more pics of DC

The children had the day off from school today. It was a beautiful sunny day, so bright it almost made me squint. I was able to sleep until 8:30 and then got up to make coffee. I sat at the table and wrote letters and David sat next to me eating his pancakes. When he sneezed a bunch of times he asked me if I thought sneezes became more forceful as a person aged and I said I didn’t know. Then we talked about lungs and how sad it was that people smoked or vaped and damaged their good lungs in such a fashion. Dave started sounding a little judgemental so I tried to tell him, “Humans are weak creatures, Dave.” “Well, it’s a good thing I’m not a beta male,” he said as he got up to put his plate in the sink. “What in the world does that mean?” I asked. “Beta males tend to be followers. That’s not me. I’m an alpha male.” in all seriousness.

I laughed and laughed.

Later on, I asked Caleb and then David if they wanted to go downtown with me. I was thinking about coffee and postage stamps. They both declined. Caleb declined in a friendly absentminded fashion, but David declined hesitantly with fear that he was hurting my feelings, maybe. I said not to worry,” wouldn’t you feel worse if I just left without inviting you?” “I would say ‘Where’s Mom?'”, he admitted. Right.

I didn’t invite Seth and Sarah. They were a bit overwhelming today. They’ve found a new passion and it’s noisier than bottle flipping. They’ve begun “dice stacking” instead. To do this you need “casino dice” and straight-sided cups. Well, we don’t have casino dice (they have been ordered after Seth wore me down) so every board game in the house has been ransacked for regular dice. As far as straight sided cups; two of my plastic spice jars have been emptied into sandwich bags and two containers of baking powder have also been put into baggies and their metal tops cut off with a steak knife. Seth and Sarah do this dice stacking game and also play with their plastic animals, which involves taking books out of the bookcase to make platforms for them. Everywhere they go they leave behind messes and I love it. (and make them clean them later on)

“Whoever turned the bathroom into not a bathroom better fix it,” David said in his best alph male voice. Turns out that Sarah turned it into an animal land (remember my theme song?) The sink was full of water and there were animals posed everywhere and David just couldn’t use the bathroom like that.

I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW DEEP DOWN THANKFUL I AM FOR THESE CHILDREN!!!!!!!

Caleb, who complains too much but then gets goofy and then comes to give me a hug and almost knocks me off balance and says “I hope I can cook as good as you someday.”

David who so obviously enjoys being near me and watched Forrest Gump with me yesterday and shed a tear or two and plays the piano and puts himself on a fitness schedule and feels bad when he tells me no when I invite him places.

Seth who snuggles next to me in the evenings during TV time and sings me *Mom Is a Good Mom* songs and wants to give me hugs to hurt my bones and brags that his feet are the same size as mine and is so noisy sometimes that I tell him he’s being annoying and he pretends to get offended but he’s smiling with accomplisment.

And Sarah who loves to read and plays and holds her own with her brothers and was the only one who went out trick or treating last night and is the only daughter at home now and wants to be just like her big sister Grace and is NINE already and my baby.

What would I do without them? Or their three older siblings? My heart aches with love and longing. Longing for what? I guess just for all of it, to remember it and look forward to the rest of it, wherever God leads me as a mother, I don’t have many regrets. The biggest one being that I cared too much about sleep at times. Really, sleep is overrated. Yes, it’s scarce for years but then it returns. I would say now; don’t worry. And if the child can’t nap now and then that’s okay, too. I used to be such a stickler for naps for the children. It was my only free time of the day. But I wish I hadn’t been. I wish I had just rolled with it more. I did get more lax through the years. Typical I suppose. We even let Seth and Sarah stay up later at night …… we like having them with us. We know how fast they grow.

I made a big big pan of apple crisp today and David peeled the apples for it.

It’s been a nice day.

Here are some more Washington D.C. photos from Sunday:

Washinton Monument……sky high and ringed around with flags!

The sneakers that hurt my feet.

The two older boys were wrestling in their first meet of the season and we decided to sit and rest. Rich checked the live feed just as Ethan was in his match! Simply providential!

Ethan wrestling…..as we sat in the shadow of the Washinton Monument, watching proudly. Kinda sweet!

