the fifth son

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No, it is not his birthday.

Seth will be not be 9 for two more months.

He is lively, bright, active, your- typical- boy -but -maybe- just a notch or two- more hyper.  He is a lot like my brother Nathan was at that age, always moving, always using the furniture as gym equipment.

By the way, let me remind you that he had three staples in his scalp and fractured his collarbone on Halloween?  He’s all better.  We had the trainer at the HS school check him out this weekend and he said he was good to go.  So he had his first wrestling practice last night.  On the way there he confided, “I feel nervous.”  “I think you’re excited,” I answered.  “Yes,” he agreed.

Last week after he got back home from school he put a paper on the counter and came over to me and said in a hesitant voice, “Mom, I have a note from school.”  “Oh no,” I thought.  “What is it, Seth?  Did you get in trouble?”  “Just read it, Mom,” he said sadly.  So I rushed over to the paper, picked it up, and learned that Seth had been awarded the Hall of Fame for good behavior and work in his classes.  So apparently my son is also a good actor because he had me fooled at first.

I squealed and hugged him and gave him a big ol’ kiss on the cheek.  He bounded away, “Mama’s proud of me.” he just knew it.

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He got dressed all nice for school.  I had bought him a nice Jcrew sweater from a consignment shop…..I’m dying to find out if it’s still on him for the assembly, which is TODAY.  IN 45 MINUTES!  You see the peek of orange underneath, I bet he’ll be wearing the orange t-shirt for his award.  ?????  I wonder????  It’s happened before with my other sons.  Seth is number 5 so he has to prove to me that I DON’T KNOW ALL THE TRICKS YET!  He’s an original, just like number one (Jacob) number two (Ethan) number three (David) and number four (Caleb).  We are surrounded by brothers.

I’ll let you know if he’s still wearing the sweater.

I noticed, too, that he PUT A NECKLACE ON.  Be still my heart.

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This was his favorite photo.

Instead of bouncing off the walls of the house, chattering and laughing and being silly as he waited for the bus, he was having his photo taken on the driveway!

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No, not because it is his birthday.

But because……..he is getting awarded for being a good student today at school!

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“No more pictures, mom!”

We turned to go into the house and saw………

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Miss Sarah!  Wearing the same pants she had worn to school the day before.  And needing her hair fixed.  “Oh yes, I have things to do,” I cried.  And sent her back upstairs to “put different pants on!”  Goodness.  Find your socks and shoes and grab the hairbrush.

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It’s the 6th day of December.

All is well.

 

seth was creative

I took these pictures of Seth at five o’clock yesterday evening.  The boys were getting ready for football practice and Seth was taking much longer than usual to get dressed.  When he appeared I took one look at him and noticed he had mysterious blue socks on….no one in the family has socks like this…..did he actually have the nerve to borrow someone’s socks?….no, wait….those aren’t socks….those are sleeves….did he cut the sleeves off his blue underarmour layering shirt???????????  He insisted that he had not.  I started using my “tell me right now I need to know what is going on” voice (similar to an excitedly squealing pig).  When it all became oh so clear, I took him outside to take photos.

“You better not post these anywhere,” he said.

“When you do something like this, it’s going to be on the blog,” I replied.

Taking his photo proved to be as difficult as IT ALWAYS IS with Seth.  He cannot stay still.

Although he has the looks to be one, he will never be a career fashion model.  As soon as I “see” the perfect photo through the viewfinder of my camera, but before I can push the button, he has moved.  I have to use high speed settings and much patience.  However, I persevered this time and got some good ones, all to show you his creativity.  Genius.

Notice the “SOCKS”:

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THEY WEREN’T SOCKS

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THEY WERE SLEEVES.

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IT WAS AN ENTIRE SHIRT.

(and yes he went to practice that way)

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beginning with the nighttime moon

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“Oh, if there’s only one song I can sing,
When in His beauty I see the great King,
This shall my song through eternity be,
“Oh, what a wonder that Jesus loves me!”  ~Philip Bliss

This hymn is stuck in my head this morning and I’m just so happy because today I have absolutely nothing pressing…..in the last week this family has had a total of 10 appointments (mostly dental, one doctor, and others) and I’m ready to have a peace-full morning instead of getting ready to go…….I’m a home-bird…..

