wall of children

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I look like such a big head in this photo but that’s selfie photography for you!  Poor Sarah didn’t make it into the photo.

After all the planning and organizing and hosting of Thanksgiving, we were all ready to get out of the house on Black Friday and it was absolutely the best day because we were all together, Rich and I **without even one child missing**.

The line at Starbucks was a little long so I got silly with my camera and my mama-joy.

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Rich and I both felt deep down meaningful gratitude over spending time with them, our biggest blessings of all.  Each so different and yet, together, a special group of siblings.  That’s how all families feel about their children, and rightfully so.

God is so good to us.

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THE SONS

At the mall!  I like to do things fairly so I said to Rich, “The girls go with me and the boys go with you!”   (I’m sure the boys were utterly relieved)

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Sarah insisted on getting this blanket for “someone” on our Christmas list!

I’m thinking if it were a fluffy sweater in Sarah’s size she would look dashing!

(Note to Self:  Sarah looks good in mauve.)

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She found her perfect dream dress.  And thank goodness I liked it, too.  It’s plain and simple but with the best twirling skirt ever.

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AND THE DAUGHTERS

So.  I had a secret mission for this mall outing.  I wanted more than anything to get updated portraits taken of Jacob and Ethan.  They are both Juniors in college this year and it’s been since High School that I had a nice professional portrait of them.  Grace’s senior photo is still on the wall looking fabulous, along with the other school-age children who just brought home their updated school portraits.

I had five 8 by 10s hanging up in the livingroom, but was very much missing the two eldest boys.

I wasn’t sure if we could just walk into the portrait studio without appointments but we tried it and had SUCCESS!  All I wanted was one 8 by 10 of each of them and we were in and out of the studio in no time at all, pictures in hand.

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They turned out so nice!!!!!  Here’s Jacob’s portrait.  He will be turning 22 next month.

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And here’s Ethan’s portrait!  He’s 20 years old.

I love how they go together yet they aren’t matchy-matchy.

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I find myself staring at their faces quite often.  🙂

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This is exactly where I am right now, sitting in the chair draped by a white and blue blanket that Aunt Colleen crocheted for me in our local school colors so I could take it to cold outdoor games.  In the mug I have hot spiced apple cider, and to the left of my laptop you can see the jar candle, and then my phone propped up, which is playing my friend’s video to me this morning.  What a great way to start the day, with photos, conversation, laundry, and blogging.

To be honest, I have also been to the vet to drop off poor Walter.  Today our kitty has to have his special operation that will help him grow up to be a nice, tame, good-smelling male cat who can’t make babies.  We’ll go pick him up again later.  🙂

Also, Seth is home for the second day in a row.  He’s feeling better but had a fever yesterday so has to be home one more day.  I have to admit I really really like having him home with me.

It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.
CHARLES SPURGEON

BE BLESSED TODAY, FRIENDS
YOU ARE LOVED.

 

 

slime and dough

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I had to take Caleb to a doctor’s appointment 40 minutes away yesterday and when I came home a few hours later, I found these two making slime, unattended!  As soon as I walked in the door they told me they needed shaving cream!  They were sitting on the couch in the livingroom with all sorts of liquids!

I found the delinquent babysitters downstairs.  David said, “I told them not to, but they wouldn’t listen.”  Michael said, “I didn’t know!”  To which I replied to both of them, “It’s a babysitter’s job to make children listen and to know what they’re doing at all times!”

I took the Rinse Aid away from Seth and Sarah and told them to make a list of things they needed and to put their shoes on.  Michael was going to take them to the Dollar Store.  Wasn’t that nice of him “to offer”?

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They came back cheerfully supplied with multiple cans of shaving cream, dish soap, and more glue.

Then they made slime for the next 5 hours straight.  They made lots and lots of slime.

David was highly annoyed as he walked through the room to the pantry.  “SARAH, stop making slime!  Mom, we have way too much slime, they need to stop.”

“They’ll run out of ingredients eventually,” I cooed from the couch with my book.

“They have a box of Borax and two gallons of glue!  They won’t run out until slime is everywhere!”

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In case you’re wondering about the paper fence taped to the table, that was Seth’s creation.  He put it there so they could play ping-pong.  This truly is the house of children.

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Did I clean up this mess?  Absolutely NOT!  But I did re-wash the table this morning.

