this took me a long time

Hold your breath, we are diving into a photo dump this morning!

Do you remember our cat, Peninsula? We got her at Petsmart this summer in Brunswick, GA and she almost died on us. Well, here she is, healthy and bright but NOT affectionate, which frustrates us all except Sarah (Penny LOVESSSSS Sarah). We want to pet her, but she reacts to any motion toward her, by fleeing like she thinks we are about to hurt her in unspeakable ways. Look at her face! Who wouldn’t want to snuggle this sweet kitten?

This is the prettiest tree on our street. Quite obviously.

I walk almost every day, my goal is 10,000 or more steps. I love to listen to a good podcast while I walk, wearing my husband’s AirPods. I am particular though, and sometimes end up spending most of my walk trying to find one that will hold my interest, rather than actually hearing one. Sometimes I resort to my favorite music, because it’s dependable.

One day I came home with a nice branchy-branch. Why? Because Joanna and I saw the neatest thing; someone took a branch like this and hung it upside down from the ceiling and turned it into a mobile with feathers hung on strings all over it. I plan to do the same, only not just feathers, other things too. I will show you the end result.

I’ve been reading a lot. I am working through every Newbery winner and honor book, and also reading other books as well. Two books I can HIGHLY recommend that I’ve read lately are Dancing With the Octopus, and Golem Girl. If you purchase Golem Girl, (which you truly should) do so in hardcover, as it is interspersed with the author’s own drawings, and some personal photographs as well. Take the time to read the descriptions of the books on amazon, and maybe you’ll find that you enjoy the stories, they really captured my interest and inspired me (both are memoirs, which is my favorite genre).

I wasn’t going to purchase a puzzle unless I found the perfect one. This was it!!!

Another walking selfie. ūüôā

I look this happy because I just got done with my walk (walking is a big boost to my spirits).

When I say “Rich, I’m on a walk, I’m going to the Red Barn and back” this is what I mean. Isn’t it the most lovely barn? It’s always quiet, like no one uses it anymore. The tractor is parked and little trees are growing up around it. Some of the doors are open, revealing dusty rooms with untouched tools, boxes, tins, and so on. I wonder about it.

I’m always after that allusive apple; the one that reminds me of the “wild” ones that grew up the road past my Grandparent’s farm house. The one that is crispy and cool, juicy and sweet-tart. So, when I walk past another old apple tree and see its fruit all over the ground beneath, I take a couple and eat them. They are apples that could never be sold in the store, with lumps and bruises and worm holes. But I know how to eat them, it’s rather fun actually, like a challenge, exciting, you just don’t know when you will bite the wrong spot.

Any-who, the little one was perfect, the bigger one was mealy. No one likes a mealy apple.

Jacob and Brittnee made dinner last week, like three nights in a row; they made beef and broccoli over rice, beef stew, and this chicken parmesan. I am a very blessed woman, in fact, this morning David came in my room with a poached egg for me, served over a slice of avocado, with bacon and a sauce on top. I could cry……….

My brother Dave sent me this pic from our parent’s house; it’s me as a young teenager, in my bedroom hugging a cat, whose name escapes us now. Behind me is my “Me Poster”, a poster paper that I glued pictures on that I liked, until the whole thing was as full as could be, a most wonderful collage of “me”, I still have it, it’s under my bed as I write…..

The crocheted blanket was made by my Great Grandma and I still have it, too.

The two photos that I have tacked to the wall; one is of me as a dumpling-baby grinning my face off, and the other one is me and my brother David together on Mom’s bed, looking cute and happy and my arm is around him.

Cat posters, too.

It’s so satisfying to know that the things I love (joy that makes a smile huge, cats, siblings, homemade things, photos) haven’t changed over the years.

*favorite kombucha from Trader Joe’s, the flavor is perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing. “Living in Gratitude” fall edition.

Autumn is a most dazzling, almost too bright, time of year!!!!!

It rained and rained all day yesterday but today the sun is shining just like this again, so now the air isn’t dry and dirty anymore, it’s fresh and clean and wholesome. As soon as I am done here I’m fleeing for the outdoors. Seth wants to show me that the stream is full again.

I was on the porch and found my charming daughter under the bushes, reading with a clock next to her (she must have been on a schedule) and her head upon a backpack and stuffed rabbit.

