day with the husband


Rich and I celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary on Sunday the 16th of September and since Sunday is a busy day for us, Rich took today off so we could spend time together while the kids were in school.  He’s at an eye doctor appointment now (4:30pm) so I have time to post a few photos.

We ate breakfast at a diner, the next town over, even though at the moment we don’t “like” this town because their youth football teams beat our teams very badly last week.  That was Rich’s remark anyway, which made me laugh.  This diner was hopping with folks “of a certain age.”


This is a small town to have so many people at a diner for breakfast and Rich thinks it’s because it’s such a nice place but I think it’s because there is a senior living community just down the road.  It was fun to see people coming in a various times and getting enthusastic welcomes from their friends.  There was an older lady that looked similar to my Aunt Betty and I kept looking at her.  There was an older man with an oxygen tank.  There were hugs and loud conversations.  “Yeah, I feel good today!” said one gentleman to another.  Rich and I settled in to our eggs and potatoes and just enjoyed the atmosphere before heading to my hair appointment.


This was taken in the car after my appointment.  My hair stylist, I think, let the dye sit a little too long because my head along the hairline is also dyed and it will not come off yet.  I had the roots done and a little trimmed off the ends and Rich worked on his laptop outside in a lawn chair while he waited for me.  We had enough time that I could have dropped him off at home while I had my appointment but he said he wanted to stay with me.   Then we drove the backroads to the mall and stopped at an apple stand/coffee/bakery on the way.


Rich picked out a nice apple but when he ate it in the car he said it was mealy, so that was a little disappointing.  Out it flew through the car window into the trees.


He saw this toy tractor and pointed it out because he liked it.  He’s a farm boy still.  He has a small John Deere tractor in our garage.


He took me to Barnes and Noble and I bought the newest Flow mazazine but once I got home I realized that someone had taken the free wrapping paper out of it so I’m a little annoyed about that.  I also got a Breathe magazine and the Newbery Honor book Echo, which is a big beautiful hardcover book with 585 pages!!!!  I hope it’s as good as I am anticipating.  I can’t read it until I’m done with The Windy Hill (1922).  Rich got a couple of men’s fitness magazines and one of them has a young Arnold S. on the cover only wearing a small bathing suit which was horrifying to see.  Rich is slowly easing into running again after his disc surgery but has been able to keep working on his upper body and to me, looks amazing.  I’m so proud of him and the way he continues to get up early three days a week to work out and keep himself healthy.


I took a photo of the cover of this book because……..


Inside there was a photo of fiestaware (mixed with Bauer).  SO pretty!


We sat at a table by the window for a while.  He had a pumpkin spice latte and I had a matcha green tea latte and then we drove back home.


We ended up having a good hour to ourselves before the bus came.

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.


as we drive along

I have found the one whom my soul loves. Song of Solomon

Grace and Jacob were available to take care of the house and children for a few days so Rich and I decided to stay two nights in Vermont.  We stayed close by our Ethan’s college so that we could visit with him when he was free.

After the busyness of the holidays, it was calming to be alone together.

I can sense our marriage shifting, ever so slowly, from the stage of “super busy with little ones” to “busy raising children but life is quieting down just a tiny bit”……it doesn’t seem like a big of enough change to even notice and indeed, most of the time we don’t realize that things are changing in a way that effects us as a couple.

In fact, “being a couple” has been sort of hard during the years of babies and little ones. It’s been more like two trains passing in the night at times………

This weekend, being alone just the two of us, without a worry or a care for the children we left back home, showed us that there is still a deep contentment and companionship between our two souls.

The children will grow and move on, but the two of us will always have each other “til death do us part.”  We’re friends, we know one another, we enjoyed our time together this weekend very much; reading, working out, eating meals, holding hands, little touches, talking or not talking, getting coffees, driving, sleeping, resting, watching a little tv…..all very ordinary things, but with a quiet joy from being happy together.

It’s been nice to watch my parent’s marriage evolve from full nest to empty nest and it’s nice to see that Rich and I are following in their footsteps in this way.  Lovebirds.

(I know it will be a long time before we have a literal empty nest, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now so that’s good…….)

