with rich


We were really rather silly last night at the baseball game.  I guess being apart for 2 days and generally being over-exposed to little league baseball lately can do that to a couple.  It was cold!!  So he let me borrow his really nice jacket that he bought in “Norway” at Epcot in Disney.  We did a little walking before the game started.  It was just the two of us, no other children but Seth who was in the game.  Seth had left his glove in the rain and had to borrow a glove which was too big for him.  We got silly watching them play.  Our team didn’t do very well and Seth struck out all but once.  Rich says he needs another trip to the batting cages and I said, “Yes, lets go after church on Sunday, they have good food there.”  And then he looked sad because he has another business trip coming up.  And then as soon as he gets back I am leaving for 10 days on my trip to Alaska.  But we sat together on the bleachers and leaned into one another and talked and laughed.  We walked with our arms around each other trying to keep our legs going in the least awkward way.  The bathroom doors were locked and I didn’t want to use an outdoor toilet (because too many little joyous boys use them *ahem*) so I ended up leaving an inning or two early (we had driven separately) and he walked me to the car and buckled me into my seat.  I gave him back his jacket and drove home.  Later on, we watched TV.  We’ve been watching the original Star Trek series together and I almost always fall asleep before the ending.

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)


bless all the dear children


See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.

In church on Sunday Seth walked past his seated siblings in the pew to get to me.  He had his fidget spinner in his hand and looked at me with intense eyes.  “Will you put this in your purse Mom, or I’m going to play with it,” he confessed.  I gave him a little hug, “You can fidget for now, Seth!  Really, it’s okay!” and he went back to his place, Sarah and Caleb between us.

I thought about how easy it was to say “it’s okay” this time instead of “give me that!” and how it softened my own heart as well as his.  I know it softened his because very soon he came back and sat himself between me and his sister, snuggling up close to me with his small hands holding the spinner.  Eventually during the sermon the fidget spinner did end up in my purse, but even that was okay, because Seth knew that sometimes it’s okay to spin and sometimes it’s not okay to spin, but his Mom loved him and understood his thoughts and ways.  He knew he was a good boy.

We listened to his Dad preach and I thanked God over and over for the small son next to me, leaning into me, playing with my hair, my hands, the rings on my fingers.  I scribbled sermon notes on a piece of paper and meanwhile Seth was thinking about Mama and wondering and thinking thoughts so he leaned over and whispered, “Are you going to be sad when we’re all grown up?” and I looked at him and nodded a sincere “yes”.

He smiled as he sat back in his seat because it reinforced what he knew was true, “My mom loves me.”

I want to shout it from the rooftops:


It’s not so much that I myself am a “good mom”,  it’s that I know children are gifts from above and I have deep appreciation for the opportunity to love and be loved by them.  Wow, what a blessing.  So often I have this in mind as I bend down to hug, or reach over to pat any one of my children next to me in the front seat of the car.


One of the reasons is, not only that they need me, but BECAUSE HE KNEW I NEEDED THEM.  They, without even knowing it, have served and ministered to my heart in countless ways.

I need their love, I need their childlike wonder to show me what really matters.

We all do….teachers, bus drivers, coaches, aunts, uncles, dads; we are all enriched by the little people in our worlds.  We can learn so much from them.


People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this, he was indignant.
He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God
like a little child
will never enter it.”
And he took the children in his arms,
placed his hands on them and blessed them

life itself is grace


(violets for thia) my friend

“Real love creates a generous openness.  Have you ever been so caught up in something that you just had to share it?  When you are walking alone in the woods, something takes your breath away–a sunset, a waterfall, the simple song of a bird–and you think, ‘If only my beloved were here’.  The best things in life were meant to be shared.”
The Sacred Romance, by John Eldredge

I do so love to share life with you here.  We had a full and happy weekend and I know you did, too.  Isn’t it grand?  Air to breath, faces to smile, good food to enjoy, family, friends, sports, hometown plays, children, grown ups, secrets?

beautiful things don’t ask for attention

open your eyes and notice (be on the look out!)

often life brings me to tears

lovely things are silent

Lovely things are silent….
Rosebuds waxing bloom,
Shadows stealing softly
In a darkened room;
Dragonflies on rushes,
Stars in dark blue skies;
Hatching, fuzzy birdlets,
Love in sweethearts’ eyes.

