.  She stopped the wagging and hung her head.  rrrrr.  She's lucky she's not sick.  

Empty.  I have to bake them all over again.  I don't know how she unlatched the sides, leaving no bite marks.  Here are some reviews of these containers:

...difficult to open...

...side latches tricky to operate....

I have a very talented and skilled Labrador, I should hire her out to help these ladies open the cupcake containers!  

Ah well.  Today is a busy one, I have to bake more cupcakes, and I'm going to have coffee with a friend this fine morning, leaving soon...then going out and about in the afternoon, to Costco, to get food for a church weekend (four meals for 60 people!), and a few things for our birthday gathering here on Sunday...

Yesterday I went out and about all by myself, it was nice, I was good company.  I didn't sigh and roll my eyes when I had to look at a few more things, nor did I object to going to Ollies discount store.  I didn't complain going to so many places.

I found good stuff in Ollies, and had a nice time walking up and down the aisles, in no hurry.  After that, Wegmans, because they have really good seltzer, and decent prices for Ezekial bread.  I don't eat bread in general, but once a week or so, I really like a slice of toast with eggs.  Their cinnamon raisin bread is so good.  I also went into Aldi, for avocados, strawberries, salad dressing, and and and.  

Home, ahh home.  Afternoon coffee on the deck...wait, where's the sun?  The cool breeze, no sun, brrr, 45 degrees, nope, going back in...this Sunday, when we have like 25+ people over, it's going to snow, and Monday, temps high in the twenties.  brrrr!  Winter, NO!  Leave us ALONE!

Okay...bye for now....

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

a step in the right direction!

 When you're as lazy as the day is long, and trying to get into better shape, actually going to the pool is a huge accomplishment.  All winter long, I'd think...I really should go to the pool.  I really should.  What stopped me?  Well, a million things:  I don't like being cold afterwards, the chill comes on, and on those blustery freezing nights, oh dear.  What an excuse, I could just bundle more.  Putting on a suit with the white pasty winter skin.  A really good excuse.  Dealing with the wet towel and suit, oh the laziness...

Jonathan started going to the gym, he got a monthly membership, asked me to go to the pool with him...set a time, so I went.  We decided to get a yearly family membership, since our insurance will reimburse most of it, so Jon canceled his monthly one.  Anyhoo, I got into that pool and swam and moved and it was amazing, it felt so fantastic.  Why-0h-why do I procrastinate such amazing things?

This was six years ago when we went to Disney...
This fine morning....getting old!  But, I'm working on taking better care of myself.  Trying to lose weight has been a journey, a process, an up-and-down experience.  When the pandemic started, I was going to water aerobics, and being super low carb-y, intermittent fasting (one meal a day), and at that time, was 95 pounds down from my starting weight.  That starting weight wasn't even my highest, shh.  But I had lost a bit before I really started, if that makes sense.  Anyway, I have gained back 25 pounds in the last few years, and it's not fair.   But stomping my feet and saying NO FAIR won't get me very far, and I refuse to re-gain anymore.  Sustaining weight loss is very hard to do.  My metabolism is pretty much trashed, I can't just eat like a normal person, or it would all come back.  I know, excuses!  I really want to get those 25 pounds back off, but that's easier said than done.  

Chocolate, how I crave thee, adore thee, delight in thee...add some almonds, and ahh, heavenly.  I am not saying I'll never eat chocolate again, but I do know that Hershey kisses can sabotage me so easily.   Those kisses with almonds in them do not stand a chance here in my house, I LOVE them.  In the evenings, it's the worst.  I've been drinking lemon ginger tea, or chewing gum.  It's hard.  Last night after my one meal of the day (oven roasted lime-marinated chicken breast, air fryer Brussel sprouts, and some unsweetened applesauce), I had an 80 calorie Greek yogurt with a huge spoonful of crunchy peanut butter mixed in.  That was IT for the day.  My goal is to add a second meal a few times a week of eggs, because they're healthy, and I think I need to. A normal person eating the amount I eat would be thin, but I've backed myself into a low calorie corner, and every time I splurge on anything, I gain two pounds.  It takes a week to lose it, then it happens again.  And when I say splurge, I just mean eat breakfast or lunch, not even high carb.  Anyway.  I'm hoping adding more exercise in will help, along with staying away from evening chocolate.  

