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, January 31, 2023

falling gently down...

 ...causing a two hour delay of school...which was nice because I wasn't quite ready to get out of my nice warm bed this morning.  I have found myself listening for crying, but duh, the kids are all bye-bye home now!  

Charlotte Claire got on the bus, Sonja is doing schoolwork, as is Miss Cam. Paul is working, the dogs are snoring, and here I am, in the comfy chair.  I've swept and mopped and put away dishes, let dogs out, then back in, wiped their paws and gave them treats.  I've fed the kitties, shh gave them a splash of cream, and watered the plants, and the animals. 

It is NOT a busy day, and I like it.  

Last night's dinner:  chicken fajitas.  Chicken breast, all seasoned and marinated in lime juice, then baked with olive oil, sliced up, served with peppers and onions, and homemade guac. 

Tonight's dinner:  are you kidding me?  I have to make dinner again?

I have some girls who want to go to the library this afternoon, but with only one vehicle, and Paul needing to do other things, not so sure....

Home...I love home...but I also love going out and about.  The snowy landscape is breathtaking, but when the roads get messy and the snow comes down too thick and too fast, and I cannot see where the road is, nope. No thank you.  So we'll see how the afternoon unfolds.

For some reason, I'm not in the blogging groove today.  There's a lot going on, Camille is here in the living room with her computer, and Sonja is too. They're talking about Taylor Swift and Harry Styles, and I'm distracted.  But, I'm thinking of this:

This verse in  Hebrews has been on my mind.  To be anointed with the oil of gladness, by hating my own iniquity, that's how I love righteousness.   My own iniquity:  pride, wanting to be something, seeking honor, wanting things, anxiety, arguing, holding grudges, being bitter...these are ugly things, and I'm thankful for salvation!  I think of this from proverbs:
That miry clay is my own sin.  I'm so thankful that I don't have to be just stuck in it, and be miserable!  

Last night, the snowflakes were so big and sparkly.
This morning, the world so bright!

Ah well....things to do other than sit in this chair!

Monday, January 30, 2023

and wow, that was fun!

#1 lesson learned after having two small children for five nights:  never ever ever say or allude to life being easier for someone who has only two kids.   Maybe it's because I'm 57 and a half, or maybe because I'm out of practice, but phew, it's work.  It's busy, it's messy, and frequently requires just a tad more patience than one possesses. 

But, it's also rewarding.  The warm fuzzy feeling of grandchildren, rocking Rhys, pretending Achilles is a robot, and making Robot Achilles a house out of Jenga's special.  

So I'm thankful that I'm still able to manage it.

This fine morning, I went to the airport and picked up Kathryn and Darius...Camille held down the fort.  I had kept up with the laundry of their stuff, doing laundry for two small children is like playing house, ha.  We unplugged baby monitors and packed up bedding and the little portable-bed, and gathered the special little spoons and bibs and sippy- cups.    Mommy and Daddy came in, and off they all went.  

It's quiet here.   

Did I mention that our truck is out of commission?  The fuel line is cracked/broken/leaking.  So it sits in the driveway until Friday, there's a really nice repair shop down the road, we'll take it in on Friday...(Paul put a temporary patch on it, but we will NOT be bringing it anywhere but the shop!). Sonja has classes every day, so she has the car.  So home-sweet-home we'll stay.  

Until tomorrow, when Kathryn will probably need to go to the store, and I'll go and help.

This coming weekend is a youth conference, so I'll be babysitting some grandchildren here so their parents can go.  Some of our friends are having a nice dinner at their house on Saturday, we were excited about that, but totally didn't realize it was the same weekend as the conference, and I already promised I'd help with the kids. Now, don't feel sorry for me, because being with the grandkids is nice, it's just nice to be with my friends, too.

Last night's dinner, one of my favorites:  a chuck roast stew in the crock pot.  A splash of olive oil, an Aldi roast, $4.99 a pound, some red-skinned potato quarters, some whole carrots, trimmed and cut in thirds or so...two packets of Aldi brown gravy mix....when it was almost done (after five+ hours), I got the kitchen scissors and cut up the beef, then added a beef bullion cube and a cup of water.  After an hour, beef stew.  It was SO good.

Tonight's menu:  chicken fajitas....I'm headed to the kitchen to put the chicken to marinate in lime juice and some spices.  We have lots of peppers, and I bought some low carb tortillas.  I'll make some rice for the kids, too.  

I made my low carb peanut butter cookies on Saturday, as well as a batch of chocolate chip cookies.  

This is the peanut butter one, with a few mini chocolate chips, to render it un-keto, ha.  

Yesterday at church, there's nothing like rocking a small child to sleep...
The small child, Rhys.
They keep busy, they went shopping for way too many books.
Paul turned on some Dream Theatre...this is before the little ones got up and started dancing...

Ah well....winter is back to central NY state...some snow today, some snow tomorrow, and some FREEZING temps this weekend...can't say I love it, but I don't mind too much...have a really good afternoon!

