seth and mom football cleats outing

We spent half the day yesterday, cleaning our house here in Connecticut, yes, we are back home as of Saturday evening, and I felt that the house was…….. smelly. So I utilized the labor of my own self, and my children. The house is now lighter, cleaner, and fresher so this morning I was able to do other things……..namely, football related mom chores.

Caleb and Seth are signed up to play football again this fall. Caleb will be on the HS JV varsity team and Seth will be in youth. Seth needed cleats and I needed to drop off their physical forms at the doctors so the two of us had an outing this morning. I’m an early bird so we we were done with the doctor’s office with half an hour to spare before the sports store opened so……. Target, obviously.

Plastic bags are at a premium now, my friends! 10 cents a bag at Target, but if you take your own bag they give you 5 cents. I had no bags. My brain has to learn this new bag situation. I have plenty of reusable fabric bags but there are many ways to forget them at home or in the car, and so I do (forget them). I did manage to only have to buy 3 bags, however, but thirty cents is thirty cents!

We proceeded to the sporting goods store. This was what Seth was waiting for. The best cleats were “order only” so that was a let-down. Then, the hightops he tried to put on his feet were impossible to get on and I became antsy watching him pull and twist and loosen the laces to get them on his feet. “You are NOT going to want to struggle with those every day,” I said, firmly, and we moved on to different pairs. Poor thing had to settle for non-stand-out-basic-black cleats. How utterly “ho-hum”! Then we moved on to cups.

The key here is to, first of all, find the cups in the store (almost impossible), then, when presented with approximately 150 differents ones, find a cup which is comfortable for the boy, and the right size, along with the right size compression shorts that the cup has to slide into. The cups can be S, M, L , XL and the shorts are the same choices and to make things even more confusing, they are packaged in different ways; like, a small cup with a large short for example. So it takes a lot of careful searching. You can also buy JUST the cup, but you can’t (that I could see) buy JUST the short. But what if you buy a cup that’s too small or too big? How do I know what size shorts Seth is? The size was based on inches around the waist. I have no idea what inches Seth is around the waist. I had to take things out of packages and have him hold them to himself. I can’t imagine having a too-small or too-big cup “down there” and then having to run around playing football. By the time we got it figured out I had a fit of the giggles.

I mean, you can’t help but laugh sometimes. Years and years of buying these stupid cups for my five sons…….I’m beyond over it. Yet here I am, still buying the dang things. To me they are one of the ultimate embarrassing things that must be purchased in life. Cups. I don’t even want to mention them, they are an “unmentionable” to me, yet, every night on the way to practice now, I’ll be saying, “Did you put your cup on?” to Seth, just to make sure he’s got his protection. Do I care too little? Never. It’s always always TOO MUCH.

Then, somehow, after I said no 1,000 times to a fancy store-bought flavored mouth-guard, he ended up convincing me he needed a padded compression shirt. It will keep my baby safe so I agreed, then had to figure out what size he needed. “Just take your t-shirt off and try this on,” I said, giving him a boy’s medium. “Right here? in the store? What about a fitting room?” “No, it would take forever n’ever to find a person to unlock the door.” He had no arguement for that, so, off his t-shirt went, onto the floor (naturally) and……. on went the shirt. Well, it went on easily enough, but it wouldn’t come back off. After watching him make the most bizarre body contortions trying to get it off, I finally started taking a video.

I can’t stand the cuteness of this child!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh he is SUCH a dear dear boy. You know, I hugged him in the store and he kinda got away from it and explained, “I don’t like arm pits touching me.” “Well, I was trying not to let it touch you, Seth,” I said, understandingly, in my sleeveless shirt. I tried to hold his hand and he threw it away. When I pushed the cart he held my arm and straightened my posture with his other arm, dramatically making sure I was walking properly and making me feel ancient. He kissed my arm as we walked, he put his hand on my shoulder, he allowed other hugs that didn’t include arm pits. He got on the side of the cart for a ride and made me groan because he’s so heavy now. He laughed at me and with me and for me. He sparkled his eyes at me. He put the stuff in the cart for me at Target and then in the car, and then he put the cart away, “no problem, mom”. He was jolly. My heart was happy to be with him. Of course once I told him so, he got goofy and I had to say, “now you’re just being annoying” but we can be honest with each other and he wasn’t at all offended.

