I found his cookies

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David came home from practice yesterday, made a protein shake in the blender, took a shower, and then wandered back into the kitchen and said in his morose-sounding Eeyore voice, “I think I want to make chocolate chip cookies.”  “Do it!” we all cried.

“Mom, where’s your recipe.”

“I just use the one on the bag but add more flour.”

“Okay.”

He wanted walnuts in them but couldn’t find them.  I knew this by the loud moans and groans, so I ran to the kitchen to pull out a stool to help him look.  When I found them I sang a happy celebration song, sort of bragging, until he said, “Okay, stop.” in his dry way.

David is charming to me.  I used to blog about him the way he was when he was a little boy and all the interesting things he would do….catch birds with homemade traps, catch turtles, draw comics, fish, swim in his underwear, read interesting books, make crafts, say interesting things as only he can say them.

I still blog about him the way he is, with his shirt off, now 16 years old, working on cookies, trying to take a 8 minute nap on the couch as each tray bakes, and suddenly noticing “Mom has the camera out.”

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“I think I feel sick,” he admitted.  “Too much cookie dough.”

****

Sarah started watching him.

“Dave?  What kind of cookies are you making?  If you answer me now, I won’t ask you again later!”

“Sarah go away.”

“Dave, how can you be so mean, I never heard her ask a question so sweetly!”

“I know!  She’s being FAKE.  I can’t STAND FAKE WOMEN.”

She’s not even nine yet.

*****

“Just so everyone knows, these are MY cookies, I’m going to hide them and save them for rewards.”

He has to watch his weight for wrestling so I think this is smart.

He likes to put cookies in the toaster to warm them up.

He doesn’t wear an apron, he doesn’t need to, because skin is easy to clean.

He tidied up his mess somewhat, but this morning when he was gone at school I scrubbed the cookie sheets with hot soapy water and put them away.  I also got to eat the one solitary remaining cookie for breakfast, dunking it into my coffee.  Thinking about my son.  The walnuts and chocolate tasted so good.

Later on, when I wasn’t thinking about him at all, I found his cookies.

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lunch and christmas gift exchange with Dave

Too many of us never understand what we owe to our dear ones — until there remains no further opportunity of paying love’s debt.  JR Miller

I just downloaded 44 photos that could be grouped into a gazillion blog posts.  I was tempted to just dump them all into ONE but I can’t, I just can’t.  They deserve their own posts.  (Okay, It really might be ten, but with the rate I’ve been blogging it would take me a gazzillion days to post the ten.  I’m determined to do a blog a day until I’m caught up.)

I’m sitting on the couch in the livingroom.  Three of our four cats are prowling around.  Walter is sitting like a king by the kitchen door, Sherlock is sitting on the counter watching over things.  Bagheera snuck up behind Sherlock wanting to play and was hissed at, meanly.

Grace is also prowling around, warming up a cornbag and preparing a breakfast bagel.

It’s a gift to have her home on break for the next few weeks.  Her older brothers already had to drive back to Castleton on the 1st.  We are thinking about going to visit them at some point, just for the fun of it.

But today Grace and I are picking up Seth at the school at 10:30 for an orthodonist appointment.  He has an expander on the roof of his mouth, and a habit breaker, and I wonder if he’ll have either one of them removed today.  That would be nice for him.

Rich and Dave have a wrestling meet today after school.

This would be a nice weekend to visit us if you want to see the boys wrestle.  Dave has a meet on Saturday.  Caleb and Seth have their first meet on Sunday.  They will both be half- a- day long affairs, I will be taking headphones, a charger, and a book so the noise and activity doesn’t daze and confuse me.  I’m already praying they have fun and do as well as they can.  I’ll let you know if they place and get medals.

Sarah Joy was rummaging around the shelves this morning searching for lost school library books until I finally said, “You should have done this last night!” and she went to school with one missing.  She’s wearing blue pants, a purple velvet-textured shirt with ruffled sleeves, her trademark ponytail.  And a smile.

This morning I’m thinking about way back on December 18, 2018 when I drove to Clarks Summit.  The purpose of the trip was first and foremost to get my daughter home for Christmas, but at the same time I was able to spend time with Joanna and stay the night all by myself in a hotel.

I was also able to visit with my brother Dave.  He drove about an hour to meet me for lunch at a favorite little Greek diner.  He did all the ordering and we had the grandest time sitting and enjoying each other’s company while eating delicious food.

