searching for sugar


I was highly amused the other day when I came into the kitchen and saw Seth start from one end of the counter and inch his way to the other end of it, carefully exploring and rummaging around in each cupboard.  “What are you looking for?” I asked.  “I don’t know,” he said, and kept searching for it.  So I stood and waited to see if he would find it and he did.  He found a box of Christmas Godiva chocolates that I had hid from the children and then promptly forgot about, and he quickly ate one.  Then, a few doors down, he found in the last cupboard an almost empty bag of Luden’s Wild Cherry throat drops and ate one of those, too.  He jumped off the counter and went on his merry way.  I understood.  He needed a sugar fix.

the fifth son


No, it is not his birthday.

Seth will be not be 9 for two more months.

He is lively, bright, active, your- typical- boy -but -maybe- just a notch or two- more hyper.  He is a lot like my brother Nathan was at that age, always moving, always using the furniture as gym equipment.

By the way, let me remind you that he had three staples in his scalp and fractured his collarbone on Halloween?  He’s all better.  We had the trainer at the HS school check him out this weekend and he said he was good to go.  So he had his first wrestling practice last night.  On the way there he confided, “I feel nervous.”  “I think you’re excited,” I answered.  “Yes,” he agreed.

Last week after he got back home from school he put a paper on the counter and came over to me and said in a hesitant voice, “Mom, I have a note from school.”  “Oh no,” I thought.  “What is it, Seth?  Did you get in trouble?”  “Just read it, Mom,” he said sadly.  So I rushed over to the paper, picked it up, and learned that Seth had been awarded the Hall of Fame for good behavior and work in his classes.  So apparently my son is also a good actor because he had me fooled at first.

I squealed and hugged him and gave him a big ol’ kiss on the cheek.  He bounded away, “Mama’s proud of me.” he just knew it.


He got dressed all nice for school.  I had bought him a nice Jcrew sweater from a consignment shop…..I’m dying to find out if it’s still on him for the assembly, which is TODAY.  IN 45 MINUTES!  You see the peek of orange underneath, I bet he’ll be wearing the orange t-shirt for his award.  ?????  I wonder????  It’s happened before with my other sons.  Seth is number 5 so he has to prove to me that I DON’T KNOW ALL THE TRICKS YET!  He’s an original, just like number one (Jacob) number two (Ethan) number three (David) and number four (Caleb).  We are surrounded by brothers.

I’ll let you know if he’s still wearing the sweater.

I noticed, too, that he PUT A NECKLACE ON.  Be still my heart.


This was his favorite photo.

Instead of bouncing off the walls of the house, chattering and laughing and being silly as he waited for the bus, he was having his photo taken on the driveway!


No, not because it is his birthday.

But because……..he is getting awarded for being a good student today at school!


“No more pictures, mom!”

We turned to go into the house and saw………


Miss Sarah!  Wearing the same pants she had worn to school the day before.  And needing her hair fixed.  “Oh yes, I have things to do,” I cried.  And sent her back upstairs to “put different pants on!”  Goodness.  Find your socks and shoes and grab the hairbrush.


It’s the 6th day of December.

All is well.


boys on stilts

I smashed the screen of my iPhone last night when Rich and I were walking.  I had whipped it out from my back pocket to check my steps for the day and it kept flying right out of my hand, landing face down on the road.  It still works, but after a day of looking at it covered in hairline fractures it is a relief to be in front of my computer screen.  The computer screen is so perfectly NOT broken!

Grace and I went to breakfast this morning after a morning of cleaning the house.  Jacob stayed home and watched the rest of the kids.  Grace and I took our books, of course.  She is reading Mark Twain and I’m reading a biography of Jane Fonda of all things.  (I recently read an autobiography by Doris Day, too)  I found a new podcast to listen to that appeals to my “memoir” side, the side of me that LOVES learning about other people’s lives no matter how they lived it, which compelled me to pick up Fonda’s book at the library yesterday.  The podcast is called “You must remember This” and it’s about first century Hollywood.  Like most podcasts, not every episode is worth listening to but the few I have heard gave me a lot to think about in regards to the entertainment culture of that time period.  There is nothing new under the sun!

