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.

two very important sentences

We are leaving on Friday to go on a nine day vacation.

I am busy organizing, packing 72 complete outfits in 72 large ziplock bags, and preparing food.  The house is in an uproar.

Three children had dentist appointments this morning.

Also, Jacob took his driver’s test today.

While I was waiting for him to be done (there were three kids ahead of him) I nervously drove to Goodwill and found……six sage green fiesta teacups…..making me even more excited with life in general!

Naturally when we got home I took a couple of pictures.


Sage is a brand-new fiesta color.  Why anyone would want to donate Sage fiestaware is beyond me.

My guess is that they came in boxed place settings and maybe the person decided they would never use them, so they gave the teacups to Goodwill and kept everything else?


Regardless, it will be a pleasure to use them and they look so pretty on the shelf.

And he passed with a perfect score.

Jacob’s 16th birthday

Oh my friends, I became a mother for the first time sixteen years ago today.

Jacob was such a beautiful baby boy.  I remember that I was overwhelmed when Rich wheeled him in his little crib, into the room to me after his first bath.  He picked him up and put him into my arms, and that was the moment when the motherly love hit me full force and I knew there was nothing like that feeling.  It was one of the most treasured gifts from God, the love I felt as a held a warm, sleepy-heavy newborn baby boy.  My firstborn son, born a week after Christmas, on New Years Eve.  I was 20 years old.




Jacob decided on chocolate cake this year.  I invited him to make it with me but he politely declined.  Little Seth ran over with happy eyes and said HE would help me!  and so with Sarah, I had two little helpers.  They even put aprons on.  Rich gave me a new mixer for Christmas, and when we realized it was the same size as my old one, we returned it and bought this red beauty.  It has a seven quart bowl with enough room to mix 14 dozen cookies.


Jacob sat with his sister at the table to work on his art.  He has a collection of Sharpies and colored pencils that he uses, along with a calligraphy set.  He enjoys drawing and lettering.  Grace joins him often, and draws in her sketchbook, too

When Ethan returned from basketball practice, Jacob opened his birthday gifts to an admiring crowd of siblings.

He was given a leather journal, a set of speakers, and new sneakers.  He had been hinting for them one day when he was out shopping with Rich, which is why he smiled like this at his Dad.  He understood why he was told “no” on that day…….

After he opened gifts, we went out shopping for party food.  Shrimp, sandwiches, chips and dip, and soda.

I was able to use my new fiesta chip and dip set, from my husband.

Jacob and Rich

In this next picture, their smiles are so wonderful because they are being stinkers (I was trying to get in the picture and they stood in front of me!!)

You can just barely see the top of my head.

With our firstborn.

Grace and I took pictures of each other, and practiced different expressions; trying to avoid the big bright standard smiles.

I went to bed for a nap.  Then, all of a sudden, David and Caleb came in the room to talk.  They had been outside, sled riding.

“Dave!  What happened to your nose?”  (it was redder in real life, the flash smoothed out the redness)

“It was a snow plow and my face was the snow plow!”

“But I was the first one to get a BLOODY CUT!”  ~Caleb

His face was cold and damp from the snow.  He told me that on his way down the big hill, he went through a pricker patch and a pricker took his glove right off his hand and cut his finger.

He was so proud of his bloody cut that he refused to put a band aid on it, so he could keep looking at it.

After that interesting news, I took my nap.  It was so cozy and warm under the covers.  heart

Seth woke me up after a while and we had an early dinner.

Then, the boys (all five) went outside to play in the snow.  It was dark out, but not as cold, and they had so much fun.

This is Ethan and Dave, with their snowboards.  I stood out on the porch to watch and cheer them on.

When they came in, we cleared the table and had birthday cake.

Happy 16th birthday, Jacob!

I love you.


“The Mother of Boys”

Praise to the High One for giving me joys
Peculiarly sweet, I’m the mother of boys!
Mud puddles, torn blue jeans, toads, whistles and worms.
The furred and feathered and whatever squirms.

Black knuckles, bats, arrows and thundering noise.
They’re all in a day for the mothers of boys.
But, ah, ’tis a dear joy to turn the blue eyes
To the manifold wonder of earth, sea and skies.

And, ah, ’tis a dear joy to watch a small hand seize
The hand of God in the knowledge of these.
Spare me, oh High One, to praise Thee more when
This mother of boys is the mother of men.