I have a steaming Scarlet fiesta mug of green tea on the coffee table in front of me, and a curled up chocolate lab snoring by my side on the couch and I’m ready to let my fingers tippety tap along the keyboard….I love blogging…everyone should do it.  Life is so interesting.

Last week, Rich was gone on a business trip for five days straight and our college son Ethan was home for the week, too.  After Caleb’s dentist appointment and right before his doctor’s appointment, we had time to sit at the bookstore and drink hot coffee beverages.

(Caleb had no cavities but was put on antibiotics for a sinus infection).

(a page from the latest Victoria magazine–I was so tired last week that I had to read this quote like 5 times before it made sense.  And… Seth, waiting for the bus one morning).

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Hanging out on the porch with Sarah.  She was blowing the whistle CONSTANTLY.

She gets to learn how to play the recorder next year at school and the whistle is a tiny recorder.  So she would blow and then take a break to say things like “Can I buy my own recorder, Mom?”  “I’m going to get a pink one.”  “Did Caleb buy his?”  “Where is it?”  “What color was it?”  “Seth doesn’t bring his home.”  “He doesn’t like to play it.”  and so on.

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These muffins were yummy.

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Rich took this at the football games on Sunday.

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Reading on the porch with my kitty.

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Ethan was home all last week and so (because I’m a good mom) I thoughtfully made him a dentist appointment for a cleaning.  (he was less than thrilled because has bad luck always at the dentist).  He drove himself.  I was at the grocery store when they called me, “Hello we have Ethan here and he has a couple cavities that he didn’t get filled last time and the dentist has time to do them now if you’d like us to do that?”  And naturally I said, “Oh yes, that would be awesome, and please have the Doctor check Ethan’s gray front tooth.”  Then we hung up.  After another hour or so, Ethan came home with his eyes sad and face blank.  He put his papers from the dentist down on the counter.  Ethan doesn’t talk much so I had to pry.  “What did they say about your tooth?”  “They said the roots are a little shorter and it might fall out eventually so I have to go to a specialist to get it looked at.”  I ran over to the referral paper, and called the number right away just to see if perhaps they could get him in while he was home.  And yes, they were able to get him an appointment on Thursday.

So Thursday came.  The appointment was at 8:30 in the morning.  As soon as the kids left on the bus at 7:30, Ethan and I got in the car to head to his appointment, which was on the other side of Hartford.  Ugh busy city traffic.  We had no time to go through the Dunkin Donuts drive- thru.  So we battled on through the traffic and got to the Endodontist with just enough time to park, find the office, and fill out papers.

Ethan was called to the back for his appointment and I followed, simply because, like I said, Ethan doesn’t talk much and I wanted ALL the information.  The dentist took an X-ray, and tapped on his front teeth.  Then he held a tiny piece of cotton with his dentist tongs and sprayed icy cold air on it.  “I’m going to put this on your tooth and you raise your hand when the pain is unbearable, okay Ethan?”  He pressed the cotton on Ethan’s gray tooth and Ethan never raised his hand.  “The reason you feel no pain is because that front tooth is dead,” the dentist explained.  “You will need a root canal and then eventually we can bleach the inside of the tooth the next time you are home from college.  I can’t just put the bleach in it this week or you might end up with a brilliantly refrigerator white tooth and that would be worse than the gray.  I need to check the bleaching process every few days so we can take the bleach out once that tooth matches the other ones.”  Wow, this was getting interesting.  Ethan didn’t say a word.

We left with a root canal appointment for the very next day.  Ethan’s bad luck at the dentist continued but you know what?  It had to be done and it is all done now.  The two of us had breakfast together that morning and then went to the mall and consoled ourselves with new shirts (Jcrew for him and Anthro for me).  Rich came home that night and took Ethan the next day for the root canal and now he’s all set until he can get his tooth bleached.

Why was his tooth gray in the first place you might ask?  He cannot remember the injury, but at some point when he was younger he bumped the tooth hard enough for it to die.  With seven children and five of them boys, it’s a wonder any of them have white teeth.  Seth had a gray tooth for a time, too, but it was a baby one and fell out.  My brother David says Ethan should just get a gold tooth and be done with it.

