I am feeling restful and content. 

Rich got home safely last night at about 9pm.  We snuggled in bed and I tucked myself up next to him, with his arm around me and I talked….and talked….and talked…until he was twitching and I knew that I lost him to dreamland.  He said this morning that it was very comforting to hear me talking, like a bedtime story.  I had gathered as much, I put him right to sleep.  I felt like I could have talked for hours but I stopped myself and just thought thoughts instead.  It was so good to have him back where he belonged.

And this evening, now that we’ve had our special lasagna/fresh baked bread/spinach/fresh strawberries for dinner, I ran to the office and said, “NO ONE FOLLOW ME, STAY WITH YOUR DAD!!” and it feels so good to not be in charge, and to just sit and type and know that he is downstairs, gently reading to his little gang.   Perhaps they will fall asleep to his voice, or perhaps who am I kidding?

Random photo, a special way to make maple cupcakes:  add a tiny pool of syrup to the top of the icing: 


A work in progress.  A long time of progress.  Like, 20 years of work in progress:


It’s finally happening.  I have been working on this flannel patchwork quilt since I was Ethan’s age.  I guess I’ve loved the feel and warmth of flannel always, and one day I decided I would make a quilt of it.  I took all my mom’s flannel scraps and started cutting out rough, uneven squares with no template.

Somehow my dear Great Grandma (who has since passed away) found out I was making it, and she helped me get started doing it the right way.  She made me a template out of plastic, a perfect square, and had me re-cut all my pieces.  I shopped at fabric stores for more flannel and I started sewing it together at her house, sitting at her machine.  The memory of that will always always stay with me.  I felt comfortable with her.  She didn’t talk much, didn’t hover, she was quiet but she was there.  The fact that I am finally, after all these years, finishing the work we started together, is so meaningful to me.  It’s absolutely her quilt, too.  I love you, Grandma.


The top has been shut in a box for years.  About a month ago, I started thinking about it and announced to myself, “The top is DONE.  It’s time to just finish it.”  I had wanted it to be bigger but now I am thanking my lucky stars that it’s not.  I’m wishing it were smaller.  I am not enjoying the last steps at all….all the tying is so tedious, I can see why quilting bees were formed, honestly.  I look up after tying like four ties and I groan and think, “It’s never going to end!”

I’m dramatic at times.


But I will get this DONE and I will be so so happy when I do!


Caleb has been wanting to go to “the real” Sturbridge Village.  The last time we went, we only shopped in the bookstore for like 15 minutes and then went home.  It was a huge let down for Caleb.  The REAL village has a play center.  Animals.  Walking outside.  Water.  Barns.  ETC.  So, when the sun started shining this morning, and the little man came in to ask me, “Can we go to the real Sturbridge Village today?”  I looked at the clock, decided it wouldn’t hurt to go just for a little while, and said, “Okay.  Let’s go.”

“Thank you so much for asking me YES!”  he said, with a hug.

Jacob and I both took pictures today. 

I am always inspired by their wallpaper that they use in the houses.

For instance, I could sit here and stare at this picture for a long time.  It’s that blue wallpaper.


Then we have sights like this next one.  It kinda makes  you wonder.  Did God actually create some creatures just to make us laugh?  These turkeys were just amazing.  What’s with the long flap of skin over their beaks?  The gobbled a lot at us, and we laughed right back at them.





Caleb and Grace got to feed the chickens. 



And before I could bat an eye my big boys were handling sharp metal objects.  I want you all to know, that even though I was tempted many times, I DID NOT SAY BE CAREFUL NOT ONCE.

I wasn’t as worried about Jacob.  He was sawing with this nice man:


But, Ethan.  He was using AN AXE THAT COULD POSSIBLY EMBED ITSELF INTO FLESH.  And he was determined to chop the piece of wood down the middle.  He swung, hit the top,and the wood fell off the stump that it was on top of.  (repeat about 15 times)  Finally he got the axe deep enough in the wood and he would just lift and slam, lift and slam…..it was taking a very long time.  I wanted to say, “Ethan.  Forget it let’s go.”  BUT I DIDN’T say it. 

And I’ll tell you what, this boy was proud when he finally split that piece of wood.  I am thanking God, sincerely, with all my heart, that I just stood and watched and did not get in the way of something that ended up being a proud achievement for Ethan.  He smiled and breathed and we walked off (while he bounced), listening to him talk, making plans to split wood at home.  He knows he can do it.


