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

Monday, May 20, 2024

This fine morning...

 ...after a nice swim, and some exercises in the pool, and a really good coffee, we went out for a drive in the desert.  There were cacti and rocks, sand and scrubby bushes, and roadrunners.  We went to a coffee shop and the iced Americanos were...just so-so.  Then to Aldi, for some taco toppings.  Evelyn got a bottle of wine for $3.50, and it wasn't half bad!  

Another little drive through the desert, and we were home.  The dogs act like we were gone forever, there's the symphony of welcome barking and wagging.  We had a little snack (I had pepperoni, raspberries, a strawberry, and some street taco chips, which are my current weakness, and they are sold in Aldi).  Then, out to the pool for a bit...ahh, can't complain! 

They get tired out from so much chasing the ball...Lily, Pretzel, and Banjo.
We had enough sun, so we had a little break, then went back out to sit in the shade and enjoy the 98 degree day, nice and breezy.  We saw some roadrunners in the desert behind the house, and lots of birds, but no donkeys today.

Somehow yesterday passed, and I find myself here writing again this morning, same post.  Our dinner was nice, a simple taco meal.  I browned up some corn tortillas, sprinkled with salt and lime juice.  Evelyn made some rice, and a big pan of red and orange peppers and onions.  She made guac, and we had chopped fresh cilantro.  So simple, and so good.  We finished The Sound of Freedom, which is about child trafficking.  It is not for the faint hearted.  What a world we live in, such awful things.  

The pups have been fun.  Pretzel is the nicest, she's shy and sweet, was rescued from the pound years ago, they went in just to look, and they had compassion on this little dear, she was in rough shape.  She is a border collie, so she keeps after Lily...when Lily, the black Lab, chases the ball, Pretzel is chasing Lily.  Banjo is, I'll venture to say, the cutest.  She is also the biggest brat.  She's bossy and high strung, and she likes to bark.  She never runs out of energy, as far as chasing that ball.  But she does get tired and settles down nicely in the house.

I do miss our Labradors back home, and the kids and the grandkids, absence making the heart grow fonder and all.  I told Aaron, that as Sam always says, "Two things can be true at once."  I love home, but I love here too.  In the children's book Owl at Home, Owl loves his upstairs and his downstairs, and wants to be in both places at once...

Anyway.  Paul and Evelyn are working today, and Aaron and Riley are coming home from their vacation.  The skies are hazy from wildfires in the Tonto National Forest.  I am not tired of the pool yet, nor of the sunshine.  :)

Have a really good day!  

Friday, May 17, 2024

the afternoon sun...

These birds wanted IN!
Parking lot cacti, not something you see in Central New York State.
You don't see this store either.  Evelyn and I had a bit of fun there yesterday afternoon.
There was a sign in the bakery, donuts five dollars a dozen on Fridays.  We thought we could buy them and take one bite out of each, for that price.  But what if they tasted really good, and we ate half of each?!  What if they were out-of-this-world delish, and we ate them all?!!

She gets done with work soon, and we're going for an afternoon swim.  I did my morning water aerobics, vacuumed the floors, went back outside for a bit, talked on the phone to my sister, had an afternoon iced coffee, read about how to paint the inside of your camper, ect., and other important things.  

I would have killed for this kind of leisure time, not too long ago.  Okay, not actually, but would have appreciated it immensely.  There is almost too much of a good thing though.  :). I'm super glad to have the pool though, I get in there and move, and it offsets the rest of the laziness:)

Did I tell you about the burgers that Riley made the other night?  Sliced onions, smash burgers cooked on a griddle on the grill, the onions caramelized, one slice of cheese between two patties, on a bun...oh dear.  

The kids tease me when I say that this was the best I ever had, but this was definitely the best burger ever.  Yes, I ate every bite.  I hadn't eaten anything but some peanuts in over 24 hours, and I was hungry, especially with the jet lag/time change.  Here it was 6:45, which felt like 9:45 for me...even days I fast all day, I eat dinner well before that.  

