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Life in Collage

With over two weeks of school under our belt, we have so many fun adventures already embedded into our memories.  Since Nadine’s broken toe, five weeks ago, we have made several trips to the orthopedic dr. to make sure everything is healing as it should.  The plus side to this, is we have been making celebratory stops at Valley Forge and enjoying picnics and fun there together on the way home.  We love the history and beauty of the park.  A few weeks ago we were at Washington’s Memorial Chapel and acted out Romeo and Juliet.  We are learning about Shakespeare in school.
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Other things included in our school days are much reading, taking walks, and going places.  Notice Betty playing “Dr. Bosler” (that is our chiropractor).  Nadine is making quite the impression on her.  The injured digit of choice is the toe these days.  The boys love to hang out together in their room and “talk”.  Jack creams me in Mancala every single time.  The score is usually seven to whatever number the pile of stones is on his side.  Elijah is obsessed with the microscope.  He took pictures of what he saw through the viewfinder, and made a collage of it for me.
Phone Photos August3
Last week, we went to the shore house for the weekend.  We played at the park, went to the beach, took naps in the tent, and watched the ferry come in one evening.  On our last night there, Nadine stepped on something very sharp with her UNINJURED foot, and sliced the bottom of it open pretty badly.  So, Matthew and I spent the next four hours at the ER with her.
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At least she was able to get some fun in on the beach before it happened.  Now the poor girl has a boot for her right leg, and a special shoe for the stitches on her left.  Thankfully, she can put pressure on her broken toe foot now, so she doesn’t have to figure out how to walk without both feet.
Phone Photos August4
This last collage shows just a glimpse of our past week.  Another picnic at Valley Forge (more pictures of that later), beautiful sunsets, laughter in the car, many handstands, working on chores, reading, visiting Matthew at work, and how I often feel after a full,  busy day of mama-ing these five amazing children!
September Phone Photos
I hope you enjoyed life from the point of view of my phone camera.  Life is indeed beautiful.
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365 Days From Then

The van is cleaned out, laundry is going, and sand still sticks to the bottom of my bare feet, escaping from every corner of every bag brought home.  Our skin is more tan and our hearts are full of good memories.  A year ago, our lives looked quite different.  I am blown away at God’s mercy and grace to us this year.  From sparing Matthew’s life, to getting out of debt, to providing a “new” vehicle for us… the list goes on.  Thank you, Father.  A year ago, instead of vacation at the beach, we hung out in a hospital room.
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This week was quite different!  It was sung to the tune of ocean waves and time away as a whole family.  We have never had a vacation for a week with just ourselves in all of our married years!  A lovely opportunity came up for us to do so, and we gladly accepted the offer.  I think the last time I played in the ocean every day for five days in a row was… this week!  Like, IN the ocean, not just on the beach watching one of my babies play in the sand.  Elijah actually came up to me in the ocean and laughed out loud, “I love seeing you all wet, Mom!”  I played with the “biggie board” as Betty calls it, and made an entire city of sandcastles one day!

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Our week was full of front-porch talks, VW van sightings, a ride on the log flume with my two littles, bike rides, “biggie boards”, a visit from dear friends, a visit with family one day, and delicious food.  Unfortunately, I forgot to pull out my camera except for a couple of days.  I did catch a few extras with my phone, here.
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It is hard to see the week come to an end.  But new adventures await us as we start school in earnest, and an exciting change is in store for Matthew next week.  I will share more about that later.

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Shore House Weekend

Memorial Day weekend found us down near the shore and in our favorite shoebox full of memories.  Every year the bikes are the same.  The flags are the same.  The picnic table is the same.  Yet every year everyone has changed.


The boys can ride the big bikes now and ride to 711 for a donut.
The other day, Elijah and I were watching something pretty nasty (I thought) about nature and some guy touching snakes and whatnot.  Elijah said to me, I think it’s amazing how ladies can get so grossed out.  Mom, this is you: “Eeeeew!  Aaaah!  This guy is so whacked out!”  He likes to impersonate me and scare me on purpose.  I like to give him the I-really-think-you’re-funny-but-I’m-not-going-to-show-it glare.DSC_0356-001
Betty was all about Daddy feeding her at supper.
Steaming corn on the cob around the full table.
Yes, even roasted marshmallows on the potty.


A walk to the bay.




The love of my life.  We still make out, eleven years later.

Iced tea, watermelon and my camera.  A few of my favorite things.  Thankful for much.

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Under the Fish Lights Again

It’s hard to believe that a week ago we were driving home with five rambunctious kids, sad to leave the shore house, which no matter how long you stay there, is never long enough.  A week of school, finally unpacking, seventeen loads of laundry (or so), and twenty-one meals.  Yesterday I pulled a twelve-hour shift of non-stop kids, chattering, tidying, schooling, and somewhere in there a cup or two of hot tea!  My hat goes off to those mamas who solo it every day.  It just happened to be an extra long day of work and other commitments for Matthew, and the sound of his rusty old truck parking outside makes my heart skip a beat, and then settle into a gentle rhythm of, “He’s home… he’s home…”

Our time at the shore house was thankfully not plagued by any strange throw-up bugsor deluges, and we made it through four days without going to the laundromat!  Now that’s exciting!  Playing Balderdash one night under the fish lights and laughing our guts out reaches pretty high on my list of favorite memories.  I had my handy-dandy voice recorder secretly going, and caught a bunch of hilarity that way, including the moment when the bench that Matt’s parents were sitting on collapsed.  I think we were super relaxed by laughing so hard, that thankfully they weren’t hurt… and so we laughed some more!

