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:

IMG_4350

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.

IMG_1124

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.

DSC_0948

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

DSC_0951 1

Grace, laughing over the cheese tray.

DSC_0957

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

DSC_0941

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.)

IMG_1126

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

DSC_0964

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

DSC_0954

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.

IMG_4362

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.

IMG_4366

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!

IMG_4370

IMG_4371

IMG_4375

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

fullsizeoutput_5d3f

Rich and I with our children.

fullsizeoutput_5d41

My sister’s family.

DSC_1064

Amanda with her daughters.

DSC_1026

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

DSC_1037

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!”

DSC_1039 1

soooooooooooo funny

IMG_4385

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

IMG_4386

we played Apples to Apples

IMG_4389

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.

DSC_0970DSC_0991

Jacob and Brittnee braved the cold for some photos outside.

IMG_4397

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.

 

 

 

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.

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

in the kitchen

fullsizeoutput_5833

For years I’ve been making dinner with children underfoot.  Isn’t it grand.  Indeed, if it isn’t a child, it’s the dog.  Or maybe even both.

IMG_9045

David is almost 16.  He knows if he wants some attention, he just needs to lay on the floor in the middle of the kitchen while I’m making meatloaf.

I asked him to peel potatoes.  He got frustrated because he didn’t like the peeler.  I got frustrated because he peeled them on the floor.  But he cleaned the floor when he was done.

Dinner was great.

Since the oven was already on and hot for the meatloaf, I made a chocolate cake for dessert, too.

fullsizeoutput_5834

I baked our family favorite chocolate cake recipe and coated it with a newly found recipe for Glossy Chocolate Frosting, which tastes great with the cake.   It ends up being like a thin layer of not-too-sweet soft chocolate fudge.  And stays shiny!

Glossy Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 T cornstarch
3 T. cocoa
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup boiling water
2 1/2 T. butter
1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Mix sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, salt and add water.  Cook until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla.  Spread on cake while hot for a glossy frosting which stays soft and smooth.  This recipe is enough for a 9 by 13 cake.

fullsizeoutput_5836

I took the kids to the local library today.  Seth and Sarah always play a silent game of hide and seek in the library without running.  They always do this…. why don’t they sit and read books is what I want to know.

David read a book about weapons.  I recently bought him a new white t-shirt covered in dark red roses and he looks handsome in it.   He stayed by my side in the kitchen last night and at the library this morning.   He’s a great friend and son and always makes me laugh.  He tried to insult me the other day by saying, “I’m this way because of YOU.” but it just made my heart melt, as I took it as an ultimate compliment.

IMG_9054

Grace looked at a book about Art and I picked out two books on home decorating.  Weapons for Dave, art for Grace, and home decorating for me were all conveniently located in the same area so we sat on the floor together.  Caleb came over to us now and then to add to his pile of books which he left with me (Garfield, football)….

fullsizeoutput_5835

I checked out the books while the children looked at charming paintings and talked to each other.

fullsizeoutput_5837

And I thought to myself, “They love their sister.”

fullsizeoutput_5831

I went to the farmer down the road next for some packs of nice hamburger.  I am going to make Dorito chip Salad for dinner.  Seth and Sarah know if they come in with me they can ask the farmer (or his wife) for a popsicle and they will say “yes” and cut the top off for them.

When we got home I took another cat portrait, this time Sherlock was with David, rather reluctantly.

Seth is standing here with his arm around my neck waiting for me to be done typing.  We are about to make another cake because there was only one piece left this morning and he wanted it.  However, I ate it in a weak moment (it was so good, so worth it) and I told him we could make another one.

Brittnee is happy.

Brittnee is always happy (says Seth).

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

happy mother’s day!

fullsizeoutput_55d9

Go on doing the little things,
no matter how small,
only making sure that you breathe love into them.
Let them fall where they may,
no matter into what heart,
no matter how silently,
no matter how hopeless may seem the soil into which they drop,
no matter how you yourself may appear
to be forgotten
or overlooked
as you do your deeds of kindness,
and speak your words of love.
These words and deeds and influences of yours are living seeds,
and not one of them shall perish!