So today I have done ten push-ups, lifted my ten-pound weights twenty times, and have walked backwards around the house a bit.  

I have it on my radar to paint the kitchen ceiling, and fix up the ceiling light in there.  It's from when we built the house, with floral-y shaped glass globes, but I still like it.  The globes need a washing, and I bought a can of black matte spray paint for the rest of it.  

Today is Kathryn's birthday.  Kathryn is our #10 child.  We had four boys and four girls, then Margaret was the tie-breaker, and the boys never regained the lead.  I couldn't have imagined, when Kap was born, that she was the second of those five-girls-in-a-row-in-five-years.  I mean, we had 8 kids, then those five in a row, then we lost baby Robert, then Jonathan was born a mere 10 and a half months later, then Miss Charlotte Claire and Miss Camille...Cam whom we thought we had lost.....what a journey it's been.  

Kathryn is 24 today.  (the five are now 25, 24, 22, 21, and almost 20).  She is all the way out in Oregon, and I need to go see her again soon.  I miss her, but am so thankful for FaceTime.  I'm old, it still impresses the living heck right out of me.  Back in my day, we telephoned with the black rotary-dial phone with the two foot coiled cord, on a Saturday morning to lessen the long-distance charges.  When I was married and moved out, we had a wall phone with a long cord, moving on up in the world.  When I got my first cordless phone, my goodness, my sister and I were both in hog-heaven, we could talk and not have to hang up because a sneaky toddler figured out our range.  (not too many years ago, I lived a few towns away, south of here, and it was long distance to call my sister.  Did that stop us?  Of course not!  We talked 
(Evelyn, Kathryn in the red dress, Suzanne, and Sonja K....a few years ago)

Oh the tangents.  Kathryn living on the west coast is a trial for me, I'll be honest.  It's not fair.  When you can see the grandkids but not really know them, ouch.  I go visit and by the time they snuggle freely, it's time to say goodbye, then I leave part of my heart with them, knowing full well it'll take half the week next visit to get back to that place again.  

When you're raising your kids, your goal is to get them to that point where they can stand on their own two feet, you're making yourself obsolete.   It's a good thing!   They can live on their own, function without their mom!  But oh it hurts.  Then they think they're bothering me, when they call and ask me how to thicken sauce or what I think of a certain rash.  ha, little do they know how nice it is to still be needed.

To further the tangents today, I want to talk about feeling needed.  I've read some threads lately on social media which have made my heart ache.  Scenario:  a mom who has just HAD it with a teenager, has taken all devices, put her foot down, screamed, and the teen is being even worse.  This is not an anomaly of a situation, it seems every week or so, there is a mom who is at wit's end, those awful teenagers!  I do not claim to know all of the answers, I barely scraped by raising my own kids, from on my knees, mostly.  But I do know this:  the mom HAS to have more self-control, and HAS to impart to that poor kid how much she loves them, make them feel wanted and needed.  Kids will do anything for attention, good or bad.  When the parents are so strong and right and authoritative, the kid pretty much has to rebel.  If it's so difficult for  grown ups to humble themselves, how can they expect a kid to do it?  

Today is also Wulf's birthday, he is four years old!  We are having a birthday party here for him on Sunday.  It'll be a bit crazy, as the weather is veering back towards winter again (low 25, high 35, snow mixed with rain, not fun to be outside in).  I was hoping it would be deck weather.  It'll be fun for the grandkids, and the rest of us like getting together too, so it'll be all good.  I wish Kathryn and Darius and Achilles and Rhys could be here....

Alrighty, things to do....have a really good day!

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

wait, where'd Monday go?

 Did I forget to blog yesterday, or did I just have nothing to say?  Nothing to say, that doesn't sound like me!  