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Dave is one of the best brothers in the whole wide world (I have two others).  We are a year and two months apart in age and we like to tell each other, “You’re my original best friend.” It’s true.  We’ve been together all these years, and now, even though we live 4 hours apart, we text each other almost daily and talk on the phone once or twice a month.

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This was before our main lunch plates came out!  We had spinach pie, a piece of cheese that the waitress lit on fire next to our table so we could eat it sizzling hot, and pita with a sour cream/feta cheese dip.  All of the foods had Greek names that I now cannot remember, (I should have taken notes.)

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Then our meat kabobs came out and we kept right on eating.

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We ate and we ate and we ate and then had dessert.  We were stuffed full of good food.

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The waitress cleared away our dishes and packed up the remainder of my cheesecake, which I would finish eating at 9 o’clock that night.  I asked her to take a photo of us and now I have this picture to remind me of the day Dave came to meet me for lunch.

I’m leaning toward the computer screen right now, looking at it and smiling because I can’t help it.

***

I posted the quote at the beginning of this post as a reminder to me to take every opportunity I can to spend time with the people I love, and to show them that I care about them.

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I look like such a big head in this photo but that’s selfie photography for you!  Poor Sarah didn’t make it into the photo.

After all the planning and organizing and hosting of Thanksgiving, we were all ready to get out of the house on Black Friday and it was absolutely the best day because we were all together, Rich and I **without even one child missing**.

The line at Starbucks was a little long so I got silly with my camera and my mama-joy.

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Rich and I both felt deep down meaningful gratitude over spending time with them, our biggest blessings of all.  Each so different and yet, together, a special group of siblings.  That’s how all families feel about their children, and rightfully so.

God is so good to us.

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THE SONS

At the mall!  I like to do things fairly so I said to Rich, “The girls go with me and the boys go with you!”   (I’m sure the boys were utterly relieved)

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Sarah insisted on getting this blanket for “someone” on our Christmas list!

I’m thinking if it were a fluffy sweater in Sarah’s size she would look dashing!

(Note to Self:  Sarah looks good in mauve.)

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She found her perfect dream dress.  And thank goodness I liked it, too.  It’s plain and simple but with the best twirling skirt ever.

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AND THE DAUGHTERS

So.  I had a secret mission for this mall outing.  I wanted more than anything to get updated portraits taken of Jacob and Ethan.  They are both Juniors in college this year and it’s been since High School that I had a nice professional portrait of them.  Grace’s senior photo is still on the wall looking fabulous, along with the other school-age children who just brought home their updated school portraits.

I had five 8 by 10s hanging up in the livingroom, but was very much missing the two eldest boys.

I wasn’t sure if we could just walk into the portrait studio without appointments but we tried it and had SUCCESS!  All I wanted was one 8 by 10 of each of them and we were in and out of the studio in no time at all, pictures in hand.

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They turned out so nice!!!!!  Here’s Jacob’s portrait.  He will be turning 22 next month.

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And here’s Ethan’s portrait!  He’s 20 years old.

I love how they go together yet they aren’t matchy-matchy.

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I find myself staring at their faces quite often.  🙂

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This is exactly where I am right now, sitting in the chair draped by a white and blue blanket that Aunt Colleen crocheted for me in our local school colors so I could take it to cold outdoor games.  In the mug I have hot spiced apple cider, and to the left of my laptop you can see the jar candle, and then my phone propped up, which is playing my friend’s video to me this morning.  What a great way to start the day, with photos, conversation, laundry, and blogging.

To be honest, I have also been to the vet to drop off poor Walter.  Today our kitty has to have his special operation that will help him grow up to be a nice, tame, good-smelling male cat who can’t make babies.  We’ll go pick him up again later.  🙂

Also, Seth is home for the second day in a row.  He’s feeling better but had a fever yesterday so has to be home one more day.  I have to admit I really really like having him home with me.

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.
CHARLES SPURGEON

BE BLESSED TODAY, FRIENDS
YOU ARE LOVED.

 

 

thanksgiving day, 2018

I’m sitting in a quiet house for the first time in over a week.

I can write again!

Our three older children were back home from college for Thanksgiving break and I’ve been busy, because we were able to host Thanksgiving dinner again this year.  The kids helped in many ways, especially in distracting me from my unfortunate tendency to get anxious over how everything would turn out.  They helped by:  coming down with hives, needing to go to football practices, piling up dirty laundry, putting interesting movies on for me to watch, being funny and entertaining, arguing over the newly arrived Playstation, forcing me to play lots of games of bananagrams, and so on.  The weather was also a factor as it dropped down into the teens for days.  Life is good.