Lovely things are silent. . .
Rainbows in the sky,
Violets shedding fragrance,
A soft breeze waltzing by;
An apple tree in blossom,
Sunsets all aglow;
Moonlight on the water,
Falling soft white snow.

Lovely things are silent. . .
Foam clouds in the sky,
Hummingbirds at flowers,
Butterflies gliding by,
A spider’s dainty spinning,
Wild flowers on a hill.
I bow my head in silence
And in my heart I’m still.
~Betty Fox Solberg

It’s 44 degrees at our place this morning and there is a cheerful fire going in our wood pellet stove.  I’m still in my comfortable clothes, with thick socks and slippers on, too.  Jacob is getting ready for college and work, our chocolate lab is snoring at my feet.  Cat snoozing on the windowsill behind me.  The house is quiet and peaceful.

Outside purple and white violets are still in bloom.  Some of our town has lilacs open, but mine are not flowered yet.  I worry about the trees because last year’s gypsy moth eggs have hatched, there are tiny baby caterpillars everywhere.  Baby turtles were found on the bank of the pond this weekend, a miracle in miniature.

‘Tis the season of shivering as we watch our boys play little league baseball.

My husband preached yesterday in church.  The whole service did something to my heart; softened it.  Love was in the air.

Our daughter Grace is a senior in High school.  There is nervousness in the family because we know “last times” are happening and happening fast.  In the fall, our three oldest children will be going away to college.

This weekend was “the last school drama production”.  I cried and so did she.  Oh how she has loved being part of it all. . . .

Grandma and Grandpa came to watch her.  We had time for a ramble in the woods and a trip to town, too.  Ice cream cones, laughter, games of catch for the boys.

*  * * *

“Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory.”

“. . . .this happened (life itself?) so that the work of God might be displayed.”

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girls visiting before getting ready for the play on Saturday; Brittany and Grace

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our family pianist

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Grandma’s here!

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my mom, my friend

we enjoy the same things; home decorating, kitchen life, family, and nature, birding. . .



I ran the baby turtle back to the house to show the children. A wonder and a marvel.


thick grapevine growing up and into a tree


marsh marigold, ferns growing


crossing the stream with a handful of apple blossoms

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garden flowers

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granddaughter and her grandma

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the brothers were practicing baseball and grandpa couldn’t resist joining in

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I think ofttimes as the night draws nigh
Of an old house on the hill,
Of a yard all wide and blossom-starred
Where children played at will.  ~Author Unknown




street bench


little lady with her grandpa, eating chocolate

ice cream


Grace’s last high school drama production:  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

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dancing in the middle of the stage with the boy in white shirt

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“Old bamboo” number


scene at the beach song and dance

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very old inventors “The Roses of Success” song and dance (Grace is in the middle)

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teamwork song (second to end, next to her friend Jenna)

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“The Bombie Samba”

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final bows





a touching tribute to their beloved director, as this was her last musical


after the show on Saturday night


lots of hugs


with her proud Grandpa and Dad

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after the show on Sunday

many tears were shed

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Dad with his precious daughter; we are so proud of you, Grace.

Happy Monday friends!

thankful for:

love notes on the counter from an older brother
little hands touching my hair
questions from curious minds
my husband’s embrace
my husband going to the gas station to get me cream for my coffee this morning
a caring school nurse calling to tell me Sarah has a sore throat
purring cats
warmth inside when outside is shivery
guitar clips via text from Ethan, who is coming home this week
the start of a fresh new week; may God bless us everyone!

“And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water.”  Isaiah 35:7


snow day


I just got home from grocery and Christmas shopping.  I have some wrapping to do before the children start getting home from school but I thought I would do a quick post about our day yesterday.  I thought I would take photos all day long but I didn’t.  I ended up not taking any pictures after the point where Grace and I went to the grocery store to get stuff for lunch.

