first sledding of the season

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My brain woke up before the rest of me.  I was so tired it took me a few minutes to reach for my phone to see if school was cancelled this morning.  Nope, just a two-hour delay.

As soon as Sarah got up she went outside.

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She couldn’t wait to go sledding.

It was 7 o’clock in the morning.

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Our house sits on a hill so it’s been fun for the children all these years.  They can just sled from the porch steps all the way down……beginning with the oldest Jacob and ending with the youngest, Sarah.

Alas, no one else wanted to sled with Sarah this morning.  Seth got half ready and then changed his mind. “The snow isn’t good.”  “It’s too cold out.”

I watched Sarah through the window.  And then I went out on the cold wet porch in my socks.

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I was charmed to see her attempt something her big sister Grace would have also done at age 8; she decided to scoop up kitty Walter and take him for a sled ride.  After all, this is Walter’s first winter.  He has a lot to learn.

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He learned it really fast.

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Sledding wasn’t for him.

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Back inside, Caleb made himself bacon, cheese, and eggs.  A nice proper breakfast, served on a white fiestaware plate, with a periwinkle mug of ice-cold juice on the side.

 

They can’t cook at the same time without squabbling (G, right?) so after his big brother was done, Seth made himself bacon and eggs, too.

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Snowy outside, cozy inside.  Look at Parker begging.  LOLOLOLOLOL

PS, the first photo is of my garden gnome.  He can’t see right now.

friday: boys dorm, saturday: book sale, sunday: football

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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.

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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.

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The dorm has a great view of the sports fields.

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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).

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Admittedly, the vintage red shakers were in very nice condition, but I wouldn’t pay 30 dollars for them.

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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.

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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.”

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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?

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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.)::

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Our kitty Walter Felix Disney just meowed and meowed in gratitude when he saw his new book that we bought for him.

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But Sherlock didn’t care.  He knows the books about HIM are 100 times better.

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Someone was happy to have his boy back.

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Rich and I took full advantage of our Saturday together because on Sunday he had to leave us for a business trip.

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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

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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.

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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).

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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?”

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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;

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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

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i am made aware of another mothering mistake

I simply love it when the children and I have time to chat without distractions because it gives them the chance to air their little grievances.  This morning Seth and Sarah were all ready for school with about 10 minutes to spare.  I stood by the door watching for the bus while Seth sat on the floor and Sarah sat on the couch.  The family dog was flat on the floor, sound asleep and exhausted after a busy day yesterday when he escaped through his hidden dog fence and ran around the neighborhood for hours.  We have since figured out that his collar is broken so in the meantime, we were discussing how we cannot under any circumstances allow him go outside when the bus came, as he usually does, and having Parker as the topic of conversation reminded Seth of something that hurt his feelings…..and naturally, it was my fault.

From the floor, he spoke up.  “Mom?  MY favorite animal is the dog.  Caleb’s favorite animal was the SNAKE but then as soon as I decided MY favorite animal was the DOG he changed HIS favorite animal to the dog, too.”

(Caleb is his big brother and almost 4 years older than Seth.)

I turned away from the window to look at him.  “Well, you can both have dogs as your favorite animal, besides, I’m sure that Caleb still likes snakes better.”  But as I said this I realized that Seth was correct; Caleb has become a Dog Expert and watches lots of videos on youtube about……dogs.  And has been begging me…..for a dog of his own.  Well, it’s beside the point.  Having siblings means having to share your favorite things with them.  Life isn’t fair, ya know.

“And I feel ignored….” Seth continued, wide eyed.  “I feel ignored because now, when you see a dog, you say, ‘Caleb, look at the cute dog’ and….. I’m ignored.”

He began to get actual tears in his eyes over this thought.  It was obvious it came right from the heart.

As he buried his face in his hands, ashamed to be crying, I looked at Sarah, shrugged my shoulders, and bugged out my eyes, meaning;   “Can you believe this kid?”  She raised her eyebrows at me and it quickly became clear she was on “his side.”

She said, in a lecturing tone,  “Well, Mom, the name Caleb MEANS DOG.”

“All this is MY FAULT?” I asked.

“You could have named Caleb Seth and Seth Caleb.”

