I, am here.
And they, are there.
How exciting for our Caleb!
I, am here.
And they, are there.
How exciting for our Caleb!
I’m sitting on the couch in the livingroom, after reading through blog archives from 11 years back, searching for a photo of Caleb with his wooden Thomas trains.
School has begun again, and he is now a freshman in High School. He takes drum lessons, is in marching band and also playing football. He’s taller than I am, with light brown, wavy hair, blue eyes, strong arms and legs, and most likely wearing Hollister clothing (my boys’ favorite).
I was busily vacuuming the floors when they left for school this morning, when I stopped in my (train) tracks and turned off the vacuum.
Caleb recently turned 14, and for his birthday we bought him his most requested and beloved gift of dreams…….and it wasn’t a Thomas train like it was 11 years ago.
It was an electric drum set.
I took him to Guitar Center to pick it out. We were there for a very long time, because he wanted to try out every sound and every feature. He was in his own little world, sitting there and moving the wooden sticks, making beats, listening, enjoying himself.
A week ago, I found Sarah Joy prowling around in the storage room in the basement. She was looking for things forgotten about and the next thing I knew, the wooden crate of Thomas trains and tracks were back in the land of family again. They had been away for so long. I was charmed as I watched Seth and Sarah down on the floor, pushing them, setting up track, and making up stories.
Once upon a time, these same trains took naps with a smallest blond haired boy, he covered them in sugar, and paint, and golden glitter. He threw Devious Diesel into the pond, never to be seen again, because he didn’t like him. He parked his trains under the pancake griddle as I made breakfast. He let one roll down the auditorium (it was James) during his older siblings’ music concert, he carried them in his little paws, everywhere. He not only played with trains, he also watched the videos and read the books, he even had Thomas bedding and clothing.
Now he plays with drums. He carries drumsticks in his hands.
So, this morning I stopped in my (train tracks). The house was empty and quiet and the tracks had led me to Caleb’s drum set and a bunch of his old playmates parked underneath. Somehow, as I stood and considered, I imagined that the trains must have whispered to Caleb’s little brother and sister to put them close to where he would be.
Maybe he would play with them again, later.
Caleb came to the door and said, “Dad, do you want to play basketball with me?”
Dad took one look at that face and said, “Yes.”
Happy mom taking pictures through the window.
The boys found me writing in my journal, still in bed, when they woke up. They also found our big beautiful (but very shy) black cat and to our surprise, he allowed himself to be loved……..
…..while petting the cat, Caleb cleared his throat and asked, “Mom could you make pancakes this morning? The ones with cinnamon?”
“You mean your favorite ones that you always ask me to make?”
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 large egg
1/1/4 cups buttermilk (I keep dry in the pantry and add it to milk)
2 tablespoons oil
Mix dry ingredients and in a separate bowl mix the wet, then pour wet into dry to combine. Fry on griddle alongside sausage or bacon. Serve with warmed maple syrup and, in my case, a sliced banana. Yum! Maybe they will be your favorites, now, too!
“The Swedish artist Carl Larsson made the everyday life of his wife Karin and their seven children the subject of his most famous watercolors. Instead of idealizing everything in its place, he painted what he saw; the dog asleep on the parlor floor, cast-off slippers, a rumpled sofa scattered with newspapers. These are the frames of a home movie shot by a doting father and an artist who focused his lens on the comforts of the real and unadorned home.” a perfectly kept house is the sign of a misspent life by mary randolph carter
We’ve been doing little league with the boys ever since David was about 5 (he’s now 15). Jacob and Ethan got a late start in baseball and we’ll probably always have some regret about that. However, David started very young and played every year but one, and Caleb and Seth also started as soon as they could (although we did skip t-ball). It’s not always fun for me to drive to the fields almost every night of the week, and sometimes in not the greatest weather. In fact, we still have cold evenings and we shiver as we watch the boys play. But then, we’ll have evenings so hot people are holding up umbrellas for shade.
Rich especially LOVES to watch the boys play. He mourns having to leave on business trips and missing the games. This is when it’s so nice to have the phone. I can easily take short videos of the boys at bat and send them along to Rich.
On game nights, we eat an early dinner and drive the boys to the field early to warm up and then I walk and walk and walk (with my headphones in my ears, listening to podcasts) until the games start.
Here are some photos:
Seth (9 years old, 3rd grade) started out as pitcher on Friday night. It was very hot after several cooler game nights and the boys were rather wilting toward the end.
Seth had an “off night” as pitcher and was visibly relieved when the coach put someone else in.
He’s a very good all around player. And he will play every position if possible.
