weekend report

He has been with me everywhere I have gone.  Genesis 35:3

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.  Job 5:9

Not to us, Lord, not to us but to you be the glory.  Psalm115:1

The friends and pleasures of which you speak cannot compare with the joys which I seek.  Christian, in Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan

If you love me, feed my sheep.  John 21:17

*****

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Sarah’s last school program for 1st grade.  Next year she will be moving on to the bigger elementary school in town.  (my baby!)

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On a flower the size of a dime.  Sarah and I made baby sounds at it because it was so small.

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The tree we planted from Grandma and Grandpa  (Rich’s dad and step-mom).  The children never forget about this tree and love to check on it.  “It’s growing, Mom!”

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Lady’s slippers in bloom

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We found a small toad….. I took this picture moments before she started jumping around (similar to a toad) because she’s trying to be brave holding it in her hands….but she’s really feeling rather squeamish.

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~Buttercups and guess what?  We all like butter, very much.  Especially on toast and popcorn.

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Gentleman Gray walked with us.  I had to carry him back, he’s not a cat that enjoys walking in the heat through tall grass with a strange dog “over there”.

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While I had Gentleman, my sister randomly texted me a picture of herself with her fur baby.

Sisters!

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Tessa’s Jr. Prom!  She invited Ethan, of course.

They’ve been dating almost 2 years.

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It was so hot outside.  I did a five minute photoshoot on the driveway before they left.

Aren’t they good looking?

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cuties

They didn’t get home until around 1:30 in the morning so I didn’t sleep very well.  Mom-worries, you know.  🙂  They had a wonderful time, so happy.

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Lots of baseball games for the boys!

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I turned to Rich and silently mouthed, “Take my picture!” seventeen times before he got it.  I had to be sneaky because if Seth had heard me he would have run off — he likes to tease me.  This boy…..we rarely see him during his brother’s games but every once in a while he’ll come visit me.  In this case he was coming to say,  “No one’s working the food booth today.  If you had a key would you work the food booth Mom?”  Maybe he was hungry.  Or wanting candy.  Look at his outfit.  Batting gloves, knee high Garfield socks.  He’s so cute!

But what I love the most…..is he is still so much a Mama’s boy and loves to come close for some obligatory lovin’ .  He knows it’s his duty so mom doesn’t get lonely and sad because her children are growing up.

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Grown up Jacob came to the field after work.

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The little kids spent most of the time up in the unused announcer’s booth watching the game from up high.  Sooooo cute.  Rich and I could see them from across the way.

The little league fields are our “home away from home” these days, we are there almost every day.  If I drove a horse and wagon I wouldn’t even have to direct the horse….I would just say, “Take me to the ballgame” while flicking the reins and off we would go in the wagon.

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Our rabbits are not caged, they live free in the chicken coop and when I let out the chickens they are also consequently free to roam.   Number 1 bunny never hops out, but number 2 bunny is more adventurous and we were highly amused when we came home from the game and found it talking to the cat.

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Sunday night dates, we love Pinkberry and Auntie Anne’s pretzels at the mall.  And each other.  Rich says, “I don’t even want to buy anything I just love walking around with you.”    He’ll stare at me while we eat our treats and say things like, “you’re beautiful.”  or, “I love that hair color on you.” And he’ll walk behind me five steps as we go upstairs and whistle.  You know, regular & comfortable married couple stuff like that.

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We went to Barnes and Noble and I took a picture of books I want to look up at the library.

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Sunday evening walk all by my lonesome.  I picked a few wayward lily of the valley (they spread through the years and I found some fair game– in the ditch) one of them pulled right up with it’s roots attached so I transplanted it in the garden back home.

I found a feather on the side of the road.  I also got scared by the neighbor’s little vicious white dog.

Thus concludes the weekend report.

ct shore beach day with my older kids

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It was one and a half hour drive.  We stopped at Target and Dunkin’ donuts on the way and brought along a cooler of drinks and snacks.  We were at the beach for five hours.

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I realized why floppy straw hats are so necessary.  I hid under mine all day.  You can bend the sides or front down and you’re in your own little world.  You can read, look at the mesmerizing waves, or eavesdrop on the conversations happening around you.

