These are the Days

And then there was this one May we barely kept our heads above water but in the end, we did. Or I think we managed since we still have one more day to go.

I am always so ready for May. I imagine school functions, school ending, relaxed schedules, and warmth, but the craziness is almost more than can be handled at some points.

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These are the days when:

  • There are appointments for this, that, the next and everything.
  • School consumes your every waking moment and then thankfully it is over.
  • You celebrate Mother’s day in a whirl and then again the next Sunday.
  • You sleep in every morning all summer. ha. Only in your dreams! 
  • You settle more fights then you eat bites of food in a day.
  • Your child smashes his big toe and you earn a medical degree caring for him.

May 18 (3)

  • Your family comes and you have fun together for three days.
  • You unintentionally recreate a Norman Rockwell painting at the supper table.
  • Everyone needs something. all the time.
  • Food, food, food is what’s on everyone’s mind. all the time.
  • You remember your serious diet while shoving a bite of cake into your mouth. too bad.

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  • You send a child to the basement for french fries and she comes back with no fries but looking like a 99-year-old Grandma! (permission was not granted to share this photo)
  • You make a batch of protein balls and in a few hours, they have almost all disappeared.
  • You drill certain small persons on the etiquette of burping or farting and then laughing about it.
  • You write “Call the dentist” on the weekly to-do list for an endless amount of weeks.
  • You take a pair of boots away from Rocky the dog 98 times a day only to find out they were gifted to him that morning by a worker over at the shop! !!

May 18 (4)

  • You spend quality time involving food with your friends and youth group.
  • You go to the library and in so doing create quiet time and work for yourself. They will all sit and read for hours, but when you want them to get up and work….
  • You come home from town and write something on your grocery list for next week.
  • You set the grocery bags on the floor and they eat the food right out of them.
  • The strawberries you dreamed of all winter are ripe!

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  • You stand beside Lake Erie and watch the sunset and wonder what it looks like from heaven’s side.
  • You look through pictures on Memorial day and remember.
  • You celebrate your husband’s birthday and are glad he was born.
  • You sit around a fire with family.

May 18 (7)

  • You mention something coffee to your daughter and it appears.
  • You stay up late even when you are dreadfully tired, just because the house is quiet.
  • The next day you consider going to bed early that night. but you don’t.
  • After approximately 325 days with paint-samples splashed about on the bedroom walls and no plans of picking up the brush, you finally paint it.

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  • And then there was the weekend when you walked into your husband’s family reunion and 3 people said… Noooo, not “Hi, Shannon, how are you?” Nor did they say, “Hey Shannon, good to see you again!” Neither was it, “Shannon! So glad you’re here!” But rather their welcome greeting was, “Hey, how is Rocky?”
    After a momentary mental freeze at that question, the reply was, “The dog in question is lucky to be alive and doing well considering the fact that the kids left the front door open for 2.5 seconds and he ripped in, grabbed a pillow off the couch and went hauling out and around the house before he was caught!”
  • That is how Rocky the dog is.

These are the days!
They tell me I’ll wish for these days someday.

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Rambings and A Question

“The nicest thing about the rain is that it always stops. Eventually.” -Eyeore

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The same could be said of winter. Eventually.

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I know we all want to react and shake our fists at this never-ending winter, but really, it is God who we are complaining about. And remember, He has promised that the seasons will continue to change, so I keep looking forward to it.

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Imagine how much we’ll have to smile about this summer.

Be optimistic, like the child living here who is wearing her swimsuit and sandals this morning.

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In the meantime, we are just over here pretending it’s the 106th day of January while we bake and sing.  {maybe}
I’m not doing the baking, I’m eating, and I’m not really singing about it either, just trying to calmly endure to the end.


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Yesterday we celebrated Madison’s public declaration of faith with her baptism. It was a joyful occasion and truly a pleasure to see her growing in her walk with Jesus.

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Grandma and Grandpa came for the weekend.
Grandma is playing Old Maid with these two, but she hasn’t yet realized she is playing with a cheater who keeps looking in the window to see her cards when she holds them out for him to draw. Guess who won!


Now, my question for you.

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Recently, a vote was taken by the people of this household and the mother was overruled by the majority. Okay, so maybe the entire lot of them voted against me, but anyway, soon thereafter they became the owners of a new dog. After days of discussion, I told the man of the house I sure am glad we didn’t have this many opinions when it came to naming children. It was hard enough with only two.

So back to my question, what would you name this big black Lab?

The suggestions here have been numerous, yet no one can agree. Dakota suggested naming him after the guy we bought him from. For some reason that guy wasn’t thrilled about that for fear I would take his name in vain.

And the first person to tell me that every boy needs a dog does not win first prize!