One time they were warming up and he was at shortstop and he and his teammate called “Got it!” at the same time and Seth ran into the kid to catch the ball. “Seth’s a show off!” I heard. He’s not necessarily a show off, but if he yells “got it” he’s going to get it, even if his teammate said it at the same time.
Seth’s face looked so worried as he ran to first base after getting a hit but knowing he won’t make it to the base in time. When Rich saw it, he got right up to go get him a cold Gatorade from the food booth. Usually does magic. 🙂 It’s so much better than mom’s warm water bottle.
He got a nice hit this time…..I heard someone in our crowd say “beautiful!” as we watched it go…..
This season, Seth had to break the habit of watching what the other team was doing with the ball as he ran the bases. Seeing him run to base with his neck twisting this way and that was silly. “Watch the base!” we would yell.
Now for Caleb., who is almost 13 and in 7th grade.
Everyone loves Caleb. He’s a team player, he is quite vocal about encouraging the team and telling them when they’ve had too many errors. He’s also a lot of fun and can be too goofy at times. I heard his coach get on his case once when he struck out at bat and then went to the dug out and started goofing around. Sometimes Caleb will dance after getting a good hit and making it to first base. Caleb is well-known for his realistic chicken noices and as a result, his nickname is “Chicken”. Even his coaches call him Chicken. Not because he’s scared and timid like a chicken, but because he SOUNDS LIKE ONE. Rich groans and groans.
He’s such a calm player and rarely makes mistakes. He DOES make them now and then, but as his mom I’m always very surprised. (every mom thinks their kid is practically perfect). He looks great in all three of his positions that he plays; first base, pitcher, and catcher.
No home runs yet this year….oh how we are waiting!! Last night he got walked three times. He was SO annoyed. He and one other boy on his team have red cleats so I’m always squinting down at the field and saying, “Is THAT Caleb?” Caleb is number 11 and his cleats used to be Ethan’s. I took these photos with my long zoom lens. He looked so very handsome with that game face.
Here he is jogging to first after getting walked……Caleb wants a home run so bad!!!!!
The white pants have been fun to wash all season.
As I’m writing this I’m thinking I should ask my brother Isaac to do a pitching clinic with Seth and Caleb. He was an excellent pitcher when he played years ago.
Caleb as catcher.
Here is a video from last night. He was warming up the pitcher and looked so cool and confident. I LOVE THIS VIDEO and so does Caleb. He said, “Send that to Dad.”
Jacob dropped off Seth and Sarah at the game yesterday after church. I had stayed home to get Caleb to his game on time and he helpfully took the other kids to church (Rich had to leave for a trip). So Sarah looked like a princess in her church dress. She had a hamburger for lunch from the food booth, and took off her shoes as soon as possible.
I went to a tag sale before the game and bought a bag of old linens and she found this piece of lace and her princess attire was complete.
Happy golden days. Lots of times chaotic, but all the time worth it.
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.
Parker the dog woofed and woofed to let us know that our annual visit from the mallard ducks happened this morning. I opened the door to admire the ducks floating gracefully on the pond. He was still barking at the waters edge and I understood what he was trying to say so I called down, “I SEE THEM, Parker, THANK YOU!!” Caleb, coughing at the end of the couch, also understood, “It’s a sign of spring.” The ground is covered in snow and the pond has a thin sheet of ice over half of it but this faithful visit from our old friends cheered our hearts. It’s currently 31 degrees. I will be leaving in about an hour to go pick up Caleb’s school work so he can do it this weekend and not get too far behind. Thankfully, he is feeling much better.
As promised, this is a photo- blog- journal report on SUNDAY the 18th of March. Grace and I had slept together in a hotel the night before and Joanna picked us up for church at 9:45. At church, we enjoyed singing hymns, listening to Scripture, and hearing a sermon before heading out for lunch at a popular diner. Joanna treated us to a very filling meal and we sat by a big window, talking and laughing as we ate.
Grace had a steak. Joanna and I both had huge de-constructed gyro salads. (SO good) (could not finish)
With very full tummies we headed out for a few hours of shopping.
Olde Good Things was a huge warehouse full of architectural salvage. We walked through the door and immediately became inspired by the smells of dust, old wood, paint, rust, and metal, and invigorated by the cold temperatures of the warehouse. The building was stacked floor to ceiling with everything imaginable coming out of old hotels, buildings, churches, and museums of the past.
There was even a horse hanging from the ceiling.
We explored to our hearts content.
