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

Friday, December 30, 2022



Paul and I went on a little adventure today, and stopped in Bass Pro Shop...we didn't buy this, but it's too cute!  (Paul bought a new muzzle loader, extends hunting season for him....very exciting stuff!).   

We said goodbye to the Christmas stuff...this is my Goodbye Tree Pic.

My mother-in-law is the Cross-Stitch QUEEN!

Now they're all packed up and put away...
This Rudolph was at Lights on The Lake last evening, I went with Ben and Anya and was GREAT fun! We went to McDonald's first, and who doesn't love a McDouble without ketchup and mustard, and don't eat the bun?   Ha, that's me.  I did sneak a few of the fries, why on earth are they SO GOOD?!  

Anyway, this fine morning was Pack Up Christmas time.  Now that the red mugs and festive rugs are put away, I actually kind of like it in here. It's lighter, somehow.  More open, less clutter, not dreary at all.  

The girls and I were thinking of going to the thrift store today, donating a few bags, and maybe clearing out the cupboards a bit more...once I start decluttering, I like to get rid of even more.  Travel mugs, for instance:  I have a nice pink Yeti coffee mug, love it.  The lid is simple, easy to keep clean, so it doesn't start smelling yucky.  Sonja has one in darker pink from last Christmas, Char got a yellow one from the girls' Christmas party, and Paul has his own few travel mugs.  So why, pray tell, do we have like a dozen extra ones? I do have a nice Dunkin one gifted to me last year, which works really well if I forgot mine in someone's' car....but we don't need them all!  We don't need all the random mugs, either. At this time, there are only FIVE of us living here.  I still have that large family mind! I need ALL the plates, ALL the spoons...but...I really don't.

I do keep small forks and spoons for small children, and a few sippy cups, and some children's plates...because GRANDKIDS.  We have eleven of you know that when Kathryn's baby is born, in March, we'll have six grandsons and six granddaughters?  

Tomorrow is the last day 22.   We are going to have a celebration at church, a bouncy house for the kids, games, crafts, a coffee and cocoa table,  dinner, and dessert.  It will all wind down by 9 o'clock, then the youth kids will have girls' and boys' gatherings...and we'll come home, Paul and I...the old people, ha...we're going out early to get the food prepared, and to sett things up.  

One of my daughters, as they are scrolling through their phones looking at huge-0 expensive houses for sale:  "I refuse to believe that homely means ugly.  This house is beautiful and homely."  I do believe she's thinking homey.  

Ah well....I came home from our adventure, and the cook hadn't shown up!  So, I took a nice fresh package of chicken breasts, sliced them in half lengthwise, poured lemon juice on them.  Then, chopped up some russet potatoes, and put them on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper, fresh rosemary from the rosemary plant that is somehow still alive, garlic, and thyme...then the chicken:  rolled the pieces in a mixture of baking powder and cornstarch, salt and pepper, then put on a baking sheet with olive oil...after fifteen minutes, I put some broccoli, the steam bag from Aldi, in the microwave for two minutes, then dumped it on the pan with the potatoes, stirred it all up...back in the 400 degree oven....ahhh, dinner, in the oven! 30-40 minutes later, and nice tender chicken, crispy roasted potato chunks with broccoli...mmmm.  

Tomorrow morning, I plan to put a chuck roast in the sous vide....I got a new sous vide container for Christmas from Aaron and Riley...chuck roast in the sousvide tastes like prime rib...mmmm.


Thursday, December 29, 2022

but I like it!!!!

 What on earth did we ever do before social media, just stumble around without knowing who took down their decorations, and when?   I go back and forth...I sort of want to just put it all away...but Christmas REALLY took over, in my house. Red, green, plaid, blankets, throw pillows...I have FOUR Christmas cross stitches from Paul's mom, love them, don't want to take them down.  There are lights and little undecorated, understated trees...snowmen, and gingerbread men, and the red mugs!  I mean, fa-la-la-la-la!  On a mug!  So cute, so festive!  So SAD to pack it away, in a dark box, not cheering anyone up.   The house will take on the January Grinch-came-and-stole-everything look.  

So the tree sparkles from the corner, adorned with the white furry tree skirt we got from Aldi for like seven dollars, never had one before...used to use a red sheet, then maybe a small plaid throw blanket.   It can sparkle there for a few more days, as I come to grips with the passing of yet another season of fun and excitement.  

It's not like once you take it all down, the world turns gray...or boring.  It's not like this is the end of everything.  So why does it seem that way?

Oh stop, I tell myself.  There are abundant blessings to count, and innumerable things to be thankful for.  

