autumn photos

56139620001__7FBAA31F-FDB8-475B-9FFE-611AB899B538

Last week Amanda and Cassandra came and we went for a walk outside.  Look how baby Elena is looking at her aunt.  She knows that we will have fun together through the years.

IMG_2565

fullsizeoutput_5bbf

IMG_2574

Such a delightful warmth in the arms.

IMG_2577

Diaper change before we go!

DSC_0002

Cassandra is trying to remember how to put the baby wrap on.

fullsizeoutput_5bc9

sisters

DSC_0003

DSC_0012

DSC_0013

IMG_2580

fullsizeoutput_5bc4

Sweet mama with her first baby.

fullsizeoutput_5bc6

We sat for a while and enjoyed the view off the mountain.

fullsizeoutput_5bc8

fullsizeoutput_5bcc

fullsizeoutput_5bcd

fullsizeoutput_5bce

fullsizeoutput_5bd6

Elena is two months old now.  Since I took these photos she’s grown even more bright and aware.   Babies change quickly….and so do the leaves on the trees.  There is more red out now to join all the yellow of a week ago.  Some of the trees have already lost most of their leaves.

I couldn’t get her to look at me so I turned around to see what was so interesting.

IMG_2589

I was so tickled to see that it was a mirror!

fullsizeoutput_5bd8

Another diaper change, lunch, conversation, and it was the end of our sister morning.  We loved every minute.

*****

IMG_2838

IMG_2836

IMG_2843

Grace is the gift of feeling sure that our future, even our dying, is going to turn out more splendidly than we dare to imagine.  Lewis Smedes

IMG_2837

56183194585__FF6F7F37-45F0-4199-BEC7-1C73308E7312

IMG_2905

(poor moulting chicken)

IMG_2948

“Mom, what makes a rainbow?” asked Seth.  “Sunshine and rain,” I answered.  Sarah added, “And tiny evaporators.”  We were going to music lessons.  I stopped the car three times to take photos.

IMG_2961

IMG_2967

It is good that the heart be established by grace.  Hebrews 13:9

 

SaveSave

august 2006

DSCN9010

(taking photos)

I remembered taking some photos years ago at my Grandparent’s house.  They were “last time” photos, as I was unsure I would ever see it again the way it looked when Grandma and Grandpa lived there.  Grandma had died and Grandpa was moving out of the farmhouse.

After I took the photos I didn’t do anything to save them.  I thought I would print them out, put them in a scrapbook or something.   But Caleb was a baby and I would end up having Seth and Sarah and being extremely busy and distracted by motherhood.

However, every now and then I would think about the photos from Grandma’s house and wonder where in the world they went.

For a time I was having my digital photos put on CD at Costco and I assumed that I had done that and lost the CD.

Last week, when I was blogging about the Nancy Drew books Grandma had given me, and I was over in the garage looking through boxes, I thought of those photos again.  I found an old picture CD and turned it over to see the label.  Nope.  Not the photos.  I stood in the closet and said a little prayer that I would someday find them.

Amanda and Cassandra came over and I wanted to take photos of the baby and our walk.  There was no camera card in my camera so I took one out of the plastic baggy I keep all my cards in and inserted it into the camera.  We went on our walk and I put the camera aside for a day or two.

In the meantime, I went to a thrift store and found a framed needlework that I had remembered Mom giving to Grandma years ago, and which Mom now has hanging in her house.  I took a photo of it, and of my ongoing collection, and texted them to Mom so she could see.

Then, I thought I had some time to blog the photos of my walk with Amanda and Cassandra so I got the camera card out of the camera and inserted it into my laptop.

This card, by the way, was funny, because during the walk I could only get it to hold about 10 photos before it was full.  But I couldn’t see any other photos on it while it was in my camera.

When I inserted it, all the photos flashed up and there were about 20 from the year 2006, including little videos of baby Caleb.  I hadn’t seen these photos in so long that I almost didn’t know what I was seeing.  In a moment, I was taken back 12 years to when Caleb was a baby, when we were getting our new puppy Parker, AND YES, those photos I had longed for, when Grandma and Grandpa’s house still looked the way I remembered it……..I cried a little with my hands over my mouth in surprised joy.  I studied each and every photo.  I just could not believe it.

I saw the needlepoint on Grandma’s wall that I had JUST BOUGHT THAT DAY for my own wall!

