birthday girl


Good morning, how’s this picture of mud for an opening to a blog post?   The other day I was outside with my camera and one of the things I noticed that day was little animal prints in the mud by the stream.

The mosquitoes are so bad right now, it’s almost enough to make me stay indoors.


Actually, I haven’t been outside much lately . . . .so what is keeping me indoors? and on the couch?  Cold clammy weather and the world’s worst cold.


This big bug has almost human qualities, doesn’t it?  sneaky, large nose, suspicious expression. . . . . .


The neighbor’s cat is frequently seen at our place.  If I try to say hello he squats down in fear and then bounds away as fast as his four feet can take him.

Sometimes my cats communicate with it in melodious yowls.

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A boy and his dog.

(Parker is sleeping in the same spot as I type, but his boy is at school).


From my sick spot on the couch, nature came to me!  I looked out the window in time to see cedar waxwings land in the top of our tree by the garden.  My Aunt Colleen and my mom both said they’ve been seeing flocks of them, too.  Such beautiful birds.


I kept hearing a strange bird call . . . .over and over. . . so (even though I’m sure it wasn’t calling ME!) t simply had to look for it and discovered a new sighting (for me) of a Great Crested Flycatcher.

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hummingbirds are constant visitors to our feeder (thanks to son David for filling it up the other day)


I bought Sarah’s presents yesterday while she was at school.  Michael and Jacob came with me.  We went to Target, Costco, and Barnes and Noble.  If you visit my instagram account you have seen the picture I posted of Sarah’s birthday requests, written in purple ink on a sheet of paper that I found in an empty room.  She didn’t hand me the list, she didn’t tell me she was making one, I just happened to find it on the floor and then, last night and rather too late, another copy by my bed.  Rarely do things like this get by my all seeing eyes, so I was especially amused and set to work, determined to get everything on the list, which was quite realistic and humble; a very basic birthday wish list.

Gone are the days (at least for now?) of siblings crowded all around the birthday child. . . .only Seth was interested in Sarah’s presents.  They make a cute brother and sister pair when they aren’t bickering.

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Sarah had a VERY very busy day yesterday. . .she went to the zoo all day long with her class.  Despite being tired she was happy and pleasant for family time and birthday celebrations here at home.

However, I did have to wake her up from a very deep sleep this morning in order for her to get ready for school.  Dear girlie.  She was so excited for her birthday.


Barnes and Noble does free gift wrapping and the paper was so cute. . .lots of trees and open books and little creatures reading, and a shiny gold sticker on top.

I found Sarah the wolf books she wanted.

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AND a book of her favorite Henry and Mudge stories.

She is a fantastic reader.

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Meanwhile Seth was busy putting flour in a balloon to make a homemade stress ball.  He was tapping the flour down the funnel with a wooden skewer.

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Her face when she saw the My Little Pony play set.

She also got her plastic animals (a bear, a wolf, and a fox) and a “cat and jack” bathing suit.  The bathing suit wasn’t on the list.

She also received a birthday card from Uncle Dave and Aunt Maria, and one from Grandma and Grandpa.  She gets so excited to have money.  😉


The ponies have been a big hit.  There are enough of them for her to be creative and entertained by very absorbing make believe adventures.  The TV remote is on the floor because naturally she had to watch an episode of My Little Pony, too.

The boys blew up balloons for her and we’ve been having fun playing “volleyball” together.


When she’s playing with her ponies she doesn’t notice anything else  happening around her.


Thanks to Michael and Jacob’s suggestion for dinner, I made a big pot of Shepherd’s pie, corn, and salad.

We had our whole family except Grace but with Michael and Zach.  (Grace was at school for a Variety Show and missed her sister’s birthday entirely)


Everyone loved dinner and then it was time for cake!


Nice big brother lit the candles after we all had to search for something to light them with because David had left the whole box of matches outside and they were rained on.


It was a huge Costco cake, vanilla.


With chaos and noise all around her (7 boys! crazy boys!) she silently sat with her eyes sparkling, patiently waiting for us to sing.


My favorite photo of the day.  🙂

Happy Birthday, Sarah!

14 thoughts on “birthday girl

  1. Happy birthday Sarah! What a great retelling, I felt like I was there with you! Sarah is a precious girl. And it was strange to see all those big boys/men around your table! Cedar waxwing, I have only ever seen pictures but they are sure pretty.

  2. What was your recipe for shepherd’s pie in a pot? For some reason, I thought it always had to be baked in layers, maybe in a 9×13 casserole. Obviously, I’ve not prepared it but should,, & I like the idea of its being in a pot rather than baking. Thanks for sharing, Shanda.

    • It’s not a recipe that is typically baked in a pot but that’s what I used because I didn’t have a casserole dish big enough and didn’t want to use two 9 by 13s. I browned all the hamburger (5 pounds) w/the seasonings and onion, put 24 servings of mashed potatoes on top that were mixed with sour cream and cheese. I’ll emailing you the recipe. 🙂

  3. Lovely! That’s my favorite picture too! Love! I used to read the Henry and Mudge books to my kids. Love thoes books!

    • Thank you–still am tired and have a little cough but I was able to get out for a walk with Grace. 🙂 I’ll be all better in a few days I’m sure.

      • Shanda, Your last name is showing on the photos of Grace’s graduation cap, just FYI, not sure you want to do that? Looks like you are raising awesome kids 🙂

  4. gone are the days of everyone crowding around . Yup I caught that right away:) I think of the good ol days of when all of mine were tiny. But its a new season now (for you as a mom with children that are growing up!)…with new adventures!

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