Here's what I did yesterday:

I cleaned my room...vacuumed, wiped down the mini blinds, cleaned the windows, dusted and straightened the dresser tops.  I was in an organizing mood, so I took everything out of the kitchen drawers, wiped down the insides, washed the silverware organizers, and put everything back in, neater.  I threw away some travel mug tops for which we no longer have the mugs, and put the autumn/Christmas towels into the laundry room, so I will not know where they are next year.  

Dinner last night, oh it was good:  a chuck steak, browned up and sautéed in the instant pot...I had sprinkled some lime juice, salt and pepper on it and let it come to room temp first...then into the pot for 55 minutes, with some whole red-skinned potatoes, and some whole carrots, along with half a cup of water, and a packet of gravy mix...oh my goodness it was delicious, there was barely enough.  I have fallen in love with my instant pot, now that I'm not afraid of it anymore.

Sunny....she never fails at being cute.  Suri though, was a bad bad doggie last night, or early this morning when Sonja went to the hospital for clinical....and left the can unlocked....or maybe Suri knows how to unlock it any case, SURPRISE!!!  Garbage all over the floor!  And that Labrador just looks at me, with a sad, regretful face, as if she just couldn't help herself.  She is a piggy pie.

This little sweetheart came over this morning while her mama had her dr. appointment.  We played and played....she taught me how to play the game Sorry!  I asked her how to play, she said, "you just pick cards and sometimes, SORRY!"
We played with the little stuff...
We also went outside for a bit, she went on the swing for a bit, we walked around and admired the spring flowers which are coming up nicely.  

After  her mama came to get her, I had to hurry hurry, because I told Miss Char I'd pick her up from school.   Thrift store!  25% off for seniors on Tuesdays, can you believe I'm a senior citizen, at least a thrift store senior citizen.   Char found a cute top, two pairs of shorts.  I found a really decent frying pan, and a Cephalon pan with a lid, hopefully it'll almost replace my favorite pan which I left at the airbnb last week...I had brought it to make rice in, and for popcorn, and got almost all the way home before realizing that someone must have put it in the cupboard, not knowing it was mine, and when I looked around when we were leaving, it wasn't on my radar...or in my sight, but how well.  I also got a few toys, nothing too exciting.  

We went in the grocery store quick as long as we were out, got some burger for $3 a pound, and a few pork loin roasts for $2.18 a pound, some bacon, and some eggs, mini peppers, a cucumber, some seltzers and strawberry cake mix because Charlotte Claire wants to make a strawberry cake with Sonja. 

Home again, but not for long!  We cleaned up the toys, put away the games, I put some chicken in to marinate, but I'm leaving to go to the pool in a little while....bye! 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

springing into the best part of the year...

 Oh spring, with your broken promises!  From Birkenstocks to boots, and back again.  Should we put the shovels away?  Of course not, it isn't May!

Today was chilly and rainy, and brrr, I wore my Birkenstocks to church.  

We've been doing this thing after our church meeting, where someone volunteers to make a meal, the rest of us donate, and all the money goes to fundraising/youth fund.  This week Benjamin and Ashley made lasagna.  They went all out:  garlic bread, and a garden salad with all the good veggies, set up like a salad bar.  It was fabulous.  The young girls also run a coffee bar, so we can sit and talk and sip...the smell of coffee along just invites fellowship.  Margaret made vanilla/cake batter cupcakes with birdnests and Easter candy eggs on top, I made chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter buttercream frosting and Reeses's Pieces on top...

(We donate them, and the girls sell them with the coffee)

Later in the day, after dropping dinner off to Emily, Abigail, and Mariel, Margaret and Adrian came to visit with Wulf and Tennyson.  We put some chicken drumsticks in the oven.  When they were done, I put barbecue sauce all over them, and turned the oven to broil.  Mmmm, and better than standing in the rain and grilling.  Fries in the air fryer, sliced cucumbers, and a simple dinner after a scrumptious lunch.

Wulf took some pictures with my phone...Tennyson likes to get in my chair when I vacate it...he sits here saying rock rock, rock rock....he also tried to get my computer out a few times...once when I wasn't paying attention, he got it out and carried it across the room, oops!  He dumped some blocks in my chair, too.
Wulf took some pictures of me, too...
This lovely one...

