it was a month ago…..

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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) ❤

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

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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

 

 

new baby//old baby

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On Sunday afternoon Rich and I finally got to meet our new niece, Morgan!  She is my brother Nathan and sister-in-law, Melissa’s, third child.  At the same time, we were able to watch their son Greg play a game of football (he’s a star athlete already!)

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Sarah held a baby for the very first time in her life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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It was such a joyful moment.

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Caleb held the baby, too!  I love this photo so much!

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Me, Melissa, and Morgan.  What a gift to be able to hold her and to visit with Melissa.  I love you, sister!

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And we got to see Makayla Lynn, their oldest daughter, & our beautiful niece.  Sarah adores her cousin and they had a nice time playing during the game.  Sarah wishes she could visit her cousins every weekend!

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David and Seth were the only ones who didn’t want to hold the baby, (why?!?!) but here is Ethan with his little cousin.  She looks so tiny in his arms.

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And here’s Uncle Dave with Morgan!!  This was his first time holding her, as well.  He’s so good to all his nieces and nephews.  We are so blessed to have Morgan in our family and thankful for her safe and happy arrival.  I already posted photos of our other new baby, Elena, yep…..two of my brothers had baby girls within just a week and three days!  My parents were thrilled!  I cannot wait to have them both in the same room and take their photo together like twins!

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Greg, as usual, scored a gazillion touchdowns.  Between a new baby and an exciting game for Greg, our family was having a great day!

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I’m proud of my brother Nate, the way he coaches football, and most of all the way he loves and takes care of his family.  We love you, Nathan!

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I’ve spent the morning preparing for our OLD baby’s birthday.  Yes, our dear baby David Lloyd turns 16 years old TODAY.  He is a bright and wonderful part of our family.

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Here he is with his brother Ethan.  David on the left, Ethan on the right.

He requested chicken and dumplings for dinner and either a cheesecake or ice cream cake for dessert.  I went out this morning to get the ingredients for dinner, plus a cheesecake AND a small vanilla cake AND a small apple tart.  Can you believe it, I forgot the vanilla ice cream but I DID remember the candles!  I just got done wrapping his gifts.  He’ll be home at 2:30 and then the party can begin.

PS, sorry for the excessive use of exclamation points!  At times it cannot be avoided.

 

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.

great

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1.  Sarah Joy is our youngest child and was born on this date, 8 years ago.  She was named after her Great-Grandmother and the joy in our hearts when we knew she was coming into our family.

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2.  The last photo I took before having Sarah was of the beautiful blooming peonies in my flower beds.  This morning Sarah stood next to them, but spring was late coming this year and they are still only buds.  A hope and a promise.

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3.  Sarah is in 2nd grade and has very nice handwriting (her teacher said so).  She loves to read.  The last book she read was titled Waiting for the Magic and she liked it very much.  “The dogs talk.”

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4.  Her favorite food is macaroni and cheese.

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5.  She ordered light-up gloves with her birthday gift card from Uncle Dave.

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6.  She has requested a vanilla birthday cake with what kind of frosting?  “Vanilla”.

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7.  She used to be seven but now she’s eight.

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8.  Eight is Great.

 

happy birthday

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(The boys in our family plus their Dad)

Today is Ethan’s 20th birthday.

When I think about each of the children God has given me my heart is overwhelmed.  It’s 100% true that each and every child is a gift and a blessing, no matter if you have one or seven or more.  Each life is of endless value.

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In years past I have had so much fun taking high quality photos of Ethan on his birthday but this year we shall have to be content with iPhone snapshots because with him being a full time student in Vermont it isn’t as simple as it used to be.  When he’s home he’s busy with more important things like cooking in the kitchen, eating, playing games, relaxing in front of the TV, going on dates with Tessa, goofing around with his siblings, catching up on sleep, and shopping trips to the mall………

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Ethan has a unique way of scrambling eggs which leaves a solid piece of cooked eggy skin stuck to the bottom of the pan which I HATE.  But look at that face.  Okay, I will clean the pan for you, E, since you say this is the very best way to cook eggs.

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Rich and I took him to the mall where he picked out some new clothes from Hollister.  Jacob, Brittnee, Sarah, and David also went along.  It was a fun evening together.

(Have you noticed all the florals this year?  I love it!  Even 20 year old guys can get away with roses (and serpents) on their shirts.  And I bought the prettiest T-shirt for myself with big red roses on it.  A must with rose scented perfume!)

We had Ethan’s cheesecake (requested) on Saturday night after the shopping trip because Rich was leaving for a trip on Sunday morning and on Monday (today, Ethan’s real birthday) the boys would be back to college.  He blew his candles out with so much lung power that there is STILL candle wax on the counter.

Happiness is a big family singing your birthday song.  We love you Ethan!

(We missed sister Grace who was at college but we will see her soon.)