The morning began with breakfast, and proceeded right into a nerf fight between Caleb and Seth.


There are nerf bullets ev.very.where.

I went outside to take care of the chickens and the rabbits.  The chickens are not laying eggs.  It’s pathetic.  I have to buy eggs.  I think they stopped because of the time change and some of them are molting.

We have rabbits because Jacob agreed to watch someone’s rabbits for them and so far they have not come to get them back.  Apparently she moved in with her sister and there is no place to put them.


They are very cute and the entire family has grown fond of them.  I opened their door so they could hop around the coop while I took care of the hens.


And this one


immediately went into a bag.


I thought the green background behind these red berries was lovely.

The children had a snow day because the snow had switched over to ice and then rain,  consequently everything was drippy.


Under the trees the snow was dimpling from all the raindrops.



cracks in the ice look like trees


The children went outside for some sledding.  Of course it was rather wet but they still had fun.



Seth was so little down there making a pile of snow.

And that was that.  Grace and I went to the store, by the time we left Seth was back in the house and he asked to go with us.  We said yes and bought him a big container of tic-tacs which turned into contention when we came home.  Sarah and Caleb wanted them.  Seth poured them all into a fiestware fruit bowl and then cried and cried because Caleb took the plastic container and threw it, causing it to break, and making the tic tacks fly out of the bowl onto the floor.  I sent him downstairs.  So then Seth gave it to Sarah and then a few minutes later decided he wanted it back, she started to cry, he threw it back at her, it hit the wall and broke further.  I sent him downstairs next.  Then Sarah was crying.  Grace taped it up for her.  This all happened because I was nice and bought Seth a treat.  Never again.

Grace and I made a sausage stuffed french bread for lunch.  Then, we prepared dinner, which was marinated meats for mixed grill kabobs–shrimp, chicken, and rib eye.

I gave Grace and David the job of cleaning the storage room and crawl space downstairs and they did a great job together.

We all took naps.

Rich came home early.

Seth broke one of my Christmas angels.  Broke the wing right off.

Everyone liked dinner!

We had a relaxing evening and went to bed early, where I read a book until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

Check out my instagram later for a photo of what I found at Goodwill this morning!!!!

Have a great afternoon, friends!

don’t cry, kids


I agree, it was a wonderful long dreamy dream of a summer; the summer of ’16.  But it’s over now and you must go back to school today.


I love how Grace started High School with two brothers by her side and is ending High School with two different ones.


She’s rather full of herself.  David said, “Will you please get off me?”  And I said, “Uh oh, Grace, I bet Caleb will be taller than you are by the end of the year.” and she lifted her head to try to gain a few more inches.  Then she ruffled his hair and said, “Caleb you have nice hair.”  “He has the best hair of the family,” I say.  “No, Ethan does,” she replied.  “What about my hair?” said Dave.  “And Seth has the nicest eyes,” Grace continued.


There was wet stuff coming from the sky but it was only a gentle light rain.


They go to two different schools this year so they ride separate buses.



For the 7th year running, the winner of the “best eyes” in the family contest!


They melt me.


Seth got on his bus and then it was just the two of us….”Let’s sit on the bench together and wait.” she said.  So we did.


“I’m going to make lots of new friends this year.” she decided.


Of five little children, off to school  

Only one of them cried,

Can you guess who?




Poor Rich had a rough start to his day.  He has been getting up early to work out with Ethan, who has to stay in shape for his college wrestling team.  This morning when they stepped out the door to leave for the track, they were confronted by a huge mess on the porch.

I knew something was the matter a few hours later when Rich was back home and stomping around the house getting showered and dressed for work.  So, the first chance I got I asked him if something was wrong.

“Oh, a few things irritated me this morning.  First of all, someone, instead of taking the trash out to the bin, hung it on the porch railing instead.  A raccoon must have gotten into it because it was ALL over the place and not only that but it was nothing but raw eggs.  I had to scrub and hose the porch and steps off.  And then, there were no towels in the bathroom but that wasn’t that big of a deal because I’m used to there being no towels in the bathroom, but when I got out of the shower I slipped on the floor.  Also, the big things of shampoo that I bought before camp are gone so I had to go out to get my bag and use my travel shampoo.”

