yesterday

Rich took Seth and Caleb to their wrestling tournament and I took the others to church.  When we were leaving church David told me, “Mom.  I’m craving a jelly donut for some reason.”   “Oh, really Dave?” was my reply, and we went to Wendy’s drive-thru for lunch and started the half hour drive home.

*****

Five minutes from home, I pulled into our local Dunkin’ Donuts saying, “I’m craving a jelly donut for some reason.”

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It was fun to see his smile.

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.

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!

*********************

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.

 

marvels of ordinary living

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egg holder
strawberry bowl

Just two little treasures picked up recently at second-hand shops.

Good morning, friends, how in the world are you?

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I downloaded photos from two sources this morning in preparation for blogging.  The photos on my SLR camera?  All birds and fish.  The photos on my phone?  All kinds.

I was sitting in just the spot I am sitting now when I looked out the window and saw an almost grown up male cardinal at the feeder, utterly charming, with his *not quite red* feathers grown in.  I took about 20 pictures of him.

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And then a hummingbird, too.

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And a sweet little tufted tit mouse with reptilian toes.  All from the same seat and out the same windows.  How very convenient!  You don’t even have to step foot outside to see nature.

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Then, later on, I was down on the dock over the pond and a Solitary Sandpiper came for a visit.  He bobbed his tail up and down as he walked the perimeter of the pond looking for food.

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Look how camouflaged he is.  Look at his back leg compared to the grasses growing right next to it, the same green color with dark pink.  His white breast matches the rocks and the gray of his feathers matches the ground.  A marvel.

Solitary Sandpipers are not frequent visitors so it thrilled my heart to have my camera ready for a photo or two. or 30.

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Last but not least of the bird photos…..two more juvenile birds.  I think these are young Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.  Two of them came together to the edge of the pond for a bath.

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I laughed.  It’s so fun to see what bird life has been hiding in nests around the property.

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The small pond has lily pads growing in it now and as I was sitting on the dock I kept hearing sharp snapping sounds, almost like someone breaking in half a thin dry stick.  It made my head go back and forth as I tried to figure out what I was hearing in different locations of the pond.  Eventually I figured out that the sound was being made by FISH.

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They were slowly swimming to the surface of the water underneath their lily pad of choice and either grabbing it, or biting it, or pulling it, (I don’t know) as fast as a fraction of a second.  Somehow what they were doing was making a popping sound.  Were they eating something?  Having fun?  I have no idea– but I would love to know.  It went on all day every 20-30 seconds.

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This photo is so blurry but I still like it.  Sarah asked if we could walk in the woods and to our joy, Sammy the cat quickly caught up with us.

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This tiny spider stopped me in my tracks.  Sarah kept saying, “Mom, let’s GO,” but for the life of me I couldn’t (and still can’t) figure out WHAT THIS SPIDER HAD CAUGHT.  It’s web wasn’t even complete and still looked perfect.  And it caught this thing, bigger and heavier than the spider himself.  As I looked, the spider became nervous and carried it’s prize as fast as it’s 8 legs could run to the edge of his web on a tree twig.  A white/gray blob with black triangular legs.  I hope it tastes good.

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(On the dock over the pond.)

I just finished Pecos Bill, a 1935 silver Newbery Honor book.  It was fun and I read several of the chapters out loud to Rich in the car.

But really the photo is all about how adorable Sarah and Sherlock look as they peer into the water side by side.

I sat in a lawn chair on the dock all day on Saturday, running up to the house now and then for food or a bathroom break.  It made me smile to see who (besides the dog) would visit it me most often.  The winner?

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Dave.  My Dave.

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He even brought down his dinner to eat next to me.  He made it himself, a pasta dish with homemade alfredo sauce, celery, mushrooms, and garlic.  He also made garlic sour dough toast to go with it.  “You have to rub both sides of the bread with a garlic clove.”  I wasn’t hungry because I had just ate half a box of crackers as I read my book, but he so very gently hinted several times that he wanted me to try it that I eventually followed him up to the kitchen for some.  “And it was very good.”

David also made pizza and cookies this weekend.  He was creative with the cookies.  He made the dough for chocolate chip, but because we didn’t have any chips (I know, can you believe it?) he substituted a cup of PB protein powder.  It made the dough taste just like PB cookie dough and it baked up just fine, too!  I told him he should write to the protein powder company to tell them.

David works out daily and tries to create different drinks using protein powder.

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David has also been charming my heart by doing calligraphy on his covered text books for school.  He told me yesterday as he worked on “US History” with a pen and a sharpie that a girl in his school asked him to do her books for 20 dollars but he said “No.”

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(BTW, Jacob if you are reading this David said that Mr. S asked and begged if he could call Dave “Dives” but Dave said “No.”)  LOL

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The other day I stopped to take a photo of my pretty pink morning glories and Walter the kitten jumped out at me, scared me, and then made a face.

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Orange title, orange cup, orange cat-tail

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Very tired kitten with Caleb

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(Lea Ann, don’t read this part)  She’s jealous because I keep talking about THE PEACH TREE THAT WE GREW WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING IT!!!!!  My mom calls me the Accidental Gardener because I complain about my gardening skills and then still end up growing a peach tree.  We first noticed a strange tree growing by the porch last year, in fact, I specifically remember it was at Grace’s graduation party and Colleen was here and we were talking about this tree and trying to figure out what it was.

Well, fast forward to this spring when it BLOSSOMED.  Now I’m really intrigued and keep a close eye on it.  Eventually, to our amazed eyes, it grew PEACHES, so many peaches that the branches bent over with heavy fruit.

We don’t think its a coincidence that it grew right next to Parker the Dog’s favorite digging spot in my flower bed (SO annoying!).  We think that probably Rich ate a peach and threw the pit over the railing and then the dog, in digging in his spot, buried the pit.  And it grew and grew and bore a crop of peaches this summer.

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I said, “Mom, they are still hard.” And she said, “It’s peach season I’m sure you need to pick them.  Put them in paper bags for a few days and they will soften.”

Now that I’m 40 I know that I should always promptly and without hesitation do whatever mom tells me to do, so I went right outside and put Sarah to work.

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She could simply reach her arm over the railing and pick peaches!!!!

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And to no one’s surprise Mom was right!  After a few days we started eating them out of the paper bag and they were as juicy and peachy as any old peach in the store……even better.

I have since realized I have a vine of white gourds growing in the same garden that I didn’t plant.  It’s another accidental gardening situation.  The moral of the story is don’t be afraid to throw pumpkins, pits, and old fall gourds over your porch railing.  You’ll grow things.

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We have since picked every single peach and I bought a case of canning jars.  stay tuned!

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Of course, it’s not ALL fun and games around here.

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Unless you’re Walter the kitten.

 

 

 

 

 

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.