Today is my Aunt Colleen’s birthday.  So, I just want to sit here and publicly say how much I love her. 

Colleen, I am so proud of you.  You have four beautiful girls and a great husband.  I admire your relationship with Roger and I’m glad I was there when you two fell in love and dated and married.  Those are great memories.  I admire how you are able to work hard as a nurse, and also homeschool your girls and take care of your family.

I’m glad you and I spent so much time together, growing up (we are less than 2 years apart in age).  I’ll always remember your little room and staying up late.  I was always awake the next morning WAY before you were, LOL, and I would lay there and wait.  I’ll always remember our forts, our long walks.  Riding the school bus.  Going to church.  Visiting you in college.  Watching “The Sound of Music.”  Milking cows.  Your bird, “Whistle”.  Making cookies (always snickerdoodles) and eating most of the dough raw.  And you were the only one who could make me laugh so hard I would pee my pants. 

Remember the chicken and cheese?  I really wanted to take some “artistic” pictures of chicken and cheese, to make you laugh, but I opted for flowers instead.


best of friends




shared memories


faithful love


tried and true


Happy Birthday Colleen, I can’t wait until our trip next weekend, when we can spend together without our 9 children running around us. . . . . . .we can talk about our memories together and make some new ones, too.


Some pictures from yesterday:

When I was busy getting lunch for David and Caleb, Caleb dumped his milk.  He was so funny that I just had to snap a picture.  His reaction to his spilled milk was one of sorrow and mourning.  “What did you do, Caleb?  What happened?” I asked. 

“I dumped my MILK all over da place!”  he said, tragically.

But when I took the picture, he immediately said, in a normal tone of voice, “Can I see it?” 

DSC_0755 (2)



We got a package in the mail yesterday from the FedEx guy. 

You see, when we went to Florida, I, of course, spent lots of time carefully packing the children’s suitcases.  So, I was pretty surprised, when we got there, to find out that the children had brought all these stuffed animals with them.  Their stuffed animals are their favorite playthings lately.  They all have names.  They are friends.  So, the children wanted to take them along on our wonderful vacation.

Too bad that it didn’t turn out to be wonderful for the stuffed animals.

A hotel safe was in the boys closet.  The very day we arrived in FL, Ethan packed all the beloved animals in the safe, shut the door, and pushed enough buttons to lock it up tight.  Try as he might, he could not open it again.  For days, whenever we were in our rooms, I would hear quietly desperate “beep, beep!! beeping” as they all tried to get their friends out of that dark, sad place.  We were so busy that it wasn’t until our last night of vacation when Rich called the front desk.

The only people who could open the safe were the engineers.  And they wouldn’t be to work until 8:30 the next morning, hours after we had to be gone.

So, these little guys had yet another adventure.  Imagine their excitement, when the safe finally opened again and they could see the light of day.  Instead of the smiling faces of their children, instead of being taken to Disney, they saw the busy, unamused face of a grown man, who scooped them out and promptly placed them in yet another dark square box.  They got Fedexed.

We were all finally reunited yesterday.  But one-eyed Charlie bear is still wondering where Cinderella’s castle is.  They went through all that crazy traveling for nothing.



Random question:  What do you think of me, with no bangs?  I never thought to grow them out, but after I swam in the pool in FL, Rich really liked my hair all back from my face, so I tried to fix it like that again.  I’m sort of undecided at this point, about whether I should grow it out.



Lastly, *this is a long post*, some pictures of Davy-do, on a little (but very heavy) tractor that used to be Rich’s when he was a little boy.



If you mothers out there would like an inspiring read in honor of Mother’s day, may I suggest First Mothers, The Women Who Shaped the Presidents, by Bonnie Angelo?  Because I have mostly boys, this book is really interesting to me.  How DO you raise a future president?  No, I’m certainly not trying to do that, but it is very fascinating to read about all different sorts of mothering/eras in US history/different social standings/educations. . .that all led to a son in the oval office. 

Some nice, feel-good mothering quotes are peppered throughout:

“Her sons were privileged to spend a boyhood in her company, the memories were indelible. . .Mother was by far the greatest personal influence in our lives”  ~Dwight D. Eisenhower, speaking of his mother, Ida  (she had 6 boys!!  You should see their family portrait in the book, when the boys were all young, she has the best expression on her face, proud and amused is how I would describe her.)