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I bought this vintage wool hook rug at an antique store this weekend….it’s now on the pantry floor and I love it.  I’ve been waiting for just the right throw rug for my pantry.  The outer part of the rug is dark gray, then a beautiful dark blue and light blue design, with light gray after that and a bunch of bright flowers in the middle.  The blue matches the blue glass bottles in the window.

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YESTERDAY it was Seth and Sarah’s turn at the dentist……(and tomorrow is my turn).

For prizes, they got teeth.

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And then we went to the grocery store.  I made them leave the teeth in the car and when we were checking out, Sarah turned to Seth and cried, “Seth, we can go to the car and put our teeth in now!”

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Back at home…… (with a fogged up camera lens again, it was so damp and rainy)

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David was on the roof.

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He was bouncing a small basketball off the house and trying to make a basket down below, with the help of Caleb and Seth.  He made it once.

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(I took this one through the window)

It was pouring rain.

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Last night my husband went downstairs to check on Seth, who was crying in the basement.  He and Caleb had been fooling around.  David and I looked at each other with alarm when we heard Rich yell, “DON’T PLAY FOOTBALL IN THE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!” and Sarah came running upstairs laughing.  “What happened?  Sarah, tell me!”  “Seth hit his head again and it’s bleeding a little bit right here,” she pointed to her head, “on the side of his head.”

Sure enough, Rich marched Seth upstairs, who already had a goose egg forming next to his temple on his forehead, and got him an ice pack.

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This morning it already looked much better, but you can see the remainder of his injury next to his eye.  (he had a bump up higher on his temple, and a scrape by his eye).  I mean, at least it wasn’t his tooth.

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7:15 this morning as I put away the dishes.  “Mom, take a picture!”

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Kids left on the bus.  All is calm, all is bright.

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The sun is shining!  After a long weekend of rain, it is pure delight.

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We end with the morning moon.

Happy Tuesday, friends.
You are loved.

 

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David 15

ImageSon, you outgrew my lap, but never my heart. ~Author Unknown

DAVID

turned 15 yesterday.

The night before, I read him all the blog posts I have done in honor of his birthday.  The first one was….. when he was FOUR.  FOUR!!!!  I cannot believe I have been blogging for 11 years.  It’s so nice for the children to look back on the different days they remember and see photos.  It’s nice for me, too, but I get sad.  As I was reading to Dave, he was on the couch about 2 feet away but leaned over so he could see the photos and I felt all sentimental as I read the words I have typed over and over, “I love you” “I’m so proud of you” “my dear son” “you’re so special”. . . . .

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Rich has been traveling a lot lately and the thing that I’ve loved is that at the end of the day, David is the last child awake with me and we visit.  We talk or read our books.  He likes to sit in the rocking chair and he says things to me during these quiet times.  He’s interesting without being overwhelming.  I’ve lately started to ask him for his opinion on things and he replies with wisdom.  Like today, I asked him what he would do if someone he cared about told him that he hated himself.  He said that if the situation had been going on for a while then he would try to comfort, but if it was the first time he was confided in, then he would analyze the situation and then proceed.  I also asked him what he did when he was so tired at school that he desperately wanted to put his head down and nap.  He said that he would do something to hype himself up….like talk with one of his friends or something.

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I didn’t blog yesterday on his actual birthday because guess what?

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He got his braces off TODAY.

He was very hesitant and embarrassed to smile for the camera, it was almost like he didn’t know how…..he’s been smiling with his lips together for years.

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We went to Target right after his appointment, and then to Panera, where he ate cheddar broccoli soup in a bread bowl for the first time in a very long time without braces.  I had a cup of autumn squash soup with a chunk of bread.   The soup came with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds on top.

I took more photos of dear Dave outside the mall.

