Monthly Archives: October 2011

My continuing obsession with trees


We still have snow on the ground!  It’s melting fast though, and will probably be gone by tonight.  I hope it comes back soon.

The kids went sledding after church yesterday.  Kids everywhere were sledding!  We drove a bunch of back roads home from church, and in every town I saw sled tracks down huge hills and kids pulling sleds through the snow.  Such a novel thing, this October snow!  Maybe by January the kids will be bored by snow.  Maybe.  I don’t remember ever being tired of snow when I was a kid!  Me and my brother Steve, we built a lot of snow forts back in the day.

The trees around here were damaged by the snow.  A lot of trees!  It was a wet, heavy snow, and the trees haven’t lost all their leaves yet.  Driving around yesterday, I was sad seeing all the broken branches!  I would have cried if I wasn’t afraid of appearing looney.  Oh, and then last night we watched “Captain America.”  There’s a scene towards the end where soldiers are running through the forest.  There’s gunfire and explosions, and I think I saw a maple tree get blown up.  Then I was sad again!  No people actually died in the making of the movie, and if a movie shows animal trauma the movie-makers are quick to assure us that no animals were harmed during the filming… but what about the trees?!  Poor trees.

I didn’t plant any more trees this year.  I showed self-control, even though I was sorely tempted every time I drove by a tree nursery or saw a baby tree planted in someone else’s yard!  I’m afraid I struggle with covetousness.

My trees are doing well, by the way.  My sugar maples were absolutely gorgeous this fall!  Do you know what I thought yesterday, as we were driving around and I was noticing trees?  I thought how my trees will stay and grow old with me, even after all the kids have moved out.  Do you know anyone as tree-obsessed as I am?  I thought not.


October Blizzard


It’s not really a blizzard, but that’s my pet name.  A rare thing, snow in October!  My father-in-law asked if I was doing a snow dance.  I hadn’t been, but I wish I’d thought of it!  I LOVE THE SNOW!!!

My husband thinks I’m crazy.  He works outdoor all year long, so I understand that the snow can be cold, wet and nasty.  But still.  It’s sooooooo beautiful.  (And “So FLUFFY!”)

It does my New England roots good.

Our men are out working in the snow today, building that woodshed, so I do feel a little sorry for them.  I’m keeping them supplied with coffee and hot chocolate, and I’ll make sure Dee gets extra snuggles tonight!

I can sit indoors and sip coffee (I’m on my third pot), take pictures, light candles, listen to music, and rock the baby.

(I wore my Bogs for the first time, out to take pictures.  Made my sister-in-law and mother-in-law jealous!  Thanks, Esther and Ben, for such a nice gift!)

My kids are soaking through coat after coat, mitten after mitten.  They were ready to play in the snow before I even rolled out of bed this morning!  Kirstyn made a snowman, complete with Hershey kisses for buttons and eyes.  I fear the eyes and buttons may disappear, gobbled up by little “birdies.”

If you get tired of just watching the snow fall (which is quite enchanting), take a shot at Kirstyn’s new game!  You play it just like the cloud game, only you find shapes in the snow.  This one is “A Pregnant Sea Horse.”

Happy Snowy Weekend, everyone!  If you run out of power, there’s always snow and maple syrup.

Shopping with baby


Ever since Zach was born, I’ve had the urge to shop.  Not for diapers, or groceries, or kids clothes.  For ME clothes!  It’s not that my old clothes don’t fit.  I have no good excuse!  I just wanted to buy new stuff.  And not just buy, but go SHOPPING!

Kohl’s sent me a 30% off coupon last week, so here was my chance.  (It’s a really good marketing strategy, sending 30% off coupons to new moms, and near birthdays and Christmas.)  Dee watched the big kids while I took Little Man.  You’ve been there, right?  Shopping with a baby is slooooowww goooooiiinnng.  Zach is not one to stay asleep in his carseat when the car stops.  He woke up when we got to Kohl’s and wanted me to hold him.  I lugged him around for 2 hours!  Yes, that’s how long it took me to shop through all the departments, for my whole family, with only one arm free.  Browsing through racks is tricky, and trying clothes on even trickier.

We did good though, Zach and me.  My back and arms got a workout, and he got snuggle time with Mommy.

One downside to trying clothes on with a baby, is that you end up just buying one of everything, so you can decide later.  (Wait, is that necessarily a downside?  And am I the only one who does that?)  Dee was still awake when I got home, so I tried all my sweaters on for him.  He “yayed” or “nayed” them, and may have even thrown in a wolf whistle or two…

He must have been in a good mood, because he told me to keep at least half of what I’d picked out!  Mmm-hmmm!  I like fashion shows.

(I bought a bunch of other stuff at Kohl’s too.  I can’t talk about it though, because some of it might end up under the Christmas tree.  I won’t tell you how much “Kohl’s Cash” I now have in my possession.  It’s a lot.)