J.R. Miller

trip back home

fullsizeoutput_540d

I left Thursday morning as soon as the children got on the school bus and drove leisurely to my parents’ house.  I stopped several times for coffee, gas, the mall, and an antique store where I found a handful of old photos and letters for my scrapbook.

Mom was at work but Dad and the dog greeted me and we went for a walk up the road so he could show me the wood he’s been cutting.

We passed the house my mom and her siblings grew up in which now belongs to someone else.

fullsizeoutput_540f

fullsizeoutput_5410

I played on this yard as a child, too.

fullsizeoutput_540e

Springtime Daffodils were peeking through old grasses from last year, in a tire that my Grandma planted flowers in years ago.

IMG_5216

Dad stood by his woodpile in the woods across from Andrew’s and the pond.

IMG_5218

I admired the beautiful scenery as we walked back down the road to home.  I’m forever thankful to have grown up in such a beautiful area.

Soon it was time to pick up my cousin Erika so we could go to school and sing.  But first, I was delighted to see her fiestaware collection.    This is a photo of just some of what she and her husband have found.

fullsizeoutput_5411

Aunt Colleen says Jillian (Erika’s daughter) is the avocado whisperer because she’s the only one who can get the pits to grow.  This is an avocado plant in her bedroom!  She planted it from a grocery store avocado, using the pit after they ate the rest of it.

IMG_5223

IMG_5225

This is a school yearbook photo of my friend Nicole, my brother, myself, Carmine, Dana (my HS bestie) and Aaron, all friends from my childhood who were in chorus with me years and years ago.

My beloved chorus Director is retiring this year so those of us who could attend went back to school to sing one last time………

IMG_5226

The beginning of the concert…..

fullsizeoutput_5446

My friend Tracy took this photo of me and the rest of the alto section.  Oh it was such fun!!  I was just a little bit rusty and couldn’t sustain a note quite as long because I’m out of practice.  But still, so fun.  I loved seeing familiar faces and places; the whole weekend was full of nostalgia and memories.  I hadn’t been inside the school in over 10 years.

IMG_5230

My sweet cousin and me after the concert with our red folders.  🙂

fullsizeoutput_5414

Looking pretty good for a pair of 40ish year olds!  My friend Tracy and myself (same graduating class of 1994).  We had fun walking around seeing the school and how it has changed since we attended there (seems like just a year or so ago…….)

fullsizeoutput_5415

Me and Mrs. Westover at the reception after the concert.

IMG_5236

The old gym that we graduated in.  Ah, memories!!!!

friday:

I stopped by the restaurant in town that morning where Erika is the baker and she gave me some slices of her homemade pie to take home!  Thank you Erika!  The pie was delicious when we ate it that evening for dessert.  Mom and Dad had raspberry and I had chocolate peanut butter (split with brother Dave).

IMG_5240

IMG_5242

I drove to meet mom for lunch.  She was able to take a special four- hour-long -one just for me.

(isn’t the floor of her office beautiful?)

fullsizeoutput_541b

antiquing…….

fullsizeoutput_541d

fullsizeoutput_541f

Someone glued lots of old McDonald’s toys to a mirror.  It would be fun in a child’s bedroom.

fullsizeoutput_5420

My cute mom.

fullsizeoutput_5421

A frame/art shop with a window full of cats.

IMG_5261

LUNCH at a thai place

IMG_5265

COFFEE time! (with our Vera purses of the same pattern but slightly different fabrics)

fullsizeoutput_5423

After I left mom back at work, I drove the back way home and passed the house my family lived in until I was in 2nd grade.  Dave and I have many vivid memories of childhood here.  It was a Sears Roebuck house kit built by my paternal grandparents.  My dad grew up here and then he and Mom bought the house and lived in it for a while, too.  It used to be yellow but the shrubbery is the same (not green now bc it’s still early spring here).  Mom said even the driveway was the same and hasn’t been repaved since they sold it.  🙂  The second story window was my bedroom.

fullsizeoutput_5424

And this house next door was my Paternal Great-Grandparents’ house.  The families stayed close to each other and Dad has lots of photos of gatherings on the different yards for cook outs and picnics when he was a youngster.

fullsizeoutput_5425

And then I drove by the old church we attended and my Dad was baptized in.   I remember Sundays with lots of family and friends.  We went to this church until I was about Sarah’s age but I remember things . . . . .children soak everything in. . . . it’s a good reminder for me to be gentle with my own children.