Davehood

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David loves his friends and cares about them.  For this reason, he likes school.
David loves his family but is easily annoyed by his younger siblings especially if they 1) enter his room, or 2) eat the last of something he wanted.
David plays soccer, baseball, and does wrestling.
David is a freshman in high school.
He has no phone.
He is currently reading Percy Jackson books, but his current favorite books are the Rot and Ruin series.
He can do back flips and does them during gym class sometimes when the teacher isn’t looking.
He absolutely loves music.
He plays the piano quite well–by learning songs through youtube.
He sings but only in the bathroom and sometimes when we’re in the car if the volume is turned up high enough on the radio.
He is funny in a dry, conversational sort of way.
He is quick and bright.
Through the years he has done origami, made homemade candy and slime, drawn comics, and made homemade walking sticks also useful for doing battles against trees or an armed sibling, and his latest thing is sharpening knives and sharpening the two collectible swords Ethan owns from the antique store.
He loves attention but gets all awkward when he gets it.  Like, he tries to avoid my hugs but once he gets one (because I don’t give up easily) he walks away with a smile on his face.
He is a night owl, if I forget to send him to bed he’ll be up half the night.
He likes watching the Flash, Arrow, and Glee on TV.
He likes nature and wild life, and has been my #1 butterfly helper when we were raising and releasing monarchs.  He brings me things to look at like toads, cool caterpillars, and rodents.  He helped get a chipmunk out of the house this weekend.

Most of this is typical 15 year old guy stuff….but not to me….to me he is the best and most interesting 15 year old guy I know.

 

efforts on the last day of summer

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“….a little boy grows up so fast….”

I was secretly calling Saturday the last day of summer because it was our oldest son’s last day at home before leaving for college the next morning.  So I made the effort to take some photos of the ordinary family living that I hold so dear to my heart, knowing deep down that while life will go on just as beautiful and ordinary as ever, parts of it were ending and beginning anew in other parts of the world…….not too far, thankfully.  Jacob and Ethan will be at college together in Vermont this year (3 hours away), and our sweet Grace will be in Pennslyvania (about five hours distance).  As the children grow up, things within the home change, but the bond we have stays true, and the love we share will never die, and indeed, my deepest desire and hope is that it will continue to grow up and out as our family grows up and and out.

So these efforts were made by me in the realm of photography, and the only other effort I made personally was to be “hands off” on the day and let it be as normal as possible, because I have finally learned that while deep in my soul I am in a type of motherly mourning for the fleetness of the years, no one else in the family necessarily needs to know.  🙂

So what did we do?  Jacob headed for work, sicker than a dog, and Rich left for the chiropractor’s with Ethan (they are both getting work done on their backs) and Caleb (who needed a hair cut after the doctor’s appointment).

DSC_1346Confession:  somehow, even though I was truly trying,  I just realized this morning that I took not one single photo of Grace, so I am inserting this one from last weekend, when I caught the sisters sharing a moment over pancakes.  In reality, Grace was so busy on Saturday….she had driver’s practice in the morning, and then worked all afternoon until 7pm….that I somehow didn’t take any pictures of her.

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The brightest red wildflower is in bloom down by the banks of our stream.  It’s like a jungle down there so I can’t get as close as I’d like……

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I watched busy buzzing bees collect pollen all over the wild and tall Joe Pye Weed and then, saw the most beautiful dragonfly I’d ever seen…..

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RED!  DARK RED!

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with shimmering wings!  I admired it until it flitted away.

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Next to the garage we have a tiny wild pond where bullfrogs hang out all day.  I enjoy sneaking  around to spy on them and they always freeze like this and stare at me.  I want to sit down there sometime and see what they REALLY do……

And then, the guys finally got home and went to work on Rich’s car.  Yep, that was the real theme of the weekend;  “Put The Motor In”.

Rich has been itching to do it all winter long and had big boxes in the house which were all delivered and saved carefully for The Day.

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Nice haircut, Caleb.

Now get to work!

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Nothing makes Rich more annoyed than not being able to find his tools because the children have been running off with them and not returning them to the proper place.  Nothing that is, except maybe water running through the ceiling because Seth didn’t have the shower curtain in the bathtub and was getting water everywhere on the floor upstairs…..ask me how I know this…..so the first thing they did was find Dad’s tools, while Rich and Ethan organized and Sarah cleaned.

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The car is under the tarp.  Waiting for it’s motor.

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I’m pretty sure this is it.  🙂

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Sarah was very conscientious about sweeping the floor.

