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!

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

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

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Isaac took all the photos.  Thank you Isaac!

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

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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.

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They’re even cute when they cry.

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This morning we were pleasantly surprised by a beautiful snow.

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Happy Monday, friends.

You are loved.

 

snowflakes (a sense of awe)

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snowflake on a spiderweb

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In the fading late afternoon, a light snow is falling.   Caleb is giving Sarah a helping hand down to the pond because she’s teetering on ice skates.

She’s going to skate back and forth along the edge while he watches to make sure she’s safe.

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snowflakes on dry leaves

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On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on Your wondrous works,
I will meditate.  Psalm 145:5

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snowflakes on ice

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snowflakes on Ethan’s truck

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and on a pine tree branch

Oh the loveliness of snowflakes!!  So silent, so gentle.

The moments that I feel the most imbued with a sense of awe are always the moments when I am outdoors. I can’t help but feel a certain sense of wonder – I become almost filled with it.  ~ Kathi Appelt
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recommended podcast episode that goes along with this post:  3 Ways to Feel Less Busy 

(the first way is to “give yourself a shot of awe”)

 

a very special September 16th

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new mama

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first baby!!

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My brother Isaac and his wife Cassandra had their baby!!! and invited us over yesterday to meet her.  Rich and I left David in charge of Caleb, Seth, and Sarah at home, and spent about an hour and a half visiting our new little niece.

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It was wonderful to hold this beautiful baby girl.  She’s perfect.

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Rich had a turn holding her, too.  I think he was surprised that I would share.

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Isaac with his baby girl.

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I took these portraits after she took a little nap and was relaxed, calm, and content in her Daddy’s arms.  Rich remarked to me after we left how sweet it was to see her obviously know and love her parents.

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Welcome to the word, sweet Elena!  You are loved beyond words.

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When it was time to leave, we went in the backyard and had Isaac take some photos of us, as it was our 23rd wedding anniversary.

It was a very special September 16th, and one we will always remember because it was the day we met baby Elena.

Praise the LORD!
Oh give thanks to the LORD,
for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 106:1

 

vanilla cake, vanilla frosting

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What a special evening our youngest had with her brothers and sister.  They played games together, and big brother Jacob made the quick trip to the grocery store in town to buy some ice cream.  He came home with strawberry, peanut butter cup, cookies and cream, and party cake ice cream.  Rich and I sat contentedly in the living room with the sounds of a full house all around us; doors opening and shutting, chatter, laughter, basketball bouncing on the driveway, footsteps walking or running, upstairs, downstairs, drinks in the kitchen, on and on, so much energy!  Soon it was time for the birthday song and cake.  Sarah watched her Dad light the candles.  She watched so intently as her siblings continued to be silly all around her.  Her face as we sang was precious to see, all sparkling eyes and big smile.  The cake was amazing.  Even Ethan agreed, and he doesn’t typically like cake.  The birthday girl was offended when I bragged, “I made it myself.” because she helped make the frosting.

Cake:

1 cup whole milk, room temperature
6 large egg whites, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
12 T. unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened

Oven set to 350.  Grease 9 by 13 cake pan.  Whisk milk, egg whites, and vanilla in 4-cup liquid measuring cup.  Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed until combined.  Add butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until only pea-sized pieces remain.  Add half of milk mixture, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Reduce speed to medium-low, add remaining milk mixture, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds.  Give batter final stir by hand.  Scrape batter into prepared pan and bak until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes.  Cool completely.  recipe from Cook’s Country Cookbook  (it’s the cake part of the recipe for Lane cake).

Frosting:

1 stick butter
4 T.  milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter, milk, and vanilla.  Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating until light and fluffy.  Makes enough frosting for one 9 by 13 cake.

clumped

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photo by M

Just because I was sitting on the couch when right in front of me most of the family clumped together by the door to listen to Jacob tell a story to his Dad and all of a sudden I wanted a picture of my darlings just the way they appeared in the moment.  M said, “I’ll take it so you can be in it, too.”

 

morning meditations (cheerful and bright)

(I almost wrote morning medications!)

So this morning I made my cup of coffee in a marigold java fiesta mug, let it get cold while I did laundry, warmed it back up in the microwave, and carried it outside to our “under the porch swing” with my current read.

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(As an aside, I want to explain my current read.  This book caught my eye at the thrift store in town because I thought I would mail it to a blog friend who is a big fan of Doris Day.   In fact HERE is her Doris Day pinterest board.  Godeliva is a friend of mine on Facebook and also has left notes on my blog for years, she lives in a different country so English is not her first language, she leaves charming little comments that I have to translate, and it’s because of her that at times I have Doris Day photos on my Facebook feed, along with other lovely thoughts, photos, quotes, and beautiful inspiration.  So anyways, she is the reason why I gave this book a second glance at the thrift store that day. . . .I don’t know anything about Doris Day other than she’s blond and cute so naturally I have started reading this surprisingly interesting book instead of mailing it out promptly.)

Because I am a morning person with lots of energy at this time of day, once my coffee was drained, I began to get antsy and my eyes left the words on the page (very interesting account of her first marriage which failed because he beat her and abused her even while she was pregnant) to wander around the garden just across the way, and the patio with the furniture rather haphazard and the ground beneath the swing which was starting to fill up with weeds.

I left the swing and began to weed.

I soon discovered there were about 100 or more legos mingled in the wood chips and weeds beneath the swing.

“Oh those boys, I’m going to get them out of the house and have the pick up every single solitary lego!”

The weirdest thing happened.  It was kind of like magic.  Or sorcery.  As I continued weeding, the legos became so sweet, so perfectly natural to MY life as a mom, MY boys that I love so much, that my heart. . . . .simply melted, causing my brain to decide OF COURSE legos must be scattered beneath the swing!!  Of course they must!

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In fact, I may just get another couple of cups from the toybox and scatter them under there, too!

Legos are part of the landscape here.  They represent a house full of children who have loved playing with them for almost 20 years.  20 years worth of legos, I say, we must have about a million pieces.  They.are.everywhere.  They really are.  They may as well be under the porch swing, too.

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So cheerful and bright.

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Look I even found a horse.

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Last week, (after I brought home my big box of Rose Fiestaware) I went through all my dishes and (believe it or not-this is shocking-) decided to get rid of a big stack of fiesta saucers of various colors and put them in a box to go to Goodwill.  A few days later, as I was working on the flower beds I thought “Hmmmmmm, this idea might be kind of redneck but perhaps those saucers that are in the box for Goodwill would make a nice border.”  So I tried it and yes Rich did ask a sincere “Why are your dishes in the garden?” but I think they look “so cheerful and bright” rather like…………….this just occurred to me………..LEGOS!

The mama has her fiestaware, and just around the corner down the path, the kiddos have their legos.

Perfection.

 

{this moment}

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opened presents
went to Crackerbarrel for breakfast
put together his lego set
looked at his baby book for the first time
had his favorite dinner at home (chicken divan)
this is a football-birthday for our football-loving boy
Caleb turns 10!!!!!!!