“Wait.  Raccoons don’t like eggs?”  I asked innocently.

“Oh, they liked them.  They had a great time with them.  They were all over the porch.”

I was highly amused, and he was too, at that point.  But he was not happy in the midst of these surprising experiences.

I confess, it was I who hung the garbage on the railing.  And I was the one who filled the bag with raw eggs, too.  One of my hens needs to be “dispatched” because she has been laying nothing but a daily stinky egg.  I never know which egg I crack will be stinky so I am determined to stay at the coop and check each and every hen’s egg.  When I find out who is laying these unusable eggs, I’m going to have to get rid of her.  It wouldn’t be so bad if I could visually identify which egg it was (out of 14 per day) but unfortunately there are a lot of eggs that look identical, thus all the light brown eggs are under constant suspicion.  As I told Grace, it has become an obsession with me.  Sarah Joy saw me industriously smelling a raw egg, which I had broken in a cup, and said, “What are you DOING?  That’s discusting!”  We can’t have this, we can’t.  The mystery must be solved so I can enjoy my hens and eggs again.

((stay tuned.))

So yeah, it was pouring rain yesterday as I reached out the door to hang the trash on the railing.  I meant to tell someone to take it to the bins, but I completely forgot.



Ethan was distraught.  He was hungry.  He’s been working out so much and I am of the opinion that he needs to eat more…..so yesterday I was in the kitchen for a few hours, making pancakes and eggs,  and then a delicious homemade coffee cake.  Soon not only Ethan was happy, but we all were, and sugar was falling like snow.


Seth was too close to me in the kitchen and I couldn’t resist.

We ate coffeecake while playing a game.


Seth had come upstairs all upset because Caleb had “broken his nose with a hard pillow.”  I felt it very carefully.  “It’s not broken.” I said. “Lean against my leg and I’ll give you a back scratch.”

It was a contented moment, to play a game with Grace, eat coffee cake, comfort a small son, and look over to the couch now and then where Ethan (who finally had a full tummy thanks to me) was sound asleep under a striped crocheted afghan.


Gratitude unlocks
the fullness of life.

It turns what we have
into enough……



Grace spent some time on a school paper which needs to be done by the end of this month.  When she was finished for the day, she stacked up all of her things and proclaimed, “I have so many books that give me joy!”


Happiness is an afternoon power walk with a cheerful, talkative daughter & admiring a giant picturesque pine tree by the side of the road.


This morning I went outside to check on the gardens and smell the flowers.  It’s going to be a wicked hot and humid day (for us new englanders) so we will spend the day inside.


I found Gentleman Gray in one of his wild moods, attacking my morning glory vine which I have been patiently training up the porch railings.  I took his picture right before he fell off the porch, with a little help from a friend.




“This is my commandment,
that you love one another as I have loved you.”  Jesus’ words in John 15:12

We had a house FULL from Friday night to Saturday morning.  We had our own seven, plus seven extra teenagers.  They were staying the night in order to be at the church bright and early.

This is camp week for our teens and Rich is also there as a team leader.

I’m spending the week here at home with Caleb, Seth, and Sarah.  My oldest son, Jacob, is also home because he is now too old for camp.  He’s driving up on Friday to see everyone, though, and keeping himself busy with work, music, friends, and helping his mama at home.

This morning I am taking the kids to the one dollar movie and then to get the boys’ their football cleats because tonight Football practice starts for Caleb and Seth….and I am so glad because they need activity at this point.  No more lazy-daisy summer evenings for them!

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On Saturday morning I drove the campers to the church to get on the bus and then Seth and I went to the bakeshop nearby.  The gardens on the property were stunning!  I wish my front beds looked like this!  Dreams for next year…….


full and luscious flowers beds.


Seth chose a cupcake and we took home a blueberry pie.


For whatever reason, I am determined to keep moving and stay extra busy & active this week while Rich and the kids are away…perhaps to keep those “I’m missing you” feelings at bay?  And to get so tired I have no trouble sleeping in the big bed all alone?  So on Saturday I took the kids on two walks.  It was pretty warm outside so we kept them on the shorter side, but we still saw some pretty sights, the kids climbed big rocks, and the boys found sticks to sword fight with.