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Seth wasn’t as conscientious about finding Dad’s tools.

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David

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Oh and Jacob was able to get out of work a little early and he went straight to bed, spending his last day at home SICK and asleep.

(I think it’s amusing that the dog is in a lot of these photos being ignored.  But he gets his revenge later.)

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Bringing the boxes out of the house (finally!) and into the garage.

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Finally they were ready and the younger boys snuck away.  David was called for duty now and then, but Ethan was the main helper of the entire day all the way up until it was too late to visit Tessa and he was secretly annoyed.

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I mean, as his mother, I could sort of tell.  But Rich, as his father, certainly didn’t care.  He needed his son and Ethan has vacation days coming up this week to visit his girlfriend.  (It reminded me of when Rich and I were dating all those summers ago and he had to bale hay all weekend for his dad while I was left to my own amusement at home…..so I took pity while Rich just felt like it was the only natural thing to do; helping Dad…there’s no way out of it, not even girlfriends.)

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The younger boys hung out on the patio between the house and the garage.

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And I found Sarah had vanished to her room to play the DS.  So I sent her right back outside to enjoy the beautiful day.

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They made a cake.

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Eventually, hours and hours later, I picked the camera back up to take a picture of CHICKEN that I grilled myself……

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And this is where the dog got his revenge for being “ignored//neglected” all day.

After we all ate, he stole the leftovers off the kitchen counter, eating the chicken and neatly leaving the sticks on the carpet in the living room.  We all got mad because that was really good chicken and I had made a ton so we could enjoy the leftovers, not feed them to the dog.

We ended our day by watching TV on the couch in the dark, all tired out.

*****

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This is where things get sad you might want to turn away.

I woke up at 5:30 on Sunday morning to see my son off.  Rich was already awake and in the garage with his car but the rest of the family was asleep as Jacob finished packing his car to leave, although I did hear Seth stir and call out, “Bye, Jay!” from his bed, as he will greatly miss his big brother, too.

I followed him around, back and forth to the car and house, not unlike the dog, silently and with wishful eyes.

We hugged twice.  We held it together.

It was a beautiful morning, with bits of pink in the sky.

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I looked at his dear possessions everywhere in his car, that say “Jacob” to me in so many ways……his collection of hats from working at “LIDS” all summer….his new sneakers that I bought for him during a quick shopping trip we had together last week.

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His music, his new fridge, all his clothes and books (he took a big box of books, which made me smile and touched my heart…I remember when he read them all…and sister Grace struggled with sharing some of them..namely the JRR Tolkien books…), my dear 20 year old son, how thankful I am that I had all of these years with you before you moved on to new adventures taking classes and playing football at college.  I am blessed to call you son and friend.  We’ve had such good times together, haven’t we?  Your downstairs room in the basement is too quiet and still already but we’ll keep it ready for those visits back home!

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“So the life of the true home flows on, sometimes in the bright sunshine, sometimes in the deep shadow; yet whether in the sunshine or in shadow it brings blessing.  It shelters us in the day of storm.  Its friendships remain true and loyal when adversity fails and other friendships are broken.  It lays holy hands of benediction upon our heads as we go out to meet life’s struggles and duties.  Its sacred influences keep us from many a mistake.  Its memories are our richest inheritance.  Its inspirations are the secret strength of our lives in days of toil and care.  Then it teaches us to look toward heaven and the great Home in which all our hearts, hopes, and dreams shall be realized, and where the broken ties of earth shall be reunited.”  JR Miller

 

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boys on stilts

I smashed the screen of my iPhone last night when Rich and I were walking.  I had whipped it out from my back pocket to check my steps for the day and it kept flying right out of my hand, landing face down on the road.  It still works, but after a day of looking at it covered in hairline fractures it is a relief to be in front of my computer screen.  The computer screen is so perfectly NOT broken!

Grace and I went to breakfast this morning after a morning of cleaning the house.  Jacob stayed home and watched the rest of the kids.  Grace and I took our books, of course.  She is reading Mark Twain and I’m reading a biography of Jane Fonda of all things.  (I recently read an autobiography by Doris Day, too)  I found a new podcast to listen to that appeals to my “memoir” side, the side of me that LOVES learning about other people’s lives no matter how they lived it, which compelled me to pick up Fonda’s book at the library yesterday.  The podcast is called “You must remember This” and it’s about first century Hollywood.  Like most podcasts, not every episode is worth listening to but the few I have heard gave me a lot to think about in regards to the entertainment culture of that time period.  There is nothing new under the sun!