After the sports store (where, once again, I couldn’t get a free plastic bag so I carried my purchases), we went to the bookstore so I could buy the New York Times. When we did our traveling recently I started getting into the habit of buying a newspaper to look at in the car and I greatly enjoyed reading it and clipping out the best gleanings I could find. You know you can find spiritual food in the newspaper, did you know that? It’s fun to look for it. For instance, the article about the terrible droughts in Zimbabwe included the quote, “We are seriously restricted from from living our lives, water is life.” and it immediately made me think of Living Water, God Himself, and how we can’t live without Jesus. So I clipped it out for my scrapbook and wrote the verse underneath.

“Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’ ………” John 7:37

Well, guess what. No newspapers are sold in the bookstore any longer. No plastic bags, no newspaper. The plastic bags I can forgive, in fact, I say “good riddance”, but the newspaper???????????? I object to this, highly. So I comforted myself with a new book bag that says, “The World was hers for the Reading”, it’s a Kate Spade bag and I super-love it even though newspapers are no longer hers for the reading, at least the world is. I loved it so much I had Seth take my photo and the first one he took looked like this:

he had a hard time pushing the button so I went to help him just as he figured it out.

The second one looked like this:

What was in the bag, you ask?

It was a magazine for Seth all about fantasy football because he and his Dad are playing together this year and he wants their team to be good.

We went through the *chick fil a* drive-thru and ate chicken biscuit sandwiches on the way home and had a conversation that went on way too long for my liking about… juice pulp.

seth was creative

I took these pictures of Seth at five o’clock yesterday evening.  The boys were getting ready for football practice and Seth was taking much longer than usual to get dressed.  When he appeared I took one look at him and noticed he had mysterious blue socks on….no one in the family has socks like this…..did he actually have the nerve to borrow someone’s socks?….no, wait….those aren’t socks….those are sleeves….did he cut the sleeves off his blue underarmour layering shirt???????????  He insisted that he had not.  I started using my “tell me right now I need to know what is going on” voice (similar to an excitedly squealing pig).  When it all became oh so clear, I took him outside to take photos.

“You better not post these anywhere,” he said.

“When you do something like this, it’s going to be on the blog,” I replied.

Taking his photo proved to be as difficult as IT ALWAYS IS with Seth.  He cannot stay still.

Although he has the looks to be one, he will never be a career fashion model.  As soon as I “see” the perfect photo through the viewfinder of my camera, but before I can push the button, he has moved.  I have to use high speed settings and much patience.  However, I persevered this time and got some good ones, all to show you his creativity.  Genius.

Notice the “SOCKS”:

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(and yes he went to practice that way)


home happenings


Good morning!  It’s good to be home, my children are home…..for it’s Columbus Day.

“One misty moisty morning, when cloudy was the weather……”

That’s us this morning, rainy and cloudy, cozy and cool inside, oh so beautiful outside.

The colors are always so vivid with a washing.

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EVERYTHING outdoors is covered in a fine coating of dew.  My camera lens instantly fogged up, making a lovely “filter” for these orange flowers in the garden.

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I wanted to show you the trenches in the lawn.  Rich wants to heat the garage with propane and I said, “Only if you bury the tank.”

We are also having the upstairs bathroom remodeled and it is currently gutted down to the bare boards.


Seth and Caleb both had a game this weekend, and as their parents we were so very proud of them but alas both teams suffered losses this time.  And as it was damp and a little drizzly, we spent most of Seth’s game sitting in the truck.  The weather for Caleb’s game was nice so we sat in our chairs, side by side, while Seth, Sarah and David ran around and played with their friends.  I ate TERRIBLE yesterday……not only a dunkin donut but also a reeses pb cup.  My chin feels a little extra dumpily today.  But oh, so good.