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Now THIS is a beach read.

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He’s going to the prom tonight with a sunburn.

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Lobsters and fried seafood platter, milk shake and dr. pepper.  Oh my word we made a happy mess.

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We also stopped at our favorite “after the beach” bookstore and the boys had coffee while Grace agonized between two poetry books. . . . . . . .

I chose two memoirs, a cookbook for my mom, and a book for Seth and Larissa’s baby.

My grown up kids took turns playing songs for us to listen to on their phones all the way home.

I thought over and over to myself yesterday, “I have grown up kids and I still look fabulous.”  (I mean, I was in my swimsuit for the first time in a year and it was the natural time to evaluate).

 

Time for the utterly predictable Mother’s Day post!!!

SUNDAY morning I got up and sipped my coffee while looking through one of those old scrapbooks that I bought at the thrift store and found the most dear little poem.

DANDELIONS
by Katherine Saunders
What child has never tasted dandelions,
The bitter of their hollow, curling handles;
Picked yellow blossoms by the tortured fistful
Nor blown the white fire out like birthday candles?

Grownups may shudder, dig them out of lawns,
And yet they make a very fine bouquet,
Especially with no other flowers handy
For a little boy on Mother’s Day.

And since, truth be told, my own dear children were having a hard time keeping off the TV and video games, I came up with the brilliant idea that THEY should go pick ME a dandelion bouquet…..after all it was Mother’s day!

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It was raining and they got wet but they very much enjoyed their little nature walk, they told me they played a game called “adventures”.  The bouquet didn’t have any dandelions in it, they said there weren’t any dandelions.

Jacob went out for breakfast with his friend Cody and he came back with a bouquet of flowers from 7 Eleven.  I saw him get out of the car with them so I rushed to the door to receive my beautiful flowers and hug him.  Thank you Jacob!

Seth gave me a marigold plant in a paper cup after school on Friday, he had the flower part in his other hand, “It fell off.” he cheerfully explained.

Sarah Joy gave me paper flowers in a plastic vase, glued all over with tissue paper.  The card said, “Happy Mother’s Day, I love you even more than toys!”

She also gave me a “thank you” card and it said this on the inside of it:

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We think it may be a variation on “I hope you have a nice day.” and it gave me a good surprise and a long healthy laugh which was the best gift ever.

We went to church and then to McDonalds, which was super fun, everyone was full of happiness and energy.  You can be a bit more wild at McDonalds and not have to use your best manners ……therefore mom can relax.  How lovely.

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We took the offspring home and then Rich took me to the mall for a date.  Was it because of the diet Coke or the fact that it was Mother’s day that I was so cheerful and happy all day long?  Or my natural disposition?  I dunno.  It was just a very nice day.

******

Back tracking……this was Friday night.  Grace went to her Senior banquet with her friend Kylee.  Her boyfriend Caleb is at basic training in Texas so she went with the next best person; his sister.

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They got ready in my bathroom; so sweet.

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Jacob went to Senior banquet, too, with his good friend Emily.  She was the one in the last post with the Sapphire tumbler.

Jacob bought his tie from the Brimfield Antique show, it’s vintage.  He was on the hunt for a royal blue tie to match Emily’s dress.

It was 10 dollars.

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Grace wore the dress Hannah made for her, silver sandals, and my new leaf necklace and earrings that Rich gave to me when he got home from his last business trip.  She looked magical.

And guess what?  I took the photo of her and Kylee at the top of the driveway so naturally Grace checked the mail…..and found two letters from Caleb inside the mailbox!

(all she does lately is write long epistles to her boyfriend and haunt the mailbox for replies)

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Beautiful Kylie with Gentleman Gray ❤

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******

This week is going to be exciting starting with today when I take Sarah to get her wart removed and then go shopping with her and the two older boys.  Tomorrow I’m getting my hair done, Wednesday Seth has a program at school and Thursday I’m taking Grace and Ethan with me for a beach day!!

It’s currently 47 degrees and raining but by Thursday it’s supposed to be partly sunny and 89.  We shall see.

