weekend report

He has been with me everywhere I have gone.  Genesis 35:3

He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.  Job 5:9

Not to us, Lord, not to us but to you be the glory.  Psalm115:1

The friends and pleasures of which you speak cannot compare with the joys which I seek.  Christian, in Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan

If you love me, feed my sheep.  John 21:17

*****

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Sarah’s last school program for 1st grade.  Next year she will be moving on to the bigger elementary school in town.  (my baby!)

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On a flower the size of a dime.  Sarah and I made baby sounds at it because it was so small.

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The tree we planted from Grandma and Grandpa  (Rich’s dad and step-mom).  The children never forget about this tree and love to check on it.  “It’s growing, Mom!”

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Lady’s slippers in bloom

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We found a small toad….. I took this picture moments before she started jumping around (similar to a toad) because she’s trying to be brave holding it in her hands….but she’s really feeling rather squeamish.

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~Buttercups and guess what?  We all like butter, very much.  Especially on toast and popcorn.

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Gentleman Gray walked with us.  I had to carry him back, he’s not a cat that enjoys walking in the heat through tall grass with a strange dog “over there”.

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While I had Gentleman, my sister randomly texted me a picture of herself with her fur baby.

Sisters!

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Tessa’s Jr. Prom!  She invited Ethan, of course.

They’ve been dating almost 2 years.

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It was so hot outside.  I did a five minute photoshoot on the driveway before they left.

Aren’t they good looking?

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cuties

They didn’t get home until around 1:30 in the morning so I didn’t sleep very well.  Mom-worries, you know.  🙂  They had a wonderful time, so happy.

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Lots of baseball games for the boys!

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I turned to Rich and silently mouthed, “Take my picture!” seventeen times before he got it.  I had to be sneaky because if Seth had heard me he would have run off — he likes to tease me.  This boy…..we rarely see him during his brother’s games but every once in a while he’ll come visit me.  In this case he was coming to say,  “No one’s working the food booth today.  If you had a key would you work the food booth Mom?”  Maybe he was hungry.  Or wanting candy.  Look at his outfit.  Batting gloves, knee high Garfield socks.  He’s so cute!

But what I love the most…..is he is still so much a Mama’s boy and loves to come close for some obligatory lovin’ .  He knows it’s his duty so mom doesn’t get lonely and sad because her children are growing up.

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Grown up Jacob came to the field after work.

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The little kids spent most of the time up in the unused announcer’s booth watching the game from up high.  Sooooo cute.  Rich and I could see them from across the way.

The little league fields are our “home away from home” these days, we are there almost every day.  If I drove a horse and wagon I wouldn’t even have to direct the horse….I would just say, “Take me to the ballgame” while flicking the reins and off we would go in the wagon.

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Our rabbits are not caged, they live free in the chicken coop and when I let out the chickens they are also consequently free to roam.   Number 1 bunny never hops out, but number 2 bunny is more adventurous and we were highly amused when we came home from the game and found it talking to the cat.

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Sunday night dates, we love Pinkberry and Auntie Anne’s pretzels at the mall.  And each other.  Rich says, “I don’t even want to buy anything I just love walking around with you.”    He’ll stare at me while we eat our treats and say things like, “you’re beautiful.”  or, “I love that hair color on you.” And he’ll walk behind me five steps as we go upstairs and whistle.  You know, regular & comfortable married couple stuff like that.

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We went to Barnes and Noble and I took a picture of books I want to look up at the library.

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Sunday evening walk all by my lonesome.  I picked a few wayward lily of the valley (they spread through the years and I found some fair game– in the ditch) one of them pulled right up with it’s roots attached so I transplanted it in the garden back home.

I found a feather on the side of the road.  I also got scared by the neighbor’s little vicious white dog.

Thus concludes the weekend report.

46 photos if I’m not mistaken

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HAPPY MAY 1ST

Today is a “catch up day” on the ol’ blog of all the photos I want to share from the last week and a half.  I have 46 photos in this post.  Life is good, full, beautiful, cherished.

“When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” — Willie Nelson

I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.  Psalm 1:9

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Mom, as she always does, made homemade meals when I was visiting; soup on Friday.