I went to the small country cemetery where my grandparents, great aunt and uncle, and Great-Grandparents (all on my dad’s side of the family) are buried and then to the school and country store.

Then, home again to my parents’ house and a visit with my brother Dave.

IMG_5309

I love this photo of Dave and my dad and the family pets.  🙂

IMG_5318

“up on the hill”

fullsizeoutput_542b

I went walking in the woods with mom and Dave — they stopped to look at everything, Mom said, “I want to see something new!”  They make rock “people” stacks everywhere, and look for gold in the creek (it MIGHT happen!) or arrowheads.  Maybe!

fullsizeoutput_542e

Standing under a giant purple tree mushroom.  Something new we saw!

IMG_5330

Then Mom (she’s very observant) saw a black animal over in the field so Dave and I walked over to check things out.  It was two black cats, maybe from Uncle Brian’s house?  We didn’t know them and they didn’t know us.  They ran off to hide in the old barn.

saturday;

Mom and I did some garden clean-up with Dad and then got ready for more adventuring.  We asked Dad to take our photo but first he took this one:

fullsizeoutput_5430

fullsizeoutput_5431

We invited him to come along but he graciously declined.

Mom found a vintage white coverlet and I found a vintage fiesta ivory gravy boat.

IMG_5376

~loveliness in a beautifully arranged shop.

IMG_5356

~Seating area in a deli where we ate lunch.

fullsizeoutput_5435

Fred, more than 50 years old.

fullsizeoutput_5436

As we left I took a plant!

IMG_5358

~Beautiful vintage fiestaware (I didn’t buy it).

IMG_5364

I LOVE my mom’s eye for things.  She really liked this old oven and opened up everything to figure it out and imagine using it.

IMG_5373

Oh how wonderful it was to have a day with my mom!  I’m so thankful and so blessed.

We shopped until we dropped and then we went home and she made a pork chop dinner!

It was delicious.

IMG_5379

IMG_5381

She has sewing and crocheting projects going.  This is a quilt piece she’s working on, inspired by the photo next to it.

IMG_5392

Photo of Uncle Bob and my Dad Greg next to that same shrubbery.

sunday

Sunday was a DELIGHT.  I went to the church I attended all the way up until Rich and I moved away as a young married couple……..and I got there at the same time as my father in law!  He was alone (Leslie was home with Charles) so we sat together.  I cannot even tell you the gratitude I felt as we shared a Bible and enjoyed a church service together, and singing.  I am blessed to be married and born into the most wonderful families.  I could look just across the way at Aunt Colleen sitting with her girls taking notes, and Erika sitting behind them with her husband and sister Elisha.  My cousin Heidi was there with her two young sons, too.

After church I went home with Dad so I could visit with dear Leslie and Charles.  Leslie was just coming inside from caring for her hens.  She was wearing a pink jacket and had an egg from the coop.  She put the tea kettle on and we sat right at the table and had a nice long visit, just the four of us.  Dad gave me a box full of his maple syrup to bring home for the grandchildren’s pancakes and french toast.  Leslie gave me a bar of her homemade soap tied with a ribbon.  And guess what?  It was snowing outside.  Yep, snow at the end of April.  In fact, Grace just texted me to let us know it’s snowing in Pennsylvania right this very minute.

fullsizeoutput_5440

My father in law built their house. They just finished the back addition and it looks beautiful.  I love the wide plank floors and all the windows.

After goodbye hugs, I drove to Colleen’s house and we went out for lunch together, just the two of us.  The food was delicious and we had a nice long visit as we ate.

