family forever

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I’ll be away from this space for a little while (a week or so?) because there is so much going on, the most important of which is that I am going back home on Thursday for my Uncle Brian’s funeral.  Although it will be nice to see everyone, it is under the most very sad of circumstances; to have to say goodbye to a much loved member of our family.   Uncle Brian would tell me when he saw me how he enjoyed reading this blog and it tickled me to know that he read it and liked it.  He always had a nice word and a cheerful hello for everyone and he will be missed so much.  He will never be forgotten.

I’ve recently been in touch with a “long lost cousin” and he has been sharing many stories with me about our mutual aunts and uncles on my father’s side of the family.  I’ve heard details and seen photos that I never knew before and it reminded me once again the importance of family.  It’s a bond that can never be broken.

Store up your memories and then talk about them with each other, even the smallest of memories are meaningful!  As you talk about them, your heart will be filled with gratitude for what has happened in the past, and eagerness for whatever memories the future holds, as well.

God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough.
    There are no boundaries to his greatness.

Generation after generation stands in awe of your work;
    each one tells stories of your mighty acts.

 

 

memorial day weekend

Our morning routine has changed since the college children have come home.  Ethan and Jacob have a work-out routine that they need to do for sports this fall so Rich gets up with them early (around 5) and they go next door to our garage.  The upstairs of our garage is set up with a variety of gym equipment; everything they need for their work out each morning.  They have leg day, arm day, etc.  When Rich comes back into our bedroom to walk through to the bathroom, I wake up and go out to the living room.  My intention is to make coffee and sit with my one-year-Bible.  I like to sit and read and sip my coffee while David and Caleb get ready for school and Ethan, Jacob, and Rich get ready for work.  This is also a good time for them to come to me with complaints.

  • We are out of bananas.
  • We are out of milk, cream cheese, and bagels.  Also yogurt.
  • Jacob’s pants shrunk.
  • where is the cast iron pan?
  • where is the blender?
  • Ethan needs gas money.  Ethan cannot find his wallet.
  • Caleb needs money for school lunch.
  • I made beans yesterday, causing Rich to have to run back to the house several times during his work out.

To be fair, these didn’t come across as complaints (except the food.  David was truly annoyed about the bananas.  He ate peanut butter toast with chocolate chips and when I questioned him he said it would have been healthier with …… the bananas.)

Jacob laughed about his pants.

Ethan was cheerful about his wallet.

David almost forgot his lunch money.

I still haven’t finished my Bible portion of the day because then Seth and and Sarah woke up.

Sarah came down the stairs happy that tomorrow is her birthday.

As she walked into the kitchen with Seth I heard her say slyly, “And Mom is NOT picking you up early from school with me.”  It immediately became an argument.

When questioned, Seth told me that the other day when I asked Sarah to go to the house and get me my magazine, she had Seth do it, with the promise that “I will tell Mom to pick you up early from school on my birthday, too.”  So Seth got the magazine for her and  then she carried it the rest of the way to me, or I would have already figured this plot out.  (The child I asked to bring the magazine brought the magazine so I was not suspicious.)

That was two days ago.  In the meantime, Sarah had changed her mind.  It’s her birthday, she doesn’t want Seth to get picked up early with her.

Seth was saying one thing and Sarah was saying another.  She even pretty much lied about making the promise to Seth, I am very sorry to say.  She said, “I don’t remember saying it like that.”  hmmmmm

Rich came out of the bedroom so I asked him to be the judge.  Except the man didn’t even know that I had told Sarah I would pick her up early.  He takes school seriously and never lets the kids stay home unless they are truly sick.  So, it should not have been a surprise to me that after he got involved no one was getting picked up from school.  

I thought Sarah would be sad but she ate breakfast and perked right up.  Everyone’s happy now.

