autumn photos

56139620001__7FBAA31F-FDB8-475B-9FFE-611AB899B538

Last week Amanda and Cassandra came and we went for a walk outside.  Look how baby Elena is looking at her aunt.  She knows that we will have fun together through the years.

IMG_2565

fullsizeoutput_5bbf

IMG_2574

Such a delightful warmth in the arms.

IMG_2577

Diaper change before we go!

DSC_0002

Cassandra is trying to remember how to put the baby wrap on.

fullsizeoutput_5bc9

sisters

DSC_0003

DSC_0012

DSC_0013

IMG_2580

fullsizeoutput_5bc4

Sweet mama with her first baby.

fullsizeoutput_5bc6

We sat for a while and enjoyed the view off the mountain.

fullsizeoutput_5bc8

fullsizeoutput_5bcc

fullsizeoutput_5bcd

fullsizeoutput_5bce

fullsizeoutput_5bd6

Elena is two months old now.  Since I took these photos she’s grown even more bright and aware.   Babies change quickly….and so do the leaves on the trees.  There is more red out now to join all the yellow of a week ago.  Some of the trees have already lost most of their leaves.

I couldn’t get her to look at me so I turned around to see what was so interesting.

IMG_2589

I was so tickled to see that it was a mirror!

fullsizeoutput_5bd8

Another diaper change, lunch, conversation, and it was the end of our sister morning.  We loved every minute.

*****

IMG_2838

IMG_2836

IMG_2843

Grace is the gift of feeling sure that our future, even our dying, is going to turn out more splendidly than we dare to imagine.  Lewis Smedes

IMG_2837

56183194585__FF6F7F37-45F0-4199-BEC7-1C73308E7312

IMG_2905

(poor moulting chicken)

IMG_2948

“Mom, what makes a rainbow?” asked Seth.  “Sunshine and rain,” I answered.  Sarah added, “And tiny evaporators.”  We were going to music lessons.  I stopped the car three times to take photos.

IMG_2961

IMG_2967

It is good that the heart be established by grace.  Hebrews 13:9

 

SaveSave

august 2006

DSCN9010

(taking photos)

I remembered taking some photos years ago at my Grandparent’s house.  They were “last time” photos, as I was unsure I would ever see it again the way it looked when Grandma and Grandpa lived there.  Grandma had died and Grandpa was moving out of the farmhouse.

After I took the photos I didn’t do anything to save them.  I thought I would print them out, put them in a scrapbook or something.   But Caleb was a baby and I would end up having Seth and Sarah and being extremely busy and distracted by motherhood.

However, every now and then I would think about the photos from Grandma’s house and wonder where in the world they went.

For a time I was having my digital photos put on CD at Costco and I assumed that I had done that and lost the CD.

Last week, when I was blogging about the Nancy Drew books Grandma had given me, and I was over in the garage looking through boxes, I thought of those photos again.  I found an old picture CD and turned it over to see the label.  Nope.  Not the photos.  I stood in the closet and said a little prayer that I would someday find them.

Amanda and Cassandra came over and I wanted to take photos of the baby and our walk.  There was no camera card in my camera so I took one out of the plastic baggy I keep all my cards in and inserted it into the camera.  We went on our walk and I put the camera aside for a day or two.

In the meantime, I went to a thrift store and found a framed needlework that I had remembered Mom giving to Grandma years ago, and which Mom now has hanging in her house.  I took a photo of it, and of my ongoing collection, and texted them to Mom so she could see.

Then, I thought I had some time to blog the photos of my walk with Amanda and Cassandra so I got the camera card out of the camera and inserted it into my laptop.

This card, by the way, was funny, because during the walk I could only get it to hold about 10 photos before it was full.  But I couldn’t see any other photos on it while it was in my camera.

When I inserted it, all the photos flashed up and there were about 20 from the year 2006, including little videos of baby Caleb.  I hadn’t seen these photos in so long that I almost didn’t know what I was seeing.  In a moment, I was taken back 12 years to when Caleb was a baby, when we were getting our new puppy Parker, AND YES, those photos I had longed for, when Grandma and Grandpa’s house still looked the way I remembered it……..I cried a little with my hands over my mouth in surprised joy.  I studied each and every photo.  I just could not believe it.

I saw the needlepoint on Grandma’s wall that I had JUST BOUGHT THAT DAY for my own wall!