Rich at the Washington Monument, “lean on it” I said. So he did. The Lincoln Memorial is seen in the distance behind him.

The reflecting pool looking toward the Lincoln Memorial.

(I love how it turned out with the sunshine.)

soooooooo beautiful

And then, the moment I was waiting for……my favorite president:

His birthday is February 12.

My birthday is February 12.

We are birthday twins!

This is one of the many reasons why Abe is my favorite.

There was a crowd but I had Rich wait, and work, and angle to make it look like it was just Lincoln and me.

words of Lincoln

Rich trying to see if he could find Jacob’s wresting match.

Shows the greatness of the columns and the monument.

Lincoln Memorial looking to the Washington Monument

Arlington Memorial Bridge (the cemetary was closed by this time and we didn’t get to go inside).

We walked 9 miles on this day. The only body part between the two of us that got tired was my feet. And I blame my sneakers for that. When I came home I bought new ones.

Tomorrow I will share photos of Julia’s kitchen!

Happy Friday evening!

You are loved.

you are my good days.

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The McDonalds in town was being renovated for months and months this winter and as soon as we could, Rich and I took the kids there to see what it was like after it was completed and open for business again.   While we were there, David took this photo of us.

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David taking a nap with Sherlock.

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Sarah and I made pies.  As usual, my homemade crust was disappointing.  I’ll never get it right.

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I was sitting in the recliner when Grace got home!!  After a flurry of activity welcoming her back, with lots of hugs, I sat back down.  Soon I noticed that children were all around me so I had David (who was also sitting on the floor in front of me) take a photo.  My heart was full to bursting.

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Weekend box of donuts.   Dave was so happy he ran around the house with them before settling down to enjoy.  I believe he ate three.

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Saturday.  Sarah had a friend over for the morning.  I took this photo as they were all enjoying Youtube videos and were so cute.  David has my robe on.  He’s like my twin or something.  And you can tell Seth is happy to have his big sister home.

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We wanted a photo with Caleb but he wouldn’t cooperate.

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Michael and Grace, with sick Sarah in the background.  Yes, we are still going through the *end of winter sick-bug* here.  Currently, I am the last one recovering.  I’ve been sick for three days but thankfully last night’s sleep was much better and I feel I’m at the end of it now.

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cookies!

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Grace and I went for a walk together on Monday.

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Sarah being cute.

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Grace in the morning with our beautiful Bagheera.

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Sick Sarah with her things all around her. (the loaf of bread is a squishie)

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I discovered Caleb sleeping in my bed one afternoon.

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Sick mom with a big ten year old on her lap.  This was right before I pushed him off.  😉

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Grace and I (and Walter) have been working on a puzzle.

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RIch was away for two nights and one of those nights I stayed up watching The Office with Grace and Dave.  It was fun.

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Then, I said I was going to bed so I went in my room.  But a cat followed me, so as I was chasing him out, Grace and Dave got in my bed before I could!  It was so funny.  I love my children SO SO much.  And I think they like their mom just a little bit, too.  🙂

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Pretty Bags

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Me, last night after a nice long long bath.

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I had to share this photo of my brother.  He had a nice hair cut and beard trim and sent me a photo of himself.  This man is a constant comfort and friend to me, my dear brother Dave.

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Every morning when I get up I am attacked by three excited cats waiting for their one and only can of catfood for the day.  But yesterday we ran out so I had to post this sign by their food bowl to let them know.

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Last but not least, Rich got home safely last night and the dog Facetimed with Ethan at college.

 

HAPPY THURSDAY DEAR ONES!!!!

You are Loved.

“you. you are my good days.”  ~f.d. soul

 

 

 

racking up the mom points

David, Caleb, Seth, and Sarah have today and tomorrow off from school and I was telling them that I would make pancakes for breakfast but David complained and he said “I’ll still be asleep and miss out, as always.”  My quick thinking mind came up with a solution.  “I know, Dave! I’ll just bring you some in bed and after you eat them you can go right back to sleep!”  He shut his eyes and smiled like a pleased cat.  “That would be AWESOME.”

