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

Sunday, May 29, 2022

a picnic!


Brownie bites with buttercream frosting...
and little yellow cupcakes...
I baked the cupcakes on Friday with Anya and Elise, then the brownies last night.  Yesterday Paul and I painted for four hours at the house we are fixing up for Sam.  Then we stopped over at Margaret and Adrians for some Tennyson and Wulf hugs, and Paul took Wulf off on a bike ride...Paul jogged, Wulf rode.  I sat and visited with Evelyn, and Suzanne who was visiting, and with Margaret, who graced me with an iced coffee, and an ice cold seltzer.  It was a pleasant visit in the sunshine of their back deck.  I mentioned that I still had to frost those cupcakes..and Margaret exclaimed, "That's the best part, so fun!"

She's right, it IS fun, it helped my outlook.

By the time Paul and I got home, I was ready to sit and put my feet up, but nope, I want to get the cabinets finished and off my kitchen table, so one nice coat of gray, and I think they're done.  Now just to put the hardware, hinges, handles back on, doors back on, and phew.  

Paul made us dinner:  bacon, and scrambled eggs with red, orange, green peppers and onions, cheddar cheese, heavy cream...fantastic, especially as it was my first and only meal of the day.  I also had Ezekial toast with raspberry jam, oh so yummy.  

I'm sitting here blogging, while my mind is running this little list of things I should be doing, like when the news is on and there's the annoying headlines running constantly along the bottom.  We're going to have a baby blessing, and a picnic at church today.  We're all bringing different things, there'll be pulled pork and coleslaw, and watermelon and and and...that's what the desserts are for.  

Joy, this is what I was referring to.  Actual TSP is quite strong, toxic, so I chose this.  I think on a nice wood piece you would want to sand too.  My niece Susan has been refinishing beautiful antique furniture she finds on marketplace with oven cleaner!  
Anyway, here's Miss Surry this morning...she likes lying on the deck.  She's more chill than Sunny is, she probably wouldn't even bark at people if Sunny didn't.
That springtime morning light!

And Sunny Dum-Dums.  I'm guessing Miss Charlotte Claire got the marker out again.  

Ah well.  Have a nice day, hope your weather is as pleasant as ours is forecast to be...sunny and hot!  Thankfully we have a pool at our church!

Friday, May 27, 2022

ah and here is Friday again....

 We could complain, and sing rain rain go away..., but it's been so cozy, and we needed the fields watered. I got up bright and early this morning, not easy when you stay up until after midnight with your teenagers.  But the pool!  I love going!  

I had a mini panic attack as I headed into the locker room, because, oops!  Had I messed up the time I was supposed to watch Anya and Elise?  Oh no!  I texted Ashley, but ahh, I had plenty of time...a nice hot shower, back into my clothes, and on my way home.  I had time to sweep the floor and make a second cup of coffee, and they were here.  

We made cupcakes for Sunday's picnic, and I made them paninis for lunch.  They had cheese sticks and blueberries, and some fruit snacks.  They played Sorry!, and UNO with Camille, and with the "little things"(Calico Critters/Lil' Woodzeez).  Ben and Ashley came in from their appointment with baby Declan, Paul and I both got to hold him, six weeks old and around 13 pounds already.  He's SO cute!

Sonja had gone to the mall with Miss Char, and their friends Carmen and Amanda.  They got back, and went with Paul to paint the house that Sam and Grace are moving into.  Camille and I headed to Target and the library, with a huge bag of books to return.

Target:  Camille, for some reason, is embarrassed to go in the "rascal", the electric wheelchair/cart.  But, she'll climb up, one-legged, onto a chair in the Starbucks cafe, and ease herself into the shopping cart:

Can you see her foot hanging over the edge?  She folded up a tank top and put it underneath.  She said she was comfy.  Underneath the cart, eggs and strawberries, her crutches, a patio umbrella for the pool deck (last year we took the one off the deck and used it, but it is quite old and bent up, this one tilts, and was 40% off, and the last one in stock)(these days if you wait 'til it gets cheap, instead, it's gone!).  Paper towels are ridiculous now, but I still buy them.  

The fun part was getting this girl out of the cart and into the car, but she's surprisingly nimble.  She did it, in the pouring rain.

We stopped at the library, and OH NO!  It closes at five on Fridays, we didn't realize that!  I waited there in the car until the downpour slowed to a steady rain, to put the overdue books in the dropbox.  No books for us, wah.  

