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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.
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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.
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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!
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I hope you enjoyed life from the point of view of my phone camera.  Life is indeed beautiful.
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Pig Tails and 100-Mile Trails

You and me, we were always best buddies, Elijah told Jack.  They sat on the couch today, looking at photo albums together.  I love keeping photos of the kids close at hand so they can flip through them and tell stories about “days gone by” with great gusto, imagination and sometimes slight exaggeration.   The summer boredom bug has been hitting everyone at random times of the day.  To combat it today, everyone is writing down recipes for their library summer log.  It is fabulous.  There is nothing better than cobwebby brains getting a good dusting with a pencil and paper or a good book to read.

Summer brings out the pig tails as well.
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Today Betty exclaimed about the birthmark on her arm: I have a birk!
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Today Elijah found my old walkman and box of tapes.  This was a delightful novelty to share with my 21st century kids.

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This weekend Matthew was supposed to run for 24-hours.  Long story short, it was cancelled at the last-minute, supposedly because of the heat… which was not even as bad as the week prior had been.  Telling an ultra-runner it’s too hot to run is like telling an Eskimo it’s too cold to fish, Matthew said.  It was a difficult day of disappointment for us both, along with the hundreds of runners involved.  The months of training and preparation both physically and mentally is hard to describe.  The running bug has not been quenched and running 100-miles is about as magnetic to him as a puddle is to a kid.  It doesn’t make sense to most people, but aren’t you glad we’re not all made to run, play, cook, write, paint or sing the same way?  In all areas of life, instead of labeling someone as weird, we should admire them for how amazing God made them.  Some to labor for hours on a still-life painting.  Some to perfect a recipe.  Some to build unbelievable structures.  Some to conquer math problems.  Some to write poetry.  Some to raise children.  Some to see beauty in the ashes.  Some to run 100 miles.  Stay tuned.


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What Rhymes With Watermelon?

Between watermelon feasts and swimming pools, it truly feels like summer.  Elijah is best at cleaning out the watermelon “rhyme” as he was calling it.  Although he didn’t eat all of these in one sitting, as a family, we have downed one watermelon per day for the past three days.  It’s been delightful.  Two fresh ones sit in the fridge waiting their consumption.

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I have especially enjoyed it tossed in a salad.  Today I crumbled up leftover hamburgers (which had pureed carrots, zucchini, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and basil in them), pulled some swiss chard from our garden, threw in a few leftover sweet potatoes, and diced watermelon.  YUM.  Summer in a bowl.  A little salty, a little pesto hint from the basil, and sweet from the watermelon.  It was amazing.

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Betty came downstairs wearing these overalls.  They used to be her Daddy’s!  Everyone has worn them at least once.  

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The other night I had Nadine tuck Elsie into bed.  A half hour later I walked by her room to see Elsie looking up at her in rapt attention while Nadine told her a horse story.  I was about to say, Go to bed, now!  When Nadine mouthed over Elsie’s head: I’m having so much fun!  The giggles and stories persisted until very late.  Who am I to stop sisterly bonding?

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Our gardens have fairly popped with color and growth!  I spent awhile in the dark tonight, weeding foot-long elephant grass from my daisies.  There is something incredibly peaceful about nighttime gardening.  Every day a new flower appears.  Currently my favorite are the tiger lilies.  The sight of them is something to behold, but I wish I could post how they smell.  Smell is not something easily stored up or snapped into a scent-o-graph.  If I could, I would capture the glamorous and deep perfume of a lily.  Instead, I get its yellow pollen smeared across my face when I bury my nose inside of it to remember the smell deep within my memory bank.

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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.

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The boys can ride the big bikes now and ride to 711 for a donut.
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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.
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Steaming corn on the cob around the full table.
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Yes, even roasted marshmallows on the potty.
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A walk to the bay.
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The love of my life.  We still make out, eleven years later.
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Iced tea, watermelon and my camera.  A few of my favorite things.  Thankful for much.


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Where Is The Happy?

Yesterday, as we celebrated Elsie’s 5th birthday, it marked the end of my birthday week.  I actually thought her birthday was today.  As she went to bed on Sunday night she told me in her sweet little voice, I’m not going to be grumpy anymore!  When I asked why, she told me, Because the day after tomorrow is my birthday!  I was pretty tired and took her word for it.  Not until I woke up yesterday and saw some special birthday emails for her, did I realize that yes, indeed, it was her birthday.  Please tell me something like that has happened to another mom out there.  So, I scrounged in my secret trunk trying to find and hang up the Happy Birthday banner I made for such occasions.  All I came up with was BIRTHDAY.  Where is the HAPPY?!  I kept asking myself.  Before I go into more of her surprise (for me) birthday, let me back up a week and divulge all the fun that was had the past week.

