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

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

one cozy morning...


Joseph came for a visit with his two pups...Bucky is half St. Bernard...and that's Suri...Sunny and Bella were running was a nice little surprise visit.  
A little blast from the past, when we had our tie-breaker baby...yes, at one time we had only nine children, four boys, four girls, then Margaret Cheryl.  Emily was holding her in this must have been she was 12, Abigail 10, Benjamin 8, Mariel 7, Joseph 6, Aaron 4 and a half, Molly 3, Sam almost 2...I texted this pic to Paul (he's working, in our room down the hall, so of course I texted it to him!), and he said, "I miss those days."  Me too.
Anyways...the dark cozy them.
You'll get sick of the Christmas tree pics...:)

Well, I just almost finished a huge-0 project...the dreaded laundry room.  When we built this house, we had these basic plans of a 24x50, I added 10 feet in length, and 4 in width, (it's two stories), and put in a laundry room...just drew it up on graph paper, and submitted it with the original plans to an architect, and voila, we had bigger house plans...and a laundry room!  That was just amazing...we only had five kids when we moved in, but it didn't take long to fill up that laundry room!  It has hanging racks and shelves, and oh dear, with baby after baby and kids galore, the things we shoved into that room!  We keep cases of seltzers and gallons of water, the jug of vinegar, cleaning products, the rice, potatoes, onions...extra jars of peanut butter when I buy 14 jars for $1 each...the re-usable grocery bags and the oodles of Target bags, a cooler, the instant pot, the Kitchen Aid, the electric popcorn popper, a coffee maker, the food dehydrator, the meat grinder, the food processor, extra paper towels and toilet paper, toys and treats and birthday gifts I buy and don't know where else to put...the bag of recycle-ables.  The food saver, and the sous-vide, a box of little paints, light bulbs...the vacuum cleaners and mops and brooms...(how on earth did we end up with THREE Swifter mops?!).  Oh, there are seasonal tablecloths and placemats, and snow pants, and clothes for the grandchildren if they need a change, some cute dresses from when the girls were little, and lots of my clothes.  

You can shuffle and organize of that stuff, but it ends up a mess I got radical this time.  I don't have sixteen kids in the house anymore, and I don't need enough extra bedding for an army!  There were years when every towel, every comforter, was needed and used...we never had enough.  I took one of the hanging racks out, and bought another big black shelving unit from Walmart.  This meant getting rid of so many things.  I am NOT a hoarder, I get serious satisfaction from downsizing and letting go, but sometimes it is hard to get over the mindset:  we're going to need this someday.   Or, that one of the kids is going to need it.  But if they are grown and on their own, they can figure it out.  I don't need to save a stack of warm blankets just in case.   I kept some of course, but there are like five or six garbage bags full of stuff to donate...because taking my clothes off that rack meant putting them in my closet where they belong, which meant taking lots out of my closet (some of my DREAM clothes finally are being donated...the dresses that are too snug "for now", that I'm tired of waiting to fit into...)...I also cleaned out the hall closed, because there was a mix of the same stuff in there as in the laundry room...

and...IT FEELS FANTASTIC, light, and wonderful.  I'm not fully finished, still have a few bins in there to go through, and all the stuff to bring to the thrift store, but wow.  

When I had all the kids here through the years, they were always neat and clean and well dressed, but shh, behind the scenes...aka the laundry room, not so much, ha.  You can't do everything, you have to pick and choose, and I chose what I chose, and we had tons of fun and went on spontaneous regrets.  

My mother used to tell me to enjoy the craziness, because some day it would be too quiet. She raised the seven of us, and got quiet at her house.  I didn't believe that would happen to me.  But, it has happened.  Camille is doing schoolwork, sometimes the sweet sounds of her violin, and the dogs bark at the mailman, and Paul comes out for more coffee...I spend days going out and about with Kathryn, or having Grace and the kids over, so it's not always quiet...but sometimes, it really is...

Camille and I do have a date today, to go to the bye for now.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

....that holiday spirit!

The joys of living in the many places to get a fresh, real tree!
Miss Char untangles the lights!


My most treasured possession, my father's mother's rolling pin.  My childhood:  watching my mother roll out sugar cookies, pie crusts, praising this rolling pin..."it's seasoned", she would say.
One pumpkin pie...
...and a blueberry.  We were ready for Pie Day at Ben and Ashley's.
Buttermilk pie, from Margaret...she said it's depression era pie.  It was 
SO good.
Chocolate, lemon meringue, coconut cream..

