lunch and christmas gift exchange with Dave

Too many of us never understand what we owe to our dear ones — until there remains no further opportunity of paying love’s debt.  JR Miller

I just downloaded 44 photos that could be grouped into a gazillion blog posts.  I was tempted to just dump them all into ONE but I can’t, I just can’t.  They deserve their own posts.  (Okay, It really might be ten, but with the rate I’ve been blogging it would take me a gazzillion days to post the ten.  I’m determined to do a blog a day until I’m caught up.)

I’m sitting on the couch in the livingroom.  Three of our four cats are prowling around.  Walter is sitting like a king by the kitchen door, Sherlock is sitting on the counter watching over things.  Bagheera snuck up behind Sherlock wanting to play and was hissed at, meanly.

Grace is also prowling around, warming up a cornbag and preparing a breakfast bagel.

It’s a gift to have her home on break for the next few weeks.  Her older brothers already had to drive back to Castleton on the 1st.  We are thinking about going to visit them at some point, just for the fun of it.

But today Grace and I are picking up Seth at the school at 10:30 for an orthodonist appointment.  He has an expander on the roof of his mouth, and a habit breaker, and I wonder if he’ll have either one of them removed today.  That would be nice for him.

Rich and Dave have a wrestling meet today after school.

This would be a nice weekend to visit us if you want to see the boys wrestle.  Dave has a meet on Saturday.  Caleb and Seth have their first meet on Sunday.  They will both be half- a- day long affairs, I will be taking headphones, a charger, and a book so the noise and activity doesn’t daze and confuse me.  I’m already praying they have fun and do as well as they can.  I’ll let you know if they place and get medals.

Sarah Joy was rummaging around the shelves this morning searching for lost school library books until I finally said, “You should have done this last night!” and she went to school with one missing.  She’s wearing blue pants, a purple velvet-textured shirt with ruffled sleeves, her trademark ponytail.  And a smile.

This morning I’m thinking about way back on December 18, 2018 when I drove to Clarks Summit.  The purpose of the trip was first and foremost to get my daughter home for Christmas, but at the same time I was able to spend time with Joanna and stay the night all by myself in a hotel.

I was also able to visit with my brother Dave.  He drove about an hour to meet me for lunch at a favorite little Greek diner.  He did all the ordering and we had the grandest time sitting and enjoying each other’s company while eating delicious food.

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Dave is one of the best brothers in the whole wide world (I have two others).  We are a year and two months apart in age and we like to tell each other, “You’re my original best friend.” It’s true.  We’ve been together all these years, and now, even though we live 4 hours apart, we text each other almost daily and talk on the phone once or twice a month.

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This was before our main lunch plates came out!  We had spinach pie, a piece of cheese that the waitress lit on fire next to our table so we could eat it sizzling hot, and pita with a sour cream/feta cheese dip.  All of the foods had Greek names that I now cannot remember, (I should have taken notes.)

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Then our meat kabobs came out and we kept right on eating.

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We ate and we ate and we ate and then had dessert.  We were stuffed full of good food.

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The waitress cleared away our dishes and packed up the remainder of my cheesecake, which I would finish eating at 9 o’clock that night.  I asked her to take a photo of us and now I have this picture to remind me of the day Dave came to meet me for lunch.

I’m leaning toward the computer screen right now, looking at it and smiling because I can’t help it.

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I posted the quote at the beginning of this post as a reminder to me to take every opportunity I can to spend time with the people I love, and to show them that I care about them.

jacob’s 22

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Happy New Year’s Eve!  Most of us are currently in the livingroom because Rich and Ethan are in the mood to watch Mr. Bean videos.  Nothing gets Rich laughing harder.

22 years ago we welcomed our firstborn into the world on this day.  Today is his birthday and it’s fun that it falls on a holiday and he can be home on his special day.  He and Brittnee went downtown to the coffeeshop for a little date, too.  We had pasta for lunch, played Phase 10, and just had a most delicious cake.

But before I share photos from today, I wanted to post a few from the wrestling tournament on Saturday.  Jacob drove me and the kids in my vehicle to the school where Rich and David and the rest of the team were warming up.

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David lost his first two matches and then won his second two.  It was a day of blood, sweat, and tears for him but it ended well.  (In blue singlet on the right).

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Seth and Sarah have spent a lot of their childhood in wrestling gyms and always find a spot to watch (rarely the bleachers next to me).  I keep an eye on them and smile.  Seth helped keep time at one point during the day, and even got to run the score clock once, as well.

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David recovered after a loss next to his sister.

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After a win, and then telling his Dad no way did he have any interested in doing an exhibition match against a 160 pounder.  (Dave was 138 on Saturday).