*****

mother’s day quote:  “I plan to give you love, nurturing, and just enough dysfunction to make you funny.”

 

 

 

 

bird pics//sugar crinkle cookie recipe

Monday night we had two baseball games at the same time so Rich and I wandered between two fields, it was freezing cold outside and I had a winter coat, a pair of jeans over leggings, gloves, a big scarf, boots on my feet, and a thick blanket around myself like a native american.  We watched more of Caleb’s game than Seth’s because the older kids know more about the game and therefore do more exciting things.  Seth’s team surprised us, though, we saw a few nice plays and Seth got the game ball.

Yesterday Dave had an orthodontist appointment at 11.  I was out in the field until the very last moment and then rushed to get him from school.  Afterwards we went to Panera for lunch.  He was craving a broccoli and cheese soup bread bowl.  We sat near the garbage can and were shocked at how much food grown ups were throwing away.  For example, we were there for about 20 minutes and two people threw away their entire bread bowl after just eating the soup out of the inside, “criminal” says Dave.  One wonders if the parents say the words, “finish what’s on your plate” any longer.  Or, “don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach.”

Yesterday’s after school activities were 1) Dave had a baseball game 2) Seth had a baseball game, and 3) Caleb had a band concert.  All at the same time.

I made tacos for dinner, dropped D and S off at their respective fields, went back home to get C, and went to the concert while Rich got home from work, changed his clothes, and went to S’s game.  I pulled Caleb out of the auditorium as soon as band (the only thing he was in) was over because I just could not/would not sit through another 2 hours of chorus and awards, and we went to D’s game down the road just in time to see him get his one and only up to bat–a nice base hit.  Seth’s team lost, David’s team won by the mercy rule so we were home just in time for Dave to watch his favorite TV show “Flash” at 8pm with Michael and the girls (who had stayed home together).  In fact, David’s baseball expertise is stealing bases and his nickname is “Flash”.  oh boy.  Have I mentioned he’s taller than I am now?  This morning I am washing dirt and taco sauce off of his white baseball pants because he didn’t eat his dinner until after the game.

This morning I’ve been crazy busy trying to get the upstairs ready for the professional carpet cleaner guy to come at 10.  Although we use a gate on the bottom of the stairs, Parker continues to do some “marking” in Sarah’s room whenever he finds it left open and although I cleaned it the best I could with my small shampooer, I felt it was time for the big guns, so to speak.  The carpet guy is also cleaning two area rugs on the main floor.  Jacob is sleeping downstairs in his room.

The dog is not on my good side as he is also digging huge holes in my gardens.  HUGE!

Tonight David has another game and Caleb has practice.  And the weather is till winter-like.  (currently 50 degrees)

Jacob is going to drive to Vermont to get Ethan tomorrow with Rich’s truck because E is done with finals and ready to come home for the summer.   Grace and Jacob are both going to Senior banquet on Friday and then…….FRIDAY is ALSO Brimfield antique show with my brother, sisters, and sons and the weekend is more sports and church and then next week Rich is gone on a business trip and Ethan starts his new job………and life is just going too fast……all I can do is employ a good sense of humor and let out a necessary ahhhhh (scream) now and then.

so let us watch birds and make cookies for a little rest and relaxation, shall we?

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I took these photos yesterday from 9 to 10 in the morning.

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As I took these I thought I was shooting the same yellow bird, but when I got home and looked at them closer I realized they were different.  One has a black mask.  Taking bird photos is surprisingly hard, imagine trying to focus from across the room on a ping pong ball during a game.  And then put trees, branches and leaves in the way.

Maybe bird watching isn’t as relaxing as I thought.  LOL

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These birds were moving around in the grass so quickly I didn’t even know they were sparrows until I looked at the photos later.

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Ah, now we’re seeing something exciting…..

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I ADORE the colors in these bluebird photos.  So calming.

Aren’t the early springtime trees beautiful?

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My friend Mr Mallard Duck, I saw him the other day, too.  I refrained from saying an excited Hello as I did not want to scare anyone else away.