Anyway, it was good, and Evelyn and I are inspired to make some again tonight.  Last night we had fresh chicken wings, oven baked then airfried with Buffalo sauce and hot honey barbecue, roasted sweet potatoes and asparagus.  Mmmm.

I think it's time for that swim now....I am enjoying this time.  Oh, Evelyn and I went to Downeast yesterday and tried on some expensive dresses, just for fun, and I may have bought one...from the clearance rack, but still too much...but it's for Sonja's wedding!  Something crossed off the list, which is nice...especially because out here I can't get things done, ha.  

I have no complaints though.  It's nice to sun and swim and play with the dogs and relax...have a good day!

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

joy and fun and seasons in the sun...

 Off we go to Phoenix!

With Evelyn...
And Paul...

Our travels went well, flying Southwest.  First to Baltimore, short and not so sweet, lots of turbulence.   The four and a half hr. flight to Phoenix was smoother, and Southwest is not too shabby, drinks and snacks, the ice water, then coffee...which I did not have, at that time of the night, although it smelled amazing.  

There's a new coffee maker here since my last visit, that nice one broke.  This is a Breville, and it's also pretty nice!  

It grinds the beans into the scoop thing, pull the lever to tamp, then screw the scoop in on the other side, press the buttons, and pick your poison.  I like a hot Americano in the morning, soon I'll have an iced one.

The dogs were so happy to see us last night, Banjo and Pretzel, the Border Collies, and Lily the Lab.  I know they remember us.  They're all quiet here now, settled down.  Aaron, Riley, Paul, and Evelyn are all working from home today, I'm just relaxing and trying not to distract them too much.  

The pool is amazing.  It's 84 degrees outside, the pool is about 82, the sky is brilliantly blue, the sun blazing.  The air is dry, and getting out of the pool is almost chilly. Since I am missing my water aerobics classes, I did all the exercises, and it felt great.  I dried off in the sun, but then came back in.  I don't want to get a sunburn on the first day!  I'll go back out in a few hours...

A random picture from this blog, just a few short years ago with my youngest seven kids.  Camille wasn't even two yet.  Life has changed so much, those were busy, crazy days.  

Now I'm here in this clean quiet house...

Paul helping Aaron with something...Lily lounging...I already miss Charlotte Claire and Camille...mostly Camille because when I was here last September, Cam was here with me, and was my swimming/sunning buddy.  Evelyn is here, but is working.  Being away from the grandkids for so long is hard for me too, but it's also so nice to be here.  



I've been out in the pool twice today, limiting time in the sun so I don't get a sunburn, plus it's so hot out there!  But I'm not complaining!  Have a really nice day!

Monday, May 13, 2024

so extremely rich!

 Rich with blessings!  God has been so good to me.  Since rambling is my forte, here I go:

In a recent conversation with a very kind older woman, she revealed that she had many miscarriages, and lost a baby girl at just a few weeks old, then had one son, and that was all.  She told me not to take my kids for granted.  I have been rolling that thought around in my head, because my first thought was oh, I don't, I'm very thankful for them!

Truth:  we can always be MORE thankful.  

Four of my daughters:  Abigail, Charlotte Claire, Sonja, Camille
Ab, Char, Sonja, Emily, Camille

That's the extent of the pics from yesterday...I saw 12 of the sixteen yesterday:  Emily, Abigail, Benjamin, Mariel, Samuel, Margaret, Kathryn, Evelyn, Sonja, Jonathan, Char, and Camille.  

We were having a few over, but Margaret and Kathryn, who are married to brothers, have their mother-in-law from Winnipeg in town, because Adrian (Margaret's husband) graduated from college. (a degree in Engineering, already has a managerial position at his place of internship.)  