But meanwhile, through all this, Parker (our dog) had tried to steal the cat’s can of cat food (the cats get ONE can a day, the rest of the day they eat dry).  I sent Parker outside.  Sherlock ate his can and then Samantha came inside for her can.  Sammie is a really tiny female cat and Jacob stopped to cheer her on as she wolfed down her food, “Yeah, Sammie, get nice and fat!”……. and then to us, “I swear this cat only eats once a week.”  She promptly turned away from the bowl and threw up the entire can on the floor.

All this while I’m trying to read the Bible!

Sammie ran off so we let Parker back inside the house to clean up the cat’s mess.  After all, it wasn’t even digested, it was barely even chewed.  But he didn’t even see it, he took the empty can and ran downstairs.  Ethan decided he wasn’t hungry for eggs anymore.

I was hiding behind my journal on the other side of the room.

*********

Now everyone is gone and the house is quiet.  The dishwasher is going.  I took the silverware tray out of the drawer to wash that, too.  The vacuum is sitting in the kitchen as I have decided that today would be a good day to vacuum all the crumbs out of cupboards and drawers.  I am going to Costco soon for cream cheese, bagels, bread, butter, milk, mayo, paper towels, and yogurt.

Seth and Caleb have baseball games tonight.

The sun is out and it’s a clear, cool, and sunny morning.

*****

I did copy down one verse in my journal before putting morning Scripture reading aside:

All of us must die eventually.  Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.  But God does not just sweep life away; instead He devises ways to bring us bak when we have been separated from Him.  2 Samual 14

I LOVED THIS VERSE.

*****

How was your Memorial Day?  I’m thankful that Seth and Caleb were in the parade or we may have not bothered to get out the door to attend.  It’s always such a fun atmosphere in town when it’s parade day.  We dropped off the boys at the parade start and then parked the car.  We walked to the coffee shop for 1 soda (Dave), 1 apple juice (Sarah), 1 regular coffee in a mug that he returned after the parade (Rich) and 1 caramel latte (myself).  Grace didn’t want anything.

Grace went across the road to sit with Dave and Sarah.  Rich and I walked to a shop down the sidewalk a little ways and said hello to the lovely lady who owns the shop.  I picked out a little gift for a sick friend and he bought his two girls each a bracelet.  Then we joined the kids on the other side of the street, saying hello to Grace’s boyfriend’s parents on the way.

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Such dear girls.  They have been close friends (same grade in school) longer than Jacob and Brittnee have been a couple.  What I love about Brittnee is her good-natured cheerfulness.  And she can hold her own in this family, too.  For example yesterday Seth came over to say something and when he walked away she said accurately, “He’s so cute sometimes.”  and we laughed and laughed.  We’ve baked together and she and Grace are working on a garden (I have my doubts of whether it will be a success bc it’s like a mile away from the house).

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I took a photo of the garden behind us because I want to find the purple flowers which are on the left and the pink flowers on the right (growing tall out of the green leafy clump).  They are so pretty and would look just right in my flower beds.

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Seth in the parade standing close to his teammate (wearing Jays uniform).

Caleb was in the marching band playing a percussion instrument that looked like a plastic football with ridges that he had to rub with a stick.  In the video you can see at the very last second he makes eye contact with me and sort of grimace-smiles.  He will be 13 in July and is at the sad age when he leans away from me when I try to pat his shoulder, or put my arm around him or hug him or touch his cheek or make any sort of motherly contact.  He LEANS AWAY without a word of complaint.  It’s quite painful but all part of the growing up process when the boy has to teach the mom to stop with the babyish personal contact.  Motherly touches are now reserved for special occasions (severe injury, terrible sickness, at the moment of return after a long absence *or* birthdays) *or* when HE initiates.  (He does still come to me for a hug now and then in the privacy of our own home).

I had to post the video because I didn’t get any photos of him for the same reason that I didn’t touch him.  He wants no part of it.  I didn’t want to beg.

Also there are no photos of our other son, Ethan, as he was away with Tessa all day long.