Okay, that’s the end of a rather long post.    It’s time for me to go make pancakes for my dear little ones.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and that you take a moment to do something for your MOM, and if you are a mom, to remember all the reasons you LOVE BEING A MOM.  Maybe you could share a few with me today?  Or, perhaps share a special memory of your own mother. . . . . .


0 thoughts on “

  1. I think you could always grow out your bangs for awhile because you can always go back to bangs later.  I have almost always had bangs but I did grow them out once.  Change can be fun sometimes! 
    I wanted to share why I am glad that I am a mom this morning, and especially a homeschooling mom.  Last night I was watching a show about “quads” and they were all girls.  They showed their first day of kindergarten.  The girls all had to be separated and it was a little traumatic for them as they are used to being together all the time.  There were times during the day that they cried but the teachers were too busy to help each child individually.  They were also extremely exhausted after the end of a long day at school. 
    We sent my oldest child to school for kindergarten and 1/2 of 1st grade but then started homeschooling her and I will be homeschooling my 5 year old in the fall.  But Lauren was always exhausted and now she is able to stay home and spend so much time exploring and being creative.  I am just very thankful that I am able to keep her home with me.  I am thankful that I can keep my children together because it makes them closer.  Just last night Lauren had one of her best friends, a neighbor friend, over to play and I overheard Lauren telling her that her sister is her best friend too.  I love that!  So this morning I am thankful that I can be here to enjoy my kids and try to be a good example to them of Christ’s love.
    Sorry for the LONG comment!  Sherry

  2. Loved your tribute to Colleen, Caleb and his spilled milk (all over da place!)  and the story of the Fedexed toys!   I am sending my mom flowers! I know she will be so surprised! It will be a couple of years before I can hold her and hug her again. I miss her SO MUCH!

  3. Beautiful pictures, Shanda ~ I am so depressed today (in mourning and withdrawal about my camera) that I just want to cry ~ I’m glad you had a lot of cheerful photos.
    A special memory about my mother ~ when I was a child, we lived near the railroad tracks and hobos who hitched rides on the trains sometimes came to our back door and asked for something to eat.  Mother would always give them a sandwich of some kind and they sat on the back porch swing to eat it.  To this day, she is usually fixing something for some needing soul to eat ~ 

  4. I like your hair back as well.  Either way looks great to me!  I meant to tell you that you reminded me of the girl who played “Elinor” in the BBC version of “Sense and Sensibility”.  You can amazon it. πŸ™‚

  5. I like your hair like that too!  and like was mentioned, you could try it for awhile, and then go back if you decided to later.  That’s the good thing about hair, it grows!!  I’ve been very thankful for that a time or two when I gave a hair cut that didn’t exactly turn out very well…..lol
    Cute story about the animals~

  6. Ok, you brought tears to my eyes!  Carol and Brian gave me a jello cheesecake for my birthday on Tuesday and the first thing out of her mouth was that maybe I could fix it on our trip!  (I didn’t know that we were so famous for the instant cheesecake)  And the first thing I thought was – What about the chicken and cheese?  Maybe I’ll have to stop at Brooks BBQ on my way through to pick up the chicken… But I do have some surprises planed to bring back memories an enjoy them again as adults!  I think we will appreciate them more now.  I can’t wait!
    I think you are beautiful any way you do your hair!  But I have been so used to seeing you with bangs since you were little, that it just looks strange to me.  But still lovely.

  7. #1 Your flower photos. What beautiful flowers and memories of your time with Aunt Colleen. (waving at Colleen – “Happy Birthday”!!!)#2. Dumped milk. I can’t even count how many times someone’s dumped a drink this past week. I think ANY liquid in the hands of children is an amended law to Newton’s law of gravity!#3. Stuffed animals. You must remind them, now that they are home safe, that’s it’s always darkest before the dawn! Hope really WAS at the end of their dark tunnel!#4. Your bangs. Shanda (gushing here) you have such a pretty face, full of expression. With or without bangs you always look lovely. I think it should be you or your husband’s preference. Maybe try bangless for a while and cut them again if you really miss them and can’t get used to seeing your forehead! #5 Despite those dreaded words while I’m using the restroom, “Mommmmm? Luci won’t let me change the channel” . . . It’s still nice to know I’m needed by someone and that my chidlren feel like they can come to me with EVERYTHING. (irritating while in the bathroom, but also nice!!!)