Of Spring, Vaction, and Grief

Winter seems to be struggling to allow Spring take over. Like a post I saw, “Winter keeps sticking its head back in the door and yelling, “And one more thing…”
I am not a fan of being cold, but what can I say? “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.”  He’s taking it away today and hopefully soon it will start warming, but for now, we are surviving this “Sprinter.”

Winter D

I feel like I’ve been struggling too. Winter blues kind of had/has a grip on me and I can’t seem to shake them. I have a myriad of things that are calling my name but I can’t seem to accomplish any of them. Painting. Sewing. Spring cleaning. << whaaat is that?

Confession: That last one, Spring cleaning, my house doesn’t even know what that is anymore.  It seriously does me no good to clean the entire house from top to bottom. By the time I get done with one end, the other end is hosting eight-legged creatures building new webs. It works better to do one room at a time and stretch it out over the entire year. At least I always have at least one clean room this way. maybe. kinda.
So there ya have it. I don’t Spring clean.

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We attended a few Florida sunsets for Spring Break. It was nice to feel warmth when you stepped out the door. Warm being a relative term while we were there. To the Northerners, it was warm but to the natives, it felt coo-oold.

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Life at the beach has changed. It used to be awful. Little kids crying and rubbing sand in their eyes. Carrying a ton of things in while urging a toddler to keep moving. Digging holes in the sand, carrying water, building a castle only to watch them smash it. Someone usually cried from lack of sleep, someone was cold, someone was hot. Food, food, food to drag along, well that one still remains, but for the most part, going to the beach is a lot easier then it used to be.

We take as little as possible. I unload the vehicle and by the time each kid has something to carry, there is very little left for me. Granted, this time we did have my sister and her little tribe along, but it still went very smoothly and I could tolerate a few hours sitting there. I am not a beach lover in case you wondered.

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The days we weren’t at the beach, this guy spent hours here. Toward the end of the week, the weather cooled considerably, but that didn’t stop him. One morning he was swimming and the air temperature was 59 degrees. The water was pretty warm and he claimed as long as he didn’t get out to jump, he was fine. But he still kept getting out to jump…

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It felt so good to spend time with these two ladies in Florida. Yes, we did all the usual kid-care, meal stuff, and laundry while on vacation, but still, to stay in the same house and spend a week together was just good. I value times like this so much.

It wasn’t that we were all there and he was the only one missing, there were others back at home, but still, we all missed Tristan fiercely that week. He would have loved to hear what all was happening, he would have probably been calling in the morning before we were out of bed and just been a big part of the trip, even from home.  It’s time like these that realize you will spend the rest of your life living with this grief. Yes, it changes, it ebbs and flows with different feels, but it will always be there.

My first choice would have been to live life not knowing what this feels like. Since that is not an option, I am glad to carry this weight, to live with this grief, because feeling this means I was privileged to know and love him. I would not trade the years I spent with him to live without this grief.

Grief-love

Live your life so you will long be remembered with love.

In Sickness

The eleventh commandment: Take not thine health for granted.

But if thine health should fail thee:

  • Buy stock in your favorite tissue brand.
  • Invest in earplugs for the long minutes of honking noses.
  • Have trash cans beside every single person for dirty tissues.
  • Make hot or cold drinks, depending on the temperature, wants, wishes, needs, and desires.

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  • Round up enough blankets to keep fighting to a minimum.
  • Prepare to pile blankets on or take them off, depending on the feelings of the inner core.
  • Stock up on any and all meds and overspend on vitamin C.
  • Hand out meds and use force if necessary to ensure the consumption thereof.
  • Wish for a hazmat suit when you hear the honking and barking.

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  • Do copious amounts of homework when meds kick in.
  • Resolve to ignore all moaning and groaning.
  • Do more homework the next day.
    and the next.
  • Know immediately when a certain one is feeling better by the rebounding energy and frustrated sounds emitted from the sisters.
  • When one begins to mend, wait for the next one to fall.

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  • Hand out drinks and give food pep talks to get them to eat.
  • Think about how good the food sounds.
  • Make and consume some of the said food.
  • Warn everyone who comes close to the house that it is contaminated.

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  • Call your Mother and thank her for the flowers. They may have been for Valentine’s day, but they do well for sick days also.
  • Hope that if this plague would happen to get you,
    you would at least lose weight over it.
  • Ignore feelings of illness creeping up on yourself.
  • Take some meds, buck up and keep working.
  • Succumb to the dreaded illness and lay on the couch for a (Sun)day.

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  • Enjoy holding the little one who does not take naps anymore.
  • Try and get a little reading in since you must sit anyway.
  • On a bright, sunshiny and most lovely warm day,
    invest in Clorox wipes and kill every germ in sight.
  • See them getting better, see the end in sight,
    and know spring will surely come one of these days.

