Wedding, continued

Rich is home safe and sound as of one o’clock today. Now my system can relax again. I just shut my door so I couldn’t hear Caleb announcing that “someone stole the power cord to my PS5”. I don’t know anything about it. I’m resting in bed and going to watch a little tv but first thought I would write a little here.

Today I went and helped out at a soup kitchen downtown at the church. It was joyous. Everyone had such personality and I do so love to observe. I was set to work on three huge metal bowls of fresh green beans—trimming them for the pot. It was green beans from my nightmares. Jill guessed about 30 pounds worth. I didn’t do it alone and I would probably never do it for a home-meal. Doesn’t that sound terrible. Now that I’ve become more accomplished at it, maybe I will. I used to love watching my Grandma or mom slice through a pile of green beans all lined up as best as they could be, in order to efficiently trim as many as possible in one swift cut of a large sharp knife. They are the gardeners that inspire me. Anyway, today we of the soup kitchen made large quantities of spaghetti and meatballs, tossed salad, fruit salad, and the beans. Hungry people come to the church to eat but most of the meals were packed in containers and delivered. I came away with some meals for the kids and when I was driving to the HS to get Caleb I took a turn and two of them spilled over into the trunk of my new car. So that was annoying (exciting) and I got a bucket of soapy water and cleaned it all up when I got home. I remembered when something like that would be “the straw that broke the camels back” in years past when I was stretched thin with all the children home and babies and toddlers and today was so thankful to realize that I could clean up this unexpected mess while remaining (be shocked) CALM, and even like sort of content and —rather enjoyed it! I carried the bucket back to the house and washed off the door and trim, too.

That was the major event of my day besides my husband coming back home. We had about four hours before he went to get Seth and Sarah from school and got subs for dinner.

Of note- I got myself gardening gloves and have been working on weeding and planting pansies, which I adore. My best -friend- cat Sammie found the gloves on the counter and as I was cleaning up the kitchen I noticed her writhing her face into them in pure ecstasy . “She acts like they’re catnip!” I said to David. “Do I have catnip out there??” I went outside with my handy dandy plant identification app and BEHOLD—discovered that we have big healthy clumps of it in the flower gardens and I just am so perplexed. Sammie figured it out. So that was fun, a fun story to tell Sarah when she got home. “So that’s why the cats eat that plant!” She said. “You’ve noticed them eating it?” I asked. “Yep!”

Isn’t daily life full of surprises? I never dreamed when I got up this morning that I would clean spaghetti out of my car and also discover catnip in the garden.

Here are some more promised wedding photos:

Me and my brother Isaac
Sarah, Caleb, Jacob, Ethan, David, Seth, Grace
Rich and I with the Bride and Groom
My parents and my siblings
Me and my niece Abigail
Me and one of my dearest friends Caroline who is Ethan’s “second mom”. (It takes a village)
dancing – how romantical!
That’s my parents dancing so close – how romantical!
How romantical-I got kissed!

It was obviously a day of LOVE.

Mother and Groom dance. And I brushed the tears off my dear son’s face. he loves his mama
Goodness so many photos!! This is me and my sister Amanda!
Ethan —someone’s husband!!
My daughters hold my heart
** Professional portraits**
such a dream
Ethan and his groomsmen
Full of HAPPY
Me and my favorite brother Nathan! (Wink wink)
Ethan and David
Gracie and her beloved ~
Ethan and Grace brother and sister
Jacob and Ethan and their friend Zach
Dad was crying as we danced to “What a Wonderful World”
Me and my girls!!!
Me and my Gracie girl

I shall leave you with the kiss.

The Kiss

The wedding kiss!

I should blog about the wedding

Our new daughter in law, Sierra
*Mr and Mrs*

(These first three photos curtesy of their photographer).

Ethan and Sierra were married on April 15 and then they went to Italy for their honeymoon.