Also, I took pictures out the window of lovely Vermont.












two things:


We took Ethan bowling and I actually scored an 84….coming in last place as usual but I have hopes of continuing to improve.  There was a group of women of all ages next to us throwing strikes on a consistent basis.  Even an old old lady who couldn’t even bend over.  She just walked up and swung her arm and got strikes.


We ate breakfast together at one of those shiny stainless steel diners shaped like a railroad car.  I took this photo because the waitress was walking back and forth from the kettle pouring hot steamy brewed tea into gallon jars.  She said it was for iced tea, and that they go through a lot of it in a day.

“We need to live in the now of life,
it can’t be about how much we suffered yesterday
or what we might face tomorrow.
It’s about today. And today was good”
~bonnie leon

merry christmas and a happy snow day


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.


He received much petting.




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.


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.


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


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



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).



“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.


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).



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


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


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


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


(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)


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.


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)………


handsome football official


On Sunday I went to watch my son’s first football game of the season.  I didn’t see much of it because I was distracted by this handsome football official.  He’s not wearing stripes yet but he will in the next game.  He’s new at officiating.  It was a very fun day, but maybe last year I would have been annoyed because he wasn’t right next to me watching the game and holding my hand and stuff……….doesn’t he want to spend time with me, I whined to myself?

“It seems such a difficult task for so many to realize that happiness and love are not gotten by force of will, nor are they automatically granted simply because you show up.  The greatest amount of getting is through giving.  If you take care of the ones you love, even when you’re hurting or not in the mood or they’ve done something to annoy you, it not only shows love, it primes them to be more giving…..selfishness not only cuts out your partner, it cuts out God, and without God, there is only ‘me’.  And ‘me’ is ultimately alone.”  L. Schlessinger

Marriage is an ongoing work of learning and staying even when, once in a while, the relationship seems impossible to keep peaceable.  The most recent and personal lesson I have learned lately is that my own well meaning opinions can really be “righteous indignation” in disguise. “I just know I’m right about these things so I’m going to dwell on the ways our marriage could be better if only I could get my points made.”  I got myself so frustrated with this futile thinking that I finally decided to give up “caring” about things like “he’s never home at any particular time so we miss family dinners, everyone knows families that eat dinner together around the table like the Waltons are the best and highest standard we all should achieve”. At the time, I thought maybe if I gave up the fight of “wanting our marriage and family to be better” (using my personal and plenteous ideas that I worked very hard to think up, a whole long list of things which could be greatly improved) than it would allow me to move on to a greater and healthier independence as a female who didn’t need a man after all.  The joke was on me because when I did that, stopped nagging, stopped expecting more in our marriage, I actually became free and happy.  He was already free, but then I joined him.  My expectations were out the window, therefore ANY LITTLE THING that happened between us was a real and honest blessing to me.  Nothing changed, we love each other deeply, have always loved each other, he’s the man for me, nothing changed–but my attitude, which is no small wonder.  It was really weird.  I’m still rather perplexed by it.  However, I am grateful that God has saved me once again from becoming the woman who is always studying (thinking) but never gaining knowledge.  Amen! 1 Timothy 3:7

And you know what?  Our family life is just fine even though we only eat around the table maybe once a week.  So there, studies!  (Don’t listen to the studies, just live your life!  It’s a beautiful thing.)

rich’s special night


“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough
to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles,
the character of an honest man.” –George Washington

On Tuesday, Rich was honored by the people in his office with a special dinner at a local restaurant.  Very soon, he will be changing job positions and the people who have been working for him over the last several years wanted to have a chance to say “thank you” to him for all he has done.  This was a very rewarding and satisfying night for my husband, who puts his hard work ethic, heart, and soul into his job.  Everyone had such kind and respectful things to say.

When he was away on his latest business trip, one of the women called me to invite the children and I to attend the dinner.  She requested that it be a complete surprise to Rich.  I asked the older children to clear their schedules so that they could come along.  Jacob was fine, Grace pushed back a little because she felt obligated to her music event after school that day, but after a discussion and a note written to her teacher, she was all set.  Ethan refused to miss his soccer game so “fate” managed to make him cut his toe really bad and he was able forced to miss the game.  All set!  *whew*

I decided to go shopping and buy the kids all new clothes, which they needed anyway.  (they really did!)