We then decided to go to McDonalds, instead of coming home and making dinner, oh it was good.  I wasn't thrilled that they gave me a large REGULAR Coke though, instead of diet.  I clarified twice, the girl assured me she changed it, but someone dropped the ball.  Oh well.  Sonja K. drank some of it.  

It's quiet here, the kids went to play volleyball except for Camille, she's getting antsy these days.  

This is on my kitchen table, trying to update it from the oak...primed it, and painted it Urbane Bronze.

(This was the old medicine cabinet, obviously doors not on yet)(forgot to take a "before")

This is all primed now, with one coat of the bronze paint now.  I wiped it down with a TSP substitute before priming, deglosses and cleans it without being too harsh.  It's better than sanding. 

It's so nice and quiet, the tree frogs are loud but it's soothing and summery.  Winter, winter, winter, then BAM, summer.  It's going to be ninety on Monday!  Slow down, life! 

Thursday, May 26, 2022

 Here's something to think about:  I've been blogging for almost fifteen years now.  I can probably go on blogger and get the exact number, but let's just estimate...if I blogged 300 times a year, that's 4,500 posts.  My point:  the titles!  Every morning, I'm almost stumped and ready to give up, so I just write something and get on with it, there are times the title makes no sense whatsoever.

Yet, here we are.  Yesterday, after the pool I got busy weeding and watering, then cleaning up in here.  Sonja is done with her first year of nursing school, but she has a pharmaceutical class this summer, and lots of summer homework (she has to learn a whole slew of prescription drugs, (pronunciation, indications, dosages, side-effects..) and lots of other stuff).   But that hasn't started yet, so she has a bit of free time.  So in the early afternoon yesterday, we decided to go into the city and get her passport.  Her "under 16" passport expired last year, and you can't just renew those, you have to reapply.  Since she is planning to go to Norway in July, we had to expedite it.  A hundred ninety bucks.  I told her Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday and Happy End of the First Year of School.

(It was funny because I thought she had my check book, she thought I had it, and when it was time to pay, neither of us did.  We thought we were going to have to leave and come back, but then I remembered my "emergency check", folded up in my wallet.  :)

We went to Marshall's afterward because Camille wanted to check out the nail polish, apparently they sell some really good salon-quality stuff quite cheaply.  I found Sonja a pair of pajamas that said Stay Hopeful on the front, she had just said needed new pajamas...they were so right for her.  I told the cashier they were for my daughter who proclaimed every week or so that she was quitting nursing school, it was too hard.  (I think she just says it to let off steam, and to have us cheer her on, she's not really quitting.) The cashier had just retired from 38 years as an operating nurse, we had a good conversation, she told me to wish Sonja well (Camille was not faring well, walking around on her crutches, so Sonja brought her out to the car while I checked out)

I ran into Aldi for just a few things, then the county office clerk called, they still had Sonja's license, oops. So they dropped me off at the dollar store while they went back to pick it up, poor me ha.  Let me tell you, walking around in there without anyone rolling their eyes or hurrying me along:  not too shabby.  It's not a huge chain dollar store, a local guy owns like five of them, REAL DEALS, it's called.  They sell things that aren't MADE to be sold for a dollar, shh, not made in CHINA.  It's stuff that maybe is close to it's expiration date, or a store had too the giant economy sized box of General Mills Churros Cinnamon Toast Crunch, or leftover fancy chocolates from Christmas.  The Pepperidge Farms bread truck comes sometimes, all the cinnamon raisin bread, and farmhouse bread, $1.25.  (I know, all the dollar stores raised their prices!).  They have gift bags and craft items and dog toys and spray paint and and and. I got, for example, a 12 pack of one ounce packets of Price-Chopper brand cheez-its.  I also got some more flower plants, can't beat the price.

Home, ah home.  Sonja was in an organizing mood, so she straightened up the pantry.  I repotted a few plants, and put some in the planter box.  Then it was dinner time, every day, dinner again!  The girls decided on sandwiches/paninis, I made some burgers for Paul to put in the smoker...we've discovered a delicious way to make them, oh dear are they good.  I sliced onions and a tomato, and got out the pickles.  I don't eat buns, but when I have all the good things for them, oh a burger is yum.  I also had spinach with strawberries and blueberries.  Hey, when it's in season, and reasonable, you have to enjoy it!