It all started on my birthday, when the three older kids came with Matthew & I on a road trip to NJ.  We drove 3 hours there and 3 hours back, with about 45 mins in NJ total.  It was work-related, so nothing too exciting.  The highlight was hitting the beach for fifteen minutes.

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I had some wonderful friends over that night for tea and snacks and a whole lot of fun.  The next day I was served breakfast in bed by my oldest.  She loves to do this.  The rest of the week was full of dentist appointments, Betty learning to put the car windows down with her bare little toes streeetching across her carseat, sweet sleeping children, lincoln log creations, school, tea, and much more.

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Then came Friday.  After dropping off the kids, Matthew and I spent the weekend away.  What a wonderful time.  Becoming disconnected happens so quickly!  As it should be, we have both changed and grown, and sometimes we miss that happening and we look at the other as if they are a stranger we should know, but don’t. It was a treat and a blessing to have this time.

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From the beautiful inns where we stayed, to the memories made, it was a weekend to remember!

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The week was completed with an impromptu meeting with dear, old friends.

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There’s the Happy.

 

 


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Thanksgiving in a Nutshell

Instead of writing what I am thankful for, I have been enjoying those things the past couple of weeks.  Other reasons kept me from the computer as well, but here is my short recap of our Thanksgiving.  It was wonderful to see both sides of my family for a few days in a row.  First mine, then Matthew’s, then mine again.  Thanksgiving morning was spent with Pop & Grandmom and the Weldons.  I just can’t take enough pictures of these two.

We played a Thankful game which Mom made up.  I pulled the card about a man, and got to gush on my wooly husband.  He hasn’t shaved or cut his hair this month which makes him look very different.  His eyes looked tired in most of the pictures, so I told him to keep them open wide and got the funny one in the corner.  I loved every minute spent with him during Thanksgiving.
Back at my parents’ house, we took a walk through the 500-acre wood.  My dad made a scavenger hunt of trees and other forest-y things to observe.  It was lovely.


Hanging out with Daddy is one of the best things in the world!

Our wonderful host and hostess for the weekend… they put up with many mouths to feed, many messes to clean, and many noises to be heard!
One of my favorite parts was just being with my sisters and mom!  I don’t know if we’ve ever had a picture of just us!  I am thankful for my family.


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Exceptional Reminiscence

This weekend goes down in history as one of my favorites in a long time.  I knew it would be fun, but an hour after arriving in Syracuse, my sides were already aching from laughter.  It was great to be with my blood sisters and African sisters.

My sister, Sherry, graciously hosted all of us in her home.  She is an artist, with touches of beauty all throughout her house.  We spent most of our time around her kitchen table, looking at these sweet things her son picked for her.

Mugs of tea and coffee warmed our hands as we told story after story after story.  We finally unglued ourselves from the table to enjoy a gorgeous day at Green Lakes State Park.

We took a leisurely 3-mile walk around the uniquely green-colored lakes, with the backdrop of tree blossoms just about to pop, all around us.  Our photographers included strangers pulled from their own walks.

Also, a handy log and camera self-timer make for a good shot!  I almost got impaled by a branch running over to the group for this one:

There were more funny things that happened or were said than there are legs on a centipede.

More even than the amounts of time a bumble-bee can buzz in its entire life.

Sisters, indeed, are the best.

After our lovely walk, we pampered our toes with some beauty and whimsy.  Bonnie skillfully painted flowers, designs, and filigree on our toenails.  Can you tell which ones are mine?

Saturday night we made an African meal, complimented by more stories.  On Sunday, before we left, we took a series of photos.  I gave my camera to my nephew, Nathanael.  When I told him he could take as many as he wanted, a small chuckle escaped his throat, and we heard a constant stream of “click, click, click,” coming from his direction.  I deleted over 50 shots, kept quite a few, and am sharing my favorite four.

When Ruthie and I first met, we were more like friend-emies… a mixture between best friends and enemies.  For over twenty years now we’ve visited back and forth, been in eachother’s weddings, marveled at eachother’s children, laughed, cried and prayed for one another.  What a blessing friendships grown with time are.  Like the most delightful wine.  Aged to perfection.

I love how this picture captures the fact that, no matter how many years have passed, we’re really still just kids deep inside.

I will relish these memories for the rest of my life.  I treasure these friendships even more.