1, 2, 3

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And the third?  Coming soon.  😉

*****

I liked this quote:

“I never saw my mother sleep.  In fact, she only sat down during dinner and later for about three minutes in the tub of our one bathroom.  Although Mom was perennially pregnant, she was always on the move–a blurry blue Sears housedress topped by a wavy blond perm and supported by two sturdy speed-walking legs.  She had bulging varicose veins that grew with each child, and I was always worried they were going to pop, but they didn’t.
“On any given day, Mom could be found in one of two places:  the outside landing, where she hung the laundry, or the kitchen, where she jogged between the ironing board and the oven.  It seemed my mother could do a hundred things at once, all the while keeping at least one of her blue eyes on her ten children.
“‘Watch yourself, Eddie!’ she’d shout down from the landing to my oldest brother in the side yard.  ‘Remember, you’re a born leader and all the boys are watching you!’  Then she’d vroom down the fourteen wooden steps, hip the laundry basket through the banging screen door into the kitchen, and dump it onto the table.
“‘You’re the absolute best helper, Ellen,’ she’d say as my eager sister did the folding, ‘You’re going to make a wonderful mother!’
“Shortly after noon, Mom would begin preparations for dinner, served nightly at six o’clock sharp, ‘Barbara Ann!’ she’d yell down the basement stairs as she peeled potatoes.  ‘Come on up here and take Florence, Tommy, and Mary Jean.  They need some entertainment and if you’re going to be a star, you’ll need to practice.’
“And that was my mother’s genius.  She kept her house going by putting her finger on the special gift she saw in each of her children, and making each and every one of us believe that that gift was uniquely ours.  Whether it was true or not, we all believed it.”

~Barbara Corcoran, in her book Use What You’ve Got

 

 

 

weekend reports

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Can you believe it’s only 55 degrees here today?  We woke up to rain, not a nice summer rain, but a very chilly rain.

A hummingbird landed wearily and cold on the porch feeder and just sat there for a while….too cold to move.

My friend Kathy came over today with four of her five children and it was a fun visit with pizza.

These photos are from over the weekend.

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We went to the library and then the park.

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We went from the library to the park to the coffeeshop.

The view from the coffeeshop window is always interesting.  A train went by while we were there, too.  Sarah sat across from me with an apple juice, reading a book about wolves.

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We foraged for berries.  Sarah and I.

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She gave them all to Grace.  (she adores Grace).

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Someone brought a toady toad inside the house.  He visited for a minute and then went back outside.  His skin was so dry and bumpy.  A proper toad.

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Seth stuck this on his sister.

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I sat on the couch with my cup of coffee and a cat promptly got on my lap and the dog quickly followed to sit by my side.

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what a spider!  It’s legs are so very straight and yes it’s on top of pond water!

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At the coffee shop again the next day…with Grace, Jacob, Ethan, Zak, and Sarah.

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I was looking for something to put monarch caterpillars in and we found this aquarium which I brought home and scrubbed and polished clean.  I layered dirt and stone on the bottom and then moved in the baby caterpillars, about 15 tiny ones and two big ones (one is already dangling from the top).

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This is a caterpillar just newly hatched and eating milkweed.  It’s an amazing year for monarchs and I’m just so pleased.

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Seth jumped (flew?) onto Caleb’s bed and hit his eye on the bookcase (the bed is pushed against a wall of bookshelves).  Rich and I were both sleeping on the couch when Caleb brought his brother to us, “We have a problem.”  I woke up, took one look and woke up to tell him he would have to take his son to get stitches.  I am so thankful it happened on a Saturday when Rich was home and even more thankful that Seth’s eye was okay.  It took SIX stitches to close the wound.

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While they were away at the hospital, David gave Jacob and Ethan tattoos with Sharpies. Maybe he will be a tattoo artist?

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And then when they came back we all hung out on the front porch watching the older boys and Rich kick a soccer ball.  They were trying to kick it way across the lawn into a garbage can.  Seth didn’t want his face photographed.

