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, March 31, 2023

getting out and about...


Where there's a will, there's a way.

She even has a method. She stands on a chair in the Starbucks, and climbs into the cart, it's rather impressive.  One of the Target employees was not so impressed however.  Sonja was pushing the cart as we left the store, and he stopped her. He tried to get her to have Cam get out of the cart right then and there and get into one of the electric wheelchairs.  He insisted.  Camille was pretty embarrassed, he was adamant, talking about liability, and how adults cannot ride in carts, ect. Sonja just told him we won't do it again, and walked out of the store pushing Camille.  The guy was offering to help get her into a cart, but how mortifying would that be, at the front of the store, for Camille?

Anyway.  She is quite nimble, she is able to get out of the cart and into the car, no problem.  I can understand Target not appreciating this though.  It's all about the liability, especially in New York State.  

For the record, she tried the electric wheel chair after her last surgery, and they're not designed for narrow aisles, half the store isn't actually accessible.  Plus, she's a terrible driver, much more of a liability for Target, crashing into things, backing into things.  

Anyway.  We had too much fun, on our little outing.  We also went into Old Navy, where she was able to walk with the crutches. She can't put much weight on the owie leg yet, so it does get tiring.  She did find a nice pair of pants though, for six dollars, and Sonja found an adorable springy top for ten.  

We stopped at a home improvement store, a small local place, to get a bathroom sink for the house we are fixing up.  It was only $39 online, so imagine my surprise when it rang up $79.  The guy said the price just went up, this morning.  He was very nice about it, and gave it for $39, because it was still online for that, but told us they just got slammed with price increases from their major supplier.  Massive price increases, not just 10%, or a few bucks.   eeks.

Margaret is coming over with Wulf and Tennyson today.  She works from home so she'll work from here.  I should get up from my warm cozy comfy chair and vacuum.  It's not all that messy in here, not like the old days when someone was coming over!  My mother-in-law would stop over sometimes without letting me know, never ever when it was clean in here, but always always when it was over-run with Duplos and bags of groceries that hadn't been put away (not the cold stuff obviously, but sometimes there were canned goods and boxes of pasta and shampoo that sat in the bags waiting for me to get a chance, or to prioritize putting them away....). She usually gave me a heads up, she'd call and make sure I would be home...I'd get off the phone and say, "Kids, Grandma will be here in TEN minutes...grab the broom, put away those towels, grab that pile of laundry, who's socks are these? Why is the peanut butter out?"   And so on.   The backpacks and boots and sneakers and flip flops and jackets and sweaters and rain coats.  Eighteen of us lived here, so multiply all those things.  

Anyway.  Panic cleaning is amazing.  Now I don't have an army of kids to mobilize to help, but I also don't have the plethora of items strewn around anymore either.  Sonja leaves her lunchbox on the counter, no big deal.  Char leaves her backpack on the living room floor, no big deal.  

Anyway.  Life has changed, and what I would give for Grandma to be in such good health to be able to still travel up here for summers...can't complain for being 93, but it's sad to see her slow down.

Last night, we had an excellent dinner.  I had gotten some boneless ribeye steaks marked down at Wegmans, still too expensive, but there are only five of us, so three steaks were plenty...not like the old days, ha.  I let those steaks rest on the counter with some coarse ground pepper and salt...then put them in a hot frying pan with a small bit of olive oil, seared them, flipped, seared the other side, then turned down the heat and put a cover on loosely for a bit...I kind of over cooked them, but they were so melty and tender and good...oh, last step:  a chunk of butter in the pan and some rosemary, spoon that over them, put the steaks on a plate, and pour all the butter with pan drippings over the top, let rest for a few minutes...oh they were good.  We had them with fresh Brussel sprouts...the girls also had some air fryer French fries. 

It's expensive to eat steak, but...still way less than a lot of prepared things, or takeout or eating out.  If I were rich, I'd eat it all the time, but then I probably wouldn't appreciate it so much.  

Benjamin said the other day that if you make 30,000 a year or more, you are in the top 1% of the world's wealthy people.  I looked into it, and updated that's now around $60k.  That's in the entire world, so including many third world countries.  We were talking about it because one of the girls found a decent house for sale, and someone commented that it would make a good started house.  I thought, oh my goodness, how entitled we've gotten!  In most of the world, that house would be a palace.   We NEED to be thankful for what we have!  Updates and improvements and having the latest can simply consume us.  