We also had fun with sparklers, taking bike rides, and drinking slushies.

One morning, some went fishing while some of us stayed behind and played super-woman and phase ten.


We also took a trip to the boardwalk one night.  I had a blast doing the screaming swing with Nadine again.  Elijah rode the go-karts and spun himself silly on the tornado.  Elsie loved the rides even more this year.  Jack was about a quarter-inch too short for the rollercoaster.  Betty wanted to do everything but couldn’t.  Next year should be epic!

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Beach Memories and a Little Lesson in French

Today we drove into Philly to pick up Matthew’s race packet.  Twenty-seven is my new favorite number, for my favorite guy who will be sporting bib number 27 for 24 hours.  My butterflies are still in full flight, but he’s calm as a cucumber, reading on the couch across from me.  The two little girls are at Grandpa & Grandma’s, and the older three are here with us at the Weldon’s.

I finally went through my fourth of July pictures when we were at the shore.  There weren’t very many to choose from, since we were sick and my camera spent a lot of time in its bag.  But these are my favorites:

I had so much fun clicking pictures of my little sneaker-stomper this week.  Betty proudly walks around and our latest game has been to practice saying words together.  Her favorite is when I say, “Diaper,” the way she says it.  She laughs a belly laugh then mimics “diapur!”  Try to imagine saying diaper with a French accent.  Betty has the perfect French accent.  “One, twooo,” with the sweetest French “U” sound.  If you are wondering what I mean, try these six steps to make a perfect French “u” sound:

  • Open your mouth.
  • Say O.
  • Draw out the O until your lips are where they would be to make a W sound.
  • Purse your lips as tightly as you can.
  • Keeping your lips pursed, say E.
  • Voilà the French U!

Ma petite fille douce!

Stay tuned for post-race news next week!  Thanks so much for praying for us!

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Labor Day

It was back to the shore house for us last weekend.  Our trusty van, with its one new tire (long story, but a few weeks ago it blew so it has a new tire now… plus three old ones as well, lest you’re imagining a one-tired van driving) and 212,000 miles on it, was loaded to the gills once again.  Each of the five spaces in the back were full of bodies and blankets.  At my feet in the front seat I steadied a very full pot of lamb curry.  By the time we arrived at 11pm, the regular 4 out of 5 were asleep and were loaded into their respective sleeping spots in the tiny memory-making house.  Nadine, our ever-wakeful child, happily slept in Grandma & Granddaddy’s tent.  This time we decided not to tent it, after our near drowning experience the last time it rained… not quite, but let’s just say our tent is no longer water-proof!

The next morning we eased into our day with cousins, games, and breakfast at many different times.  Here is a snippet of what a typical lazy shore house morning looks like for us:

Lots of Pretty Pretty Princess going on outside!

Grandma’s toes even got a makeover!

The baby Princesses are sweeter than sugar.

The boys were very much into their books all weekend.  This was a typical sight.

We finally got a family picture near Wildwood, NJ.  I love the personalities.  What a bunch of fun!

Then we went to the boardwalk one night.  Chocolate and peanut butter swirl ice-cream with sprinkles… yum.

We also went on a few rides!

The highlight for me was when Nadine & I went on a roller coaster together and the screaming swing!  I remember very clearly looking at Nadine when she was a baby and saying, “I can’t wait until she’s old enough to go on rollercoasters with me!”  My dream came full circle when we sat hand-in-hand in the front seat of the Great White.  I was in my element!  And I think I found a fellow thrill-seeker in my daughter.

There’s something to be said about four brothers.  Each one so unique.  Each one somewhat fanatical about their own thing: flying, running, playing, reading.  Each one also very devoted to their families.  Servants.  Thoughtful hearts.  Where one might read the same 300-page book three times in one week, one might not read that many pages in one year!  Where one may fly across regions of the earth, another may despise the thought of leaving the ground.

Three are musically inclined, the other appreciates it, but playing the violin at age 8 didn’t suit him as much as his running shoes do now.  Some inherited the movie-quoting gene, and can make us laugh til we cry.  Some are organized, two love to collect things.  Each one’s opinion about what makes food fabulous is quite unique.  Hot wings, cheese-less eggs, ranch dressing, or Kashi cereal?  Is it better to play hockey or hooky?  Settlers of Catan or Pass the Popcorn?  Go wrestle someone to the ground or shoot some guns?  Can you fix a car or fly a plane?  Can you name that movie or run 100 miles?  I love that all of these amazing guys can do all of those things.  Each one some.  All together, a plethora of talent and humor and good looks.

Since last year at this time, Jon & Capri were engaged, we had a fun photo-shoot on the bay, where they will be married next month!

A night at the shore house is usually spent playing games under the green tent, with twinkling lights to show us if we’ve rolled yahtzee or if we’ve hit phase 10.  Dad & Mom, thanks for showing your children how to live and love and laugh!  Here’s to many more shore house memories!