racking up the mom points

David, Caleb, Seth, and Sarah have today and tomorrow off from school and I was telling them that I would make pancakes for breakfast but David complained and he said “I’ll still be asleep and miss out, as always.”  My quick thinking mind came up with a solution.  “I know, Dave! I’ll just bring you some in bed and after you eat them you can go right back to sleep!”  He shut his eyes and smiled like a pleased cat.  “That would be AWESOME.”

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I found his cookies

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David came home from practice yesterday, made a protein shake in the blender, took a shower, and then wandered back into the kitchen and said in his morose-sounding Eeyore voice, “I think I want to make chocolate chip cookies.”  “Do it!” we all cried.

“Mom, where’s your recipe.”

“I just use the one on the bag but add more flour.”

“Okay.”

He wanted walnuts in them but couldn’t find them.  I knew this by the loud moans and groans, so I ran to the kitchen to pull out a stool to help him look.  When I found them I sang a happy celebration song, sort of bragging, until he said, “Okay, stop.” in his dry way.

David is charming to me.  I used to blog about him the way he was when he was a little boy and all the interesting things he would do….catch birds with homemade traps, catch turtles, draw comics, fish, swim in his underwear, read interesting books, make crafts, say interesting things as only he can say them.

I still blog about him the way he is, with his shirt off, now 16 years old, working on cookies, trying to take a 8 minute nap on the couch as each tray bakes, and suddenly noticing “Mom has the camera out.”

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“I think I feel sick,” he admitted.  “Too much cookie dough.”

****

Sarah started watching him.

“Dave?  What kind of cookies are you making?  If you answer me now, I won’t ask you again later!”

“Sarah go away.”

“Dave, how can you be so mean, I never heard her ask a question so sweetly!”

“I know!  She’s being FAKE.  I can’t STAND FAKE WOMEN.”

She’s not even nine yet.

*****

“Just so everyone knows, these are MY cookies, I’m going to hide them and save them for rewards.”

He has to watch his weight for wrestling so I think this is smart.

He likes to put cookies in the toaster to warm them up.

He doesn’t wear an apron, he doesn’t need to, because skin is easy to clean.

He tidied up his mess somewhat, but this morning when he was gone at school I scrubbed the cookie sheets with hot soapy water and put them away.  I also got to eat the one solitary remaining cookie for breakfast, dunking it into my coffee.  Thinking about my son.  The walnuts and chocolate tasted so good.

Later on, when I wasn’t thinking about him at all, I found his cookies.

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where’s David?

From what I understand, David and the rest of the mission’s team are keeping busy this week in Jamaica; preaching, teaching, doing VBS, talking to school children, and helping out with any work that needs to be done.  I am sure that they’re doing even more, too.

Somehow, David is also catching lizards and crabs.

Staying up half the night goofing around with Michael.

Catching naps in odd places when he can.

And trying hard to climb to the tops of the coconut trees.

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At first he could only get this high.

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He spoke to small and large groups.

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He sang songs with Ethan S and his Dad on top of a stone platform.

 

He took naps with a drum, a soccer ball, and in the crack of a bed against the wall, so long his feet hung off the end.

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He finally made it to the top, and has marks on his arms to remember it.

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Where’s David?  In Jamaica.
Where’s David?  I think he’s over there in that tree.
Where’s David?  Catching a gecko.
Where’s David?  Putting a crab in the sink.
Where’s David?  Sleeping with a drum.
Where’s David?  Up in the sky, at the top of a tree.
Where’s David?  Over there, enjoying life to the fullest.

When’s he coming home?  Tomorrow.

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)

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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!

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I carried them back to the house in this basket.

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Getting ready to add them to the shelf.

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

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

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the beautiful blue of an autumn sky

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Samantha cat has a sore paw.

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Seth

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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.

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

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

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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.

David’s Baptism

David wanted to be baptized so we asked Gary if we could do it before Ethan and Grace went back to college, although sadly Jacob had to miss it because he is at college for football camp.  We asked if he could baptize David at our house in the pond and he readily agreed.