After Caleb’s game, Rich went right down to wait for his son, ready to comfort and encourage after a tough loss.

DSC_1219 1“The gardener knows the seasons better than other people, for he tells time by Nature’s world, by what the garden yields each week or month.  It has given us a purposeful feeling to complete the cycle, to know the beginning and the end.”  ~Home Gardener’s Cookbook

I found this 1974 vintage cookbook/gardening book recently.  It made a pleasant “porch read” this weekend while sitting in my rocking chair.  (Along with the book Gentleman Gray used as a pillow).  Always have to be reading… about you?  Any engrossing recommendations?

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This morning was an excellent morning for muffins.  And so,

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(yes I gave him one)


“Mom, these muffins are GOOD!”  ~Seth
“EVERYTHING Mom makes is good!”  ~Caleb
“Thank you, boys!”  ~Mom


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.


Starting with our son Jacob, who is a college football player now.  He LOVES school, is keeping very busy, and is also keeping a pet fish alive in his dorm room.  He had several football games this weekend, one of which was shown live online.  Rich hooked his iPad up to the TV and we all sat and watched it, keeping our eyes peeled for number 88.  And I was thrilled when we finally saw him!  I just had leap off the couch to take a crappy picture.  ((It’s beautiful to me.)) Seth asked me to print it so he could hang it on the wall in his room.


On Sunday, Seth had to be at the football field at 9:45 in the morning and Caleb had to be there for 2.  However, Rich was preaching and the game was away, so I had to take both of them with me, meaning Caleb was over 4 HOURS early for his game.  It was a hot autumn day, very dry.  Perfect “baking” weather.  Caleb was in the sun so long that by the time he had HIS game (at 2:30) he was much slower than usual.  In fact, our team did win, but most of the boys were a little “off” from overheating.  I took this picture just as Caleb was saying, “Dad, next time coach says I can’t get here too early.”  LOL


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


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

(He was have a conversation with David about why David wasn’t waking up on time in the morning….Dave was blaming his alarm …….because it’s NEVER his fault, right?)


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


Sarah had her things all set up for playing with marbles but then she left for school and Sherlock the cat walked over and had a turn.


Chickens enjoying leftover morning cereal and milk.


why kids, why????


I couldn’t stop myself from buying mums (and ornamental grass) for the garden.  I also put Rich’s old riding tractor from when he was little in the garden.  I found a “pretty plate” garden decoration, too, which includes a chartreuse luncheon plate (Fiesta!).  I did some weeding and Gentleman Gray the cat got some on his face while he watched.



Last night, Rich and I watched the boys practice football.  I love watching them (kids and coaches) so much that I sometimes get tears in my eyes.  They have such fun out there.


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


The FED EX truck came and dropped off two storage bins that we ordered from Costco.  My hope is to contain sports stuff (one for football, one for wrestling).  And so on.  Rich and the kids get to put them together later!!  (have fun, honey!)

Also, we recently had our side steps extended on the porch. (not painted yet)


I went to a thrift store after the car appointment.  This was in the same plaza outside of a yoga studio.  Since I had finished my book I left it behind on the shelf.


Well, after the thrift store shopping I was hungry so I cast my eyes about the plaza and only saw a Vietnamese place.  “No”, I thought.  But then……


“Yes”, I decided.  And I sent a picture and a text to our family group chat.

“The menu makes me cautious.” said Ethan

“Hmmm, adventurous?” said my husband

“In my own very small way,” I agreed.

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.


It had pork belly on it.


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


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


my new garbage disposal


“There is often more wisdom to be found at the edges of life than in its middle.  Life-threatening illness may shuffle our values like a deck of cards.  Sometimes a card that has been on the bottom of the deck for most of our lives turns out to be the top card, the thing that really matters.  Having watched people sort their cards and play their hands in the presence of death for many years, I would say that rarely is the top card perfection, or possessions, or even pride.

“Most often the top card is love.”

My Grandfather’s Blessings, by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.