Having grandchildren is like a second chance to get more patience.  It's also a blessing, full of hugs and love and adoration.  Those kids are just so precious.  I saw Anya and Elise today, and those little girls are huggers.  I told Anya that when she sneaked up and hugged me today, it was like deja vous from when Camille was her age, just a few short years ago, as she always came up and hugged me.  Oh, it goes by too fast.

One of my favorite part of having a lot of kids was dressing them nicely.  Having eleven daughters was extra special, because we all know it's more fun to buy for girls.  The boys were always spiffy too, but you know what I mean.   Now the kids have grown up, and I barely dare to pick out clothes for them, but yay! I have grandchildren!   I like to buy them clothes!  I like to buy them trinkets and toys, but try really hard not to spoil them.  

Paul went to the Dollar General for something today, and came home with a Matchbox truck for Wulf.  :). It's too much fun.

Next weekend we're having Wulf's birthday celebration here.  Hopefully the Covid is done with us by then.... 

Friday, March 18, 2022

the covid ain't done with us yet....

 Yes, as the world goes on to bigger and not better things, it's still among us.  One of my older girls has it, and I hope and pray she'll get through it just fine.  A few months ago, when our family was hit, and I was in the throes and woes of fevers and loss of taste and smell, exhaustion and dizziness...there were some readers who pounced, who proclaimed it to be our fault we were sick.  I don't know if those readers completely stopped reading, or just backed away from commenting, but just in case there are any still here:  this daughter is in medicine, and is vaccinated.  

Weekend plans have changed, I'll now be going with Paul to paint/prime the walls of house we are renovating.  See, we invested in some houses years ago, which turned into a huge bad decision, which we are trying to turn around, long story, big costly mess, but hopefully with some hard work and elbow grease, we can get things in order.   

Today, after Camille finishes her work, we are going to pick up some primer, and a few baby gifts for a few expectant moms (Ashley is due next month!, and a friend is due sooner).  We also have to pick up some things from a Target order, and get the oil changed and tires rotated on the truck.  I have a particular hatred of Valvoline, oh stems from my crazy not-knowing-right-from-left paranoia.  It started in elementary school, when my first grade teacher thought it was a good idea to bark out the question at random:  which is your LEFT hand?  Raise your RIGHT hand.  Della, which is your RIGHT hand?  You never knew when she was going to ask you, so if you were ME, you walked around terrified all day long.  Now, when someone says turn left when I'm driving, I mini-panic, and look at my hands, figure it's awful.  I actually KNOW, but there's a deep seated thing about it all.    So one time I was getting the oil changed, and turn on your left signal...okay, other left now...My goodness!  I'm a grown woman, and who cares if the auto mechanic at Valvoline thinks I'm a nut case?  Well, apparently I do.  Because I dread going there.

So I have things to do, things to get, and have to get going.  I hope you all have a nice weekend.  The weather here is so nice and temperate, I love it.  We actually opened a window yesterday!  Fresh air in the house, mmm.  

Thursday, March 17, 2022

walking backwards and other un-interesting things...

 Did you know that walking backwards strengthens different muscles than walking forwards ?  It's part of a protocol to heal up knees, so I've been doing it a little.  It doesn't take long to feel the burn in the thighs.   I am TRYING to be more active.  

Today was a beautiful day.  The sun was shining, and it was a perfect temperature.  I sat on the deck in my shorts and tank top, and talked on the phone to my daughter Suzanne for a while.  Camille brought out some of her history work, then Sonja got home from class, made some lunch, and joined us.  The dogs and cats were out there too, enjoying the weather.  It's funny how even the cats like to be near us.