For the life of me, I can't figure out why I am so excited about, nor focused on, camping.  Because camping sucks, and I don't like to use that word.  The bugs and the weather and sand in your bed...and the bed remember I used to have the huge-0 air mattress that plugged in to inflate, our old minivan had a plug.  The newer car doesn't have one, so we would have to carry that all the way to the bathhouse to inflate it, and carry it back, nope.  Benjamin did it for me the first year we discovered we couldn't just plug it in, and I was so embarrassed.  It actually has a leak now anyway, so last year I used a regular air mattress, just the little $12 one.  I felt a hundred years old in the morning, could barely get out of "bed", couldn't stand up all the way in that tent, almost tripped on the dog when I got up in the night with leg cramps.  So instead of saying NO MORE CAMPING, I bought a bigger tent!

I also got a new awning because the old one had developed holes in it, from years and years of use.  The new one was half price, and has one section for rain or shade.  And, yesterday my new tabletop gas grill arrived.  It was on sale at Target, and I had a gift card, so it was only fifteen dollars.  Even if it rains, we can grill a hot dog, right?  We have one of those little cooker things that attached to the top of the small propane bottle, and you can set a pan on it, or the tea kettle, pretty simple and spiffy.  

We cannot get a camper this year, so we'll tent, and do it nicely.  The first weekend we are going, we have a water site, just a three day weekend.  There is a church soccer weekend, we thought it was a youth weekend, but it got changed.  It's hard not to go, but it'll also be nice to go camping with just Paul and the pups, as all the kids will be at that soccer weekend.  

The other 2 three-day weekends are in July, and in August, and lots of the older kids have sites then too, so it'll be great fun, despite all the discomforts.  

Anyway, the sadness about all those small children, and two teachers, getting shot right in their class room...ugh. Regarding these shootings,  I read an article, some different teachers from different places weighed in, and the common consensus:  kids need to believe in a higher power, need more stable home lives, more love, more parenting, and in my opinion, more needs to be done about bullying.  Social media has done so much harm to our young people, harassment and teasing seems to be the common denominator in the perpetrators, they were loners, sad and misunderstood.  As for gun laws, criminals don't usually obey laws, but yes, it could be harder to obtain the automatic rifles, at least.  Those are scary. When you think about it, it's a tragedy that those things even EXIST.  What a world, killing the very men that God Himself created...

But we need to hold on to the hope God has given us, in these dark times:

The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness,

The world and those who dwell therein.

For He has founded it upon the seas,

And established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?

Or who may stand in His holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,

Nor sworn deceitfully.

He shall receive blessing from the Lord.

And righteousness from the God of his salvation.

This is Jacob, the generation of those who seek Him.

Who seek Your face.

Lift up your heads, O you gates!

And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!

And the King of Glory shall come in! (Psalm 24 through v. 7)

Oh, to have clean hands and a pure heart, this I can work on in my days!  So stand firm and strong, and be good, in your trials!  Life had meaning when you trust in Him!

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

oh the sunshine-y niceness...


Cayuga absolutely beautiful.

(This is from the other day, five of my daughters...Mariel Joy, Abigail Marie, Sonja K., Emily Anne, and Evelyn Joy)
Mariel, me, Molly Rose
It was a glorious day to be outside, and the Finger Lakes area is lovely.  We stopped at a few wineries, I only had a few tiny little sips, oh why does it have to be so yummy?  Just being with my girls though, and laughing about life, encouraging each other, catching up...what a blessing.  It's extra nice when your daughters actually invite you, I didn't invite myself this time ha.

My cabinet is almost finished, but the new handles are just a tiny bit off, we have to drill new holes.  I still have the vanity to start on, I need more paint.  Wouldn't it be nice to have a workshop instead of using the kitchen/dining room table?   Oh yeah, a workshop, a sewing room...but then to counter-act all that wanting, I can be thankful for what I have.   

Paul rototiller the garden yesterday, and Sonja helped him put the plants in, while I was at Activity Club.  Emily brought finger painting stuff, oh they loved that.  Elise brought a paint brush so she didn't have to use her hands, which I thought was cute, she's a very neat little girl, and a good painter, too.  They played on the playground too, it was a beautiful evening.

Home, ahh home.  I put a coat of paint on the cabinet, then ahh, my comfy chair.

This fine morning, the pool!  Then I do have some more flowers to plant, and Kathryn wants to go to the greenhouse to get a few plants, Sonja has to renew her passport, who knows what I'll end up doing.  

In other news, not that I like bringing the awful and sad world news to the blog, but another shooting...those poor little kids, those poor families and the whole community down in Texas.  I'm not convinced it's the gun laws, but maybe a mental health crisis...not that I want a debate.  But I do think that the last few years have challenged many people.   Isolation, being blamed for normal behavior like getting together, more isolation, now's heart wrenching.