Of Christmas and Random Musings

  • Every year around the first of November I will start feeling the urge to listen to a Christmas carol or two. I generally resist because it is too early and will wait until close to Thanksgiving. After the first song, it is full steam ahead with Christmas music.
    And then, around the week leading up to Christmas, I have had enough. My Christmas music cup doeth overflow and I am done. That very week, of all weeks, I should be listening to it and I just can’t, not one more carol. I really need to change this pattern. Next season I resolve to hold off until 2 or 3 weeks before the 25th and then merrily carol my way all the way through.

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  • Call me the Grinch, but is Christmas decorating worth it? 1 month or less, and we’re packing everything away that we just hauled out. Along with that thought, I want to pitch almost all of my ancient Christmas decor. (but I can’t let my kids see me do it)

 

  • The best honey mustard dipping sauce: equal parts of mustard, honey, and mayonnaise.
  • My gang thinks the best addition to a soft pretzel is a block of cream cheese to swipe it through.
  • One of their favorite snacks is a chopped apple and a sliced banana mixed with granola and drizzled with honey.

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My Mom made a comforter for all the grandkids for Christmas. That was the extent of Christmas gifts this year with our family. It was quite stress-free. You wouldn’t believe how much fun they had and how long they played with them. Then on the plus side, they took them home and can use them every night. Wonder how many years we could do this until the kids or Grandma refuse. 🙂

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Tyson made Dad a tractor for Christmas.

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From scratch, by hand, welding pieces of metal together until a tractor appeared.

  • Do you all have a 2nd story in your house? If you do, tell me about the stairs. How do you keep them cleaned off? Three of our kids sleep upstairs and I am telling you, half of their belongings are forever hanging out on the steps. Well, maybe not quite half, but at least 1/3. Books, socks, a sweater, a pair of sandals, and the list could go on and on. They race right past it every time they go up. How do I get them to carry at least one item up each time and therefore we would no longer have the issue?
  • I am a list maker. I love a good list of things to do, even if some of it’s irrelevant. Sometimes I will write stuff down that I’ve already completed just so I can cross it off. That makes me feel like I got a lot done. My girls would insert an eye roll here.

 

  • Too many days at home without productive anything at all to do makes Jack a very bored boy. (and the rest of us about to pull hair) What are things for boys to do in the winter? He does go outside some but there is a limit to that. There is basketball in the garage at other times and then he roams around teasing girls.

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  • How would you build/arrange/create space with wooden lockers in a mud-room? I am scoring Pinterest for ideas but thought maybe one of you would have a tip that must be used.

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  • I introduced my crew to omelets a little while ago. In my mind they were always a mess to make, so many ingredients and all that. I have figured out that if I get everything else ready ahead of time, it’s really not that much work. I fry the sausage, bacon, chop the ham and veggies, and anything else before. If they are for breakfast I’ll do it the day before. If we have them in the evening, I’ll do the prep in the afternoon. Then it’s easy-peasy and once the egg is done, just load it up.
    My crew will then ruin it by putting ketchup all over it before consuming. I add a bit of salsa to mine for an added flavor, much better than ketchup in my mind.

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  • I’m thankful for the wind in the windchimes a few times lately. Ours don’t chime often so when they do, even just a little, I stop and take notice. They always remind me of Tristan. We all got windchimes from different people after he died so now when I hear the chimes, I think of him.  It is amazing how often they will chime just a little at a significant time. It feels like God acknowledging what we’re feeling.

Musings of Life

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Sunshine, pretty trees and blue skies in Ohio? Is that a thing? I’m taking bids to come rake my leaves, mow the lawn once more and throw out the dead plant or two jack frost has finished off.


The dentist.
I went again last week. I have to go again next week. My dislike of this appointment is on the rise. It used to be tolerable, something I had to do occasionally and survived, but it is becoming a serious issue for me. I’m telling you it’s right up there with the likes of stepping on a snake or something equivalent.

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When I came home from the said appointment at 8pm, she was doing this. I was not a very nice mom at that point so things got a little heated. We worked it out and the donuts were good.  (And no, I don’t know what recipe she used.)


This thing about food and the eating thereof.

  • Why do I not dislike eating as much as some of my children?
  • How does a child become full to the very tip-top after only 2 bites when only minutes before they had been a very S T A R V I N G hungry monster?
  • Why does it take 473,827,382,356,783 dishes to cook a 2 item meal?
  • Who else hates the piles of dishes staring at you while eating a meal?
  • Why does weariness overcome you as soon as you finish eating and all you want to do is nap?
  • Do all children have the ability to sense what is coming and magically disappear as soon as it’s time to clear the table, do the dishes, or empty the dishwasher?
  • Why do recipes online look so delicious and turn out like something the cat won’t sniff much less grace a table?
  • Why do I wait until 1 hour before set eating time to become frantic about what we will be eating?

End of food rant. Amen.