Zach got a compliment!  At the checkout counter, the woman in front of me said, “He is such a good baby!  I haven’t heard him at ALL the entire time!”  (Oh.  Did she know I’d been here for two hours?)  I thanked her, nodded at her big pile of toys, and asked if she was doing Christmas shopping.  She said, “Yes, and some birthday too.”  (Ooo!  My type of gal!)  She had an almost-one year old, and three more kids at home!  Her oldest was sixteen though.  She asked, “And is this your first?”

“No, I actally have four more kids at home,” I said.  (*wince*) Not because I was embarrassed, but because I didn’t want this to turn into a competition conversation!  I totally admired this lady.

She said, “Oh!  I’ll stop talking now!”

“No, no… You’ve been there, done that already,” I laughed.  “How is it having a teenager?  I’ve heard motherhood gets harder the older your kids get.”

She laughed too, maybe rolled her eyes in friendly connection.  She said her son was getting his license soon, and I said I was looking forward to the day my kids could run errands for me, and we chatted and empathized like only moms of multiple children can.  The poor cashier.  I’m sure she was anxious to ring up us shopping-starved mama’s and go home.

A good evening, I’d say!  I had fun, spent quality time with my baby, exposed him to culture and new environments (I’m all about infant development!), bought new sweaters, and made a new friend.  (They say that you should engage in good conversation every day.   It stimulates the brain.  And conversing with your small children just doesn’t cut it sometimes!)

Fall 2011 photo shoot


What a gorgeous day! Sunny, 70-degree weather towards the end of October?  I’ll take it!  I can’t believe October is almost over.  I can’t believe Zach is approaching the two-month-old mark!  I can’t believe what a lovely family God has blessed me with.

My sister-in-law came over last week and took pictures of my four oldest kids.  Aren’t they CUTE?


A dead car, fears, and cornstalks


Church this morning was cancelled — for us!  Our Suburban wouldn’t start.  Dead battery.  Can I admit that whoever killed the battery made my day?  Is that awful to say?  Dee and I were just murmuring (yes, like the Israelites) last night about how worn out we are, and how looooong of a drive to church it is, and how wouldn’t it be nice to stay home…

So here we sat!  We had our own Bible time with the kids, but we wore jeans and sweaters instead of tights and dresses.  So cozy!  And I curled up on the couch with a steaming cup of coffee, instead of sitting up straight in a pew, worrying about whether my kids were also sitting up straight.  Behaving and putting on a good show.  Ducks in a row.

I worry about what people think.  I struggle with appearances.

Yesterday, we had a work party to build a new woodshed.  Dee and the guys got most of it done!

The girls and I hung out indoors, and the kids ran in and out all day.  We had sixteen people crowded around our table for lunch!  Good thing we have a 17ft-long table.  We had six more people show up for supper.  It was so much fun!  Dee is usually always working on projects on Saturdays, but it’s rare that I have extra women to hang out with and gab while he’s working.   My sister-in-law made cookies, we drank coffee, and pretty much did nothing else but enjoy each others’ company.   (We did feed the men and children!)  I loved it!  It was crazy, and messy, and my house was packed full of noisy children and dirt and leaves tromped through on boots.  It made me happy!

But then everyone left, and the doubts crept in.  I replayed snippets of conversation in my mind, and thought, “Oh!  Maybe they meant ________?”  One friend doesn’t take a shower in her upstairs bathroom yet because her shower curtain doesn’t match the towels.  Well, my bathroom curtain has purple flowers, and the walls have turquoise paint, with green, purple, blue, and ducky towels.  Nothing matches.  (I am not a Martha Stewart type gal!)  After everyone left, I kept thinking, “Oh, did she mean the couch in my kitchen looks stupid?” and “She reads my blog when she feels overwhelmed.  Is that a BAD thing?”  Unfounded, these fears, because my friends meant only to encourage and enjoy me!

Today my husband pulled me onto his lap as I was folding laundry.  How could he tell there was an extra urgency to my labor?  He asked, “What’s wrong?”  I told him, and I told him I knew I was being silly, and, “Is my house really okay?”

So he reminded me.  Things that DON’T matter:  matching furniture, freshly painted walls, Play-Doh free carpet, un-toyed floors, that sort of silliness!  Things that DO matter:  happy children, a peaceful mom and wife, good food, and learning.  Dancing, sliding down the banister, Monopoly all spread out, books piled high…. these are good things.

Oh.  YES.  Peace again.

We worked hard at playing today!  We had promised the kids that we’d take them through the corn maze.  We drove to Advanced Auto to pick up a new car battery, then on to the corn patch!  We mostly had fun.  After we lost Cameron, Dee decided it was time to find our way back out and head home.