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On Sunday Jacob and his friend taught astronomy (earth, moon, and planets) in Sunday School, as a lesson on the amazing handiwork of God.  Jacob was a natural and was able to be himself in front of a room full of people of all ages.

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Sunday afternoon photo-update on Seth’s face.  (he hit his nose and cheek at the same time).  He was still sore all day yesterday and asked for pain medicine but he’s better today.  He can’t get the stitches wet for a few days but they are the dissolvable ones so that’s a relief.    He and Caleb skipped a football practice and we all went downtown for ice cream on Sunday night.

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THIS MORNING Sarah joined me on the porch, we watched the rain and she held Gentleman Gray on her lap while I drank coffee.

I am tired.

 

boys on stilts

I smashed the screen of my iPhone last night when Rich and I were walking.  I had whipped it out from my back pocket to check my steps for the day and it kept flying right out of my hand, landing face down on the road.  It still works, but after a day of looking at it covered in hairline fractures it is a relief to be in front of my computer screen.  The computer screen is so perfectly NOT broken!

Grace and I went to breakfast this morning after a morning of cleaning the house.  Jacob stayed home and watched the rest of the kids.  Grace and I took our books, of course.  She is reading Mark Twain and I’m reading a biography of Jane Fonda of all things.  (I recently read an autobiography by Doris Day, too)  I found a new podcast to listen to that appeals to my “memoir” side, the side of me that LOVES learning about other people’s lives no matter how they lived it, which compelled me to pick up Fonda’s book at the library yesterday.  The podcast is called “You must remember This” and it’s about first century Hollywood.  Like most podcasts, not every episode is worth listening to but the few I have heard gave me a lot to think about in regards to the entertainment culture of that time period.  There is nothing new under the sun!

One generation goes its way, the next one arrives,
but nothing changes—it’s business as usual for old
planet earth.  Ecclesiastes 1:9

So anyways, we read and ate and then went to Goodwill where she found me a fiesta jumbo mug in cobalt for one dollar.  I passed right by it!  We shared a hug in the aisles of Goodwill.  She found a cute little dress and I bought a few books, too.  Then we went to the grocery store to get things for spaghetti because last night Rich came home and was so happy to step through the door into the house……to the smell of spaghetti.  His eyes lit right up and he smiled big…….only it was roast pork and corn on the cob.  So I promised him spaghetti today.

When we got home I put everything in the crock pot for a good sauce; homemade meatballs and chunks of sausage that David cut up for me, a big chopped onion, spices, and a big can of tomatoes.

Grace had her friends Brittany and Tessa over (who also happen to be Jacob’s girlfriend and Ethan’s girlfriend) to make homemade ice cream and I went for a power walk and was almost bitten by a dog.  I was so scared.  The owner was a very large man on his riding lawn mower who couldn’t be bothered to get off it and his dog (pit bull?) was not on his leash.  The dog was following the man around as he mowed and then when he saw me, he ran full force at me, barking in a very scary way and came so close, I could feel it’s breath and mouth touch me as I clutched myself and stood very still…..I eventually got away while the large man simply yelled at his dog.  The dog ran down the road at me a second time, barking.  I didn’t know what to do.  Should I call animal control and complain?  The dog did everything but actually BITE me.  When I had to turn around and walk back, I went into the woods to get past his house because I was so nervous.  How ridiculous to have to do that!

Safely home now, and blogging from the chair in my bedroom.  The house is completely clean; all beds made, bathrooms spotless, because the two maids came today (every Friday), dinner in the crock pot, so it feels extra wonderful to be able to relax.  David is watching soccer videos on Youtube and the girls are upstairs now, visiting.

I’m posting photos today that I took last night when Caleb came in to say, “Mom come and see this”.  I was tired so I said, as I got up off the couch, “This better be good.”

He was on stilts!  Grace got them from Mrs. D at the HS when she helped her clean out the Drama Props Closet.

Thank you Mrs. D!

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It was worth it!

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David had to try.  (you can see a small part of Caleb,too)

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And there’s Sarah in her nightie ready for bed.

