this is the sweet face of great relief

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“I feel like a huge burden that I’ve had since I was a child was just lifted off of me.”  

 

Here are the memories she doesn’t want to forget about learning to drive:

That time when her Dad had her drive around and around and around an empty parking lot at school backwards, this way and that way until she cried, and then he had her do it more.

The time she and I were going to the plant store and I didn’t tell her how long it was going to take to get there and she drove for an hour.

When she first really drove it was with her older brother Jacob and it was raining but she didn’t know how to turn on the wipers and when she did turn them on they went so fast she got nervous and asked Jacob for help.

She went to the H.S. to practice backing into parking spots and no one was there so her Dad got out of the car and walked laps while she practiced parking which was exactly what she needed…to figure it out on her own.

She had two college friends (April and Ryan) and Caleb and Kylee praying for her before her test this morning.

She and Caleb talked on the phone and went over traffic rules the morning of her test.  And he reminded her to turn on her lights and put on the emergency brake which were the two things she did wrong on her practice test last weekend.

To help them with their nerves, they had a movie going in the waiting room for the students about to test, and a box of munchkins for them to snack on, but she didn’t want to eat anything or watch anything …. but she did eat a munchkin because she felt she would be rude if she didn’t.  The movie playing was “Sing” and she was annoyed because she wanted to concentrate on her test but with the movie playing she started getting interested and watched it.

The songs she sang to herself while she waited for her test driver were, “Give me Oil in my Lamp” and “I love You, Lord”.

The man riding along to test was very nice; an elderly grandfather type.

She didn’t think she would do well, she didn’t think she would pass.

She and her dear friend Kylee both took their test on the same day and passed.  And when she walked in to the office to hand her paper sheet to the lady for her paper license the lady said, “Look at you, you little show off,”  because she got nothing marked wrong.

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She walked over to the garden center after her test to find me.

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little league days and nights

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We’ve been doing little league with the boys ever since David was about 5 (he’s now 15).  Jacob and Ethan got a late start in baseball and we’ll probably always have some regret about that.  However, David started very young and played every year but one, and Caleb and Seth also started as soon as they could (although we did skip t-ball).   It’s not always fun for me to drive to the fields almost every night of the week, and sometimes in not the greatest weather.  In fact, we still have cold evenings and we shiver as we watch the boys play.  But then, we’ll have evenings so hot people are holding up umbrellas for shade.

Rich especially LOVES to watch the boys play.  He mourns having to leave on business trips and missing the games.   This is when it’s so nice to have the phone.  I can easily take short videos of the boys at bat and send them along to Rich.

On game nights, we eat an early dinner and drive the boys to the field early to warm up and then I walk and walk and walk (with my headphones in my ears, listening to podcasts) until the games start.

Here are some photos:

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Seth (9 years old, 3rd grade) started out as pitcher on Friday night.  It was very hot after several cooler game nights and the boys were rather wilting toward the end.

Seth had an “off night” as pitcher and was visibly relieved when the coach put someone else in.

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He’s a very good all around player.  And he will play every position if possible.

One time they were warming up and he was at shortstop and he and his teammate called “Got it!” at the same time and Seth ran into the kid to catch the ball.  “Seth’s a show off!”  I heard.  He’s not necessarily a show off, but if he yells “got it” he’s going to get it, even if his teammate said it at the same time.

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Seth’s face looked so worried as he ran to first base after getting a hit but knowing he won’t make it to the base in time.  When Rich saw it, he got right up to go get him a cold Gatorade from the food booth.  Usually does magic.  🙂  It’s so much better than mom’s warm water bottle.

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He got a nice hit this time…..I heard someone in our crowd say “beautiful!” as we watched it go…..

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This season, Seth had to break the habit of watching what the other team was doing with the ball as he ran the bases.  Seeing him run to base with his neck twisting this way and that was silly.  “Watch the base!” we would yell.

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******my heart*******.

Now for Caleb., who is almost 13 and in 7th grade.

