short n sweet


If we triumph in the little things
of our common hours,
we are sure to triumph in our lives.

Happy Friday!

I took this photo of Seth after school one day this week.  He’s hugging Gentleman Gray and eating a snack of Pringles, raspberries, and strawberries, on a vintage amberstone (“sister” of fiesta ware) small plate.

Yesterday, at the end of the day,  I did a five minute photo shoot of Jacob’s girlfriend, Emily.


♥ with Sarah ♥

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♥ with Jacob ♥

Em and J

I’ve been making homemade coffee creamer and it is delicious!

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It’s one can of sweetened condensed milk, mixed with two cups of half n half, and a 1/4 teaspoon of extract.  (I used vanilla the first batch, and almond the 2nd batch).

Rose bud vase,
marigold java mug.







Last night, when I was already in bed, Dave brought in a toad to show me….and it promptly hopped under it.


He returned covered in dust and fuzz.


We cleaned him up and Dave set him free.


This morning my little Caleb went to the hair salon with me.

I asked him if I looked weird and told him to tell the truth…..”yes”……


We went to Moe’s for lunch.  I had two steak tacos with pinto beans, grilled mushrooms, sour cream, guacamole, cheese, salsa, cilantro, and chipolte ranch dressing.

I told him he was one of the best boys in the world.

We walked hand in hand to the bookstore.  He said, “You should do a blog about this and call it ‘A Fun Day With Mom.'”  He mentioned my blog because he was reading it while he waited for my hair to get done.

We went to the bookstore and he asked me for a Darth Vador light saber and I said yes.  (did you notice the shirt he was wearing in the “moe’s” picture?)


We stopped to pick up forms from the doctor’s office and then went to the school to drop one off.  When we came home I went outside to go for a walk and saw Ethan and Grace walking home with the neighbor girls.




Dave was with me.  We had a nice time together looking at all the creatures.  He pointed at a honeybee and caught a big grasshopper.



We have a small swampy pond in the bushes next to the garage that Dave wanted to look in, and sure enough he saw several bull frogs.


There was one a pretty chicken,
but his friends were pretty few,
For he thought that there was nothing
in the world but what he knew.

~Marion Douglas



We went back in the house with two fresh eggs and found Jacob just about to leave for the neighbor’s house, to mow the lawn for him.


We are leaving tomorrow to drive to Georgia.  We have Michael coming to stay in the house and take care of the animals for us and Emily will be coming over now and then, too.


Things are actually pretty organized in my mind…..on the table is a collapsable cooler (black) that I bought at Costco to hold cold food for the drive down.  I made potato salad and will take cheese sticks and fruit.  There is a second cooler for drinks.  There are granola bars and applesauce pouches in the rubbermaid containers and I bought 24 single serving cups of mandarin oranges.  I have a bag of spoons and a bag of forks, hand wipes, a bag of first aid supplies, laundry detergent packets, & another of bathroom supplies.  The clothes on the chair are Jacob’s and the ones in the basket are David’s.  I need them put into suitcases tonight along with Ethan’s clothes on the table.


Sarah’s suitcase has 8 outfits in it, shoes, and her swim floats.


I wrote names and numbers on each bag so I knew how many outfits I had completed.  Each bag has a shirt, a pair of shorts, underpants, and socks.  In a couple bags I put an extra long sleeved shirt and a pair of pants in case it gets cooler at nights.  I’m only packing 2 pairs of pajamas per person.  I am hoping to be able to do some laundry while we are gone.  I can’t believe I just wrote that.


I am packing bags of electronics.  One bag holds Sarah’s leapster with games and the children’s headphones, another one holds 2 kindles and the charger with another pair of headphones.  I also have a bag with the DS’s, games, and charger.  Jacob and Ethan will have their iPhones.  I spent some time storing audio books on my kindle…Mary Poppins was one of them.


These are the books I am taking for myself.  I was worried that I wouldn’t find a book to get lost in during vacation but I started The Night Circus last night and it’s reading really well and interestingly.  Very imaginative and creative.  I find myself smiling over the author’s fresh word style.  I respect her writing and so far am enjoying the book.  The top one is my Bible in a Year Bible that has a reading for each day of the year, I love it.  There is a portion of OT, NT, Psalms and a few verses of Proverbs every day.

It’s the end of the day now (well, it’s 7pm) and I’m very tired.  I hope to put my pj’s on early and go lay on the couch for a while with a big glass of tea, perhaps.  I’m feeling very drained but excited to finally get the packing done (I have done most of it all by myself.)  There are a few more odds and ends to finish up tomorrow.  We have rented a 12 passenger van so please pray for our safety.  The van came with a print out warning us all about roll-overs so I’m pretty much convinced we’ll have one.  I hate being a worrier, although I am forever thankful for God’s grace in the midst of my messy-beautiful-scary life.

the comfort of God


“A pond without dragonflies darting above it or without the exquisitely iridescent damsel flies clinging to the leaves of its border would be a lonely place indeed.” (this and all following nature quotes are by Anna Comstock)

Dragonflies are common at our place as we have two ponds and a stream.  It is always a pleasure to stand on the road and lean over the guardrail to peer into the water of the stream and watch the bright green bodied damsel flies, or to walk along the edge of the lawn where the tall grasses grow and observe the various dragonflies fluttering.  And it is always a feeling of accomplishment if I can get close enough to one with my camera and snap a clear photo.