One generation goes its way, the next one arrives,
but nothing changes—it’s business as usual for old
planet earth.  Ecclesiastes 1:9

So anyways, we read and ate and then went to Goodwill where she found me a fiesta jumbo mug in cobalt for one dollar.  I passed right by it!  We shared a hug in the aisles of Goodwill.  She found a cute little dress and I bought a few books, too.  Then we went to the grocery store to get things for spaghetti because last night Rich came home and was so happy to step through the door into the house……to the smell of spaghetti.  His eyes lit right up and he smiled big…….only it was roast pork and corn on the cob.  So I promised him spaghetti today.

When we got home I put everything in the crock pot for a good sauce; homemade meatballs and chunks of sausage that David cut up for me, a big chopped onion, spices, and a big can of tomatoes.

Grace had her friends Brittany and Tessa over (who also happen to be Jacob’s girlfriend and Ethan’s girlfriend) to make homemade ice cream and I went for a power walk and was almost bitten by a dog.  I was so scared.  The owner was a very large man on his riding lawn mower who couldn’t be bothered to get off it and his dog (pit bull?) was not on his leash.  The dog was following the man around as he mowed and then when he saw me, he ran full force at me, barking in a very scary way and came so close, I could feel it’s breath and mouth touch me as I clutched myself and stood very still…..I eventually got away while the large man simply yelled at his dog.  The dog ran down the road at me a second time, barking.  I didn’t know what to do.  Should I call animal control and complain?  The dog did everything but actually BITE me.  When I had to turn around and walk back, I went into the woods to get past his house because I was so nervous.  How ridiculous to have to do that!

Safely home now, and blogging from the chair in my bedroom.  The house is completely clean; all beds made, bathrooms spotless, because the two maids came today (every Friday), dinner in the crock pot, so it feels extra wonderful to be able to relax.  David is watching soccer videos on Youtube and the girls are upstairs now, visiting.

I’m posting photos today that I took last night when Caleb came in to say, “Mom come and see this”.  I was tired so I said, as I got up off the couch, “This better be good.”

He was on stilts!  Grace got them from Mrs. D at the HS when she helped her clean out the Drama Props Closet.

Thank you Mrs. D!

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It was worth it!

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David had to try.  (you can see a small part of Caleb,too)

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And there’s Sarah in her nightie ready for bed.


Big sis and big bro looking on……..


Seth wearing his watch that he got in his Subway kids meal.

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Summertime + end of the day playtime outside = the BEST.

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Ethan’s turn!

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Parker is smiling!  with his girl.

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Sarah wanted to try getting on the stilts but I said “go put something on under your nightie first.” so she did, happily.


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THIS beautiful sunset sky is the reason why everything was pink last night.


Oh, how sweet the light of day,
And how wonderful to live in the sunshine!
Even if you live a long time, don’t take a single day for granted.
Take delight in each light-filled hour…….. Ecclesiastes 11:7 MSG



“Mom, you’re the best mom in the world.” says Caleb

“I would have to agree with you,” I tease with a hug.

“You really are the best Mom,” says Seth.

“If you were the worse Mom ever, I would be crying right now.” he further explains.



Reason number one (why I haven’t been blogging):


Wrestling is coming to a close for the season which means all the meets are even more important than usual.  On Friday I drove to the HS meet to watch my husband’s team.

To watch my husband.

The gym was absolutely packed to the gills with people.  Seth, Sarah, and Caleb ran off to the cafeteria to play with other random children and to say hi to the goat which one of the coaches brings to the all meets in a carrier.  Seth borrowed my phone to take a video of the goat.  I sat by Grace and Angelina and chatted with my wrestling mom friends.  All our chats have to be done with yelling voices, so we can hear each other over the din.


Cody was wrestling in this photo.  We had already been in the gym for several hours.  He was the only one on the team to make states, which will be held this weekend.  Rich and Jacob are in the far corner, coaching him.


After Cody had wrestled I decided to head out and go home.  It was after 8 and the drive was 40 minutes.  The kids were getting tired.  And I was getting tired.

We walked out the door and behind the school through the snow to get to my car, which I had parked far away because there was no more room in the main lot.

It was magical to be outside at night with only the lights of the school shining for us.


(not sure what seth is doing, eating snow?)


She thought it was super stylish to wear one of her black socks pulled up on the outside of her pants.