I was stunned.  So I raised my arms and said dramatically, “I would like to apologize to the entire room, especially YOU Parker, because you ARE a dog and you have to listen to all this. From now on,”  I turned back to Seth,  “If you and Caleb are together with me and I see a dog, I’ll say SETH LOOK AT THE CUTE DOG.”

Parker is elderly now so it touched my heart that between the three of them, he was the only one to slowly creak to his feet and walk over to me in order to accept my apology and get his ears rubbed.

Seth was smiling again, no doubt imagining Caleb’s face when he realized Seth took back his favorite animal and he would no longer receive motherly notifications about dog sightings,

then……thank heavens…..the bus arrived.

~snow in March~

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Ah, the changeable weather of March.

This is what we woke up, nothing too terrible, but school was already cancelled and for hours and hours we felt rather let down. . . . .in fact, the roads were perfectly fine when I ventured out with Sarah for her dentist appointment at 11.

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Next door to the orthodontist is a small floral shop so the two of us ducked inside to look around before heading home.  It was warm and cozy and we met a cat named Penny.   Sarah said, “Penny is a great name for a cat.”

No one appreciates flowers like a Northerner at this time of year.  They are a feast to the eyes. . . . .

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We came home with this arrangement. . .and a soy candle.

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back at home. . . . .

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David and I played Monopoly with Seth and Sarah.  It was laborious.  And not fun.  By the time I had a total of 2 properties, everyone else had like 7.  I kept landing on non property spaces.  Seth played like he lives life, with no regard for keeping things orderly and neat, flipping around on the floor, spilling his iced tea, and so on.  He also got tired of the game even though he was doing very well.  We eventually congratulated ourselves for quitting at the half way point.  (we made it that far)  But isn’t the penguin token so cute?  I thought of you, Dad.

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“Why aren’t these kids in school?”

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“I can’t relax in these conditions.”

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The Christmas Cactus surprised me with one more blossom!  (in a cobalt fiestaware planter)

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Rich got home from Dallas just in time for the big snow-day.  Everyone was glad to have him back. . . .including Parker the dog.

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Eventually the snow picked up.

Rich went out with the children to buy a mattress for Joanna’s visit (tomorrow) and I had a nice hour or so to watch the snow fall and read my book (Don Quixote) which has been a highly amusing literary surprise.

“Published in two volumes, in 1605 and 1615, Don Quixote is considered the most influential work of literature from the Spanish Golden Age and the entire Spanish literary canon. As a founding work of modern Western literature and one of the earliest canonical novels, it regularly appears high on lists of the greatest works of fiction ever published.”  ~wikipedia

I picked up a copy at the thrift store for like 5 cents.

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When they arrived home with the mattress, I had just put chicken enchiladas in the oven.  Everyone was so hungry.  Enchiladas were never anticipated quite like this.  We looked into the oven every 30 seconds to see if they were done.  Meanwhile, Rich told me all about his wonderful deals at the mattress store.  The man in charge gave them his full attention because, as he said, “You will probably be my only customers today.”  Rich told me his story as the children all hovered around, listening and watching for Mama’s reaction, after all they were so proud of their Dad and knew I would be, too.

Alas, just as Rich finished up his report and concluded by saying, “Wasn’t that a good deal, Shan?”,  Seth “ate his chair”, in the words of our 15 year old son.  He had been rocking back and forth on his stool, leaning on it instead of sitting on it, and it slipped out from under him and landed on him with a loud crash.  We all looked down at Seth on the floor as he started saying, like he was trying to convince himself or maybe pray for a miracle, “I’m okay, I’m okay!  I’m okay!”  Rich helped him to his feet and dusted him off.  It was dear little his nose, the part right between his eyes.  It swelled up slightly and bled a little but was not broken.  “Wow, he totally ate that chair,” said Dave,  “Is the chicken done yet?”  Seth went to look at himself in the bathroom mirror.  A picture would be nice right about now but I wasn’t in the position to be photographer at that point, I was too busy congratulating my husband for buying 2 mattresses, 2 pillows, 2 sets of sheets, a mattress protector, arranging free delivery and old mattress pick-up, all for the PRICE OF JUST ONE MATTRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!  “Wasn’t that a good deal, Shan?”  “Wait, I’ll tell you just as soon as I feel Seth’s nose to see if it’s broken………….”