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pumpkin bread on Friday evening; I grated the nutmeg and ground the cloves.

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pizza on Saturday night

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with homemade sauce preserved last fall from her own garden tomatoes

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It was so good I was almost crying as I ate it.  Tears of joy and of sadness because I can’t make pizza like she does and I have been trying for years.  Mostly joy though, I ate three pieces.

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She showed me how to make breadsticks using leftover pizza dough.  She divided it into pieces and we rolled it out thin (like a snake), drizzled lightly with olive oil, and then twisted it and pressed it through a sprinkling of spice mix of mom’s own choosing on the counter.  I remember smoked paprika, fennel, sesame seeds, pepper, poppy seeds.  We put them on a cookie sheet to bake and they ended up delicious and fragrant.  The next day Mom and I each took one and used it as croutons on salad by crumbling it on top of the greens.

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Salad fixings on Sunday afternoon; asparagus, seasoned chicken, tomatoes, cheese, homemade salad dressing.

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I went with Dad to his drumming lessons with Kubla the dog.

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And for several walks with my parents.

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And a nice long walk by myself on a sunny Sunday.

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Sunday morning we woke up to frost and a pileated woodpecker!  God knew what would get us outdoors in that kind of weather…Mom and I quickly pulled on our coats and boots and had a lovely walk before church, birdwatching.  In fact, come to think of it, I do have more photos of that morning but they are on another memory card so I’ll have to share those maybe tomorrow, if ever.

It was a thrill to see the pileated woodpecker; they are the largest woodpeckers in our area and so pretty with the red hat on top.

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Mom and Dad’s cat Asian.

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Mom’s vegetables started at the window.  She uses cut down milk cartons to transplant the tomato seedlings into as they grow bigger.

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Dad keeps busy doing wood and keeping the fire going.  Even this is picturesque with the wood sheds and rock path, wood smoke, forest in the background, and Dad in his pop of orange.

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Sunday afternoon was fun.  The frost had melted and the temperature had risen enough to make being outdoors the very best place to be.  We worked in the flower bed by the driveway.  Mom has a “Rusty Garden” with a collection of old rusty things that she uses as decoration.  It’s a fun theme.  We took everything out and threw it behind us on the grass.

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You can see the different objects she has, most of which came from her Dad’s farm and land years ago before they sold the property.

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We cleaned up the edge of the bed and thoughtfully replaced everything in new spots.  By the end of summer the plants will fill in among the decorations and be so pretty.

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Back at my own home; last week was The Week of the New Lens.  The first day it came it was raining outside.  (sobs) But then the weather cooperated and I was able to try it out. (cheers)

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I was quite far away from these birds and I am thrilled with the photos.

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Baltimore Oriole!  I stood and listened to it’s beautiful voice before I finally saw it.  It was hard to take a photo through all the tree branches–my camera didn’t know what to focus on.

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It’s too bad that the roof of the car was in the way but nonetheless, I was so happy to get this photo of a female cardinal and her mate. In my peach tree.

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And then on Friday there were four ducks on the pond!  I sat on the bench and snapped bout 50 pictures with perfect ease.  🙂

I texted Rich “this lens is awesome!”

He texted back, “I love you, too.”

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It’s so funny when they go “bottoms up”.

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quacking!

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Rich was on a business trip and sent me this selfie!  🙂

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Thursday was “take your child to work day” and Seth was the chosen child this year.  He went to work wearing clothes just like his Dad wears and with his hair slicked back all handsome.  By bedtime he was asking/begging me (and not Dad) to tuck him in and I understood he had had a huge dose of Dad that day.  His little love tank was full to overflowing.

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Which leaves us with photos from Saturday; Little League Opening Day!  It was hot and bright all day long.  I went to Home Depot before the game and to my sister’s house.  I picked up Naomi and Weston so they could watch the games, too.

The photo of Seth is from the National Anthem.  Rich took it with my new lens.

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Caleb at bat.

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I was sitting on the bleachers!!!  So happy with my camera!

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After making a double play!

