one and two & everything in between

ONE:

DSC_0628

Good morning, friends!

“There is Sunshine in my Soul today, most glorious and bright!”

It’s also gloriously pouring through the windows when yesterday it was pouring rain~

The sunshine seems that much more wonderful after a few rainy gloomy days.

I’m sure there’s a lesson in that.

IMG_3628

The haircuts!

Sarah got in the photo although she didn’t get a haircut.  After the barber we went straight to the bookstore and another store, just for fun, and then we went home again.  All through the rain, on election day.

Are you thinking about Christmas yet?  For your information, these kids (13, 9, and 8) seem extra interested in slime/putty type of things, and squishy/stress reliever types of toys.  Maybe yours will be, too.  Quick and easy stocking stuffers.

IMG_3629

These boots have a satisfying “stomp” to them.  Sometimes I keep them on when I get home and feel much more productive on our hardwood floors….until David says something sarcastically funny about all the noise I’m making.  Drama!  (both of us)

What else did we do yesterday?

IMG_3649 2

Sarah and I took Sammy to the vet.  She had a sore on her back shaved, and one on her paw which was shaved, too.  She had two shots (rabies booster and a convenient antibiotic) and was given pain medicine.  Hopefully after a few days she’ll start using her front left paw again and her infections will go away.  Other than that, she checked out fine and healthy. Sarah was a bit disturbed by it all.  She told me, “I know I couldn’t be a vet because I would feel too sad.”  What’s she going to be like when (if) she is a mother, I’ll be curious to see.  Now THAT’s heart-wrenching.

IMG_3653

Caleb said, “I’m going to read all the posts about Christmas Day on your blog, I do it every year.”  He wholeheartedly approved of the one that I included Christmas music to listen to at the same time, and requested that I do it again this year.  My heart smiled and smiled to see the children’s appreciation for the last 10 years of Christmases photo-documented faithfully on my part each year.  I see that in writing it for myself, my blog became theirs…….

IMG_3658

We found Walter in his very own cat bed on the porch.  Every time I see this cat in a strange place I take a photo and send it to the college kids.  It would make a good blog post one of these days.

56323345767__13D838CF-BF3C-487D-BA8A-BEFA56BCA6F9

Me and Seth at music lessons, waiting for Caleb and Sarah.

IMG_3661

After music lessons Sarah had cheerleading practice indoors and the boys’ football practice was cancelled so we waited for her (after dinner at Subway) at the library.  And I found this book!  How could I have not known about this new book?  It won the Pulitzer Prize!!!  I leafed through it at the library and it looks soooooo interesting.  Should I put it on my Christmas list?  Or just click over to Amazon for instant gratification?  I would have checked it out from the library, but it’s about Laura, I must have my own copy!

56324066978__0235EA5B-B819-4362-8B94-AD7395F72DA7

I FIRST made Seth let me read him a few picture books (The Tiger Who Came to Tea always brings a tear to my eye, and Steven Kellogg books are a favorite, too) and THEN allowed him some computer games.

Other random photos:

IMG_3545

I stood on the porch and took a photo of the sunrise.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.

We’ve also been drawing a lot lately.  sketchbooks might be on the Christmas lists, too.

Monday Night Football Snuggles during the game:

IMG_3616 2

Sarah was right next to me, Seth was on my legs, Walter on my lap, and Caleb right there, too.  What is it about family pile-ups that soothe the soul?

‘Touch deprivation is a reality in American culture as a whole. …
It’s not just babies needing to be touched in caring ways or the sick.
It’s not just doctors and nurses needing to extend it.
It’s all of us, needing connection,
needing to receive it, needing to give it,
with genuine happiness at stake.”
— Rev Anthony David in “The Power of Touch” by Nora Brunner

“A pat on the back, a caress of the arm — these everyday, incidental gestures that we usually take for granted, thanks to our amazingly dexterous hands. But after years spent immersed in the science of touch, I can tell you that they are far more profound than we usually realize: They are our primary language of compassion, and a primary means for spreading compassion.”
— Dacher Keltner in “Hands on Research: The Science of Touch”

AND During the Commercials:

IMG_3614

TWO:

IMG_3575

Bringing the outdoors in.

He is not rich, that enjoyeth not his own goods. ~Pythagoras

SaveSave

happy mother’s day!

fullsizeoutput_55d9

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

i am made aware of another mothering mistake

I simply love it when the children and I have time to chat without distractions because it gives them the chance to air their little grievances.  This morning Seth and Sarah were all ready for school with about 10 minutes to spare.  I stood by the door watching for the bus while Seth sat on the floor and Sarah sat on the couch.  The family dog was flat on the floor, sound asleep and exhausted after a busy day yesterday when he escaped through his hidden dog fence and ran around the neighborhood for hours.  We have since figured out that his collar is broken so in the meantime, we were discussing how we cannot under any circumstances allow him go outside when the bus came, as he usually does, and having Parker as the topic of conversation reminded Seth of something that hurt his feelings…..and naturally, it was my fault.