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I’ll just post this photo again.  Boy was dinner good.  They all dug in and enjoyed as they ate in front of the TV and got up for seconds and thirds.  Yes, TV is totally okay during meals on snow days.

The rest of the day passed lazily.  PTL

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The snow continued to come down heavily and we woke up this morning to yet another snowday.  Rich plowed the driveways and headed to work after telling me, “No, I cannot take them with with me,” and the children went right outside before 8,  after breakfast to make hyenas.  (I don’t know but they took the bag of carrots, I saw Parker running around with one in his mouth)

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I filled up the bird feeders and admired little cat tracks.

I’m blogging in front of the window with my slippered feet up on the sill.  When I look outside I have to squint a little, the snow is so white and bright it puts our ideas of “white” to shame.

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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I slept so good last night, finally, after a week of having the world’s worst cold ever.  I made it through the day yesterday with no nap (feeling better!), plus five miles of walking outside in the fresh air, two baseball games at the end of the day, trip to town for errands, weeding in the garden, cough medicine before bed, yes indeedy it all made for a wonderful night’s sleep.  I woke up with my face glued to the pillow I had slept so heavily.  It’s 8:30 and I still feel sleepy.  Delicious..

Kids are all in school, their last day is the 20th.

There is so much going on in my life.  So I haven’t been able to blog as much this week because I’m very distracted.  However, I did take some photos here and there throughout the week so I thought I would make myself sit still on the couch and post them this morning.  They are mostly nature photos.  The sun has been shining bright and we have two lilac bushes in bloom attracting the most beautiful little creatures. . . . . . .

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So I sit in front of the flowers in a lawn chair with my camera and it’s just the nicest time in the sunshine and perfume of the lilacs.

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I love the tips of it’s antennae.

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wildflower I smiled to see

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the purple ones smell like grape koolaid.  I’ve picked them and put them in the house for the most lovely of smells. . . ..natural air freshener at it’s best.

The peach ones smell good, too.  Thanks to mom for sharing her irises with me.

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Getting off the bus one day.

I sit on the bench on the side porch with a book and my camera next to me, ready to shoot anything interesting that comes along.

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Ugh…gypsy moth caterpillars are everywhere.

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This is a pretty little bird, my flash went off and the picture came out nice.  I like it’s eye and beak.

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A community of mourning doves at the end of the day…they were roosting together and cooing.

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see the green grasshopper on the pansy?

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It was raining outside, I was in the house on the phone with Tara, and took the photo through a window and porch railings.  Not bad!!! I love these birds (Northern Flicker).  They have stripes, polka dots, red, yellow. . .so pretty!  They eat ants and beetles and have been visiting our front yard to find food.

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so lovely (see the blue on it’s wing) –such beauty in a small bit of nature. . . .it’s wings flutter so quickly at times it’s hard to see the details, which is a nice benefit of photography!

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Sarah got new clothes, she picked them out of the miniboden catalogue.  I love their clothes and Sarah likes wild cats, reading about them, playing with her toy cheetahs and lions, so when she saw this shirt she just had to have it.  So this is what she wore to school yesterday, and even though she’s not partial to a top knot, I fixed her hair in one.  Adorable.  She didn’t know kitty was coming  . . . and then was so sweetly happy to hug him.

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Back of the shirt. cute, right?

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HUMMINGBIRD MOTH, one of my favorite visitors!!  They flap their wings so fast they are a blur.

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I threw something out on the porch at 8pm the other night and was surprised to see one “working overtime” in the dusky evening shadows flying around, dipping into lilac blossoms.

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The bumblebees were most amusing…there were so many the became territorial.  Flying, hovering, making contact with each other in the air, buzzing around.  Pollen looked like gold dust.  Wings as purple as the flowers.

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It was quite a challenge to be fast enough to focus my camera on a hovering bumblebee.

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last but not least…..I was at the edge of the woods at the end of the lawn and saw a chipmunk.

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It was busy eating a dragonfly!!

****

As I was typing the last sentences, and before I had time to edit, the school nurse called because Dave had hit his head in gym class.  He hit heads with a classmate, causing the classmates glasses to cut the classmate (he feels so sorry for that) and then fell on the floor hitting his head a second time.  So he has a headache and has to rest in a quiet room today. . . . . . .

I just hopped online to edit and publish again.  Happy Friday!

 

 

 

 

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