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Yesterday, Ethan was able to squeeze in a quick visit with Tessa in the morning and then I took the kids to church and lunch at Ethan’s requested restaurant, UNO’s.  It was me, Caleb, Seth, Ethan, Jacob, Sarah, David, Michael, and Zach.  Nine of us all together in one big booth and THANK GOODNESS for Sarah or I would have been the only female.  🙂  We had a yummy meal and when the waitress asked if we wanted dessert we were much too full but asked for a piece of cake for the birthday boy.

“But you don’t have to sing to me,” begged Ethan.

“Do you want a candle?” asked the waitress.

“No, that’s okay, but thanks.” he replied.

We were rather let down that Ethan appeared to get away without spectacle but the waitress must have sensed our true wishes and ignored the wishes of the birthday boy, much to his dismay.  However he recovered quickly and was a very good sport about it.

She gave Ethan a HUGE piece of chocolate cake along with NINE spoons so we could all share it!

I gave her a nice big tip because she really did deserve it.  I’m still smiling and I hope that Ethan is, too.

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Seth took this photo as Ethan and Jacob were getting ready to leave for school.  We are so thankful that they have a car and can come home now and then.  It’s just not the same around here with the three older ones so far away but we wouldn’t change a thing because they are learning, growing, and thriving.

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Happy 20th birthday, Ethan!

There is no one like you in the whole wide world.

Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. Your thoughts – how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them!
I couldn’t even begin to count them – any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!  Psalm 139

my birthday {2018}

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Yesterday was my birthday and Rich took the day off.  We had such a nice day together.  We took our books to the diner but never touched them.  We had plenty of things to talk about.  I had wanted him to try the homemade corned beef hash and we both ordered it with eggs and toast.  He liked it so much that he took me back for lunch so he could order it again.  Between breakfast and lunch he ate half a dozen eggs (over medium) and lots of hash.

He told me stories about his wrestling team and at one point we noticed one of the youth wrestlers across the room eating with his grandma and Rich went over to shake his hand and say hello.  During our meal he told me about a freshman who began the season so soft that he couldn’t do a pull up.  He couldn’t do a sit up.  But on Friday as they did conditioning Rich noticed him from across the room and he was easily doing pull ups on his own.  “Hey how many of those could you do when you first began the season?” he called.  “Zero, Coach!” was the happy answer.  He told me that wrestling is hard work, hard practices, but one of the boys answers when Rich asks, “How’re ya feeling?”  “Like a million bucks, Coach!”  We’re both so proud of the team captain who was so shy she cried when she first started having to speak publicly for the team a few years ago.  “She’s something else, Shan, she’s going to be something someday.  She’s brave in her own way.” and he told me a story about wrestling tape and singlets and how she got things done.  They aren’t perfect kids by any means, but they’ve been a pleasure for Rich to work with this year.  States are on Saturday!

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We left the diner and headed out to mail something to our son Jacob and then Rich said, “Where are we going?  It’s your birthday we can do anything.”  So I said, “Please please won’t you take me to the antique store in Sturbridge?” and he did.  Happiness is going to an antique store that you haven’t visited in a very long time.  We had plenty of time so I looked at every single thing in the store (two floors).

The first thing I studied (through the glass door) was stone fruit.  I’ve noticed over the years that I always pause over fake fruit.  How dumb.  But I do not collect it.  However, I was reading a magazine over Christmas and there was an article in it on “what is hot to collect next”‘.  Stone fruit was on the list along with a picture.  If you look at the fruit you would not think it was made of a solid stone, it looks lifelike, with bruises on the bananas and markings.  I made the decision that I would keep my eyes open for stone fruit since now I know it’s not dumb—after all, the magazine said it was a hot collectors item for 2018!  I didn’t buy any yesterday.  I didn’t realize it was so pricey.  But I believe I will come across it during some of my thrifting trips. . . . . . .

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Dawn, of course I thought of you, and my mom, too.  Vintage paper valentines!!!

This display case is done so beautifully!

Makes me want a display case in my own house that I can play with!

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Rich walked over to me with a Valentine and told me to put it in our stack of purchases for the day.  Inside it said:

Someday when I am older,
I think it would be fine
If you would be,
Sweetheart, to me
A loving Valentine

So many things brought tears to my eyes yesterday, I was deeply sentimental.

I went in for a hug about 7 times while we were browsing.

It was a love-connection day.

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I took pictures of things that I thought were interesting but not interesting enough to purchase.  One of the reasons that I love antiquing and thrift store shopping is it’s educational in a way, you get a sense of times past.  You can see the things that were in style 100 years ago…old photos, postcards, jewelry, art.  I love history.

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69.00   Excellent Shape  🙂

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This Cast Iron Amish Family tickled my fancy

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Baby photography from time gone by….I LOVE THIS LAUGHING BABY in a basket!!!!