I think there has been a part of my heart recovering since then!! It was an absolute dream wedding and beautiful in every way. To dance with my son, wiping his tears away as we were together in that priceless moment, seeing Sierra marry my son with her beloved Grandfather officiating, my children all dressed up and so glad for their brother, the food.. the music ..the smiles. It was enough to “spoil” me from every day life for a good many days. Just savoring the memories. breathing deep. Thankful.

Ethan is our third child to get married. Jacob and Brittnee are going to celebrate their second anniversary soon, and then Brogan and daughter Grace shortly after.

We were reading from the book of Acts on Sunday, verses about the early days of the church, and that simple yet glorious phrase “and the Lord added to their number…..” gave me pause—of course me being me at this time thought that certainly these words could be applied to family as well, a growing family in the next stage of life, marrying adult children and welcoming their life-partners as true and most definitely loved children, too. I feel so amazingly blessed, and so does my husband, that the two of us over the years have turned into a family of twelve. 1+1=7+1+1+1=12

We are somewhat calming down after the big event, yet how can we with this number? Rich is at this time away on a business trip and since he rarely goes away anymore I can’t sleep very well without him. I woke up at three and couldn’t get back to sleep until after 4. I even went upstairs to make sure David didn’t oversleep for his Fed Ex shift. I woke him from a sound sleep and he was so kind about it, “my alarm is literally set to go off in one minute…..” which to me was pretty amazing that I had that sense. Obviously he needs no alarm with this kind of mother. I went to bed and read my book and then even though I didn’t want to I made myself sleep some more and the dreams, I’ll tell you, were vivid and strange. For example, I almost bought a medium green very rare and large fiestaware platter but by the time I got off the bus it had been sold for 50 dollars, in my dream I said “I would have given you 100”, etc and so on. I woke up for real at about 7 and when I reached for my phone I knocked the remote off my bed and it went underneath it. In my sleep drunken state the only thing I knew was “I dropped something I need to pick it up” therefore I started my day squeezing under the bed on one side and then the other, pulling things out and getting dusty to the point that I asked myself “am I just still dreaming” but there….I finally found it. I have since accomplished my morning routine of bedtime coffee and YouTube (Crazy Lamp Lady).

Then I went out and fed all five cats their daily cans of fancy feast. Perfect attendance is rare for my little cat family as there are some concerning animosities among them.

I proceeded to then take all my bird feeders (full of feed and suet cakes) off the table and back out into the bushes by the living room window because some large animal has been knocking them down in the night. As Aunt Colleen says “it’s quite exciting” which was nice because all I had felt was “annoyed”. Wouldn’t it be so much better to face life’s little challenges as exciting rather than annoying?

Speaking of….my children have been annoying my aura… other words -I have also been annoying as much or more than they have been. So I bit the bullet and took the four of them out to the mall yesterday after school and by the time we had car rides, shopping and pizza (Ethan joined) and more shopping we had reunited as a nice ( it annoying) little family again. We got home and had two hours of congenial family time; Dave even made another bowl of his famous guacamole while I read magazines with a cat on my lap.

Well I gather you’re here, dear blog friend, for the wedding photos…….enjoy!

The table of flowers-all fresh and just gorgeous
My corsage that I switched to my other wrist eventually.
Our son the groom,
before the wedding.
My dad and Rich talking before the wedding.
My niece Abigail with my daughter Sarah Joy, waiting after the wedding for the bride and groom appear.

(No photos were taken by me during the ceremony)

My pretty mom and handsome dad
Here they come!!
The newly married.
their wedding cake was so elegant—and yummy
Their wedding party!
I am mom to all these precious souls.

More tomorrow!

Sending love to each and all.

It’s going to be a beautiful day.