Anyway, they said they weren't going to be coming over, I understood, the boys' mom was in town...then on Sunday morning, they changed their minds, but it was good:  Darius was smoking ribs and bringing them over, along with some nice central NY hot dogs.  Evelyn brought charcuterie stuff, I got some burgers out of the freezer, and somehow, there was plenty of everything.  Darius did all of the grilling, and the girls put the food out, and cleaned things up later.  I had made a very good batch of brownies in the morning:  one box of chocolate cake mix, one box of brownie mix, a stick of melty butter, 2/3 cup of oil, 4 eggs, and a splash of strong coffee, sprinkles on top, along with mini choc. chips and milk choc. chips.  I baked them in a 13x9 pan lined with parchment paper, so they lifted right out for easy slicing.  

There was also leftover ice cream cake from Charlotte Claire's Friday night 18th birthday celebration.

It was a rainy day here, so the kids were mostly in the house.  It was a bit wild, but so much fun too.  Jamison scoots, Maeve and Blythe crawl, then there's Declan, Ruth, Rhys, Achilles, Tennyson, Wulf, Grant, Elise, and Anya, playing hide and seek and other loud running games ha.  (Molly and Josh didn't come over with Lydia, Ophelia, and Denzel).  

This picture I actually stole from Grace, it's Maeve and Blythe, cousins and speed crawlers.  I was terrible about taking pictures yesterday, I feel like the day went by in one big happy blur.  At one point, Tennyson, who is 3 and a half, was really wanting me to show him inside the new camper.  We sneaked out the door in the pouring rain and went in and sat down.  He had more questions than I had answers for, he can't wait to see the ends popped down so he can see the beds.  He is so sincere and sweet.  

Anya and Elise made me cards, Ben and Ashley gave me a nice card, Mariel a nice candle and a little laptop desk, I got a tea kettle that I bought for myself a few months back, shh, it was on clearance...someone had ordered it online at Target (not sold in stores), and returned it, so there it was on the end rack with random marked down items, so cute, so I bought it and gave it to the girls to give me for Mothers' Day, why oh why didn't I think of this years ago? 

Lots of the kids pitched in and got me such a nice new purse, something above and beyond, I was so surprised:

It's the most beautiful shade of blue! I think it was Evelyn's idea,  I do love it.  

This fine morning after the pool, I went by myself to Walmart, and oh my goodness, I bought only one item, a shirt for myself.  I was wanting some of those cheap elbow-length sleeve t-shirts, but they didn't have any at all, except the one I got, which was not very cheap, and has sleeves made of different fabric, kind of weird.  I have been sorting through my clothes, and I have a certain type of shirt I wear over and over again, and so many of them are getting ratty and stained.  I don't like to buy solid colors, because one little slip, one little slop, and you have to hope you can pretreat it and get it out.  I think I am just a slipper-slopper, I'll cover my chest with a paper towel, then drop something right next to it, or it'll roll down the paper towel and land in my lap.  

I have my suitcase packed for tomorrow, just a few things I'll be putting into the bigger suitcase that Evelyn has.  

You think the forecast is nice enough?  I'm very excited about it.  They have a pool, and I will be in it.  I'll be bringing my laptop, so there will be blogging.  It's hard to leave here, because I like home, and I'll miss kids and grandkids, but also, it'll be so nice to see Aaron and Riley, and so nice to relax.  

Have a really good day!

Friday, May 10, 2024

out came the sun, and dried up the rain...


Jamison and Sunny...
Each day is busy and full, would you believe that?  Tuesday I brought Miss Camille to a dr. appointment.  She's been having wavering vision, wiggly movement.  Brain tumor wasn't my first thought, okay it was.  Emily said eye dr. visit was the first thing to do, so we did that last week.  Her eyes are perfectly healthy, and her script for glasses has only changed a tiny bit.  Optometrist recommended we see a dr, sooner rather than later, Mom, he said.  That only slightly scared the living daylights out of me.  He mentioned it might have something to do with the ears, but I thought he was just doing the doctor-y thing that doctors do:  providing some sort of answer so they aren't answer-less.