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Sarah made out pretty good.  Grace and the brothers were amused that several little boys yelled, “HI SARAH” to her as they were in the parade marching and saw her on the sidewalk.  They asked who one of the boys was and she said, “You tell me!  I don’t know his name!”  She has attitude.  We don’t know what will become of her as she has had a very full life so far and she’s only 8.  The youngest child is just as interesting as the rest of them, don’t you agree?  So unique and fascinating.  A little scary.  In a good way.

Her dad calls her Sally.

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The other side of the bridge is a drop off down into the shallow stream.  Like, if he fell he WOULD have been hurt pretty bad.  But that didn’t stop him from running to jump up on the wall and walk around on it.  I try so hard to keep my mouth shut………….. most of the time I fail.  He had a big handful of Sarah’s candy in his sweatshirt pocket.   Yesterday he told us he was growing out his hair long and I said “I always wanted another daughter” just to make him laugh.  What I really wanted to say was “Please don’t”.

The beautiful brick buildings in the back are a church and the town museum.  The little road leading to the right is the entrance to a park.  I just love our town.

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Later on that day we went for a walk and Jacob found this bug.  It was like 3 inches long! It’s so pretty!

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And I saw 4 lady slippers growing on the side of the road.  These two and then another two that were about 4 feet away.

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This morning Parker the dog was wandering around with a lollipop in his mouth.  Must be Sarah left her candy lying around on the floor.

He’s currently snoring flat on his side on the couch next to me.   I think he’s relieved to have a quiet house today.   He’s an old dog now, trying to keep up with his busy family!

 

nature photos (and knee-spots)

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purple finch at the feeder

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The glow of the pond.

I’m sitting in my room, I had to get away from Grace so I could focus.  I get easily distracted by her because we have lots to talk about (anything that comes to mind becomes a conversation).  I thought I would be all alone in here but Samantha-cat just appeared out of hiding and jumped on the bed.

Jacob, Ethan, and Grace are home for the summer and it’s wonderful (the only time it’s not wonderful is if I am over-tired or have PMS).  But seriously I do think it’s wonderful.  I’m not just saying that.  I no longer have that feeling of “I wonder what the older children are doing”–  I know what they are doing.  I can see them.  Jacob rides to work every morning with his Dad and Ethan goes to work in Jacob’s car.  I see them in the mornings getting ready.  This morning Jacob asked me where the nail clippers were, and half an hour later his brother Ethan was wondering where tweezers were, he had a sliver in the bottom of his foot from going traipsing barefoot through the woods (photos of that tomorrow, possibly).

During the day it’s still quiet.  The children have gone to work and to school.

Every evening is unpredictable family craziness.  Practices?  Games?  Someone missing (briefly)?  Big dinners, a whole pie getting eaten so fast so you better get a piece while you can, dirty bowls and cups being left all over the house, laundry piling up, homework reminders, tv turned up and up, loud talking, loud laughing, coins being thrown super hard and me getting mad about it, fortnight gaming, singing, playing the piano, telling the boys to take the garbage out, Seth can’t find a pencil, etc………going to bed and hearing the noice of the older kids getting ready to go to bed, too.  Lights being left on.  And then the house is quiet again.

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It (photographing this blog post) all started after dinner last evening, when I went out to the mailbox to mail a letter and was surprised by a wild rabbit who didn’t seem afraid of me in the least.  I stood still and he stood still.  Then, he “came back to life” and commenced his snacking on dandelions and grass.  The dandelions have turned into their moon-like state and I was amused that he picked them with his teeth at the base of the stem and ate it, end-to-top.  It was funny to watch the stem slowly disappear into his mouth with “the moon” last but not least.  I went inside to get the camera and when I returned, he was eating grass.  I am a bit concerned as the vegetable garden is nearby, newly planted with radishes, spinach, herbs, and peas.  Will he be eating that next?  I named him John.

And then I wandered around with my camera.

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I absolutely love the look of this photo of a cardinal in the tall dead tree on the edge of our property (dead tree=GIANT bird perch).

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mourning dove & male cardinal

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I stood and looked up up up into a very tall pine trees to sight this bird.  It was singing an evening song with its back to me.  Finally it looked over its shoulder and I got this amazing photo.  (I had my big zoom lens with me).