Aren’t pond lilies pretty?


That photo which Caleb took that made me realize just how tall and how big my youngest is getting!


When I was a little girl, a happy time for me was going for adventure walks “up to the big rocks” in Grandma and Grandpa’s woods.  We would all go, Grandma, the aunts, mom, and the cousins.  We had the best time exploring the rocks and daring ourselves to jump over the crack between two tall rocks.

The rocks we discovered on Saturday reminded me of those days.  My own children loved the experience just as much as we did years ago.


Soft, dappled sunlight over moss and leaves.


Caleb helped keep Seth from getting lost because our boy Seth runs ahead and OFF the trail just from the joy of being free…….


Sarah Joy took this photo of me….it’s the best, out of focus!


She always has to be holding my hand.  It makes her feel stronger and safer.


This is Seth making a “tough guy” face when I asked to take his picture.  He is nothing but muscle and bone….he’s the one who gets cold first when they go swimming…has boundless energy and his Dad calls him “Scrapper”.   Our very own state wrestling champ!


Yesterday I spent the day with my brother and his wife.  We went out shopping, had drinks from Sonic, bought chocolates, ate donuts, and generally ate more sugar than usual.  Back at home, we played a game, drank coffee, ate pie (!), sandwiches, and watched a movie with the kids.


Before they left we took a couple of photos outside in the sun.



The kids were flopped on the couch, tired out, while I walked down to our stream to see the Cardinal flowers.

They are a yearly event for me (perhaps I’ll start throwing a party) because they are such a GORGEOUS wild flower, as red as can be.


They liked the wetness of the earth by the stream and at this time of year the stream is  low and it is easy to get down the bank and stand on the rocks to take photos.

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The wild day lilies are almost done.


Queen Anne’s lace and goldenrod is everywhere.  I like to stop and study them because they are almost always entertaining bugs, which if you stop to see them, can be very interesting indeed.

**Queen Anne’s lace remind me of Great Grandma’s crocheted doilies.

Each season, each month of the growing months has its own flower-time.  Starting with the tiny spring flowers up until the sturdy flowers of fall.  I love to welcome them each year and watch them come and go and come again……  year after year.

God’s creation is always exciting, but also solidly dependable, too.


Swallowtail off in the distance, tiptoeing all over this tall, wild  “Joe-Pye weed“.

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My house, my gardens, my rock wall, my ferns = I love it here.  We’ve been at this place for ten years now and my heart is home.  I thank God constantly for our life here.


I don’t care if Anne (of Green Gables) thought zinnias were stiff and horrible….I LOVE THEM!

“Look at that wave of poppies breaking against the garden well, Miss Cornelia.  Susan and I are very proud of our poppies this year, though we hadn’t a single thing to do with them. Walter spilt a packet of seed there by accident in the spring and this is the result.  Every year we have some delightful surprise like that.”
     “I’m partial to poppies,” said Miss Cornelia, “though they don’t last long.”
     “They have only a day to live,’ admitted Anne, “but how imperially, how gorgeous they live it!  Isn’t that better than being a stiff horrible zinnia that lasts practically for ever?  We have no zinnias at Ingleside.  They’re the only flowers we are not friends with.  Susan won’t even speak to them.”  ~Anne of Ingleside, chapter 15

I love them because they last practically forever.  So there, dear Anne.  (I’ll always love you)


Back in the house, I admire my own dear sturdy boy, snuggling with a very loved and spoiled Gentleman Gray kitty.

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So thankful for these children o’ mine.  Can you imagine if we stopped at four?


**Queen Anne’s lace reminds me of Great Grandma’s crocheted doilies.

YOU ARE LOVED, dear friends.
A very happy August 1st to you!

dazzling glimpses

Guess how much God loves you?

The gift of Jesus.  That much.

The dark sky at night, full of brilliant stars.  That much.

A playground full of laughing children.  That much.

The different colors, movements, and depth of the sea.  That much.