REASON NUMBER 2:  The Stomach Bug

The strange thing is, by the time we got home she was complaining that she felt sick.  I tucked them all into bed and I went promptly to sleep.  The next morning Rich told me, “Sarah’s sick.  She threw up all over her bed and floor.  I gave her a bath last night at 11.”

Grace had helped him clean up the mess and inside I was singing praises that I missed out on the vomit clean up for once in my life.

REASON NUMBER THREE:  Trip to Rhode Island


On Sunday we went to watch the last meet of Ethan’s college season.  He wrestled twice.  The first time was against the number one guy and he was pinned within the first minute of the match.  The second time was a loss by only 2 points.  11-8.  He has improved amazingly over the last few months.  We stayed to watch the whole entire meet so we could bring him home with us afterwards.

REASON number 4:  bird watching, house cleaning, cooking, too much distraction all around me, too tired, writers block, not taking pictures as I usually do and a general feeling of “who cares” anyway.


But all good things.  How thankful I am to be able to be home with the children.  They had Monday and Tuesday off from school for Presidents’ day and they were free and happy.  We still have snow on the ground but the air was mild and sweet so they spent lots of time outside.


sweatshirts, boots, hats, and SHORTS = New England in the early spring.



At the end of the day there was an epic sword fight.

And this morning?  They are back to school, all but David, who now has the stomach bug.

Ethan is away for a day of skiing with his girlfriend and her family.


Put your hope in the Lord, travel steadily along his path.  Psalm 37

Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.  Psalm 37

The winds of grace blow all the time.  All we need to do is set our sails.  Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it.  CS Lewis

Trust in the Lord and do good.  Psalm 37


dreaming of…..

cleaning and decorating the porch for springtime


visiting with Joanna this weekend

going home to help make maple syrup

orchids about to bloom

a slow cooked chicken for dinner tonight, and mashed potatoes


happy wednesday, friends
i love you ❤





the smell of a toasting lego head

The girls had toast this morning and I was in the kitchen eating a bowl of cereal when I smelled a smell….and yes indeedy when a mom smells a strange smell she becomes very much like a bloodhound sniffing the air and moving her nose up and down and all around the room.  I decided it was Rich’s video recorder which he had just plugged in using a kitchen outlet.  The smell of a battery vigorously charging?  A questionable but satisfying deduction, in my opinion.

Eventually, Jacob and Caleb put bread in the toaster.

By this time I had gotten myself snuggled up on the couch in order to finish my book, I’m at the very end when things are getting deliciously riveting.  Ah, Saturday mornings.

But then.

“Mom, there’s a lego head in the toaster.” Jacob informed me.


Dang.  A bloodhound would have gotten this right.

I had just read an article about single use plastics and how they should be avoided at all cost, the most fearful reasons of all being, “leaches toxins into food and drink” and “causes hormone disruption and cancers.”

Not sure if a lego would be considered a single use plastic but…….

“Get it out before it leaches toxins into your toast!”

“Mom it’s too far down to leach toxins into my toast.”

“Let me take a picture!!!!”

“Was that the smell I smelled?”

Caleb sniffed around obligingly.


“I mean, yes!  Ewwwwww!!”

“How on earth did a lego head get into the toaster is what I want to know.”

“It’s melting.  It’s burning.”

“Why do you want a picture?”

“Because it’s just one more example of life with boys that’s why.”


The boys now possess a one of a kind plastic head.


Generic smile lego guy has a new look.


Back to my book until the next random interruption occurs.  Stay tuned!

a boy named seth


Last night after the High School wrestling meet, there was a special youth exhibition.  Seth was one of the boys who got to wrestle.  He wrestled a boy who was bigger and better than he was (although, actually, Seth would disagree with me on both counts) and was soundly beaten.  He was also dropped on his head.  The ref stopped the match while Seth recovered flat on the mat, Rich and the coaches by his side, and me on the bleachers with an icy stomach and worried sisters by my side.  He got up and finished the match, getting pinned 2 seconds before the buzzer blew to end the match (which he would have lost by 2 points).

It was very disappointing and sad for Rich and me but only because we are his parents.  The team did awesome and won the meet.  All the boys did so well and we were extremely proud of them.

Seth has only lost two matches this season out of about 14 (I lost count).  He is very good and enjoys the sport.  When we got home, Rich was concerned about a concussion and slept four inches away from Seth on the couch all night long.  I was concerned about my precious sons wrestling in general but Rich said that life is risky and they were just as apt to get head injuries on the playground or climbing trees or wrestling each other when I’m not looking.