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Everyone loves Caleb.  He’s a team player, he is quite vocal about encouraging the team and telling them when they’ve had too many errors.  He’s also a lot of fun and can be too goofy at times.  I heard his coach get on his case once when he struck out at bat and then went to the dug out and started goofing around.  Sometimes Caleb will dance after getting a good hit and making it to first base.  Caleb is well-known for his realistic chicken noices and as a result, his nickname is “Chicken”.  Even his coaches call him Chicken.  Not because he’s scared and timid like a chicken, but because he SOUNDS LIKE ONE.  Rich groans and groans.

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He’s such a calm player and rarely makes mistakes.  He DOES make them now and then, but as his mom I’m always very surprised.  (every mom thinks their kid is practically perfect).  He looks great in all three of his positions that he plays; first base, pitcher, and catcher.

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No home runs yet this year….oh how we are waiting!!  Last night he got walked three times.  He was SO annoyed.  He and one other boy on his team have red cleats so I’m always squinting down at the field and saying, “Is THAT Caleb?”  Caleb is number 11 and his cleats used to be Ethan’s.  I took these photos with my long zoom lens.  He looked so very handsome with that game face.

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Here he is jogging to first after getting walked……Caleb wants a home run so bad!!!!!

The white pants have been fun to wash all season.

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Pitching

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As I’m writing this I’m thinking I should ask my brother Isaac to do a pitching clinic with Seth and Caleb.  He was an excellent pitcher when he played years ago.

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Caleb as catcher.

Here is a video from last night.  He was warming up the pitcher and looked so cool and confident.  I LOVE THIS VIDEO and so does Caleb.  He said, “Send that to Dad.”

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Jacob dropped off Seth and Sarah at the game yesterday after church.  I had stayed home to get Caleb to his game on time and he helpfully took the other kids to church (Rich had to leave for a trip).  So Sarah looked like a princess in her church dress.  She had a hamburger for lunch from the food booth, and took off her shoes as soon as possible.

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I went to a tag sale before the game and bought a bag of old linens and she found this piece of lace and her princess attire was complete.

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Happy golden days.  Lots of times chaotic, but all the time worth it.

big bow, books, and a heron

I had serious reservations about Sarah’s requested hair style this morning (I’m her hair stylist).  “I want the ponytail on the top of my head like this,” she turned upside down and gathered it up in her hands, “and then put the bow on.”  The bow was all of 8 inches across, large, white, with silver sequins all over it.  She won the bow yesterday by “moving up her clip” at school.  Rather ridiculous.  Still, I couldn’t see any reason to deny her.  Up up and up went the hair, with the big bow on the very very top.

Two hours later, I was sitting in the front row of the auditorium trying to find my girl, the one with the big white bow on her head.  And to my amusement, there were girls all over the place with big bows of all different colors on the tops of THEIR heads!  It’s a trend!  An 8 year old school girl fashion trend!

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After the concert, where I heard adorable songs sung by adorable children, I decided to check out a local used book store for more Newbury books.  I’m trying to collect all the gold and silver medal winners, and read them all, too.  Or rather, I determined I would read them, and then found myself collecting them.  I have already read some of them, of course.   And we owned a surprising amount.  But there are over 300 titles and now that I’ve set this goal as a 40-something year old woman, it will be an absolute treat to read most of them for the first time, and some of them over again.  I’ll be sharing most of my “Newbury book news” on my instagram account, with some now and then updates here, too.  Since I began my challenge, I’ve read 1)Roller Skates 2)The Dark Frigate 3)Sounder 4) Secret of the Andes 5)The Twenty One Balloons  and am currently reading 6) Hitty, Her First Hundred Years.  It feels like it’s taking me a hundred years to finish it but that’s not to say that it isn’t a good book because it is.  It’s just taking me almost a solid week to read it.  Next I’ll read Out of the Dust because when I posted a photo of it on Instagram two of my friends said it was a favorite.  If I’m going to read them all I want to own them all (a treasure of a library for myself and my family) and since I love a bargain and a treasure hunt I’ll be spending the summer searching.  It’s such fun.  I get confused.  Some of the titles I’ve never heard of and don’t know what the covers look like.  So I printed off a big long list of the titles to check and double check and rely on my phone to look things up, too.  All that said, I still have managed to end up with some “doubles”.

