the babies

There’s a small hole in the kitchen, right in the corner where the dishwasher meets the cupboards.  Our cat Sam hates the other cats in the house and has taken to squeezing herself into that hole, ending up in the cupboard for hours a day.   The hole is too small for the other cats to follow her, so she feels safe.  Seth is home sick, getting over the flu, but wanted a cat so much that he went to pull Sam out of the cupboard, knocking over a bottle of sesame seed oil.  The cap broke on the floorm the bottle spilled, and so…. guess what…………I’ve already cleaned up half a cup of seseme oil off the floor!!!  Not a pleasant smell, either.  Seth was sent back to the couch without the cat.  In order to clean up sesame seed oil you need:  paper towels, Dawn dish soap, hot water, more paper towels, and cleaning spray that smells stronger than the oil.  (I used Mrs. Meyer’s Lilac)

I have to leave in an hour for a doctor’s appointment but am determined to post these photos.

My brother Nate and his family came out to Connecticut this weekend to visit my brother Isaac and his family, and the baby girl cousins were together!

DSC_0570

DSC_0573

We had a wonderful time sitting around the livingroom visiting each other and admiring the girls.

fullsizeoutput_611d

As soon as I walked in the house and saw them in their matching outfits I laughed.  They were impossibly cute!!!!!

fullsizeoutput_6126

Isaac took all the photos.  Thank you Isaac!

fullsizeoutput_6129

Isn’t it a joy to have a cousin to grow up with?  Cousins are the best.

fullsizeoutput_612d

Seth named this photo “milk and cookies”.  He said Elena was thinking of milk, and Morgan was thinking of cookies.  He asked me which baby I thought was cuter and I said it was impossible to choose and then I asked him which one HE thought was cuter and he thought about it and couldn’t choose, either.

fullsizeoutput_6133

DSC_0603

They’re even cute when they cry.

***********

This morning we were pleasantly surprised by a beautiful snow.

DSC_0615fullsizeoutput_6136

fullsizeoutput_6137

fullsizeoutput_6138

Happy Monday, friends.

You are loved.

 

when we’re together

img_6047

We watched a movie and matched socks.  Which, as you know, is a two-person-hour-long chore around here.

When the movie was half over she wanted to talk instead, so I pushed pause (and eventually turned it off); we can finish the movie another day.

We went upstairs and cleaned her bedroom.

“Cleaning is a good activity to do while you’re talking to someone else because you don’t even realize that you’re cleaning.” she said.  Take note.

Then we got dressed and went downtown to the thrift store.

She scored a July 21, 1969 edition of the Hartford Courant which had the headline “Man Walks on Moon” in bright blue on the front, plus a short stack of several more newspapers underneath.

fullsizeoutput_5fea

I was leaning against the kitchen island, on the computer searching for a photo of Sarah and her brother Ethan, when I glanced to my left and saw a most charming sight, of Grace in my red plaid jacket, reading her new very old newspaper.

fullsizeoutput_5fec

I got closer and bent my nose down to smell it, and then she did, too.

We’re two of a kind.

 

it was a month ago…..

fullsizeoutput_5de4
Ask her what she craved and
she’d get a little frantic
about things like books,
the woods, music.
Plants and the seasons.
Also freedom.
~Charles Frazier

Grace turned nineteen on November 4.

When she was home from college for Thanksgiving break she said, “You didn’t blog about me on my birthday”.   So here I am, better late than never, with my sincerest apologies to you, dear Grace!

Grace was born in the very early hours of the morning all those years ago, our first daughter after two sons.  Born at 38 weeks, but so tiny that everyone stopped to admire her and call her “Peanut”, I delighted in being her mother.  I found a white bib that had a small peanut embroidered on it and of course I had to buy it for her and I bet it that bib is still here in a box somewhere along with many other keepsakes from that precious time.

She’s all grown up now and in the middle of her second year of college and doing very well.  She has her own dorm room this year which has been nice for her, but she keeps so busy she’s rarely in it except to do homework and sleep.

She’s healthy and strong, with lots of dear and close friends.

She loves to read and write, sing and play piano.  She loves to be useful.