Mr. Caleb, who had a very nice day.  And happily wore his sneakers on the wrong feet the whole time.


And that was that!  A short trip, because we have a membership and I didn’t feel bad about just doing a little bit this time.  Besides, we were hungry and ready for some lunch.  All that chopping wood works up quite the appetite.  We ate out together and then headed home.  I picked up stuff for lasagna at the store to make Rich an extra nice dinner…..I’ve been on my feet a lot today (feeling better finally!!) and it’s nice to be at the end of a beautiful, full, productive day.


Well, I think Rich has the children to bed for the night (an early bedtime for all!) so I better go relax with my man.


Thanks for stopping by!  Much love to everyone~  Shanda

0 thoughts on “

  1. Your choice of red for the back of your quilt is nice with all the red scattered through the blocks. I have some tops I’ve sewn together out of scraps that I need to put batting and backs with them as well. I want to use a quilt frame to make it easier and go faster, but somebody else has borrowed it from the church right now. Keep at it, it will soon be finished and you’ll be so pleased.

  2. I love the quilt!! You are like my mom… she always makes the tops, and then has the hardest time putting it all together at the end. She used to make a lot of our clothes, and over the years I have collected a ton of the scraps, because I want to make a simple patchwork quilt out of all of it someday, to hold on to all of the memories.

  3. You’re a good mama for being still and KNOWING that your Ethan could accomplish the task that he set out to do! I’m proud of you for sealing your lips and just watching… We have a really cool, active village similar to that about two hours from us and it is AMAZING!! The last time we went Kyle was recovering from having his colon removed so we need to go back when we can TRULY enjoy it!I wish I were there to help you tie all those strings…I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that kind of hand work!!!Glad that Rich is home safe and sound with all of you! Praise the Lord your bed is no longer lonely but now has the comfort and warmth of your man! :O)Blessings~MendiP.S.) I LOVE all the natural light in your bedroom!www.simpleandsurrendered.blogspot.com

  4. I’m glad Rich made it back safely.  We were praying for you while he was gone.  I think we are due for a trip to Sturbridge again.  Maybe we can go together next time.  I liked your comments about the turkeys.  Can you believe some people actually suggested they be our national bird because of their red, white, and blue coloring.  I’m glad the majestic eagle was chosen instead.  Hope to see you Sunday. 

  5. How fun, I would love to visit that place with my children. However, I think I’m about 18 hours away, so it won’t be anytime soon! =)  I am a chair fanatic, and I really like the black chair next to that bed!  What a beautiful quilt you are making, and what special memories it holds.

  6. What a fun day with your kiddos…it’s always great to take a little break and enjoy something together as a family.  We love field trip days!  I’m so glad Rich is home safe and sound.  I always seem to sleep better when my hubby is home.

  7. I read parts of your blog to my husband, and we both chuckled over Caleb’s shoes, and Rich falling asleep while you talked. That seems to be a pattern here, too! LOL! When I was newly married, I used to feel bad when he did that, but now, I just smile and hold him — so happy he is there. So glad he loves me. Blessings!

  8. How lovely just to get a chance to sneak away, knowing they are all snuggled in with their dad.Your trip to Sturbridge Village looks and sounds delightful! We used to visit Upper Canada Village once in a while, and always had a great time exploring and imagining what life was like “back in the day.” I’m not usually a huge fan of wallpaper, but I agree, those colors are gorgeous. That golden yellow in the picture with the tea set just looks so warm and welcoming and cheerful!I recently tied a quilt for Joy that my Mom had sewn together for ME when I was twelve. It never got beyond the top, so she handed it over to me when we moved Joy from the crib to the twin bed, and I put it together. It was my first project larger than a baby quilt, and oh my, I thought I was going to be working on it until Joy had a daughter! I made it through, though, and now it looks beautiful on her bed and she loves it, so it was all worth it. I used to get together with one or two friends once a week for quilting, and it was so fun, we always talked and laughed and compared pregnant bellies and had a great time. I really miss that now that we’ve moved!