Megan was getting tired anyway.  No way could she have walked all 8 miles of dried cornstalk paths!  She wasn’t even wearing shoes.  We were wandering through the maze, hunting for hole punchers, when I noticed that Megan was running around in white socks.   On the dirt paths.  (Did I mention the socks were white?)  We weren’t breaking any rules though!  The sign just said, “No Bare Feet.”

She actually loves shoes, my Megan girl.  She didn’t get this obsession from her mother or big sister!  (We’re more of the barefoot freak type.)  She especially loves flip-flops.  Any size.

I’m going to have a messy, productive Monday!  Hope you all can join me!

P.S.  (We did find Cameron again, and bring him home with us.  In case you all were wondering.)

Birthday Letter


                                                                October 21st, 2011

Dear Cameron,

Happy 4th birthday!  You’re growing up.  Not only are you the same size as your big brother, but your inner character is growing as well.  I’ve seen you develop a lot of self-control and responsiblity this year!

Like yesterday, at the pumpkin patch, when Megan had her meltdowns.  You were having the time of your life, pushing a wheelbarrow around, looking for the perfect pumpkin all your own… when I said we needed to leave.  Not too long ago, you would have had your very own meltdown at such frustrating instructions!  But you wheeled your wheelbarrow back to where it belonged, and followed Mommy to the car empty-handed.  With no complaining!  I was so proud of you.

I see you getting frustrated at commands we give you, because they don’t always make sense to you.  I want you to know that I understand.  Sometimes it doesn’t make sense.  Sometimes Mommy and Daddy are unreasonable.  I’m proud of you for trying really hard to listen anyway!  You do need to learn how to obey authority, but I’m proud of you for thinking through stuff on your own.  When you grow up, this skill will serve you well!  I know that you will never be one to just follow the crowd.

At just four years old, you have some of the best work ethics I’ve ever seen!  Daddy and I talk all the time about what a hard worker you are.  You are always eager to help!  It doesn’t matter how large or small the job is, or how hot or cold the weather is.  You’re right there, working until the job is done.  I’m thinking of this summer, and how you helped Grammy mulch flower beds and work outside in the hot, sweaty sun for eight hours!  There are grown men who don’t work as hard as you.

I love how excited you are about reading books.  Right now your favorite book is “Frog and Toad Together,” and I don’t mind reading it again and again, with you curled up next to me.

You also love to do school, and beg to participate when Kirstyn and Cory and I sit down with math pages every morning.  I’m sorry I say “No” a lot!  I’m still new at this homeschool thing.  I’ll figure out how to manage everyone — I promise!  I love how thrilled you are to learn new things.  Like names of the streets we’re driving on.  Even though I get tired of constantly giving you our location status, and sometimes ask you to stop talking, I am so proud that you don’t let negativity keep you from discovering.  You know your way around town, including street names, because you ask questions.   You remember which house Daddy delivered shingles to, even if it’s an hour away and we just drove by it one time.  You’ve known since you were two years old how to get to the pea-shellers farm, after only driving there once with me!  All this is pretty amazing.

I love how comfortable you are around people, even if you’re not a huge talker.  I’m thinking of when you first met Dan up at Indian Hollow this summer, and immediately asked to help him cook.  Or the cute girl you met at the pool, and stood next to even though she was with her Grandpa.  Or the little girl you saw dancing at Braden and Missy’s wedding.  You asked her to dance, even though none of your other siblings were out on the dance  floor with you.

You’re still my little cuddlebug, and I don’t think you’ll outgrow that.  I’m almost positive that your love language is physical touch!  You love to have me rub your back, or play with your hair.  If you’re grumpy, I know I can pull you on my lap for snuggles or tickles and everything will be better.  You love to give hugs and kisses, and not just to me!  You’re very free with your affection.  I’m glad!  It will be nice to have at least one grown son who still gives me hugs and kisses!

You are such a delight to me.  I do get mad at you, I know.  I’m sorry!  Your inquisitiveness makes you trouble prone, but it’s also one of your best qualities!  Balance will come.  I’m trying to be patient, and learn how to mother such a smart, creative, determined child.  Thank you for your patience, and forgiveness, and unconditional love back to me.  I love you!

Six weeks


Yesterday my baby boy turned 6 weeks old.  I know, you all are probably tired of Zach updates!  But I keep track of every day.  I never know for sure if I’ll have more kids, so I hug and kiss the bajeebers out of this boy!

We all do.

Megan and Zach having a little chat…

We’re all smitten with our baby Zachadoo!

In other news…

Dee and I finally made it out for my “birthday” dinner last night.  Tony’s, Sam’s Club, birthday shopping for Cameron, Starbucks, Wal-Mart to buy “Stranger Tides,” and then home to watch it.  We stopped the movie halfway through to go to bed.  Are we old or what!

(Speaking of Starbucks, as we were sitting in that lovely joint last night, I realized that my own kitchen is decorated in green, white and brown.  If I start painting mermaid sirens ons the wall, you’ll know I’ve gone off the deep end!)