Please say hello!!

brief updates & life is good

“Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are
something to do
something to love
and something to hope for.” Joseph Addison

Good morning my lovlies~ I have done the past couple of blog posts from my phone but today I am in front of the laptop so have freedom to tippety- tap away as fast as the words can flow from my fingertips…….what delight, to sit and express here, a few little happenings of my heart and life. It’s only 7:15 in the morning and what promise there is for a full and bright day! The weather has changed and Summer is now gently introducing Fall. Autumn, my favorite season when I feel most alive in not only energy, possibility, and inspiration, but nostalgia, contemplativeness, and a sort of “taking stock” of my innermost life, and it is good.

That word…..good, it’s such a Father-God word, isn’t it? I just love it so much that when He did the work of creating this world, he took the time to see and pronounce it GOOD. And I find myself trying more and more to do the same as I go about my household duties, those beautiful acts of daily life. Yesterday was vacuuming (and more), today is baking (and more), and I hope that when I complete the tasks I can remember to also take the time to look at what my hands have done, and take a moment or two of satisfaction from the work.

So, let’s see……updates……

Jacob and Brittnee are happy in an apartment not far away. We typically see them here at home with us on Sundays. They have taken on the role of “firstborn” together, and are such a comfort to me and their Dad, just knowing they are there. Both of them fun loving and responsible.

Ethan is engaged to Sierra now and they are busy preparing for their life together. He is still at home for about a month, after which he will be moving into an apartment. He’s working hard and counting down the days until the wedding (April, 2023) and we are so happy for them both. It’s fun to have “young love” in the house…..a couple just about to be married with nothing else really on their minds… it should be. They eat, drink, and survive on “wedding//newlywed preparations”.

Grace and Brogan are happy in an apartment way too far away. Like five hours. (wink*wink, I know five hours is not as far as they COULD be, but also they aren’t next door like they COULD be, so……..) we stay connected a lot through texting and phone calls, and try to see each other as much as we can. They recently invited an unwed and homeless mother CAT into their home to have her kittens and now have a total of six cats of various ages to enjoy. (if you want a kitten and will be in Scranton PA, let me know……..)

David got through a year of college and is now taking a year and working while living here at home. He just started work at Fed Ex and he will be amazing. His outlook and thoughts on life are so relatable to me and we share a deep bond. He is recovering from a serious stomach bug AND starting his new job at the same time……and not complaining, either. (no energy for it).

Caleb is now a Senior in High School, Caleb the one who was “Baby” when I first began blogging here. Caleb my little sweet tenderhearted gentle boy. Still the same in essence, and so much more as he matures and grows. He’s busy with football these days.

Seth is in his last year of middle school. Stlll as joyful in heart and energetic in body as ever. He has my heart in his hands, this boy-man of mine. We have such fun. He brings a playful spirit into our home on a constant basis. He also plays football and is QB and a kicker, playing offense and defense and guess what? I can’t sit still for nervousness while we watch his games, and I pray constantly. But don’t tell him that. 🙂

Sarah Joy -oh my goodness- is 12 and we are so proud of our youngest one, she’s in 7th grade this year. She’s my little friend, and always has a word of encouragement, and common sense dictates that she also can hold her own in this house where everyone is older than her. Also, she loves putting on a little make up and doing her nails. She’s getting so big!

I absolutely love KNOWING my children. Seeing them for who they are, knowing that their lives are all their own and that I have the amazing honor of sharing each day with them as long as I live. I take the things they say and do and keep them to remember and think about.

Rich and I celebrate 27 years of marriage soon….Septemeber 16….which is yet another reason why this time of year is special to me, and to him, as well. He is still working hard, but not as hard as when we were first married. With time comes a security and a blessing in understanding that the world can keep going at it’s fast pace even as we take some time to slow down and focus on what truly matters; our health, our ability and opportunity to “stop and smell the roses” and our relationships. It’s so satisfying to enjoy the unique passions and interests that God put in us, and important to make sure we aren’t too busy to do the things that make our “hearts sing”.