It seems that it won't be too long before Jesus comes back, I am thankful there's something better, that I have a living hope in eternity.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

a proper blog post...

 Oh, I've been here there and everywhere, just busy.  I don't like to neglect the old blog too much.  

Kathryn and Darius and the little ones, Achilles and Rhys, have moved into their new place, just last evening.  They don't have all of their stuff yet, it's being shipped across the country in a pod, but they have enough for now.  The house seems very quiet and empty, they were here for over a month.  I got used to holding a cuddly footy-pajama-ed baby Rhys in the morning while her mama got her a ba-ba.  Achilles would wake up with his hair all messy, and he'd be a bit cranky, and Kathryn would turn on "Curious George", he'd cuddle on the couch with his juice...yes, it's too quiet here now.

I won't be sitting around all day whining about it though, Mariel is picking me up in a little while, then we're picking up Molly Rose, and going on a little adventure, to a couple of wineries in the Finger Lakes.  It's a beautiful day, blue skies, and it'll be 75, absolutely perfect...

There is a project in my kitchen, an old medicine cabinet that I'm re-doing.  I forgot to take a before pic, as usual, but it was an oak cabinet from when we built our house.  One of the girls had chalk painted it a sage green several years ago.  I removed and discarded the old handles, I had some brand new ones I had gotten on clearance a while ago, silver ones:  spray painted them black, they look spiffy.  I also removed and spray painted the hinges black.  Then, a nice coat of primer, then a coat of Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze, one of my favorite colors.  It'll need another coat, then back on with the hinges and doors, and I'll take a picture.  

Renovating things like that is satisfying, and it's better to reuse than buy a junky new one.  There's bathroom vanity in orange-y oak I have to re-do to match it, which we got from Marketplace, in very good condition.  (It's for the house that Sam and Grace are moving in to)

This fine morning, after I did a coat of paint on the cabinet and doors, I wiped down my cupboards.  White are nice, but they need a lot of upkeep.  My hands hurt from painting, Paul and I went to the house Sam and Grace are moving in to, yesterday afternoon to paint the walls.  I think I have carpal tunnel syndrome, my hands just ache all night long after painting.  I am almost ambidextrous though, can paint with either hand and I kept switching.  I was doing the cutting in/trim, Paul was rolling.  I think the rolling hurts worse.  

Oh, the joys of getting old!

But, the joys of going to the pool for water aerobics!  I absolutely love it.  It's almost miraculous how much better I feel afterwards.  I am so very thankful I'm able to go.  Also, I've made some friends in the class.  There are just some nice people in this world.  People need other people, and I think the whole lockdown stuff has really made us appreciate just being together.  One of the nice ladies lost her twin brother last summer, and is still reeling from it, one woman lost her son a few years back to an overdose, and...does the hurt ever go away?  To be able to talk about things, and to connect with each other, is really a gift.  

Tonight is activity club, and tomorrow I'll go help Kathryn get settled in.  This weekend we'll work on Sam's house, and there's a church picnic on Sunday.  I'm making cupcakes for that, thinking to get some cute little American flags to put on them, maybe strawberries and blueberries too.  

Okay, I just went in the kitchen for a second cup of coffee, and oops, I ended up painting the other side of the doors and started putting a second coat on the cabinet, then had to stop myself.  Mariel will be here soon, and I'm not dressed yet, because I have to do that thing where I blog until the last minute then hurry hurry hurry.

Camping season is coming up, and I'm excited.  We'll be tenting, ugh, but other than that, ha, it'll be fun.  I mean when you're old and fat and you have to lie down on the air mattress, and then in the morning, you have to get back up, that alone is a challenge, and that is if you're lucky and don't have to get up to go to the bathroom in the night:  it's a long lonely trek to the bathhouse, and no way is this old lady going to squat in the bushes, no way no how at this campground...nope.  Well, I SAY this, but never say never...if you get any sleep at all, it's a bonus.  

Anyway.  I used up all of my time, now I have to hurry hurry hurry!!!!  Bye for now!  I'll take pictures of the wineries and of the cabinet when it's done!  Have a good day!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

pictures of a muggy hot Saturday...

We spent the day at a church conference...Wulf had his face painted... 

Benjamin Paul...
Mariel Joy with little Tennyson...

Camille Anaya...
Rhys Harper...
...with Auntie Sonja...

It was a HOT one, so muggy!