Okay...time to get moving...have a really really nice day, a thankful day!

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

nailed it!

 Dry oven baked chicken breast? Well.   I always marinate it, usually in lime juice, salt and pepper.  Sometimes I stand at the stove and fry/sautee it up in olive oil, dredged in different flour/corn starch, takes a while, and makes a mess.  I like it grilled, but nope, too cold out.  So yesterday, after marinating for three or four hours, I mixed up a bowl of flour, around a half cup, corn starch, around 1/4 cup, and about a tablespoon of baking soda, with salt and coarse ground pepper.  I drained the lime juice from the chicken, rolled each breast piece around in the mixture, then put them on a cookie sheet with parchment, and lots of olive oil.  I flipped them so both sides were covered in the oil, then into a 400 degree oven, until brown and crispy.  

I let them set under a tent of foil for a bit after, then when sliced up, so tender and juicy!  We had a nice salad bar (oranges, blueberries, dried cranberries, some different lettuces, chopped cabbage (adds so much crunch!), grape tomatoes, baby cucumbers, cheeses, tortilla strips, croutons...I used a splash ofAsian Sesame dressing on mine, just a teeny bit, it's a good flavor) (from Aldi).  

Camille is healing, ever so slowly, her leg really hurts and she can't get comfortable.  The pain meds make her queasy even with zofran.  She can hobble along on her crutches quite well, but she can't really carry a bowl of cereal, or a plate of Nutella toast, or prepare food.  Sonja is making her some tortellini with fresh garlic cream sauce, right now.  She doesn't really eat much, but she needs to take the meds with food, so we're spoiling her:)

And, now it's Wednesday.  Life interfered, and interrupted my post.  I try to put this laptop away when the girls are talking and chatting.  I had to make dinner...steak, and broccoli.  I had a few leftover chicken wings for late lunch, so I wasn't very hungry, so a late dinner.  

I finally dragged my sewing machine out and set it up on the kitchen/dining room table.  I loved this checked fabric....

And a new cover for a wintery looking pillow... well as new cushion covers.

My three day fashion accessory, it's all the rage for old people.  It sure is more stylish than the one I wore years ago!  Just stick it on, I can even shower with it on.  But, no pool, it cannot be submerged.   dang.
During the echocardiogram, my heart did one of it's booming palpitations, I saw the line on the screen jump around...the tech/nurse asked me if I could feel that one, and yes, I could.  

So now I am supposed to write down the time I feel each one, as it records my heart.  I decided I am not going to worry about the results.  Meds? I hate meds.  Surgery?  Okay, not even going there.  I will deal with what I have to deal with today, which is actually enough, without worrying about what might or might not be.  

Life interfering with blogging is now evening...Kathryn came over with Achilles, Rhys, and newborn Jamison.
He's a super calm baby when he's here, when Kathryn is home with all of them, he cries whenever she puts him down...she had two other children to care for, so it gets challenging.
Aunt Sonja with Jamie, big brother Achilles, and cousin Grant.
Ruth loves the dogs.
Sam and Grace came over with Grant and Ruth.  We had pulled pork nachos, on this snowy windy night.  Spring, ha.  Not quite yet.  Kathryn and Samuel both had shorts on, as it was rather pleasant earlier today.  

It's quiet in here now, Sonja and Charlotte Claire left to go play volleyball, so it's just Paul and I, and Miss Camille.  The house looks like grandchildren were here, but at least I got the dishes done.  The crockpot is soaking, but all else is done.   

Ah well...I'm just sitting here chatting with Cam....maybe tomorrow I'll have more to say...:)

Monday, March 27, 2023

recreational arguing...

 ...three girls doing their school work, telling each other to be quiet in between breaking out in Taylor Swift, crunching on Sun Chips.  Camille isn't getting around too well yet, and is all snuggly on the couch. There are long silences as they actually do some work, then one of them will start doing their math out loud, or ask if seepage is a word.

I talk too much, they've informed me.  So I read the news and couldn't help sharing the awful news about the latest school shooting: perpetrated by a young woman.  

So I'm trying to be quiet, and behave, but now one of them is crunching too loud for another one of them.  (That was an unreasonably loud bite...maybe I should switch my essay topic to "Loud Eating", it infuriates me.  Other sister:  you're not going to have enough evidence and data for that. )

This fine morning, after the pool, I went to Target to pick up a few things. I was all by myself, so I wandered around looking a bit.  I only spent 27 dollars, and that was including a big package of chicken breast.  