~ written by Miriam Sieber Lind, mother of six sons and one daughter ~


a new look for Grace

Someone special needed glasses, so with some help from her fabulous Aunt Amanda and her MOM (yours truly),

Grace was all set up with her very first pair.



The world around her was a little fuzzy around the edges and now is crystal clear.

We are so thankful; it is a joy to watch her enjoy the beauty around her with “new eyes”.

 We went on several walks this weekend, soaking all the lovely nature in.


 Doesn’t she look cute?



Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.

Isaac Watts



happy day


this special boy,our son, has a birthday today

his name is David (after my brother) Lloyd (after Rich’s grandpa)

he is such a special part of our family

a lot of fun to be around

observes everything, remembering little details from years ago

sentimental, yet all-boy; loves dirt, moving fast, mischief, and computer games

(a perfect blend of Rich and me; a testament of our love)


currently reading the “series of unfortunate events” books

he is our middle child; has three older siblings and three younger ones

so he gets to be both a big boy or a little boy, depending on the day

but I bet today he’s BIG

’cause he’s ten

first day of school 2012

Two young men made their way to High School this morning, and one beautiful young lady went to Middle School.  Jacob (10th), Grace (8th), Ethan (9th)

The big yellow bus came at 6:30 in the morning and off they went.

Oh, just now noticing that Grace had her Bible with her. 

David and Caleb both went to the same elementary school, a first this year.  Caleb is in 2nd and Dave is in 4th.  I love thinking of them both in the same building.

Their bus arrived at 7:30…….and look at Caleb’s sweet smile. 

We waved goodbye to them and I was left at home with my two darling little ones who are still firmly attached to my apron strings.

Keeping the “fold your arms” thing going.


I took Seth and Sarah out this morning for a little bit and when we got home they played outside.  It’s naptime now and the house is so quiet!  I have about an hour before it all gets filled up with the happy family sounds I love so much. (most of the time)  heart

Also, Rich is coming home tonight after being away all week on business.  I can’t wait to see him again.


Hugs to you, my friends!  You are loved.

“Only the heart knows how to find what is precious.”  Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1

Ethan’s 8th grade promotion


He has 150 children in his class so Rich and I were the only ones from the family who could attend Ethan’s 8th grade promotion program last night.

This was Ethan’s first year of public school and he did so well.  He was the only one of our children who made honor roll multiple marking periods.  We discovered he has a talent for the high jump when one day in gym class he astounded his class and gym teacher by jumping higher than any other middle schooler, ever.  (I believe it is from years of the trampoline in the yard, or from spending so much time with bullfrogs.)  We also discovered his natural abilities in Spanish, where he consistently received high marks.

Most of all, he has remained our good ol’ E….a happy, smart, helpful, precious son, brother, and friend.  He has been our pride and joy since the day he was born.  It is an honor to watch him learn and grow.

zoo day



Yesterday, on a hot New England day, Rich and I drove  the children to the Roger Williams Zoo in Rhode Island.  It took us about an hour and a half to get there, the perfect distance to put my feet up on the dash, read my book, hold hands with Rich, and listen to itunes on the radio.  I did get into trouble once, for nagging Rich about his driving.  But, after he confessed that he began the trip with the intention of driving the best he could and that I made him tense, I shut my mouth and just tried to look (and act) pretty.  

We wanted to visit the zoo for Caleb.  He is six and is very interested in snakes.  He had to write a paper on snakes for first grade, and that is how it all began.  Since then, he’s been checking out every book at the library that he could find on snakes.  He is starting to collect rubber snakes, because we won’t let him get a real one.  One morning he came to me with tears in his eyes and said, “Mom?  I feel so sorry for the milk snake, because people confuse it with the venomous coral snake…….and kill it!” (sob) I found him a “Snake Dictionary” and he knows all about each snake.  There are truly a great many different snakes out there in the big world, and some of them are (dare I say) quite lovely, too.  Caleb’s mind is like a sponge, soaking up all this information….but, he wants to see the real thing.  Books are not enough anymore, and he’s been begging us to take him to the zoo.

We saw the long necked giraffe.

The elephants were getting their bath.

We saw penguins.

And beautiful pink flamingos.

Then….finally…..the snakes.  Two Emerald Tree Boas to be exact.  Perhaps we missed something, but the anticipation of seeing a variety of snakes was great, and to see only one kind was  little teeny bit disappointing.  Good ol’ Caleb seemed to be fine with it, though.  It helped that we bought him a rubber snake at the gift shop.