Before I went outside, I did some usual housework, then I cleaned out my closet.  I try to get in there every six months or so, and take out what I haven't worn for the season.  I mean, theoretically, if one hasn't worn a winter garment for the entire winter, will one wear it next year?  This should be a yes or no question, and for a normal average person, it probably is.  I take the sweater off the hanger, look at it from every angle, and think, maybe if I wash it, I can wear it a few times this year...or if I lose a few pounds, I'll definitely wear it next year.  I did ditch a dress I never really liked, another one with a stain, and a few tops.  I rearranged things, and washed three loads of stuff that I might wear sometime.  (If you haven't worn things in a while it's nice to wash them.  Especially the spring/summer stuff that's just been hanging there).  I also washed my bedding.  One of these weeks, I'll fold up the flannel sheets and trade them out for some cool cottony ones, but not quite yet.  It may have been seventy degrees here today, but the nights are still cold, and I am not so certain we aren't out of the woods as far as more snow....

So this fine afternoon, I was rummaging around in the 'fridge, trying to think of something fantastic for dinner:  healthy, nutritious, delicious, and that will come out just perfectly with minimal effort, that all will praise me to the skies for, thank me profusely as they dig in to seconds.  Since this meal doesn't actually exist, I decided to make the corned beef I so smartly bought last week and forgot all about.  Oh yeah, it's St. Patrick's Day!  

Good thing I have an instant pot!  I forgot to rinse it though, so it'll be salty.  I put in a bottle of beer, listen to this:  Blue Moon Iced Coffee Blonde.  Someone bought it last summer, but didn't like it, and since I can't really tolerate anymore than a few ounces of beer (or any alcohol), I poured a bottle right into the instant, then added the garlic, and some water, then the corned beef.  Will it taste good?  Will it taste weird?  We'll soon find out, but I sure as heck am not telling them what's in there.  

The carrots and red skinned potatoes are all washed, sliced and quartered, and in a bowl of cold water...they'll get a ride in the instant pot when the corned beef is done.  I haven't made corned beef in one of the pots yet, but I've heard good things, like how tender it is.  Making it in the crock pot has worked okay, but then you have to actually remember that it's St. Patrick's Day IN THE MORNING.

Shh, I also forgot to buy cabbage.  oh well.  

The time change has been harsh this year.  Miss Sunny sleeps in our room, she starts out on her little doggie bed, but oh no, she cannot stay in that comfy thing, nope, she needs to be closer to us.  She sleeps at my feet, then wiggles up more, hogs more room, stretches out like a baby elephant.  Last night she was restless, so I woke up so many times, ugh.  Then when I got up, who wasn't in the kitchen yet?  Miss Charlotte Claire!  She was awake, but not ready yet.  She ran through that kitchen right as the bus pulled up, out the door with no lunch.  I grabbed the first thing I could from the pantry and shoved it into her empty lunch box:  the remains of a bag of mini M&M's.  Better than nothing, but honestly, throughout the day I would think of her at lunch, and re-imagine myself standing there at the pantry, and grabbing better things.  I didn't bring her a lunch to school, and felt a little bit bad about that, so when she texted me that she needed to stay after, I offered to pick her up, ease that guilty conscience a little.  (okay, my kids do grow up to be quite self sufficient, I don't want to be a 'copter mom, they need to learn how to get up in the morning and to pack their own lunch.  I am here, I help when needed, but it's not actually good for them for me to do everything for them.).  But shhh, when I picked her up from school I had a Target bag with:  half a bag of kettle potato chips, three homemade sugar cookies, an oatmeal cream pie cookie, a capri sun drink pouch, and a package of pepperoni, so she could eat something on the way home from school.

(she didn't eat it all, of course!)

This coming weekend I'm doing something fun:  I'm going to a Finger Lakes wine tasting event with Mariel, Evelyn, and our friend Karen.  It's been planned for a while, and I didn't realize it was back to back weekends with my last weekend get-a-way.  Paul said he doesn't mind, he likes when I get to have fun with our girls, and with my friends.  Besides, now that we don't have little ones, we do get a lot more time together.  We can have actual uninterrupted conversations!  So if I'm gone for an entire Saturday, oh well.  

Tomorrow morning, Camille and I are going out and about to get her some face cream she's been yammering about...(I just wanted to write yammering.).  We also have to get a small list of food for a church work weekend...we are building more cabins on the property, and mostly every weekend there is someone in the kitchen making those meals.   I won't be there this weekend, but I will buy some of the food.