I thought it would be fun to dress each of the boys in a blue dress shirt because that is what Rich typically wears.  He has always loved searching for the perfect blue dress shirts.  I went to Old Navy for the purchases….new shirts for all the boys, plus new corduroys for the three younger boys, and a complete outfit for Sarah.  Grace didn’t need anything, as I had taken her shopping the weekend we went to Stockbridge.  I washed everything and ironed.  I wanted everything perfect, which meant I did everything with just a tad touch of overzealousness.  As for myself, I had a basic black dress already in my closet, but I did buy some new black pointed toe flats.

I drove the children to the restaurant and parked in an empty business lot next door so Rich wouldn’t see our car.  When Ali texted me the “all clear” we drove over, parked, and walked inside.  Ali met us at the hostess table and walked us to the room where everyone was waiting and chatting.  Rich had his back turned away from us.  Caleb reached him first, and tugged on his arm.  Rich stopped his conversation and looked down and saw his son.  It was such a special moment.  I was beaming as I watched his eyes *bug out* in shock.  He was so happy and it was such a surprise to see the two worlds he loves so much collide.

We were the center of attention.  None of the people who worked for and with him had seen him surrounded by his all of his family at once.  Everyone loved the children.

(Oh I forgot to say …. that morning as he was getting ready for work I was asleep in bed praying that he would choose a blue shirt that day…and he did!! )

As soon as we were there and the initial greetings were over, several people gave speeches in Rich’s honor, thanking him and telling funny stories.  Of course Rich, who truly has a tender and sensitive heart, cried, and it was so good for the children and I to come to a better understanding of how much good Rich does for the company, and how much he is loved and appreciated.  I was so proud to be standing by his side.

After the speeches there was a sweet slideshow and that was fun, too.  The man who put it together gave me a copy to take home (on a flash drive).    Rich was given a plaque and the whole family was given a nice wooden bench to put outside by our pond.

Then we ate dinner and socialized.  The kids were great.  The only embarrassing thing that happened was Seth drank and drank too many shirley temples and in a coughing fit at the table, he threw up a little.  That was really embarrassing because I was talking to a nice lady with my back away from Seth and she was the one who alerted me to the problem.   Oh and Sarah was kind of shy at first (would not make eye contact or speak) but she warmed up after a good dinner.





Everyone you see in the pictures were part of the event…….





His picture was on the cake….


Caleb requested the piece with his Dad’s face.  And he ate it, too!



Sarah made a connection with one of the ladies.  Later one she offered to babysit Sarah if we ever needed one.  🙂


And this nice lady who is talking to Dave in the photo lives in the same town as the college Grace wants to attend in a couple years and offered to help her out at any time, and maybe even let her stay with her.   (!!!!!!)



There were about 8 people in front of us, several of whom were taking photos.  “Okay, you and your 80 children get ready for a picture” someone teased.




I love you, my husband and friend.   I’m so glad the children and I were a part of your special night, as I know we are always a part of your life whether home or away.  I’m happy to support you and share this busy but joyful journey of ups and downs with you.  Always.  Thank you for who you are and the work you do to support our family.

a (love) quote I like

When and man and a woman with significant spiritual and psychological affinities

encounter each other and fall in love,

if they have evolved beyond the level of problems and difficulties,

if they are beyond the level of merely struggling to make their relationship ‘work,’

then romantic love becomes the pathway

not only to sexual and emotional happiness

but also to the higher reaches of human growth.

It becomes a context for a continuing encounter with the self,

through the process of interaction with the other self.

Two consciousnesses, each dedicated to personal evolution,

can provide an extraordinary stimulus and challenge to the other.

Then ecstasy can become a way of life.

“Romantic love is not a myth waiting to be discarded, but, for most of us, a discovery waiting to be born.”


Nathaniel Branden




I have come to the thankful realization that our marriage truly has evolved through the years and lately it’s just been so sweet, so settled, so rock-solid.  I love hearing from him during the day, planning for his return after a long workday, knowing the magic of my touch to soothe him, his whispers into my ear, the snuggles at the end of the day, the looks across the room.  I know what it is like to weep silent, secret tears of deep, deep love as I rest at night, in his strong arms.

I love him so very much, and it feels so good and right, to pour my strength and passions into him, our home and family, and all areas of our relationship.