Seth being a stinker and putting his brother David’s new birthday hat on his head. “Mom take a picture and send it to Dave”. (Dave was in another room of the house) Dave was also in a bad mood and didn’t react the way we expected, “I don’t care” is what he said……

The other day I found the pretzels open in the pantry and I said “Seth, go put clothespins on this so it’s shut”. He turned around to do what I said and I got back to searching for whatever it was I was trying to find, and then two days later I sat down on the porch and ……. saw…….that he had indeed completed the task…..but not the way I expected. I’m still laughing about it.

So, this area in my bathroom was bothering me to no end. Finally I decided to DO SOMETHING about it, instead of just being bothered. So Jacob and I went to a furniture consignment shop and found a little cabinet….

(I told you this was going to be an exhausting post)

The stack of towels AND the seasonal clothes fit in this! I was so pleased.

I am so pleased. Look at my little things! I love my perfume collection, the doilies picked up from thrifting adventures, the books, and the covered glass dish which holds costume jewelry and used to be my husband’s grandmother’s…. (and will someday be either Grace’s or Sarah’s)

Let us end the post the way we began, with another photo of Penny the kitten. (the furniture belongs to the pets, too). Ethan plays us music every day and Seth has been shooting nerf guns on the daily.

A happy Wednesday to you, and you, and you, and guess what?

You are loved. Greatly.

xo

all sorts

I probably shouldn’t use the word “crap” to describe this photo because the other day we were standing in a little cafe and Sarah said, “I don’t know what to order, everything here is crap” (She said this because all she could see were sweets and pastries and nothing healthy. if it’s not healthy it’s crap, apparently).

Hello and good day to you my bloggy friends! I’m awake but very tired after a restless night. It was one of those nights when Rich and I unwisely plunged into a heavy discussion right as we got into bed and then hours later in the night, Seth woke us up with a headache and stomach ache. Rich is working from our island home from here on out (for the rest of our stay) so he was up very early with the birds this morning and then just as I was falling back to sleep after that, Seth came in my room. I might fall asleep as I type.

Rich is right next to me typing on his laptop and Grace is across the table on Pinterest. The therapy of Pinterest, I should say, as she is adding to our mutual private board entitled “I am Independent” which is for us as we are both nurturing types that tend to forget ourselves as we love everyone else, and have a hard time putting up bounderies when being sucked dry in unhealthy relationships. (hows that for a mouthful?) Easier said than done, because we are both loyal to a fault, as well. To all the independent women out there reading this, we want to be like you.

We took the children to DQ the other day. To save money since there were ten of us in all, I said, “Eat a sandwich at home first and we will go just for ice cream.” Still, we overtaxed the workers. The cashier laughed as she gave the order to the ice cream makers. “That’s a lot,” she explained.

They almost got our order correct. And it was super fun. My peanut butter sundae was divine.

We were walking home from the pool.

Home Sweet Home

Naturally, we brought some of the vast fiestaware collection from CT to GA.

This area gets the most use BY FAR. We have another living room upstairs but the TV is downstairs so we are always on top of each other here, it’s fun and heart-healthy to have the family pile-ups. We still need curtains for these windows.

The giant shell decoration on the stand is where we all put the shells and things we collect. The door to the right is the girls’ room.

I just love it here.

This is the back of our home. We own half this building. Our building-neighbors are named Cindy and Clay and we have all met them, they are very nice. The place is well- built and solid, and they assure me that they hear nothing from our side. They gave us a lovely card and a Target gift card when we moved in. They told Grace about an app she could put on her phone which tells you the names of the boats outside on the ocean.

In the photo you can see David upstairs on the porch and Jacob on the lawn below. David and Grace like to be on the upstairs porch and tend to listen to music, play the guitar, talk, read, or chat with their significant others on the ipad/iphone together. They are good friends.

a new friend

Ethan with his beach hair. Rich and I took him out for an ice cream one evening.

a good book

We took Jacob, Brittnee, and Ethan out for seafood the day they had to leave.

We are all such good pals.

Faith Chapel on the Island

I’m getting overwhelmed with blogging all these photos. But it must be done. ūüôā

beautiful; it was the condensation on the windows that struck me…

Ethan took this one.

Jacob took this one.

While we were biking Rich stopped to read this little plaque tucked up on a tree branch.