And as typical of her, Grace climbed into every upper level, no matter if the floors were uneven and stairs steep and deadly. I kept expecting her to fall or have things fall on her. 18 years old and she still awakens the “I must keep my child alive” nervousness in me. She has always loved climbing, so much so that one of her childhood nicknames (which she hated) was “Grace Goat”.
Some of Olde Good Things’ salvage jobs have been The Plaza Hotel in NYC, the JFK International airport, and Rialto Theatre, Times Square NYC. Check their website for all the interesting details. Joanna has been following them and visiting their warehouse for years. I was once again impressed by her design sense, she has great instincts and ideas.
a feast for the eyes
We were upstairs in a “door section” (the stuff was all very informally organized) I arranged Grace (in my favorite sweater) in front of a white wooden door, I imagine it must have been a back kitchen door as someone resourcefully covered it in blue linoleum.
This upstairs floor was loose sections of open iron grating, giving us a strange feeling of fear, we were up so high but knew we were safe enough because after all there were thousands of doors, wooden pillars and posts, and so on. But then to see, instead of “safe” steps, an unsecured little ladder leading up to yet another level and the words BE CAREFUL WATCH OUT. . . . .it was amazing.
Everything about this place was inspiring to all three of us.
a treasure trove of old metal
NEXT STOP WAS
in Scranton, PA.
This place was wonderful, not just because of the stuff they sold, but because the owners were so warm and cheerful and obviously liked each other, their shop, and their customers. They were due to close in five minutes but happily stayed open for us. (!)
Right away Joanna asked if they had fiestaware and the lady led us straight to a few displays. I wanted the vintage green covered casserole quite badly but sadly there was a big chip on the lid. It was 25 dollars. I did find two place-setting bowls in retired colors, Seamist and Chartreuse, still shiny and perfect.
We wondered why These Happy Golden Years wasn’t in the box. Laura Ingalls Wilder fans for life!
The combination of the chair and the quilt stopped Joanna in her tracks.
Lastly, Joanna took us to two local Indian grocery stores where we had a great time buying some snacks, drinks, and treats to take home with us.
We went back to Joanna’s house feeling full in every way; physically, mentally, and spiritually. . . . .
We had just an hour or so to do the one remaining thing on Joanna’s list of things she wanted to do with me during our visit.
She set to work painting pages in my book while I looked through her art book, and Chloe’s, too. Grace did her homework across the table. Steve and the older boys were in the living room and the littles came in and out to see what we were doing. It was cozy with beautiful music that Joanna turned on for us, filling the air with hymns and praise songs. . . .
She was on her mom’s shoulder like this for a long time. . . .so dear.
Joanna’s art supplies purchase recommendations for the next time I go to AC Moore.
Behind me was the wall she started recently for the little ones. . .tiny art in tiny frames, carefully arranged way down low, eye level for toddlers. Just right for the small ones in the family. Mini-art gallery perfection.
Grace and I had to leave at 7:ish so that we could get her things from the hotel and take her back to college before 8. I took her to the grocery store quickly for some healthy snacks and drinks and some cash so that her Grandma and I could have peace of mind that she had everything she needed. I took her to school and helped her get her things back into her dorm room, taking away her Christmas tree. We hugged outside the building in the dark and even after all day of me saying “don’t forget you have to change out of my sweater before I drop you off” she somehow still got away with it. In leaving my beloved, I forgot my sweater. We had a good laugh about that the next day.
Thank you again for a great weekend, Joanna! I was touched by the time and thoughtfulness you put into making plans for us. It was truly appreciated way down deep.
And God bless you, Grace, as you finish up your first year of college.
On a very nippy morning, after a freezing night, the town came and dug up the beaver dam, and when the water receded, an inch thickness of ice was left suspended in the grasses and bushes.
(I needed a human to show the scale of the ice in my photos, and my obliging son took his “modeling” job quite seriously. )
The work of beavers and ice hanging off stumps.
All the twigs on the ground were stripped of their bark by beavers.
I thought the children would have lots more fun with the ice, but overnight the temperatures rose, a melting rain fell, and it all went away……….
I waited for two hours this morning while my vehicle was serviced; oil changed, tires rotated, a latch fixed, vacuumed, and washed. I read a book the entire time so now…….I’m sick of reading and have some free time to….blog. I have all kinds of lovely little stories to tell.
Starting with our son Jacob, who is a college football player now. He LOVES school, is keeping very busy, and is also keeping a pet fish alive in his dorm room. He had several football games this weekend, one of which was shown live online. Rich hooked his iPad up to the TV and we all sat and watched it, keeping our eyes peeled for number 88. And I was thrilled when we finally saw him! I just had leap off the couch to take a crappy picture. ((It’s beautiful to me.)) Seth asked me to print it so he could hang it on the wall in his room.