This boy is very verbal and keeps his attention on EVERYTHING, encouraging his teammates and getting them ready and watching for the next plays.  He gets VERY into the game, even at home it’s all about baseball with this boy now.

(By the way, he’s a Yankees fan)  LOL

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I’m going to get him that black stuff that you smudge on your cheeks.

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POOR SETH!!!!!!!!  He gets TERRIBLE allergic reaction to the dust; his eyes were so red and swollen by the end of the day.  Bless his heart.  I’m giving him allergy medicine and eye drops now.  He’s a good ball player, too, and got to pitch for a few innings.

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And that dumb string was dangling all day long.  I never did get close enough to tell him to put in inside his pants where it belonged.  🙂

Isn’t he so cute!?!?!

Last, but not least; DAVE!  He is 14 and on Juniors this year.  He’s known for his speed around the bases, he runs around them just as fast as his dad did when he played.  He’s like the Flash (his favorite show on TV).

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LOOK at that face of intensity!

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I’m so proud of my baseball players.  There is practice and/or a game every evening but it’s all worth it.  We get outdoors, talk to friends, and watch our boys do great things.  In every game there are impressive catches, scores, etc.  The moms laugh and try to keep track of everything.  Even when the team loses it’s fun simply because they are working together and learning so much.  Pastor says baseball is a spiritual sport because “you’re trying to get home”.

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ALSO: in pond news:  the toads came and mated and then left again (leaving their long strings of eggs behind to hatch and grow on their own)

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I had a moment of peace on Saturday evening down by the pond with the toads.

*****

It’s May 1st so try to include flowers in your day or better yet surprise someone else with them.  That’s my advice for the day.

Time for me to get off my behind and get to work.  Be blessed, my friends.  🙂

little walk

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Rich normally arrives home from work around 6pm but yesterday he arrived at 4:30.  I was just taking dinner out of the oven, I had made an early dinner not for the reason I believed (I was so hungry) but because Father-God arranged it that way so we could eat together.

I made a big casserole of about 5 pounds of browned hamburger, plus lots of taco seasoning, a big can of enchilada sauce, a can of diced tomatoes, a can of creamed corn, and cheddar cheese all mixed together.  I baked it in the oven until it was bubbling and melty.  It was sort of like a thick soup.  My thoughts were that we could each have a bowl of it, with a dollop of sour cream, chopped tomatoes, and black olives on top.  With a huge bag of tortilla chips, this was a dinner everyone loved.   Basically glorified chips and dip.

We had a nice meal together around the table with Dave (14), Caleb (11), Seth (7), and Sarah (6).  We were missing the three oldest children but I happily noticed how much David was talking and realized that with the three oldest growing up and not around to eat dinner with us as often, he is able to be the respected, listened to, older brother at the table.  It’s all good.  In a large family the middle children can let lost (or the youngest….but in our case Seth and Sarah have no problem being seen and heard).  It’s that middle one, Dave, who hasn’t had much to say with the older ones in the room.  He’s moving up in ranks, so to speak, and it is good.

We finished dinner at 5 and I said “let’s go to the school and go for a walk while we wait for Grace to be done at 6!”   The children scattered while I yelled, “Get a jacket !!!” after them, 25 times.

Still, Seth and Sarah had no jackets when we got there.

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The only thing I stressed about was that the typically quiet school road ended up being a lot busier than we expected.  Every three to five seconds there was a car going by us.  We kept the running, skipping, happy, offspring in the grass on the side of the road, trying to reduce their chances of running into the street.  Rich was relaxed, but I was on heightened alert.  MOTHERS!  Can’t relax.  *sigh*  It’s all good though.  (said a little less confidently).

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He wasn’t concerned in the least……I love him…..we balance each other out.

Other than the traffic, it was lovely in every way.  Cool crisp air, all of us together in a pack, and a nice walk up the hill and down.  Great for the leg muscles.

Oh and did I mention Dave was catching Pokemon?  He loves that game.

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Seth and Sarah’s arms were like ice.  Poor babies!!!!  They insisted they weren’t cold!