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After his second win, I took this photo from the bleachers of Dave listening to whatever Jacob was telling him (Ethan and Rich are nearby on the edge of the mat wearing gray long sleeved shirts).  Rich loves it when the boys are home and can help coach.   Jacob thought the shoot David did in this match was the best he ever did and Dave said it was because he “didn’t shoot from the bleachers” meaning he wasn’t too far away for it to be effective this time.

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Sometimes I just sit and take photos of whatever happens in front of me.

We stopped for a nice BBQ lunch on the way home and that was Saturday.

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Then, on Sunday evening Jacob invited friends to the house to begin celebrating his birthday.

Rich took them to Costco to get party food and they came home with shrimp, clams, and salmon, along with chips, dips, crackers, cheese, drinks, and a cake.

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Ethan got to work making coffees with his Christmas espresso maker while Jacob steamed all of the clams.

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Grace cozied up on the couch reading a book.

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And Rich watched the football games.

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Today Jacob turned twenty-two.

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They played games most of the day.  It’s been nice.  Our favorites have been Listography and Phase 10.

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I didn’t have twenty two candles so we put two and then two more.  I love this photo so much.  I was about to take it and Rich went and found the tripod so I could be in it, too.  Real-life romance.

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Grace lit the candles and someone turned off the lights.

We all started singing.

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And then Jacob blew out the candles.

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Seth was being silly.

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Dave went right back downstairs to Skyrim but don’t worry, “I’ll leave the door open so I can still hear you all,” he said.

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The cake was delicious!

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We convinced our son Jacob to get a haircut.

unkempt:

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kempt:

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much better!

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I love you, Jacob, and even though you’re grown up now and gone most of the year at college, I’m glad for the times you’re at home and we can enjoy your company and take care of you in little ways like driving you to Joe’s for a nice haircut.

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Don’t worry about anything; instead, PRAY about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God’s PEACE, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

*****

 

2018 Christmas

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Merry Christmas!

The children said we opened presents later in the morning than we ever have before.  I woke up a little after 6am and sat with the ones awake; Ethan, Grace, Caleb, Seth, and Sarah.  And then we finally broke down and woke up the rest of the family at 7.  The sun was shining brightly through the windows by the time we were done opening gifts at 9:15am.

What a wonderful day, to spend together with no other running around, or driving, or visiting, or anything else but opening gifts and then doing whatever we wanted to do.

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Rich came through with the perfume I requested, plus so much more, including fiesta mugs for me and him!

The other mug, which has “spring grass” decorating it, was another fun gift.  Ethan saw it the other day and said it would be perfect for me to drink my favorite matcha green tea (which he says tastes just like grass).   Rich went out and found it yesterday so he could give it to me for Christmas.  I will very much enjoy my tea while soaking in a tub of mineral salts, and maybe even eat some of my Godiva chocolates at the same time!

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The first thing we all looked at were the stockings, after Caleb cut them down from the stair railings, where they were hanging by zip-ties.

We were surprised to discover that in no time at all Caleb could play a full song with a nose-flute!  Lots of laughter.  And, “Mom why do you always get at least one noisy gift every year????”

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Most of all we savored the faces of our children, and how their eyes lit up when they opened each package they were given.  Thank you to Caleb for handing them out this year.  We took our time and spent almost two whole hours opening gifts, after Rich read the Christmas story to us from the Bible.

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Walter the cat was beside himself with all the ripping and flying paper.  Grace even thoughtfully sprinkled some cat nip on the floor for him, too.

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David opened a case of soda that he liked in Jamaica.

He confessed to me later, when just the two of us were in the laundry room, that he knew he was getting the soda because he saw the amazon notification on his brother’s Kindle.  “I’m a really good actor, though, so I was still surprised when I opened it.”

I was in the laundry room trying to figure out what I did with some lost presents that I didn’t know were lost until we opened everything and I realized that some were missing.

I still haven’t found them.  It’s going to seriously bother me until I do.

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Jacob and Ethan, who have spent the last 21 Christmases with us.  Such blessings.

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Sarah

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Dave who said the only quotable quote after I opened a bar of special soap:   “I find it very attractive, the simplicity of the cube.”

Whenever someone says something I want to remember I say, “Grace, write that down” and she says, “I got you.” and does it.

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Rich

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Ethan happily opening his espresso maker

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Yes, that’s a wok.  Dave got a wok from E for Christmas and they just got done making a big wok-full of chicken and rice.

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A contemplative brother next to a very pleased brother.

Ethan’s first latte went to his Dad.  The second went to Jake.  Third, to David.  Then he got tired and made one for me about an hour later, and then one for himself.  A truly thoughtful person, putting himself last.  🙂

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Grace opened her requested keyboard.