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like this Solitary Sandpiper!  I do so love to see these birds.  They do the funniest motions when they walk, bobbing up and down.  They are pretty little water birds with long legs and a long beak.  It’s my favorite photo of the bunch, I love the reflection in the water, the muddy bank and the blurred out grasses in the foreground.  Not to mention the bird itself is pretty, too.

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Delicious cookies for Mother’s day or any other day!

Sugar Crinkles

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup shortening (I used half butter and half butter flavored crisco)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
sugar

Cream together the sugar, brown sugar, shortening, vanilla, and egg.  Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.  Roll into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar.  Place the balls about 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.  Bake in a 350 oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

I was a little late picking up Grace from school the other day because these were baking in the oven but she was pacified with three fresh and warm cookies (the ones in the picture!) when I finally arrived.

life itself is grace

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(violets for thia) my friend

“Real love creates a generous openness.  Have you ever been so caught up in something that you just had to share it?  When you are walking alone in the woods, something takes your breath away–a sunset, a waterfall, the simple song of a bird–and you think, ‘If only my beloved were here’.  The best things in life were meant to be shared.”
The Sacred Romance, by John Eldredge

I do so love to share life with you here.  We had a full and happy weekend and I know you did, too.  Isn’t it grand?  Air to breath, faces to smile, good food to enjoy, family, friends, sports, hometown plays, children, grown ups, secrets?

beautiful things don’t ask for attention

open your eyes and notice (be on the look out!)

often life brings me to tears

lovely things are silent

Lovely things are silent….
Rosebuds waxing bloom,
Shadows stealing softly
In a darkened room;
Dragonflies on rushes,
Stars in dark blue skies;
Hatching, fuzzy birdlets,
Love in sweethearts’ eyes.

Lovely things are silent. . .
Rainbows in the sky,
Violets shedding fragrance,
A soft breeze waltzing by;
An apple tree in blossom,
Sunsets all aglow;
Moonlight on the water,
Falling soft white snow.

Lovely things are silent. . .
Foam clouds in the sky,
Hummingbirds at flowers,
Butterflies gliding by,
A spider’s dainty spinning,
Wild flowers on a hill.
I bow my head in silence
And in my heart I’m still.
~Betty Fox Solberg

It’s 44 degrees at our place this morning and there is a cheerful fire going in our wood pellet stove.  I’m still in my comfortable clothes, with thick socks and slippers on, too.  Jacob is getting ready for college and work, our chocolate lab is snoring at my feet.  Cat snoozing on the windowsill behind me.  The house is quiet and peaceful.

Outside purple and white violets are still in bloom.  Some of our town has lilacs open, but mine are not flowered yet.  I worry about the trees because last year’s gypsy moth eggs have hatched, there are tiny baby caterpillars everywhere.  Baby turtles were found on the bank of the pond this weekend, a miracle in miniature.

‘Tis the season of shivering as we watch our boys play little league baseball.

My husband preached yesterday in church.  The whole service did something to my heart; softened it.  Love was in the air.

Our daughter Grace is a senior in High school.  There is nervousness in the family because we know “last times” are happening and happening fast.  In the fall, our three oldest children will be going away to college.

This weekend was “the last school drama production”.  I cried and so did she.  Oh how she has loved being part of it all. . . .

Grandma and Grandpa came to watch her.  We had time for a ramble in the woods and a trip to town, too.  Ice cream cones, laughter, games of catch for the boys.

*  * * *

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory.”

“. . . .this happened (life itself?) so that the work of God might be displayed.”

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girls visiting before getting ready for the play on Saturday; Brittany and Grace

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our family pianist

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Grandma’s here!

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my mom, my friend

we enjoy the same things; home decorating, kitchen life, family, and nature, birding. . .

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I ran the baby turtle back to the house to show the children. A wonder and a marvel.

