day with the college boy

Good afternoon!  I took David to the orthodontist this morning which was nice because (does this happen in your family?) as is typical, the car is the best place for my children to open up and talk.  We have nice conversations about anything and everything.  So I got to hear everything that David wanted to talk about.  After his appointment (“What did they do to you Dave?”  “They put in a new, thicker wire.”) we scooted into the Goodwill store quickly to look at 1) dishes  2) DVDs and 3) books.  Then….Dunkin’ donuts for a snack.  He got a mint hot chocolate and a breakfast sandwich on waffles.  I got a snack sized breakfast wrap thing and a hot tea.

I dropped Dave off at the middle school (right before he got out he said, “Wouldn’t you rather just take me back home?” and I said, “No, get out.”) and then parked so I could walk and as I walked I talked to my friend Kathy on the phone, and sipped hot tea.


This weekend’s great event was getting up super early in the morning (4), and leaving to drive three hours for a visit to our college boy.  Rich and I took the younger children with us, but Jacob had work so he wasn’t able to come along.

We were in terrible moods for half the trip.  It was dark and raining and we had to stop at every red light on our way to the highway, which was driving Rich crazy because we were literally the only ones on the road.  We also couldn’t figure out how to get the new DVD player in our vehicle to work but eventually David figured it out and the sound of Looney Tunes filled the air.  About an hour down the road we all started perking up.  We left so early because we wanted to surprise Ethan by getting to him in time to take him to breakfast.  He wasn’t even awake yet when we pulled up to his dorm.  The dorms are kept locked so I called him on his cell phone to tell him we had arrived.  We saw his light turn on behind the blinds in his window as he quickly pulled on his clothes and came out in the chilly rainy weather and into the family car, where we all smiled at him.

We ate breakfast at a very nice, casual place, filled up with nice ordinary people.  We felt comfortable and happy and our waitress was capable and pleasant as well.  I ordered steak and eggs.  We all ate so much food that we were able to completely bypass lunch.

After breakfast we went for a little drive and then stopped at a Norman Rockwell museum. Next up was bowling.  We also visited a bookstore in town which was great (used bookstores are my favorite).

We headed back to the college.  Grace and I sat and read our books for well over an hour.  The college kids had an event going on where you could get an empty Pokemon character and stuff it yourself to make a stuffed animal, it closed with a zipper in the back.  It was so cute to see all these big college kids sitting around boxes of stuffing, not unlike sitting around a campfire, talking away as they made toys, of all things.  Seth, Sarah, and Caleb managed to each get in on the action, too.  The college kids were so nice to them.  Grace and I would look over at them and then look at each other and smile little smiles of joy.  Rich and Ethan played pool downstairs together, and David joined Grace and I and put his head down on the table to take a nap.

We began to get hungry so we left for an early dinner.  (It was so rainy and chilly–39 degrees!) Ethan was craving pizza so we found a well-reviewed pizza place 20 minutes away which ended up being amazing.  The place was a very low key, “hole in the wall” sort of place with an awesome view of the town and the train tracks.  Very busy.  You had to order at the counter and then sit down to wait for your pizza to be done.  When it is done they call your name and you go up to get it (no waitresses).  There was a lady at the table next to us who talked to me about our large family.  We rarely get the comment “are they all yours” any longer.  We used to get it all the time when the kids were small, but now that three of them are taller than me we don’t get that question as often.  But she loved the kids and it was a friendly little conversation.

The pizza was incredible.  Their most popular pizza was made with their garlic knot dough and was simply covered in garlic, I think it took a full 24 hours for my breath to get back to normal.  I had two pieces of it, it was topped with tomatoes and cheese.  We bought three large pizzas and simply stuffed ourselves until there was only one and a half pieces left and Rich said, “No more, the rest is for E to take to his room with him.”

Then it was time to drop Ethan back off at his dorm.  There were tears shed but all in all it was a most pleasant day!  Beautiful.  You know, there is just nothing like the feeling of being safe and loved in your family.



Rich had to take it twice.  🙂  family photo at the breakfast place!  Isn’t the decor great?  I love rooms that are filled with stuff everywhere you cast your eye.  Inside the well-decorated bathroom there was a sign which said, “Girls, PLEASE do not steal the decor!”  The word please was underlined three times.


I admit I am a little sad that our oldest son is not in this photo, but aren’t they handsome? Seth is 7, David is 14, Caleb is 11, and Ethan is 18.