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I didn’t realize my laptop would stay connected to the internet away far over here by the chicken coop but it is and it does so I am!  The pond is just down the bank in front of me, and I am sitting in an Adirondack chair, with my purse on a little table next to me.  Inside the purse there are 8 eggs as I didn’t want them to roll out of my pockets and crack against the chair seat.  The chickens wandered around my feet for a while, one of them beaked my toes!, but have mostly wandered away, eating bugs and grass while making soft cooing sounds.  They look so pretty against the tall dark pink clover and daisies in bloom next to the coop.

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When I stopped outside with my book to read, I saw a heron at the pond so I put the dog in the basement (he would bark and chase it away) and put my zoom lens on the camera.

They aren’t the best photos in the world but they’re special because I took them standing on my own front porch!

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I’m mainly amused by the long legs.  And knowing eye.

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“The Knowing Eye”

After trying to hide from me in a pine tree, it flew far far away and I retrieved my laptop to try to post the photos outdoors in the very best office in the world!  Nature!  I heard someone say this morning that nature isn’t romantic it’s just out to kill you but you know what, that’s just part of the charm.  At the moment, I feel perfectly safe.  I doubt the Heron would say the same.  He probably thought my long camera was a gun.

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The parting shot.

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Back to Hitty!  I’m determined to finish it before 2!  That’s when I need to pick up Grace from school (she’s been helping her former HS English teacher this week!  One more step closer to her dream of becoming a teacher herself).

Happy Thursday!

with rich

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We were really rather silly last night at the baseball game.  I guess being apart for 2 days and generally being over-exposed to little league baseball lately can do that to a couple.  It was cold!!  So he let me borrow his really nice jacket that he bought in “Norway” at Epcot in Disney.  We did a little walking before the game started.  It was just the two of us, no other children but Seth who was in the game.  Seth had left his glove in the rain and had to borrow a glove which was too big for him.  We got silly watching them play.  Our team didn’t do very well and Seth struck out all but once.  Rich says he needs another trip to the batting cages and I said, “Yes, lets go after church on Sunday, they have good food there.”  And then he looked sad because he has another business trip coming up.  And then as soon as he gets back I am leaving for 10 days on my trip to Alaska.  But we sat together on the bleachers and leaned into one another and talked and laughed.  We walked with our arms around each other trying to keep our legs going in the least awkward way.  The bathroom doors were locked and I didn’t want to use an outdoor toilet (because too many little joyous boys use them *ahem*) so I ended up leaving an inning or two early (we had driven separately) and he walked me to the car and buckled me into my seat.  I gave him back his jacket and drove home.  Later on, we watched TV.  We’ve been watching the original Star Trek series together and I almost always fall asleep before the ending.

such small creatures….still, so lovely

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This morning David and Caleb left for school on the bus and Ethan and Grace left together in Ethan’s new truck so Ethan could take Grace to the HS before he drove to work and that left Seth, Sarah, and Jacob still at home.  Then, Jacob left for work but texted me 10 minutes later saying, “I’m coming back, I forgot my I.D.”

He was not happy as he tore around the house (all 6 feet 2 inches of him) looking for it.  I finished up what I was doing and told Seth to keep an eye out for the bus so he wouldn’t miss it as I helped Jacob.  “He can’t find his I.D, Seth, do you know where it is?”  “I don’t even know WHAT it is,” he said.  “It’s his picture on a shoe-lace type necklace.”  “For work?”  “Yes”  “I didn’t know he had to have his picture taken for work…….”  Jacob stomped through the room again.  “I ALWAYS PUT IT ON MY DRESSER AND IT’S NOT THERE!”  He’s getting more and more steamed.

“Did you look underneath it?” says Seth……

A minute later I found Seth’s big brother Jacob on the floor looking under his dresser.  Lo and behold….there it was.

I ran up the stairs, “Seth, Seth!! you saved the day!  It was under the dresser!”

21 year old big brother Jacob was right behind me, very relieved, and we found 9 year old little brother Seth waiting for us, doing a slow clap and nodding his head up and down with a knowing smile, because he saved the day.

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Yesterday evening there was a house FULL of young people and as I was scrolling Facebook I saw a photo of a PINK praying mantis (young one) and it immediately made me want to go outside and look for insects to photograph.  It’s one of my favorite things to do at 6:00 on a Sunday evening when the house is super loud and crazy and my husband is away on a business trip and any other time, too, really.