Good morning, friends.

When I first woke up this morning, I sat in my bed with a cup of hot coffee and listened to the wind.  It was a lovely autumn wind, yellow leaves were flying past the windows.  Wind chimes were loud enough to hear and their music was saying, “It’s a windy morning!”

It has died down some, and the rain of yesterday is past, leaving clean fresh air and a brilliant blue sky.  It’s hardly 50 degrees and feels invigorating but chilly.

I’m eating lunch as I type; vegetable soup.

The children are home from school for Columbus Day.  Sarah Joy had a dentist appointment at 9, which I was not looking forward to after her year of kidney stone adventures.  She was so sweet and brave until the last when the tears came…..she was worried that the dentist would pull her loose tooth out right then and there.  The dental hygienist was sweet and understanding with Sarah.  As a mom, that meant the world to me.


On Saturday we spent the entire day at the football field.  Rich, myself, Sarah, Seth, and Caleb.

Rich officiated Seth’s game.  Seth made several good plays as a quarter back (at his level, the boys take turns trying different positions).  I was able to get this series of photos showing an impressive pass to his teammate, who did a great job at catching the ball.


Seth with the ball……


…..ball in the air……


…..with a catch and first down!   Not bad for 6 and 7 year olds!

We had time to leave and eat dinner before Caleb’s game, which they won brilliantly.

It was raining on and off the whole day and we were soooooo ready to be home afterwards.


I love this little girl with all my heart.


And this one, too.  Rich took Grace with him to go get a new garbage disposal.

The other day I was tired and grumpy but trying very hard to not say anything.  Zak was here and he played a prank on Jacob in the kitchen.  Jacob had left his cup of coffee on the counter while he went to the bathroom, and while he was gone, Zak put coins and butter in his coffee.  I was in the kitchen, working, saw everything, and became annoyed.  Jacob came out and dumped his coffee down the drain, and into the garbage disposal went the coins.  I continued to be annoyed and I said to Jacob, “YOU put your hand down there and get the money out.”  I assumed he did and the next day when I used the disposal it of course made (along with me) a terrible noise of distress and woe.  I instantly knew what had happened and was mad this time.  I put my hand down there and retrieved two almost unrecognizable pennies.  I got the broom and used the end of the handle to try to get the disposal moving again, but no.  I sent Jacob a text saying *no friends this week* (it was last week now) and he was still saying things like “It wasn’t me, it was Zak”…. like I cared WHO it was, which I did not—as long as I was not the one to have to deal with the messes of teenagers.  “It was only one penny” they insisted.  Rich was alway on a business trip and now my garbage disposal wasn’t working at all.  As a homemaker, this was very unsettling.  I called the plumber and he fixed several things (like a drippy faucet in the bathroom) but said he would have to get to the disposal in a few weeks.  When Rich had time to look at it on Sunday, he discovered a QUARTER stuck so tightly in the disposal that there was nothing to be done but buy a new one.  Thankfully, the disposal was old anyway and honestly needed to be replaced or I would still be annoyed at this moment.  (I am over it and Can Now Laugh).

Rich and Grace came home with a garbage disposal so quiet I don’t believe it’s even working because I’m used to my old one that was as loud as a chainsaw and dripped gray water into a bowl under the sink each time I used it.


While they were out shopping for the disposal, I had asked Ethan *which would he rather take back to college with him, brownies or cookies* and he picked cookies and said, “Thanks Mom” which completely melted my heart.  He kept coming in the kitchen to eat the dough.  My kitchen was a mess because the disposal wasn’t working.  True!  Really!  🙂


I made the best chocolate chip cookies ever and even snuck in some wheat flour.  I pressed pumpkin seeds on top of a dozen (kids won’t eat them, of course).  Ethan took about a dozen with him to school.


This is an easy snack for the kids….buy a loaf of garlic bread at the store and bake it according to the package directions.  Then, open up the loaf and put some sauce, cheese, and dried basil and bake it again until it’s done.  Glorified french bread pizza.


