Category Archives: family

Maxed out

I haven’t been posting for a while, not because I haven’t wanted to, but because I was working on my blog and made a couple of big mistakes and haven’t had time to fix them yet. But I really miss posting. I’ve taken lots of pictures that I wanted to post so I can look back at them someday and remember. Today I just want to show you something really quickly.
See that? Do you even know what that means? Well, first of all, keep in mind that it’s Wednesday. Give up? It means that my husband is home from work today. Which is really nice all by itself. But it also means that we have a fuller house than normal. 🙂 Yep. Our oldest son, Josh, is home for a visit. And the combination of those two things filled my Grandma’s griddle. It’s a great day to start the day!


Men at Work

The never ending list of things to do gives us a chance to work and play with the kids. I’m sure that there are times that they wish we didn’t include them, but often the rewards outweigh the tasks.

Coffee is greatly enjoyed by my husband and I. Sometimes decaf, sometimes half-caffeine, sometimes full on caffeine, but always, yes, ALWAYS with fresh cream. And when you’re one of the working team, you get your own mug.

IMG_3736 IMG_3730(Don’t worry, he never gets a mug full of coffee. One of his favorite treats is to finish up the last drops from our mug, but this time I poured him just a taste and filled the rest with milk.)

And then there are the big toys. One of the things we bought when we moved here was a tractor. Oh, we dreamed of draft horses, but without a barn (or any experience with draft horses) we opted for the familiar. Moving firewood isn’t quite the chore when you have horsepower working for you. And even better is when you get to be the one driving. IMG_3726 IMG_3723The only problem is that now I never get to drive it.

Traditions in Play

One of the benefits of having a large family is the passing down of playthings. We haven’t kept a lot of the toys that the Olders played with when they were little, but we do have some of the favorites. One of them is the dollhouse. IMG_3375This dollhouse is on child #5 and #6, sometimes even #7 joins in the fun. We’ve had this for … 20+ years. And it’s still a favorite. I do love when the Littles play nearby so I can overhear their play. Just after I snapped the photo above, they had the table all set with all the “family” gathered around, and Emma had the Papa lead them in prayer.

IMG_3385 IMG_3386The Middles, Zach and Maddie, have quite a collection of Webkinz (oh, how I dreaded when another was introduced back during the Webkinz frenzy). See how sweet they look driving along in the school bus and the tractor?  Don’t be fooled. Since moving into our cottage here, they have a tradition of launching, yes, launching, the toy-stuffed vehicles down the hill in the back.

IMG_3390One… Two… Three… GO!

IMG_3391IMG_3392I’m not sure what the goal of this game might be. I don’t even think there is a goal. But the laughter and shouts of victory are enough to keep them playing, and this Mama smiling, for hours.

Very Bunch of Chilly


This weekend our Middles packed up and headed out for a weekend at camp. While it isn’t the first time they’ve been gone, it is the first time they’ve gone to camp. Exciting, yes. But I admit I was a little apprehensive about how they’d fare their first weekend away to an unfamiliar place.IMG_3342-1

Knowing that they were only about an hour away, that they’d really only be away for two nights, and that they’d be together was comforting for this Mama.  Our little home was so very quiet with only three Littles running about, noticed especially at suppertime when we rearranged ourselves around the table to make those empty chairs seem not so empty.  And while the Middles enjoyed their time away, it was so very nice to have all of our usual chairs filled when they returned home.  IMG_3346-4As usual for September, the weather has shifted a bit more. We’re not yet in Autumn, but we’re not in the midst of summer either. The shadows have lengthened, the light has changed, and there’s a different feel to the air lately. The sun rises a little later and sets a little earlier, telling us that these summer days will be ending soon.  Sophie noticed it when she was outside after sunset and ran back inside for a jacket, announcing, “It’s a very bunch of chilly outside.”



We still have so many summer projects that we want to finish, and some that we haven’t even started yet. The change in the weather is working to encourage us to move as quickly as we can through the list and focus on those things that are most important, like firewood. Because, as Sophie said, “It’s a very bunch of chilly”. And we know that a warm fire will be welcomed very soon.

My dog, Silas




IMG_3335-2 IMG_3334-2 IMG_3333-2   No, we didn’t get another dog and name it after our son. Our son has been pretty enamored by dogs lately. He watches our family pet, Abby, eat and drink. He lies on her bed when I don’t see him doing it. He walks by me and licks my arm. Yes, really.  He has now decided to start drinking out of the dog’s water bowl, which I think is kind of, um… gross, so I put a clean bowl of his own down on the floor.  Did you really think I’d let him drink from the dog’s bowl?

Every time I look at these I crack up. Ready? One more.


Silas Turns Two

IMG_3293-2 IMG_3294-2 IMG_3298-2 IMG_3305-2 IMG_3310-2 IMG_3313-2 IMG_3314-2Our littlest Little just had a birthday. It’s hard to believe that two years have gone by since the whirlwind weekend when he arrived. But my nursing babe is a babe no more. (Though he is still nursing.)

We’ve been trying to reduce the amount of Things in our home lately (seems like we’ve been working on it for a year), so this birthday created a bit of a dilemma for us. Do we purchase cheap toys that he doesn’t need and won’t play with for long? That’s an easy one. No.  Do we purchase more expensive but classic toys that really engage his imagination but that we just don’t have room for right now? A much more difficult question to answer.  The original answer was yes, just one little thing. But the day that I tried to go to the Bella Luna shop in Rockland because I was in the area, I found a note on the door saying they needed to close early. So we needed to do some rethinking.  And the final answer is one that all our children still living at home are embracing. We aren’t giving birthday “gifts” any more. From this birthday on (with a few exceptions here and there, since rules are made to be broken, after all) we’re going on birthday excursions.

Silas is a little too young to choose his place, so we chose for him. One of our favorite places to visit is a not too far away orchard, complete with ice cream, apple picking, goat petting and feeding, and a hay ride. We skipped the corn maze on this day since the day was about Silas and we didn’t want to wear him out.  But oh, did he enjoy his ice cream. And petting and watching the goats, especially one of the little ones who was nursing. And going on a hay ride, pulled by one of his very favorite things – a big tractor.  And being pulled in the wagon. (Which he was very reluctant to leave behind and tried to push it to the van for us to bring home.) And of course we picked a few bags of apples to enjoy.  It was a very good day, indeed. Happy Birthday, Little Man!

70 Years

Our family just celebrated a momentous occasion. My grandparents have been married for 70 years. Seventy. Years. My grandfather has been in poor health the last month or so, but his mind is still as sharp as ever.


They met on a blind date on March 10, 1943 and married on July 24, 1943. They only had about 2 months together before my grandfather shipped out to Europe to fight in World War II. And while we have the wonders of technology to stay in touch with those we love, they had only letters. My grandfather was gone for two years before he was able to come home again to his bride.

My grandmother will tell you when you ask her that, “marriage is no bed of roses”. It is for better and for worse. In sickness and in health. And sometimes when they think no one else is looking, you can still see a twinkle in their eyes when they look at each other.

My grandfather asked my husband and I to get a dozen red roses and a card for him to give his bride on their anniversary day since he’s mostly bed ridden these last few weeks. We were happy to do it for him, and the looks on both their faces when she saw them was priceless.


And what does a couple do to celebrate 70 years of commitment? Why renew their vows, of course! In the courtyard garden of the nursing home, friends and family (and a lot of the staff) gathered to witness these two renew their commitment. I’m sure you wouldn’t be surprised when I tell you there were a few tears of joy shed that day.

Happy Anniversary, Grandpop and Grandmom! You are an inspiration.