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It’s a very rare occasion when Seth gives me a sweet smile for the camera.  He looks so handsome (and cold) in this photo.

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We picked up Grace and went to McDonalds for 49 cent ice cream cones.

Incidentally, I bought Grace the shirt a week ago and she wore it for the first time yesterday.  I said, “Grace, you wore your shirt today!”  and she said, “I LOVE this shirt!  It made me feel fabulous!”  (tip for blue days!)

Even though I went out and had my nails and hair done yesterday, this little family walk was the highlight of my day by far.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:17

handsome football official

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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.)

interesting

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Jacob and I went to Brimfield yesterday.

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I brought home fiestaware.

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Not only are my dishes useful but they are also decorative.  They add all the color to the otherwise neutral kitchen.

Things not to be used are on the top shelves.  Everything else is used daily.

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In the morning I used my claret mug.  He made the coffee while I made waffles, scrambled eggs, and sausage for our children.  Saturday mornings.

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The girls and I were downtown.

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We had a picnic across the street from the coffee shop in town.

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The flowers are so lovely there.

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I met a Kindred Spirit in the thrift store book room.

There were two stacks of Scrapbooks made by her, full of everything I also like: heartfelt articles, poetry, comic strips, news, cards, pictures.

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I chose some to bring home (8).  I will show you some of the things in them on another day.

They are amazing.  The lady’s name was Jean and she made the scrapbooks in the early 1960s.  She was a teacher.  Someone loved her named Bill.  I’m currently typing these words on my bed surrounded by the things she found interesting enough to cut and glue into books……..

It’s sad that they ended up in a thrift store, wasn’t there any family who could have kept them?  I left over half of them there on the shelf…..but at least there are some home with me and I will have the coziest time looking through them.  I love them.

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Gracie in the book room.

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Well, lastly we went into the Dollar General.  I hated the way my hanging basket looked after a rough season of being watered faithfully and then left to dry out nearly to death, over and over.  So I thought of a solution; and Rich remarked, “Nice, Shan!  It looks like a wig on a very old lady!”

 

enough

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Poor Rich had a rough start to his day.  He has been getting up early to work out with Ethan, who has to stay in shape for his college wrestling team.  This morning when they stepped out the door to leave for the track, they were confronted by a huge mess on the porch.

I knew something was the matter a few hours later when Rich was back home and stomping around the house getting showered and dressed for work.  So, the first chance I got I asked him if something was wrong.

“Oh, a few things irritated me this morning.  First of all, someone, instead of taking the trash out to the bin, hung it on the porch railing instead.  A raccoon must have gotten into it because it was ALL over the place and not only that but it was nothing but raw eggs.  I had to scrub and hose the porch and steps off.  And then, there were no towels in the bathroom but that wasn’t that big of a deal because I’m used to there being no towels in the bathroom, but when I got out of the shower I slipped on the floor.  Also, the big things of shampoo that I bought before camp are gone so I had to go out to get my bag and use my travel shampoo.”

“Wait.  Raccoons don’t like eggs?”  I asked innocently.

“Oh, they liked them.  They had a great time with them.  They were all over the porch.”

I was highly amused, and he was too, at that point.  But he was not happy in the midst of these surprising experiences.

I confess, it was I who hung the garbage on the railing.  And I was the one who filled the bag with raw eggs, too.  One of my hens needs to be “dispatched” because she has been laying nothing but a daily stinky egg.  I never know which egg I crack will be stinky so I am determined to stay at the coop and check each and every hen’s egg.  When I find out who is laying these unusable eggs, I’m going to have to get rid of her.  It wouldn’t be so bad if I could visually identify which egg it was (out of 14 per day) but unfortunately there are a lot of eggs that look identical, thus all the light brown eggs are under constant suspicion.  As I told Grace, it has become an obsession with me.  Sarah Joy saw me industriously smelling a raw egg, which I had broken in a cup, and said, “What are you DOING?  That’s discusting!”  We can’t have this, we can’t.  The mystery must be solved so I can enjoy my hens and eggs again.

((stay tuned.))