Rich decided to have Seth stay home from school today so he could rest and be quiet.

This has worked out nicely for Seth, because





Seth turns 8 years old today.

He is currently sound asleep on my bed after a whole morning of “quiet”.

But this morning after his bath, I took these portraits of him.


Remember the time when your legs were so short you couldn’t bend your knees over the edge of Mom’s old rocking chair?

Remember that baby face you used to cover in kisses that you can still see glimpses of?


Remember that birthday when you were turning eight and you asked your mom to bake you a chocolate cake with vanilla cream filling and you licked the beater?


Remember the card that your sister made you and she wrote “You’re the best brother ever in the world?” and when you read it you said, “I said that to Ethan once.”


And how on your birthday you think you need to go outside and look for your shadow?


Remember how I love you?

ode to a milestone


twenty pacifiers

twenty matchbox cars

twenty laps around the house

twenty times watching Busy Town

twenty naps resisted

twenty days of Kindergarten

twenty little green army guys

twenty light sabers

twenty lego sets built

twenty fish in the pond

twenty walks with the dog

twenty books read

twenty trips to the orthodontist

twenty pizzas eaten

twenty pictures drawn (with sharpies)

twenty albums bought for your ipod

twenty acts of kindness

twenty sweet kisses

twenty days of your first job

twenty songs sung


and only one you.

Happy 20th birthday, Jacob!

“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

*happy birthday to my son*


Fourteen years ago I was holding my healthy newborn baby David in my arms and now look at him!  He wants to be taken places like Home Depot.  So that’s what we did…..armed with a list of things he needed, the two of us did some shopping.


He is endeavoring to make a “Mini Metal Foundry”.  His Uncle Dave already mailed him the first item on the list, a “clay graphite crucible”, just big enough to fit a soda can.  (He’s been collecting them and has a whole bin ready to melt.)

He says once his operation is set up his “crafting abilities will increase by 30 percent.”

(I’ve been laughing about that one for days)

What are you going to make with the melted metal, I ask.

“Well, I could make metal signs,” he explains…….”and other stuff.”

I felt anxious in the Home Depot with the list.  I felt like a fish out of water.  I don’t know where anything is.  David was kind of amused.  However, we were able to find everything we needed except for the five quart big mouthed bucket.  Thank you to my husband for answering a few questions (via texting) we had about the drill.



Isn’t he a nice boy?


Happy Birthday, Dave!

We headed to Panera for lunch and guess who met us there?


Big brother Jake.  🙂  He was able to drive over after his class at college.

These two have a great relationship.  David does as much stuff with Jacob as he possibly can.  If Jacob is going someplace and asks if anyone wants to go along, David will always say yes.  I’ve noticed that David has a lot of love and adoration for his three older siblings, but nothing but minimal toleration bordering on annoyance for his three younger ones.  Interesting.


Just to show you that he is indeed taller than his Mom.  (Panera was in the mall)

He thanked me in the car for his nice birthday things.


He took a selfie wearing his new hat and shirt.


He couldn’t wait to get to work on his project.  He is currently outside on the patio mixing up plaster of paris, wearing a dust mask and no shirt.  Every once in a while I can hear him singing to himself as he works.  He knows what he likes and he does it.  He keeps himself busy learning and doing.  06111d7d5720dfdc2c4ff29368131612


a skunk tale


(9 years ago)

Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of God
no matter what the conflict.

ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, home again.  And I worked like a machine yesterday getting this house on the pathway to order and cleanliness so I’m going luxuriate in a morning of blogging (a ridiculous word of which my definition would be: play with pictures, put my thoughts in order, type, enjoy the sound of the keys clacking whilst three cats sleep on the bed at my feet and the cool morning sun shines through the curtains).


My children have beautiful souls.


I took these photos on Thursday, right before we left to take Ethan to college (three hours away).  Jacob wasn’t able to go with us and had to say goodbye to his faithful sidekick of eighteen years.  They are brothers in every sense of the word.


And look who was at his boys’ feet.  Another faithful friend.

Speaking of which, when we were gone the dog Parker fulfilled a lifelong dream; he killed an animal.  We all know this was a dream of his because he has had to make do by busily “killing” the children’s stuffed animals all these years.

