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. ūüôā

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.

“Kahlua

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

with rich

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

a little husband and wife story

On Friday night I started falling asleep before our tv program was over so I gave up and went to bed. ¬†A few hours later I woke up to complete stillness in the room and thought, “Wow, Rich never came to bed, he must have fallen asleep on the couch!” ¬†Nothing gets by me even in the middle of the night……I don’t even need lights to get to the bathroom at night. ¬†Thus I got up and blindly walked around the bed to the bathroom and then when I was done, to save myself some steps, I started crawling over Rich’s side of the bed to get back to my side. ¬†To my shock and horror, I landed right on top of my husband who was flat on his back, peacefully asleep. ¬†He woke up startled, grunted, and reached out his hands to grab my arms and help me over which I thought was strange but I quickly backed up while apologizing and went back the way I came, which was around the bed and not over the bed. ¬†I crawled under the covers meekly on my side and held my breath. ¬†Thankfully he fell right back to sleep and so did I. ¬†By the next morning I was laughing and laughing. ¬†I had never jumped on top of my husband while he was sleeping before. ¬†Although I secretly knew he wasn’t really trying to be chivalrous and gentlemanly about helping me get over him, it made for a good story. ¬†I also wanted to see if he would react to my altering reality slightly. ¬†After hearing me tell the tale to the children multiple times that morning he finally spoke up and teased, ¬† “You can go right ahead and keep telling yourself that I was trying to help you but I was really trying to protect myself, I was in a very vulnerable position.”

And that’s the truth.

 

christmas time happenings

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“I don’t have any good photos to blog with,” I thought.

“Well you do have some on your phone,” I replied.

“They aren’t that great of quality though,” I continued.

“But they are priceless and of great value, since they capture the moments authentically,” I said wisely.

“Oh fine,” I sighed.

And then got all emotional looking at them because there were over twenty photos, twenty moments during which we were living life and I grabbed the nearest camera, my phone, to record something quickly and easily. ¬† I honestly LOVE this stage of life. ¬†My youngest is 7 and without any toddlers daily life is much calmer, however with seven children it is still busy enough to never be boring and to always have that feeling of “what’s next” — you really can’t prepare, there are surprises every day and lots of laughter.

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Handsome son Dave, who was dressed in his High School wrestling clothes for the first time in his career. ¬†And, by the way, this door used to be a curtain hiding our laundry area, but the laundry room has been moved downstairs and now this is a big spacious closet just off the kitchen. ¬†I’ll take photos eventually because I really like how it turned out.

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Sarah Joy arriving home from school. ¬†“Christmas Porch” with a wreath, and a snowman flag. ¬†She made me and her dad an ornament made out of a glue/cinnamon dough that smells so good.

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LOOKING FOR THE PICKLE IN THE TREE

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I gave him the present; a chocolate fish and a card that I had prepared for the Amazing Pickle Finder.

“Keep looking for hidden treasures your whole life and you will be amazed at what you will see and discover.”

“I am really good at finding things,” he agreed. ¬†(debatable, I thought)

Sarah was holding back the tears because she didn’t find it.

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SHOPPING WITH MY SISTER

We had SUCH a good time. ¬†We got manicures ; my nails are so pretty now, a deep red with red sparkles similar to Dorothy’s shoes on the Wizard of Oz.

We talked and talked and laughed and just felt so comfortable together; “This is good for my soul,” she mentioned.

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We had bison burgers and freshly cut french fries for lunch.  I indulged in a diet coke.

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There was a giant Christmas tree at the outdoor shopping center.  We did a little shopping and I bought Caleb, Seth, and Sarah some nice warm mittens/gloves for outdoor play at LLBean and they liked them so much they literally spent HOURS until dark outside everyday until our snow melted a couple days ago.  Wise purchase even though the line was long.  With a sister/friend the lines go fast.  More time to talk!

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My dear Hannah sent me and my family a Christmas box. ¬†She lives in Alaska and has visited me 3 times and I haven’t visited her yet.

So guess what I asked Rich to give me for Christmas?!

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We spend time together like this every chance we get. ¬†In fact, he’s next to me as I type and he’s rather insulted because a laptop is on my lap and not him.

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COLLEGE SON ETHAN IS HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  As of two days ago!

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AND COLLEGE SON JACOB my FIRSTBORN is here as well, the person I gave birth to 21 years ago at just this time of year. ¬†CHRISTMAS and JACOB’s BIRTHDAY are all wrapped up in my heart during this season.

