Sunday, December 23, 2012

he came home

One day I woke up and cooked and cleaned like all the other days and then the next day he called and said he is coming home.  It was hard to say words. What do you say?



It feels unreal to have my husband home living amongst us, his family.

I’m so happy he is home.

He is ours.


We waited at the airport through snow and ice. It seemed impossible he would  walk through that door.

But he did.


He is getting acquainted with the baby, who is sporting new rolls of chub and some tiny teeth.


When I walk into a room and see him sitting with the children and everyone is smiley, it makes me so emotional. Missing him has been hard work.

This Christmas has new meaning for me, about what is real and good.

I feel humbled and merry all at the same time.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

at night in my castle

It has taken me a bit longer than usual to feel the warmth of the season. It was really always there I just had to open my eyes and quit looking down.

It also helps that I actually turned up the heat instead of struggling to keep the woodstoves going. We have one in each end of the house and keeping up with them is a full time job. 

Turning up the thermostat equals Christmas spirit? Who knew?



That wallpaper is fo real. Vintage 1988.






I think there is a mantle/ fireplace in each living space in this house.   Recently Molly and I heard a bat caught in one of the chimneys.  We freaked out for a bit then out of nowhere we became brave. We never found the bat but assured ourselves it isn’t in the fireplace. (Because we checked 1,000,000,000 times.) And PS Molly is 9 and much braver than her mother.


This picture is terrible and it’s too bad I am lazy to retake it because this is my favorite mantle. We have had the bubble lights for many years, they always bring warmth to decorating. 

Sending happy holiday wishes your way!


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

chocolate and a mother/daughters reunion


Apparently I have rekindled my love of chocolate.  

These are mounds of chocolate sugar cookie dough baked with a chocolate Hershey’s Hug squished by my young children into the middle (after baking).  They need a while to cool as the kisses melt but don’t lose shape. Don’t eat too many or you’ll lose shape, too.

This week brings change with the older girls returning from their colleges. I can’t wait!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

An English Day

My morning was spent driving local roads to bring my children where they needed to be. It is foggy with a heavy mist. 

I like these gray mornings as they remind me of England and the time we spent there. 

I like the muted scent of wood smoke from the chimneys on our street.  The warmth of the cup of tea in my hand, the way the baby’s chapped cheeks smell from his lotion.


These are the little things that if someone asked “Are you having a good day?”

I could reply with certainty that indeed I am.

The decorating of the house has been mayhem.  There is no system in place just the hauling out of bins and boxes with contents scattered about. I can’t seem to remember how I had everything last year and nothing is looking as it should.  I went on my blog to see pictures and then realized it has been a very long time since I last posted. I miss you!

My hands are often to busy to write and my creative side is dormant. My thoughts barely seem share-worthy. But I have made a decision to try harder!


Here is a blurry picture of Hadley and two of her younger siblings after she hid in this huge box and JUMPED OUT to surprise them.  They didn’t know she came for a visit, she had been away since July.  It was great fun!

I hope no matter what weather is outside your windows you are finding joy this season.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

one time on Oprah…

Shortly after I had my first baby I was watching Oprah-- a new mother asked a parenting expert when her life would return to a normal routine.  The audience erupted with laughter and Oprah said in about 18 years, honey…

I’ve carried that moment with me around with all my new babies.  I felt so bad for that woman! Life does return to “normal”.  Her baby should be over 20 years old now—hopefully she figured it out.


I allow myself a year after having a baby to not even think about a normal routine.  Just when one routine gets comfortable a new one begins.  Every baby is different, every mother is different. And I myself am a pretty wacky one.


After I had a few kids I learned not to start projects like sewing.  I try and wait a year.  I want to focus on my baby, on getting back in shape. Otherwise I get so frustrated on why can’t I get anything done.


Do I sound like a know it all?  This is more like a pep talk for myself really.


I like to think I’m the type of person that needs a clean house and complete organization.  I can’t work on something for 10 minutes at a time.  I need to sit and finish it, or I won’t do it.  When I let myself slide emotionally and physically I let everything slide. (Which by the way, how come right after my 40th birthday I realize my rear is sliding into my legs? But that’s another post.)


Having said all that I really miss making stuff.  Sawyer is almost 6 months old.  He’s really wiggly and wakes up like 4 times a night (seriously- I’ve tried everything) but he smiles nonstop—even at 2:00 in the morning. He is so yummy right now!  I think it all evens out.  I know my day to make stuff will be here soon enough. I will be patient! My baby will be a big kid with smelly feet before I know it.


I floated around my sitting room today taking pictures of crafty stuff that inspires me, it’ll do for now!sawyera

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The wind blows east and west


The house is as decorated as it will get for Halloween.  I bought one bag of candy corn and it quickly was ingested.  One bag is all these little ghosts and goblins will get.  Even before they know I have bought any their bodies know there is something full of sugar and food coloring in the house. 


Since Sept we have partied up three birthdays.  I turned 40! Hadley turned 20! Maggie turned 18!