“Kahlua

This area was a favorite of an amazing little dog. May you experience an unconditional love while here.

I’ll love you forever, Baby Girl”

Lunch at The Pantry over at the Jekyll Island Club.

Photography by Seth

my friend

I loved these jars (in The Pantry) I’ll be keeping an eye out for them while browsing antique stores in the area.

back at home…….our Jekyll home…..I miss my cats so I started a little cat knick-knack collection. The tails get me. The set of four (a litter) on the right have real bells upon their necks. And silly faces.

whimsical turtles (the red shell opens up!) I want to hide notes in there. Today I will. It will say “Happy Birthday Caleb” on it……I wonder if anyone will find it?

Naturally, Jacob being a friend to all and an extrovert, we had our first company while he was with us; his friend Alec from work in CT who now lives in FL along with his girlfriend Alex. I took this photo as they were coming back from the pool.

Everyone needs a Life Is Good shirt!!!! My biggest and my littlest (sons).

Life is Good shirt for G

Its the arm that gets me, and those faces, and they way they were talking to each other in the long long line for BBQ.

my heart!

Grace is DREAM of a daughter. We get along so well, we are so alike and I marvel at her.

the best……….loved my chopped beef brisket drenched in the sauce with a side of collard greens.

When you’re feeling kinda sad that afternoon and reading a book quietly and he reaches over and puts his hand on the hurt spot without saying a word …..and you feel the love, the healing love, in just the time you needed it.

This is my healing place. We all have them.

I think it’s brave

i think it’s brave that you get up in the morning even if your soul is weary and your bones ache for a rest

i think it’s brave that you keep on living even if you don’t know how to anymore.

i think it’s brave that you push away the waves rolling in every day and you decide to fight

i know there are days when you feel like giving up but i think it’s brave that you never do.

Lana Rafeala

messy beautiful

friday bowling
mom of boys
Jacob, and Steven King
my life, my loves
messy beautiful!
seafood lunch at Coopers
back home
life is good
mama duck
my girlies
oh the smell of lilacs!
quite jaunty
mother’s day morning
Rich and Gracie
amazing!
Grace and her dad
me and my mama
gaming
healing
my darling brother
my all time favorite
I didn’t have to drive this time
dear daughter
another dear daughter
snow!!!!
snow on Mother’s day
Mom told me to make cookies
so I did, this morning and I also burned my finger terribly. I had three cookies for breakfast.

Sharing my heart..

I was lovingly reminded yesterday that God is not waiting to come down on me like a hammer everytime I get my toe out of line…….and then, this morning I read this verse, “The Lord doesn’t see things they way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

The Lord KNOWS MY HEART. When I don’t even know it, He knows it. He knows I want to please Him, He knows I beat myself up all day long over my percieved failings, He knows that I grieve and cry and long and hope and desire and love and give and give and make myself vulnerable and I fail and fail but I’m loved and I’m beautiful to Him.

In life’s choices, I choose HIM. To think this way is freeing to me.

He cares for me like no other. He knows I am nothing but dust, he knows my messy humanity and He understands. He knows I’m treading water here, trying to keep myself breathing. (Please don’t worry about me, I’ve never tried to keep depression/anxiety/perfectionism and my super-sensitivity to life and these things a secret. I’m okay, and people can be okay even when dealing with strong emotions.)

Anything that makes me small and Him big……is a good thing. Even though it can be painful. In this way, self righteousness is dealt with, and a true understanding of my need (and His provision!) is realized. No, I don’t want self righteousness or sanctimoniousness (from myself…..or others, either.) It creates fear. “Your boasting is not good. You know that a little yeast leavens the whole bath of dough, don’t you?” I corinthians 5:6…

We are to have mercy, and show love and grace. To others…..and to our selves.

“I want your constant love, not your animal sacrifices. I would rather have my people know me than burn offerings to me.” Hos. 6:6

So, Mother’s day weekend. On the inside I was a storm of thoughts and emotions, but on the outside……life continued and there was joy and smiles and love. How funny it all is! A perfect mix of sadness and joy, love and sorrow, good and bad, seriousness and frivolity. So topsy turvy! “It is what it is” Maybe someday I’ll find an even keel. (yes, you can laugh at that).

