little graduation party


Grace graduated from HS a few weeks ago and we had a “plan B” celebration for her on Saturday.

We are just thankful things worked out and we even got to HAVE any kind of gathering at all.   Ya know, life.  It’s messy beautiful; surprising, chaotic, and crazy.  A healthy sense of humor is the best thing to have when living life and raising children………

Laughter is carbonated holiness. -Anne Lammott

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My brother Isaac took most of the pictures.

The weather was very nice, we had expected a day of thunder storms (so we set up the food tables in the house) but nothing eventful happened, only some lovely dark clouds at times and a nice downpour in the evening.

Grace had a wonderful time.  In fact, we didn’t see much of her or the rest of the teens.


My brother Nathan and his wife Melissa were HUGE helpers!!  They stayed here with us for two nights with Makayla and Greg and we very much enjoyed our visit with them.

My bestie Aunt Colleen and her girls also came out from NY —thank you!!   Also Mom and Dad, my sister Amanda with her kids, and Isaac & Cassandra.

This was our third graduate in three years.  David is a freshman this year so it will be a few years until the next graduate.

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They had a long walk in the rain while the rest of us sat on the porch, relaxing and visiting.


Grace with her cake, 5 cousins, and 4 friends from school.  They’re all so pretty with those bright smiles.

It is cheerful to God when you rejoice or laugh
from the bottom of your heart. 
-Martin Luther King Jr.

grace (graduation)

It was about a week ago now that I met a homeschooling family at one of my son’s baseball games.  The mom and I had a nice visit together as we watched the boys play and at one point Grace came walking by with her friend.  I stopped her and introduced her to my new acquaintance.  “Oh, I used to be homeschooled,” Grace offered excitedly, “I loved it.  I never wanted to go to public school but mom made me.”

Part of me cringed to hear these honest words.  However, after last night, watching Grace with her class and teachers, seeing her bright smile, how mature she was, how capable, her light shining bright, it all became clear to me.

She bloomed where she was planted.

She took a difficult change in her life and made the best of it.

She had ups and downs, more downs, a few more ups, on and on for the six years she was in school, rather like a roller coaster.

She had fun, tears, anxiety, sleepless nights, songs, dance, silence, wide eyed wonder, false friendship, true friendship, romance, responsibility, headaches, dizziness, academics, good grades, good books, teachers who were kindred spirits, teachers who were her second mothers, and through it all…….she had her faith in an unchanging dependable Father God keeping her steady.

She did it.  Rich and I could not be prouder of our daughter.


A month or so ago I was feeling a little desperate about Grace leaving home so soon and mentioned, half teasing, that she might like to take a year off from college and just stay at home with us (me).  After all, she did start school when she was four and was younger than a few of the juniors this year.  “We would have so much fun, Grace!”  to which she replied (and I quote because I wrote it down):

“I know we would but. . . .we have all summer.  And I need to move on with my life.”

I just had to laugh with respect, happy to have a child this steady and focused on her goals.  I know how much she adores her siblings and depends on her parents.  The relationships within the family circle couldn’t be better, which is to say, perhaps this is the very reason why she is confident in moving on; her needs are met so she is not needy or clingy.  Plus it’s just her personality in general.  She’s forward-moving.

She’ll be attending Christian college in the fall about 5 hours from home (not too far), easy enough to get her home for the holidays.  I know she will have the time of her life there.


For our small town, the class of 2017 was rather large and cars parked all over the the place outside in the parking lots AND out of the parking lots.  I drove up over the curb with my big mama vehicle and parked in the lawn!  Saving seats was a hostile experience!  But we all got squeezed in and you can see my view from the middle of the room. . . . . .thank the Lord once we sat down I found that I could see Grace if I leaned over to the right and then forward in my seat.

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There she is!

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Recognized with the other scholarship and honers students.

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waiting in line for her diploma

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two hours after walking in……the class left the gym to loud & happy music.


(dear girl; Emily–our neighbor and also Ethan’s girlfriend’s sister…kids rode the bus together for years)

and now for the fun photos:

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With gratitude to the teacher who understands that some families NEED more tickets, Grace’s siblings were able to attend this year’s graduation ceremony.  (all 9)  Her two big brothers visited the old HS stomping grounds and saw some of their teachers and friends.  (I say “old” but Ethan just graduated a year ago, and Jacob the year before that).

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After getting through the crowd and out of the gym, we found our girl.

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Oldest girl with youngest girl; oldest boy with youngest boy.




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adoring little sister

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One of “our other kids” Zak, also graduated.  He is a close friend of the family.

My husband coached him in wrestling.


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brother Dave

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W E N D Y ! ! ! !

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I had left my purse unguarded in the hall so Jacob collected it for me.  Brittany is another dear friend of the family and graduated with Grace.

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Caleb and Seth got through the night thanks to the kindle and…..cheese.  🙂

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Ethan with his girl.