 

There were many times when I thought they were done, but no, they had to keep adding a squirt of this and a squirt of that.  Seth’s wasn’t coming together properly so Sarah gave him advice on how to make it work.  Caleb became the designated slime-finisher, the person who knead and squeezes the slime to make it come together smoothly.  Basically, he was a Kitchen-Aid mixer.  He would get done with Seth’s and then Sarah would approach and say, “Can you do mine now, Caleb?”  Sadly, no matter how much he asked, they wouldn’t GIVE him any to keep.

Sarah was highly protective of her slime, and so was Seth.  They rarely let each other touch their slimes.  And of course each believed their own was the best.

Seth had so much in his bowl that he divided his into two manageable batches.  When one half was “done”, he had to go back and work on the second half.

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In order to make slime you have to use your mom’s beloved laptop to look up videos on YouTube.

You also have to use every bowl, spoon, scraper, and containers with lids in the house.

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Sometimes your mom will let you use food coloring to make colorful slime but sometimes that is where she will draw the line and finally say, “no”.

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When making slime, it is customary to invite your mom “to feel it” every time you see her walk by.  Sometimes the thought will cross your mind that all her praise and obligatory enthusiastic handling of slime is just a big act, to make you feel good about your creation.  But most of the time you believe her…….. your slime IS AWESOME.

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Don’t know what to do with odds and ends of slime?  Simply throw them into the kitchen sink and forget about it!

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With ingredients like Borax, glue, soap, and shaving cream, at least it SMELLS clean!  Maybe TOO clean?

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Fluffy, cloudy slime.  They made it themselves!

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I found myself standing in the kitchen, scrubbing some of it off my shirt with a wet dishcloth.  I also found lumps of it on every handle and knob in the house.

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Eventually they had to change their clothes, too.

BUT IT WAS ALL WORTH IT.

It kept them constructively busy for hours.

Plus, for some reason, and I have to credit the slime-making all around me, I got the urge to make bread.

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So while Walter and I mixed up bread dough……….

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……….Sarah made her 35th batch of slime.

seth’s shoes fit me

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me, the dog, and seth, looking down at our feet

Let me remind you that Rich and I already have three grown-up children.  They are Jacob (21), Ethan (20), and Grace (18).  They are out of state, in college.  We also have two “middle aged” children David (16), and Caleb (13).

Seth and Sarah are the babies.  Seth (9) and Sarah (8).  babies.

I am fine with having grown up children.  I’m okay with having the middle aged ones, too.  But the babies I have to keep.  They’re mine.  They still get pulled onto my lap at least 2-5 times a week.

Last night it was time for football practice when out of the blue I got hit in the heart by a train.  I had gone into the closet to get my shoes on when I looked down at shoes I had just bought for Seth.  They looked strangely big next to mine.  “No.” I thought.  I lifted my bare foot and slipped it right into Seth’s shoe.

“Seth!  Seth! Come here!” I called.  For a moment it was funny and I knew baby boy would sure be surprised to have feet as big as mine.

But as soon as he walked toward me……I looked at his face…..his eyes looked into mine…..and I opened my mouth to say, “look!”…….when the tears came…..

“Seth!  Look at my feet!”

He looked down, Sarah came running.

“Your shoes fit me!  How do your shoes fit my feet!  Seth!  What’s happening!  Seth!”

“Mom…….you’re crying,” he said gazing with wonder (and half a proud smile), at my face.

“Mom, don’t cry,” laughed Sarah.

I stood there, as they cheerfully comforted me as best they could.

“Mom, your feet are just small!”

“You’re still TALLER than me!”

“Your feet are still BIGGER THAN MINE!”

And, finally,

“Take it off.  So you can stop fussing.”  ~Seth

*****

P.S. When he came home from football practice, he ran right over and sat on the couch next to me, making a big show out of taking off his cleats and socks, proudly lifting each foot, wriggling his toes, looking back and forth from his feet to my face, and making sure I was noticing his big feet and trying to get me to cry again.

something of one’s own

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It’s October.  This morning a soft mild breeze brought down 100 yellow leaves, tossing and turning them before they landed with a papery sound on the driveway.  I saw Walter Kitty looking up, up, up, his head turning this way and that, watching the leaves.  His first autumn.