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It flew to a different branch.  I am almost positive that its a female scarlet Tanager.

Thoughts?  I never knew the females were yellow!  What a beautiful bird-couple they make.  Now I will be on the look-out for the male.  I hope I see it!!

I think I took about 25 photos of that bird and then it flew away and I moved on.

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Lady Slippers (a favorite wild flower) are in bloom now.

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Seth (9 years old) saw this photo and said, “Beautiful moon!”

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I sat and watched this duck pair for quite a while.  They were peacefully together on the stream at the dam, bathing and grooming their feathers.  The female must have enjoyed this stretch with her foot because she held it long enough for me to take several photos.  I love the curled up feathers on the male’s tail, and the purple color on the female’s wing.

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I walked up the hill and in the distance, where the water of the stream enters the dark woods, I saw a blue heron standing in a pool of water, probably finding some tasty dinner.  I was thrilled to see it and get a photo before it moved out of sight.  (It saw me as soon as I saw it and it was very suspicious of me right away.)

I went home and found the family sitting around in the living room getting ready to finish watching a movie they had started the night before.  It wasn’t a movie I was especially interested in so I got ready for bed and did some reading.  I finished a book titled, When I was a Slave, Memoirs from the Slave Narrative Collection, and it was very interesting in a sad, inspirational way.  Here is a quote I keep thinking about:

“One thing dat’s all wrong with dis world today is dat day ain’t no ‘prayer grounds.’ Down in Georgia where I was born–dat way back in 1852–us colored folks had prayer grounds.  My mammy’s was a old twisted thick-rooted muscadine bush.  She’d go in here and pray for deliverance of de slaves.  Some colored folks cleaned out knee-spots in de canebrakes.  Cane, you know, grows high and thick, and colored folks could hide demselves there and nobody could see and pester dem.”

Andrew Moss, 85 years old

It’s the concept of having a great need and therefore NEEDING TO PRAY.  It’s the idea of KNEE SPOTS.  All day long since reading it, that term comes to my mind.  When was the last time I got down on my knees to pray?  All the nature that surrounds me, and do I have even ONE “knee spot” to go to in order to pray to the God I love?  Where is my sense of great need?  Great gratitude?  Great praise?  Why go to the knees?  After all, I do pray during each day, but oh my,  in order to pray on my knees I would have to stop everything else I was doing………….and therein lies the beauty and soul-nourishment of “knee-spots”……..

“Be prepared.  You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own.  Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet.  Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words.  Learn how to apply them.  You’ll need them throughout your life.  God’s Word is an indispensable weapon.  In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare.  Pray hard and long.  Pray for your brothers and sisters.  Keep your eyes open.  Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”  Ephesians 6:13-18

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These are some of the things on my mind this morning as I start the day.  I also took this photo through the window of Rich’s office, which is why it’s so hazy, but still a beautiful bird.

happy birthday

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(The boys in our family plus their Dad)

Today is Ethan’s 20th birthday.

When I think about each of the children God has given me my heart is overwhelmed.  It’s 100% true that each and every child is a gift and a blessing, no matter if you have one or seven or more.  Each life is of endless value.

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In years past I have had so much fun taking high quality photos of Ethan on his birthday but this year we shall have to be content with iPhone snapshots because with him being a full time student in Vermont it isn’t as simple as it used to be.  When he’s home he’s busy with more important things like cooking in the kitchen, eating, playing games, relaxing in front of the TV, going on dates with Tessa, goofing around with his siblings, catching up on sleep, and shopping trips to the mall………

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Ethan has a unique way of scrambling eggs which leaves a solid piece of cooked eggy skin stuck to the bottom of the pan which I HATE.  But look at that face.  Okay, I will clean the pan for you, E, since you say this is the very best way to cook eggs.

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Rich and I took him to the mall where he picked out some new clothes from Hollister.  Jacob, Brittnee, Sarah, and David also went along.  It was a fun evening together.