  8. I like you with bangs, but I just got some for the first time in a very long time, so maybe now i’m partial. πŸ™‚ Part of what I love about being a mom is always being surprised by the next thing your children learn to say or do. It seems like there’s a new surprise every day!

  9. I know that I would have gone crazy if one of my precious stuffed friends had been locked away somewhere where I couldn’t get to them…that is awesome that they sent those friends back to you! so nice of them…your hair looks good like that…

  10. Okay So I am always 100% honest with you when it comes to your fashion hair and make-up and I love you with no bangs Rich is right it looks great! You look younger I have never seen you like this and if I had befor I never would have let you have bangs for 32 years ha- πŸ™‚
    The story about the stuffed animals was so funny you tell it so well that I felt like a fly on the wall watching the children pushing the buttons over and over trying hard as they might to get them out.
    I miss you hope you have a great day. -Amanda
    Take some pictures with your hair down and the bangs pushed away from your face….

  11. I LOVE the stuffed animal adventure and think it will be a great family story to tell for years and years.  I am glad that everyone is home safe and sound!

  12. How fun that you had an aunt so close in age!  My kids have two uncles who are fairly close in age, but not geographically.  Thank you for sharing some of your memories of Colleen- sounds like you had so much fun together growing up, and still do!  The story of the stuffed animals was very entertaining!  It’s good to know that they are reunited with your children.  Caleb and the spilled milk made me smile.  I’ve noticed that the highest occurance of spills at our house happen right after I have mopped the floor. LOL!!  I think you look good with or without bangs.  My advice would be to try it the way Rich likes it.  Ryan and I both prefer me with bangs.  Love the pictures of Davy on the tractor!  I sent my Mom flowers at her work yesterday.  She was so excited to get them!  My Mom gets to come up in September (while the guys are out moose hunting) and visit for about a week.  We are going to attend the quilt festival while she is here.  We are both so excited to get to do it together!  It is so much fun now that I quilt too!  I love being a Mom, and I’m so thankful that I am able to stay home with my kids and homeschool them!  Sorry this has been so long.  Hope you have a great day!

  13. I love your new hair style- and like everyone else said, try it for a while- you can always go back. one helpful hint from an compulsive bang grower/cutter…try to persevere through the awkward “growing my bangs out-but aren’t long enough to pull back- stage”. if you can make it through a few awkward hair days, it’ll be worth it!

  14. Listen to your sister – grow out the bangs. 
    Not that you aren’t pretty; but do it.
    I’ve got to read that book! I think it is “true.”  Ha ha (see me blog)
    The stuffed animal story is very funny!

  15. Love this post! Love the pictures!  No bangs looks really nice on you.  Bangs look nice too (I am no help lol).
    Have a blessed Mothers day! You are an inspiration to me as a mother!

  16. Happy Birthday to Aunt Colleen!!  Your pictures are beautiful as always!!  I like your hair with the bangs pulled back also.   You are one that it looks good on.   I can’t not wear bangs:(  How cute about Caleb.  He looks so cute sitting there.  And little Davy do to!

  17. Happiest of birthdays to Cousin Colleen! Have a very special time with her next weekend. I can imagine all the reminiscing that will take place. Oh, the joy!Bangs or not….either way you will look beautiful. What does Rich think? I loved your pictures this morning.

  18. I’ll echo the chorus of “grow out your bangs.”I can just see your children huddled around that safe pushing buttons… clear as day. I’m glad their precious cargo got home safely.

  19. I read that book some time ago and really enjoyed it.  What a nice tribute to your Aunt — I have an aunt who is a year younger than me!  My mom was only 17 when she had me and she’s 86 now and we spend every Tuesday together, having lunch, shopping, taking a little ride — whatever she wants to do.  She was always at home, cooking, cleaning, baking, doing laundry, whatever it took to make a wonderful home for my dad, my two sisters, one brother and me.  Happy Mother’s Day Shanda!