We only lost track of family members once or twice.  No one cried.  We all enjoyed ourselves, and what’s better to wear on the skin than sticky stuff from little boy hands?  I can’t think of any perfume better than that.  It’s been 12 years since Jacob was Seth’s age and I’m so utterly grateful to have this three year old in my arms, or even, yes, running helter skelter away from me just like his four big brothers have done.  I’m still good at catching them and bringing them back.

Our Davy also loves the different animals and was thrilled to run around, looking at all of them.  He also had a thrill when he turned the crank to stamp an animal on a penny.

So sweet.  It really doesn’t take much to please a child.

We left the zoo, hot and happy.  On the way home we stopped at a chicken place for a late lunch.

Back at home, Caleb worked on his new snake coloring book. 

Rich went straight to the hammock and when he fell asleep, I took Sarah in my arms.

Under the late afternoon son, we went swimming, for me it was the first swim in our newly dug out pond.  I loved it, the children were amazed that I was swimming with them.  So was the cat.


When Rich woke up, he and the boys went to work on the yard.

They discovered turtle eggs in the topsoil that he had brought in from the quarry.

Perfectly round. 

I also made a discovery in my garden.

Green caterpillars all over in my lettuce.

I picked as many as I could off.


And threw them in with the chickens.  They were gone in about 5 seconds.

How do you keep caterpillars off your lettuce?

Happiness is a little bouquet of daisies, picked and brought to you from your own sweet boy.

Happiness is a red swimming suit, with white polka dots, drying on the line.

And, happiness is GETTING YOUR BRACES OFF!


Someone handsome just got handsomer, today!  I love his perfect smile, and Seth has been so funny about Jacob’s new teeth.  He keeps saying, “Let me see your smile, Jake!”  He doesn’t remember a Jacob without braces and he asked where they went.  The orthodontist sent Jacob home with a bag of candy, candy that had previously been off-limits when the braces were on.  And he got to sign his name to the wall in the office.  A very happy day for our Jacob.


the boys’ first job




Last week, an older neighbor of ours stopped by in his red truck.  I didn’t know who he was so I ran outside ready to tell him he was at the wrong house.

“Can I help you?  Who are you looking for?”  I asked.

“Are your Mom or Dad at home?” he wondered.

(I paused, confused for a moment…..)

“I’m the Mom here,” I said (delighted). 

“Oh… look so young,” he said.  (I found out later that he was 70 years old.)   “I’m just stopping by to ask you and your husband if your older boys would like a job moving brush and stacking wood?  They wouldn’t be using any machinery and I would pay them.”

He left me with his name and number, and later that day Rich and I talked it over and agreed that this was something that we wanted Jacob and Ethan to do.  They both have worked hard with their Dad for years now (around the house), and we were confident they could handle the work like men.  Rich is such a good, “tough but loving” Dad and has trained them well.  We talked with the boys and they were also willing.  So, last Friday (their last day of spring break) they got ready, walked up the road to the neighbor’s house, and put in their first full day of work.  They worked from 9:30 until 4:30, with a half hour lunch here at home.  You can imagine the empty feeling here at home while they were gone.  When they got back home that afternoon we were anxious to hear all about it, and I snapped the pictures of Jacob.  They were both dirty and suntanned but Ethan said, “You have to be kidding, no.” when I asked to take his picture.  Jacob was proud of his filth and injury (a long scratch).

They said to us, “The man was so nice!  He gave us all the water we could drink.  And his wife made strawberry cookie bars!”

He had them all decked out in hard hats, goggles, and gloves.  Ethan said they were too big and “unnecessary” but he still wore them.

Jacob said with surprise, “The funny thing about me is the longer I worked, the MORE I WANTED TO WORK.”

(Rich understood that feeling perfectly.)

The next day, Jacob put in another full day.  Ethan had baseball practice and then worked one hour with Jake, before he was too sick to work anymore.  (He was coming down with a bad cold).  Jacob came home at the end of the day with their two day’s worth of pay.  They spent some time that night trying to think of other ways to make money.  They wish to buy real steel swords.  (“Blunted, mom, so no one gets hurt.”)  We are going to set them up with bank accounts.

The neighbor up the road has requested that they work every Saturday until the big job is done, and several of my friends also want to hire them (one to move stuff out of her attic, and one to paint her garage.)  Looks like they will have plenty of opportunities to work some odd jobs over the spring, summer, and fall.

A good work ethic is so important to instill into our children.  They are rewarded with some money, but most importantly, we noticed a huge boost in their confidence as young adults.  I am so proud of our boys/*turning into* MEN.