Then, we headed back to her house for another hour or so and made homemade snickerdoodle cookies just like when we were little.

IMG_5411

IMG_5410

~African Violets in bloom on her kitchen windowsill.

IMG_5415

~A picture she painted of the view outside her childhood bedroom window.

IMG_5414

She had a batch of Uncle Brian’s green salad in the fridge and even though we weren’t hungry we just had to have a spoon of it.  Tastes like our childhood!

IMG_5420

Meghan giving the dogs a treat.

After we got our cookies baked, I had to leave to go back home to Connecticut.  I drove the back roads for a while and then got on the highway.  I drove through some snow, some rain, and the most gorgeous end of the day clouds.  I listened to podcasts on the way home and arrived back to my husband and children at 8pm.

Heart-full and Joy-full.  It’s good to be home.

day in the life……

IMG_4903

One of the things that I’m thankful about regarding Sarah is that she is always willing to snuggle and have “couch time” with mom.  In order to have couch time you need:

  1. a blanket or two
  2. a cat
  3. a good tv show
  4. books
  5. ice cream
  6. hairbrushes

At the end of a busy day, this is bliss.

IMG_4906

She brushed my hair and made it pretty.  I brushed her hair and she, as usual, made complaints.  Her hair has gotten quite long and at 7 years old she’s not very good at taking care of it or keeping it brushed.  She ends up with tangles and this week, pine pitch.  I’m thinking about having it trimmed about five inches to make it more manageable.  In fact, this might be a nice outing for us on this cold rainy and snowy day.

IMG_4900 2

Good natured Seth, on a Costco trip.

IMG_4898

The black cats we adopted at Christmas time have bonded to yours truly.  They adore me, however, at the sound of footsteps, or doors opening, or unexpected movements, they bolt.  But their purrs are loud and one of them is faithful to curl up on the couch next to me each night.  Unfortunately I cannot tell them apart.  I usually have to ask the children, “Who is this?”

fullsizeoutput_53f9

Amanda came over yesterday with her son Weston and her friend’s daughter Julia.  Sarah had a girl to play with and they wasted no time in doing all they could in two hours.  It was absolutely adorable.

IMG_4929

We talked a mile a minute and made plans and went for a walk with the girlies.

IMG_4934

DSC_0364

It’s been cold and I’ve been pouting in the house, having the children do chicken chores.  Two days passed, “no eggs mom” they say cheerfully.  So after Amanda left I trudged to the coop and found 2 dozen.  Hello?  I don’t get it.

They sure are pretty.  One of my favorite antique store purchases in the last year has been this old feed scoop.  It was the only thing I could grab to put the eggs in yesterday. . .

I made the children egg sandwiches for dinner last night and used up 7 of them.

fullsizeoutput_53f8

We had a fire all day and Seth made a hot dog before bed.  He only took one bite before giving it to David, who practically ate the whole thing in one bite.  (little brother/big brother).  Seth is suffering because he had an expander and habit breaker put in the roof of his mouth this week.  He can’t talk and can’t eat and secretly I want to take him right back and have it removed.  But they say it’s for the best and he will get used to it.

fullsizeoutput_53f7

Aren’t burning pinecones lovely?  Mom told me the Indians used them as fire starters so Sarah went down with a bag to gather them on a dry day (which is how she got pine pitch in her hair).

David felt dizzy during the day so I let him drink a Gatorade (reserved for sports practices and meets) and when he was done he threw that in the fire, too, causing me to lecture loudly.  Next thing I found was a metal pipe.  I saw it just as I threw another armful of logs on the fire and David was offended and said “My pipe!”.  “Get the pipe out of the house and stop throwing things on the fire!”  He amuses me and terrifies me.

IMG_4944

At the end of the day and just before couch time with Sarah, David and Seth and I put our feet up on the hearth and chatted and laughed about things together.

It’s been a lonely week without my husband, but having the children home on spring break has made it much better.  He comes home tonight and I found myself putting make up on at 8:00 this morning.