“In acceptance lieth peace” ~ Hannah Hurnard

I accept it all, kind Father, often with great struggle, but thank you for loving me and being patient and kind. Give me oil in my lamp, keep me burning.

thank you for visiting my blog, friends.
you are loved

you are my good days.

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The McDonalds in town was being renovated for months and months this winter and as soon as we could, Rich and I took the kids there to see what it was like after it was completed and open for business again.   While we were there, David took this photo of us.

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David taking a nap with Sherlock.

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Sarah and I made pies. ¬†As usual, my homemade crust was disappointing. ¬†I’ll never get it right.

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I was sitting in the recliner when Grace got home!!  After a flurry of activity welcoming her back, with lots of hugs, I sat back down.  Soon I noticed that children were all around me so I had David (who was also sitting on the floor in front of me) take a photo.  My heart was full to bursting.

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Weekend box of donuts.   Dave was so happy he ran around the house with them before settling down to enjoy.  I believe he ate three.

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Saturday. ¬†Sarah had a friend over for the morning. ¬†I took this photo as they were all enjoying Youtube videos and were so cute. ¬†David has my robe on. ¬†He’s like my twin or something. ¬†And you can tell Seth is happy to have his big sister home.

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We wanted a photo with Caleb but he wouldn’t cooperate.

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Michael and Grace, with sick Sarah in the background. ¬†Yes, we are still going through the *end of winter sick-bug* here. ¬†Currently, I am the last one recovering. ¬†I’ve been sick for three days but thankfully last night’s sleep was much better and I feel I’m at the end of it now.

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cookies!

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Grace and I went for a walk together on Monday.

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Sarah being cute.

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Grace in the morning with our beautiful Bagheera.

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Sick Sarah with her things all around her. (the loaf of bread is a squishie)

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I discovered Caleb sleeping in my bed one afternoon.

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Sick mom with a big ten year old on her lap. ¬†This was right before I pushed him off. ¬†ūüėČ

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Grace and I (and Walter) have been working on a puzzle.

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RIch was away for two nights and one of those nights I stayed up watching The Office with Grace and Dave.  It was fun.

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Then, I said I was going to bed so I went in my room. ¬†But a cat followed me, so as I was chasing him out, Grace and Dave got in my bed before I could! ¬†It was so funny. ¬†I love my children SO SO much. ¬†And I think they like their mom just a little bit, too. ¬†ūüôā

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Pretty Bags

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Me, last night after a nice long long bath.

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I had to share this photo of my brother.  He had a nice hair cut and beard trim and sent me a photo of himself.  This man is a constant comfort and friend to me, my dear brother Dave.

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Every morning when I get up I am attacked by three excited cats waiting for their one and only can of catfood for the day.  But yesterday we ran out so I had to post this sign by their food bowl to let them know.

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Last but not least, Rich got home safely last night and the dog Facetimed with Ethan at college.

 

HAPPY THURSDAY DEAR ONES!!!!

You are Loved.

“you. you are my good days.” ¬†~f.d. soul

 

 

 

jacob’s 22

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Happy New Year’s Eve! ¬†Most of us are currently in the livingroom because Rich and Ethan are in the mood to watch Mr. Bean videos. ¬†Nothing gets Rich laughing harder.

22 years ago we welcomed our firstborn into the world on this day. ¬†Today is his birthday and it’s fun that it falls on a holiday and he can be home on his special day. ¬†He and Brittnee went downtown to the coffeeshop for a little date, too. ¬†We had pasta for lunch, played Phase 10,¬†and just had a most delicious cake.

But before I share photos from today, I wanted to post a few from the wrestling tournament on Saturday.  Jacob drove me and the kids in my vehicle to the school where Rich and David and the rest of the team were warming up.

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David lost his first two matches and then won his second two.  It was a day of blood, sweat, and tears for him but it ended well.  (In blue singlet on the right).

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Seth and Sarah have spent a lot of their childhood in wrestling gyms and always find a spot to watch (rarely the bleachers next to me).  I keep an eye on them and smile.  Seth helped keep time at one point during the day, and even got to run the score clock once, as well.

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David recovered after a loss next to his sister.

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After a win, and then telling his Dad no way did he have any interested in doing an exhibition match against a 160 pounder.  (Dave was 138 on Saturday).