So yeah, it was pouring rain yesterday as I reached out the door to hang the trash on the railing.  I meant to tell someone to take it to the bins, but I completely forgot.

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Ethan was distraught.  He was hungry.  He’s been working out so much and I am of the opinion that he needs to eat more…..so yesterday I was in the kitchen for a few hours, making pancakes and eggs,  and then a delicious homemade coffee cake.  Soon not only Ethan was happy, but we all were, and sugar was falling like snow.

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Seth was too close to me in the kitchen and I couldn’t resist.

We ate coffeecake while playing a game.

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Seth had come upstairs all upset because Caleb had “broken his nose with a hard pillow.”  I felt it very carefully.  “It’s not broken.” I said. “Lean against my leg and I’ll give you a back scratch.”

It was a contented moment, to play a game with Grace, eat coffee cake, comfort a small son, and look over to the couch now and then where Ethan (who finally had a full tummy thanks to me) was sound asleep under a striped crocheted afghan.

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Gratitude unlocks
the fullness of life.

It turns what we have
into enough……

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Grace spent some time on a school paper which needs to be done by the end of this month.  When she was finished for the day, she stacked up all of her things and proclaimed, “I have so many books that give me joy!”

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Happiness is an afternoon power walk with a cheerful, talkative daughter & admiring a giant picturesque pine tree by the side of the road.

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This morning I went outside to check on the gardens and smell the flowers.  It’s going to be a wicked hot and humid day (for us new englanders) so we will spend the day inside.

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I found Gentleman Gray in one of his wild moods, attacking my morning glory vine which I have been patiently training up the porch railings.  I took his picture right before he fell off the porch, with a little help from a friend.

 

what excellent parents we are

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Last night while Rich was in bed next to me falling asleep, he burst out laughing.  What’s so funny?” I demanded, as I tried to read my book.   “I was just thinking about Caleb….”and he shook the bed with laughter.  Then we argued about who’s fault it was.

Seth had a baseball game that afternoon.  Our family has been going back and forth to the little league park so many times over the years that, at this time of year, it almost feels like home away from home.  I pull into the parking lot at the field and everyone runs off to their perspective places.  There are three games going on at once and lots of parents and kids having fun.  There is a food shack with grilled foods and snacks and drinks.

Yesterday, I got there first with Caleb, Seth, and Sarah.  Rich came about 45 minutes later and we leaned against the fence talking and laughing as we watched Seth and his team play.  At one point, we talked to Caleb because he had come over to us to ask for money.  I gave him a five and he came back with a lollipop for Sarah.  Meanwhile, I told my husband every detail about my day and he in turn told me all the latest with work.  We cheered for our Seth as he batted, played shortstop, and did some pitching.  Seth was having a great game.  In fact, he ended up getting his third game ball of the season.

Sarah and I had already played with a caterpillar, sticks, stones, and leaves.  We had “made a castle” for the caterpillar.  I had forced her to drink a water bottle and played with her on my lap in the chair Rich had brought.  She did math on a piece of paper and kept asked me questions.  I informed her whenever she got a math problem wrong and she would say, “How do YOU know?” like she didn’t believe I had ever gone to school.  (she’s never seen me there.)  ‘Round about 7:45 we started getting bored and when she said she was getting cold I jumped right on it and said immediately to my husband, “I’m going home with Sarah, she’s cold.”  And I left.

Sarah had a snack and then I tucked her into bed.  The lawnmower man came to the door to be paid and I wrote him a check.  Grace called and needed to be picked up so I passed the message on to Rich so he could get her on the way home.   Forty five minutes after I got home they arrived and Grace came through the door full of energy and song and conversation.  Seth came in with his game ball and a treat from McDonalds.  Jacob and Emily were home, too, and soon the five of us, Rich, Grace, myself, Emily, and Jacob were warming up dinner, talking, teasing, and catching up with each other’s stories.  It was 9:00pm and there were about 3 conversations going on all at the same time and lots of action as we all used the fridge and microwave.  I made strawberry/banana/pineapple milkshakes for Rich and myself and we drank them out of tall mugs.  Grace sat cross legged on the kitchen island and talked about how she wished we could always live together, all of us in one big house.  I sent Seth off to go take a shower.

