Seth and His Beer

oops, I meant “bear”.

Seth is 12. His stuffed bear, Mr. B, is growing old along with him and lives on his bed. Because of this, I tend to bring home decor for his bedroom, from Goodwill mostly, suitable for bear lovers.

He was at school on Friday while Grace and I spent some time at Goodwill together looking for stuff but we weren’t sure what-yet. Right away, in a magical moment, I made eye contact with a dear brown bear whose charm made me stop in my (mama bear) tracks, and……. add him to the cart.

When Seth was dropped off by the school bus later, I was home and ready to say “Seth, there’s a surprise for you, upstairs in your bedroom.” (By the way, this new bear is a ceramic cookie jar.)

As I am easily distracted, I then forgot to wait expectantly for him to reappear, but thankfully I was still in the dining room when Seth came down, gripping both hands on the same side of the railing so he could find me with his eyes, with the happiest smile on his face that I’ve seen in a while. Bright and joyous, with his cheeks smiled out so roundly, on either side of his face. (Seth, are you turning into a bear?)

“I wonder what I’ll put inside him,” he said.

very good

This morning Rich sent me out of the room. He had a call and told me to go. I was so shocked, that I went. I left the room and said “You guys, Dad just kicked me out of the room,” and they didn’t care. They said, “He has an important call.” Humph. More like, “He has an important call and doesn’t trust my mouth.” It’s always very tempting for me, and I have a very hard time staying quiet. I try so hard that when a sound DOES come out, it’s not good. So he is very smart to send me away………and thus, I am amusing myself here, in a different way; blogging.

I had my stuff with me, the stuff I carry from place to place; my book, my notebook, my pen, and my phone. I met up with Seth. He had a question to ask me; “Mom, is Grace getting married THIS year?” I took a deep breath and when I said, “Yes, Seth,” he quietly and slowly walked out of the back door to the screened in porch. He just stood there, looking at the sea. “What’s wrong with Seth?” asked Sarah. “He’s sad because he’s losing his sister.”

It’s been a very quiet morning, all because my energizer bunny is sad.

Ya know, I spend all this time (24 years) getting the family to bond in tight love, and moments like this are very rewarding. We love each other here. It’s all so clear to me this morning.

Now, David shows his love in another way; bitter sarcasm and pointed disapproval. He also doesn’t want Grace to get married (this year, or ever). No matter how many times I said, “She’s HAPPY, David, she’s VERY HAPPY.” and no matter how many times his father says, “You’ll never think ANYONE is good enough for our Grace, Davy” he still hasn’t come to grips. Of course, it’s only been a few days now…….

Yes, our dear Grace, at the young and tender age of 21, is now engaged to be married to a Most Wonderful young man, who already fits right into this family (and from what I hear, Grace fits into his, as well). I remember years ago, when Grace was small (er), she sighed and said “I just wish I had someone I could talk to as much as I want”.

Brogan.

He’s the someone.

I have observed and seen and noted; they have NO trouble talking to each other….. and talking…. and talking.

She found him.

But, that’s just one of the reasons why.

Because if they both lost their voices, there are always books, and writing, and hiking, and cooking, and playing music and gazing into each others eyes and kissing……….and so on, and so forth.

Grace is so happy she glows, her eyes twinkle, she is exceedingly bright and chipper, everlastingly smiling, and “it is very good”. (Genesis 1:31)

Thank you, Jesus. You did it again.

“Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father who created all the lights in the heavens. He is always the same and never makes dark shadows by changing.” James 1:17

very rainy day, today

Hello dear friends,

All is well. Turns out that so far Jacob is the only one of us to come down with Covid, and he’s now all better and going back to work soon. We have settled into a routine and it’s been cozy and delightful for the most part (I have to be honest!). With nine of us in the house you can imagine how much activity there is here………

……and today was a very rainy day.

You are loved.

*****

Rain and wind speak more
than just water and air
Rain patters hope
Wind whispers let go…
~Terri Guillemets

a chair to sit upon

I finished a book this afternoon which I can highly recommend; The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton and Lara Love Hardin.