(Have you noticed all the florals this year?  I love it!  Even 20 year old guys can get away with roses (and serpents) on their shirts.  And I bought the prettiest T-shirt for myself with big red roses on it.  A must with rose scented perfume!)

We had Ethan’s cheesecake (requested) on Saturday night after the shopping trip because Rich was leaving for a trip on Sunday morning and on Monday (today, Ethan’s real birthday) the boys would be back to college.  He blew his candles out with so much lung power that there is STILL candle wax on the counter.

Happiness is a big family singing your birthday song.  We love you Ethan!

(We missed sister Grace who was at college but we will see her soon.)

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Yesterday, Ethan was able to squeeze in a quick visit with Tessa in the morning and then I took the kids to church and lunch at Ethan’s requested restaurant, UNO’s.  It was me, Caleb, Seth, Ethan, Jacob, Sarah, David, Michael, and Zach.  Nine of us all together in one big booth and THANK GOODNESS for Sarah or I would have been the only female.  🙂  We had a yummy meal and when the waitress asked if we wanted dessert we were much too full but asked for a piece of cake for the birthday boy.

“But you don’t have to sing to me,” begged Ethan.

“Do you want a candle?” asked the waitress.

“No, that’s okay, but thanks.” he replied.

We were rather let down that Ethan appeared to get away without spectacle but the waitress must have sensed our true wishes and ignored the wishes of the birthday boy, much to his dismay.  However he recovered quickly and was a very good sport about it.

She gave Ethan a HUGE piece of chocolate cake along with NINE spoons so we could all share it!

I gave her a nice big tip because she really did deserve it.  I’m still smiling and I hope that Ethan is, too.

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Seth took this photo as Ethan and Jacob were getting ready to leave for school.  We are so thankful that they have a car and can come home now and then.  It’s just not the same around here with the three older ones so far away but we wouldn’t change a thing because they are learning, growing, and thriving.

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Happy 20th birthday, Ethan!

There is no one like you in the whole wide world.

Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. Your thoughts – how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them!
I couldn’t even begin to count them – any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!  Psalm 139

cinnamon rolls

Ethan learned from my mistake and decided if he was going to make cinnamon rolls then he better triple the recipe.

He and Jacob are done with their wrestling season and are home this week on break from college.  One of the things Ethan enjoys doing when he’s home is baking and cooking in the kitchen.  As soon as he got up yesterday morning he started looking through our Top Secret Recipes cookbook by Todd Wilbur and thought he would make either donuts or cinnamon rolls.  I have to admit I was relieved that he decided on the latter, as the deep fat fryer is a big pain to clean up afterwards and even though Ethan does use the kitchen, he rarely cleans it up afterward.

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We had a house-full; Ethan, Jacob, Michael, David, Caleb, Weston (my nephew), Seth, Sarah, and myself.  Somehow the cat was able to get a nap in now and then although with any alarming sound he would bolt his neck upright and look around the room with big eyes.

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Cinnamon rolls take hours to make.  While the dough was rising the first time Ethan went down the road to get his girlfriend Tessa.

Then it was time to form the rolls.

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I had to leave as the cinnamon rolls went through their second rise.

It was a day I had been waiting for:

At my last cleaning my dentist sent me to an orthodontist because of over crowding and the Doctor agreed that I was a good candidate for invisalign.   I had braces as a teenager but through the years my teeth had shifted and I’m thrilled to get them straightened again.

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I came home to a counter full of freshly baked cinnamon rolls.  And boy were they delicious. . . . .

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The weather was so nice that I immediately went for a walk on the road so as to burn more calories for more cinnamon rolls.  These two passed me on the street; Jacob and his best friend and our perennial weekend houseguest Michael.

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Two more pictures from the day; Dave on the laptop.

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And Sarah Joy telling me that “Michael only won once.”

‘Twas a lovely day.

21st birthday

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I took this five minutes after I said to my children, “I wish a cardinal would come to the feeder.”  (we hadn’t seen one all winter)

It was such a vivid reminder of what prayer is.