I will write more about myself soon, but the most exciting for me recently was opening my own ebay shop and starting to sell things that I collect around in my thrifting and goodwilling and antiquing adventures. I’ve made a few sales and find myself taking a moment to bless the recipient of the treasure I have chosen to offer in my “shop”, I just can’t help myself, my mother- heart wants to know that everyone is okay and if not, help in some small way even with just a little prayer over a box to a random stranger is enough. I enjoy everything about it, and it’s such fun to have a little bit of pocket money that I’ve earned all on my own (I’ve been a stay at home mom since day one of marriage), and thus life goes on…day by day…mile by mile…age to age.

Life is a struggle!!! and for me, the struggle is keeping myself aware and understanding that there is always beauty HERE and NOW, even when I am sad or grieving or tired or overwhelmed and ready to give up. God always brings me back around to the truth that I can trust Him, He leads us gently, He loves us without reservation, and He is generous beyond measure.

So let’s allow this ordinary day surround us like a warm hug.

“Surely the Lord is my help; God is the One who sustains me.” Ps. 54:4

PS, David just came home from work (he works nights) and asked me if I wanted to go to Chipoltle, to which I replied after laughing because it’s not even 8 in the morning yet, “NO, but do you want to go to the Woman’s Bible Study this morning with me?” He also said NO.

what can I say?

“All these earthly goods were medicine for what ailed me, evidence that the same God who had breathed the world into being was still breathing. There was so much life springing up all around me that the runoff alone was enough to revive me. When it did, I could not imagine why I had stayed away so long. Why did I seal myself off from all this freshness? On what grounds did I fast from the daily bread of birdsong and starlight?” -Barbara Brown Taylor

Am I sad? I’m always a little bit sad. Who isn’t in this messy beautiful world? But these are a few of the things I am finding joy in lately:

Therapy. Two weeks ago I shared with my therapist-healer a traumatic memory that even in sharing it two years or more after it happened brought my emotions to a ten. Last week we used tappers to go through the memory again, already it was, like magic, shifting. Already it was below a five on the emotional scale. Today it is hard to put a number on it. Anything below a five is so much of a relief it’s beyond even using a number. It’s using a hallelujah.

Books. This year 2022 I am reading more than ever. I have a red-covered notebook that Elisha gave to me for Christmas that I am carefully recording each title as I finish it. Some of the books are lackluster, but when I come across one that shines it makes my heart sing. Reading has always been good for the soul for me. I have quite a stack waiting for me and I look forward to them like I look forward to cookies to cool so I can eat one.

Family. Rich is my comfort, companion, love, and joy. He’s back to work in office now, and we both believe that even though Covid was heavy, it made our relationship better than ever. The children are doing well and keeping me challenged. I was thinking this morning about the simple words a friend shared with me the other day; “Don’t give up”. So often lately I have found myself impatient with myself as I mother my two youngest, forgetting that they deserve the attention and freshness that the older ones had from me. Instead of curling up with a book this afternoon I plan on investing in them, I know their hearts and I know the love we share can be rekindled and refreshed at any moment. We can go for walks, play a game, I can listen better to their stories that I often feel I have already heard a thousand times….but I haven’t. Not from them. Middle school life is new and exciting for them. Being 11 and 13 is amazing and wonderful for them. And for them, I won’t give up. Being intentional is half the battle. Poor things don’t know what’s coming. Lol

Nature. As always, a walk through the woods, or even something as simple as an open window letting in fresh air and birdsong lifts my spirits.

Cats. Art. Friendship. Food. Home. Music. Shopping at goodwill deserves its own separate post. Travel. Writing. The list grows even longer. Isn’t life grand?

But above all these things is love. 1 Corinthians 13

“moment by moment new mercies I see.”

Happy day my friends. Let me remind you and me both….we are greatly loved.

all sorts

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

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

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

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

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

We were walking home from the pool.

Home Sweet Home

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

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

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

I just love it here.

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

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

a new friend

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

a good book

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

We are all such good pals.

Faith Chapel on the Island

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

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

Ethan took this one.

Jacob took this one.

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


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

I’ll love you forever, Baby Girl”

Lunch at The Pantry over at the Jekyll Island Club.