*****

Good afternoon, friends! Rich went paddle boarding with the kids today on the calm morning ocean, and while he did so, I slathered on sunscreen, grabbed a water bottle, and biked over to the Jekyll Island Club resort. The ride was meditative and I found myself saying over and over; “Heart to God, soul to God, mind to God”. And then I thought about my flesh. Does that go to Him, as well? I sure don’t want it. Would He? I ended up deciding, “yes”…..”flesh to God”. He’s the only one would can handle it, right? Someday we will be made completely NEW. I am lonely for my real self. I am lonely for That Day. I am aching for Home.

I also contemplated relationships, and compassion and how the one is ideally permeated by the other. I have ideas, exciting ones that I can’t tell you about yet.

So I pedaled and pedaled the bike trail. I stopped to look at a lizard, it turned out to be dead, poor thing. I also almost ran over a second lizard, this one was young and I could tell it wasn’t used to bikers because it didn’t run away from me, it ran all over the trail like it wanted me to hit it. I screamed a little scream like I always do when I almost run over something (startling everyone in the car) and looked back….it seemed okay, maybe a little shocked.

My goal for the next few days is to get going on my bike more gracefully, I realized that I get on and wobble everything, mostly the handle bars and front tire, for about 10 to 12 feet before I find my balance.

By the time I got to the club, I was moving much slower, had the beginnings of a headache, and was hot and sweaty through and through. I parked my bike, it’s turquoise with a wire basket, and climbed the steps wearily to the white rockers on the front porch. The wooden floors are painted blue there, and lazy fans circle from the ceiling. Big, generous hanging baskets decorate the front, and now and then people wander by…..my favorite being a tiny girl who locked eyes with me and smiled all the way out of sight, turning her head to keep looking, and I smiled back. Connection.

Rich texted me when he got back inside our cottage from the beach with the three kids and I asked them to come over and have lunch with me. While I waited, I sat and read my book and rocked. When they arrived, my heart filled with joy. They all had their eyes on me and looked so clean and happy. The ocean agrees with them. Sarah was wearing her new shoes, Caleb’s shirt matched his shorts, and Seth looked so dark and tan in his red t-shirt which I had bought for him when we first got here in May.

We ordered our food and ate inside, in the cool air conditioning.

Then, I didn’t want to bike back home. Caleb nicely took my bike back for me and I rode home with Rich, Seth and Sarah in the car.

Now we are relaxing. I just got done coloring my hair and Rich is on the couch, starting the book I just finished.

*****

The other day, I was in the laundry room folding clothes when Seth came in. He leaned against the washing machine and sighed, “I love it in here, it smells so good.” I told him the story of when Colleen and I, as children, discovered the warmth and comfort of the laundry room. “We used to shut the door and sit on the washer and dryer and play. If I had a chair in here I would sit in here all the time.” “You WOULD?” he said……..”We need to get you a chair!”

He’s the only one of my children who puts their head inside the washer as I load it, he even sniffs the empty jug of Persil in the sink. “You are so funny,” I say, “you could be a commercial for Persil.”

I only buy that brand because it smells wonderful. I smile that he noticed.

Now, it’s been a few days since that little conversation and I’m loading the washer again.

And I see it.

Our one and only beach chair.

The last time I saw it was yesterday when Sarah carried it back from the beach for me and put it away in the garage. It was covered in sand, and was now clean and set up right in the spot I had pointed to, when I had told Seth I would sit, if I only had a chair to sit upon.

He did it for me, without saying a word, and left it for me to find. I ran down the stairs and told him thank you and I loved him so much. I blew him a kiss, which he returned with a smile.

You’ll most likely find me, in the laundry room.

seth and mom football cleats outing

We spent half the day yesterday, cleaning our house here in Connecticut, yes, we are back home as of Saturday evening, and I felt that the house was…….. smelly. So I utilized the labor of my own self, and my children. The house is now lighter, cleaner, and fresher so this morning I was able to do other things……..namely, football related mom chores.