“The grasshopper has some means of defense as well as of escape; it can give a painful nip with its mandibles; and when seized, it emits copiously from the mouth a brownish liquid which is acrid and ill smelling.  This performance interests children who are won’t to seize the insect by its jumping legs and hold it up, commanding it to ‘chew tobacco'”.  

What delightful and beautiful insects grasshoppers are!   Watching them jump is highly amusing, their back legs are like springs.

When I look at this photo of a grasshopper, I am struck by an urge to try to draw it.


This was an exciting surprise.  I was hunting the trees along the edge of the field for birds and my only thought was determination to take a pretty BIRD photo in the evening light.  And what do I see?  A tiny, chubby chipmunk way up high, frozen in fear as I photographed it.  Look at those tiny ears.


“The lay of the bullfrog, which like the song of some noted opera singers, is more wonderful than musical; the boom of the bullfrog makes the earth fairly quake.”

Even the bullfrog is lovely with it’s green and brown skin and gorgeous round & golden eyes shinier and prettier than any marble.  You can see the sky reflected within it’s black iris.  The round circle to the right of the eye is the ear.  My sons love to catch bullfrogs and consider them friends of the pond.


Notice anything special about this chicken?


The hydrangeas are continuing to dazzle.


Another surprise!  Just one week after seeing a baby chipmunk in a tree, I was sitting on the porch talking to my husband when my eyes landed on this one, way up high in the bush by our porch.

“While the chipmunk is a good runner and jumper, it is not so able a climber as is the red squirrel, and it naturally stays nearer the ground……a second glance showed me that it was a chipmunk lying close to the branch, hanging on for ‘dear life’ and with an attitude of extreme caution…”

So what was this chipmunk doing up in a bush?  I believe the answer was this:


Kitty on the porch probably chased it up there.  And after giving up on the chipmunk ever coming down, went back to his cozy seat on the porch to take a bath.



A chipmunk observer.


The children played a game of catch over by the chicken coop.






I had many real and imagined worries about the children and their future and by the end of the day yesterday I gathered my journal and my Bible to me like a lifeline…knowing that I needed most of all to saturate my mind with the truth of God, that He is in control of all things and that I can trust Him with my (His) children whom I love so much that I never want to let go of them or these days.

How Does God Comfort us?

Through His very nature, He is faithful.  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.”

Through His Word.  “I delight in your word every day.”

Through Prayer.  “Morning, noon and night I complain to you, Lord, and you always listen to me.  I rise before dawn and cry for help.”

Through His Holy Spirit.  “If we live by the Spirit, let us walk by the Spirit.”

Through others.  “Let us stir up each other to love and to good works.”

“I believe, Lord, that as I seek you I find you.  You will always show me the way that is good for my life,  You will lead me along the right way and I know that you always love me.  You pour your love into my heart so that I praise you because of your faithfulness; my innermost being says ‘thank you.’ Through the cross of Christ I have been brought back to you:  how I praise you!  Through the cross my life is transformed.  For Jesus Christ’s resurrection and for my new life I praise you.”

From a little booklet published in 1985 by Gospel Light Publications, “Enjoying God who Comforts”

Jacob and Ethan attend the prom

It’s the season for

pinxter bushes in bloom, (Seth and I went for a walk yesterday and brought back some for a vase)

lady slippers, (Joanna sent me a picture)

baltimore orioles, (I saw one this weekend, finally)

and the P R O M…….


Just a few short years ago (October, 2006 to be exact) Jacob and Ethan looked like this::


On Friday……..they looked like this (in the same location- the rock they were sitting on is on the far right of the picture):::



Of course I had to take a ton of pictures of them looking sharp in their tuxes.  They looked quite handsome, my mama heart was just bursting with pride.



These two boys are one grade apart at school.  Jacob is Senior and Ethan is a Junior.  Jacob’s girlfriend is in Ethan’s grade and she invited Jacob to Jr.Prom, which is how the two boys were both attending together.

They are only 14 months apart and very close.  They have done everything together, every step of the way, except now Jacob has entered the land of romantic love, leaving Ethan rolling his eyes and getting used to Jacob spending every spare minute with Emily.




Ethan, wearing his class ring.


Me, with E



Me with Jacob


I love this one of the boys with their Dad.


Rich took this one with his phone, it’s quite terrible quality, but great because I’m with my boys.




They were using the windows as mirrors.  They were feeling mighty good about their looks.


Emily’s beautiful corsage was made by a florist in town.



After I took the pictures in the driveway of our house, Emily’s mom came and picked up Ethan and Jacob.  Grace was with Emily and some other girls, helping them to get ready.  Emily’s mom picked up the girls, too, while Rich and I drove to the Gazebo to meet them.  The Gazebo is the traditional place for the students to take pictures before traveling on to the prom venue.