I watched David play the piano.


And noticed Gentleman Gray sleeping in an odd place with his leg sticking out.  🙂


We ended up sitting on the floor in the corner together, petting the cat.


Jacob made the trip to Vermont yesterday with his brother.  They took Grace and Tessa along, and Zak, too.  Although it was sad to have to say goodbye to Ethan again, I heard this morning that they had a very nice time together on their little road trip, listening to music and stopping for coffee and a buffet for dinner.


The view from the porch yesterday evening was stunning.


“Blessing the life in someone usually requires a deep respect for their uniqueness, an openness to allowing them to uncover who they are rather than shaping them into who we want or need them to be.  Innately, blessing life confers a greater freedom on those we bless.”  ~Rachel N. Ramen, M.D. 

football mama


My two youngest sons play football and they are both rookies this year.

Seth is 6 and Caleb is 10.  They are both determined players but Caleb has a little extra advantage: PASSION….total and complete passion for anything that has to do with football.  He collects the cards and organizes them carefully in binders, studies NFL teams and trivia using magazines and books, watches any football game on TV, and will happily talk nonstop to anyone who will listen to endless football conversation.  This passion he has for the sport gives him an extra desire to play….to play hard with body AND heart.

Whoever gets to take Caleb to his first real college or NFL football game is one lucky person.

Rich gets excited watching Caleb play because he sees the potential.  Rich loved playing football in school.

I don’t want to make it seem like Seth doesn’t have talent, because he does..he just misses that outside interest in the sport.  He plays and then goes home to do other stuff.  Caleb plays football and then goes home to play some more.

I even secretly think that he’s longing for a sports injury, just so he can be like all the other tough guys.  Not anything major, mind you, but a nice little injury that doesn’t slow him down but gives him something to brag about.  A little blood would be nice, and a few good bruises.

A couple weeks ago I took along my SLR to take some photos of the boys in action.

SETH’s team played first:

Okay, so the coaches are all awesome.  I LOVE to see men working with boys, teaching them, yelling at them, caring for them.

Here is Seth (number 3) getting his helmet snapped in place by one of his coaches.


team talk before the game.


Seth is on the line.


A team mate running for a touchdown.


Our team won the game and afterwards celebrated with a bag of lollipops, which is what they are doing in the following picture:  (grabbing lollipops)  Seth is number three with his back to me.


Seth made his Dad buy him a FLAVORED mouth guard AND special gloves.  He has to have the stuff to be cool, you know.  Nothing gets by him.

Seth has gotten the “tuff guy” ball three times this year, which is awarded to the toughest boy after each practice.

CALEB’s team was next to play::

Here he is, number 54, getting ready to kick.  He does great as kicker…and guess what?  His dad was kicker on his team, too!  Caleb was thrilled to make his dad proud of him by being chosen team kicker.



Caleb in action, running through two kids from the other team.  He is the one running left in the photo.  Caleb plays both defense and offense so he never comes off the field the whole game which makes me laugh.  He gets good and sweaty but doesn’t tire out at all because he loves it.

They had their first win!  Caleb took his helmet off, cheering with joy while the coaches clapped.



Caleb is a great motivator and never shuts up during the games (he is like that in baseball, too), he helps the team by using kind and encouraging words….what a gift he has!  He was ready to pat everyone on the back and tell them how good they did after the win, too.

It was after this game that I went out and bought cowbells, to the annoyance of the whole family.  They are soooo loud!  After spending a few days in the house I put them in the back of my car to live.

This past weekend Rich went to the game without me so I could take the other kids to church (we hate that most of the games are on Sunday morning).  Their teams both won again and Caleb played very well, sacking the quarterback twice causing him to fumble the ball, getting interceptions, and tackling people right and left.  Rich texted me throughout to keep me posted.

I asked him if he was ringing the (annoying) bells for Caleb and he said, “No, they are all yours.  I wouldn’t do that without you.”

This weekend Rich is teaching Sunday School so I will be taking the boys myself.  It’s fun being a football mama.