After reading a book about going to the moon the topic of discussion was just that, going to the moon. I pulled some videos up on You-tube so they could better visualize this and all eyes were open and ears were tuned.
Later that night I heard the son declare, “I am going to the moon someday!” The little one who follows him says, “Oh, but Dakota, you can’t. You would miss us so much because it takes 4 days to get there and 4 days to get back!”

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Speaking of reading, my girls would spend all their days wrapped up in books. Dakota, not so much (yet), it just doesn’t hold the appeal it did for the girls. He is doing better the last few weeks, if only in an effort to win a free pizza.

What series of books are on your A-list
for kids in the tweens, 10-12 age.
Any suggestions?


My husband and my eldest can go round and round.
The other night they had an “egg” battle.
“That was an “eggcelent” meal!”
“Yes, eggstraordinary.”
“Read all about it in Eggekial.”
“Eggxtra, Eggxtra, read all about it.”
“Can’t wait to get our Eggcursion back.”
“Wouldn’t you rather drive an Eggspedition?”
Try it sometime, it is Eggspiring. (or don’t)


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We have one birthday in October and one in November, Christmas in Dec and another birthday in February. For a person that does not do well with buying and giving gifts, this is a problem.

Give me all your ideas for gifts.
please.
lest I succumb to the stress.


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Would someone please explain to me how I am old enough to be at this stage in life? Am I not just 25, okay maybe pushing 30, but still. THIS!

One of my children has a pet peeve … when you go somewhere and the parents meet old friends, someone invariably will look at them and say, “My word, your children are getting so big!”

“Like really? What are we suppose to be doing? Getting smaller?
Don’t you think we already noticed this?
Getting big? What is that? Large?
Thank you for reminding us that we have grown in the last year!” 

So, I promised to try to rephrase that one a little if I am ever tempted to say it.
“Whoa! I expected your children to still be the same size they were the last time we met and how is it that they have not stopped stretching upward in length by now?”


Confessions of a mom:

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I wait until she comes home from school to make the pie crust.

If I throw away an old toy or treasure, I stick it far and deep into the trash can to insure that it is well hidden.

I get claustrophobia when they all want to sit so close to me.

I may or may not hide certain foods for myself.

I can’t tell them all. They will read this and know.

Confess a few of yours to me!
I won’t tell your kids.


When you find yourself fighting a battle remember this:

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor 12:9

His grace is sufficant for today, for this moment, for right now. He is glorified in our weakness. Lean on Him. Depend on Him. Tust Him.

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Stay warm in this crispy weather and have a good weekend!

Of August

August, the month when we imagine everything will be hot and sticky.
Not so this year, the windows have been open most of the month.

August, the month when moms of all shapes and sizes flip flop back and forth in their brains on any given day, at any given moment.
They go from, “I can.not believe school is starting soon. I don’t want the schedule. I will miss my children!” All the while secretly thinking, “And who will help me work?”
Or at any other given moment, you might find them scrawling notes to the teacher saying, “Thank you thank you thank you for rescuing this child from my hands!!”

August is when you squeeze in one last day of swimming, one last trip to the park and think of all the things you were going to do but didn’t get done.

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August is when all the moms of toddlers think,
“It will be years before my kids are old enough for school.”
(insert loud buzzing noise here) 
Wrong. It will be tomorrow.

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In the photo above, Bryce is holding his ears because I believe in reading a book the way a book should be read. With all the noise and enthusiasm that is portrayed in a book.  He did not care for Bear’s loudness in the library!

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August is when you chop and dice everything in your garden, throw it in the pot and call it good. Tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos, plus a whole lot more from the store!
It’s so pretty I actually wish I liked it.

August is for so many cherry tomatoes that in a fit of rage, you actually rip the plant out and toss it, much to your children’s horror. Hey, there are three more plants too many!

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August is for peaches. Combine angel food cake, a pudding mixture, a peach mixture and you have an amazing combo. Much better than the previous photo.

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August is for squeezing one last vacation in before school starts.

In the name of keeping all things honest and upright here,
no my children do not always appreciate having their photo taken.
Especially the little one.

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When August is as cool and cool can be, you sit by the fire and catch up.

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And when August pulls off a stunning solar eclipse, you tell the kids they will not miss this, they will go outside and take turns watching. And lo and behold, it turns out to be a whole lot more interesting than they thought it might be.
Or maybe it was just cool to use the welding helmet.

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And of course, the number one thing August is known for, school!
All three were ready to go back whether they admit it or not. One may have been slightly more excited than the others and one was very sad to be left behind.
But she and I, we are really doing great.
That thing called silence is just ringing in my ears!

Miss You Tris

August brings back memories,
the last time I saw Tris,
the last time I waved goodbye
and watched him walk away.
If only I had known…

Quote of the day:
“Did you know my Bible said Jesus undied himself?”

And for that, I am very grateful.