Sonja with her friend Carmen, cousin Grace, friend Irene, and Miss Camille...
Rhys and Sunny....
Ruth, pic courtesy of Samuel
Two adorable grandsons, cousins, Wulf and that Achilles is going to live here on the East coast, they'll get to grow up together, instead of seeing each other like once a year.  They are double cousins, and their daddies are brothers (Adrian and Darius), and their mamas, my daughters Margaret and Kathryn...:)

Thunderstorms are forecast to come through soon, hope they're not too bad...we had an excellent day despite the heat.  We went to an amazingly encouraging church feast, where we celebrated the life of one of our friends, 70 years old, a faithful man, a man who lives to please God, a man who doesn't seek his own, but to serve others.  We were really blessed.  

Thursday, May 19, 2022

this and that and everything else...

 Pool yesterday, then a trip to a little Mennonite farm out in the middle of nowhere, which is absolutely beautiful, for some plants for the garden, and a few more flowers.

Just a random tractor...
Lilacs from our yard...
Rhys in Aldi today.  Achilles sometimes wants his mama, so Grandma gets this one, she's the little sunshine of the store.  Even little kids like to say hi to her.

Tonight there's chicken drumsticks for dinner:  marinated in lime juice and spices, then bbq sauce in the oven....and a bbq chicken pizza.  

We're having a busy week getting ready for a church conference, cleaning and setting up.  There's something going on every night. 

Yes, I've been busy...especially with two small children in the house again.  How did I do it?  :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

and just like that, she drives....

 Oh the years fly by, making me type things like the days are long but the years are short, turning me into a sentimental old lady.  Miss Charlotte Claire came into the world in a beautiful way, Emily had just finished her first year of nursing school (Sonja just finished HER first year, she was four when Em finished her first year), and was with Paul and I at the hospital.  She was the best, simply intuitive and gentle and caring, and it wasn't weird at all.  Paul has always been good when we were welcoming the new babies, but Emily brought a different dimension, and she was so awed by the whole process, too.

Well, Miss Char was born, and there was silence in the room, and a flurry of activity, murmuring.  I got a glimpse of her, forehead misshapen, swollen, something wasn't right.  I asked, is she okay? several times, no answer, they were assessing her...okay, she's fine, she was just hitting her forehead on the cervix, was responsive, breathing, ect.  I mean, I had been through this FOURTEEN times before, not including with baby Robert, and when that baby is born, there are usually joyous exclamations and congratulations mama, and that baby is placed right in your I was unnerved for a few minutes there, but she was actually fine.

Fast forward, and bam, she's sixteen years old.  We had fun at the department of motor vehicles.  You have to go in there with a good attitude.  Miss Char was a-chattering the whole time, quite excited.  She kept the straight-faced mug shot for the the ID pic, ignoring me telling her SMILE!  She got 18 of the 20 questions right on the test, and half the ride home, she tried to figure out how she got the other two wrong, turns out she misunderstood what they were asking on one of them.

We decided not to waste any time, and found an empty parking lot, after getting an iced coffee at a little place.   She climbed in and adjusted the seat, and did pretty well navigating around in little circles, practicing backing up and parking and going left, right, stopping.  When it started pouring rain, I decided we were done, and duh, we switched seats and got soaking wet.  That girl had pulled that seat up so far I couldn't even get in without moving it back, I really got wet, but we were laughing our heads off, and it was truly fun.  

Charlotte is a good student, she gets high nineties, is on the Principal's High Honor roll.  She does all of her homework and stresses about doing well on tests.  There used to be a show the kids would watch, Sid The Science Kid, in the theme song, Sid knows everything about everything.  That's Charlotte Claire.  She loves to learn, and retains the knowledge, then when we're talking about something, she knows history and back stories and facts, it's quite wonderful to have discussions with her.  

I credit those years of homeschooling for fueling her love for learning.  She rather likes the structure of real school now, and that's fine.  Don't get me wrong, this child is not a perfect angel.  She has a thing for arguing with me, and giving me attitude.  But come on, been there done that (does anyone else still stay that?  I am such a dinosaur).   I know the drill:  remain calm, cool, collected.  Let it go.  Important points needn't be made when the teenager is growly.  Wait until all is serene and gently mention what you need to say.   You don't win any prizes by winning arguments with teenagers, nor with toddlers.  

That being said, there are things I am firm about, and I do remind her about being respectful, and honestly, she does apologize for when she's defiant, but I get it, too.  Teenagers are just wired to be like that, it's hard for them, too.  They didn't ask to be angsty.  

We actually had some really good conversation on the way home about backbiting.  She said, "My policy is that I don't say anything about anyone that I wouldn't say in front of them."  That's golden, isn't it?  Shh, she is quite liberal about what she WOULD say in front of them, ha, she doesn't mince words, Miss Char.