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My daughter, my friend.

Love you, Grace…

How hard the battle goes, the day, how long;
Faint not, fight on! Tomorrow comes the song. ~Maltbie Babcock




ethan’s graduation party pictures


Ethan with his dog and his girlfriend.

We had a combination graduation party this past Saturday with two of Ethan’s best friends.  It worked out very nicely.  The other moms helped out so much and it felt good to do a party that our boys wanted.  We supplied plenty of food and drinks and the teenagers spent time together  (all day and all night).


We held the party at my house and opened up the garage to serve the food.  We had a pig roast with pulled pork and hamburgers and hot dogs.


This is a photo of most of the teen boys who were at the party.  People sat outside on the patio and porch to eat their lunch.  My friend Kathy and I sat on a blanket in the shade with our girls.

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We kept all the desserts inside the house in our air conditioned dining room.  (It was a hot day!)  There was strawberry cheese cake, cookies (on a fiesta three tiered tray!!), homemade pie, brownies, and chocolate chip bars.


We also had special a cake for these fine young High School men.  The guests of honor:  Ethan, Zachary, and Caleb.

Ethan will be going away to college (more about that on another day), Zach will be attending a college closer to home that he can commute to, and Caleb is going into the Coast Guard.  Please pray for these boys!  This stage of life is so exciting and we look forward to seeing what they do in the future.


I took this photo because these boys were leaving to attend TWO more graduation parties!


Zachary’s family helped host the party and did a lot of thoughtful things to make sure it was a good day for the boys.  Chris and Caroline are dear friends of ours and are like second parents to Jacob and Ethan.


Caleb’s mom made delicious baked beans, potato salad, and brought decorations, too.  As you may know, Grace is dating Caleb and the family has been very welcoming to her.   It’s been a joy to get to know them.



Grace (in the middle) with life long friends Tristen and Kaitlyn.


How many teenagers can fit in a canoe?


I took this photo of Zachary’s mom talking with Tristen and Kaitlyn.  Tristen actually went to Kindergarten with Zach and Ethan and also graduated from High School this summer.


Ethan’s Grandma and Grandpa (my parents) have done so much to encourage him as he grows up.  They drove all the way from NY to attend Ethan’s party.


On a hot day it was nice for the kids to be able to cool off in the pond.

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I was especially thankful that my friend Kathy came with her kids.  We have been friends through these years as we have been busy raising our families and she came right on time to the party and stayed all day long, even helping us with clean up.  I love her so much…her presence was like a gift to me on this very busy day!


And we are raising our youngest girls to love each other, too.

Such happy and glorious days to be a mom.

“Let all that I am praise the Lord.  I will praise the Lord as long as I live.  I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.”  Psalm 146:1

my boy and my boy only


Let’s just stare at this one for a few minutes.  Can you even???????


I took this one through the window at the school.  The graduates were waiting in the cafeteria and all the guests were waiting in line for the doors to open to the gym.


Rich and I sat on the left hand side on bleachers with Caleb, Seth, Sarah, David, Tessa, Emily, Grace, and Jacob.  We were thankful to have enough tickets for the whole family to watch Ethan graduate but I doubt the little kids were thankful because it was a long and pretty boring night for them.


Zach is Ethan’s red headed best friend.  They were even in the same Kindergarten class.


Caleb is also one of Ethan’s best friends.  They were friends for years before he and Grace started dating.  He looks pretty serious in picture but then we yelled his name and he smiled.


The young men wore blue robes and the ladies wore white.


*Zach receiving his diploma. (He is attending college this fall).

The graduation began at 7pm and went on for approximately two hours while we were sitting squeezed together on the bleachers.  It was kinda funny.  Rich was uncomfortable the entire time…too hot and the bleachers were too hard and his hip was hurting and then Sarah got on his lap and the face he made as she explained she had to sit there because she was “too squished” was so funny…….

David and Caleb coped by reading books.  Aren’t they so handsome???


We sat right behind the family of the Valedictorian which was exciting (to me).  His speech was very well done.


Caleb receiving his diploma (he is going into the Coast Guard this summer).


Ethan waiting for his turn to get his diploma and my heart was bursting.  He wore cowboy boots and decorated his cap with the American Flag.  (one of the girls did the very same thing, boots and flag).  Very fun.




I stood up with my camera to take pictures while Rich and the kids all cheered as loudly as they could for our E.


This is one of my favorites of the night…Ethan clearly in the middle of the photo leaving the room with a classmate on his arm.  The kids were all so happy.


I managed to get through the crowd in my very high horrible heels and found Ethan drinking chocolate milk at the reception.

We got a phone call from the school this morning saying they had Ethan’s class ring in the office (he didn’t even know he had lost it).


Ethan and Mitch


My daughter Grace with her boyfriend, Caleb.


Ethan with his girlfriend, Tessa.


Jacob and Ethan


Ethan and his Dad


Ethan and his Mom.