It’s about Father-God hearing our honest hearts, and isn’t it true that so often what we think are “not prayers” really ARE prayers because HE KNOWS and understands us better than we know ourselves.

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for.  But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words……..Romans 8:26

When I said that I wished a cardinal would come I didn’t realize at the time that what I was doing was praying a very basic and child-like prayer to a personal God who cares about everything big and small.

This is why I do not worry about the eloquence or religiousness of my prayer life.  I am His, so I cannot help but pray on purpose and quite unaware at times, too.

Maybe everything we say and think and feel is a prayer and the answers are all around us.

“To the poet,
to the philosopher,
to the saint,
all things are friendly and sacred,
all events profitable,
all days holy,
all men divine.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Dear Jacob turned 21 on the 31st of December.  Like he does every year, he once again invited a group of his nearest and dearest for an all day and all night gathering here at home.  They played lots of games, visited, talked, ate good food, had a secret santa gift exchange, and so on.

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Jacob and Brittnee

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Ethan and his girlfriend Tessa.

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Michael after saying something sexist just to get a rise out of us ladies.

He is lucky he wasn’t told to leave and never come back.  😉

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volleyball in the house is never a good idea

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sweet Sarah watching a tv show

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please Dave, please let me take a photo of your face

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thank you????????????

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Found Seth with the whole bowl of fruit with an expectant dog waiting but being ignored..

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such dear faces, each one

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singing the song

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making a wish

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blowing out 21 candles

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now time for the epic nerf battle (annual event)

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Caleb and Ethan

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He didn’t know his sister was just around the corner……

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Jake and Zak

Happy Birthday, Jacob!

other sights around here lately:

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Sarah’s safari watering-hole playset was a big hit for Christmas.  She can spend an hour or more at a time, making up little stories with her animals.

sunbeams

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watching our son wrestle with the magic of live-streaming online video

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Another Christmas present that Sarah LOVES is a fairy garden set.  It came with everything she needed, including soil and seeds, to grow a little garden.  The seeds have already sprouted and because she learned about growing seeds at school, she insisted we use a growing light, too, which turns everything underneath it one of her favorite colors. She checks on her seedlings constantly and even said good night to them (while giving me a mini-lecture complete with wide eyes and hand motions on what TRANSPLANTING means) last night before bed.

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Happy Tuesday, dear friends.  You are loved.

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” G.K Chesterton

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Christmas 2017, Part 2

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Good morning and happy new year!  I have nothing profound to say.  So let’s just jump into the photos.  Rich preached at church on Christmas Eve.  It was a joy to my heart to have the all the offspring home and in church.  Even Ethan and Caleb playing “thumb war” as they waited for church to start didn’t sway my happy heart.  And Michael looked so nice in his suit as he and Jacob visited before the service.

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We watched two Christmas movies that afternoon, the second one being The Polar Express which is a memorable movie for Sarah and I because we watched it more than once together three years ago when she was in the hospital.  So we snuggled as we watched it at home and I couldn’t help but be thankful.  Also I made a huge amount of boneless chicken wings.  Michael and Jacob cut up the chicken for me.  Its a meal everyone loves and we had enough left over for later that night for snacks.

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As is our tradition, I baked up some pillsbury cinnamon rolls, too.

Rich and I didn’t put the presents under the tree until almost midnight and we enlisted Jacob to help us get some of them out of the basement, which was the first time we allowed a child to help us in this secret time.

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I got the idea from a friend to use zip ties to hang the stockings on the stair railing and that worked nicely.  Rich got heavy duty ones though so it was a little hard to cut them down.  And Rich’s was the top one so I had to keep climbing the stairs to add to it.

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((((BEFORE)))) everything is under the tree

The next morning I sent the boys back to bed because they had tried to get up at four.  We all went back to sleep and got back together at 7:30 and this year we took our time opening gifts and didn’t get done until about 10.  It was such a wonderful family time.