Lo and behold, he was right.  The pediatrician diagnosed her with labyrinthitis.  (stop making up words, Gus!).   It is where your inner ear, the labyrinth part, becomes inflamed due to a cold, virus, or  bacterial infection.  It affects balance and can cause vision disturbances.  (Camille has been getting dizzy and nauseous).   Dr. did a complete neurological assessment, and Cam is absolutely fine in all of that.  phew.  She goes back in next week just for a check in, check up, whatever, but it seems like it is something she will just have to wait out.  She did get some anti-nausea meds though.  

Never a dull moment, I tell you.  

After her appointment, we went to Walmart for some really important things we couldn't live without, like those fly strips to hang under the deck, some citrus spray that some camper redoing influencer said would take the wallpaper strips off easily, and some stick on tiles for the camper backsplash.  :)

Yesterday after the pool, Sonja and Camille and I went to Target to get something for Charlotte Claire's birthday.  I did find her something, and shh, I found myself two sleeveless dresses.  I have been admiring them on the rack, now they're 20% off, I tried them on and couldn't decide...they're loose, and comfy, and neat, and they have pockets!  

Next, I dragged the girls to Hobby Lobby. I adore these places, but rarely go.  I threaten the girls, tell them I'm going to Hobby Lobby next, they groan, I don't really go.  But this time I warned them ahead of time, said I really wanted to go, so they were good sports about it.  Sonja actually ended up buying a really nice fake tree for her apartment!  Anyway, I had way too much fun, but I definitely behaved myself.  No, I don't really need this, that, and the other thing.  I bought one black wire hanging basket thing for the camper for 50% off, a package of beads for Camille, and...the fabric for the seat cushions!

Now...this isn't too exciting but for me, it is SO exciting!  I thought I'd just look, ponder, and mull.  I didn't think I'd put a bolt into the cart and bring it to the cutting counter!  I had looked at Walmart, and they have some lovely Waverly fabrics, but I was leaning towards outdoor fabric, for durability (grandchildren!)(dogs!), and that stuff is expensive.  Hobby Lobby had some on sale, but it was garish, loud, boring, or off-putting.  Then I moseyed back to the clearance rack I had already written off, and reconsidered that bolt of aqua-ish fabric...hmmm....regularly $15.99 a yard, for $6.  I looked at it again, and I liked it.  It's nice in a muted sort of way, a pleasing color.  Apprehensive that there wasn't enough there on the bolt, I asked the lady, she was doubtful, but yay!  There was enough for my cushions, and she was a generous measurer, even here's a little extra, just in case.  I was quite pleased.  

This is how the bench cushions look...
This is the fabric I's only draped over, I haven't gotten the sewing machine out yet.

This is behind the sink now, that's wallpaper.  
The tiles I bought...on clearance at Walmart!
The brown couch stays, it's nice and cozy.  The brown cabinets stay too, but the walls need to be brightened up a's so dark in here.  I just love a good before and after, and I think this will turn out nice...I already have paint and primer, so it will be a super low cost re-do.  
Anyway.  I won't be able to work on anything today.   Lydia is coming over for a few hours, so I invited Anya too, these cousins get along like a house on fire!  Grace is also coming over with Grant, Ruth, and Maeve, and Kathryn with Achilles, Rhys, and Jamie.  Sam is coming for dinner after work, so now I have to figure out what's for dinner for...a lot of people, ha.  I know I need to get moving, there are still some pans from last night...we had some friends here for dinner, Paul made his spicy venison meatloaf with hot sausage, I made barbecued pulled pork, and a pasta salad, and some brownies.  

I hesitate to get moving, because once everyone gets here, it gets busy...I love it, but I also savor the quiet when I don't need to be busy, ha.  
So pretty!

But this is distressing...the beetles are having a buffet with the lilies!  I am heading out there with some soapy water to drown some of those little meanies...

Ah well.  Life is good.  :).  (I wrote this a few days ago, but wanted to run it by Camille re mentioning her recent eye woes...)