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dear Jacob

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opening his book about the Patriots (of the American Revolution).

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Seth was terribly sick yesterday but is all better today, and happy to try out his Hoverboard and wear a Christmas sweatshirt.

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Our beloved Caleb.

He was very happy today with new clothes and a lego set.  I’ve hardly seen him since opening gifts.

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Caleb

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A cashmere sweater for Rich.

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Harry Potter lego set.  Grace in a sunbeam.

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Seth’s face as he watched his Dad open a gift from him……

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……they were sunglasses!

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Sarah looked so sweet in her new Charlie Brown flannel nightgown.  Seth got flannel pj’s too but didn’t wear them because he was worried about being too hot (he had a fever).

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GLORIOUS MESS

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It sat like this for over an hour before Rich and I recovered enough to bother getting the kids to clean it up.

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Sarah took her stuff and found an empty area on the floor by the tree.

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She played there for a while, and then went and took a THREE & a HALF HOUR BATH.  We had to tell her to get out.  “When you give a girl a bath bomb”.

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Isn’t Christmas fun?

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It is more blessed to give than to receive.  I am reminded of this truth every year.

A beautiful, holy holiday celebrating the greatest gift of all.  Our Savior, Jesus Christ.

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Each year’s celebration happens in different ways, but all with lots of love.

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And laughter.

Merry Christmas!

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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”)

 

i just love a good story (but not this one)

The strangest thing happened yesterday.

One of my perfect children came home from school with a funny story to tell me.  It began this way:  “Mom.  Do you remember a while ago when I had you sign that form for Science?”  

Okay, so……I sign A LOT of forms.  And when I sign them I promptly forget about them.  Unless of course there is something I have to remember like a field trip, which in that case I run to my calendar right away and write it down because if I don’t I WILL forget about it promptly.

So I said to this child, “I think so?”  And he continued on with this amazing story about how he had the form in his backpack for a while and then when the day came that it was due to be handed in he couldn’t find it.  So the teacher said, “You’ll have to stay after school with me today.”  (in another word:  detention).

So then my perfect child went off to his next class and (he told me this) when he took out his folder for that class, out fell the missing form!  As soon as he could, he ran back to his teacher to hand it in.  Wow, that was close!  He almost got a detention!

I just love a great story, I laughed through the whole thing, believing every single word with my whole heart!

Later on, the perfect child told his dad the same story in the kitchen but my mean husband didn’t believe the story like I had!!  He was suspicious!  I jumped to my perfect child’s defense!  This child would NEVERRRRRRRRRR lie like this!  He wouldn’t even THINK of forging my signature!  Never!

Then, true to my nature, I promptly forgot the whole thing until this morning when I got the following email from his teacher:

Good Afternoon,

Last Monday students were given a form explaining some exciting STEAM work we have the opportunity to partake in over the next 2 months. Parents/students were asked to read and sign the form that they were informed of what this opportunity was all about, it was not a permission slip.  Students were asked to return the form on Friday, Dec 7.  ***** didn’t have his in on Friday.  ***** also didn’t have his form Monday or today.  He mentioned you had signed it but he couldn’t find it.  He came to me after 6th period with the form signed.  There is a copy attached.  It doesn’t appear to be your signature, but I thought I’d check with you.
I dearly wish I could show you the photo of the form with “my” signature written on it but the perfect child had the wherewithal to include our last name, so I cannot.  Suffice it to say it looked NOTHING like my beautiful signature!  It looked sort of the way I would have written it…….. when I was a little kid!
I could NOT believe it!  This child told me a story and I believed every word!  My mom instincts failed dreadfully.  I can usually determine truth from fiction just from a child’s face!  Honestly, there is still part of me deep in my heart that still believes him, so stay tuned!!
I contacted the teacher and my husband, both of whom have consequences to deliver.
Rich didn’t think any of it was funny, which is very ironic because he forged his Father’s signature all the time when he was growing up.  ALL the time.  Which actually gives me hope because if that little signature forger can grow up to be such a good man, I guess his son can, too.
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This past weekend Grace and Brittnee had their holiday concerts at college and Rich and I were not able to attend.  So I was delighted to receive some music clips, videos, and photos from Joanna AND my brother David!
Happy is the heart that can rely on family and friends to stand in the gap!

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I love this one of Joanna’s husband Steve with my brother, both with their amazing beards!!!!!

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My daughter Grace,  Brittnee (my son’s beautiful girlfriend & Grace’s BFF) and my BFF Joanna (who is also Grace’s second mother while she’s away at college!)  God is SO good.
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My beloved brother Dave, with dear sweet Grace.
One more thing before I go:
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Happy Birthday (yesterday) to Brittnee!
I’m so glad you’re in our lives.  You are a blessing.