And then……..BOOM…… Caleb burst into the house.  “YOU GUYS DITCHED ME!” he exclaimed.  All conversation stopped and we all looked at him as tears began forming in his eyes.  I started screaming as I realized what had happened.  Come to find out, his Dad left him at the park because “I didn’t tell him that I was leaving without Caleb when I took Sarah home.”

After the games were over, people were leaving and Caleb left his friends and wandered all over the place looking for us until he found Noah, who is Seth’s best friend and the son of Seth’s baseball coach.  So Noah took Caleb to his Dad, who tried calling and texting us.  But we were busy partying in our kitchen and never got the messages.  Coach brought Caleb home.

Grace and I ran to our poor poor boy and gave him a long and comforting hug.  After all, it was a two hug problem.  He started saying, “It’s okay, I’m okay, I’m NOT CRYING!”  Emily told him not to feel bad, one time her aunt got left behind in Canada.

Rich was laughing later on that night instead of sleeping because he was wondering how long it would have taken us to notice that Caleb wasn’t home.  He had truly believed that I had brought him home with me and I had truly believed that Rich had brought him home with him.  I had assumed that Caleb was playing outside instead of coming in the side door with the others.  Looking back, I remembered that smart Seth had asked, “Where’s Caleb?”  but I had truthfully replied, “I don’t know” because, like I said, I thought he was somewhere around the house, I just hadn’t seen him yet.

I went on and on as much as I could to make Rich feel guilty about forgetting his own son but it didn’t work.  After laughing about it in bed, he confessed, “I did tell him I was sorry when I tucked him into bed.”  I reached over to rub his back and told him he was a good Dad.  “He told me it was okay”, he continued, “he knew it was your fault.”  Then the back rub turned into a smack as I told him he was a jerk, “Caleb would never say that!”

And thus ended another day.

 

best picture is at the end of the post

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get kids ready for school
run on treadmill for half hour (2 miles) while watching Unsolved Mysteries
shower, dress
make bagels for R and G
fold a ton of laundry that has been too easy to wash but not too easy to fold for some reason
while watching Mr. Selfridge
upload photos then abandon blog to snuggle on husband while he goes through emails
eat a cream cheese, sliced tomato and cracked pepper bagel for lunch
pop a bowl of popcorn and read a book (Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince)
fall asleep
wake up to Dave home and clattering things in the kitchen, making perfect rice and a sauce to go over it (youtube video recipes) He needs help finding  lid, the cornstarch, and rice vinegar
make a cuppa
facebook

AND NOW I finally get a chance to tippety tap a blog post, a very long blog post.

Did you notice in the first photo how my cobalt canister broke it’s lid so it sweet talked the sunflower canister to give it it’s lid?  Now the poor sunflower canister has to use a pot lid.

After years of having a subscription to Country Living I let it run out and now get Cooks Illustrated, which I love reading through.  It’s a cooking magazine for readers, as most of the magazine is very long explanations of recipes and THEN the recipe.  And I also used the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook again, this time to make potato bread.

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while the dough rose

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I did a portrait session with a nonpaying customer.

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She thought I would be honored to take her picture.  Look how carefully she posed for me.

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Her brother was, as usual, taking a nap (which often run to 4 or more hours at a stretch).

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I did not realize I would end up with so much bread.  we ate it for days.  Buns for sloppy joe (sprinkled with herbs) and several loaves.  The potato in the bread kept it soft.

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This is what sometimes happens when I get a sad feeling.

Star Wars the newest movie became available to purchase on amazon prime so we decided to buy it and eat all the junk food we wanted.  (we were sad because Rich had left for a 10 day business trip).

Grace felt hesitant and guilty about the groceries and the boys were all like, “stop it.”

The Ben and Jerrys was for meeeeeeeeeee.

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We invited our friends and told them to wear pajamas.

Seths skinny little feet…so cute and dear.  (Grace just said I made the face I make when I see a cute baby).

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I took one picture during the movie because I saw something so sweet:

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Tessa in a love sandwich.