Next, Price Chopper, for a few steaks...less than four dollars a pound.  The Peter Pan peanut butter was buy one get one free, and I found a soft fuzzy blanket in the seasonal aisle, marked down to five dollars...I gave into Camille.  

Then, Aldi, for blueberries, bananas, salad fixings, butter ($2.49 a pound!), eggs, and some lime juice.  The chicken breast is now marinating in lime juice, salt and pepper. I'll dry it off, douse it in olive oil, and roast it, slice it, and serve it with the salad fixings and some fresh Italian bread (for the girls).  

I dropped a carton of eggs in the driveway when I got alone is nice, but bringing all the stuff in alone is NOT nice.  I had to take three trips, and it's up the deck steps!  Anyway, three broken eggs, so guess who had scrambled eggs for lunch?  

Everything is put away, the floors are vacuumed, I did some laundry, and soon it's into the kitchen with, don't I live the most exciting life?  

Yesterday after church, some of the kids and spouses and grandkids came over...we ordered pizza and wings, and Emily brought over some fancy carrot soup, spicy, made with coconut milk, SO GOOD.  There were still cupcakes here from Kathryn's birthday, and I made homemade half moon cookies yesterday morning.

Tennyson and Rhys, cousins...

With the grandkids here, there was running and yelling and silly nonsense, but oh my goodness I love them.  Grandpa was chasing them around, and Tennyson kept running to me when Grandpa almost got him...oh, those hugs!  Rhys checks in with me quite frequently, she likes to rock a little and will request, Ba Ba Black Sheep.  I got to hold newborn Jamison, and even Wulf came to sit with me for a little.  

Char's spellcheck switched mismatched to mustache, which is apparently hysterically funny.  Ah well...dinner isn't going to cook itself.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

freshly baked....

 ....oh, that heavenly aroma, bread.   Margaret showed me a simple recipe last week, and it's a keeper.  It's from JuicingPeaches, and it's so simple:

Okay, I admit:  it's not very beautiful...but it's good.

3 cups (400 g) flour

2 tsp salt (11g)

1 tsp active dry yeast (4g)

1 1/2 c lukewarm water (350 ml), 95-100F or 36c)

I use and eight cup measure, mix the warm water and yeast, let it bloom, 15 minutes.

in a 4 cup measure, I sift the flour and salt together.

Add flour mixture to yeast and water, stir with a rubber scraper, then cover with a damp towel for two hours.

Dump onto floured piece of parchment paper, shape if wanted, cover with damp towel for half hour...then preheat oven to 425 with Dutch oven in oven, so you're preheating your Dutch oven. After that half hour of the second rise, carefully place dough, parchment and all, into Dutch oven, trim paper if necessary, put lid on, and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove lid and bake for 15 more minutes to brown.  Lift parchment, bread and all, and let rest before slicing, if you can!  Next time I'll sprinkle with salt, rosemary, after removing lid.   It's SO easy, and so good.  

Dinner is bubbling away in the crockpot, and I'm almost drooling here:  a nice piece of  chuck steak, two packets of brown gravy mix, minced onions, rosemary, chopped carrots, quartered red skinned potatoes, coarse ground pepper....with the smell of the bread mixed in, it's absolutely amazing in here.  The anticipation is almost the best part.

It's been a quiet day here.  Sonja is at the hospital, Paul is working on the house, Charlotte Claire is in Washington D.C., and I'm here with Miss Camille, making sure she gets her meds, bringing her food and drinks, and keeping her company.  It's quite pleasant.  The wind is blowing and it's a cold gray day, but we've got the flames of the fake fireplace, and the white twinkle lights on.  

We face timed with Jonny, in Germany, today.  He's got a fever, and doesn't feel well.  He's doing all right, it's nice to talk with him. I miss him!  He misses American food.  :)

The dogs have been fed, the kitties are all fed and comfy, the house has been vacuumed, windows cleaned, clean covers on the couches, counters and tables washed, dishes done...I'm not bored, I'm totally enjoying this quiet uneventful day.  

Soon Paul will be home, and we'll have our yummy dinner....

Friday, March 24, 2023

settling in...

It's a cool gloomy day here in central NY.  Reading other blogs about the wonderful springtime blooms and green grasses makes ME a little bit green, but mostly hopeful, because it's coming soon.