Photography by Seth

my friend

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

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

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

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

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

Life is Good shirt for G

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

my heart!

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

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

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

This is my healing place. We all have them.

I think it’s brave

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

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

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

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

Lana Rafeala

misery and woe

ummmmmm…….. so thank you to those who have figured out and made the attempt to continue reading this humble blog of my life and thoughts.

I have been experiencing intense misery and woe but as I sit here I am filled with the desire to express it all with frankness and humor. If you can’t laugh about your misery and woe then it has its evil hooks in you and that’s just not a nice feeling ask me how I know this.

Gosh, life is hard sometimes!!!!! Isn’t it?

But then again, Jesus loves me this I know, and despite the misery and woe I find myself uplifted and laughing even after I stubbornly fold my arms in front of my chest, stick out my lower lip, and think, “I refuse and I’m simply NOT going to enjoy this day today.”

Saturday was one of those days! I simply failed to believe I would even smile. I had cried so much the afternoon and evening and night before that my eyes were practically swollen shut. I was not feeling pretty, or good, or worthwhile, or hopeful, or confident, or anything along those lines.

THE CHILDREN SAVED THE DAY. Why? Because Sethers had a baseball game. Therefore I had to get myself dressed and get my butt out of the house. Because baseball games are OUTSIDE, therefore the sun was shining upon me. (Try to be filled with misery and woe while sitting in sunshine, it’s hard to keep up.) ALSO, ALL MY CHILDREN (except David) went to the game to cheer on their little brother. (This sent not a little joy through the cracks of my heart.) Also, Seth hit a homerun!!!!! To be honest, it would have only been a triple but the ball was overthrown to third and he was able to get to home on that error. You should have seen his proud face when he came over about 10 minutes later. He silently approached with the look, “I’m coming because I just know my mom is going to want to tell me how awesome I am.” And he was right, I did. His Dad and I sat in our chairs, sat in the grass, sat on the bleachers (we get restless at these games) surrounded by our children plus our Brittnee and our Michael and had (dare I say) fun.

Grace kept bonding with tiny caterpillars.
Sarah played with new-found temporary friends (it’s what you do at your brother’s games)
RIch and Michael wrestled in the grass.
Jacob took his latest Steven King book and didn’t read it and then forgot it (but Sarah grabbed it for him)
Ethan, Caleb, and Jacob played catch.
We all got our first sunburns of the season to varying degrees. Brittnee’s knees especially.
The game seemed to drag on forever……but…..
Seth’s team won!

And then we all went out for pizza.

Here I am, in obvious misery and woe (and waiting for my coffee, also starving because I only had a yogurt for breakfast at 5:15am and it was 2 and I hadn’t had lunch.) Surrounded by the people I love.

Here I am wondering why my photo is being taken in such a state. And Ethan being Ethan, how I love him.
As I leaned across the table at her, I said, “I think what you’re asking me is “Can you play when you get home? “Yes” “Okay, then, you may”. Problem solved.
And then I laughed, what else could I do?
I forgot David wasn’t with us and I asked Michael to take a family photo of us outside the pizza place.
Being himself, he had to take one with himself in it.
….and then I said, “Brittnee, too!” I was so happy to get a whole entire family photo and we walked to the car while I looked at the photos and wondered why there were only six children surrounding us and then I realized, “Oh yeah, Dave is at a track meet!!” and my woe came back. Michael said “Settle down, it’s okay!” And I guess it was, but I miss David in these photos. By the way, he got another PR in hurdles.
I’m going to blog more about this, but here I am in the church downtown after a community concert to celebrate our towns 300th anniversary!!! Can you find me? I look rather pretty. (toward the left).
Rich took us girls out for ice cream afterwards and Sarah looked so picturesque that I asked him to take this photo. She’s wearing her sister’s boots and I think, “Pippi Longstocking” whenever I see her in them. (She wore them to school today)