We found Ethan first, and Grace jumped in for a photo with her dear brother.


They looked so stiff and formal I requested that he put his arm around his sister.


And now I just sit and stare at this picture which is probably one of my all time favorites. Grace is one step down in age from Ethan.  They are a little less than 2 years apart but Grace is a Sophomore in High School because she started school when she was 4.


And then we saw Jacob walking toward us with his beautiful date……




Emily was so excited, she wanted a picture with everyone.

Here she is with Sarah:


With Caleb:


with Ethan:


with her Mom:


with me:


I’m not going to post the one with Seth because it ended up too bright.  And there is no picture with David because he ran and hid.

Here is the one with Rich and Grace:





I kinda wish I had thought of taking a picture of the entire gazebo, but I did get some nice shots of them inside of it.  Ethan did not take a date, but one of the girls from their group was also going along single so they did end up with an even number of friends to eat and dance with all night.  Jacob and Emily, Ethan, Bridgette, Marissa and Tom.





I told them I wanted to see their pretty shoes and got quite a surprise….


Emily wasn’t wearing any.


pretty pretty eyes


Grace with the big brother she adores.


Seth hung around watching everyone, and Sarah kept seeing princesses everywhere.

Jacob, Ethan, and Emily walked away to mingle and get ready to go eat.  Rich and I left with backward glances with the other children and headed home, happy to know that our dear boys were going to have a most wonderful time.  The next morning we heard all about it and Ethan was still in a dancing mood.

The Lord is my strength and shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.  My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.  Psalm 28:7



jacob and emily got engaged again! (*not really*)


Ah, young love in the springtime, is there anything better?

We were all outside and I was reading my book when Emily ran up to me all excited.   Jacob proposed to her!  This is his second proposal.  The first one took place at the mall with a peach ring candy!


Don’t you agree that this ring is much better than a peach ring (which Emily ate)?

Jacob found it embedded in the mud outside on the lawn!  Hard to believe, right?

It’s beautiful silver, heavy and well made, with a gentle rust design.  Quite artsy.

I congratulated her over and over.


While Jacob looked on, sheepishly.

Oh no, a sneak attack!


Brothers are so disrespectful when it comes to ultra-romantic moments!


Admiring their ring.


Silly kids.

happy birthday emily

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17

Dear Emily,

You have been Jacob’s girlfriend for almost a year and I just wanted to take the opportunity to write you a little note, thanking you for who you are and what you have added to Jacob’s life, with your love.  I am thankful for you and that God has brought you into Jacob’s life and consequently our family’s life.

The kids adore you.  Well, maybe not Ethan, but you know Ethan is harmless and he does certainly LIKE you, even though you take up too much of Jacob’s time and the two of you talk on the phone at night too much, causing Ethan to sleep on the couch at times.  He also would appreciate a little less personal displays of attention when he is in the room, right?    But yes, despite all that, I know that deep down inside Ethan is also glad that you are Jacob’s girlfriend.  After all, you do a great job of turning the PS3 on and off for him.

Of all the children, Sarah especially loves her Emily.  She woke up this morning remembering that it is your birthday, and she searched the house looking for things to give you.  One of the things she picked out was a ring out of my jewelry box.  I told her to color you a picture instead and she said accusingly, “MOM!  That’s not a birthday present!”  I’m not sure, I might have to take her out shopping, unless you really DO want one of her stuffed animals?  She wants to give you Pepper (her black cat with the buggy eyes).  She wants to know when you’re going to get here and if we are making your cake.  She says she wishes you could spend the night.

I went through some of my photos from the last few months and picked out some of my favorites.

You are such a special young lady, Emily, and don’t ever forget that!

Parker the dog also wanted me to be sure to tell you that he adores you.  He’s hoping you bring him one of those dog cookies soon.  (woof)

Dad will be home from his business trip around 7:30 so he won’t miss your party, either.



First Christmas together.





family nap time



Parker the dog.


Jacob playing with Emily’s hair and reading her Edgar Allen Poe.  She’s wearing his pajamas and hiding from the camera.  They have also read Macbeth, the Bible, and I’m not sure what else.  I love that they read together.


When she asked him to the prom, on Jacob’s birthday, December 31.  She’s having a great time trying on Prom dresses whenever she can.




One day this winter they decided to paint.  And they each painted the other’s EYE.  Emily painted Jacob’s and Jacob painted Emily’s.  It was the most amusing thing to observe them….they would keep looking into each other’s eyes but only as an art subject.  LOL  This painting is currently hanging in Jacob and Ethan’s room and it’s labeled “Jacob’s Eye.  Emily’s Eye.”  It cracks me up.


Wearing his sweatshirt.


After a wrestling match.


Reading to Seth and Sarah.


Making brownies after school, giving Sarah a taste of the batter.


I took this one yesterday.  Superman isn’t smiling because Superman doesn’t smile.  You can see the love that Sarah has for Emily.

Happy Birthday, Emmeline!