Miss Kathryn came over with the little ones yesterday.  I had a little snowplow for Achilles that I bought at the thrift store, so Kathryn got a pail of snow from outside and put it on a cookie sheet.  A few more cars to drive behind the little plow, and he was happy for a while.  

Some chocolates I made for the kids.  It seemed like such a good idea to bake cupcakes and a cake and make frosting and melt chocolate all at the same time!  ha.
I didn't properly tap the mold, so air bubbles...oops.  Achilles looked at the flowers and said, "That's not Boo's door, Boo's door has flowers on it!"

Happy 25th birthday to Kathryn Grace, now mom of three, holding little Jamison.  

I wasn't going to post these because I look old grandma, but then I AM an old grandma!
(with Jamison and Rhys)
Two weeks old, and so beautiful!
Charlotte and Camille, delighted aunties...
All snuggly for the ride home.

Camille is sound asleep here in the living room, on the futon couch.  She has her mattress topper, and all her bedding, with her water bottle right by her, her next dose of meds close by.  We talked last night and she's okay with me going to the pool this morning.  Paul is here if she needs any help, too.  Sonja is at the hospital for clinical today, Charlotte Claire is in school...I have to pick her up early so she can get her bedding and bags, she's going to Delaware and to Washington D.C. this weekend with Mariel, Margaret, Sam's wife Grace, and a few more friends.  

Yesterday we had take-out Chinese food for Kathryn.  My girls totally appreciated it too, of course.  It's salty and fried and delicious and I'm glad we rarely have it.  It WAS the only meal I ate yesterday, and I only ate a little of the rice...General Tso chicken for me, nice and spicy.  

So off to the pool I go, yay!  I only missed one day this week (it's three days a week).     

I feel like blogging is like this quick over-view of the days...bullet points.  I overlooked some of the minor details, like: one of the dogs, I think Suri, did a little poop on the living room floor, which thankfully I found with my eyes and not my feet yesterday morning. (she's almost eleven, I don't know...rare occurrence).   I got up on time but dawdled too much in the bathroom, and Char's got on the bus before I could greet her this morning, which made me kick myself...she likes to see me in the morning.  I gathered up three of my bras to repair them, the underwires poked through, three bras within a week!  There's nothing like going about your business, and having a wire poking your underarm area...if you're like me, it takes a while to realize exactly what's making you so uncomfortable and cranky, busy doing things and oh,  okay.  I should just wear different bras...  Anyway.  I really have to get up and get moving if I'm going to get in the water in time.  We usually play catch with a big beachball for warm up, which is fun, but if the ball lands in the water in front of you, splash in the face!   I love the older people in the group though...they are all so nice.  bye.


Wednesday, March 22, 2023

a day in the hospital...

 On Tuesday morning, when I woke Camille so we could go get her scripts, and some things for activity club, and a few groceries including some things she wanted after surgery (vanilla pudding cups!), I thought, "Well, this is probably the last good and comfy night's sleep she'll have for a while, poor girl..."

(Have you slept in an immobilizer? I have not. It goes from thigh to ankle, it's pokey for the opposite leg, and heavy. )

Anyway, we went out and about, did what we had to of the older kids was sick, we thought it was appendix but it ended up being something else, then one of the other older kids was sick with something, and it was hard for my heart. No matter how old they are, mama wants to be there.

Activity club last night:  we played with little things (Calico Critters, Little Woodzeez), and made little easter baskets from big plastic cups with pipe cleaner handles, and decorated in stickers, (then filled with a small amount of candy), and...ran around.  They love running around.

This fine morning, my alarm set for 5:55, then oops, when I checked the time in the night I realized I had set it for 4:55, so I changed it...then dang it if I didn't second guess myself and lie there wide awake, wondering if I was tricking myself...I was so tired, didn't know if I was really awake.  Anyway.  Not enough sleep, subsequent headache which fluorescent lighting in the hospital didn't help.  Instead of going to visit and hang out with Grace and the kids, or Marge and the kids, I sat in the car during the surgery...drank my coffee, read a book...then I walked a few blocks to use the bathroom at the gas station/minimart/dairy store, and get a coffee.  The surgeon called me after two + hours, things went well. Back into the hospital I went, to wait for a while more...those lights!  