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After his second win, I took this photo from the bleachers of Dave listening to whatever Jacob was telling him (Ethan and Rich are nearby on the edge of the mat wearing gray long sleeved shirts). ¬†Rich loves it when the boys are home and can help coach. ¬† Jacob thought the shoot David did in this match was the best he ever did and Dave said it was because he “didn’t shoot from the bleachers” meaning he wasn’t too far away for it to be effective this time.

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Sometimes I just sit and take photos of whatever happens in front of me.

We stopped for a nice BBQ lunch on the way home and that was Saturday.

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Then, on Sunday evening Jacob invited friends to the house to begin celebrating his birthday.

Rich took them to Costco to get party food and they came home with shrimp, clams, and salmon, along with chips, dips, crackers, cheese, drinks, and a cake.

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Ethan got to work making coffees with his Christmas espresso maker while Jacob steamed all of the clams.

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Grace cozied up on the couch reading a book.

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And Rich watched the football games.

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Today Jacob turned twenty-two.

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They played games most of the day. ¬†It’s been nice. ¬†Our favorites have been Listography and Phase 10.

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I didn’t have twenty two candles so we put two and then two more. ¬†I love this photo so much. ¬†I was about to take it and Rich went and found the tripod so I could be in it, too. ¬†Real-life romance.

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Grace lit the candles and someone turned off the lights.

We all started singing.

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And then Jacob blew out the candles.

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Seth was being silly.

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Dave went right back downstairs to Skyrim but don’t worry, “I’ll leave the door open so I can still hear you all,” he said.

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The cake was delicious!

wall of children

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I look like such a big head in this photo but that’s selfie photography for you! ¬†Poor Sarah didn’t make it into the photo.

After all the planning and organizing and hosting of Thanksgiving, we were all ready to get out of the house on Black Friday and it was absolutely the best day because we were all together, Rich and I **without even one child missing**.

The line at Starbucks was a little long so I got silly with my camera and my mama-joy.

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Rich and I both felt deep down meaningful gratitude over spending time with them, our biggest blessings of all. ¬†Each so different and yet, together, a special group of siblings. ¬†That’s how all families feel about their children, and rightfully so.

God is so good to us.

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THE SONS

At the mall! ¬†I like to do things fairly so I said to Rich, “The girls go with me and the boys go with you!” ¬† (I’m sure the boys were utterly relieved)

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Sarah insisted on getting this blanket for “someone” on our Christmas list!

I’m thinking if it were a fluffy sweater in Sarah’s size she would look dashing!

(Note to Self:  Sarah looks good in mauve.)

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She found her perfect dream dress. ¬†And thank goodness I liked it, too. ¬†It’s plain and simple but with the best twirling skirt ever.

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AND THE DAUGHTERS

So. ¬†I had a secret mission for this mall outing. ¬†I wanted more than anything to get updated portraits taken of Jacob and Ethan. ¬†They are both Juniors in college this year and it’s been since High School that I had a nice professional portrait of them. ¬†Grace’s senior photo is still on the wall looking fabulous, along with the other school-age children who just brought home their updated school portraits.

I had five 8 by 10s hanging up in the livingroom, but was very much missing the two eldest boys.

I wasn’t sure if we could just walk into the portrait studio without appointments but we tried it and had SUCCESS! ¬†All I wanted was one 8 by 10 of each of them and we were in and out of the studio in no time at all, pictures in hand.

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They turned out so nice!!!!! ¬†Here’s Jacob’s portrait. ¬†He will be turning 22 next month.

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And here’s Ethan’s portrait! ¬†He’s 20 years old.

I love how they go together yet they aren’t matchy-matchy.

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I find myself staring at their faces quite often. ¬†ūüôā

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This is exactly where I am right now, sitting in the chair draped by a white and blue blanket that Aunt Colleen crocheted for me in our local school colors so I could take it to cold outdoor games. ¬†In the mug I have hot spiced apple cider, and to the left of my laptop you can see the jar candle, and then my phone propped up, which is playing my friend’s video to me this morning. ¬†What a great way to start the day, with photos, conversation, laundry, and blogging.

To be honest, I have also been to the vet to drop off poor Walter. ¬†Today our kitty has to have his special operation that will help him grow up to be a nice, tame, good-smelling male cat who can’t make babies. ¬†We’ll go pick him up again later. ¬†ūüôā

Also, Seth is home for the second day in a row. ¬†He’s feeling better but had a fever yesterday so has to be home one more day. ¬†I have to admit I really really like having him home with me.