The only (small) disappointment was there were not nearly as many photos of the house that I thought I had taken!!!!

fullsizeoutput_5ba7

The corner hutch in the kitchen with seasonal Watkins pie plates, a photo of me and my siblings, and a sweet drawing of a goldfinch.  I have one of the pie plates.

fullsizeoutput_5ba8

More of Grandma’s kitchen decorations.

fullsizeoutput_5baa

kitchen

DSCN2294

This is the indentation in the kitchen linoleum that I always put my heel in for a moment or two….it fit just right.  So funny the things kids do and remember from childhood.

fullsizeoutput_5bab

Just a small part of the livingroom, which was nice and spacious for family gatherings.

The framed needlework design hung on the wall over the TV.

fullsizeoutput_5bac

Old clothes hanging up in Grandma’s closet.

fullsizeoutput_5b91

And of course the bookcases upstairs on the landing.

DSCN2297

Looking at all the books was always one of the best things to do during a visit.

DSCN2299

On top of the shelves there was space for all the senior portraits that she framed and displayed, of her children and grandchildren.  There I am on the far right.

DSCN2298

Makes me smile to think of her doing this.

And that’s that.  sigh.  I wish I had taken 100 more!!  But I can’t complain BECAUSE I FINALLY FOUND THE MISSING PHOTOS AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!

I’m in the kitchen while Jacob videotapes his baby brother.  What makes me laugh every time is seeing Caleb pick up a piece of who knows what off the floor….and eat it.  Poor baby number 5!!!  Mama’s too busy to make sure you don’t eat yucky things!  (honestly, it happens no matter what number baby…..)  He’s so cute!!!

DSCN2338

Me and Colleen with our gang of little ones, 12 years ago.

DSC00130

Mom and Dad’s old dogs Brutus, and Lion.

fullsizeoutput_5ba6

fullsizeoutput_5b95

DSCN8718

Ethan with puppy Parker.

DSCN8768

beautiful mama in her garden

DSCN8966

visiting mom and dad

DSCN8853

Rich (at the store?)….a photo taken by one of the kids.

DSCN8810

Little Caleb in the flower bed by Grandpa’s garage.

A trip down memory lane!

Home is where the heart is,
Love is where the home is.

 

nancy drew books

When I was around 10 years old my Grandma brightened up my entire world by giving me a set of Nancy Drew books, which I absolutely loved to read.  I got so I would read one a day….all summer long…the summer I was ten.

I love how as an adult you remember things you did as a kid and think, “I still do that!!”  I HATE endings, I hate finishing things that are extra-special.  Most of the time you just have to go ahead and end, but sometimes you have a choice and just can’t.  For example, I read Winnie the Pooh to my son when he was little and I never read him the last chapter because I just couldn’t.  Well, I never read the last Nancy Drew book from Grandma, either………I never will.  It would be over.

I kept them all on a bookshelf in my bedroom,  in an orderly row.  My baby brother Isaac went through a stage when he would deliberately crawl in my bedroom just to pull himself up and pull all big sister’s nice books down in a heap.  I wonder if we have a photo of that.  I would have to put them all back again every single day, half annoyed and half forgiving because he was so cute and I loved him.

I had neglected the books.  I had all but forgotten their existence.

BUT THEN.  My brother David went to a huge antique store in Savannah, Georgia and sent me these photos:

(by the way it feels so good to be seen and known and loved by family–by Grandma years ago, and by Dave in sending me these photos bc he remembered I had them)

44188840_10156476485431343_6566359878611238912_n

44061617_10156476485806343_3327399812336189440_n

The memory of Nancy Drew books came back to me as I thought of how amazed I was when Grandma gave me the set, how I treasured them and read them.  I would study the titles and the pictures on each cover.  I loved the size and feel of the books in my hands and their nice hard yellow covers.  I thought how I’ve kept them for 32 years now…..but not on shelves.  Shelf space for Nancy Drew had run out years ago and other books had become more important because life was busy with raising seven children and I rarely had time to read anything but children’s books to them, and no time to enjoy my own collection of books, much less the ones from my own childhood.  I like to enjoy my books by looking at them, pulling one out to look through, putting it back, rearranging them, putting them in neat orderly rows.  Feeling that they were mine, all mine.

I texted him back:  “When I was 10 Grandma gave me the whole set.  And I read one every day.  I should put them on shelves instead of in boxes.”

I’ve been cleaning and cleaning the basement for days.  And as I did, I came across some of the books!

Yesterday, Dave (my son) had an appointment and afterwards had to go back to school, but, “It would be WRONG if we were right next to Goodwill and didn’t run inside quick.”

WE FOUND A BOOKCASE!  It was made of pine (light enough for me to carry myself) and only cost 10 dollars.