Sonja and Charlotte Claire playing a game with Anya and Grant...
The table in the back, Sam and Margaret, Mariel (with the lovely hair!), Emily...
Camille playing a game with Elise...

Ruth wants to get in the car, but Grant has places to go, with Achilles in the back.
Sam with his little girl!
Tennyson gets a turn in the car.
Auntie Evelyn with little Declan
Ev with Declan, and big sister Anya
Mariel had to work, chemo patients don't get to take Black Friday off from treatments.  She came in, and Benjamin got called out...he was not thrilled, but was taking it well.  
Our dear son Joseph...
Two son-in-laws, brothers, Adrian and Darius...
Darius ,Sam, Camille, Emily.
Camille and Suri, a few years cute!
Another blast from the past:  we had the twins, Sebastian and Linnea for 12 days while their parents went to Israel, seven of our kids went too.  Anyway. We had a nice time, a busy time, a cuddly time.  Char and Cam were so little.
Oh the fun we had!  Evelyn (Char in front), Kathryn, Suzanne, little Cam, and Sonja.
Today, the girls talked me into going to the huge dreaded mall...Sonja had a rainbow on her while waiting for a coffee, so I took a pic, she's so lovely.
I stood in the rainbow so she could get a pic of me, never mind that all the people in line behind us probably thought I was cray-cray.
Camille and Char got bubble tea.
I got them back for the mall, made them come to Aldi with me...:)
Our tree:  it's really pretty this year...

I wrapped some presents today.  I'm not done shopping yet, but working on it...

Friday, November 25, 2022

a nice day....


Paul and I with six of our daughters...that's Paul in the back, then Emily, Evelyn, Camille...then me, Sonja in the middle, Mariel in the pink with the lovely braid, and Miss Charlotte Claire, group selfie taker extraordinaire.  We went for a nice walk in the afternoon, while waiting for Molly and Josh to arrive with Lydia and Ophelia.

Emily, Evelyn, Camille, Sonja, Char...(Mariel didn't want to get in pic)

Paul and me...

We had dinner at Emily and Mariel's house.   Mariel made such a nice salad with a maple dressing, pecans, green apples...mmm.
Camille, Evelyn, Sonja, Emily...
Molly's husband Josh makes the BEST bread! He was slicing it, Paul carving the turkey.  I can't believe I don't have a pic of Molly...the only ones I have, her eyes are closed....:)
It was so good...I had the end piece...I don't usually eat bread, but...I did.  :)
Little Miss Ophelia, isn't she cute?  

She hugs Grandpa!
...with big sister Lydia.

Ruth and Rhys, friends and cousins, had dinner at Kathryn's house...with these crazy boys:
Achilles and Grant, and Wulf and Tennyson...(and their parents Margaret and Adrian, Kathryn and Darius, and Sam and Grace)

(Ben and Ashley and their three little ones had dinner at their friend's house)

So, we split up a bit for our Thanksgiving dinners, and survived.  Tonight though, Friday Pie Day, with appetizers then pie galore, at Ben and Ashley's house.  I am bringing the apple pie, the rest of the lemon meringue, and I'll be making a pumpkin, maybe a blueberry, in a little while.  

Camille and I made that lemon meringue from called for two cups of water, I substituted some of that water for more of the fresh squeezed lemon juice, and the pie came out delightfully and refreshingly tart, a mouthwatering contrast with the sweetness of the meringue. Oh dear.   Mariel made a chocolate pie from scratch, it took her almost an hour to make, but it was out of this world....I had a bit of both those pies, then some of Mariel's coconut cream...I felt awful afterwards, but mmmm.  

Our dinner:  I made the sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and pecans, and the stuffing, with lots of celery and onions, Emily made the mashed potatoes, Mariel the salad, Emily made a roast beef with gravy, I made the turkey gravy, and seasoned the turkey before putting it in the oven, and Josh made the bread.   

It was a peaceful day, a fun day, a relaxing day, totally an enjoyable experience.  I went over early to the girls' house and got the turkey into the oven, then went home around noon and picked up Sonja, Char, and Cam.  Paul was out hunting, and came a bit later.  Abigail stayed in Delaware for Thanksgiving...and Aaron and Riley didn't venture east for the holiday.  

Ah well, today I'm washing the Christmas tree flannel sheets, and soon, we'll go cut down a seems to go faster and faster...the holidays are upon us, already, phew.