Saturday our family spent the day in preparation by having a major house and yard clean up.  It was extra-motivating to know we were having our church family to our home and I happily washed all the windows on the main level of the house, inside and out.  Rich and the kids did a ton of weeding outside.  I scrubbed and polished the kitchen sink, used granite cleaner and polish for the counters, vacuumed, organized, etc.  When I was done, the house felt light and fresh.

Sunday morning at church Rich gave the opening prayer, Grace and I sang a duet with Katie playing the piano for us.  We sang “Redeemed How I love to Proclaim it.”  And then David went up on the platform behind the pulpit and gave his testimony.  Rich and I didn’t really know what to expect, and we were thrilled that he did so well.  We had smiles on our faces and tears in our eyes.  Gary (our pastor) was a little emotional during one part and the video Brittnee took captures a loud sneezing type sound as he blew his nose.

Rich and I left with the kids as soon as the sermon was done and Gary was praying the closing prayer.  We drove home and found my sister Amanda with her family, and my brother Isaac with his wife, Cassandra, who is 9 months pregnant with a little girl baby, on the front porch waiting for us to get home.  We were so happy they could come and watch David’s baptism.  Rich went out to get the pizza we were serving for lunch and Caleb ran down the yard to jump in the pond because as we were leaving that morning, we noticed there was a tire floating in it.  Can’t have tires in the pond during such a special day.  (kids)

Very soon we had our church family arriving and parking on the lower yard and driveway.

We set up chairs and the sound equipment and settled in for David’s baptism.  Amanda sat by me and it was so special to sing together the old familiar hymns.

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Katie and her husband led the singing from the dock, and Grace and Sarah joined them, too.

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Gary spoke briefly about baptism and the significance of it.

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And then he and David waded into the pond.  They were both wearing their t-shirts from this years Camp Impact (the Christian camp our church helps run every summer).

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I love David’s smile in this photo.

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Gary told us later that he used this hold because he was afraid that he would fall over into the  pond as he baptized Dave.  I’m sure every pastor has a few baptism stories to tell.  When he saw the photo he was trying to politely compliment me on my photography but then the honesty came out…..”It looks like I’m choking him, though, doesn’t it, poor David.”

He wasn’t squeezing David’s neck so he really didn’t do any harm, it just looks funny.

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Gary was so good to David during this whole process and even came to our house one day two weeks ago to speak with him one-on-one.  Rich and I were not home, David was here with some of his siblings.  Gary said that Seth and Sarah sat and listened carefully to their conversation and that David “was delightful.”  I have to agree.

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It was such a special day.

 

in the kitchen

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For years I’ve been making dinner with children underfoot.  Isn’t it grand.  Indeed, if it isn’t a child, it’s the dog.  Or maybe even both.

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David is almost 16.  He knows if he wants some attention, he just needs to lay on the floor in the middle of the kitchen while I’m making meatloaf.

I asked him to peel potatoes.  He got frustrated because he didn’t like the peeler.  I got frustrated because he peeled them on the floor.  But he cleaned the floor when he was done.

Dinner was great.

Since the oven was already on and hot for the meatloaf, I made a chocolate cake for dessert, too.

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I baked our family favorite chocolate cake recipe and coated it with a newly found recipe for Glossy Chocolate Frosting, which tastes great with the cake.   It ends up being like a thin layer of not-too-sweet soft chocolate fudge.  And stays shiny!

Glossy Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 T cornstarch
3 T. cocoa
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup boiling water
2 1/2 T. butter
1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Mix sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, salt and add water.  Cook until mixture thickens.  Remove from heat, add butter and vanilla.  Spread on cake while hot for a glossy frosting which stays soft and smooth.  This recipe is enough for a 9 by 13 cake.

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I took the kids to the local library today.  Seth and Sarah always play a silent game of hide and seek in the library without running.  They always do this…. why don’t they sit and read books is what I want to know.

David read a book about weapons.  I recently bought him a new white t-shirt covered in dark red roses and he looks handsome in it.   He stayed by my side in the kitchen last night and at the library this morning.   He’s a great friend and son and always makes me laugh.  He tried to insult me the other day by saying, “I’m this way because of YOU.” but it just made my heart melt, as I took it as an ultimate compliment.

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Grace looked at a book about Art and I picked out two books on home decorating.  Weapons for Dave, art for Grace, and home decorating for me were all conveniently located in the same area so we sat on the floor together.  Caleb came over to us now and then to add to his pile of books which he left with me (Garfield, football)….