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.
CHARLES SPURGEON

BE BLESSED TODAY, FRIENDS
YOU ARE LOVED.

 

 

august 2006

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(taking photos)

I remembered taking some photos years ago at my Grandparent’s house. ¬†They were “last time” photos, as I was unsure I would ever see it again the way it looked when Grandma and Grandpa lived there. ¬†Grandma had died and Grandpa was moving out of the farmhouse.

After I took the photos I didn’t do anything to save them. ¬†I thought I would print them out, put them in a scrapbook or something. ¬† But Caleb was a baby and I would end up having Seth and Sarah and being extremely busy and distracted by motherhood.

However, every now and then I would think about the photos from Grandma’s house and wonder where in the world they went.

For a time I was having my digital photos put on CD at Costco and I assumed that I had done that and lost the CD.

Last week, when I was blogging about the Nancy Drew books Grandma had given me, and I was over in the garage looking through boxes, I thought of those photos again.  I found an old picture CD and turned it over to see the label.  Nope.  Not the photos.  I stood in the closet and said a little prayer that I would someday find them.

Amanda and Cassandra came over and I wanted to take photos of the baby and our walk.  There was no camera card in my camera so I took one out of the plastic baggy I keep all my cards in and inserted it into the camera.  We went on our walk and I put the camera aside for a day or two.

In the meantime, I went to a thrift store and found a framed needlework that I had remembered Mom giving to Grandma years ago, and which Mom now has hanging in her house.  I took a photo of it, and of my ongoing collection, and texted them to Mom so she could see.

Then, I thought I had some time to blog the photos of my walk with Amanda and Cassandra so I got the camera card out of the camera and inserted it into my laptop.

This card, by the way, was funny, because during the walk I could only get it to hold about 10 photos before it was full. ¬†But I couldn’t see any other photos on it while it was in my camera.

When I inserted it, all the photos flashed up and there were about 20 from the year 2006, including little videos of baby Caleb. ¬†I hadn’t seen these photos in so long that I almost didn’t know what I was seeing. ¬†In a moment, I was taken back 12 years to when Caleb was a baby, when we were getting our new puppy Parker, AND YES, those photos I had longed for, when Grandma and Grandpa’s house still looked the way I remembered it……..I cried a little with my hands over my mouth in surprised joy. ¬†I studied each and every photo. ¬†I just could not believe it.

I saw the needlepoint on Grandma’s wall that I had JUST BOUGHT THAT DAY for my own wall!

The only (small) disappointment was there were not nearly as many photos of the house that I thought I had taken!!!!

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The corner hutch in the kitchen with seasonal Watkins pie plates, a photo of me and my siblings, and a sweet drawing of a goldfinch.  I have one of the pie plates.

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More of Grandma’s kitchen decorations.

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kitchen

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This is the indentation in the kitchen linoleum that I always put my heel in for a moment or two….it fit just right. ¬†So funny the things kids do and remember from childhood.

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Just a small part of the livingroom, which was nice and spacious for family gatherings.

The framed needlework design hung on the wall over the TV.

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Old clothes hanging up in Grandma’s closet.

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And of course the bookcases upstairs on the landing.

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Looking at all the books was always one of the best things to do during a visit.

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On top of the shelves there was space for all the senior portraits that she framed and displayed, of her children and grandchildren.  There I am on the far right.

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Makes me smile to think of her doing this.

And that’s that. ¬†sigh. ¬†I wish I had taken 100 more!! ¬†But I can’t complain BECAUSE I FINALLY FOUND THE MISSING PHOTOS AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!

I’m in the kitchen while Jacob videotapes his baby brother. ¬†What makes me laugh every time is seeing Caleb pick up a piece of who knows what off the floor….and eat it. ¬†Poor baby number 5!!! ¬†Mama’s too busy to make sure you don’t eat yucky things! ¬†(honestly, it happens no matter what number baby…..) ¬†He’s so cute!!!

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Me and Colleen with our gang of little ones, 12 years ago.

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Mom and Dad’s old dogs Brutus, and Lion.

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Ethan with puppy Parker.

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beautiful mama in her garden

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visiting mom and dad

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Rich (at the store?)….a photo taken by one of the kids.