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thick grapevine growing up and into a tree

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marsh marigold, ferns growing

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crossing the stream with a handful of apple blossoms

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garden flowers

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granddaughter and her grandma

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the brothers were practicing baseball and grandpa couldn’t resist joining in

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I think ofttimes as the night draws nigh
Of an old house on the hill,
Of a yard all wide and blossom-starred
Where children played at will.  ~Author Unknown

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coffeeshop

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street bench

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little lady with her grandpa, eating chocolate

ice cream

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Grace’s last high school drama production:  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

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dancing in the middle of the stage with the boy in white shirt

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“Old bamboo” number

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scene at the beach song and dance

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very old inventors “The Roses of Success” song and dance (Grace is in the middle)

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teamwork song (second to end, next to her friend Jenna)

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“The Bombie Samba”

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final bows

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finale

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a touching tribute to their beloved director, as this was her last musical

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after the show on Saturday night

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lots of hugs

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with her proud Grandpa and Dad

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after the show on Sunday

many tears were shed

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Dad with his precious daughter; we are so proud of you, Grace.

Happy Monday friends!

thankful for:

friendship
love notes on the counter from an older brother
little hands touching my hair
questions from curious minds
my husband’s embrace
my husband going to the gas station to get me cream for my coffee this morning
a caring school nurse calling to tell me Sarah has a sore throat
purring cats
warmth inside when outside is shivery
guitar clips via text from Ethan, who is coming home this week
the start of a fresh new week; may God bless us everyone!

“And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water.”  Isaiah 35:7

 

frosty sunday morning

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Time to be, time to dream, time to do nothing but wander in outside, free, in nature.

It’s invaluable for young and old.

Doesn’t the red winged black bird remind you of an English Guard?

There is beauty abundant in each ordinary day……and it often stops me in my tracks.

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Tom the Turkey.

We wanted to see a Tom with his feathers all fluffed out but it didn’t happen during my visit at Mom and Dad’s until I was on the highway leaving Albany and I saw one on the side of the road with a hen.

*****

“Then there were long, lazy summer afternoons when there was nothing to do but read. And dream. And watch the town go by to supper. I think that is why our great men and women so often have sprung from small towns, or villages. They have had time to dream in their adolescence. No cars to catch, no matinees, no city streets, none of the teeming, empty, energy-consuming occupations of the city child. Little that is competitive, much that is unconsciously absorbed at the most impressionable period, long evenings for reading, long afternoons in the fields or woods.”  Edna Ferber

 

46 photos if I’m not mistaken

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HAPPY MAY 1ST

Today is a “catch up day” on the ol’ blog of all the photos I want to share from the last week and a half.  I have 46 photos in this post.  Life is good, full, beautiful, cherished.

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” — Willie Nelson

I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.  Psalm 1:9

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Mom, as she always does, made homemade meals when I was visiting; soup on Friday.

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pumpkin bread on Friday evening; I grated the nutmeg and ground the cloves.

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pizza on Saturday night

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with homemade sauce preserved last fall from her own garden tomatoes

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It was so good I was almost crying as I ate it.  Tears of joy and of sadness because I can’t make pizza like she does and I have been trying for years.  Mostly joy though, I ate three pieces.

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She showed me how to make breadsticks using leftover pizza dough.  She divided it into pieces and we rolled it out thin (like a snake), drizzled lightly with olive oil, and then twisted it and pressed it through a sprinkling of spice mix of mom’s own choosing on the counter.  I remember smoked paprika, fennel, sesame seeds, pepper, poppy seeds.  We put them on a cookie sheet to bake and they ended up delicious and fragrant.  The next day Mom and I each took one and used it as croutons on salad by crumbling it on top of the greens.

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Salad fixings on Sunday afternoon; asparagus, seasoned chicken, tomatoes, cheese, homemade salad dressing.

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I went with Dad to his drumming lessons with Kubla the dog.

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And for several walks with my parents.

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And a nice long walk by myself on a sunny Sunday.

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Sunday morning we woke up to frost and a pileated woodpecker!  God knew what would get us outdoors in that kind of weather…Mom and I quickly pulled on our coats and boots and had a lovely walk before church, birdwatching.  In fact, come to think of it, I do have more photos of that morning but they are on another memory card so I’ll have to share those maybe tomorrow, if ever.

It was a thrill to see the pileated woodpecker; they are the largest woodpeckers in our area and so pretty with the red hat on top.

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Mom and Dad’s cat Asian.