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What shiny eyes you have, dragonfly.

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Can you imagine having antenna this long and graceful?  Did you take whiskers from a cat?

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I laugh at bugs because they are so smart.  As soon as they see me they *quick as a wink* hide underneath whatever leaf or grass they are perched upon.  It’s a great game of hide and seek.

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Look at it’s tiny black eye.  Just the tiniest of dots.

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buttercup pedals // heart

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This flower is about the size of a dime.  So lovely.  6 pedals with pointed ends of the loveliest shade of purple.  They grow on the tops of thick grass-like stalks and are a flower of my childhood.

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There is a bug underneath all that spit.

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Lovely red cloak

I had to twist around the stem to take the photo because he kept going behind the flower to hide from me.  Imagine spending time in a buttercup.

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butterflies and moths are impossible to get close to, I only got this photo because it was dead.

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It’s so beautiful!!!!  I bet he would be fun to draw.

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a couple of these photos will not contain an insect.

Yarrow is just coming into blossom.

Their whiteness looks so lovely in a sea of green grasses.  Their stalks are still nice and bendy and tossed back and forth in the wind in a very sea-like wavey way.

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mating bugs

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I admit this one gave me a creepy feeling.

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Teeny tiny spider and two teeny tiny black bugs.  Do they know they are being watched by a spider?

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“What big eyes you have, Grandmother!”

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I imagine this is one of those super-hero bugs wearing dark shades and a business suit and out to save the day *like Seth*.

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with pedals

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and without.

And all God’s people said……….

vanilla cake, vanilla frosting

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What a special evening our youngest had with her brothers and sister.  They played games together, and big brother Jacob made the quick trip to the grocery store in town to buy some ice cream.  He came home with strawberry, peanut butter cup, cookies and cream, and party cake ice cream.  Rich and I sat contentedly in the living room with the sounds of a full house all around us; doors opening and shutting, chatter, laughter, basketball bouncing on the driveway, footsteps walking or running, upstairs, downstairs, drinks in the kitchen, on and on, so much energy!  Soon it was time for the birthday song and cake.  Sarah watched her Dad light the candles.  She watched so intently as her siblings continued to be silly all around her.  Her face as we sang was precious to see, all sparkling eyes and big smile.  The cake was amazing.  Even Ethan agreed, and he doesn’t typically like cake.  The birthday girl was offended when I bragged, “I made it myself.” because she helped make the frosting.

Cake:

1 cup whole milk, room temperature
6 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
12 T. unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened

Oven set to 350.  Grease 9 by 13 cake pan.  Whisk milk, egg whites, and vanilla in 4-cup liquid measuring cup.  Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed until combined.  Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until only pea-sized pieces remain.  Add half of milk mixture, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Reduce speed to medium-low, add remaining milk mixture, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds.  Give batter final stir by hand.  Scrape batter into prepared pan and bak until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.  Cool completely.  recipe from Cook’s Country Cookbook  (it’s the cake part of the recipe for Lane cake).

Frosting:

1 stick butter
4 T.  milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter, milk, and vanilla.  Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating until light and fluffy.  Makes enough frosting for one 9 by 13 cake.

great

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1.  Sarah Joy is our youngest child and was born on this date, 8 years ago.  She was named after her Great-Grandmother and the joy in our hearts when we knew she was coming into our family.

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2.  The last photo I took before having Sarah was of the beautiful blooming peonies in my flower beds.  This morning Sarah stood next to them, but spring was late coming this year and they are still only buds.  A hope and a promise.

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3.  Sarah is in 2nd grade and has very nice handwriting (her teacher said so).  She loves to read.  The last book she read was titled Waiting for the Magic and she liked it very much.  “The dogs talk.”

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4.  Her favorite food is macaroni and cheese.

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5.  She ordered light-up gloves with her birthday gift card from Uncle Dave.

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6.  She has requested a vanilla birthday cake with what kind of frosting?  “Vanilla”.

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7.  She used to be seven but now she’s eight.

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8.  Eight is Great.