The only (small) disappointment was there were not nearly as many photos of the house that I thought I had taken!!!!

fullsizeoutput_5ba7

The corner hutch in the kitchen with seasonal Watkins pie plates, a photo of me and my siblings, and a sweet drawing of a goldfinch.  I have one of the pie plates.

fullsizeoutput_5ba8

More of Grandma’s kitchen decorations.

fullsizeoutput_5baa

kitchen

DSCN2294

This is the indentation in the kitchen linoleum that I always put my heel in for a moment or two….it fit just right.  So funny the things kids do and remember from childhood.

fullsizeoutput_5bab

Just a small part of the livingroom, which was nice and spacious for family gatherings.

The framed needlework design hung on the wall over the TV.

fullsizeoutput_5bac

Old clothes hanging up in Grandma’s closet.

fullsizeoutput_5b91

And of course the bookcases upstairs on the landing.

DSCN2297

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

DSCN2299

On top of the shelves there was space for all the senior portraits that she framed and displayed, of her children and grandchildren.  There I am on the far right.

DSCN2298

Makes me smile to think of her doing this.

And that’s that.  sigh.  I wish I had taken 100 more!!  But I can’t complain BECAUSE I FINALLY FOUND THE MISSING PHOTOS AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!

I’m in the kitchen while Jacob videotapes his baby brother.  What makes me laugh every time is seeing Caleb pick up a piece of who knows what off the floor….and eat it.  Poor baby number 5!!!  Mama’s too busy to make sure you don’t eat yucky things!  (honestly, it happens no matter what number baby…..)  He’s so cute!!!

DSCN2338

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

DSC00130

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

fullsizeoutput_5ba6

fullsizeoutput_5b95

DSCN8718

Ethan with puppy Parker.

DSCN8768

beautiful mama in her garden

DSCN8966

visiting mom and dad

DSCN8853

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

DSCN8810

Little Caleb in the flower bed by Grandpa’s garage.

A trip down memory lane!

Home is where the heart is,
Love is where the home is.

 

seth’s shoes fit me

fullsizeoutput_5b87

me, the dog, and seth, looking down at our feet

Let me remind you that Rich and I already have three grown-up children.  They are Jacob (21), Ethan (20), and Grace (18).  They are out of state, in college.  We also have two “middle aged” children David (16), and Caleb (13).

Seth and Sarah are the babies.  Seth (9) and Sarah (8).  babies.

I am fine with having grown up children.  I’m okay with having the middle aged ones, too.  But the babies I have to keep.  They’re mine.  They still get pulled onto my lap at least 2-5 times a week.

Last night it was time for football practice when out of the blue I got hit in the heart by a train.  I had gone into the closet to get my shoes on when I looked down at shoes I had just bought for Seth.  They looked strangely big next to mine.  “No.” I thought.  I lifted my bare foot and slipped it right into Seth’s shoe.

“Seth!  Seth! Come here!” I called.  For a moment it was funny and I knew baby boy would sure be surprised to have feet as big as mine.

But as soon as he walked toward me……I looked at his face…..his eyes looked into mine…..and I opened my mouth to say, “look!”…….when the tears came…..

“Seth!  Look at my feet!”

He looked down, Sarah came running.

“Your shoes fit me!  How do your shoes fit my feet!  Seth!  What’s happening!  Seth!”

“Mom…….you’re crying,” he said gazing with wonder (and half a proud smile), at my face.

“Mom, don’t cry,” laughed Sarah.

I stood there, as they cheerfully comforted me as best they could.

“Mom, your feet are just small!”

“You’re still TALLER than me!”

“Your feet are still BIGGER THAN MINE!”

And, finally,

“Take it off.  So you can stop fussing.”  ~Seth

*****

P.S. When he came home from football practice, he ran right over and sat on the couch next to me, making a big show out of taking off his cleats and socks, proudly lifting each foot, wriggling his toes, looking back and forth from his feet to my face, and making sure I was noticing his big feet and trying to get me to cry again.

nancy drew books

When I was around 10 years old my Grandma brightened up my entire world by giving me a set of Nancy Drew books, which I absolutely loved to read.  I got so I would read one a day….all summer long…the summer I was ten.

I love how as an adult you remember things you did as a kid and think, “I still do that!!”  I HATE endings, I hate finishing things that are extra-special.  Most of the time you just have to go ahead and end, but sometimes you have a choice and just can’t.  For example, I read Winnie the Pooh to my son when he was little and I never read him the last chapter because I just couldn’t.  Well, I never read the last Nancy Drew book from Grandma, either………I never will.  It would be over.