Words -as good medicine to the soul- put down just for you, on paper.  That much.

Sacredness, Holiness, hearts full of love, in the very trenches of life.  That much.

The gift of something you need, at just the right time.  That much.

Knowing you can wait.  Knowing you can let go.  Because He is to be trusted.  That much.

Always belonging to Him.  That much.

no matter what!  That much.

Accepted fully, because He is your Father God.  That much.

He is your Anchor, your Rock, your Beacon of light, your Home.  That much.

Knowing your life is eternal and you’re journeying to Heaven.  That much.

and I could go on and on……….

Actually, it’s impossible to FULLY grasp how much He loves His very own, precious and darling children…….this is definitely an area that we can dream BIG……

When the Morning comes, we will finally see the Light as it is meant to be.

For now, there are dazzling glimpses all around and that is enough (overwhelming, really). Our eyes fill with grateful tears.

In the small, ordinary world of common life, there is so much to see of Him.  His blessings and gifts are scattered though each day.


Dear Thia, I hope you see this photo!  I wasn’t even looking for violets yet!  I happened to look down as I was going into the house this weekend and this one was blooming, sort of ragged-like, but THERE!, in the stone path by the door.  I bent right down and pointed my finger at it so Sarah could see, too.  The photo is for YOU, my friend.  (first violet of the season)

Which prompted me to go check on the other places violets grow.  David and Sarah came along.

We didn’t see any others, but we very much enjoyed a short jaunt.


The snow has melted away……


I was surprised by these bright orange mushroomy things growing on a fallen down tree.  When I pushed on one with my finger, water came up on the entire surface and immediately dripped out!  They were like water logged sponges.


I ate an apple from home, along with any dandelion greens I found on our walk.  What a yummy snack this made….the bitter of the greens and sweet of the apple were a good combination.  A walking along sort of salad.


Well, David is growing very much these days.  He is 13 and a half and almost, almost as tall as his brother Ethan.  Sometimes when I see him out of the corner of my eye, walk by me through the house, I think he IS Ethan.  He thinks he’s trouble but I tell him no way is he ever trouble.  Curious and busy?  Yes, but that is a sign of his bright mind…..this weekend he decided to make himself a perfect pot of rice, and he did just that.  Following a youtube video made by a professional chef, he made rice.  When it was done, he packed it into a buttered teacup, and tipped it over onto a plate.  As it was in a domed shape, he put a pat of butter on top to melt through, salt and pepper, and then pushed his spoon in to take a bite…..he shared one with me!  And it WAS perfect.

He also determined to use his allowance to purchase a pair of sunglasses, which I find him lovingly polishing in the kitchen with Windex.


Because they are like mirrors.


We found out last week that yes, as suspected, Sarah Joy has hydronephrosis of her right kidney, the very same one that the Doctor had to clean stones from.  So the doctor thinks that the stones were possibly caused by a blockage somewhere in her kidney which causes it to not drain properly (and collect fluid, rather like a stagnant pond, he says).  This would be a satisfying explanation of her kidney stone woes.  Of course, knowing this (as of last wednesday) means she will have further testing done to see what to do next.  I have had time to process and we are all in hopeful spirits and I have been able to, by the grace of God, not wrap her up in bubble wrap and keep her in my arms at all times.  She’s allowed to be as wild and free as her siblings………  🙂


Dave kept a walking stick with him.  Or maybe it was a sword?  Regardless, we did see frog eggs and talk about how we hope they survived last weekend’s snow and freezing temperatures.  Will the frog population be down?


Jesus is the Source of Living Water….water is so refreshing and satisfies thirst….we can’t help but think of Him even as we walk along the trails in the forest.  A Bible word study on water is always fascinating….and google makes it oh so easy now.

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.


I think this might be witch hazel coming into bloom?