On Sunday, Seth had to be at the football field at 9:45 in the morning and Caleb had to be there for 2. However, Rich was preaching and the game was away, so I had to take both of them with me, meaning Caleb was over 4 HOURS early for his game. It was a hot autumn day, very dry. Perfect “baking” weather. Caleb was in the sun so long that by the time he had HIS game (at 2:30) he was much slower than usual. In fact, our team did win, but most of the boys were a little “off” from overheating. I took this picture just as Caleb was saying, “Dad, next time coach says I can’t get here too early.” LOL
MONDAY NIGHT football was on TV. My children were in a clump on one part of the couch.
While their dad gave me a foot rub on another part of it. I love Monday night football! 🙂
(He was have a conversation with David about why David wasn’t waking up on time in the morning….Dave was blaming his alarm …….because it’s NEVER his fault, right?)
I recently rediscovered this photo of me and the children (before Seth and Sarah were born).
Sarah had her things all set up for playing with marbles but then she left for school and Sherlock the cat walked over and had a turn.
Chickens enjoying leftover morning cereal and milk.
why kids, why????
I couldn’t stop myself from buying mums (and ornamental grass) for the garden. I also put Rich’s old riding tractor from when he was little in the garden. I found a “pretty plate” garden decoration, too, which includes a chartreuse luncheon plate (Fiesta!). I did some weeding and Gentleman Gray the cat got some on his face while he watched.
Last night, Rich and I watched the boys practice football. I love watching them (kids and coaches) so much that I sometimes get tears in my eyes. They have such fun out there.
THIS MORNING……a brief quiet moment, trying to wake up, before I left for the car appointment.
The FED EX truck came and dropped off two storage bins that we ordered from Costco. My hope is to contain sports stuff (one for football, one for wrestling). And so on. Rich and the kids get to put them together later!! (have fun, honey!)
Also, we recently had our side steps extended on the porch. (not painted yet)
I went to a thrift store after the car appointment. This was in the same plaza outside of a yoga studio. Since I had finished my book I left it behind on the shelf.
Well, after the thrift store shopping I was hungry so I cast my eyes about the plaza and only saw a Vietnamese place. “No”, I thought. But then……
“Yes”, I decided. And I sent a picture and a text to our family group chat.
“The menu makes me cautious.” said Ethan
“Hmmm, adventurous?” said my husband
“In my own very small way,” I agreed.
“What is their compelling differentiating advantage that made this place stand out to you?” asked Jacob.
“It was right next to the thrift store.” I replied.
“It had good reviews on YELP.” I continued.
“and I was able to read the menu on YELP.” I further explained
“Okay, so your unconscious need was food, and they revealed that to you by placing themselves in a convenient location where shoppers go. Their feature is that they’re a sit-down restaurant, their advantage is that they’re close by, and the benefit is you will no longer be hungry and you’ll feel good about yourself for supporting a small business,” Jacob texted, “These are my thoughts as I leave my sales class.”
And then Rich replied: “But if they were not near the thrift store no matter what they had on yelp or what their menu said they wouldn’t have had a chance. Your Mom’s not a good business test case, Jake. She would be an anomaly in a field of data points. And absolutely special beautiful one–but still an anomaly.”
I laughed all the way home about being “an anomaly in a field of data points” as they continued to banter via text messaging.
I eventually texted, “I think everybody should just shut up.” but no one listened.
MY VIETNAMESE COLD CUTS SANDWICH WAS DELICIOUS!
It had pork belly on it.
When I got home, I washed my thrift store purchases (mama and baby tiger) and put them in the girls’ room.
And found my cat—can you believe it–in the same spot I left him….4 hours ago.
We have a birthday boy today; Caleb James turned 12 years old.
It goes by so fast.
But it’s all very good. Each year is a gift.
And there is lots to look forward to.
Grace had her graduation party yesterday so her purple decorations served another purpose today. We bought the festive cupcakes at Sam’s Club.
Younger siblings looking on….eating more cake. (we had cake yesterday, too).
They have started to take the frosting off the top and run for the milk.
Enough is enough.
Mine was lemon.
Thank you, Jesus, for this boy of ours!
Caleb is 12 and Seth is 8, they are always together. They play video games, baseball, football, swimming. . . .get along very well with arguments started and ended throughout the day, too. So much learning going on.
comic relief from all Mom’s portraits
Tom Brady, Jr.
“Take one of me jumping over Seth!”
Happiest birthday to you, Caleb! Mom and Dad love you so very much.