We might celebrate the end of Sonja's first year today, Kathryn thought we should go out to lunch.  I'm wondering if I should just stay home with Achilles and Rhys, so she can relax, but then children like to go out and about too, it's so good for them.  We'll see.  

It's dark and rainy and deliciously cozy, we needed the rain here.  I have some flowers I need to transplant to the flower box, and so many things to do outside, and so many things to do inside.  I don't get bored, that's for sure.  Have a really nice day!

Monday, May 16, 2022

oh the rain!

 This fine Monday morning, I finally made it back to water aerobics class!  I wasn't there at all last week, Friday morning I had to take Miss Cam in for a check, so that was crossed of the possibility list, making it a whole week with no swimming.

We don't do anything difficult, but the repetitions in the water are doing something, because I do feel that after-work-out soreness, which is lovely.  My whole body just feels better when I go, even if it was hard to get out the door, harder than usual, because Kathryn is here, and she was tired, and Rhys was awake.  I wanted to stay here and help her, but I NEEDED to get to that pool.  Kathryn can't just come with, because Rhys has a bad track record in the bathtub, and she would probably poop in the pool, ha.  

Kathryn and I and Achilles took a quick trip to town, to Joseph's house, to wish him a happy birthday!  My dear son Joe, my #5 child, my favorite child, according to my other 15 children...we brought him some steaks from the part-of-a-cow we just got, and some seltzers, and some Norwegian chocolate, and a package of strawberries, and a nice birthday card:)

Sonja is all finished with year #1 of nursing school, YAY!!!!  Her last final was today, but she does have tons of summer homework.  Whoever invented summer homework has an evil streak, at least a mile wide.

In just a few minutes I'm headed to pick up Charlotte Claire from school, and taking her to get her driving permit!  Here in New York State, 16 years old and you can drive, with a licensed driver 21 or older in the passenger seat.  I am NOT ready for this, for child #15 driving.  It's one of those things that seriously challenges me, I'll be pumping my invisible brakes, and praying.

It's scary, that's all there is to it.  It's also a thankless job, the kids remember things like me hitting my palms on the dashboard and saying SLOW DOWN, or YOU'RE FOLLOWING TOO CLOSELY, BACK OFF, STAY NEAR MY SIDE, NOT THE MIDDLE LINE!  They don't remember all my patient tongue-holding inner turmoil with a big smile on my face, saying, "Of course you can drive!"

Yes, a thankless job.  But someone has to do it.  So off I go...

First, a few old pics...

With Kathryn...
Evelyn on top of the slide, she's 22 now.  Camille going down the slide, she's 14 now...

Soldier Ben...and nine siblings...


Saturday, May 14, 2022

happy Saturday!

 It's warm and sunny, and I'm heading outside.  

Earthly things seem so important in the moment, but none of it goes with us to eternity, so we need to make sure it isn't taking up the prime real estate of our heart.  Selfishness takes up a disproportionate amount of room in the heart too, better to do things for others and get oil in our lamps.  But shh, money DOES buy happiness, sometimes:

I visited the Mennonite farm in town, went in the greenhouse, tried to somewhat behave.  Those succulents in the top pic, on the bottom, were two dollars each!  Then there's the local honey...I would rather buy it from another lady only a few miles from me who keeps bees in her backyard, because it's important to me that it's actually local honey.  (It's supposed to help with allergies).  So I asked the nice young man (how do those Mennonites raise such respectful hard workers?) where the honey was from, he said what they all say when I ask that, "It's from just down the road, a few houses down."  Who knows, maybe it is?  I bought some for Camille, because we were all out, and a teaspoon in a hot cup of tea, mmm.

The yellow flower, a Tuberous Begonia, is gorgeous.  Google told me that the bigger flower is male, the smaller female, and to pinch off the female to allow the male to grow bigger and more plentiful.  What, pray tell, did we do before the internet?

Kathryn is still here with the kids, Darius and Jon, Darius' brother Josh, and another friend, are headed across the country with their vehicles, and should get here tomorrow.  Paul is putting a beef brisket and some ribs in the smoker for tomorrow, we'll have a houseful.   Kathryn and fam will stay here until their house is ready, and their things arrive from their pod, which is being shipped slowly and surely across this huge country of ours.

So Miss Camille is doing okay, she's playing Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch, which Suzanne so sweetly let her borrow.  She cannot do much yet, but she's managing and not getting cranky.  

I am super thankful for the days.  Spring is just a total gift, so breathtaking.  We may have challenging winters here in the northeast, but spring is a huge apology for it, and apology accepted.