Once books are on a shelf no one notices the shelf anymore so any ol’ bookcase of any quality (as long as it is sturdy) will do for books.  When I showed it to Rich he asked how much I paid and I said thirty and he said “good” and then I laughed and said “IT WAS TEN!!!!” to surprise him and impress him.

It was wonderful to gather up my old Nancy Drews out of a dark lonely box and put them all in one spot for the first time in 20 years.  I opened them up to see my name written inside.  I admired the covers.

There were a BUNCH MISSING.

This morning I wanted to blog and could not find my computer anywhere.  David uses it more than I do these days so I kept muttering his name as I went from room to room looking for MY computer.  Ugh.  I felt just as annoyed as I did when I found all my books on the floor.  Boys!  Brothers and sons.  cute.  loved.

I remembered that he had gone to the garage where we have a work out room upstairs.  He goes over there every day to exercise and he is very proud of his resulting muscles.  “Maybe he took my computer to the work out room,” I thought.  I don’t like going to the garage and mainly stay away.  But I tromped on over to look and… since I was there… I looked in the storage closet and FOUND A WHOLE BUNCH MORE OF MY BOOKS.

Thanks Dave (1) for inspiring me and thanks Dave (2) for misplacing my computer and forcing me into the garage this morning!  It’s all because of you two that I’m getting this silly little project done!

fullsizeoutput_5b7e

I carried them back to the house in this basket.

fullsizeoutput_5b7f

Getting ready to add them to the shelf.

fullsizeoutput_5b83

the shelf I bought at goodwill for ten dollars is already filled up

fullsizeoutput_5b81

I wrote down the ones I am still missing.  It’s like a treasure hunt!  I bet they’re around here somewhere!

DSC_0423

the beautiful blue of an autumn sky

fullsizeoutput_5b5b

Samantha cat has a sore paw.

fullsizeoutput_5b74

Seth

fullsizeoutput_5b70

David was using this tool to retrieve Seth’s football from the pond.  He wasn’t being nice. He knew he had to do it because he was the one who kicked it in.

fullsizeoutput_5b6c

When he saw me up on the porch taking his photo with my zoom lens he did what he loves to do…….

fullsizeoutput_5b72

…..take his shirt off and show off those muscles from his daily work-outs.

DSC_0418

b213477033

I have three brothers and these five sons. (photo from 8 years ago)

Why am I crying?  I guess it’s because I’m happy and life is beautiful…and fleeting.

little stories

This morning I said, “Seth, I’m putting your snack in your backpack,” and he turned and looked at me with the “oh-no- mom’s- going- to- see-what-I-have-hiding- in-there” expression on his face.  So I did a search and found two strange “squishies” that he had pilfered from his friends.  “I’m just borrowing them.” he quickly explained.  Squishies are all the rage with Seth and his friends and he doesn’t have one but I told him (like I tell all the children) DON’T BORROW YOUR FRIENDS TOYS OR LET THEM “GIVE” YOU THEIRS!!!!

*****

The other day we were getting ready for football practice and I said, “Seth, don’t forget to put on your cup.”  “Oh, I don’t wear a cup to football anymore,” he said.  “You’ll get hit there sooner or later and then you will,” I replied, airily.  He was insulted.  “MOM.  I have GOOD REFLUXES.”

*****

Yesterday we were in the car headed to football practice.  “Mom, why does that truck have chuffy cheeks?” Sarah wanted to know.

*****

“Oh, this is so good, try this, E,” I said, handing Ethan my cup of iced matcha green tea latte to sip.
“It tastes like condensed grass.” he said.

*****

We returned home from an outing an hour ago and I got the mail before coming into the house.  In a stack of junk and catalogues, I found a letter from the local meat market.  My name and address were written out by hand on the envelope.  “Why are they sending me personal mail?” I questioned out loud.  I opened it and read,  “If you shopped here in August, check your bank statement, we believe we owe you money.”  I was completely flummoxed.  I handed the note to Rich, and he in turn checked our online bank statement and found that they charged our credit card 461 dollars.  “Did you spend that much?” “No way, not on meat.” So, he called and spoke to the same lady whose name was signed to the letter and she excitedly told him how she had worked behind the scenes to find me and make the discrepancy correct.   It turned out that the true meat total was 46 and she charged me 461…… and I myself stood there in the store, signed my name, and let it happen.  “I don’t know how I made such a mistake,” I apologized to Rich.  “I wonder if I had kids with me or waiting in the car.”  “You were frazzled,” he agreed.

fullsizeoutput_5a85

“has good refluxes.  doesn’t need a cup.”

fullsizeoutput_5b24

“chuffy cheeks”

IMG_2093

“condensed grass” ……..my beverage of choice

IMG_2129

“I believe we owe you money.”