  20. i like the no bangs look. i just recently cut mine and swear i’ll NEVER do it again – but that’s what i say every time. i do it about once a year. ha! πŸ™‚ but having none is so much easier to deal with – i think you’ll be happy you atleast tried it for awhile. that’s the fun thing w/ hair.. nothing is ever permanent! well.. hardly . =DHappy Mother’s day dear~

  21. First, I have to say that I have an Aunt Colleen too! Pretty flowers. :)Glad the stuffed animals made it home safely. My BIL left his blankey in a hotel when he was small, and they mailed it to him. :)Hmm… bangs or no bangs…. Hard call. I like both πŸ™‚ Have a happy and wonderful Mother’s Day!

  22. I feel awkward making a comment about bangs or no bangs. I side with Rich. He is the very most important person you want to please, so if he likes to see you without bangs, then that is the answer to your question, not what any of the rest of us think.

  23. I love the story and the picture of the stuffed animals.
    I don’t think it matters one whit how you wear your hair, but if hubby prefers a certain way, I wouldn’t ask anyone else:)
    Happy Mother’s Day to someone who certainly earns all the honors it brings.

  24. Happy Mothers’ Day. 
    You, Shanda, are a tremendous influencer, as are many other wonderful, devoted Christian mothers with kindred spirits.  I also strongly see the influence of Chistian fathers who delight in and honor your chosen child rearing profession/passion and who actively participate in honoring God while inculcating values into childrens’ minds and hearts.   Your last post about mothers of Presidents bears reflection.  Why not consider the usefulness to which Our Lord might assign our children.  Politics can certainly appear adulterating to values, but we should never try to win an office.  Rather, we should seek to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant” in publicly professing His truth.  If that leads to election, to God be the glory. My point – don’t disregard the possibility of public service.  See your children as becoming influential too.  God continually uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.  Today’s raw turkey pie may become tomorrow’s foreign policy.  Candy coat it but treat ’em like dogs? 
    Also, considering the merits of stuffed animals….Candid shots are much easier with them.  They never portray affected position or emotion.  Disrepair frequents them, but we love them all the same.  Does this thought obtusely help you in deciding about bangs?

  25. fun post…..you do look good with or without bangs….so go ahead and give it a try.  Most of my life has been without bangs….I had them for about 10 years and look at the pictures now and think…”what was I thinking?” Just look too fruffy…but that was in the big hair days  Your bangs always look lovely. You have a lovely face and features…so look nice whatever you decide. Ask Rich if he would enjoy the change. 
     Love the stuffed animal adventure tale…so glad it had a happy ending!  My little sister almost always upset her milk growing up…she was a very active child.  Once when visiting her as an adult she knocked over the water on a lovely set table and lamented that she was “always ruining things that way”.  Mary and I told her that wasn’t true…but it made an impact on me….so I started using mugs for my kids to drink out of.  They have a stable base and are not tippy.  The funny result of that is that the older boys prefer a mug for drinking out of.  They say the milk stays colder in a mug.  David only recently started using glasses.
    Beautiful pictures of your tulips and daffodils…esp. with the raindrops.  Happy Birthday to Colleen!  Such a blessing to have oneanother.  I love being a mother.  I am so thankful for all the hours and adventures that I have had with my boys.  Times to share wonder, learning, love, excitment, and everything about life.  I miss my oldest two so much, yet, I am thankful I miss their wives too.  Such a blessing to bond and love the new girls God has given to me.  Most of all I am so thankful that we all love the Lord and He is the center of all our lives.  Talk about richness! We were honored  to see our Alicia graduate from college yesterday.  She majored in Biblical counseling…such wisdom and blessing for all of life. 
    blessings to you, you are a wonderful mother! Jenny

  26. Random answer to random question:  Do your hair the way your husband wants you to πŸ™‚  I personally like my hair short, but my husband likes mine (and our daughters) long.  Mine grows slowly~  But I try to do what he wants…..just my suggestion only.

  27. OKay here is what I decided but it is really hard cause I am only going by the photos, I like, no, I LOVE this shot of you with it touched behind your ear, much better than with a headband.  And I do like it better than with bangs, I say go for it, you looks so so so pretty in this picture!
    That shot, the first one of the tractor is great, do you have any of R. on it?
    I bet the kids love their animals all the more now that they are reunited! 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s