“That whole day long, everyone was as cheerful as the sunshine.”  The Long Winter, page 135



He has been with me wherever I have gone.  Genesis 35:3  (oh yes, he is with me always, every step of the way!  “He leadeth me”)

But you would not have condemned my innocent disciples if you knew the meaning of this Scripture:  I want you to show mercy and not offer sacrifices.  Jesus’ words, in Matthew 12:7  (don’t condemn God’s children—-show mercy!)

And His name will be the hope of all the world.  Matthew 12:21  (what a precious promise!)

~verses from my devotions, this morning.

It was a challenge to read at the table.  I had to keep hopping up, mainly to get Seth away from Sarah.  But at one point I had to grab the camera because I thought it was so cute the way he was loving on her.


After a while, as I cleaned up the breakfast things, I thought that for sure I could not deal with a crazy unstructured day with 8 people all trying to do whatever they felt like doing.  I called all the children to me and we sat down to schedule our day all the way up to 4:30 in the afternoon.

It worked like a charm and was just what we needed to give us direction.  

After some play time, we sat at the table together.  It was “art at the table” time but it ended up being a history lesson about Martin Luther King Jr.  I read them his basic biography from wikipedia, we watched a youtube clip of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and they all colored a picture of him.  (so, we did do art)

After that, we had lunch.  David surprised me because when I asked, “Does anyone need a drink of milk?”  He said, “I’ll have a cold beer.”

Now, let me just say.  We have never had beer in our home.  We don’t drink it, and we come from families who do not drink it.  

No, I have never tasted beer in my life, but one time as a child, I was collecting cans and bottles from the side of the road and some leftover beer splashed on my pants and left a bleach mark.  And it smelled horrible.  It never seemed appetizing to me after that.

I insisted, ready for a good laugh, that David tell me where on earth he got such an idea—you know—requesting cold beer at lunchtime.

Come to find out, the boys had gotten a “Calvin and Hobbes” comic book from the library and there was a comic strip where the boy was trying to figure out what drink to leave for Santa, to go with his cookies.  “How about a cold beer” said the Dad, (who was really Santa).  Ethan solved the mystery when told me about this particular comic strip.  It all became clear to me, and then dear innocent David asked, “What IS beer?”

You mothers know about these strange conversations that come up…..you just never know what will come up next.


After lunch we cleaned up and then we were supposed to have read-aloud time but the children were full of energy so we went outside.


Seth was so thrilled.  He loved being free to run and play.  This was the first day, after that huge snowstorm last week, that things cleared up enough to us to enjoy the weather.  It wasn’t quite as cold and the sun was shining.


The snow was glittery and pretty.


Seth threw some.

Seth is so tiny compared to his big brother Jacob.

Caleb found some treasure–ice–and ate it.

David cried because he was too cold, then I bundled him up so good that later on he cried because he was too hot.

Here he is, in a happier moment;

Grace Lillian;

She wore homemade crocheted mittens that my mom gave her.

They played around the upper driveway, digging and making snow forts in the big drifts that Rich plowed up.  Then, they had a big snowball fight.

When we came back inside, we hung up all of our snow things.  Sarah woke up from her nap and I put Seth down for his.  Then we snuggled up on the couch for some reading.

We read two chapters from The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  It was cozy and delightful.  These stories never grow old, they actually seem to get better and better with each reading.

“All that happy afternoon they were full of the clear, cold air and as bright as the sunshine.”  pg.137


After reading and quiet time, I took Grace to her music lesson.  We had baby Sarah with us and Jacob was in charge of the rest at home.

We got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and ended up cancelling our lesson (we will make it up next Monday).  We stopped at the grocery store and got all the fixings for a big spaghetti dinner; 2 boxes of pasta, hamburger, fresh Italian bread, and things for salad.  We got home at 5:30 and then I spent the next hour putting groceries away, paying attention to little boys who had missed me, feeding Seth a snack and Sarah her dinner, making the dinner, directing Grace to help me in various ways, and I got A HUGE HEADACHE.  Rich called and was also got stuck in traffic so I asked him to pray for me and then I served dinner to the children myself.  It went pretty well, thanks no doubt to his prayers and my own (“Dear Lord, please help.”).   Rich got home at 7pm and the older children went back outside to resume their snowball fighting.

Well, it’s approaching 9pm now.  Everyone is in bed…I started this blog entry at about 7:30 but Sarah pinched her tiny little finger and I had to quit for a while to take care of her.  She is sleeping like an angel after being nursed and snuggled by me, with Rich sitting next to us as well.  How we love our little baby girl, and the rest of our children, too.

I hope and pray that all of my friends and family are doing well and are staying cozy.  I hope you liked the pictures of the children and little stories.  It was a nice day, and I hope yours was, too.