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thrifting (fiesta plates and amber stone dishes)

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Sarah made me laugh and laugh because she told me she wanted me to fix her hair “just like Tessa’s” which (she directed me) was a ponytail with a big chunk pulled out of the side.   She also had a hair band doubled around her wrist “just like Tessa” but I said, “Tessa doesn’t put hairbands on her wrist so tight her hand turns purple” and made her undouble it.  Tessa is all the rage in Sarah’s opinion.   I should tell her that Tessa would NEVER suck HER finger.

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My very favorite way to eat my morning eggs!  I found an old bag of frozen raw shrimp from Costco which had been in the deep freeze for like a year.  So I thought I would throw a handful in the pan along with some peppers (also bagged frozen).  When the shrimp and peppers were cooked I put them on a plate and then scrambled three eggs and ate it all together while closing my eyes and saying “this is SO good!”  Jacob cooks his eggs at the same time.  It’s fun to be together.

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journaling with a dog and a cat and also Grace (not photographed)

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David’s perfect rice from a few days ago.

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spring is here

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the sky is blue, whoa oh oh

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birds all sing as if they knew

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Today’s the day, we say I do,
and we’ll never be lonely anymore……

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Ethan started track season.

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Uncle Nate very generously sent a Tom Brady rookie card to Caleb in the mail, it was so sweet to see (don’t you feel like one of the best parts of being a mom is watching their faces when they’re happy?)

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Jacob and Emily playing with Parker the Dog.

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I made Alaskan coffee in my french press this morning and then….

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It was only like one cup that I dumped but it went everywhere.  Then I had to search for a dustpan.

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folding laundry in front of the TV

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I saved The Best for last…….Rich arrived back home yesterday and as soon as he came in the door he had three of his sons in a big hug.

I cry a lot because I’m so happy.

When the heart is full, the eyes overflow

 

special

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EVERYONE say HI to RACHEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last night at the winter sports awards Dave had my camera and she squealed, “Take my picture so I can be on your Mom’s blog!”

She’s adorable.  Grace tells me that Rachel is a devoted reader of this blog and for that I say, “I’m so very glad you enjoy it and yes you may save any photo you want!”  xoxo

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I had to run over to get in a picture, too, (along with goofy wrestling boys in the background).  Gosh, I look tired almost like I had spent half the day saving my flock of hens from a fox.  (true story)

Rachel is the fabulous Mary Poppins in our upcoming school play so she’ll make another appearance here soon…..stay tuned!

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It was a fun night honoring the winter sports.  We had pizza in the cafeteria, awards in the auditorium, and then broke into groups in order to honor individual sports.

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Rich was this year’s head coach for wrestling.  He presented each of his boys a certificate and told everyone in the room his favorite memory of the season for each of the boys.

Doesn’t Ethan look handsome? As soon as the night was over, Jacob walked up to him and said good naturally but emphatic, “Now get my brand new tie off, E!”  I laughed and laughed because Ethan doesn’t ask to wear his brother’s clothes, he simply takes them.

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Rich was told by another coach that his wrestlers were the best dressed team of the night.  I would have to agree.  🙂

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Caleb, Seth, and Sarah Joy wanted to be in a  picture, too.  I simply must mention that Sarah is amusing us lately by trying to be stylish.  She puts thought into her attire and dresses herself in certain outfits every day.  Today she carefully chose a dress to wear.  Last night it was all purple: pants, shirt, and sparkly headband.  She wanted to wear her earrings again after months of refusing to wear them.  Personally, I think she’s being influenced by a friend at school to dress up more fancy.  IT’S SO SO CUTE!!!

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Ethan proudly wearing his brother’s tie.

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I had my camera around my neck down low, shooting “blindly”, and this was the shocked expression I got from David when I said, “I’m shooting you, Dave.”  (with my camera, of course)

Caleb and Seth were busy fooling around in the hallways.  At one point, Seth was hanging upside down behind Caleb as Caleb held his legs.

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Grace and Caleb

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Me and my handsome, handsome husband who has a BIRTHDAY TODAY!!

Happy Birthday, love.  ❤