*same breakfast, same facial expressions*

I’m laughing as I look at it.  Their breakfast was called the “gut buster”


beautiful mountain stream


We went to a Norman Rockwell museum, which was a building full of every cover and/or illustration that he ever did, plus little signs giving more information about his life and pictures.  There were NO original works, but we have been to the real museum in Stockbridge so we were okay with seeing the many many prints.

my favorite:


Rich’s favorite:



The pizza was so good.  Rich even said it was better than Grandes.  (the place we go to “back home” all the time, which we’ve been going to for our whole married life).


So I wanted to tell you guys that I’m finally on instagram if you want to follow me here is my link:  SHANDA’S INSTAGRAM  .


Happy Monday!

onward and upward


I took a little road trip on Friday to get our son Ethan from college.  He has this whole week off from school and it’s been such a thrill for the whole family to have him back home again.  I texted him when I arrived at the dorm and he had a big smile as he walked out to where I was parked.  We both did.



I stopped at the Vermont Country store and it was the best store to browse around in.  I bought some cleaning supplies and learned from the lady there that my clothespins are coming apart because I have always just left them pinned on the clothesline after taking down the laundry.  She said I have to keep them in a tin or a clothespin bag.  I’ve been hanging out the clothes for 20 years and never knew this.  I thought they just weren’t making the clothespins like they used to.  I am still a bit skeptical but I am certainly going to try it and see if they keep breaking.  (I use the ones with the spring in the middle).  And would you look at this kitchen goods display and all the King Arthur Flour things?  I’m going to have to do my Mom’s Christmas shopping here.

Ethan and I also stopped at a little independent bookshop which was fun, too.

It goes without saying that we will be making this trip several times this year so it will be fun to get to know other towns….Vermont is beautiful!  I would be happy to take along any friends who might want to join me in retrieving Ethan throughout the year so we can stop at neat little shops.  🙂


Ethan surprised his girlfriend Tessa that night by showing up at her house for pizza with no warning.  They were one happy couple all weekend long.  He is leaving in a little while to pick her up from school.  (they have been dating for a year now) Sarah adores Tessa (the feeling is mutual).  When I saw them hugging I said, “let me take a picture!”


Out and about for football games.  Seth and Caleb both won their games this weekend.


Ethan and his best friend Zachary….both with a good month or more of college under their belts.  And of course Parker the Dog is happy to see his boys again.

Ethan has a bad cold so I’ve been torturing him with cough syrup.

The two of us went on a walk together this morning and I brought along my camera to photograph some of the beautiful fall colors.



The sun is shining for the first time in days.  It brightens everything, including our moods.

(just like Jesus–The Son)



I loved this scareCROW on one of our neighbor’s lawns.


looking up into the trees

We saw a hawk and a crow flying after each other (in an argument over something)

We saw a dead toad, a dead squirrel and a dead goldfinch during various times in our walk. Which was sad and rather odd.

Aren’t you glad I don’t take pictures of EVERYTHING????


looking up again

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.


We saw a flock of bluebirds.   I wasn’t able to get any good photos because I didn’t have a good zoom lens with me.  There were about 10 of them flying about.  The farmhouse at the end of our street has bluebird houses which were obviously greatly appreciated this summer.





He walked barefoot because he’s ours country boy.  He has a straw in his mouth, too, but you can’t see it.



I rescued this fuzzy caterpillar from the road (lots of things are getting hit lately, as I mentioned earlier)…….


And would you look at this spider?   It’s exquisite!  I’m so glad we stopped and took a closer look at it.


Just a couple more random photos:


My brother Dave sent me this photo of Dad’s truck full of pumpkins and their puppy!  (I like how his white socks are all different sizes)



Sarah and I finished another book!  We read The Adventures of Benjamin Pink and it was delightful.

I read to her whenever we have some free time together and the other children are always welcome to listen with us, too, but she is the only one committed enough to stay snuggled up next to me.  The others do their own thing as they listen.  We started our third book this morning, it was one that I bought at the bookstore in Vermont with Ethan.

Well, it’s been a busy morning of digging pennies out of the garbage disposal, finding water leaking in the bathroom and calling the plumber, doing laundry and dishes, grocery shopping, taking Grace her purse at the school, cleaning up the house after a busy weekend, texting Jacob after he had a check up (perfect!so thankful), walking 3 miles with Ethan, and getting dinner started in the crock pot.  It’s been necessary and nice to sit and blog for a little while here with my friends (and Ethan sound asleep on the other couch).  Thank you all for reading along.  I pray that each of you who stop by here today has a very blessed and beautiful week.  I thank God for my friends and for this outlet where we can share and get to know each other.

Remember….you are loved.

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.