We did it.  We went back home for the weekend.  The vehicle was packed full of necessary stuff and our seven children and Rich and I drove and drove …… back home to NY state, where we both grew up.  It takes us almost 4 rather endless hours, to get there.  The children were great, and so excited……

The picture above is of Caleb in the morning, looking out the window of our hotel room on the 8th floor.  Rich found a hotel suite, made reservations, and it was a treat for us.  He and I had our own big room and the children camped out all over the next room.  Grace, David, and Sarah slept in the pull out sofa bed, Caleb on two armchairs pushed together, Seth on the floor upon couch cushions, and the older boys in the big closet, on the floor.  It was fun to see them all over the place, together.

On Saturday morning we ate breakfast at the Crackerbarrel.  Rich took a picture with his phone so I actually got to be IN a candid family picture!


We were texting my brother Dave back and forth.  He lives in the area and he surprised us by stopping by while we were eating! 

He bought each of the children a treat from the gift shop.  They were thrilled!


We love you Dave!  You are so special to me.


After breakfast we took all the back roads to get to Grandma’s nursing home.  She hasn’t been doing very well, so I convinced Rich we had to visit her as soon as possible.  We drove through all the little towns that Rich is so familiar with, and the town he grew up in, going by the old farm house that he loved so much (and still does).  He told us so many little stories as we drove along.  

“We buried a lot of tractors in that field.”  (sunk, in the springtime mud)

“I helped out at this farm one year, when they were showing cows.”

“I used to look out the window of the bus and imagine visiting that old ice house.”

“One time when we stopped to see the old bent tree, my grandpa found wild onions and he picked them to go with our lunch.”

“That used to be a country store and I used to ride my bike there to get a piece of candy or a soda.”

“That’s where the guy lived who taught me to hunt.”

“This is where I fell asleep and almost drove off the road after leaving your Mom’s house one night.”

and so on.

I told him that someday I want to go with my Nikon camera and take pictures of all the places, and make a scrapbook for our family. 


We were able to use a conference room for our visit with Grandma, which was a blessing as I wasn’t sure how we would all fit in her room.

We listened to a lot of little family stories and Grace stayed busy jotting them all down in her notebook.  Our favorite discovery was when Grandma, recalling childhood memories, admitted that she had no problem remembering her sisters’ faults, but she couldn’t remember any of her own. 

Another interesting note:  Grandma’s brother is still living, and is 94.  He can’t hear and his wife can’t talk (after a stroke) but they still live together in their own house.  After her stroke, she lost interest in cooking, so he does it all.  He loves hymns and still gets his book out to sing one now and then.  They will be celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary this summer.

This is Rich’s Dad, with Sarah Joy on his lap. 

I learned that Aunt Phyllis copies off my blog for Grandma, and Grandma just loves it.  She can still read just fine and enjoys the little stories about the children.  She passes it along to Rich’s Dad when she is done, but Aunt Phyllis said that one time she found it with Sarah’s picture cut right out of a page. 

I love to imagine her doing that. 

We had such a satisfying visit, so special, and so important for the children, too.



 After the nursing home visit, we drove to my parent’s place.  Mom made us chowder (a pot of corn and a pot of clam), a big salad, and homemade strawberry shortcake.  We stayed for a few hours and enjoyed the visit very much.



It was especially nice for Davy, because he has been begging me to find him a typewriter and Mom gave him one.  It’s an old electric “Brother” typewriter that I actually took to college with me to use for my term papers.  It still worked, so the first thing he typed was a letter to Grandma, asking for the typewriter and all the reasons why he wanted one. 

Needless to say, it’s his.

And then, Sunday morning, we drove back to Rich’s Dad and Leslie’s house for a nice visit.  Leslie is Rich’s step mom.   She is quiet and gentle, loves animals and children, and homemaking.  She has many pretty things decorating their home (which Rich’s Dad built himself), houseplants, quilts, ribbon embroidery, and pictures.  I want to take photos of the things sometime, to show you.

I love the picture of the messy living room, all because of the children dragging the toys out of Charlie’s bedroom. 

Sarah helped Grandma put away the fruit.

After a lunch of chips, sandwiches, and fruit, and a visit to the barn, we loaded up the vehicle to head back home.

(it’s so nice to have many places to call “home”)



 Thankful for family, and our wonderful hometown state of NY.  It was a full and enjoyable weekend.  Frankly, we’re all exhausted, in a good way.  heart


please take a moment to say hello! 


22 thoughts on “family

  1. Love Sarah’s shirt with the purple flowers! you do so much to create such wonderful memories for your children! You are inspiring. You are passing on a cherished heritage to your children on loving life, being together, creating unity, close relationships!

  2. I love this! Felt like I was with you. Both you and Rich’s families sound delightful. What a wonderful heritage for your children. I think you definitely SHOULD make a scrapbook of all those places with stories. How neat would that be?

  3. Loved hearing(and seeing pics)about your week-end with family.So special that your children were able to spend time with their Great-Grandma! (and special for you & Rich also) I love how you can see the path to the barn in the last photo.Reminds me of my childhood home.There was a path in the grass to the chickenhouse,where we spent hours packing eggs.Good memories……

  4. What a Fun weekend! How fun to travel about New England. It’s so beautiful. (well, from pictures, I’ve only been out to NY once! Ha!)So glad you were able to visit with Rich’s Grandma. and 70 years for his Great Uncle and his wife! What a blessing to be able to spend so many years together.Loved seeing all your photos. Looking forward to all the pictures you talked about taking.Happy Monday to you. 🙂

  5. Isn’t family wonderful?  I like this post and the pictures very much.  And I love family trips, though ours usually involve so many hours of driving that they’re REALLY exhausting.  Hotels and restaurant meals are fun.  I wish the picture in Cracker Barrel had been taken a moment later when you were biting into that burger. 🙂  And I noticed Sarah’s shirt too.  Cuteness! Happy readjusting to life at home.  The green grass on these photos makes me happy.

  6. Such a precious weekend! I had to laugh at your four hour journey. To go back to see my grandma in Pa. would take 24 hours. Our children truly dislike those long hours but when we make that trip, I know it’s worth every groan.

  7. I’ll come back later…all the pics aren’t loading…prob. an internet problem here at the doctor’s office. So happy you had a good visit!

  8. hi shanda…….what a wonderful family getaway!  so glad you were all able to go and visit so many people.  i love that grace was writing down the stories.  blessings to rich’s grandma.  she is such a sweetheart and i know she was grateful to see you all in person and get so many hugs.

  9. I love NY state! My mom’s family is all in upstate NY. It looks like such a lovely trip and I love that Grace recorded all the stories!!! What a great idea!Enjoy the rest of ya’lls visit and I hope when it comes to an end, you all have a safe journey home.Love all the photos!

  10. Sounds like you had a full weekend…sorry I didn’t get to see you this time. We had Madelynn’s 14th birthday party Saturday…with a house full (30) of family. It was just like old times with 3 generations of our family running around my house. It would have been great to have you here too! I have been thinking of planning another family picnic this summer…what about the end of August?

  11. So glad you were able to go home, I know how important that was for you! So great that you were able to visit with your Grandma again! I still have my typewriter from college, so funny!Love, JO

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