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We let Caleb pass out the gifts this year (but this is Seth, who kept trying to commandeer his brother’s job)

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As Santa and I suspected, this noisy chicken was a big hit with Seth, from the movie Moana (one of their favorites).

 

Jacob being surprised by one of his gifts.

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We got the boys a Keurig for their dorm room which thrilled them to no end.

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The children all really love getting shoes for Christmas.  They all received a pair, all but poor Caleb, and he was sure to let me know later on that he was left out but then quickly said he didn’t mind.

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Sarah’s favorite sneakers are Scetchers.

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Sarah studying her new shoes; Seth about to open his Hess truck.

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Sarah trying them on; Seth pulling his Hess truck from the box.

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This is the second year he’s received a Hess truck from Santa.  How long will Santa keep up this yearly tradition only time will tell.

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Rich, I mean, Santa, also gave the boys a remote control car that can go in the pond this summer and take videos.

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One of my favorite photos of the morning.  Taking a time out to listen to Dad explaining their new gift.

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Rich always gives me a romantic card and this year it included my itinerary for a trip to Alaska.

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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The boys received new Eddie Bauer boots which they will need for the rest of winter in Vermont.  (It’s currently -17 in Castleton).  Ouch!

(they go back today)

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One of Caleb’s favorite presents was a Patriots Patriotic hoodie.

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Rich told a super funny story about being sucked into the amazon lightening deals.  He ordered what he thought were apple wireless earbuds to give to me for 20 dollars and only when he wrapped them up on Christmas Eve did he realize that they were NOT made by Apple, there was only ONE ear bud, and it was made for a Giant Ear.

I told him I loved it even more than the Apple ones because I won’t have to stress out as much about losing it.  It worked just fine, too.

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Seth bought Caleb a poster about a month ago at the school book sale and had to wait and wait to give it to him– so this is the moment when FINALLY Caleb opened his new Patriots poster from his little brother.

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He opened a Giant Mug from his sister Grace which for some reason struck him as extremely funny.

(Grace was so thoughtful in giving each family member a gift this year for the first time, as she had her own money from her grocery store job.)

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Ethan opened up an iPhone X.  And his world was filled with happiness.

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These two were together all morning on the end of the couch.  I was out of earshot which made it all the more sweet to my mother-heart.  What were they saying?  What were they smiling about?  Only they know. . . . ..

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Jacob’s well organized gift pile.

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Sweet Grace.

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David was thrilled to get one more big box from Santa and he felt very special like maybe…….he was the favorite.  (It was clothes from Dicks clothing and Sporting goods; a long sleeved blue shirt that he said he had just looked at the last time he was there, a pair of skinny joggers, and a Nike jacket)

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Seth in a new Panthers shirt (his favorite NFL team), I asked him about that and he said that years ago his first favorite team was the Patriots “until I found out that Tom Brady was a cheater.”

He is also wearing new sneakers.

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((((AFTER)))) nothing under the tree.

outside:

inside:

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Sarah got help from Big Brother as she set up her Safari set.

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David began using his new whetstones to sharpen every knife in sight, causing me some bouts of anxiety.

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Ethan set up his new phone.

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“We are new to this family and we are so scared.” ~Black Cats

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“Let me outside so I can bury my big Christmas bone that Dad gave me.”  ~Parker

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MERRY CHRISTMAS from our house to yours!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and a happy New Year, too!

******

As I wrote this, Tessa and Ethan made pancakes for us all; Rich, Me, Jacob, Brittnee, Grace, Caleb, Michael, Ethan, Kylee, David (only one still asleep), Caleb, Seth, and Sarah.  And yes they used your recipe, Mom.

There was also a small Nerf war as I typed.

The house is a happy DISASTER.

So Rich is working on putting all the Christmas-time garbage in big trash bags.

When we woke up it was -3.

It’s 10:00 now, and 1 degree.

And thus concludes yet another Christmas blog post.  More to come!

MUCH LOVE TO MY FRIEND AND FAMILY WHO FIND THEIR WAY HERE TO THIS HUMBLE LITTLE CORNER OF BLOG-LAND………