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Big sis and big bro looking on……..

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Seth wearing his watch that he got in his Subway kids meal.

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Summertime + end of the day playtime outside = the BEST.

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Ethan’s turn!

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Parker is smiling!  with his girl.

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Sarah wanted to try getting on the stilts but I said “go put something on under your nightie first.” so she did, happily.

*****

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THIS beautiful sunset sky is the reason why everything was pink last night.

 

Oh, how sweet the light of day,
And how wonderful to live in the sunshine!
Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted.
Take delight in each light-filled hour…….. Ecclesiastes 11:7 MSG

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madame butterfly

Oh what peace we often forfeit,
Oh what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

“I trust You.  Give me wisdom.  Give me love to spill over.  My life is Yours.”

*~*~*~*~*~*

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A simply DRENCHED bumble bee, waiting out the rain on a bee balm blossom.

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I don’t know…..but again, drenched.

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close up of a zinnia.. .. .gorgeous color pink.

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My nature studies have gone from birds to bees and other insects.  It’s such a pleasure to walk around the outskirts of our lawn, where the mowed grass meets the wilder grasses and flowers and look for insects.  There are always interesting things to see.

I still like to watch for birds, too.  In fact, I keep seeing a yellow warbler (wearing a black mask) peeping at me from the bushes, it must be distracting me from seeing a nest because it’s a typically shy bird.  I’ll try to photograph it today.

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breathtaking greens and yellow

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I showed Sarah the photos and when she realized what she was seeing, she said “Delete it!”

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This is my favorite photo of the bunch.  The wings!  Did you ever guess there would be wings like this on a tiny bug?  (it’s on a yarrow flower, a common wildflower in our area)

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It’s not a very clear photo because just as I was taking it I felt a cold thing go across my bare big toe………

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It was a big juicy worm.

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This gorgeous bug, if it senses an enemy near. . . . .

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….drops down and plays dead.  It literally plays dead!  It had me fooled for a moment.

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Yesterday I was on the porch and saw a Monarch fly by.  I walked around to follow it and discovered it busily laying eggs on the milkweed that I let grow in the garden.  See how it presses it’s tail to the leaf?

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It leaves an egg behind, a teeny white egg.  When it hatches, the caterpillar will be all set because it simply LOVES milkweed leaves.

By gently turning the leaves over on the plants I have found at least 5 eggs.  We plan on collecting them after they hatch and watching them grow.  It’s one of our favorite summertime nature studies.

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****

A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Proverbs 31:30

 

 

madame moth

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One evening this week I went into my room and found a large brown moth playing a rather dangerous game of tag with the ceiling fan spinning over my bed.  I quickly turned the fan off but the moth continued to fly around like something crazy so I turned off all but one of the lights in the room.  The moth gravitated toward it and settled down on a closet door.  I was able to get a photo and then attempted to trap it under a large glass in order to take it outside where it belonged.  However, Madame Moth had other ideas and escaped the glass with fluttering wings…..to my shoulder.  I did a quick, sly shuffle, while squealing, toward the door but alas, it vanished off my shoulder and disappeared.  For the remainder of the night I found myself absentmindedly brushing at my hair and clothes.  I hadn’t seen the moth fly away and felt as if it were still on me somewhere.

The next morning……….

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I found it on the light pink curtains in the bathroom.  The curtain rod was one of those spring loaded kinds that can be adjusted between the window frame so I took another photo and then pulled the entire curtain down and took it and the moth outside….where it belonged.  We have a large wrap around porch and I put the curtains on the quiet side, away from doors and activity of people and pets, on a small table.  The poor moth was so still and silent that I wondered if it was even alive.  I checked on it throughout the day and it never moved.  I felt badly that I hadn’t been able to get it outside the night before when it was so obviously full of life.

The next morning…….

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It was gone, all but a single leg and 11 chartreuse colored eggs.  I think it left it’s leg behind because even I had a hard time removing it from the curtain, it was hooked into the fabric rather tightly.

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The eggs look amazingly like green grapes.