Saturday, January 28, 2023

waking up and other wonderful things...

 Do you wake up in the morning and thank the Lord you made it through another night, as you gingerly haul your lazy rear end out of bed?  It certainly soothes the soul and is eons better than grumping about the achy hip and locking, knocking knees, as one heads to the bathroom.

It's not as easy to be thankful when you have a baby monitor next to your bed and hear the 3 a.m. squawk of sweet little bed is so warm!   They've been here for three nights now, and each night, just once, she starts in, wanting ma-ma, ba-ba!  I fill a cup with milk, it in and refill the bottle, change her diaper, hold her and rock her for a few minutes, then she lies back down and goes back to sleep.  

Old granny here though:  wide awake.  harrumph.

Rhys is 19 months old, and HILARIOUS.  
Uncle Sam with is Ruth, and Rhys...sweet cousins.  
Auntie Char!
Rhys with baby doll...

Achilles sleeps like a champ.  He likes going to bed.  He likes playing, and has an excellent imagination.  He is obsessed with Angler fish right now, so I have to make them from play dough for him.

I didn't realize how much I missed making things like this...

Achilles with his Angler fish.  

Sonja is busy these days, she's up at the hospital in the city, for a nursing clinical, and yeah, with my car...then this fine morning, our truck has a broken/leaking gas line.  That's not the type of thing you just duct tape up, so we're stuck here ha.  Paul had things to do, places to go, now he's puttering.  

So I had forgotten how busy it can be with small children.  My memories got fuzzy and faded, leaving out the poopy diapers and spilled cereal and those emphatic NO NO NO screams that toddlers are prone to when they simply don't want to go potty or get washed.  Heaven forBID we help them put a sock on, no, I do it, I do it!  I would have thought I would have more patience, so this has been really good for me.  

They are actually really good little children, very sweet and huggy.  They like to play, and we're mostly a t.v. free house...I'll turn on Curious George or Martha Speaks in the evening to wind down for a bit, but we mostly go all day with no screen time for them.  

And....there's not much screen time for me, either, as the kids need lots of attention...

Thursday, January 26, 2023

just a very bad dream....

...I was going with the title A Terrible Nightmare, but let's not be TOO dramatic.  So I'm back here in the land of winter, the trees white and glistening, the deck steps slippery, brrr.  While visiting Grandma in Florida, she would often say, "Now you see why I live down here?", and "Don't you wish you lived down here?"   Yes to the first, emphatic NO to the second.  It's lovely to visit, I told her.  I do love a trip to Florida.  I was never one of those kids who traveled, and it was like the girl in my class had been to the moon or something, Florida, harrumph.  I was married with five kids before my first adventure that far south, Paul was offered to take some sort of work seminar at The Disney Dolphin, and I was allowed to accompany, with little baby Joseph.  

Anyway.  I love a good visit, but for me, New York is IT.  I've been to Ireland and France and Norway, and Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, and I've been to Washington state, Oregon, California, Oklahoma, Virginia, Conneticut, and all those east coast states, and drove across the country to Cali, and to Oklahoma, Arizona, and I've been to Toronto and Ontario (Ottowa):  lovely, fun, beautiful...but my heart is in NewYork. Friends, family, rolling hills, lakes, mountains, waterfalls, green grass and those autumn leaves, the stillness of a winter day...

So my bad dream last night:  Paul and I were young, and in Florida, and we found the perfect apartment.  He was like a happy little puppy dog, just so excited.  We were both in college, and had a big group of friends.  When someone passed along a joint, Paul took it, no question, then passed it right by me, but Oh no, mister, my dream self said as I grabbed for it, if we're doing this, I'm doing this.   Then, in the dream, I hoped it didn't contain fentanyl.

The whole time that Dream Paul was bouncing off the walls with excitement, I was happy for him, but filled to the brim with sadness and homesickness.  We didn't even have the kids yet, but I felt like I was leaving my very soul behind in NY....I wanted to stomp my feet and scream and dig my heals in, but he was so happy!

I asked him, when we were there, if he would ever want to move there, he said no.  I mean, I get it.  No ice, no shoveling, no dealing with it all.  I like the governor, too.  But the older kids, and the grandkids, I couldn't leave them. 

Kathryn and Darius brought the kids here yesterday, with car seats and beds and bottles and diapers and and and.  They went to bed so very nicely for us.  Rhys started crying, baby monitor right next to my bed, so I heard her loud and clear!  I filled her bottle, changed her diaper, rocked her a bit, and put her back in the playpen....she was content with that, so I sneaked out the door and back into bed...wide awake, at 4:45.  Eventually I dozed off, right as I was to get up to see Miss Char off on the bus..phew, I don't miss the get-up-in-the-night days....over 25 years of them I had...well, Emily was 22 and 1/2 when Camille was born, so if Cam slept through the night at a year old, then about 24 years....give or take...there were nights in there when the one year old was sleeping well, and I had the good old pregnancy insomnia...