From the floor, he spoke up.  “Mom?  MY favorite animal is the dog.  Caleb’s favorite animal was the SNAKE but then as soon as I decided MY favorite animal was the DOG he changed HIS favorite animal to the dog, too.”

(Caleb is his big brother and almost 4 years older than Seth.)

I turned away from the window to look at him.  “Well, you can both have dogs as your favorite animal, besides, I’m sure that Caleb still likes snakes better.”  But as I said this I realized that Seth was correct; Caleb has become a Dog Expert and watches lots of videos on youtube about……dogs.  And has been begging me…..for a dog of his own.  Well, it’s beside the point.  Having siblings means having to share your favorite things with them.  Life isn’t fair, ya know.

“And I feel ignored….” Seth continued, wide eyed.  “I feel ignored because now, when you see a dog, you say, ‘Caleb, look at the cute dog’ and….. I’m ignored.”

He began to get actual tears in his eyes over this thought.  It was obvious it came right from the heart.

As he buried his face in his hands, ashamed to be crying, I looked at Sarah, shrugged my shoulders, and bugged out my eyes, meaning;   “Can you believe this kid?”  She raised her eyebrows at me and it quickly became clear she was on “his side.”

She said, in a lecturing tone,  “Well, Mom, the name Caleb MEANS DOG.”

“All this is MY FAULT?” I asked.

“You could have named Caleb Seth and Seth Caleb.”

I was stunned.  So I raised my arms and said dramatically, “I would like to apologize to the entire room, especially YOU Parker, because you ARE a dog and you have to listen to all this. From now on,”  I turned back to Seth,  “If you and Caleb are together with me and I see a dog, I’ll say SETH LOOK AT THE CUTE DOG.”

Parker is elderly now so it touched my heart that between the three of them, he was the only one to slowly creak to his feet and walk over to me in order to accept my apology and get his ears rubbed.

Seth was smiling again, no doubt imagining Caleb’s face when he realized Seth took back his favorite animal and he would no longer receive motherly notifications about dog sightings,

then……thank heavens…..the bus arrived.

day in the life……

IMG_4903

One of the things that I’m thankful about regarding Sarah is that she is always willing to snuggle and have “couch time” with mom.  In order to have couch time you need:

  1. a blanket or two
  2. a cat
  3. a good tv show
  4. books
  5. ice cream
  6. hairbrushes

At the end of a busy day, this is bliss.

IMG_4906

She brushed my hair and made it pretty.  I brushed her hair and she, as usual, made complaints.  Her hair has gotten quite long and at 7 years old she’s not very good at taking care of it or keeping it brushed.  She ends up with tangles and this week, pine pitch.  I’m thinking about having it trimmed about five inches to make it more manageable.  In fact, this might be a nice outing for us on this cold rainy and snowy day.

IMG_4900 2

Good natured Seth, on a Costco trip.

IMG_4898

The black cats we adopted at Christmas time have bonded to yours truly.  They adore me, however, at the sound of footsteps, or doors opening, or unexpected movements, they bolt.  But their purrs are loud and one of them is faithful to curl up on the couch next to me each night.  Unfortunately I cannot tell them apart.  I usually have to ask the children, “Who is this?”

fullsizeoutput_53f9

Amanda came over yesterday with her son Weston and her friend’s daughter Julia.  Sarah had a girl to play with and they wasted no time in doing all they could in two hours.  It was absolutely adorable.

IMG_4929

We talked a mile a minute and made plans and went for a walk with the girlies.

IMG_4934

DSC_0364

It’s been cold and I’ve been pouting in the house, having the children do chicken chores.  Two days passed, “no eggs mom” they say cheerfully.  So after Amanda left I trudged to the coop and found 2 dozen.  Hello?  I don’t get it.

They sure are pretty.  One of my favorite antique store purchases in the last year has been this old feed scoop.  It was the only thing I could grab to put the eggs in yesterday. . .

I made the children egg sandwiches for dinner last night and used up 7 of them.

fullsizeoutput_53f8

We had a fire all day and Seth made a hot dog before bed.  He only took one bite before giving it to David, who practically ate the whole thing in one bite.  (little brother/big brother).  Seth is suffering because he had an expander and habit breaker put in the roof of his mouth this week.  He can’t talk and can’t eat and secretly I want to take him right back and have it removed.  But they say it’s for the best and he will get used to it.

fullsizeoutput_53f7

Aren’t burning pinecones lovely?  Mom told me the Indians used them as fire starters so Sarah went down with a bag to gather them on a dry day (which is how she got pine pitch in her hair).

David felt dizzy during the day so I let him drink a Gatorade (reserved for sports practices and meets) and when he was done he threw that in the fire, too, causing me to lecture loudly.  Next thing I found was a metal pipe.  I saw it just as I threw another armful of logs on the fire and David was offended and said “My pipe!”.  “Get the pipe out of the house and stop throwing things on the fire!”  He amuses me and terrifies me.