Thankful for:
a healthy sense of humor even as I struggle
that toad I saw yesterday evening hopping purposefully toward my flower garden
the bookbag I’m carrying around everywhere I go that says “baby got books” on it and it’s indeed got books in it along with fine tip markers, a journal, Bible, and magazines. Gives me life.
my family and the things they do and say
rocking chairs on the porch
matcha tea lattes
my cats
and you, my friends

You are loved. Thank you for being here. Please pray for me as I will also pray for you today. Be encouraged, we have each other!!! and lots of love. We can do this! and the rewards of eternal life are unspeakable. Heaven’s not now……but it’s coming.

“How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in Him should ponder them.” Ps. 111:2

“If the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” John 8:36

“For the despondant, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15

you are my good days.


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


David taking a nap with Sherlock.


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


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


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


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


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


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




Grace and I went for a walk together on Monday.



Sarah being cute.


Grace in the morning with our beautiful Bagheera.


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


I discovered Caleb sleeping in my bed one afternoon.


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


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


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


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


Pretty Bags


Me, last night after a nice long long bath.


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


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


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



You are Loved.

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




week in photos

Good morning from my house to yours.  It’s all of 21 degrees here but we are warm and cozy indoors, daughter Sarah is sitting snuggled next to me in the recliner as I type.

Rich has been gone all week on a business trip but came home in the night (around 2am) and because it was such a late flight he is able to work from home today.  He’s in the other room now, working on his laptop.  Our town’s McDonald’s had a makeover recently so we are planning on taking the kids there for lunch to check it out.  Yes, the children are home today from school for a Teacher’s Conference Day.  And the best part of all is our dear Grace and Brittnee are coming home for their March break tonight!  We’ll have Grace home with us for a week, which will be nice because Rich has another trip to go on.  She and I can get into all kinds of mischief together while he is away, which will probably entail a trip to the greenhouse and Barnes and Noble, that’s as wild as we get.

I wanted to share some photos that I’ve been taking throughout the week, some highlights of our days together, me and the children.  Every day I am struck by the relationships I have with each one of them.  There are stressful moments of course, but the closeness and love we share outweighs the hard times by far.


On Monday we had a snow day from school.  David started a fire and for dinner Seth roasted himself a hot dog.


One night when I was tucking in the children I took photos of them for Grace because Seth was reading one of her favorite childhood books……..


And Sarah was reading Eragon with Grace’s cat, Sammie.  In Grace’s bed.  (the girls share a room now and when Grace is home Sarah sleeps in the trundle-bed right next to Grace).


Funny photo of Bagheera sneaking up on Sherlock.  He loves being stealthy and pouncing on Sherlock.  Sherlock always reacts with hisses and a punishing paw.

My current read is Unorthodox, by Deborah Feldman.

Caleb on the big drum.   He’s so great, I kept my eyes on him the whole time, I notice as the fifth child he lives comfortably, knowing that “no one is paying attention to him” (not true, but when you’re #5 out of seven you do get a little more freedom as mom and dad are focusing on the older ones and the younger ones) so he’s relaxed and fun during the performances.  He was chewing gum and I even saw him blow a big bubble!!!  As a “good first-born” child I would NEVER have been chewing gum during a concert!!!  He talked with the kids next to him, laughed at the 5th grade band’s charmingly rustic and off-beat number, helped one of other boys keep track of his beat and music, and so on.   I was in awe of him.


I had left David home with Sarah and when I got back I found him all dressed up in a suit jacket working on his homework at the table.  Why?  Because he “felt cool” (better) wearing it.  I think he felt business-like while writing his school paper.  David was sick over the weekend and missed school on Tuesday but is all better now.


Sarah had been wanting to make cookies and we finally did it.  Oh boy were they DELICIOUS.  She carefully looked through the Taste of Home baking cookbook (from Hannah) and chose the recipe she wanted to try.


They were impossible to stay away from.  She and I made them together and she learned how to separate an egg.  We put the completed cookies all on a vintage yellow fiesta round platter.