 

 

friday: boys dorm, saturday: book sale, sunday: football

fullsizeoutput_5b08

DSC_0055

friday

I left the house at 8:30 in the morning on Friday to drive to the college that our two older boys attend.  After a three hour drive, and a couple of stops, I arrived around 1:00pm for a quick visit.  The purpose of the trip was to get Ethan and bring him back home with me for his week long break.  Jacob stayed on campus for football practices.  The drive to Vermont is easy and the views are so pretty.  I listened to a Wuthering Heights audiobook there and back, (all but the times when my phone lost cell phone service).

After I parked in the lot at the boys’ dorm, I let them know I had arrived.  They showed me their room and then they took me to a produce stand just down the road about a mile and I saw such picturesque farms along the way.    I posted photos of the stand on instagram.

fullsizeoutput_5b06

I love their room, it’s so typical of them.  They both agreed that they need 1) a broom and 2) an area rug.  I could have added more to the list.  Sometimes they take an entire couch from the common area and put it in their room.  It’s easier to play video games that way.  And maybe even study, too.  But you have to be sneaky about it and return the couch before room check.

fullsizeoutput_5b07

The dorm has a great view of the sports fields.

IMG_1829

Ethan and I left and ate lunch together in Rutland.  Then, an hour or so down the road, we visited a large antique center.  I bought a little bag full of black and white photographs from the 1930s, a vintage flour scoop, and a small vintage sifter for my mom.  I took photos of some fiestaware I saw but didn’t want or need (it happens).

IMG_1832

Admittedly, the vintage red shakers were in very nice condition, but I wouldn’t pay 30 dollars for them.

IMG_1830

I wasn’t sure what to think of this taxidermied chicken!!!  Would this be a fun addition to my house decor?  Or disturbing?  The tag said it was an old advertizing display for a store.

We also visited the Vermont Country store for cheese samples, coffee (oh how I needed it at that point!  And it was worth the wait–maple flavored;  everything’s maple flavored in Vermont), and sweets.  I had a delectable lemon bar.  The filling was creamy and not too tart, and the cookie base was soft and buttery.  So good!  So bad!

We arrived home and that was the end of Friday.

Saturday…..

……..was a nice, easy sunshiny family day.  Rich took Seth to a birthday party at a trampoline place and Seth had just the greatest time.

I took a photo of a pretty mushroom.

fullsizeoutput_5b05

fullsizeoutput_5afc

And then, I took Sarah with me to a library used book sale.  She put new laces in her sneakers without any help from her Dad, and put a cute little dress on.  She was pleased to go look for some books with her Mom.  It’s odd at times, because Grace is at college now but when she was Sarah’s age she was the only girl in the family, and now it’s the same for Sarah.  She’s 8 years old and Grace was 10 when Sarah was born.  Sometimes I get flashbacks and think I’m back in time with Grace again.  Even their little voices sound the same to me now and then.   And I told Sarah when we got in the car, “I’m so glad God gave you to me.”

fullsizeoutput_5b02

The library ladies at the table gave me a dollar and fifty cent discount for being a mom of seven, which in their eyes, deserved the teachers discount.  I mean, every teacher AND mom should get a discount, am I right?

IMG_1847

We were able to add three more books to our Newbery collection.  I think it’s amazing and good that Newbery medals are awarded to all different reading levels and genres.  For example, Millions of Cats is a children’s picture book and story for the age range of 2 to 5 years old, and only 32 pages long.

Here is a quick video that I did this morning, showing all of the books (except the Newberys which I already put on the shelf.)::

IMG_1845

Our kitty Walter Felix Disney just meowed and meowed in gratitude when he saw his new book that we bought for him.

IMG_1835

But Sherlock didn’t care.  He knows the books about HIM are 100 times better.

IMG_1849 2

Someone was happy to have his boy back.

IMG_1851

Rich and I took full advantage of our Saturday together because on Sunday he had to leave us for a business trip.

IMG_1871

I’m sort of consoled because Ethan is home this week and also Rich’s trip includes the L.A. airport and we all know what that means……more RAMS merchandise for yours truly!

sunday

DSC_0084

A happy Sarah cheerleader!