With this surgery, I requested meds for nausea, so the anesthesiologist put a patch on Cam's neck, like when you're seasick, plus they gave her zofran in the I.V., plus a script of it for at home when the pain meds make her queasy. It's like night and day from the last surgery, no throwing up.  (Last time she did it all the way home, 40 minute drive).

All chipper before the surgery, sweet Miss Camille.  

It was a looooong day.  We got home at five.  Sonja K., also a sweetheart, came home from college, cleaned up the house, washed all the dishes, and had a barbecued chicken with red onions pizza just out of the oven as we arrived home.  She had gone to the pharmacy for me, too, for the zofran.  

What a feeling, to have this finally done. I know for Cam, the days ahead will be challenging before she heals up, but's done.  No plans tomorrow...but it IS Kathryn's birthday...

Monday, March 20, 2023

oh ho yay!

Random thoughts on a Monday evening...

1. I just ordered new Birkenstocks...on sale...they're not just a want...I don't wear anything else once spring rolls around, until around November.  

2. I got to see little Jamison today...

...with big sister Rhys

...with Aunt Sonja...

Messy, happy house, on 
Saturday...Margaret was baking cakes, with Wulf and Tennyson, Rhys playing.
Cousins: Ophelia and Wulf
Camille holding Rhys...
Sweet new Jamison
Happy birthday to Wulf, with a Sponge bob cake from his mama, Margaret

Cousin Achilles was excited too!

New York...don't like the politics, but it's gorgeous...
My hair, it doesn't grow!
Camille's creampuffs...not filled yet.

Ophelia and Wulf...

Goodnight...tomorrow is a busy day, then the next day is Camille's surgery.  Tomorrow:  library, pharmacy, Aldi...early night, hopefully, as we have to get up at the buttcrack of dawn, in a nicer way to say it, on Wednesday.  

So, goodnight!!!!


Friday, March 17, 2023

it's raining it's pouring...

 ...temperamental weather here in central NY state, from snow storm to pouring rain.  It's drumming on the metal roof, and do you think I want to get up, get dressed, and head out the door to the pool?  Absolutely not, but I will anyway.  A key to being successful in anything is to just not listen to your lazy inclinations.

This fine, dark, chilly day, I have plans to spend some time with Lydia, my dear 8 year old granddaughter. I was thinking to take her shopping and to lunch, after the pool.  

Yesterday, Camille had her pre-op appointment.  Her $400 t-scope immobilizer leg brace is missing a piece, we had to get a new one.  The ortho office manager wasn't sure the insurance would cover a new one.  Well, her last surgery, in May of last year, she wore the brace for weeks, but honestly, how were we supposed to know at that point, that she would need a second surgery on the other knee?  I mean, would a used leg brace pass the Marie Kondo?  Yes, the leg brace, all ratty with dog hair in the velcro from both the yellow and black labs, brings me joy.  I shall keep it.  Since we didn't do an actual Marie clean out, we did still have the awful thing, and they asked us to please bring it with us for this visit.  I was almost glad, for Camille's sake, that it WAS missing a piece, because, shabby.  But another $400 or so...and you can buy them on Amazon!  I didn't even consider that!

Anyway.  Never a dull one.  We went to Aldi after her appointment.  Emily, from her vacation in Lisbon, asked me to get a few things for a mentor's weekend at church, she's coming home, then doing the food for around 200 people.   I couldn't find what we needed in Aldi, so to Walmart we went.  Cam was looking for comfy pants for after surgery, with wide legs, we didn't find them.  We stopped at another grocery store, really quickly, because I knew the Diet Coke was buy two, get three free...and the burger was $2.99 a pound.  

Home...Kathryn was over for a visit with the kids, how nice to have a newborn to cuddle!

(Auntie Sonja with little Jamison)

This fine morning, I went to the pool...came home and got Miss Camille, then picked up Lydia.  We went to Kohl's, where the clearance stuff is half off.  I found boots for Lydia, which she loves, and jeans, a few tops...and two winter coats for Camille ($20 and $16), a few $1.80 shirts for me, and some various other bargains.  We went to McDonalds, as per Lydia's request, because of the play area.  Only one cashier, and the ordering screens took your order, but you had to wait in line to pay the one cashier because that function wasn't operational.  It took 45 minutes to get a little snack...Lyd wanted the mint shake, Cam a chocolate one, and iced coffee for me.  
She made a friend on the playground, and also met up with an old neighbor.  

After dropping her off, home...ah home on this chilly, damp, rainy, I did not say damn.