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I collect HLC Fiestaware so I always always search for it.  I found this little set of black fiesta which was interesting because you don’t really see black out in “the wild” much.  The bowls were priced at 7 dollars each, the gravy boat was 14.  The creamer was missing from the coffee set.  I picked it up and looked it over but left it as I do have four small black fruit dishes already.

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“There really isn’t anything much to look at over here,” he teased.

“Oh look!  Gray!  I hardly ever see gray!”

“Who on earth would want GRAY FIESTAWARE?”

“Take my picture!”

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The mug and two bread plates were new, but the dinner plates were vintage gray so I bought one of them.  I’ve always liked gray in combination with pink and I have lots of Rose fiesta.

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The very bottom plate was a vintage Ivory chop plate in very good condition.  I LOVE chop plates they are so big and make lovely platters.

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**the most cheerful teacups** only 3 dollars said the sticker

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Not fiesta ~ ~ and yet I took a photo because Springtime!  Roses!  Pink!  Valentine’s Day!

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One last picture before getting our totals added and seeing how much we spent!

It really wasn’t too bad.

And then……time to drive down the road to pick out my birthday cakes.

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At my favorite bakery. . . .

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I got a chocolate peanut butter and a carrot cake.

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And then…..lunch.  As we got out of the truck to walk in the diner I noticed some people looking at me through the window.  “They must think I’m pretty or they can tell it’s my birthday”, I thought to myself.  But when we went in and walked to an empty table the man called out to Rich, “Hey, we were just admiring your truck!  That is one nice truck!”  It was awesome.  I simply love being humbled.

Generously buttered sour dough toast dipped in homemade clam chowder?  Comfort food.   Across the table from my very own husband of more than 20 years?  Soul-comfort.

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WHEN I GOT HOME THERE WAS A LITTLE PACKAGE and it was from my parents….a birthday check AND a homemade glorified dishcloth from MOM.  She made it up as she went along with an idea she had in mind.  I placed it on a scarlet cake plate to take a picture.

I love it.

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When I asked him to take a picture of me with the dishcloth so I could send it to mom, he took this first.

My husband and my fiestaware.  All very important to me.  🙂  I choose the middle.

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My birthday gifts from the antique store:

  1.  kitchen towel made from a flour sack with embroidery and three red and white doilies (MUCH less expensive than anthropologie!)
  2. betty crocker kitchen toy set (I LOVE)
  3. blue ceramic spoon (fiesta kitchen craft–a great find at 5 dollars!!!)
  4. snake book for Caleb
  5. Abe Lincoln book to read to the children
  6. and a Stereoscope viewer–Rich’s find, along with a stack of photos (very cool!)

 

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The next time I bake Sarah and I will do some miniature baking.  There are 2 cake pans, a muffin tin, a pie tin, a tiny cookie sheet, and mini cookie cutters.  So darling.

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Rich had a meeting at 5 and I spent time doing a puzzle and guess what?  Another gift from God—SUNSHINE after days of gloom and rain.  The cat agrees–sunshine is wonderful.

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MY FRIEND HANNAH who is on vacation in Hawaii, sent me this photo!!

And Joanna called to sing Happy Birthday.  We had the best little chat on the phone.

So many gratitude tears!

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The other day this package came from brother Dave.  He always remembers and he knows me so well.  Thank you Dave!  I got loving texts from my other 2 brothers and my sister and other family members throughout the day.  And of course Facebook makes birthdays extra fun and I heard from so many people I love.  So thankful to be on earth with all of you at this time.

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Rich took the video but when he stopped it he said, “I’m so sorry but that was like the worse singing of happy birthday we’ve ever had.”  I was thinking the same thing which is why I blew out the candles before the last note was finished.  LOL

 

most delicious chocolate cake

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Seth’s birthday

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had a backdrop of pure white and a sky of baby blue.

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It was absolutely magical in the woods.  Photos just do not do it justice as a photo turns everything flat and motionless and room temperature.  Reality has endless depth, layers, temperature, smells, sounds, feelings of expectation, exploration. . . . .

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nature’s playground

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here comes the sunshine

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They insisted on the short cut back home which involves a perilous crossing of the stream.

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No one got wet.

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For dinner that night……looks amusingly not that good….creamy scalloped potatoes with pan fried sausages on top.  Yum!

Birthday cake for dessert; two round cake layers with fresh whipped cream, sweetened strawberries, and homemade fudge sauce.

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topped with chocolate dipped strawberries.

I made everything myself except I did use a cake mix for the chocolate cake.

((((presented upon a Scarlet fiestaware cake plate))))

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It was truly as delicious as it looked.

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One piece remained but was quickly eaten the next day.

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“I got no cake.”

“I only got this dumb green streamer in my collar.”

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We took a photo that night at 9:20 pm, the exact time of his birth, nine years earlier.