I am sad to say that although it was a beautiful day for football games, we lost them.  Caleb and Seth seemed to enjoy it anyway, especially because they both came away with a bunch of new bruises and Seth’s calf muscle on his left leg got run over very impressively by cleats and he has scratches and bruises.  It seemed to invigorate them and they came home and later on played even more football with Jack until it was too dark to see outside.

fullsizeoutput_5aff

David and Ethan dropped off Caleb, played soccer together on another nearby field, and then left to go to the Guitar Center and go visit Zach, Michael, and the rest of the gang at their “2nd Mom and Dad’s ” house, Chris and Caroline.  I didn’t see them again the rest of the day because by the time they got home at 10pm I was in bed finishing my latest book.  (shown on instagram).

DSC_0065

Seth on the field.  He did so so good.  Coach George made it a point to sing his praises to me later on and said how good Seth was, both as a player and a person.  It meant so much to me to hear his coach say what I know in my heart to be true.  He’s a good boy.  You know, he sat right on my lap this morning when he got up.  They love it when I wear my soft red robe.  It prompted me to make up a song titled “the best chair of all is a mom chair.”  To which he replied, “Can I see your phone so I can check my fantasy team?”

IMG_1875

I found this Seth-Selfie from yesterday on my phone.  He had my phone in the car and was listening to a Boxcar children book while waiting to warm up.

this very morning;

IMG_1923

LAST BUT NOT LEAST a photo that I took so I could show Sarah how excellently I did her braids this morning.

“Every kind of work can be a pleasure.
Even simple household tasks can be an
opportunity to exercise and expland our caring,
our effectiveness,
our responsiveness.
As we respond with caring and vision to all work,
we develop our capasicy to respond fully to all of life.
Every action generates positive energy
which can be shared with others.
These qualities of caring and responsiveness 
are the greatest gift we can offer.”
~ Tarthang Tulku

SaveSave

SaveSave

day with the husband

IMG_0949

Rich and I celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary on Sunday the 16th of September and since Sunday is a busy day for us, Rich took today off so we could spend time together while the kids were in school.  He’s at an eye doctor appointment now (4:30pm) so I have time to post a few photos.

We ate breakfast at a diner, the next town over, even though at the moment we don’t “like” this town because their youth football teams beat our teams very badly last week.  That was Rich’s remark anyway, which made me laugh.  This diner was hopping with folks “of a certain age.”

IMG_0952

This is a small town to have so many people at a diner for breakfast and Rich thinks it’s because it’s such a nice place but I think it’s because there is a senior living community just down the road.  It was fun to see people coming in a various times and getting enthusastic welcomes from their friends.  There was an older lady that looked similar to my Aunt Betty and I kept looking at her.  There was an older man with an oxygen tank.  There were hugs and loud conversations.  “Yeah, I feel good today!” said one gentleman to another.  Rich and I settled in to our eggs and potatoes and just enjoyed the atmosphere before heading to my hair appointment.

IMG_0953

This was taken in the car after my appointment.  My hair stylist, I think, let the dye sit a little too long because my head along the hairline is also dyed and it will not come off yet.  I had the roots done and a little trimmed off the ends and Rich worked on his laptop outside in a lawn chair while he waited for me.  We had enough time that I could have dropped him off at home while I had my appointment but he said he wanted to stay with me.   Then we drove the backroads to the mall and stopped at an apple stand/coffee/bakery on the way.

IMG_0956

Rich picked out a nice apple but when he ate it in the car he said it was mealy, so that was a little disappointing.  Out it flew through the car window into the trees.

IMG_0955

He saw this toy tractor and pointed it out because he liked it.  He’s a farm boy still.  He has a small John Deere tractor in our garage.

IMG_0959

He took me to Barnes and Noble and I bought the newest Flow mazazine but once I got home I realized that someone had taken the free wrapping paper out of it so I’m a little annoyed about that.  I also got a Breathe magazine and the Newbery Honor book Echo, which is a big beautiful hardcover book with 585 pages!!!!  I hope it’s as good as I am anticipating.  I can’t read it until I’m done with The Windy Hill (1922).  Rich got a couple of men’s fitness magazines and one of them has a young Arnold S. on the cover only wearing a small bathing suit which was horrifying to see.  Rich is slowly easing into running again after his disc surgery but has been able to keep working on his upper body and to me, looks amazing.  I’m so proud of him and the way he continues to get up early three days a week to work out and keep himself healthy.

IMG_0962

I took a photo of the cover of this book because……..

IMG_0961

Inside there was a photo of fiestaware (mixed with Bauer).  SO pretty!

IMG_0965

We sat at a table by the window for a while.  He had a pumpkin spice latte and I had a matcha green tea latte and then we drove back home.

IMG_0967

We ended up having a good hour to ourselves before the bus came.