Paul was leaving to go work on the house, so off I went with him...he has the flooring almost finished, the two upstairs bedrooms and the downstairs bedroom, most of the living room...there's the downstairs hall, the bathroom, and the back room to go, as well as the kitchen area.  I painted a few doors, some trim, and washed some windows.  The cabinet doors are still here, need one more coat of paint...

(The nice refrigerator and stove we bought from Marketplace...that's not exactly where they're going...

Anyway...home ahhh home...Paul cooked burgers for dinner, and I cut up some strawberries.  

My back has been bothering me, lower on the left side, radiates around to the front of my thigh, feels like a clicking, a catching, if I lean over.   Try not leaning over. It's almost impossible. I dropped the store ad in the store yesterday, and just walked on like I didn't notice.  Putting on my boots, my socks, oh dear.  Feeding the cat, feeding the dog, not fun.   

Hopefully resting it will make it better soon...:)

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

snow day!!! chocolate!!!


Where do the days go?   I had Wulf and Tennyson on Monday, they spent most of the night...their daddy drove all the way to Philadelphia to pick up their mommy, and Miss Char, as their flight into Syracuse was cancelled.  He dropped Char here, woke up the boys, and drove home to Oswego.
The bag in the back is what they call Booby Ladies...:). the 6 pack are Kvikk Lunsj, (quick lunch), it's like a Norwegian KitKat, only a million times better.  European chocolate, can't go wrong.

Tuesday was a SNOW DAY!  We only have one in public school, but that one is Charlotte Claire, and did she ever need a day after all that traveling!  Sonja K. is on school break too, so it was a fantastic snow day!  Camille made oatmeal raisin cookies, which I LOVE, but have managed to stay away from so far...

I made pumpkin bread with apples and raisins, low carb of course.
I can't say that it was delicious, but it smelled heavenly and was satisfying.

Emily, Mariel, and Evelyn are in Lisbon, Portugal now...looks wonderful, wish I was with them.
Mariel and Evelyn
Evelyn and Mariel
Evelyn's picture...they're having a nice time, I hope they go again next year and I can go too:)

This picture is from a few years back when I spent a day in London with Emily, Suzanne, and Sonja.

Wulf and Tenny, brekky at the coffee table.
Granddaughter Ophelia, wanted to help me make the pot pie...
I don't trim the crust at the edges, just fold it all in because it's the very best part, in my humble, piggy, opinion.  I sprinkle the top with salt and coarse pepper, and rosemary.  I refrained from putting extra butter on the top this time.   I made two, because Adrian was going to be here for dinner Monday, but he ended up leaving to drive to Philly, so we only ate one...there was another whole one, so into the oven it went for dinner last night.  

Now the sun is shining, and I'm itching to get out of the house.  The water aerobics class was cancelled this morning, I wouldn't have made it anyway, as the driveway was full of snow.  Paul went out with the snowblower, so it's all clear now.  The pool is closed until afternoon though.

People, in general, live in a strong delusion that so many things MATTER so MUCH, putting down roots here on the earth as if we're here to stay.  Planning, buying, saving, stocking...maybe necessary, but where our heart is, there our treasures is also.  

Young people don't believe how fast life goes by.  All the years they spend preparing for life, they don't realize that that IS their life.  You have to live fully in the days you have, don't get bogged down worry about tomorrow.  Yeah, maybe the grandkids come over and the toys get strewn, but those children will be teenagers before you blink.  

Nine years ago: my five-girls-in-a-row-in-five-years, out shopping. (Margaret was five and a half when Sonja was born, so it was Margaret 5, Kathryn 4, Evelyn 2 1/2, Suzanne 1, and Sonja newborn).  You can see in the above photo that they were NOT thrilled I took the picture, ha.  Suzanne was 13, Evelyn 14, Sonja 11, Kathryn 15, and Margaret 17...(Sonja would be turning 12 in May, Kathryn 16 in a few weeks)

Only one of those little girls still lives at home, Miss Sonja K., the one in the middle of the pic, the youngest of those five-in-a-row.  All the cat fights and clothes fights and door slamming and singing and silliness and drama..whew, flew right by.  There seemed to be always two of them disagreeing about SOMETHING.  Now just Sonja, Char, and Cam here at home...Sonja and Char fake fight, just for the fun of it, but the three of them get along just fine.  

All right...ran out of profound things to write ha...and my coffee is goodbye for now.