Those little ones are still sleeping, it's almost nine o'clock!  

Today, Grace is is coming over with Grant and Ruth, so it will be a little zoo-y in here.

Yesterday, Camille and I went to a few stores to stock up on groceries.  We left early because the forecast was foreboding, nothing like getting caught in heavy snow.  It was fine, beautiful in fact...the landscape all sparkly...our ride home with coffees almost free from Dunkin points.  

We got things put away, she went off to do school work, I vacuumed and mopped and did laundry, then Paul and I went off in the thick of the snow to pick up a dryer from marketplace.  Treacherous.  The visibility was okay, but the roads were so icy!  We could see tracks where people really zig-zagged, and we slid a little, but we were in a truck with four wheel drive.  As we neared the village, a minivan, inexperienced in winter weather driving, decided to pull out in front of us....WHAT?!!!  She slid right around, fishtailed, was right across both lanes in front of us...I yelled, STOP, and Paul yelled, I CAN'T, but we somehow drove around the were coming from the other direction, not sure what was crazy.  At the next intersection, an SUV went sliding through the red light, horn blaring, obviously couldn't stop....phew, not my kind of weather...

And yeah, I still like NewYork...ha.  Achilles is bye!!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

found myself back in winter...


It's amazing we live in a time when one fly from a warm sunny day to a cold snowy afternoon in a matter of two hours, sixteen minutes.  That's how long, from take-off to landing, to get from Orlando to Siberacuse, as the pilot called it.

Never mind that technology glitches and air travel isn't perfect, our flight home was canceled and we got to had to stay another day.  

Sonja and Char...
Me with Cam...
Our extra day:  Sonja had to fly home by herself because classes started, so we just bought her another ticket.  Paul had to work from home/grandma's house,  so took the girls to a park...

Then a few hours by the pool, ahh that sunshine!
Saying goodbye to Grandma was extra hard this time.  She's very frail and very forgetful.  

I almost forgot this picture, one of the best parts of the trip:  Culver's custard, berry cobbler.  

Anyway, we stayed another day...I've contacted the airline and expressed displeasure, we had pay over two hundred dollars to extend the rental car by one day.  We'll see what they say.

Home...ah ,home.  Early out the door to the grocery store, before the snow got bad....then home, ahh....home.  Meatballs for dinner, with thin spaghetti...

The kids will be here soon...Achilles and Rhys are coming for five days...

Sunday, January 22, 2023

take me to the beach for some sunshine, please!

 Warm sunshine in January, yes please!  There's snow falling in New York, but we don't have to deal with that until...tomorrow.

Today, we went to the beach.  It wasn't hot, and I didn't swim, but Paul and the girls did.  

Charlotte Claire and Sonja K., Camille and me..
Camille and I, twins.
Walking down Grandma's road...
Paul, and WinnDixie...
Me, in WinnDixie

What a business, no thank you.
Approaching Clearwater beach is always exciting, and beautiful.

Feet in the white sand, oooh happy.

They certainly enjoyed some sun!
The girls thought maybe Disney designed this cloud, looks like a whale...

We left the beach because the weather app said rain in three minutes.   It was nothing but a little sprinkle!

But we got our sun, and are enjoying our time with Grandma. the airport....

Saturday, January 21, 2023

ah, here in Florida...

With Sonja...airport selfie!

Airplane selfie!  Paul and I, Camille, Charlotte Claire ,and Sonja K.

We got some sunshine yesterday, pool time, ahhhh!!!!!
We didn't arrive in Orlando until midnight, by the time we got to Zephyrhills until two...then Grandma was awake and happy to see us, it was a while until we settled in.  So yesterday we visited for a bit, then nice!!!!  We went to Publix, one of my favorite places, and got lunch fixings...then ordered Chili's for dinner, at the request of some young girls...those chipotle chicken crispers are not too shabby. 
The pups are staying with Margaret and Adrian, little Tennyson loves them...what's better than a Sunny backrest and a Suri footrest?  

The forecast here today is rainy, so we're thinking of going to some thrift stores, and tomorrow hopefully we'll make it to the won't be hot, but some sunshine would be sufficient.  

Grandma is happy to see us, she's such a gem.  Her short term memory isn't what it used to be, but she is still very sharp and perceptive.  She can't keep it straight how long we're here for or what day it is, but she knows what's going on in the world, and believe me, she has her opinions on it.  She really enjoys having the girls here, too.  

So we're not doing anything earthshattering down here, but just the tropical air, I do love it.  I love the smell of the warm weather, that distinctive Florida aroma.  It's green, and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  Having Paul in "Vacation Mode", and spending time with the girls, I have no complaints.  I've slept well, and the palpitations are still going on, but something about knowing they aren't going to put me in the grave has taken the sting out of them.  Going in the pool yesterday was really nice, felt good.

Ah well....there's a lot to be thankful for today!