My sister Amanda and I had been texting that morning and we both have this same shirt so we decided to wear them that day.  So I thought of her all day long.

IMG_7935I always write the date next to a new recipe and this time I let Sarah do it.  We divided this recipe in half because I didn’t want to spend 17 hours in the kitchen rolling out cookie dough.

We took a cookie in to David but found him asleep in my bed.  I was so amused by him I took a video.  He had carefully put relaxing music on my laptop and had it playing, like a lullaby, right next to him as he slept like a baby in my bed.  The kids all covet my down comforter, in fact, Sarah’s birthday is in May and she’s already requested one for her 9th birthday along with a hoverboard.  So funny.

Seth took a shower and when he was up there he got annoyed that Sarah’s horses were all over the floor so he took them out and cleaned up the shower.  He was so proud he would NOT stop talking about it and even went up to take pictures.  That evening I took him to Rite Aid so he could buy himself a new toothbrush (he wanted “one of his own”, which sort of confused me as there are about 25 toothbrushes around but we do seem to share everything in this family) some men’s body wash, and some men’s shampoo.  I have a little man!!  So charming to me.  I can’t complain about a boy who wants to be clean!


Still talking about the upstairs shower, he also thought about taking Sammie to school in his backpack.


“Just as I am, without one plea.”  And tired.

I did have fun yesterday with a friend, the two of us went to the mall together and walked over 2 miles and then shopped at Target.  We got Starbucks as we left and came back to my house where we worked on a puzzle and she read to me!!!!  It was relaxing and nice.


After she left, and I ran to the school to get Caleb, Seth and I finished the puzzle together. We laughed at Walter because he couldn’t fit in the box.


This puzzle is special because Joanna and her family put it together and then she gifted it to me to do.  So I thought of her the whole time we worked on it.  I love the birds.  It was a fun one to do.  Maybe now I’ll pass it along to Cassandra, or my Mom, or Amanda!


This was good and easy!!  I made it for dinner yesterday.


It’s a big big bowl of pasta goodness.  The kids all liked it, and so did I.


Last but not least, last night Caleb and I watched Spiderman: Homecoming together.  It was the most relaxed I’ve felt all week and I even slept for a little while, so cozy with my son and cat keeping me warm.

Happy Friday!!!




“time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life”


It’s a peaceful morning inside and out.  The sky is overcast and a fine, almost imperceptible mist of glittery snow is falling.  Wild birds are busy helping themselves to the feeder on the porch and a cat inside is watching them through the window.  The dog is snoring and twitching next to me.  I’m sitting in the corner of the couch with my laptop, in my pajamas and red robe, warm and cozy under a vintage quilt.  The TV is on for company, but muted.

This week has been week of lots of children and lots of sickness.  I’ve been understandably distracted and haven’t been able to blog much, but my camera has still been busy as I all-the-time see things that I want to remember.  My darlings, my life, my home, my heart.


I had Sarah on my lap one morning and it felt so good to hold her.  She’s a big girl now, a joy and a blessing to me and everyone else in the family, although her brothers wouldn’t agree at first.


It was son Seth that was sick the longest.  Last Thursday the school nurse called me to come and get him.  He explained to me that his “legs felt wobbly and he felt tired”.  I’m afraid to say that sometimes my perfect children pretend to be sick in order to be home with their mother, so I didn’t wholeheartedly believe him until we came home and he went to bed and fell sound asleep.  Then I believed.  Seth doesn’t sleep during the day unless he’s sick.

He ended up being sick for six days with a fever.  It wasn’t his stomach although he didn’t have much of an appetite and lost a few pounds.  His main complaint was his head and he woke up every night with feverish nightmares.  Rich was away Saturday night and Seth came to my room so many times that I finally said “Get in bed with me” and when he woke up for real that morning he said, “How did I get here?”