The way water reflects colorful leaves and sunshine, like a stained glass window, is breathtaking.  Every scene is much lovelier than a video, or painting, or a photograph.  There are no smells of earth, or sounds of nature, in a mere picture.

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“Woman’s life today is tending more and more toward the state William James describes so well in the German word, ‘Zerrissenheit–torn-to-pieces-hood.’  She cannot live perpetually in ‘Zerrissenheit.’  She will be shattered into a thousand pieces.  On the contrary, she must consciously encourage those pursuits which oppose the centrifugal forces of today.  Quiet time alone, contemplation, prayer, music, a centering line of thought or reading, of study or work.  It can be physical or intellectual or artistic, any creative life proceeding from oneself.  It need not be an enormous project or a great work.  But it should be something of one’s own.  Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day–like writing a poem, or saying a prayer.  What matters is that one be for a time inwardly attentive.”

Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, page 56

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Like most mothers, my days are busy from start to finish.  Yesterday even more so.  The children didn’t have school so I left a list of chores for David and Sarah to complete while I was gone, and took Caleb, along with Seth, to his orthopedic doctor’s appointment, 45 minutes away through morning rush hour city traffic.  The appointment was over an hour long in a tiny room, mostly waiting, with Caleb leaving twice for xrays.  We left with the orders that he could not throw anymore until his shoulder heals, as he has what’s commonly called “Little League Shoulder”, which means that the growth plate in the shoulder is inflammed by over-use in throwing baseballs and footballs.  Ironically, I was suffering from a stiff neck all day and still am this morning.  We ate lunch,  relieved to finally know why Caleb’s shoulder was hurting and happy that with rest it should heal up nicely.  We did some shopping and came home with just enough time to get ready for music lessons, and then on to football and cheerleading practice.  Then, loud and happy goofing around in the house afterwards as they ate a bedtime snack, took showers, and David chased the family pets around the house, scaring them half to death with his dragon hand puppet.

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In the midst of this day of mine,  I took out my camera and enjoyed God’s lovely world in the small green grassy yard by the music building downtown.  Seth and I saw a pretty creek, trees with bright leaves, unusual mushrooms, and we took each other’s picture.

Now I’m taking a quiet moment to write here, feet up on the coffee table and dishwasher running in the kitchen, and I’m quite positive Anne Morrow Lindbergh would approve.

 

 

 

 

“no days off”

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We all woke up this morning at 6 and couldn’t sleep anymore!  We don’t know why!

To break up the day we decided to go out together to first and foremost get chicken feed, and then do a little shopping, and have lunch.  I bought Sarah a cute dress, Seth some stylish sweatpants, myself some earrings, a vase, a liquid measuring cup for baking, and a couple of shirts, and Grace a brown bandana for her hair.  The tacos at Moe’s have gotten smaller but lunch was filling and delicious.  We listened to happy music on the way home.

David and Caleb are away at camp this week and Rich is on a business trip until Wednesday.

Grace went out for tea with a friend when we got home and we are having quiet time now because this evening is Seth’s first football practice for the season AND Sarah is doing cheerleading for the first time!  She’s nervously excited.

I am watching the Waltons and filling out their sports forms.  Mondays are always a “catch up on laundry” day and we’ll have chicken patties and veggies for dinner before we leave for practice later.

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My shirt says “no days off” and I wear it when I’m in a humorous mood because I didn’t buy it because I work out daily in the gym, I bought it because I’m a mom. And while it’s true that my current stage in life (“motherhood”) allows for almost no days off, I cannot complain as I constantly count my blessings, the first of which is that I get to be mom of these seven children of ours.  There are many busy and even chaotic moments in each day, but there are also many peaceful and quiet ones to recharge, like right now, while I’m blogging and watching TV……….or reading, petting the cats, scrapbooking, baking, walking, or taking off for a morning of shopping with the kids.

life is good and I’m glad I can flop on the couch in between laundry, cleaning, and dishes!

Happy Monday!

 

happy mother’s day!

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Go on doing the little things,
no matter how small,
only making sure that you breathe love into them.
Let them fall where they may,
no matter into what heart,
no matter how silently,
no matter how hopeless may seem the soil into which they drop,
no matter how you yourself may appear
to be forgotten
or overlooked
as you do your deeds of kindness,
and speak your words of love.
These words and deeds and influences of yours are living seeds,
and not one of them shall perish!

J.R. Miller