One generation goes its way, the next one arrives,
but nothing changes—it’s business as usual for old
planet earth.  Ecclesiastes 1:9

So anyways, we read and ate and then went to Goodwill where she found me a fiesta jumbo mug in cobalt for one dollar.  I passed right by it!  We shared a hug in the aisles of Goodwill.  She found a cute little dress and I bought a few books, too.  Then we went to the grocery store to get things for spaghetti because last night Rich came home and was so happy to step through the door into the house……to the smell of spaghetti.  His eyes lit right up and he smiled big…….only it was roast pork and corn on the cob.  So I promised him spaghetti today.

When we got home I put everything in the crock pot for a good sauce; homemade meatballs and chunks of sausage that David cut up for me, a big chopped onion, spices, and a big can of tomatoes.

Grace had her friends Brittany and Tessa over (who also happen to be Jacob’s girlfriend and Ethan’s girlfriend) to make homemade ice cream and I went for a power walk and was almost bitten by a dog.  I was so scared.  The owner was a very large man on his riding lawn mower who couldn’t be bothered to get off it and his dog (pit bull?) was not on his leash.  The dog was following the man around as he mowed and then when he saw me, he ran full force at me, barking in a very scary way and came so close, I could feel it’s breath and mouth touch me as I clutched myself and stood very still…..I eventually got away while the large man simply yelled at his dog.  The dog ran down the road at me a second time, barking.  I didn’t know what to do.  Should I call animal control and complain?  The dog did everything but actually BITE me.  When I had to turn around and walk back, I went into the woods to get past his house because I was so nervous.  How ridiculous to have to do that!

Safely home now, and blogging from the chair in my bedroom.  The house is completely clean; all beds made, bathrooms spotless, because the two maids came today (every Friday), dinner in the crock pot, so it feels extra wonderful to be able to relax.  David is watching soccer videos on Youtube and the girls are upstairs now, visiting.

I’m posting photos today that I took last night when Caleb came in to say, “Mom come and see this”.  I was tired so I said, as I got up off the couch, “This better be good.”

He was on stilts!  Grace got them from Mrs. D at the HS when she helped her clean out the Drama Props Closet.

Thank you Mrs. D!

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It was worth it!

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David had to try.  (you can see a small part of Caleb,too)

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And there’s Sarah in her nightie ready for bed.

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Big sis and big bro looking on……..

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Seth wearing his watch that he got in his Subway kids meal.

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Summertime + end of the day playtime outside = the BEST.

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Ethan’s turn!

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Parker is smiling!  with his girl.

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Sarah wanted to try getting on the stilts but I said “go put something on under your nightie first.” so she did, happily.

*****

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THIS beautiful sunset sky is the reason why everything was pink last night.

 

Oh, how sweet the light of day,
And how wonderful to live in the sunshine!
Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted.
Take delight in each light-filled hour…….. Ecclesiastes 11:7 MSG

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Caleb, 12 years old today

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We have a birthday boy today; Caleb James turned 12 years old.

It goes by so fast.

But it’s all very good.  Each year is a gift.

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And there is lots to look forward to.

Grace had her graduation party yesterday so her purple decorations served another purpose today.  We bought the festive cupcakes at Sam’s Club.

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Younger siblings looking on….eating more cake.  (we had cake yesterday, too).

They have started to take the frosting off the top and run for the milk.

Enough is enough.

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Mine was lemon.

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Thank you, Jesus, for this boy of ours!

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Caleb is 12 and Seth is 8, they are always together.  They play video games, baseball, football, swimming. . . .get along very well with arguments started and ended throughout the day, too.  So much learning going on.

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comic relief from all Mom’s portraits

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Tom Brady, Jr.

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action shots:

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“Take one of me jumping over Seth!”

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Happiest birthday to you, Caleb!   Mom and Dad love you so very much.