That Instant Pot will be beeping soon, so I can put the veggies in for their turn...I didn't make any shamrock shakes or cakes....oops.  Have a very good day!  A lucky one....

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

enjoying the coffee....

 Kicking Horse medium roast coffee:  I am not getting a penny to say how yummy it is.  I order it from Walmart, it arrives two days later, can't beat that.  I drink my first morning cup, than my second...then I wait until afternoon for #3.  If I exceed that, I get jittery.  

Have you ever read Proverbs 31 about the virtuous wife?  Goals.  Seriously.  V. 21:  She is not afraid of snow for her household.  V. 25-26:   Strength and honor are her clothing, she shall rejoice in the time to come.  She opens her mouth with wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness.  V.30:  Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,  But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

This chapter keeps coming to mind when I think about stocking up on things.  I don't want to hog or hoard, but I also want to be prepared.  So I've been buying that extra bag of flour, that extra can of crushed tomatoes.  This excellent wife we read about isn't afraid of the future, but is wise.  It isn't all about being prepared in an earthly sense, of course.  It can be easy, in theory, to trust in God that He knows what's best for me.  But what happens when someone says something that hurts my feelings?  Do I believe that God knows what's best for me?  

Oh life is interesting!  My life, not so much.  This fine morning, Miss Charlotte did NOT sleep through her alarm clock, the dog did not barf up her dog food, the cat did. not pee in the hallway, and I did not spill coffee grounds all over the kitchen.  I did sweep and mop, and wash dishes, and the top of the stove.  I washed the couch covers and let the dogs and cats in and out of the house a few times.  I talked to Miss Camille, checked up on what she's doing with schooling, and talked about her packing list. ( She is leaving on Sunday morning to go with Evelyn to California to stay with Aaron and Riley's doggies while they go on vacation.  They're leaving from there to go to Norway, so she has to pack for a hot climate, then a cold one, plus bring that violin.)  

One thing I'm trying to do is stay home more, save some gas, save some money.  I think later I'll take down some light fixtures and clean them.  I need to repaint the kitchen ceiling too.  There are certainly projects to do, it's just the getting started that's hard. 

The weather here is warming up.  36 in the morning, 60 in the afternoon.  I almost don't love it, and I can't fully explain...crawling out of the winter cocoon of coziness is amazing, yet...I like that cocoon.  

Paul is more energetic than I am.  He goes outside and pulls a tire down the road, for exercise.  A tire with a heavy rock on it.  He does his push ups and his pull ups and his sprinting, and I do a little bit of this and that.  He starts work extra early so he can take breaks and go outside.  He cannot, for the life of him, understand why Della doesn't go outside more.  Do you see a comfy chair out there, Paul?

Having a husband work from home is nice, nice for him, nice for me, yet I always feel so self-conscious when he comes out of his office and I'm not doing much, which is most of the time.  

I do intend to go for a nice long walk this afternoon, when I get out in the nice weather, I enjoy it.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

gramma day....

 Elise is coming over soon, it'll be a Gramma Day.  I love having time with the grandkids.  Maybe we'll make cookies again...

....and we did! Sugar cookies, a really nice simple recipe:

2 3/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder, mix all together

2 sticks butter

1 1/2 C sugar...blend butter and sugar, add:

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla:  mix all together and add flour mixture

Roll into little balls, roll in sprinkles (Elise did that part, she was partial to the green sprinkles)

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.  

We packed up most of them to bring to Activity Club tonight.

Elise is too much fun, she sings silly songs with Grandma, and it's just nice.

Sonja had a few spare hours today and went out and about with her two friends, then they came here for a bit.  They're dreaming about international travel...France, Greece...who knows?  

Dinner:  The girls made a barbecued chicken pizza with onions, and garlic knots.  I made some burgers for Paul and I.  Activity Club night means not much time for dinner, so off I go....maybe a better post tomorrow!

Monday, March 14, 2022

I'm back!!!! back to reality!