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Uncle Dave always sends cards for the children under 18. ¬†The rest of us get a family card. ¬†So now there are “only four” in the tree waiting for Christmas morning even though they keep asking me if they can open them NOW.

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WRESTLING MEET on Wednesday, two days ago.  David was .5 over so there was a little bit of unwanted stress in making certain he made weight and then come to find out he had no one to wrestle in that weight class.  (he did make weight, however)

But eventually they did exhibition matches (which don’t count in the team scores) and Rich bumped him up to give him experience. ¬†I could see Dave giving a little shake of his head “no” but Rich didn’t give him a second glance and got him right on the mat with someone who weighed 5 pounds more than him…..and Dave won.

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He won right in front of his big brothers who also wrestle for college.

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Right in front of his big brothers AND their girlfriends.

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AFTER THE MEET it was time to play. ¬†Ethan wrestled with his little brothers but what really gives me joy in this photo is Bruce the man on the left just walking out of the camera frame with a smile on his face. ¬†He’s one of the custodians of the school and is ALWAYS so quietly kind and friendly. ¬†We notice he turns a bucket over and sits on the side of the gym during meets, we think he must like wrestling.

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^^ Jacob and Seth on the left and Ethan pinning Caleb on the mat.  And it took me a long time to get that sentence out right.  (names LOL)

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Seth’s turn to wrestle with E. ¬†It was such a fun night. ¬†We were only missing Grace because she was at work.

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We are forever trying to hug Dave and he is always this reluctant, but we know he secretly enjoys it. ¬†Tessa is a good sport. ¬†Such a dear girl who, along with her sister, has grown up with my own children (they live nearby) and is in love with Ethan. ‚̧ ¬†She’s a senior this year, while David is a freshman so she sees him now and then and tries to get hugs. ¬†You can tell (sort of) that he’s warming up to her. ¬†(no, his arm never got higher than it is in the photo).

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HERE SHE IS!  She got back on Tuesday (thank you to Michael who went to get her from college).  Yesterday she and I went shopping with Ethan and we took this photo as we were waiting for him to finish up his hair cut.

(I prefer myself with bangs but when I am too lazy to deal with them I pin them back).

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When Seth got home from school yesterday he had a sore by his mouth which immediately freaked me out (internally, I didn’t show it to him) because it wasn’t there when he left in the morning. ¬†He complained that he thought his jaw was broken and his cheek hurt. ¬†But he pointed to the sore spot by his lip as the place where it hurt. ¬†(I don’t think he knew what “a jaw” really was) I was thinking “Oh my goodness my child caught a contagious skin rash during wrestling” and took him to the docs who told me it was basically NOTHING. ¬†I mean, it was infected slightly (like a pimple actually but he’s too young for them just yet). ¬†She gave us a prescription for an antibiotic cream but Rich didn’t get to the pharmacy in time so we just rubbed neosporin on it and this morning it looked much better. ¬†I’m still picking up the prescription though, don’t worry Mom. ¬†I’m sure it will come in handy. ¬†Seth has had chapped lips so the Doc thinks he was touching his face with dirty hands. ¬†(8 year old boys are generally dirty) I do tell him to wash but when he’s at school who knows. . . . . .

The whole experience ended up giving us a nice time together. ¬†His appointment was at 6:10. ¬†¬†WHY is it SO DARK he kept asking. ¬†We agreed that it isn’t a pleasant feeling to be going to the doctors when it’s dark outside. ¬†Scary.

I took him to Dunkin Donuts after, it was just a short jaunt down the sidewalk from the office. ¬†He ordered himself a bacon egg and cheese on a plain bagel, toasted, and five glazed munchkins….and a hot chocolate and he looked so cute as he waited. ¬†He didn’t want help carrying his treasures. ¬†He ate and drank everything. ¬†He hugged me.

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We went to the Goodwill store next and he and his bright eyes saw a wrestling head gear for Caleb (who needed one) for ONLY A DOLLAR.   Jacob said they are twenty at the sporting goods store he used to work at.   So Seth got the deal of the day.  Grace scrubbed it with antibacterial wipes this morning.

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Then we met Jacob, Grace, and Sarah at the pet store.  WHAT are the girls looking at, you ask?