We survived with the help of Jesus, cats, the couch, warm blankets, LOTS of snuggles, Tylenol, water bottles, ginger ale, and Dude Perfect.

He missed wrestling in States, which was disappointing as I’m sure he would have done very well.

Caleb was also sick and also missed States, but he wasn’t as sick and it didn’t him as long to recover.  He missed a couple of days of school and still has a cough, though, while Seth didn’t get any respiratory symptoms.





He had his arms around me.  How could I ever be sad or lonely with such love in my life?

Even with sickies in the house, everyone has to eat, so I did get a few photos from the kitchen this week as we had Michael here for a few days, and Tommy, a friend from school, who has been staying with us while his mom was in the hospital after back surgery.   Tommy fit right into our family effortlessly and it’s been a joy to have him here and seeing him and the kids get along so well.

ALSO Jacob and Ethan have been home all week from college!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s been wonderful cooking for 10 again.  LOL  But see the photo with Michael?  He made dinner one night and it was great.  Every noodle was consumed by a hungry family.  On another night I roasted three pork tenderloins, made a big pan of homemade scallopped potatoes, and a pot of mixed veggies.  Last night was a big pot of chili and the night before was chicken and rice.  We had homemade brownies with ice cream for dessert.  Lots of chocolate milk in the fridge and egg sandwiches for snacks.


A favorite moment of the week was on Wednesday when Seth finally made it back to school (in tears) and I sat on the couch with Ethan in a silent room.  No TV, no talking, just sitting together in perfect peace with the dog and a cat and blankets.


I got up once to make us hot chocolate.  (it’s been so cold outside!)

Wonderful Hot Chocolate

2 T. sugar
1/3 cup hot water
1/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp vanilla (just realized I forgot to put it in!)
Mix cocoa, sugar, and water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir constantly until mixture boils.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes.  Stir in milk until warm but do not boil.  Remove from heat and add vanilla unless you forget like I did which is fine you won’t miss it.

Give a big mug to your son and keep one for yourself and all your exhaustion (from being a mom-nurse) will wash away.


Their little acts of service melt my heart!!!


I was frying bacon when I got a hug from behind!!  From a small boy!



AND THEN JACOB GOT SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!  He came down the stomach bug and was sick for a few days, sleeping nonstop.  I was thankful to have him home so I could take care of him.  He’s all better now, thankfully.


busy kitchen, full tummies, full hearts.

They were talking about school and their teachers and laughing.  I sat across the room and listened with a smile.


Sarah Joy in the morning.  First she came, then the dog, then the cat.


CAT NIP!!!!!





Rich called me a cat lady and I was fine with that.  🙂


A rare photo of Caleb!!  (he doesn’t like me taking his photo, so I always have to ask and get approval)


Yesterday…….oh how wonderful…..finally got out of the house on a bright sunny day.  The boys and I went to Trader Joes and the mall.  Ethan got some new Converse sneakers and Jacob got a Stephen King book.  We sat for a while drinking our Starbucks.  I looked at magazines while they went on their phones.  Now and then they would show each other things and laugh (which I loved).

My Ethan Gregory.


I turned around quick to snap a completely unstaged photo, my favorite kinds.  It was wonderful to spend time with my two oldest children who are now 22 and almost-21 (in five days).



I keep all my stuff out on the little table that I have in the livingroom and I can’t tell you how relaxing it is to sit down and add a few quotes or do some gluing of photos while the children are busy around me or watching a movie.  I have a stack of these “commonplace books” now, with the intention of giving them to my kids and grandkids someday, if they want them.



Laura Ingalls page





On the left is wrapping paper from the birthday gifts Joanna gave me, along with printed photos, and on the right is ribbon and the homemade envelope and card my Mom gave me on my birthday.  I treasure everything.


“….a work of beauty and grace upon the heart of the giver……”



….ordinary life….



she was beautiful.

Well, that gets us all caught up here in blog-land.  Today is Friday and I hope that your weekend is full of everything that fills your soul.

You are loved.