This summer, not only have I had to spend time with the smells of six boys, but also a stinkier than normal skunk.  This skunk sprayed Parker about a month ago and Parker has vowed revenge ever since.

Well, the skunk would periodically wake us all up out of a sound sleep in the very early morning hours.  The smell, like the gray of the morning, was everywhere and very depressing.  We cursed the skunk.  Little did we know, Parker had a secret plan (secret, only because he cannot talk).  If he could talk he would say, “No worries, family, I have a plan.”

And it came to pass, while Rich and I were away with five of our children and crying over leaving a sixth at school, that we were notified by the seventh that “Parker destroyed the skunk.”

We were elated and I was determined to bring our good dog home a treat.


Even though three healthy and strong young men (Jacob, Michael P. and Ethan S.) knew of this “destroyed” skunk, they all decided to IGNORE it and LEAVE it to fester right by my house…..and as a result, as we pulled into the driveway Sunday evening, our happiness to be home again was shattered as the smell of skunk PLUS rot filled our beings.

How to make a man rage: put him in charge of cleaning up old destroyed skunks.

Rich doesn’t yell at me very often but he did on Sunday night.  I was in the garden picking all the ripe tomatoes while he took care of the skunk by making his way to our trashcan with it in a shovel.  “Don’t put that in the garbage!” I said.  No response.  “Don’t put it in the garbage!”  Fast walking toward garbage can.  I hold my breath.  What will he do with it???  He puts it in the garbage.  “Rich!  Don’t put it in the garbage!”

WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO WITH IT THEN????? He yelled, ferociously.

“You have to bury it in the woods!!  That trash can will never be the same again if you leave it in there for two days!!!”

So he pushed the can over with all his might (to remove the skunk?) and did what I told him to do.

We didn’t exchange words for the rest of the evening.


My point being…….the entire house was nasty.  The smell of skunk had permeated everything.  The only thing to do was clean, clean, clean.  I had to get rid of the smell.

So, on Monday, not only did I take Caleb to the dentist and go grocery shopping, I also:

hosed down the walkway outside, twice.
washed all the bedding in my room (the window had been open).
washed the couch off with leather cleaner wipes.
Grace washed the stinking dog.
We spent the entire day putting him outside.
He spent the entire day finding a way back inside.
I took all my sewing stuff out of my room and packed it away (which had nothing to do with the skunk…but the smell drove me to do things I hadn’t planned on doing, I was out of my mind).
I hired maids to come on Friday to clean and encouraged Jacob to contribute to the cost.
I made the children clean their rooms with threats.
I put clean sheets and bedding on Ethan’s bed.
I did 1,000 loads of laundry.
I spent hours in the kitchen, making tomato sauce, and a nice dinner (good smells to replace the bad one)
Grace cleaned the bathroom with Pine-Sol “Something smells like A1 sauce” said a small child.  (I rejoiced! He didn’t say skunk!)
Every single garbage can was emptied from every room.
We opened every window and turned on every fan for the entire day.

By the end of yesterday I was tired to the bone.  Rich and I had made up via texting and we went on a date to Rita’s while Seth and Caleb were at football practice.

All in all, the skunk situation did wonders in channelling my busy mind into thinking of other things besides the fact that my family seems to be shrinking and I made enough meatloaf to feed a small army when I only had 6 mouths to feed (three of which don’t even like meatloaf).

I am reluctantly thankful for the skunk.


Grace is now a senior in High School so here we go again with the heart pulling and tugging.  I’m not complaining, mind you.  It’s just….so true…that life goes by fast, there is no stopping the merry-go-round.  Sometimes it makes one nauseous.  But most of the time it’s fun.

She left yesterday afternoon to go with her boyfriend’s family to drop him off at basic training.  He is going into the Coast Guard.  She looked so cute as she waited that I did a mini photo-shoot with her on the porch.



I love you, Grace!

And I love all my friends who visit me here.
Happy Tuesday!

Yesterday is ashes, tomorrow wood. Only today does the fire
burn brightly. Live Today!
– Old Eskimo Proverb


blues (a little)


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

oh, feelings!

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

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

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

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

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

But I miss him.

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

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

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





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



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


He’s so happy with Tessa!


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







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



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


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

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

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

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