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Mom’s vegetables started at the window.  She uses cut down milk cartons to transplant the tomato seedlings into as they grow bigger.

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Dad keeps busy doing wood and keeping the fire going.  Even this is picturesque with the wood sheds and rock path, wood smoke, forest in the background, and Dad in his pop of orange.

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Sunday afternoon was fun.  The frost had melted and the temperature had risen enough to make being outdoors the very best place to be.  We worked in the flower bed by the driveway.  Mom has a “Rusty Garden” with a collection of old rusty things that she uses as decoration.  It’s a fun theme.  We took everything out and threw it behind us on the grass.

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You can see the different objects she has, most of which came from her Dad’s farm and land years ago before they sold the property.

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We cleaned up the edge of the bed and thoughtfully replaced everything in new spots.  By the end of summer the plants will fill in among the decorations and be so pretty.

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Back at my own home; last week was The Week of the New Lens.  The first day it came it was raining outside.  (sobs) But then the weather cooperated and I was able to try it out. (cheers)

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I was quite far away from these birds and I am thrilled with the photos.

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Baltimore Oriole!  I stood and listened to it’s beautiful voice before I finally saw it.  It was hard to take a photo through all the tree branches–my camera didn’t know what to focus on.

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It’s too bad that the roof of the car was in the way but nonetheless, I was so happy to get this photo of a female cardinal and her mate. In my peach tree.

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And then on Friday there were four ducks on the pond!  I sat on the bench and snapped bout 50 pictures with perfect ease.  🙂

I texted Rich “this lens is awesome!”

He texted back, “I love you, too.”

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It’s so funny when they go “bottoms up”.

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quacking!

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Rich was on a business trip and sent me this selfie!  🙂

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Thursday was “take your child to work day” and Seth was the chosen child this year.  He went to work wearing clothes just like his Dad wears and with his hair slicked back all handsome.  By bedtime he was asking/begging me (and not Dad) to tuck him in and I understood he had had a huge dose of Dad that day.  His little love tank was full to overflowing.

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Which leaves us with photos from Saturday; Little League Opening Day!  It was hot and bright all day long.  I went to Home Depot before the game and to my sister’s house.  I picked up Naomi and Weston so they could watch the games, too.

The photo of Seth is from the National Anthem.  Rich took it with my new lens.

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Caleb at bat.

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I was sitting on the bleachers!!!  So happy with my camera!

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After making a double play!

This boy is very verbal and keeps his attention on EVERYTHING, encouraging his teammates and getting them ready and watching for the next plays.  He gets VERY into the game, even at home it’s all about baseball with this boy now.

(By the way, he’s a Yankees fan)  LOL

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I’m going to get him that black stuff that you smudge on your cheeks.

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POOR SETH!!!!!!!!  He gets TERRIBLE allergic reaction to the dust; his eyes were so red and swollen by the end of the day.  Bless his heart.  I’m giving him allergy medicine and eye drops now.  He’s a good ball player, too, and got to pitch for a few innings.

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And that dumb string was dangling all day long.  I never did get close enough to tell him to put in inside his pants where it belonged.  🙂

Isn’t he so cute!?!?!

Last, but not least; DAVE!  He is 14 and on Juniors this year.  He’s known for his speed around the bases, he runs around them just as fast as his dad did when he played.  He’s like the Flash (his favorite show on TV).

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LOOK at that face of intensity!

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I’m so proud of my baseball players.  There is practice and/or a game every evening but it’s all worth it.  We get outdoors, talk to friends, and watch our boys do great things.  In every game there are impressive catches, scores, etc.  The moms laugh and try to keep track of everything.  Even when the team loses it’s fun simply because they are working together and learning so much.  Pastor says baseball is a spiritual sport because “you’re trying to get home”.

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ALSO: in pond news:  the toads came and mated and then left again (leaving their long strings of eggs behind to hatch and grow on their own)

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I had a moment of peace on Saturday evening down by the pond with the toads.

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It’s May 1st so try to include flowers in your day or better yet surprise someone else with them.  That’s my advice for the day.

Time for me to get off my behind and get to work.  Be blessed, my friends.  🙂