Those flowers are calling me to repot them, some want to go in a hanging basket...I don't know much about these things, because all those years raising babies and small children and medium children and teenagers ALL AT THE SAME TIME left me with little time to raise other things.  My thumb is not green, but I enjoy the flowers and sometimes you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Off I go...

Friday, May 13, 2022

why so early?!

 These new "day" surgeries sort of fool us into thinking they're going to be so easy, because no overnight hospital stay.  (Jumpin'Jehosaphats, I sound like an old man!)

Laparoscopic surgery HAS changed things, those little cameras making huge incisions unnecessary.   Here's the thing though:  It's still rather major to have a screw screwed into your kneecap holding a graft from a deceased person.  

The surgeon is an Indian man, from India, and is a teeny tiny bit hard to understand.  I admit I was unclear on the after-care...should she remove the T scope brace, or change the settings?  Dr. said to bend the knee the next day, but...I wasn't sure on the details.  I thought I'd just clarify with Sonja, as she had this same procedure done a few years back, but oops, she didn't remember!  

I had to call the office yesterday and ask, they had me bring her in this morning.  It's not just a hop, skip, and a jump away, but it's a nice drive.  Paul carried Camille down the deck steps and put her right in the back seat of the car.  

Camille can't hobble on those crutches very far yet, so I dropped her off, then went and parked.  Oh dear, remember when you just walked where you wanted to go, so easily?  Anyway, the dr. said the incisions look good, the swelling of her foot is normal, elevate and ice the knee, bend it frequently with the brace on but unlocked, but make sure to lock it when standing up, no weight on that leg, ect.  

We got home, and Miss Cam got into the house by herself!  She went up the steps on her butt, backwards, she insisted.  She is able to get to the bathroom by herself now too, it's amazing how well she's doing so quickly.  

There have been tears.  There has been pain.  There has been calamity, in that Suri-the-black-Lab laid on the fan cord and unplugged the fan during the night, the night before the cat knocked it down.  Cam has been sleeping on the couch, and she sleeps with a fan blowing on her.  

Anyway, life's not a picnic, but it's good.  Kathryn and the kids are here, and I help her juggle them.  They are so sweet and funny and we are so glad they are staying on the east coast.  It was 85 and sunny today, and we managed to get out in it for a while.  The little pool gets filled every day...

Kathryn took this picture this fine morning...
Jonathan, somewhere in Nebraska, on the drive across the country from Oregon...
Random:  me, and my sister Cheryl.  She is one of my very favorite people in this whole world.  She's funny and fun and adventurous, and most of all:  faithful to God, and absolutely certain that He sends all things for her very best.  This isn't always easy, but she works through it, and holds on to it, and trusts Him.  Please keep her in your prayers, along with her family.  She is the mom of seven girls, no boys, although all seven are married now, so she has sons:). One of her girls has a serious health issue, not my story to write about here, but if you are a praying person, please pray!  

Off I clean up our mess...we had a charcuterie style dinner while watching Tangled...dinosaur chicken nuggets for Achilles, pizza pockets, strawberries, cucumber slices, apple slices, cheddar grilled cheese squares, Swiss cheese grilled cheese triangles, fresh mozzarella...I had scrambled eggs and sausage, and Ezekiel toast, but shh, also a few pizza rolls.  

Achilles wants play I really go, ha...

Thursday, May 12, 2022

well that was fun...


Miss Camille Anaya had her knee surgery yesterday, MPFL (medial patella-femoral ligament reconstruction).  It went well, as in it was successful in doing what it was supposed to do.  But does well include the nausea and vomiting and pain afterward?  It wasn't MY pain, but kind of, it was.  The first time she had to use the bathroom, then getting her into the car to come home, getting her in the house, helping her get to the bathroom here, ouch.  It's no picnic.  In the long run, it will improve the quality of her life, being able to move without that knee popping out, but for now, ugh.

Suzanne let her borrow her Switch with the Animal Crossing game on it, Margaret bought her a beautiful coloring kit, Kathryn got her a super nice water bottle with a filter in it, we put filtered water from the Brita pitcher, and call it Double Brita.  

The medical world is still upside down, you have to call the number on the door to be admitted, temp taken, clean masks put on, hand sanitizer applied, questions asked, the rigamarole.   Whether these things actually help, or are just making people feel comfortable, who knows?  

The nurse who put in the IV was super nice, she went to nursing school with Mariel, and worked with Molly, and knew Aaron.  Camille was all prepped and ready to go, I asked where I was to wait, and was told, "In your vehicle."  what?  oh yeah, waiting rooms are danger danger.