Caleb and Seth are signed up to play football again this fall. Caleb will be on the HS JV varsity team and Seth will be in youth. Seth needed cleats and I needed to drop off their physical forms at the doctors so the two of us had an outing this morning. I’m an early bird so we we were done with the doctor’s office with half an hour to spare before the sports store opened so……. Target, obviously.

Plastic bags are at a premium now, my friends! 10 cents a bag at Target, but if you take your own bag they give you 5 cents. I had no bags. My brain has to learn this new bag situation. I have plenty of reusable fabric bags but there are many ways to forget them at home or in the car, and so I do (forget them). I did manage to only have to buy 3 bags, however, but thirty cents is thirty cents!

We proceeded to the sporting goods store. This was what Seth was waiting for. The best cleats were “order only” so that was a let-down. Then, the hightops he tried to put on his feet were impossible to get on and I became antsy watching him pull and twist and loosen the laces to get them on his feet. “You are NOT going to want to struggle with those every day,” I said, firmly, and we moved on to different pairs. Poor thing had to settle for non-stand-out-basic-black cleats. How utterly “ho-hum”! Then we moved on to cups.

The key here is to, first of all, find the cups in the store (almost impossible), then, when presented with approximately 150 differents ones, find a cup which is comfortable for the boy, and the right size, along with the right size compression shorts that the cup has to slide into. The cups can be S, M, L , XL and the shorts are the same choices and to make things even more confusing, they are packaged in different ways; like, a small cup with a large short for example. So it takes a lot of careful searching. You can also buy JUST the cup, but you can’t (that I could see) buy JUST the short. But what if you buy a cup that’s too small or too big? How do I know what size shorts Seth is? The size was based on inches around the waist. I have no idea what inches Seth is around the waist. I had to take things out of packages and have him hold them to himself. I can’t imagine having a too-small or too-big cup “down there” and then having to run around playing football. By the time we got it figured out I had a fit of the giggles.

I mean, you can’t help but laugh sometimes. Years and years of buying these stupid cups for my five sons…….I’m beyond over it. Yet here I am, still buying the dang things. To me they are one of the ultimate embarrassing things that must be purchased in life. Cups. I don’t even want to mention them, they are an “unmentionable” to me, yet, every night on the way to practice now, I’ll be saying, “Did you put your cup on?” to Seth, just to make sure he’s got his protection. Do I care too little? Never. It’s always always TOO MUCH.

Then, somehow, after I said no 1,000 times to a fancy store-bought flavored mouth-guard, he ended up convincing me he needed a padded compression shirt. It will keep my baby safe so I agreed, then had to figure out what size he needed. “Just take your t-shirt off and try this on,” I said, giving him a boy’s medium. “Right here? in the store? What about a fitting room?” “No, it would take forever n’ever to find a person to unlock the door.” He had no arguement for that, so, off his t-shirt went, onto the floor (naturally) and……. on went the shirt. Well, it went on easily enough, but it wouldn’t come back off. After watching him make the most bizarre body contortions trying to get it off, I finally started taking a video.

I can’t stand the cuteness of this child!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh he is SUCH a dear dear boy. You know, I hugged him in the store and he kinda got away from it and explained, “I don’t like arm pits touching me.” “Well, I was trying not to let it touch you, Seth,” I said, understandingly, in my sleeveless shirt. I tried to hold his hand and he threw it away. When I pushed the cart he held my arm and straightened my posture with his other arm, dramatically making sure I was walking properly and making me feel ancient. He kissed my arm as we walked, he put his hand on my shoulder, he allowed other hugs that didn’t include arm pits. He got on the side of the cart for a ride and made me groan because he’s so heavy now. He laughed at me and with me and for me. He sparkled his eyes at me. He put the stuff in the cart for me at Target and then in the car, and then he put the cart away, “no problem, mom”. He was jolly. My heart was happy to be with him. Of course once I told him so, he got goofy and I had to say, “now you’re just being annoying” but we can be honest with each other and he wasn’t at all offended.