  9. WOW you are such a GREAT mommy looks like you all had a wonderful day. The quilt looks so pretty I know you can do it! I love you have a wonderful day~  (ps talked to the Diana and she switched my shift on Saturday from 9:45-5:45 to 5-9pm so I will be able to see Mom and Dad.) …..SISSY

  10. Good for you for getting out your unfinished quilt top and working on it….why not enlist some of the older children to help tie???? Have your very own quilting bee…I love living history museums, especially the ones that showcase farm life. In one of my other lives, I’d be a docent, wearing a long calico dress and bonnet, trimmed with a bit of tatted lace, and would demonstrate ladylike tasks such as candle dipping and embroidery ~ or maybe, more realistically, I’d tie on a big old coverall apron and milk a cow.  🙂

  11. love the table cloth underneath the cup cakes.. glad it is in good use than sitting in my box for no one to see. ;)Wow.. that is an achievement on the quilt. When it is all done you are going to be so appreciative more.We went to the zoo yesterday and I thought the same thing of some of those different type looking animals… they are so funny but amazing at the same time and how it really reflects the glory of God in His infinite wisdom in creation.

  12. “Oh joy and delight”, that’s what I said out loud as I finished this post. And I felt so happy for Caleb.Now I understand you’re missing Rich a little better because of Brianna and Jonathan, oh how she misses his voice…he calms her down and lifts her up, his love and faith in God brings out the best in her, just as I seen Rich do for you. I’m glad he’s home.

  13. Oh I just love your quilt, it is so colorful, and I can imagine how soft. I recognize a Lanz nightgown material in there. Will you use it on your bed? It looks wonderful there. Or maybe you are planning to hang it up? What a delightful day, and such a beautiful thing to tell Caleb,”Yes!” Good job letting those big guys do manly jobs, and not rush them or remind them to be careful. I have had David say, “I know, I’ll be careful.” So I know I have said THAT too many times. My friend would tell her son, “BE A BLESSING”, when he was leaving to go somewhere, rather than “Be good”. I always liked that. I would so enjoy going to a village like that. Whenever we have visited such places it is so interesting to me. I like the pics of your day. So glad your Rich is home safe with you and a nice weekend ahead! blessings, Jenny

  14. Hi again Shanda    Thanks for stopping by and visiting me at our blog (http://thebzhousethatlovebuilt.blogspot.com).     I chuckled when I read about Rich falling asleep while you were talking. It brought two differnt things to mind. The first was way back when we were newly weds (w-a-y back, because this May will be 30 years for us. That number is unbelievable!!). One night Brian just couldn’t go to sleep. We had already tried other newly wed methods, but this time he hadn’t quickly fallen asleep. That night he truly learned that the tireder I get, the sillier I can get. o;-p Finally, after much time had passed, I offered to sing him to sleep. He agreed and settled into my arms. I did start with a couple of lulabies, but then due to my silliness, I switched to camp songs. I had attended church camp forever, and knew every silly song we had ever sung. That night, for the first time, my husband heard all of the verses of ‘Magdalena, Catalina’, and about all of the things on top of one another in the ‘hole in the bottom of the sea’, and on it went. To this day, if I offer to sing him to sleep, he immediatly starts immiting these LOUD snoring sounds …. LOL!!     The other thing it brought to mind, was how, due to wroking 12 hour nights during the week, as well as part time as church janitor, he is usually way past ready for sleep when he goes to bed. But that is also usually when I can finally talk to him uninterrupted …. One weekend night, as we were ready to climb into bed, he just stood next to the bed. He then explained, “I know that as soon as my head hits the pillow I’ll be out, so if there’s anythig you want to talk about, best get started.” I apologized profusily, but he was adament that he didn’t mind my talking, just wanted to actually hear it this time ;-p     When you told about instructing the kids to stay with dad while you went to the office, it reminded me of when we use to go camping. He always averaged eighty hour weeks, and yet we still qualified as ‘low income’. It was just how our lives went. But a couple of times during the summer we would go camping for a long weekend. During those trips, Brian would take our four sons and spend hours on the beach, building sand castles, or ‘attack daddy monster’ in the water, etc.. I, on the other hand, would sit beisde the grill reading a good book, while making slow roasted BBQ ribs, or some other grilled dinner he loved. I got to cook what he wanted, uninterrupted, and enjoy a book. Bliss!!!  And I didn’t feel guilty, cuz the boys were getting the daddy time they so wanted. Double win!      Your liking flannel brought another funny tale to mind. My husband and my best friends husband always use to tease us about our wearing full length unpendable flannel nighties, and all. It was all done in good nature, but they were ever so persistant with their teasing.  My husband sang base in a male quartet, and one time we were headed up north to stay at these peoples ‘ESTATE’ and sing at their church that weekend. Shortly before we were to go, I was shopping at Big Lots of all places, and came across something that made me laugh ever so hard!!! It was a red flannel top and bottom under clothing set, complete with ruffles!!! I could NOT resist!! The first night at the ‘ESTATE”, I came out of our private bathroom wearing them. Brian bust up so hard he almost couldn’t breath! Excellent!!!       And then there’s the story that came to mind after the picture of the turkeys. A couple of years ago, Brian and I had gone away for a long weekend for our anniversary. We were again ‘borrowing’ our friends wooded acerage like we had been for our family outing, where the  guys had shot up and then burned the stuffed animals.  Here we are, w-a-y out in the ocuntry, in the middle part of the ‘National Forest’, expecting the peace and quiet associated with it. However, this old tom turkey had other things on his mind. At 5:45 A.M.!!! we were awaken by him emmitting his mating call – not six feet from our bedroom window. Unbelievable!!! We watched him. He was so old that his beard was literally just shy of dragging on the ground. And he was so unstable, that he could not fan up his tail feathers and walk at the same time. But there he was, wailing (our opinion at that hour of the morning) for all he was worth, and following two relativly young females. After an hour of this, Brain declared that never again was I to let him head up there with out bringing a gun!!!    Well, that’s enough reminising for now. A couple more stories did come to mind, but I’ll spare you o;-p Thanks for all of the smiles!!! My head is pounding this morning, but my spirit has been lightened! God works in amazing ways!Cheryl B.