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Little Caleb in the flower bed by Grandpa’s garage.

A trip down memory lane!

Home is where the heart is,
Love is where the home is.

 

christmas time happenings

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“I don’t have any good photos to blog with,” I thought.

“Well you do have some on your phone,” I replied.

“They aren’t that great of quality though,” I continued.

“But they are priceless and of great value, since they capture the moments authentically,” I said wisely.

“Oh fine,” I sighed.

And then got all emotional looking at them because there were over twenty photos, twenty moments during which we were living life and I grabbed the nearest camera, my phone, to record something quickly and easily. ¬† I honestly LOVE this stage of life. ¬†My youngest is 7 and without any toddlers daily life is much calmer, however with seven children it is still busy enough to never be boring and to always have that feeling of “what’s next” — you really can’t prepare, there are surprises every day and lots of laughter.

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Handsome son Dave, who was dressed in his High School wrestling clothes for the first time in his career. ¬†And, by the way, this door used to be a curtain hiding our laundry area, but the laundry room has been moved downstairs and now this is a big spacious closet just off the kitchen. ¬†I’ll take photos eventually because I really like how it turned out.

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Sarah Joy arriving home from school. ¬†“Christmas Porch” with a wreath, and a snowman flag. ¬†She made me and her dad an ornament made out of a glue/cinnamon dough that smells so good.

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LOOKING FOR THE PICKLE IN THE TREE

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I gave him the present; a chocolate fish and a card that I had prepared for the Amazing Pickle Finder.

“Keep looking for hidden treasures your whole life and you will be amazed at what you will see and discover.”

“I am really good at finding things,” he agreed. ¬†(debatable, I thought)

Sarah was holding back the tears because she didn’t find it.

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SHOPPING WITH MY SISTER

We had SUCH a good time. ¬†We got manicures ; my nails are so pretty now, a deep red with red sparkles similar to Dorothy’s shoes on the Wizard of Oz.

We talked and talked and laughed and just felt so comfortable together; “This is good for my soul,” she mentioned.

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We had bison burgers and freshly cut french fries for lunch.  I indulged in a diet coke.

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There was a giant Christmas tree at the outdoor shopping center.  We did a little shopping and I bought Caleb, Seth, and Sarah some nice warm mittens/gloves for outdoor play at LLBean and they liked them so much they literally spent HOURS until dark outside everyday until our snow melted a couple days ago.  Wise purchase even though the line was long.  With a sister/friend the lines go fast.  More time to talk!

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My dear Hannah sent me and my family a Christmas box. ¬†She lives in Alaska and has visited me 3 times and I haven’t visited her yet.

So guess what I asked Rich to give me for Christmas?!

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We spend time together like this every chance we get. ¬†In fact, he’s next to me as I type and he’s rather insulted because a laptop is on my lap and not him.

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COLLEGE SON ETHAN IS HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  As of two days ago!

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AND COLLEGE SON JACOB my FIRSTBORN is here as well, the person I gave birth to 21 years ago at just this time of year. ¬†CHRISTMAS and JACOB’s BIRTHDAY are all wrapped up in my heart during this season.

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Uncle Dave always sends cards for the children under 18. ¬†The rest of us get a family card. ¬†So now there are “only four” in the tree waiting for Christmas morning even though they keep asking me if they can open them NOW.

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WRESTLING MEET on Wednesday, two days ago.  David was .5 over so there was a little bit of unwanted stress in making certain he made weight and then come to find out he had no one to wrestle in that weight class.  (he did make weight, however)

But eventually they did exhibition matches (which don’t count in the team scores) and Rich bumped him up to give him experience. ¬†I could see Dave giving a little shake of his head “no” but Rich didn’t give him a second glance and got him right on the mat with someone who weighed 5 pounds more than him…..and Dave won.

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He won right in front of his big brothers who also wrestle for college.

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Right in front of his big brothers AND their girlfriends.

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AFTER THE MEET it was time to play. ¬†Ethan wrestled with his little brothers but what really gives me joy in this photo is Bruce the man on the left just walking out of the camera frame with a smile on his face. ¬†He’s one of the custodians of the school and is ALWAYS so quietly kind and friendly. ¬†We notice he turns a bucket over and sits on the side of the gym during meets, we think he must like wrestling.