The surgeon and one of the RNs had my phone number, I had their number, and off I went, to Margaret's house...she lives a hop, skip, and a jump from that hospital.  I didn't like much being kicked out of the hospital, leaving my BABY there, but what can you do?  Because shh, part of me was rather glad not to sit there in the fluorescent lights with CNN blaring.  

80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, not too shabby.  Margaret made me the best cup of coffee, I cuddled with Tennyson, read some books to Wulf, then sat out in the sun on their little deck in the back yard.  The surgeon called to say the surgery went well, and that I should get a call in a few hours as to when to return to the hospital.  It was a 2 1/2 hr. surgery.  A bit after noon, I was called to come back over, she was waking up.  

Tennyson closes his eyes when I try to take a pic.  Maybe he thinks SMILE! means close your eyes.

Camille was so sad when she was wheeled in, she felt sick, she got sick, she had woken up earlier and I wasn't there (no fault of mine, I came over as soon as they called, and was waiting for her to be brought back to the recovery/discharge area)

Ah well, she'll be all right, it's just the getting from this point to recovering.  Kathryn just left with her two little ones to go get some diapers, so it's quiet in here for a bit. 

There's a train track set up, and trucks, and a toy shopping cart, and a ride-on...I don't mind.  It's like life is back to normal with them here, ha.  They'll be here for another few weeks until their place is ready to be moved into.  

Cam had a series of calamities in the night, which shh, I slept through.  I had forgotten, in the night, that I should check my phone if it vibrated, I actually woke up, and consciously didn't pick it up, knowing it would wake me fully, and duh, it was Camille from out on the living room couch...the cat knocked the fan over (Cam sleeps with a fan blowing on her all year round), she needed the bathroom...she called Sonja, who so nicely came out here and helped her.  Sonja got all settled back into bed, and Cam called her again, had some pain, could she have some meds?  Sonja will be an excellent nurse, as I apologized for not getting up, she said she didn't mind.  I think I'll just sleep on the other couch tonight though.

I did wake at 5:30 and checked my phone, saw the messages from Cam, came running out here, but she was all taken care of and back to sleep, oops.  bad mom award, but good Sonja award.

So for all my fussing and complaining about the way things are done in the hospital, I do want to say this: I am EXTREMELY thankful to live in this country, with such good medical care.  The fact that Camille could actually get this done (finally!), is super nice, nothing to take for granted.  

The nurses we had yesterday were just above and beyond, so helpful and kind, patient with Cam.  

She's resting now with some fresh ice on the leg, and I have things to do...the floor needs a good vacuum and mopping...

Monday, May 9, 2022

oh my goody-good-goodness!

 There is joy in the air as we celebrate:  Kathryn and Darius are moving to New York, no more far-far-away Oregon for them!  It's amazing how it worked out...Darius and his older brother Josh, and Jonathan just left, flew out to pack up their house and drive their vehicles back across the country.  The bulk of their stuff will be packed into a pod, and delivered in a few weeks.  

Sam and Grace will also be moving here sometime in June, or July, no more far far away grandchildren!

It's been gloriously nice here, sunny and perfect...but first, in no particular order...

a blast from the past...Suzanne, Sonja, Grandma, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, little.
We went to the agricultural museum on Saturday, Wulf liked the old red truck.
Tennyson and Wulf, and cousin Achilles
Kathryn with her Achilles, and his cousin Tennyson...they are double cousins, as Kathryn and Margaret are married to brothers (Darius and Adrian)
Spring, how I love thee...
The contrast of the new baby leaves and the umbrella blue sky...
Achilles at the museum...

So Mother's Day was fun, we spent the day outside on the deck.  I made mini chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting, and a big pasta salad.  We grilled hot dogs, coneys, burgers, and had big platter of strawberries and grapes.  12 of the kids were here,  one daughter in law, two son-in-laws, one brother of a son-in-law, and seven of the eleven grandkids.  (Ben and Ashley brought new baby Declan over!  (with Anya and Elise).

This fine morning, I got up and out the door bright and early to get Covid tested with Camille, it's required before her surgery.  The hospital called a few hours later, and I thought oh no!, but it was just to establish what time we need to be at the hospital on Wednesday morning, seven a.m.  That's not terrible, but it's a good half hour away.

So life is busy, but it's good.  I forgot how tiring it is to have small children about, they're sent directly to us from heaven, but oh they require so much patience.  There's nothing like the snuggles and cuddles though.