  15. The quilt made me think of the one at Nan’s right away, I bet it is soft and cozy!!  Did your back hurt after leaning over like that for a while?  You will be so happy when it is finished and proud to have completed it after all these years.  I wish your Grandma was still living, how fun would it be to show her!  It will be a great reminder of her!I have one I have been working on since Jeffers was born, I would love to finish that one, right now it is all just clouded in guilt, Jeff asks about it all the time, he loves homeade and really wants to wrap himself in something from me each night.I totally agree that wallpaper is so dear, I like the wall in the room with the bed the best. I grew up in a very old home and the sunroom had walls that color, some of the rooms had wallpaper from one hundred-ish years ago, so I have a soft spot for old wallpaper it brings it all back to me!Hope you have a great weekend with your man home and everyone feeling well!!

  16. Isn’t the best part of the day when you greet your husband when he walks through the door, and he gives you a big old hug?  I so often tell my husband that is my favorite time of the day.  Usually I have others wrapped around our legs giving hugs too, but that is fine.  Being all together is a beautiful thing.  So glad you are feeling rested!!!  Your outing looked fun, and uplifting in many ways.  I read things like this…the blow out diaper, and say, “They really can do those things at that age?  Really?”  You help me to let go a little, and let my older ones venture a little more.  I don’t think I would have been as good as you being quiet.  I would have probably said, “Be CaReFuL” too many times.  Questioning are you sure you can do that?  Do you really think that is a good idea?  Okay, my goal is to grow in these areas.  Maybe this is one of the reason’s the Lord allowed me to stumble across your site.  Thanks!!!  Praying you have a beautiful, restful, and fun weekend!!  My kiddos are starting Easter break..I am so excited to have them all home!!!!!!!!!  Many blessings to you and your family! ~ Deborah

  17. Forgot to say I love the quilt!!  That is a great memory!  This morning while laying in bed talking with my husband I was telling him there was this blog I read and this family with kids close in age to ours.  I told him about your trip, the blow out diaper….and asked if he thought our older ones could do those things?  He laughed and said my oldest learned to split wood this winter.  He let him help when we had all the snow.  Thank the Lord for fathers.  Just thought that was funny after my comment.  We have a day full of baseball practices, and a date night tonight this chilly sunny Saturday.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend together!!!!!!!! ~ Deborah

  18. That place looks like somewhere we would love to go. I recently heard of a place about an hour and a half away in Ohio like that, and am looking forward to checking it out this summer with my girls.

  19. Your quilt is FANTASTIC, and I am so inspired!!! I too started a quilt when I was around 12, and someone showed me how to make a correct template from plastic, but I am afraid my mother (who ruthlessly declutters) threw away my project since I haven’t seen it in years. It is so sad to have lost it, because I used fabric from dresses I wore as a little girl, and the quilt was just full of memories. Maybe I will still find it!Every time you write about Old Sturbridge, it makes me want to visit! Terry read this post too, and we both hope to see it some day.

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