IMG_4944

At the end of the day and just before couch time with Sarah, David and Seth and I put our feet up on the hearth and chatted and laughed about things together.

It’s been a lonely week without my husband, but having the children home on spring break has made it much better.  He comes home tonight and I found myself putting make up on at 8:00 this morning.

common hours

Write it down, when I have perished:
Here is everything I’ve cherished;
That these walls should glow with beauty
Spurred my lagging soul to duty:
That there should be gladness here
Kept me toiling, year by year. . . . .
Everything thought and every act
Were to keep this home intact.
Edgar A. Guest

24991218_10155694582416343_8645630681534709611_n

Saturday morning I woke up and Rich wasn’t in bed with me anymore, he was out on the couch.  Sometimes if he can’t sleep he will get up and move into the livingroom.  ESPN was on, quietly, and he was sound asleep and looked so peaceful.  I made some coffee and tip toed back to bed.  Shortly thereafter, Seth came in and got into bed with me.  We read stories on my blog for a while and then Sarah came, too.  I love these grateful days of having children small enough to still get into bed with me on a lazy weekend morning. . . . . .

We decided it was a good morning for pancakes.

 

 

Cornmeal pancakes and corned beef hash.  Rich ate the whole pan of hash himself….the kids kept saying, “WHAT IS THAT SMELL?” as it fried.  I haven’t made him hash in years.

Seth had the only complaint, “The pancakes are chewy.”

“Do you mean gritty?”

“Yeah.”

“It’s because they have cornmeal in them.”

I happen to adore cornmeal, and in case you do too, here is the recipe:

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes

1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup cornmeal

2 cups buttermilk
3 egg yolks
3 T. butter, melted
3 egg whites, beaten stiff
1 cup blueberries

In a large bowl sift together the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl combine the buttermilk, egg yolks, and butter.  Add the mixture to the dry ingredients.  Fold in the beaten egg whites.  Pour 1/4 cup batter onto the griddle and sprinkle with the blueberries.  Cook the pancakes until bubbles firm and start popping.  Turn only once and cook until done.

I used blueberries that I picked myself this fall at my parents’ house.  I had forgotten them in mom’s freezer and she thoughtfully brought them to me in a cooler at Thanksgiving.  I was sparing with them in the pancakes as I am hoping to make my four bags of blueberry treasures last until next fall when I can pick some more.

24993245_10155694582021343_6163175798106591580_n

fullsizeoutput_4bdf

Happiness is being able to sit on the couch and take photos through the window of your bird visitors at the feeder.

Also legwarmers.   Leg warmers are happiness.

fullsizeoutput_4be0

The children were ecstatic to see snow coming down and bundled up in their snow boots to go outside.  Sarah danced down the driveway.

fullsizeoutput_4be4

Seth was pensive.

fullsizeoutput_4be5

Rich and David went to get our 2017 Christmas tree.

At first, they sent me this photo:

25158249_10155694580601343_8342074134161303113_n

But they really came home with a nice large sized tree.

fullsizeoutput_4be8

Thank you, guys!

fullsizeoutput_4bec

I made tacos for lunch.

Rich and I went downstairs to find ornaments.

Later that evening we watched Elf and let the children decorate the tree.  Only three of them decorated this year.  It was amazingly non-chaotic and I must say, lovely.

Rich and I must be getting older because as soon as the Christmas tree was completely done we said to ourselves, “It’s like it never left.”  The time between trees is all too brief now.

fullsizeoutput_4bee

Our three tree trimmers.

Rich hung the lights.  I think I hung up one ornament, my glass camera one.  I still have to hide the pickle (I’ll do it as soon as I’m done blogging). . . .

fullsizeoutput_4bf2

fullsizeoutput_4bf1

Sarah was excited to find her Sarah ornament but was very confused when she found the one that said Isaac.  WHY do we have this one???   “Because he’s my brother and I like to think about him at Christmas!”

Truth be told, at the end of the season when the ornaments all go on sale I buy the ones I can find with our siblings/family names on them.  It’s fun and meaningful to have them hanging on our tree.  Someday Sarah will understand, too.

fullsizeoutput_4bed

The first Christmas card tidings received in the mail this year were from our old neighbors.

fullsizeoutput_4c0c

fullsizeoutput_4c11

We were trying to get a photo of the children in front of the tree when Parker slinked over and sat in front of them.  One wonders how long he was in the background watching before he became brave enough to join his children.

fullsizeoutput_4c19

My heart missed the older children very much.  I hope they are just about ready to come home and get their photo taken in front of the tree, too.

fullsizeoutput_4c1d

He’s so cute.

fullsizeoutput_4c0b

Last but not least; Christmas cat.

***

“Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.”  Francis P. Church