“I want to take a nap here!” ~Sarah


Then I got a text!  It said that Seth had practice at 3!  And it was 2:10!  And Rich was gone on a 10 day business trip!  Oh, what to do?  I had already spent the MORNING at the baseball complex for Caleb’s practice.  I was out in the woods!  *sigh*  David wanted to turn and go in a straight line home but Sarah and I wanted to go around a longer way.  He said, “I can’t leave you unprotected in the woods.”  but then he said, “Bye” when Sarah and I started going the other way, our way!  And I said, “You said you couldn’t leave us unprotected in the woods!” and that is when he smiled and I took his picture.


Sarah is a photographer!  She told me just what to do and say for my photo.  “Smile like this” (shows teeth).  “Say Cheese” (clicks)  “Good.  Say it again.” (clicks picture).  “Good.”

“You’re a natural photographer, Sarah!” ~ me

She was dismayed several times on the walk.  1) when she walked through water and got her sneakers wet through to her sock.  2) a stick scrubbed her leg.  3) a briar scratched her.

To make getting back home faster and easier, I carried her across the swampy parts.  There was no one to take a picture of THAT.  She was quite heavy, as she is now a big *almost 6 year old* and tall for her age.  We both said “oomph” a lot.

Guess what?

I drove to the field just in time for practice with Seth, Caleb, and Sarah, and no one was there.  It had been cancelled.

We enthusiastically hummed, and drummed our hands on the car seats, all the way home.

what’s the special occasion? “life”

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.”


“And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29:13

We spent the weekend in literal freezing temperatures.  Saturday there was a wrestling tournament.  My brother Isaac and his wife Cassandra came and watched it with us.  Ethan came in fourth in his weight class.





On Sunday, my sister came and dropped off Abigail and picked up Sarah.  It was Valentine’s Day.  Rich took Seth to compete at States for wrestling and Seth won.

While they were away doing that, I took Ethan and Tessa to Texas Roadhouse and dropped them off.  Abbie, Grace, and I went shopping at our favorite store, Sephora.  Also, as a nice Valentine’s gift for Rich and I, I went to Pottery Barn and bought a beautiful dark gray linen duvet cover for our bed.    When we came home, I found flowers in a vase on the counter from Jacob.  He gave me a rose, and he gave each of his sisters a red carnation.  Later on that evening, Caleb came by to take Grace out to dinner for Valentine’s Day.








On Monday, I had a dentist appointment.  I had to have a filling in one of my very back molars.  It was not fun for a variety of reasons.  And then my face was numb for several hours.  After the appointment, I picked up Zak and brought him home to spend time with Jacob and Ethan.  I dropped him off at the house and picked up the kids and we went to see the movie Kung Fu Panda 3 with my sister, and we exchanged back our girls.  When I came home, I found that my new TOMS had arrived.  I LOVE THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


8:30 last night we were all visiting and chatting in the kitchen….David showed everyone a youtube video.  Aren’t these smiling faces wonderful?  (Oops I forgot to crop out dinner, which was meatloaf and everyone picked on it saying it looked like something else all together.)


This morning I had my yearly check up.  I took Grace and Sarah along so we could go shopping together after the appointment.  We went to Costco and then Target.  We picked up Grace’s boyfriend on the way home.  When we arrived, I had all the kids help bring in the food and clean up the kitchen a little.  I was so very happy that all my favorite kids were here and so I took a portrait of them to hang on my blog and on my wall.  I love these people so so so so much.


from left to right:  Caleb, Grace, David, Zak, Ethan, Tessa, Sarah, Emily, Jacob, Michael, Caleb (sitting on floor), and Seth.


I have to show you a picture of the shoes Sarah picked out today.  We were in Payless.  She didn’t hesitate at all.  She said, “I am going to get these because I have NO high heels.”


She twisted her legs so I could be sure to take a picture of the heels so Aunt Amanda could see them.  Grace was unamused at Payless, “She’s FIVE, Mom.” But then as we watched Sarah take her first wobbly steps she changed her mind, “Well, if you get them for her now by the time she’s my age walking in them will be a piece of cake.”

Since we came home she’s been wearing them nonstop and I have to say, walking in them is already a piece of cake for this girly girl of mine.

When we paid for them, the lady asked if they were for a special occasion.  Sarah said “yes”, and when she then asked what the occasion was I said, “life”.

‘Tis true, ’tis true.


you are loved