You don't know most of my friends, but I'm there in the back row, then my daughter Abigail in the pink, then Emily on the end in the back, and my sister Cheryl in the middle back sitting...
The younger ones in the hot tub...that view, oh my goodness.
Susan, Abigail, and Emily working on a puzzle...
Cathy and Patty helping with the charcuterie...

We arrived on Friday to this gorgeous was 52 degrees, and the hot tub was fine!

We woke up Saturday morning to a snow!

A weekend away with my friends, I can't put into words how good it was.  We watched a few transmissions of the international church Sisters' conferences, so we were built up in faith, and encouraged to each be hearing what God speaks to us during our days, and fight our own battles against sin.  How can there be any quarreling or division among us when we hear things like that, and put it into practice?  It's amazing, blessed, peaceful, and so much fun.  

Home...ah, home.  I do like to come home, and this time was exceptionally good:  Paul had cleaned up so nicely, and there was stew in the crockpot, so no dinner dilemma for me!  He was gone with the dogs when I came in, I was home alone!  I dragged my suitcase into my room, then went into the bathroom.  I came out, and Sonja popped into my room and RAH!!!!, scared the living daylights out of me.  Yes, I screamed.

We did not call a truce, however, we enjoy scaring each other too much, I'll get her back.

This fine morning on the deck...oh what a morning.  The time change and I are not on good terms.  I woke up and knew I had to get up to see Miss Char out the door, so I did.  I got dressed and came out to let the pups out, put on the water for coffee, and dang, she wasn't out here yet, so I ran into her room, Charlotte, hurry up, the bus, come on!  She peeked out from the covers, BUS?  But there's no school!  oops.  sorry.  I totally forgot.  Staff Development day.  go back to sleep, sorry!!!!

Oh boy.  She DID tell me, I last week, but shh, I forgot this morning.  I was totally awake, couldn't go back to bed, but if I had remembered, I would have gotten a little more sleep!  Oh well.  I had to get up anyway, because Camille had a doctor's appointment.  It's a bit of a drive to the medical center in the county north of here, but the dr. who did Sonja's knee surgery moved and changed practices, so we followed him.  

Camille needs the surgery, and elective surgeries are opened up now.  Since her knee has dislocated three times, the chances of it doing it again are sky high, over 90%.  This is the same surgery Sonja had a few years ago, a cadaver tendon is put into place to hold the knee tight.  It's non-invasive, but the recovery is 3-6 months.  I am NOT looking forward to it, at all, but it's necessary, and I am super thankful she will finally be able to get it done, go through recovery, and get on with life without worrying about it popping out again.  

We're not sure when it will be done, but sometime after mid April, when she gets home from Norway.

So we took a nice long drive this morning, then I filled the tank with $4.49 a gallon gas, we stopped in Aldi for a few things, then a nice long drive home.  

Camille said some of  her friends were of the opinion that we have absolutely nothing to complain about, with gas prices, since the war-torn nations are suffering so much more, and the prices are a direct result of the war, and if it's the price we have to pay, oh well.   Well.  a-hem.  Prices were rising like crazy before that, Cam.  And we shouldn't be complaining about things anyway, but...gas prices like these are leading to a whole lot of suffering for people, as food and EVERYTHING else will get more expensive.  Diesel is over $5 a gallon, and the truckers will have to pass on those increases to us.   We do need to get back to more energy independence, that's for sure.  

It can be so scary to live in these times, going straight from Covid to war, and inflation all mixed in.  We have to remember that God has numbered the hairs of our heads, and if we love Him, all things will work together for our good.  If we love Him, we keep His commandments.  I honestly can't imagine living in these times without faith in God.  

I definitely see my lack, my need for God, the need for endurance.  "I find a law that evil is present in me, the one who wills to do good."(Rom. 7:21) Oh, I can serve and bless, but then I find such honor seeking in myself!  I find accusing thoughts, snark, and such laziness!   When I see these things, I can ask God for help to overcome, and He gives victory.  This is the whole purpose Jesus came with, so we can be free from the sin that entangles us.  

We have so much to be thankful for!