Monday, May 6, 2024

back in the door and back out it again...

...I'm heading to the pool soon, Jon has three friends here from the Netherlands who are heading out this morning to go to D.C. and Gettysburg, then back home.  They're planning a nice brekky together before they head out, so I put cinnamon buns in the oven.  Well, the oven turned off.  It truly is Always Something.  I thought I'd smartly put a few in the air fryer, but can you believe, it needed to be washed?  I did wash it, but the fuse seems to have blown in that corner of the kitchen, the fusebox is in one of the rooms that one of the Dutch boys is sleeping in, so I did wake up Jonny.  Turns out it is just the outlet, needs to be replaced.  

I'm home from the pool now, and have puttered the day away.  There are not bulbs planted and plants watered and things straightened, and shh, I talked to my sister while sitting in the sun on the deck.  She's home from Australia, and had an excellent visit there.  She's thankful for the prayers, the traveling went better than she could have expected...not without it's discomforts, of course, but she felt a real blessing over it all.  

Charlotte Claire needs to be picked up at school in a bit, she had an AP chemistry final today and it went longer than the school day, so no bus ride home.  (Went there to pick her up, am home now...)

The new camper continues to amaze me.  I just really like it.  Paul so nicely took the ugly covers off the top of one of the windows for me last evening, turns out the blinds are attached to it.  The blinds are really nice and in good shape, but I cannot have one without the other, and I do not want those window cornices. Why do trailer manufacturer-interior-designers have such yucky-blucky taste?  A bit too much brown, okay, but those things over the windows?  Why are those standard?  

So now I'm mulling my choices...take the whole thing down and get rid of perfectly good blinds, which goes against everything in my frugal penny pinching body, or keep them lock, stock, and barrel.  Paul suggested I just recover the ugly cornice, I cannot.  It's just...ugly.  

Since I'm too lazy to go out there and take a picture, I'll reuse this one from the other day...see that thing over the window in the background?  The edge is brown vinyl...ugh.  The printed part is the same fabric as the dinette seats.  

So I'm going to take them off, and put up either little black curtain rods and some khaki colored curtains with black circle clips, or just hang some plain shades.  I'm actually leaning towards shades.  New covers for the dinette seats too, just ones that go on over that can come off to wash...but the brown couch is nice and comfy, it feels like leather so it will stay...the walls:  I'll take off the hideous wallpaper borders, and paint the walls just white.  The cabinets will stay brown, but maybe get new handles.  I'm thinking to put stick on tiles behind the stove and sink, too...right now it's wallpaper printed with tiles....  

Actually jumping in and tearing things out and redoing it is always scary, but that's why people do it, I guess, the fun of the "after".  It's like mountain climbing for lame people.  Also, that penny pinching thrill of "how nice can I make it for next to nothing..."

The sewing machine isn't coming out today though, nor is the paint.  Tomorrow morning I have a doctor's appointment for Camille, then we'll get the camper registered, then into Walmart for some fabric...maybe...and the cleaner to remove the wallpaper borders.  

Paul invited some friends over for dinner on Wednesday, so I'll have to be conscious to leave time to clean up and make something good.  I have no meal plan for the week yet, but tonight I'm thinking to make taco salad, because we have the stuff for it.  

I did end up wandering out there with my measuring tape...nice blinds would be pricey, the windows are wide.  Those things are just so ugly though:)

Our chilly vacation...
That is indeed an Acme market behind our airbnb.
With Sonja on the beach, my hair was up in a clip...blowing forward.

Sonja and Cam

The beach at night
The grocery store birthday cake

The comfiest balcony furniture, perfect for the morning coffee
The cafe across the way, Miss Camille
Miss Charlotte Claire
Abigail...oh, it was so nice to spend time with my second oldest!  
The pool we didn't use...
The sun, when we were packing up to go home...of course!

Ah well...time to make the dinner!  Have a good evening...hope you enjoyed the all day blog post!