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I checked out the books while the children looked at charming paintings and talked to each other.

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And I thought to myself, “They love their sister.”

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I went to the farmer down the road next for some packs of nice hamburger.  I am going to make Dorito chip Salad for dinner.  Seth and Sarah know if they come in with me they can ask the farmer (or his wife) for a popsicle and they will say “yes” and cut the top off for them.

When we got home I took another cat portrait, this time Sherlock was with David, rather reluctantly.

Seth is standing here with his arm around my neck waiting for me to be done typing.  We are about to make another cake because there was only one piece left this morning and he wanted it.  However, I ate it in a weak moment (it was so good, so worth it) and I told him we could make another one.

Brittnee is happy.

Brittnee is always happy (says Seth).

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David 15

ImageSon, you outgrew my lap, but never my heart. ~Author Unknown

DAVID

turned 15 yesterday.

The night before, I read him all the blog posts I have done in honor of his birthday.  The first one was….. when he was FOUR.  FOUR!!!!  I cannot believe I have been blogging for 11 years.  It’s so nice for the children to look back on the different days they remember and see photos.  It’s nice for me, too, but I get sad.  As I was reading to Dave, he was on the couch about 2 feet away but leaned over so he could see the photos and I felt all sentimental as I read the words I have typed over and over, “I love you” “I’m so proud of you” “my dear son” “you’re so special”. . . . .

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Rich has been traveling a lot lately and the thing that I’ve loved is that at the end of the day, David is the last child awake with me and we visit.  We talk or read our books.  He likes to sit in the rocking chair and he says things to me during these quiet times.  He’s interesting without being overwhelming.  I’ve lately started to ask him for his opinion on things and he replies with wisdom.  Like today, I asked him what he would do if someone he cared about told him that he hated himself.  He said that if the situation had been going on for a while then he would try to comfort, but if it was the first time he was confided in, then he would analyze the situation and then proceed.  I also asked him what he did when he was so tired at school that he desperately wanted to put his head down and nap.  He said that he would do something to hype himself up….like talk with one of his friends or something.

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I didn’t blog yesterday on his actual birthday because guess what?

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He got his braces off TODAY.

He was very hesitant and embarrassed to smile for the camera, it was almost like he didn’t know how…..he’s been smiling with his lips together for years.

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We went to Target right after his appointment, and then to Panera, where he ate cheddar broccoli soup in a bread bowl for the first time in a very long time without braces.  I had a cup of autumn squash soup with a chunk of bread.   The soup came with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds on top.

I took more photos of dear Dave outside the mall.

Davehood

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David loves his friends and cares about them.  For this reason, he likes school.
David loves his family but is easily annoyed by his younger siblings especially if they 1) enter his room, or 2) eat the last of something he wanted.
David plays soccer, baseball, and does wrestling.
David is a freshman in high school.
He has no phone.
He is currently reading Percy Jackson books, but his current favorite books are the Rot and Ruin series.
He can do back flips and does them during gym class sometimes when the teacher isn’t looking.
He absolutely loves music.
He plays the piano quite well–by learning songs through youtube.
He sings but only in the bathroom and sometimes when we’re in the car if the volume is turned up high enough on the radio.
He is funny in a dry, conversational sort of way.
He is quick and bright.
Through the years he has done origami, made homemade candy and slime, drawn comics, and made homemade walking sticks also useful for doing battles against trees or an armed sibling, and his latest thing is sharpening knives and sharpening the two collectible swords Ethan owns from the antique store.
He loves attention but gets all awkward when he gets it.  Like, he tries to avoid my hugs but once he gets one (because I don’t give up easily) he walks away with a smile on his face.
He is a night owl, if I forget to send him to bed he’ll be up half the night.
He likes watching the Flash, Arrow, and Glee on TV.
He likes nature and wild life, and has been my #1 butterfly helper when we were raising and releasing monarchs.  He brings me things to look at like toads, cool caterpillars, and rodents.  He helped get a chipmunk out of the house this weekend.

Most of this is typical 15 year old guy stuff….but not to me….to me he is the best and most interesting 15 year old guy I know.