Stay tuned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

******

I typed all this at the end of the couch at Ethan’s feet. ¬†He sleeps on the couch when he’s home even though he has a perfectly good bed in a bedroom upstairs. ¬†I think he finds it cozier to be on the couch. ¬†He’s sound asleep. ¬†Listening to him breathe gives me joy. ¬†He stretched his feet out and pushed against me, waking up just enough to look down at me and say sorry. ¬†I said, “I like it.” and gave him a pat on the leg.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

the last of winter

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Four nights ago, thanks to a text from my neighbor, we were able to see this amazing lunar halo around the moon. ¬†It was so wide around that I almost couldn’t get it all in the picture. ¬†It’s a beautiful sight that I won’t soon forget. ¬†I learned that these halos mean that a storm is coming and indeed the children did have Friday off from school for a snow day and we have a storm coming tomorrow.

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“It was a long cold winter for the birds and animals on the hill, but the little old man and the little old woman put out food for them until the warm spring came. ¬†And that was the end of the BIG SNOW.” ¬†~ The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader

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I aimed my camera through the windows of the dining room, watching the birds, thinking thoughts.

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“Well lived days are completed years, and the years well lived as they come make a life beautiful and full. ¬†In such a life no special preparation of any kind is needed. ¬†He who lives thus is always ready. ¬†Each day prepares for the next, and the last day prepares for glory.” ¬†JR Miller

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“And is this heaven? ¬†And am I there?
How short the road!  How swift the flight!
I am all life, all eye, all ear:
Jesus is here–my soul’s delight.”
~Isaac Watts

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And today?  The children are at school.  Bright sun is shining but coldly and tomorrow we expect a snowstorm, another snow day?

These are the last frozen offerings of winter weather which will make the springtime thaw even more welcome.

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There is a spot on the eaves which constantly drips, and it’s so cold outside that we have not a burning bush, but an ice covered one! ¬†It’s so pretty when the sun shines through it.

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Happy Monday, friends.
You are loved.

“Here in the shadow of God’s love forever I’ll abide,
So glad, so blest, so sure, so safe; so more than satisfied!” ¬†Elizabeth Prentiss

 

sweet boy & sweet cake

The other day a sweet boy who lives here came to me and said, ¬†“Mom, when I was walking to Logan’s house I passed a construction worker on the side of the road picking up garbage,” he paused to self-consciously clear his throat and continued, “I stopped and told him he was doing a great job.”

“The reason why I said that to him was because Cody told me it was the little things like that which make a big difference in a person’s life.”

“When I was almost to Logan’s house, he drove by me in his truck and honked his horn and waved.”

We looked at each other and I saw in his loving eyes it was something that meant a lot to him. ¬† You might say, although he has never been anything like Grinch, “his heart grew three sizes that day”. ¬†His story touched my heart as well, and I’ve thought about it over and over this week.

It’s so strangely beautiful that when doing something for another person you not only bless that person but you also bless yourself.

In fact, this huge concept is something I use in my mothering bag of tricks. ¬†If I notice that the children (some or all) are not getting along with each other I ask them to do “something” (make a sandwich, pick a flower, give a mug of tea) for that particular sibling they aren’t getting along with. ¬†Maybe even give a hug or write a note. ¬†It does wonders in creating smiles, melting hearts, and breaking the tension in the air.

 

******

Cherry Coffee Cake

We explored an old abandoned house last weekend and took away a few recipes cards which we found like garbage upon the messy floor…..this was one of the recipes.

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It is simple and, without any extract, the cake itself tastes nice and buttery.  The cherry pie filling could be switched out for any fruit filling and you could add a touch of cinnamon to the topping, too.  I bought a can of raspberry filling to try next, with maybe a 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract added to the cake.  Blueberries would be a nice variation, too, with lemon extract.

It bakes up as a thin cake, so it’s more of a snack (to eat with a mug of hot coffee). ¬†The kids ate it in their hands like a brownie and they all liked it very much.

it’s not chocolate, it’s birdseed!

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I know it LOOKS like chocolate, but actually….it’s sunflower seeds. ¬†Just what you little birdies like.

I didn’t get chocolate either.

But I did get a text message. ¬†It said, “I love u. ¬†Will you be my Valentine?”

And I said, “always.”

And I thought, “always and always and always.”

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One time, I got earrings and a necklace for Valentine’s Day.

I found them after he left for work, in the dishwasher!

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Funny thing about life, is after a while you realize that nothing is more important than love.

Love is a lot more important than expectations.

Love is shown in many many different ways, without even trying.

When he only has eyes….for you.

When he wrestles on the floor with the kids at the end of the day. ¬†That’s love. ¬†You made those kids together and he loves them.

When he calls you on the phone because he hasn’t heard from you yet because he loves you.