After the sports store (where, once again, I couldn’t get a free plastic bag so I carried my purchases), we went to the bookstore so I could buy the New York Times. When we did our traveling recently I started getting into the habit of buying a newspaper to look at in the car and I greatly enjoyed reading it and clipping out the best gleanings I could find. You know you can find spiritual food in the newspaper, did you know that? It’s fun to look for it. For instance, the article about the terrible droughts in Zimbabwe included the quote, “We are seriously restricted from from living our lives, water is life.” and it immediately made me think of Living Water, God Himself, and how we can’t live without Jesus. So I clipped it out for my scrapbook and wrote the verse underneath.

“Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’ ………” John 7:37

Well, guess what. No newspapers are sold in the bookstore any longer. No plastic bags, no newspaper. The plastic bags I can forgive, in fact, I say “good riddance”, but the newspaper???????????? I object to this, highly. So I comforted myself with a new book bag that says, “The World was hers for the Reading”, it’s a Kate Spade bag and I super-love it even though newspapers are no longer hers for the reading, at least the world is. I loved it so much I had Seth take my photo and the first one he took looked like this:

he had a hard time pushing the button so I went to help him just as he figured it out.

The second one looked like this:

What was in the bag, you ask?

It was a magazine for Seth all about fantasy football because he and his Dad are playing together this year and he wants their team to be good.

We went through the *chick fil a* drive-thru and ate chicken biscuit sandwiches on the way home and had a conversation that went on way too long for my liking about…..orange juice pulp.

searching for sugar

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I was highly amused the other day when I came into the kitchen and saw Seth start from one end of the counter and inch his way to the other end of it, carefully exploring and rummaging around in each cupboard.  “What are you looking for?” I asked.  “I don’t know,” he said, and kept searching for it.  So I stood and waited to see if he would find it and he did.  He found a box of Christmas Godiva chocolates that I had hid from the children and then promptly forgot about, and he quickly ate one.  Then, a few doors down, he found in the last cupboard an almost empty bag of Luden’s Wild Cherry throat drops and ate one of those, too.  He jumped off the counter and went on his merry way.  I understood.  He needed a sugar fix.

good things

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of your wonderful deeds.”

Tuesday morning

listening to music

staring out the window, the eaves are dripping, dripping, dripping (in time to the music)

lots of photos to share;

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((for the people I love))

 

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On Friday night we were watching the Incredibles 2

I was sitting weary but happy at my favorite spot at the table when Seth came by and said “I want to sit on you” and he sat on my lap.  I couldn’t see the movie very well after that but I put my nose in the back of his hair now and then and breathed in this boy of mine.  I gave that look across the room to Rich that he knows means, “Take a picture!”

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The very next morning, he was 10 and opening his big bag of gifts with some of his best friends watching curiously.

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He was given Dude Perfect things to play with, a new outfit, a stuffed animal dog that breathes thanks to a battery (he named it Oliver), and other little things.

I mixed up his requested birthday cake, which was Red Velvet, and then off we went to the wrestling tournament at our High School.  Rich is the head coach and hadn’t slept a wink the night before in all the excitement……

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Here he is, opening up the day of wrestling.

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Meanwhile, the birthday boy had a good friend with him all day and they (along with other boys) had the greatest time in the gym and also in the wrestling room nearby, playing football and running around.  They came to me now and then, mostly to get money so Seth could buy himself stuff in the cafeteria.  Since it was his birthday I didn’t say things like, “Don’t get candy with this” like I normally would.

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David with his friend Tristan.  Best boys in the world (the whole team is awesome)

There is so much sitting around and waiting at these tournaments.  David stayed bundled in his warm ups until it was time to wrestle.

I found myself a spot at the top of the bleachers so I could rest my back against the wall.  Sarah stayed nearby and we played cards and she also had a book and her DS.  I was able to chat with another wrestling mom which was fun, her name was Shannon.