This fine morning, in about fifteen minutes, ten of which I will spend remaining in the chair blogging, the last five:  hurrying my rear end up and getting ready quick quick quick, I will be heading along on the 35+ minute drive to the orthopedic office, to get the full scoop from the surgeon on what exactly is going on with Miss Camille's knee.  

We cannot go to Aldi afterward, which is sheer torture, because the girls are going to a museum with their friends, an hour west of here, so we have to hurry hurry hurry.  Now, Aldi is a stone's throw away from this medical center.  We've never NOT stopped in there. harrumph.  All that driving, and no Aldi.

Jonathan is back in Europe, he's in Norway for a church gathering, then will go back to Germany.  Mariel and I drove him to New Jersey on Tuesday, to the airport.  It's four and a half hours each way.  The drive there was nice, getting to spend all that time with Jonny...we stopped at Chik-fil-A, which was nice too...just some nuggets for me, but the fries looked yummy.  Instead, I had a pear I had brought from home.  

My new Christmas pour-over kettle...
The mountains in Pennsylvania...we had good weather for our trip.
My beautiful daughters in Target, the aunties...Char, Sonja,Cam...
Jonathan...miss him already!
Random pic of Adrian and Wulf, ice skating...Wulf is so cute!

My humble opinion:  sad. Very sad. This dr. believed what he was told, chose to mock those who didn't believe it, and it's still sad.    I won't get into the whole vax thing here again, but jeepers, there have been so many heart related issues associated with it, youngsters especially...

And...guess what? Yup, five minutes!  Have a good day!

Sunday, December 25, 2022

....merry christmas2022!

 The last few days have been a jumble.  This fine Christmas morning, I woke up and didn't think I had enough gifts for little Wulf and Tennyson, who stayed the night with their mama (Margaret) and papa (Adrian).  They opened one thing on Christmas Eve, when others who wouldn't be here today, were opening things, and I hadn't wanted to get them too much, because too much is too much.  So this morning, I found a few more things and wrapped them.  I put cinnamon rolls in the oven, and made a pitcher of orange juice, and some freshly ground coffee.  We opened presents:  Paul and I, Margaret and fam, Evelyn, Sonja, Jonathan, Charlotte Claire, and Camille.  Suzanne and her fiancĂ© Zech came over, then Molly and Josh and little Ophelia.  They left except for Margaretand fam, and we had our Christmas dinner...ham, roasted Brussel sprouts, broccoli, onions, apples, and craisins...stuffing, and sweet potato casserole...which is the best.  There are pecans under those marshmallows...mmmm.

On Christmas Eve, we had so many here....I took random pictures, didn't get pictures of everyone, or the amazing lasagna dinner.  

Sonja and Tennyson
Wulf and Tennyson were hungry for Christmas dinner!
An amazing gift from my friend Linda...
Char, Sonja, and Ophelia
Jonny and Tennyson, and Wulf with his remote control car remote.
Me with Ruth...
Camille and Achilles
Ruth and Achilles
Camille and Rhys
Sonja with Tennyson and Wulf
Sonja with Tennyson, Wulf ,Char, Samuel with Ruth, and Grant...
Joseph and Bethany with Bella and Bucky, their pups, and Paul...
Suri, Bella, Bucky, and Sunny
Joseph with Bella, Bucky ,and Sunny
Our friend Annetta, who was staying with Emily for Christmas, and Darius and Paul
Evelyn rocked Tennyson to sleep...I did the same today, he napped in my arms for almost two hours, it was so relaxing...the girls started dinner while I relaxed.
Camille and Mariel baked the BEST gingerbread, using the new baking scale that Mariel brought for Cam.
Kathryn, Sonja, Camille, Charlotte Claire ,Emily, Darius,and Wulf in front...
Margaret's cookie creations...
Sunny with a Bananagram...
Jonathan...oh, so nice to have him home...he has a busy schedule tomorrow, then leaves the very next day....too short, and we won't see him again until next August.

Phew.  It has been so busy.  So many presents and laughs and just that warm fuzzy feeling of being with my kids and grandkids.  Paul got me an electric toothbrush, some books by Andrew Klavan, nice lotion, and a beautiful red dutch oven.  Evelyn got me a fossil watch, with a big face so I can see what time it is without putting on my glasses.  :). Abigail got me some nice mugs, Molly gave me  fuzzy socks and a nice candle, and other things I can't remember. 

Yes, it was good.  I want to replay different moments, hold on to the was a peaceful Christmas...

Saturday, December 24, 2022

it's practically here!

 Remember when the Grinch said that?  Tomorrow is's practically here!