When he doesn’t complain as he falls asleep with the light on because you’re reading a book. ¬†It’s love.

When he calls you beautiful like it’s your name. ¬†Love.

When you tell him what to do and he laughs, because he likes to hear you get bossy.

Love.

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One seed at a time, please.

One blessing at a time.  One thank you at a time.  One moment at a time.

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You chickadees sure are friendly. ¬†Please try to send over a cardinal, won’t you?

He would match the fiesta pie plate so nicely.

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In the meantime, thank you for stopping by.

I love you, little birdies.

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I love all of you.

 

merry christmas and a happy snow day

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I love my home,
I love my nest,
In all the world,
My nest is best!

Good news! ¬†Sherlock the cat is back home recovering from his ordeal. ¬†We are all thankful to see him in the old familiar places…..and are fervently praying that he never again forms crystals to block his urinary track.

All the second guessing and questions were gone as soon as I witnessed the love and gentleness in the way the children cared for their pet all weekend long.

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He received much petting.

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Well, it’s our first snow day of the school year. ¬†There was speculation all weekend as the children wondered if it would happen and checked the weather frequently. ¬†As soon as I woke up this morning, I felt around in the dark for my phone on the table by the bed. ¬†Rich left for work as soon as he possibly could as I was announcing to him, “It’s a snow day! ¬†Stay home please stay home with us!” He was like, “bye.”

No matter, the children are currently still tucked in their warm beds, sound asleep, and I’m in my room typing away………….enjoying what will probably be the quietest hour of the day.

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On Saturday, Rich was away for a wrestling scrimmage with his team (he is the HS head coach) and I had a leftover roast chicken in the fridge so I set to work making homemade chicken and dumplings with a big pot of fluffy mashed potatoes. ¬†The only reason I got the camera out is because Seth was amusing me. ¬†He had helped roll out the dumplings and then ended up on the counter for a good half an hour playing in a cup of flour…….

Messy….but harmless fun for a boy in the kitchen.

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And a warm comfort food was enjoyed by all for lunch that day.

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When Rich got home from wrestling, he took a quick nap on the couch and then took the boys for haircuts…..

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The reason why Rich completely spoils and worships me is because I gave him five sons and two daughters who look just like him.  (okay, that is maybe just one of the many reasons).

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“Sarah get off my cat! Mom tell Sarah to get off my cat! No don’t take a picture of Sarah with my cat, that’s my cat!” ¬†~David is very possessive.

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Rich and David moved this little couch (dog bed) into the other room to make a spot for the Christmas tree. ¬†It was about 28 degrees on Saturday afternoon so he could only get Caleb and Sarah to go with him to the fire department to choose the tree. ¬†I could tell he was starting to get tired and not in the mood but after a little love-spat we got the decorating done. ¬†It certainly wasn’t the same without Jacob and Ethan helping us and Grace saying things like “I probably won’t be here next year to help decorate the tree”. ¬†sigh. ¬†Not only that but the Heisman’s Trophy was going to be awarded at 8 and it was 7:55 so we were in sort of a time crunch. ¬†(Caleb is a passionate football fan).

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Little by little the nest is getting festive.  Yes, those are legos.

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The painting from Aunt Colleen, vintage yellow fiestaware, a strand of lights, and my cookbook collection.

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While searching for the decorations they found their old board puzzles.

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A beautiful moment after the children were in bed…..a purring cat on my lap, candles, Sangria, and the lovely tree.

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(Caleb just came in here asking if it was a snow day. ¬†After he heard the news he climbed up, “I want to snuggle with you. ¬†Can I see your phone? ¬†I want to see who won the game last night, I went to bed after the third quarter just in case it wasn’t a snow day.”)

So Sunday morning was blessedly relaxing. ¬†Rich was watching a movie and after a while I noticed him doing sit ups on the floor. ¬†This man works out EVERY DAY so I got a little bossy and said, “If you have energy I have something you could do instead.”

(Seth has appeared)

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And then later on, we were getting ready for church and Rich captured this special moment. ¬†“When Moms do their Daughters Hair.” ¬†Sarah needed two tissues to get through it.

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And when I showed her the photo of the final result she said proudly, “Is my hair really that long?” ¬†so I knew she wasn’t scarred for life.

Merry Christmas and a Happy Snow Day! ¬†I’ll blog tomorrow about all the things we did with our surprise vacation day from school. ¬†(Meanwhile, Seth is asking if he can open one of his presents)………