It was son David who had the hives.  I never had a child with hives before.  For no apparent reason his hands and feet would become painful and itchy, break out in spots and a rash between his fingers, and then clear completely, only to return 3 or 4 hours later.  This went on for a solid week.  I put in several calls to the Pediatrician just to give us all peace of mind that he was okay and that he wasn’t contagious for our guests.

He felt fine except for the episodes.   In fact, he felt good enough to find a Sharpie and create Neville Squashbottom:

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That’s Dave crossing his arms in the background and saying, “NOW we can’t eat him for thanksgiving.”  Maybe this was his way of perhaps getting me to NOT make squash, which he doesn’t like?  He created a Thanksgiving Mascot.

Over the next few days I would come across Neville in random places and the children became attached to him.  I just laughed to myself.  Of all things, a squash.

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Thanksgiving morning.  I woke up, Rich made me coffee.  Seth was awake so I put him to work tearing bread into pieces for turkey stuffing.  Sarah had mentioned that she wanted to do it, too, but she was still asleep and I never wake a sleeping child unless absolutely necessary.  Somehow she woke herself up, came slowly downstairs to the kitchen, and sleepily began breaking bread.  After about five slices I noticed her stop to stretch and say to herself, “I’m not even awake yet!”  They filled up the bowl with bread, Squashbottom watching them, while I stood at the stove and sautéed onion and celery (which Jacob helpfully chopped the night before) in plenty of butter.  I poured them into the bread, added plenty of salt and pepper, poultry seasoning, and a touch of broth, tossed it together with a wooden spoon, and then stuffed our 24 pound turkey with it.  The smell of thanksgiving morning is my favorite.

Just three short hours later, brother David arrived with my parents.

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And I found Neville on top of the fridge with a mortal stab wound.

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Grace, laughing over the cheese tray.

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Seth and Grandpa saying hello and catching up on each other’s news.

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Sarah, shooting some hoops.  The basketball hoop doesn’t get played with unless it’s on the closet door, right by the kitchen.  These kids just love me way too much.  (by the end of the day, the “by grace alone” plaque had flown off the wall.)

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Rich found me cutting the squash into quarters and took a photo to document his end.

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The ladies; Sharon (Abbie’s church friend), Brittnee (Jacob’s girlfriend,) Amanda, Abbie, Grace, Naomi, my mom, myself, and Sarah.

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Dad and Sarah

Rich was at the sink washing pots and pans, he was my number one kitchen-cleaner-helper this year!!!  As soon as Mom and I threw a dirty dish in the sink, Rich washed it.

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We put all the food on the kitchen island and served the meal buffet-style, after we all stood together and joinded Dad for a heart-felt prayer of gratitude.  We loaded our plates, the adults sat in the livingroom, and the children sat around the table in the dining room.

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My extensive collection of fiestaware was put to grand use.  All three gravy boats, lots of casserole dishes and platters, too!  More than enough plates for everyone!

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A pleasant game of football was on tv-but kept on mute so we could still talk and laugh and hear each other.

After dinner was over we took some time to shoot our annual “Who are the Guests of this Year’s Thanksgiving” portrait, and some other photos, as well.fullsizeoutput_5d17

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Rich and I with our children.

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My sister’s family.

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Amanda with her daughters.

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me with my brother Dave and our sister (our brothers Nate and Isaac couldn’t come this year)

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I love this photo of my mom and dad with their dog Kublai Khan.

Mom likes to pretend she’s jealous of Kublai so this was what happened when my sister said, “Lets put Kublai in the middle!”

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soooooooooooo funny

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Heads togehter, looking at the camera to see how the portraits turned out.

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we played Apples to Apples

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Mom was reading through the family genealogy and we decided that David looks just like one of our ancestors.  Especially with his ears that way.

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Jacob and Brittnee braved the cold for some photos outside.

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Sarah went out to play and was so cold she came back inside again and kept her coat on.  Here she is, enjoying Grandma’s homemade pickles made with her own garden produce.  Mom saved this big jar for our feast and let me keep it, too!  (pickles are gone and the jar is washed and put away).

Our beautiful thanksgiving day was over.  After many hugs, Mom and Dad left with Dave to go back home, and Amanda left with her family, too.  Rich and I relaxed on the couch for the rest of the evening and then we all went to bed except Jacob, Grace, and Brittnee, who went out at midnight to go shopping.