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Dave after a win, going to the center to take off his ankle strap and get his hand raised.

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“Mom, can I have your phone?”

“Only if you sit over here and have your picture taken with me, birthday boy!”

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David getting set up to pin.

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My wonderful son.

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Another wonderful son (Caleb)…..watching one of our guys wrestle.

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Later on that night (what a long day, also Dave got 4th place in his bracket), Seth blew out his birthday candles and we ate the cake.  I had been concerned that it wasn’t going to be perfect……..but it was.  (in all humility)

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Isn’t it just so pretty on a Shamrock fiesta plate?  By the way, the newest color is another shade of green and they named it “Meadow” and I cannot wait to get a piece of it!!!!

(((Walter pictures)))  This cat is adored!  He’s sitting on the floor staring at me as I type, too, it’s quite funny.

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Well, and then on Sunday we all know what day it was.  Superbowl number 53 and my team was in the game.  Every time my husband flies into L.A. he gets me merchandise so I was all set to wear Rams stuff from head to toe.

We cleaned and pushed furniture around, plowed the driveway, ordered pizza and wings, and prepared for a houseful of friends all day long!

I was tired out so around 4 I went to bed to rest.  I was highly amused by the frequent visitors I had……

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Seth even stole my hat!

Isaac was the first to arrive and pretty much the first thing he said after taking off his coat and hugging me was “is that a red velvet cake?” and he ate 2 pieces.  🙂

I sat right in between my sis and my bro and it was a delight.  It was also a delight to see our girlies play and have fun.  Naomi braided Sarah’s hair and then they made batch after batch of slime upstairs.  They didn’t even make that big of a mess….I just had to vacuum the next morning what with all the glitter and foam beads everywhere.

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This picture makes me so so so so happy!  Rich invited his wrestlers to come watch the game and we had some parents stay, too.  Our friends Chris and Carolyn came again this year (they have in the past as well) and it was great to see them and catch up.  We had TON of food to enjoy.  I’m just so thankful and happy to have good friends through our community.  Look at Seth and John standing on the bookshelf behind the couch.  And Sarah sitting with her Uncle Isaac.  And sweet Naomi sitting between me and her mama.  I really need to print this and put it on my fridge.  I’ll smile all day.

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Well, alas, I was disappointed in how the game turned out.  My team lost to my son’s favorite team and Caleb has such a sweet heart that he felt bad and just stood next to me in silence as we watched the Patriots celebrate after the clock ticked down and the game was over.  “You can be happy, Caleb!” said Rich, but Caleb didn’t have it in him.  I had to go get groceries the next morning so I thought I would see if I could get Caleb a shirt to show him I was a good sport.  😉

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I took this photo at 6:20 this morning!!!!

By the way, when you have wrestlers in the house they’re gonna wrestle.  Caleb got a huge goose-egg on his forehead and another boy hurt his thumb (Rich even wonders if it’s broken).   That shadowy spot on Caleb’s head is The Bruise.

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I went for a nice walk yesterday again, the temps reached 60 which felt so nice after days and days of frigid temperatures.  I even saw a Robin taking a bath in a stream in the woods.  The birds were happy, too.

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(after a long day) we were texting Michael and the kids and laughing on the couch.

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Pictures from this morning.  (see Walter?)  Grace, David got the ink pot unstuck from the table finally.

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I sang him a song about a Handsome Handsome Cat.

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I praised the sunrise.

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And a few minutes later, the morning golden glow.

 

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for all mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”

voting with a nine year old

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The kids don’t have school today so I took a little buddy with me bright and early to get this important task completed.

Seth always knows what to do to have the utmost fun….. so I waited to see where he would put his sticker and then I put mine in the same spot.  Then he showed me that when I was filling in the ballot he had stolen the car keys out of my purse without me knowing it.

He thinks the voting age “should be five.”

We went to the grocery store with our stickers on our foreheads.

Next up, a trip to the barber with brother Caleb.

Long may our land be bright,
With freedom’s holy light…….

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!