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9:58am

 

yesterday

Rich took Seth and Caleb to their wrestling tournament and I took the others to church.  When we were leaving church David told me, “Mom.  I’m craving a jelly donut for some reason.”   “Oh, really Dave?” was my reply, and we went to Wendy’s drive-thru for lunch and started the half hour drive home.

*****

Five minutes from home, I pulled into our local Dunkin’ Donuts saying, “I’m craving a jelly donut for some reason.”

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It was fun to see his smile.

i just love a good story (but not this one)

The strangest thing happened yesterday.

One of my perfect children came home from school with a funny story to tell me.  It began this way:  “Mom.  Do you remember a while ago when I had you sign that form for Science?”  

Okay, so……I sign A LOT of forms.  And when I sign them I promptly forget about them.  Unless of course there is something I have to remember like a field trip, which in that case I run to my calendar right away and write it down because if I don’t I WILL forget about it promptly.

So I said to this child, “I think so?”  And he continued on with this amazing story about how he had the form in his backpack for a while and then when the day came that it was due to be handed in he couldn’t find it.  So the teacher said, “You’ll have to stay after school with me today.”  (in another word:  detention).

So then my perfect child went off to his next class and (he told me this) when he took out his folder for that class, out fell the missing form!  As soon as he could, he ran back to his teacher to hand it in.  Wow, that was close!  He almost got a detention!

I just love a great story, I laughed through the whole thing, believing every single word with my whole heart!

Later on, the perfect child told his dad the same story in the kitchen but my mean husband didn’t believe the story like I had!!  He was suspicious!  I jumped to my perfect child’s defense!  This child would NEVERRRRRRRRRR lie like this!  He wouldn’t even THINK of forging my signature!  Never!

Then, true to my nature, I promptly forgot the whole thing until this morning when I got the following email from his teacher:

Good Afternoon,

Last Monday students were given a form explaining some exciting STEAM work we have the opportunity to partake in over the next 2 months. Parents/students were asked to read and sign the form that they were informed of what this opportunity was all about, it was not a permission slip.  Students were asked to return the form on Friday, Dec 7.  ***** didn’t have his in on Friday.  ***** also didn’t have his form Monday or today.  He mentioned you had signed it but he couldn’t find it.  He came to me after 6th period with the form signed.  There is a copy attached.  It doesn’t appear to be your signature, but I thought I’d check with you.
I dearly wish I could show you the photo of the form with “my” signature written on it but the perfect child had the wherewithal to include our last name, so I cannot.  Suffice it to say it looked NOTHING like my beautiful signature!  It looked sort of the way I would have written it…….. when I was a little kid!
I could NOT believe it!  This child told me a story and I believed every word!  My mom instincts failed dreadfully.  I can usually determine truth from fiction just from a child’s face!  Honestly, there is still part of me deep in my heart that still believes him, so stay tuned!!
I contacted the teacher and my husband, both of whom have consequences to deliver.
Rich didn’t think any of it was funny, which is very ironic because he forged his Father’s signature all the time when he was growing up.  ALL the time.  Which actually gives me hope because if that little signature forger can grow up to be such a good man, I guess his son can, too.
*********
This past weekend Grace and Brittnee had their holiday concerts at college and Rich and I were not able to attend.  So I was delighted to receive some music clips, videos, and photos from Joanna AND my brother David!
Happy is the heart that can rely on family and friends to stand in the gap!

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I love this one of Joanna’s husband Steve with my brother, both with their amazing beards!!!!!

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My daughter Grace,  Brittnee (my son’s beautiful girlfriend & Grace’s BFF) and my BFF Joanna (who is also Grace’s second mother while she’s away at college!)  God is SO good.
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My beloved brother Dave, with dear sweet Grace.
One more thing before I go:
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Happy Birthday (yesterday) to Brittnee!
I’m so glad you’re in our lives.  You are a blessing.

one and two & everything in between

ONE:

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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…….

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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.

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

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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!

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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:

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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:

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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:

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TWO:

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Bringing the outdoors in.

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

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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

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……

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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.

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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.

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Good natured Seth, on a Costco trip.

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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?”

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.