 

 

 

slime and dough

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I had to take Caleb to a doctor’s appointment 40 minutes away yesterday and when I came home a few hours later, I found these two making slime, unattended!  As soon as I walked in the door they told me they needed shaving cream!  They were sitting on the couch in the livingroom with all sorts of liquids!

I found the delinquent babysitters downstairs.  David said, “I told them not to, but they wouldn’t listen.”  Michael said, “I didn’t know!”  To which I replied to both of them, “It’s a babysitter’s job to make children listen and to know what they’re doing at all times!”

I took the Rinse Aid away from Seth and Sarah and told them to make a list of things they needed and to put their shoes on.  Michael was going to take them to the Dollar Store.  Wasn’t that nice of him “to offer”?

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They came back cheerfully supplied with multiple cans of shaving cream, dish soap, and more glue.

Then they made slime for the next 5 hours straight.  They made lots and lots of slime.

David was highly annoyed as he walked through the room to the pantry.  “SARAH, stop making slime!  Mom, we have way too much slime, they need to stop.”

“They’ll run out of ingredients eventually,” I cooed from the couch with my book.

“They have a box of Borax and two gallons of glue!  They won’t run out until slime is everywhere!”

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In case you’re wondering about the paper fence taped to the table, that was Seth’s creation.  He put it there so they could play ping-pong.  This truly is the house of children.

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Did I clean up this mess?  Absolutely NOT!  But I did re-wash the table this morning.

 

There were many times when I thought they were done, but no, they had to keep adding a squirt of this and a squirt of that.  Seth’s wasn’t coming together properly so Sarah gave him advice on how to make it work.  Caleb became the designated slime-finisher, the person who knead and squeezes the slime to make it come together smoothly.  Basically, he was a Kitchen-Aid mixer.  He would get done with Seth’s and then Sarah would approach and say, “Can you do mine now, Caleb?”  Sadly, no matter how much he asked, they wouldn’t GIVE him any to keep.

Sarah was highly protective of her slime, and so was Seth.  They rarely let each other touch their slimes.  And of course each believed their own was the best.

Seth had so much in his bowl that he divided his into two manageable batches.  When one half was “done”, he had to go back and work on the second half.

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In order to make slime you have to use your mom’s beloved laptop to look up videos on YouTube.

You also have to use every bowl, spoon, scraper, and containers with lids in the house.

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Sometimes your mom will let you use food coloring to make colorful slime but sometimes that is where she will draw the line and finally say, “no”.

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When making slime, it is customary to invite your mom “to feel it” every time you see her walk by.  Sometimes the thought will cross your mind that all her praise and obligatory enthusiastic handling of slime is just a big act, to make you feel good about your creation.  But most of the time you believe her…….. your slime IS AWESOME.

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Don’t know what to do with odds and ends of slime?  Simply throw them into the kitchen sink and forget about it!

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With ingredients like Borax, glue, soap, and shaving cream, at least it SMELLS clean!  Maybe TOO clean?

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Fluffy, cloudy slime.  They made it themselves!

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I found myself standing in the kitchen, scrubbing some of it off my shirt with a wet dishcloth.  I also found lumps of it on every handle and knob in the house.

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Eventually they had to change their clothes, too.

BUT IT WAS ALL WORTH IT.

It kept them constructively busy for hours.

Plus, for some reason, and I have to credit the slime-making all around me, I got the urge to make bread.

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So while Walter and I mixed up bread dough……….

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……….Sarah made her 35th batch of slime.

family forever

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I’ll be away from this space for a little while (a week or so?) because there is so much going on, the most important of which is that I am going back home on Thursday for my Uncle Brian’s funeral.  Although it will be nice to see everyone, it is under the most very sad of circumstances; to have to say goodbye to a much loved member of our family.   Uncle Brian would tell me when he saw me how he enjoyed reading this blog and it tickled me to know that he read it and liked it.  He always had a nice word and a cheerful hello for everyone and he will be missed so much.  He will never be forgotten.

I’ve recently been in touch with a “long lost cousin” and he has been sharing many stories with me about our mutual aunts and uncles on my father’s side of the family.  I’ve heard details and seen photos that I never knew before and it reminded me once again the importance of family.  It’s a bond that can never be broken.

Store up your memories and then talk about them with each other, even the smallest of memories are meaningful!  As you talk about them, your heart will be filled with gratitude for what has happened in the past, and eagerness for whatever memories the future holds, as well.

God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough.
    There are no boundaries to his greatness.

Generation after generation stands in awe of your work;
    each one tells stories of your mighty acts.