ambling


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“Sarah, Sarah come back!”  I cried.

But it was too late.

She was gone……..out the door and down the steps to celebrate the weather.

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Seth wanted to know if there would be a snow day.

“NO” we said.

It was just the first snow and it was only in the air, with no accumulation on the ground.

Off to school they went, and off to run errands I went.

…….. back home with enough time to do housework, build a fire, and read.

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P L A N T S

DSC_0764“We need, above all things, to slow down and get ourselves to amble through life instead of to rush through it.” ― Alan Watts

DSC_0771“A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.” — Einstein

DSC_0778“…..happiness and comfort do not depend on the wealth of this world. The things of the world will not satisfy the desires of a soul.”  Matthew Henry

fullsizeoutput_5c69“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive; to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” — Marcus Aurelius

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A  L I T T L E  M U S I C

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M O R E  T H A N  O N E  C A T

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O N E  G O O D  B O O K

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C R A C K L E S & O W L S

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Honey Cinnamon Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • GLAZE:
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
  • Additional toasted chopped walnuts, optional

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, beat sugar, oil, honey and egg until well blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; gradually beat into sugar mixture. Stir in 1 cup walnuts.
  • Spread into a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown (edges will puff up). Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • For glaze, in a small bowl, mix confectioners’ sugar, mayonnaise, vanilla and enough water to reach desired consistency; spread over top. If desired, sprinkle with additional walnuts. Let stand until set. Cut into bars. Refrigerate leftovers.
Editor’s Note

To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

**RECIPE FROM TASTE OF HOME MAGAZINE
notes:  next time I will use slightly less oil (maybe replace half with applesauce.)
             I did not toast any nuts.

 

slime and dough

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fluffy, cloudy slime.  They made it themselves!

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

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Eventually they had to change their clothes, too.

BUT IT WAS ALL WORTH IT.

It kept them constructively busy for hours.

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

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

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

isaac and elena

Rich and David have been in Jamaica since Saturday night and won’t be back until this Saturday night and I’m starting to feel withdrawals.  I was in the bathroom this morning after the kids left for school and actually cried about 5 tears down my face when I decided to text Isaac to see what he and Cassandra were doing today.  I ended up going to their house for four hours!  It was warm and cozy.  We visited.  Isaac and I went to Chipotle to get food for lunch and he drove and paid.  We took the food home and ate in the livingroom with sunshine pouring through the windows and the Great British Baking show on in the background.  I held the baby all through her nap.  It was the most relaxed I’ve felt in a long time.  I’m still half asleep, typing this.

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so blessed.

one and two & everything in between

ONE:

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Good morning, friends!

“There is Sunshine in my Soul today, most glorious and bright!”

It’s also gloriously pouring through the windows when yesterday it was pouring rain~

The sunshine seems that much more wonderful after a few rainy gloomy days.

I’m sure there’s a lesson in that.

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The haircuts!

Sarah got in the photo although she didn’t get a haircut.  After the barber we went straight to the bookstore and another store, just for fun, and then we went home again.  All through the rain, on election day.

Are you thinking about Christmas yet?  For your information, these kids (13, 9, and 8) seem extra interested in slime/putty type of things, and squishy/stress reliever types of toys.  Maybe yours will be, too.  Quick and easy stocking stuffers.

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These boots have a satisfying “stomp” to them.  Sometimes I keep them on when I get home and feel much more productive on our hardwood floors….until David says something sarcastically funny about all the noise I’m making.  Drama!  (both of us)

What else did we do yesterday?

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Sarah and I took Sammy to the vet.  She had a sore on her back shaved, and one on her paw which was shaved, too.  She had two shots (rabies booster and a convenient antibiotic) and was given pain medicine.  Hopefully after a few days she’ll start using her front left paw again and her infections will go away.  Other than that, she checked out fine and healthy. Sarah was a bit disturbed by it all.  She told me, “I know I couldn’t be a vet because I would feel too sad.”  What’s she going to be like when (if) she is a mother, I’ll be curious to see.  Now THAT’s heart-wrenching.

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Caleb said, “I’m going to read all the posts about Christmas Day on your blog, I do it every year.”  He wholeheartedly approved of the one that I included Christmas music to listen to at the same time, and requested that I do it again this year.  My heart smiled and smiled to see the children’s appreciation for the last 10 years of Christmases photo-documented faithfully on my part each year.  I see that in writing it for myself, my blog became theirs…….

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We found Walter in his very own cat bed on the porch.  Every time I see this cat in a strange place I take a photo and send it to the college kids.  It would make a good blog post one of these days.

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Me and Seth at music lessons, waiting for Caleb and Sarah.

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After music lessons Sarah had cheerleading practice indoors and the boys’ football practice was cancelled so we waited for her (after dinner at Subway) at the library.  And I found this book!  How could I have not known about this new book?  It won the Pulitzer Prize!!!  I leafed through it at the library and it looks soooooo interesting.  Should I put it on my Christmas list?  Or just click over to Amazon for instant gratification?  I would have checked it out from the library, but it’s about Laura, I must have my own copy!

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I FIRST made Seth let me read him a few picture books (The Tiger Who Came to Tea always brings a tear to my eye, and Steven Kellogg books are a favorite, too) and THEN allowed him some computer games.

Other random photos:

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I stood on the porch and took a photo of the sunrise.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

We’ve also been drawing a lot lately.  sketchbooks might be on the Christmas lists, too.

Monday Night Football Snuggles during the game:

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Sarah was right next to me, Seth was on my legs, Walter on my lap, and Caleb right there, too.  What is it about family pile-ups that soothe the soul?

‘Touch deprivation is a reality in American culture as a whole. …
It’s not just babies needing to be touched in caring ways or the sick.
It’s not just doctors and nurses needing to extend it.
It’s all of us, needing connection,
needing to receive it, needing to give it,
with genuine happiness at stake.”
— Rev Anthony David in “The Power of Touch” by Nora Brunner

“A pat on the back, a caress of the arm — these everyday, incidental gestures that we usually take for granted, thanks to our amazingly dexterous hands. But after years spent immersed in the science of touch, I can tell you that they are far more profound than we usually realize: They are our primary language of compassion, and a primary means for spreading compassion.”
— Dacher Keltner in “Hands on Research: The Science of Touch”

AND During the Commercials:

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TWO:

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Bringing the outdoors in.

He is not rich, that enjoyeth not his own goods. ~Pythagoras

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voting with a nine year old

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The kids don’t have school today so I took a little buddy with me bright and early to get this important task completed.

Seth always knows what to do to have the utmost fun….. so I waited to see where he would put his sticker and then I put mine in the same spot.  Then he showed me that when I was filling in the ballot he had stolen the car keys out of my purse without me knowing it.

He thinks the voting age “should be five.”

We went to the grocery store with our stickers on our foreheads.

Next up, a trip to the barber with brother Caleb.

Long may our land be bright,
With freedom’s holy light…….

august 2006

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(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!!!!

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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.

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More of Grandma’s kitchen decorations.

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kitchen

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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.

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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.

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Old clothes hanging up in Grandma’s closet.

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And of course the bookcases upstairs on the landing.

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

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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.

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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!!!

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

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

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Ethan with puppy Parker.

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beautiful mama in her garden

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visiting mom and dad

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

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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)

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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!

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I carried them back to the house in this basket.

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Getting ready to add them to the shelf.

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

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

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the beautiful blue of an autumn sky

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Samantha cat has a sore paw.

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Seth

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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.

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

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

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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.