I hadn’t taken many photos of her lately so when she was home for Thanksgiving we got the camera out for a couple of “Now You’re Nineteen” photos.  We were downtown that day for “small town shopping”.

The quotes are from Grace’s own personal collection of favorites.  (she has hundreds) ❤

DSC_0113
“Come, let us have some tea,
and continue to talk about happy things.”

fullsizeoutput_5de3
Don’t be so cool you can’t cry.
Don’t be so smart you can’t wonder.
Don’t be so set on your sunny days
That you can’t love the roll of the thunder.

He has made everything beautiful
in its time.   Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

 

wall of children

IMG_4452

I look like such a big head in this photo but that’s selfie photography for you!  Poor Sarah didn’t make it into the photo.

After all the planning and organizing and hosting of Thanksgiving, we were all ready to get out of the house on Black Friday and it was absolutely the best day because we were all together, Rich and I **without even one child missing**.

The line at Starbucks was a little long so I got silly with my camera and my mama-joy.

IMG_4458

Rich and I both felt deep down meaningful gratitude over spending time with them, our biggest blessings of all.  Each so different and yet, together, a special group of siblings.  That’s how all families feel about their children, and rightfully so.

God is so good to us.

IMG_4472

THE SONS

At the mall!  I like to do things fairly so I said to Rich, “The girls go with me and the boys go with you!”   (I’m sure the boys were utterly relieved)

IMG_4463

Sarah insisted on getting this blanket for “someone” on our Christmas list!

I’m thinking if it were a fluffy sweater in Sarah’s size she would look dashing!

(Note to Self:  Sarah looks good in mauve.)

IMG_4481

She found her perfect dream dress.  And thank goodness I liked it, too.  It’s plain and simple but with the best twirling skirt ever.

IMG_4475

AND THE DAUGHTERS

So.  I had a secret mission for this mall outing.  I wanted more than anything to get updated portraits taken of Jacob and Ethan.  They are both Juniors in college this year and it’s been since High School that I had a nice professional portrait of them.  Grace’s senior photo is still on the wall looking fabulous, along with the other school-age children who just brought home their updated school portraits.

I had five 8 by 10s hanging up in the livingroom, but was very much missing the two eldest boys.

I wasn’t sure if we could just walk into the portrait studio without appointments but we tried it and had SUCCESS!  All I wanted was one 8 by 10 of each of them and we were in and out of the studio in no time at all, pictures in hand.

56470075771__93EADABC-F3A0-4958-896F-7FCC149ED4F6

They turned out so nice!!!!!  Here’s Jacob’s portrait.  He will be turning 22 next month.

56470056564__F6CEE434-F427-433B-AB00-1F9DC1B2854A

And here’s Ethan’s portrait!  He’s 20 years old.

I love how they go together yet they aren’t matchy-matchy.

DSC_0168

I find myself staring at their faces quite often.  🙂

fullsizeoutput_5dc6

This is exactly where I am right now, sitting in the chair draped by a white and blue blanket that Aunt Colleen crocheted for me in our local school colors so I could take it to cold outdoor games.  In the mug I have hot spiced apple cider, and to the left of my laptop you can see the jar candle, and then my phone propped up, which is playing my friend’s video to me this morning.  What a great way to start the day, with photos, conversation, laundry, and blogging.

To be honest, I have also been to the vet to drop off poor Walter.  Today our kitty has to have his special operation that will help him grow up to be a nice, tame, good-smelling male cat who can’t make babies.  We’ll go pick him up again later.  🙂

Also, Seth is home for the second day in a row.  He’s feeling better but had a fever yesterday so has to be home one more day.  I have to admit I really really like having him home with me.

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.
CHARLES SPURGEON

BE BLESSED TODAY, FRIENDS
YOU ARE LOVED.

 

 

thank you for the smile

fullsizeoutput_5db9

This morning Sarah was having cereal for breakfast but she couldn’t remember if she liked cinnamon flavored Life.  So she took a few pieces out of the box to taste it and as she crunched she made a funny face.

“What’s the matter, don’t you like it?”  I asked.

“No, I do………… it’s just that I haven’t used my teeth for eleven hours.”  

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