I kept them all on a bookshelf in my bedroom,  in an orderly row.  My baby brother Isaac went through a stage when he would deliberately crawl in my bedroom just to pull himself up and pull all big sister’s nice books down in a heap.  I wonder if we have a photo of that.  I would have to put them all back again every single day, half annoyed and half forgiving because he was so cute and I loved him.

I had neglected the books.  I had all but forgotten their existence.

BUT THEN.  My brother David went to a huge antique store in Savannah, Georgia and sent me these photos:

(by the way it feels so good to be seen and known and loved by family–by Grandma years ago, and by Dave in sending me these photos bc he remembered I had them)

44188840_10156476485431343_6566359878611238912_n

44061617_10156476485806343_3327399812336189440_n

The memory of Nancy Drew books came back to me as I thought of how amazed I was when Grandma gave me the set, how I treasured them and read them.  I would study the titles and the pictures on each cover.  I loved the size and feel of the books in my hands and their nice hard yellow covers.  I thought how I’ve kept them for 32 years now…..but not on shelves.  Shelf space for Nancy Drew had run out years ago and other books had become more important because life was busy with raising seven children and I rarely had time to read anything but children’s books to them, and no time to enjoy my own collection of books, much less the ones from my own childhood.  I like to enjoy my books by looking at them, pulling one out to look through, putting it back, rearranging them, putting them in neat orderly rows.  Feeling that they were mine, all mine.

I texted him back:  “When I was 10 Grandma gave me the whole set.  And I read one every day.  I should put them on shelves instead of in boxes.”

I’ve been cleaning and cleaning the basement for days.  And as I did, I came across some of the books!

Yesterday, Dave (my son) had an appointment and afterwards had to go back to school, but, “It would be WRONG if we were right next to Goodwill and didn’t run inside quick.”

WE FOUND A BOOKCASE!  It was made of pine (light enough for me to carry myself) and only cost 10 dollars.

Once books are on a shelf no one notices the shelf anymore so any ol’ bookcase of any quality (as long as it is sturdy) will do for books.  When I showed it to Rich he asked how much I paid and I said thirty and he said “good” and then I laughed and said “IT WAS TEN!!!!” to surprise him and impress him.

It was wonderful to gather up my old Nancy Drews out of a dark lonely box and put them all in one spot for the first time in 20 years.  I opened them up to see my name written inside.  I admired the covers.

There were a BUNCH MISSING.

This morning I wanted to blog and could not find my computer anywhere.  David uses it more than I do these days so I kept muttering his name as I went from room to room looking for MY computer.  Ugh.  I felt just as annoyed as I did when I found all my books on the floor.  Boys!  Brothers and sons.  cute.  loved.

I remembered that he had gone to the garage where we have a work out room upstairs.  He goes over there every day to exercise and he is very proud of his resulting muscles.  “Maybe he took my computer to the work out room,” I thought.  I don’t like going to the garage and mainly stay away.  But I tromped on over to look and… since I was there… I looked in the storage closet and FOUND A WHOLE BUNCH MORE OF MY BOOKS.

Thanks Dave (1) for inspiring me and thanks Dave (2) for misplacing my computer and forcing me into the garage this morning!  It’s all because of you two that I’m getting this silly little project done!

fullsizeoutput_5b7e

I carried them back to the house in this basket.

fullsizeoutput_5b7f

Getting ready to add them to the shelf.

fullsizeoutput_5b83

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

fullsizeoutput_5b81

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

DSC_0423

the beautiful blue of an autumn sky

fullsizeoutput_5b5b

Samantha cat has a sore paw.

fullsizeoutput_5b74

Seth

fullsizeoutput_5b70

David was using this tool to retrieve Seth’s football from the pond.  He wasn’t being nice. He knew he had to do it because he was the one who kicked it in.

fullsizeoutput_5b6c

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

fullsizeoutput_5b72

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

DSC_0418

b213477033

I have three brothers and these five sons. (photo from 8 years ago)

Why am I crying?  I guess it’s because I’m happy and life is beautiful…and fleeting.