Ethan and all of us.

(Incidentally, earlier that evening while we were still home, Grace got Sarah ready while I was getting ready and we ended up all three matching.  The next day the same thing happened, we all three ended up wearing yellow shirts without even planning it.)


Ethan and his little sister, Sarah Joy.  Sarah is wearing a dress that used to be Grace’s.

All in all it was a very exciting night.  We left as soon as we could.  My feet were killing me and Ethan went to a party that the school arranged through “Safe Grad”.  He stayed up all night and slept until 11 in the morning the next day.

I didn’t cry or even feel like crying.  But I had a headache and was buzzing with emotion regardless.  My mind could only hold the essentials; “Ethan” and “Graduation” and “taking photos”.  I was so embarrassed because I met a man and his wife in line before the graduation…we introduced each other and everything….by the end of the night I introduced myself to them AGAIN.  And the lady said, “Whatever you are drinking, I’ll have some, too.”  Which was rather rude but it just goes to show that I was in tune to my boy and my boy only.


Today is the first day of summer vacation.  It is sunny but oddly windy.  Caleb and Seth were invited to a friend’s house for a morning of play.  I drove them there and then took the girls with me to the thrift shop where we spent three dollars on an aquarium (for nature studies at home) and a bag of books (for summer reading).  Also today:  David made homemade funnel cakes fried in oil (Aunt Colleen’s recipe), I made a double batch of blueberry muffins, Jacob and Emily took Sarah for a canoe ride on the pond and they threw bread to the fish.  I saw a pair of cardinals and ate three wild strawberries.  David had stomach ache by this afternoon so he is taking his second bath (he thinks maybe he ate too many funnel cakes but refused Pepto Bismal).  Ethan is at his girlfriend’s house, Grace is at Caleb’s house, Jacob is at work, Emily is also at work, and the three youngest are now watching Zootopia after begging me all day.

Oh my word, I am in my room typing this and I could hear the dog whining at the door to the house but I didn’t think anything of it and guess who just came in, and it’s only 4pm!!!

My husband!!!  so happy!

Gotta go.  Bye!

blues (a little)


I don’t want to write, because the stuff in my heart will come out through my eyes.

oh, feelings!

My darling, my joy, my pride, my second born, my son, is graduating from high school in four days.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m super proud of him, I’m not sad in the least.  He is ready, he’s 18 years old and ready to move on to the next chapter in his life.

What I’m grieving is the little boy I used to know.  The one who used to pick me flowers and hug me around the waist.  The one who was a happy sidekick to his brother Jacob.  The one who was busy catching turtles, boiling up the random cray fish, writing funny stories, reading The Series of Unfortunate Events and other books, making rafts, being 100% nature-boy.  Dirty bare feet, happy cookie eater, pancake maker, mama’s boy.

Ethan has changed!!!!  He is a man, the strong, silent type.  When he does speak, I can’t hardly make out what he’s saying because his voice is low and quiet.  I say, “What?” and then get it.  He’s in love!!!!  And his extra attention goes to his girl.  I never know what he’s doing unless I outright ask!  Sometimes when I think he’s texting his girlfriend, he’s really playing Tiny Tower and that makes me smile, because he recently discovered it again after playing it a lot when he was like, 11.  flashbacks!

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He’s 18, of course this is the way it’s supposed to be!!  I’m happy for him.  He’s a man now and does not need his mama.  Rich says, it’s enough for E just to know I am here and proud.

But I miss him.

I have three more younger boys!  Who are very similar to how Ethan used to be at that age.

But I miss my E, the way he was as a youngster…..pure goodness, pure sweetness.  It went by so fast, I enjoyed every moment, but it went by too fast.

I know he has a lot on his mind, changes ahead that he will be experiencing on his own.  He is internalizing a lot these days.  But I hope he realizes that he will always be, just a little bit, my own little boy, always.  And I vow I’ll be here with the cookies and the pancakes, ’til death do us part.





Ethan took Tessa to his Senior Banquet on Friday and I was able to have some quiet time with them (and the camera).  Standing in front of the pond he grew up in.



The natural progression of time……it’s a beautiful thing.  Just makes a mama’s heart ache now and then.  You know.


He’s so happy with Tessa!


And she’s such a sweet, fun girl.  I couldn’t be happier for them both.  They make such a good twosome.







With his sister……(Grace went to the banquet with her boyfriend)



Well, once again blogging has surprised me.  Writing has surprised me.  I’ve got it all sorted out at the moment (my heart, that is).


You’ve got to give a little, take a little,
and let your poor heart break a little.
That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.

You’ve got to laugh a little, cry a little,
until the clouds roll by a little.
That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.

As long as there’s the two of us,
we’ve got the world and all it’s charms.
And when the world is through with us,
we’ve got each other’s arms.

You’ve got to win a little, lose a little,
yes, and always have the blues a little.
That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.
That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.