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^^ Jacob and Seth on the left and Ethan pinning Caleb on the mat.  And it took me a long time to get that sentence out right.  (names LOL)

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Seth’s turn to wrestle with E. ¬†It was such a fun night. ¬†We were only missing Grace because she was at work.

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We are forever trying to hug Dave and he is always this reluctant, but we know he secretly enjoys it. ¬†Tessa is a good sport. ¬†Such a dear girl who, along with her sister, has grown up with my own children (they live nearby) and is in love with Ethan. ‚̧ ¬†She’s a senior this year, while David is a freshman so she sees him now and then and tries to get hugs. ¬†You can tell (sort of) that he’s warming up to her. ¬†(no, his arm never got higher than it is in the photo).

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HERE SHE IS!  She got back on Tuesday (thank you to Michael who went to get her from college).  Yesterday she and I went shopping with Ethan and we took this photo as we were waiting for him to finish up his hair cut.

(I prefer myself with bangs but when I am too lazy to deal with them I pin them back).

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When Seth got home from school yesterday he had a sore by his mouth which immediately freaked me out (internally, I didn’t show it to him) because it wasn’t there when he left in the morning. ¬†He complained that he thought his jaw was broken and his cheek hurt. ¬†But he pointed to the sore spot by his lip as the place where it hurt. ¬†(I don’t think he knew what “a jaw” really was) I was thinking “Oh my goodness my child caught a contagious skin rash during wrestling” and took him to the docs who told me it was basically NOTHING. ¬†I mean, it was infected slightly (like a pimple actually but he’s too young for them just yet). ¬†She gave us a prescription for an antibiotic cream but Rich didn’t get to the pharmacy in time so we just rubbed neosporin on it and this morning it looked much better. ¬†I’m still picking up the prescription though, don’t worry Mom. ¬†I’m sure it will come in handy. ¬†Seth has had chapped lips so the Doc thinks he was touching his face with dirty hands. ¬†(8 year old boys are generally dirty) I do tell him to wash but when he’s at school who knows. . . . . .

The whole experience ended up giving us a nice time together. ¬†His appointment was at 6:10. ¬†¬†WHY is it SO DARK he kept asking. ¬†We agreed that it isn’t a pleasant feeling to be going to the doctors when it’s dark outside. ¬†Scary.

I took him to Dunkin Donuts after, it was just a short jaunt down the sidewalk from the office. ¬†He ordered himself a bacon egg and cheese on a plain bagel, toasted, and five glazed munchkins….and a hot chocolate and he looked so cute as he waited. ¬†He didn’t want help carrying his treasures. ¬†He ate and drank everything. ¬†He hugged me.

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We went to the Goodwill store next and he and his bright eyes saw a wrestling head gear for Caleb (who needed one) for ONLY A DOLLAR.   Jacob said they are twenty at the sporting goods store he used to work at.   So Seth got the deal of the day.  Grace scrubbed it with antibacterial wipes this morning.

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Then we met Jacob, Grace, and Sarah at the pet store.  WHAT are the girls looking at, you ask?

Stay tuned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

******

I typed all this at the end of the couch at Ethan’s feet. ¬†He sleeps on the couch when he’s home even though he has a perfectly good bed in a bedroom upstairs. ¬†I think he finds it cozier to be on the couch. ¬†He’s sound asleep. ¬†Listening to him breathe gives me joy. ¬†He stretched his feet out and pushed against me, waking up just enough to look down at me and say sorry. ¬†I said, “I like it.” and gave him a pat on the leg.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

an anomaly

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.

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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.

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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

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MONDAY NIGHT football was on TV.  My children were in a clump on one part of the couch.

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While their dad gave me a foot rub on another part of it. ¬†I love Monday night football! ¬†ūüôā

(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?)

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I recently rediscovered this photo of me and the children (before Seth and Sarah were born).

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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.

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Chickens enjoying leftover morning cereal and milk.

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why kids, why????

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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.

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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.

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THIS MORNING……a brief quiet moment, trying to wake up, before I left for the car appointment.

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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)

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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.

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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……

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“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.

and then

“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.

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When I got home, I washed my thrift store purchases (mama and baby tiger) and put them in the girls’ room.

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And found my cat—can you believe it–in the same spot I left him….4 hours ago.

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