If I were smart, I'd be using this down time to get important things done, like making six pounds of burger into meatballs, and putting them into the crockpot, as people will be here in the early afternoon...I made lasagnas yesterday, and the peanut butter and regular fudge is all made.  Margaret is bringing stuff for a winter salad, and I have to get the Italian bread from the freezer and drizzle it with garlic butter.  Oh, and roast up that hot sausage...and clean the house.  

We went over to Emily's last evening for a little gathering, it was just so warm and cozy and fun.  The trip over there bordered on treacherous, with the icy roads and blowing snow, the trip home, even worse. They live only five miles away, and out in the country where there's no traffic, that's like five minutes...on a good day.  

Achilles loved his little house, order a bag of dogfood from Walmart, and get a free play house!
Paul set up the track for him, Sunny likes the lights on the cars.
Kitty liked the house. Achilles wanted everyone to go in there with him....he calls both Paul and I, "Grampa", which is adorable and hilarious.  So he took my hand, and said, Grandpa, come in...come in!  I was flattered, but children aren't really known for their good sense of proportions.  
Just a kitty on the couch.
These two...they think I put this rug down for them, not to just cover up some cracks in the tile.
Rhys isn't feeling so well, so she loved when Sonja rocked her and the girls all sang some Christmas songs.
The treats I brought to Emily's...
Small town Main Street...

Our road last night...the ripples across where the wind blew the snow looked like the sand at the beach, in the shallow water...

I wish all of you a Merry Christmas!  Peace on earth, and good will toward men, do your part, especially if you're together with family and friends!   

Friday, December 23, 2022

he's here! and the calm before the storm...


Jonny is home!  From Germany, through Denmark, through Sweden, to Norway, then a flight to New Jersey, picked up by Abigail on her way here from Delaware...finally got home, what a trip.
The peanut butter fudge
Even clearance prices are going up!

A nice fresh batch of cookies...
A trip to the car wash, sunny day, before the storm...

Yeah, the temperature is going to drop a bit today...a flash freeze, with high winds, some snow blowing....

Lots going on, going to make the lasagna today...made the regular fudge last night along with the peanut butter fudge.  We had a late dinner, a celebratory dinner, for Jonathan coming home...strip steaks, mashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts, and rolls...mmmm.

We are going to bring some firewood in, in case we lose power, and it's ten degrees out...Kathryn and Darius are coming over with their kids soon...the fun and festivities are upon us!  

I thought I'd throw this out here:  Life isn't all sunshine and roses, so if you read my blog and think my life is just a series of adventures, sort of is...but.  I have my trials!  Not to complain, but to keep it real:  I have aches and pains. If I sleep on one side, my arm fall asleep.  If I sleep on the other side, my hip aches, sometimes excruciatingly.  If I sleep on my back, I snore, and probably have sleep apnea, because I usually get a headache.   If I can fall asleep before any of the ailments above kick in, I'm good, but the tossing and turning nights, oh dear.  Then I get up, and if I lean over wrong, my lower back...sometimes I have a Bad Knee day, as I have horrible arthritis in my knees...sometimes, a Bad Hip day.  I try to move, to do my exercises, to get out and about and walk and get my steps in, Use it or Lose it kind of thing...sometimes I feel spread too thin, forgetful, unorganized, a day late and a dollar short...but, I do know this:

Thankfulness solves so many problems.  Faith in the knowledge that God loves me, and wants only what's best for me, and knowing that this life is temporary, and the trials are refining me, like gold, testing and proving, what God's will is in my life.  Is this the day which the Lord has made?  Or is that tomorrow, or next week when the house is going to be really clean and I get a good night's sleep?  "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you..."(1 These 5:16-17)

ALWAYS?  yes.  always.  God does NOT make mistakes, and when we place our lives into His keeping, he sends all things for our very best.  

I know that the next few days are going to challenge me. It's going to be loud and busy and messy and I kind of like quiet, and cleanness, and down time.  I AM excited to see all the kids, and the grandkids, I really am, I do love them all...but being real: it will challenge me.  So, I am extremely thankful that God hears the longings of my heart, that He will give me more patience...I don't have to argue with anyone, I don't have to be RIGHT, I don't have to have the last there can be the midst of all the personalities, peace. 

(ha, when the kids were growing up, I pictured myself with my striped shirt and whistle, holding up my hands and making the judgement calls:  Penalty!  Think about what YOU said, stop blaming her!  NO HITTING!  Take a minute, calm down, don't interrupt, stop arguing....I would tell them, "My favorite verse in the Bible is:  Oh, how good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity..."(psalm 133)

Evelyn is on her way here, and Kathryn too....the fun is starting!   Have a very Merry Christmas, and God bless you!