Much love ~ Shanda

PS, Grace and I had a wonderful time talking together on the way home.  She had some questions for me that she had been wanting to ask but “at home there was always too many boys running around.”  I am thankful for the time we got to spend, just the two of us.  I don’t like the hassle of driving here and there but I must say, those times in the vehicle have proved to be very valuable times for TALKS and laughter with my children.  They all open right up and start yapping as soon as they get into the seat beside me….all but my Ethan, who is always so quiet.  I tell him to talk to me but he just says, wonderingly “About WHAT!?”  So when I’m with E, I do most of the talking myself.  heart




0 thoughts on “

  1. one day when E needs to talk  at least he’ll know that he’s got an open ear with you. guys are funny like that sometimes. but i do have some good conversations with people in my car…i think that those moments when we are together things just seem to come out. so glad that you had that special time with Sarah. Glad that you were able to get some stuff organized so that the day was a little less crazy that it had seemed at hte beginning of the day πŸ˜‰

  2. “I’ll just have a cold beer.” Too funny! Sometimes it takes some real patience and a round of gentle questions on my part to uncover where questions/words/phrases come from! I can sleep happy tonight. PS we’re reading “Along the Banks of Plum Creek” about grasshoppers and Pa being gone long weeks working, etc. Thanks for your continued inspiration. I’m expecting #4, with #1 turning 5 next month. When I feel overwhelmed, I look at your example and your God, Who is also my God, and I know I can do it with His strength. When I first found your blog, I thought I merely “stumbled” upon it on the xanga page. Now I’m pretty sure God directed me there.Sarah

  3. Too cute. My daughter was just as loving as your Seth is with the baby. There’s definitely no leaving her alone in the room with a baby. : ) Oh and I laughed about the beer. lol. I’ll bet that took you by surprise! Love all your pictures and of course the glimpse into your day.

  4. I have found that long drives in the car are the best conversation times when it’s just one child and myself. My 12 year old feels free to talk and ask about anything on those drives and I love it!

  5. I was laughing at your beer story. My boys picked out a Calvin and Hobbs book at a library sale a few months ago and I went ahead and bought it.  I was a bad mom and just let them read through it, I though it was safe.  Well, my 8 year old showed me something that wasn’t too nice!  (Glad he was at least discerning!) Being boys they of course giggled and laughed anyway!Your day sounds like it was a good one. You have inspired me to make a nice little schedule! Enjoyed all your pictures, Seth and Sarah are so cute!Hope your headache feels better. =)

  6. That’s too funny about the “cold beer”.  Made me think of something that came up recently around here.  I found out by a round about way that my youngest son had declared at school that “yogurt has feelings” and that he saw it on TV.  Oh dear, I have surely warped my child! =/  After questioning him about it, he said he saw it on mythbusters.  (The boys like to watch it online from netflix).  Anyway, we’re still not quite sure how he got that out of it, but “Kids”, you never know what they’ll come up with! =)

  7. Shanda, what beautiful pictures of Sarah. I cannot believe how BIG she is getting. And Seth looked so big until the picture of him standing next to big brother. So cute!
    The pictures out in the snow are wonderful!
    The snuggled up on the couch reading…. so warm and cozy! One reason I love winter time. A great time to read.

  8. so sweet :)I took my oldest (9) out to church a little early last night and we had a wonderful talk together. Sometimes I forget how much they need that–and it is something I need, too!Have a good week!

  9. LOVED the pictures of Seth in the snow–>beautiful photos! Grace is looking so much older and she is SUCH a beautiful girl, I can tell she is very mature and wise beyond her years πŸ™‚ The photo of you reading with the children is lovely, lovely, lovely! Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Have a great day Shanda!

  10. Ahhhhh, love your posts.  Blesses me immensely.   So funny about the beer.  My brother once wrote a story in school about his “beer fountain” (we came from a family who didn’t drink or have it in the house).  My mother was mortified!!!  She kept the story and we discovered it a couple years ago and got a great laugh from it.

  11. hi shanda…….the photos of seth with the bright, blue sky behind him are fantastic!  i loved your schedule for the day.  we always work better around here with a schedule, too.  i’m going to steal your idea of reading about MLK on the computer and watching the speech on you tube.  my youngest was asking me questions about him yesterday, and i told him we could get out a book at the library next time.  well now, why didn’t i think about the computer and do it right then and there?!  seems simple enough in hindsight.  thanks so much for all your wonderful ideas and letting us peek into your day.

  12. Thank you for sharing your wonderful day with us…beginning with your devotional time. So cozy. I too thought how big Seth looked next to his baby sister. Fun to get the perspective of him outside with his big brother. The snow looks so glittering and beautiful! It is funny what kids come up with, but so great to have that time with them to find out what they are thinking. Glad you had that time with Grace. I love the reading pic all snuggled up!

  13. so funny how kids stick that one thing in their brains, like having a cold beer, and then later, out it pops! hopefully not at Grandmas! or in Sunday School, howabout it? πŸ˜‰ kinda gives me hope for the little postive things in a day.that they’ll stick those in their head too. for pulling out as needed! love that little kitten face on sarah’s sleeper!

  14. I loved the pic’s Shan.  Reading about your talks with kids wanted me to encourage you to maybe just take them each on a drive once and awhile specifically for that, especially Grace.  There is nothing like a Mom and Daughter relationship and those talks….they are SO beneficial.  I don’t know how many I had with my mom that made me feel so valueable as a person and girl.  It is such a gift when your kids know they can talk to you about anything. . .

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