15 minutes of bird-watching

I have sorrow in my heart that these photos aren’t great but that can’t stop me from posting them!!  This isn’t National Geographic, this is an ordinary housewife taking photos because when she waved her children off to school she noticed it was a great morning for birdwatching.  I heard the most beautiful morning song calling to me but alas I never did figure out who did the calling.  However, since I was out there anyway (heeding ‘the call’) with my camera, pajamas, & barefoot, I meandered around to see what else I could see.

fullsizeoutput_5b3f

At first I was annoyed with the wires but then I thought they added something cool to the photo……and plus it was so neat to see a woodpecker and a nuthatch in the same frame!  The woodpecker was cool and collected, the nuthatch scurried smoothly around the tree like a mouse.

fullsizeoutput_5b40

Thanks to my camera lens, (which is useful like binoculars) I could SEE this bird.  Without the lens it really did look like a mouse.

fullsizeoutput_5b41

…a little bit of red beauty hiding in the bushes…

fullsizeoutput_5b48

mysterious

fullsizeoutput_5b47

This bird doesn’t come to the feeders, I spied it flitting about in the trees behind the house.    It’s a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

fullsizeoutput_5b49

flying away

fullsizeoutput_5b4a

gone

DSC_0321

I love morning-glories.

DSC_0323

The rose-bush is doing well.

fullsizeoutput_5b43

A charming juvenile cardinal….

fullsizeoutput_5b44

Chewing on a twig!!!!  It’s so cute.  I love how he uses his tail as a support so he can reach out and chew the twig.

*******

a scripture that meant a lot to me this morning:

“But what happens when we live God’s way?  He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity.  We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that basic holiness permeates things and people.  We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely………..since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.  That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse.  We have far more interesting things to do with our lives.  Each of us is an original.”  Galations 5

SaveSave

something of one’s own

DSC_0217

It’s October.  This morning a soft mild breeze brought down 100 yellow leaves, tossing and turning them before they landed with a papery sound on the driveway.  I saw Walter Kitty looking up, up, up, his head turning this way and that, watching the leaves.  His first autumn.

The way water reflects colorful leaves and sunshine, like a stained glass window, is breathtaking.  Every scene is much lovelier than a video, or painting, or a photograph.  There are no smells of earth, or sounds of nature, in a mere picture.

DSC_0232

“Woman’s life today is tending more and more toward the state William James describes so well in the German word, ‘Zerrissenheit–torn-to-pieces-hood.’  She cannot live perpetually in ‘Zerrissenheit.’  She will be shattered into a thousand pieces.  On the contrary, she must consciously encourage those pursuits which oppose the centrifugal forces of today.  Quiet time alone, contemplation, prayer, music, a centering line of thought or reading, of study or work.  It can be physical or intellectual or artistic, any creative life proceeding from oneself.  It need not be an enormous project or a great work.  But it should be something of one’s own.  Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day–like writing a poem, or saying a prayer.  What matters is that one be for a time inwardly attentive.”

Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, page 56

fullsizeoutput_5b31

fullsizeoutput_5b32

fullsizeoutput_5b33

DSC_0243

fullsizeoutput_5b36

Like most mothers, my days are busy from start to finish.  Yesterday even more so.  The children didn’t have school so I left a list of chores for David and Sarah to complete while I was gone, and took Caleb, along with Seth, to his orthopedic doctor’s appointment, 45 minutes away through morning rush hour city traffic.  The appointment was over an hour long in a tiny room, mostly waiting, with Caleb leaving twice for xrays.  We left with the orders that he could not throw anymore until his shoulder heals, as he has what’s commonly called “Little League Shoulder”, which means that the growth plate in the shoulder is inflammed by over-use in throwing baseballs and footballs.  Ironically, I was suffering from a stiff neck all day and still am this morning.  We ate lunch,  relieved to finally know why Caleb’s shoulder was hurting and happy that with rest it should heal up nicely.  We did some shopping and came home with just enough time to get ready for music lessons, and then on to football and cheerleading practice.  Then, loud and happy goofing around in the house afterwards as they ate a bedtime snack, took showers, and David chased the family pets around the house, scaring them half to death with his dragon hand puppet.

*********

In the midst of this day of mine,  I took out my camera and enjoyed God’s lovely world in the small green grassy yard by the music building downtown.  Seth and I saw a pretty creek, trees with bright leaves, unusual mushrooms, and we took each other’s picture.

Now I’m taking a quiet moment to write here, feet up on the coffee table and dishwasher running in the kitchen, and I’m quite positive Anne Morrow Lindbergh would approve.