We had a VIP guest on the table, even though it was the middle of the night where he is.  Sigh. I just love that guy.

We are halfway through this time apart.  Time is a funny thing, some parts have seemed to go by fast while others drag on.  Nonetheless I can’t handle any more deployments.  I cringe when I add up the time he has been away through the years.   In case you are wondering if someone can be deployed too much, the answer is yes…someone can.  I feel like I have put my best foot forward through the first four, but now, these last 2-3?  It’s too many.  It’s hard.  Life is too precious.  Even when he is home it hangs like a dark cloud, always nearby. 

Oye…anyway…staying positive!

This book opened my eyes to much more than my love for McCloskey and his art.


It was written by his daughter Jane and her perspective on her childhood was so very interesting to me.

The pictures I have hanging in my home from his books have a whole new meaning to me.


I love when books let you peer into someone’s life.  When you finish the book and reflect on the sense of their life (or nonsense haha) it helps you put your own life into perspective. 

My thoughts after I finished this book were:

My happiness is really up to me

I want to keep a sense of adventure my whole life

Sometimes what defines people is not what they wish to have define them

Seeing isn’t just with your eyes…it is a learned process.  I need to work on that one.

Howz that for a book report?




Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fall art on the porch

The days we are able to spend on the screen porch doing artwork are lessening.  We love doing fall art on the porch. If saying “fall art” is too much for you, it could be contracted to f’art.  Can you tell what kind of mood I am in?  The kind of mood where you really don’t feel like making dinner even though you know you have to,  but really you just want to sit in your comfiest chair and stitch embroidery for hours.

Anyhow we have been trying to do some kind of art each weekend. My project ideas were few until I stumbled across an art teachers blog that led me to another and soon enough there were a zillion ideas and my brain was full.

This is the one we did last weekend, a little mixed media appropriate for fall.


We ripped up pages from an old book and after gluing we washed them over with a watered down brown acrylic.


The idea came from a blog called that artist woman.  My daughter (age 9) really loved doing this project, it might have been a little too much for my five year old.  He loves to draw and paint but when you add in the other stuff he kind of starts bouncing around.  At first you don’t realize that he is bouncing around and then all of a sudden you know your patience is thin and you hear his voice echoing the same chant over and over while he is swinging a too long stick like an orchestra conductor too close to your face.

He’s a wild and crazy guy.


When I envision him when he’s older I can’t help picturing him with a big beer belly doing cannonballs into the pool.  But don’t tell anyone I said that.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Do all kids dream of growing carrots?


Through my 20 years of parenting I think each of my kids has at one time or another wanted to grow carrots.  This was the first time we had a little success.  And I think pulling the carrots up out of the ground was as great as Molly had hoped it would be.

Last February I read way too much about growing carrots and couldn’t stop talking about them. I wanted to grow a huge variety and keep them through the winter.  But alas my belly grew huge with a baby and then the baby was born and then my life went spinning around and around like the revolving door at a fancy hotel.  But it’s all good.  The baby is growing and at the same time my life is starting to become a familiar routine again.


la la la la laaaaaaa


I realize now being busy was a good thing for my kids as they had their own freedom with the garden.  Sometimes that is the best way to learn stuff without your mother telling you how to do things.  I suppose it’s a happy medium, with raising kids in general.  My kids tend to be a bit on the shy side (me too) and it sometimes takes a little push to get them on their path.  It’s so satisfying to watch them do something on their own, it makes them proud…and me proud, too.

063 018

Their bounty is good and we have been enjoying their harvest each night.

Now that the garden is just about through I am anxious to let the hens in there. When I say anxious I mean way more excited than I should be. The hens will be thrilled and probably spend all their time at the first plant they see instead of realizing there is a goldmine of great stuff to be found. But they’ll figure it out… kind of like my kids!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

dew drop Sunday morning


This morning is the first I find myself in long sleeves.

Each morning as I stumble up the hill to let the chickens out the grass is heavier with dew than it was the previous morning.   I love the subtle changes that are happening each day.  The air feels fresh, the trees seem too tired to hold on to their shiny green leaves. 


The sunflowers are heavy and droopy after  astonishing us with their height. All that from a tiny little seed?


Maybe the up and coming winter will be long and gray, I’ll worry about that later.

For now there is too much work to do…just ask the chipmunks!

Happy Sunday to you!

Saturday, September 1, 2012


The weather lately has been beautiful.  The sky by midday reaches a blue that looks like it came straight from a Charles Wysocki puzzle. Then just as you think it would be nice if it rained so you don’t have to water the garden, it does.  Just enough, then the sun and blue reappear. 


I remember writing a post a year ago and telling you I was glad it was September. 

I’m glad again.

But really I can’t believe it’s been a year since  I typed those words.


I fell in love with zinnias this year.  I’ve always been a red-geranium-in-terra-cotta kind of girl.  But the zinnias offer so much with so little effort.

Can I help it if I like things with little effort?

Lately that doesn’t equate to many things.  Though the two oldest are away at school, it leaves me feeling like an empty nester with four at home. The first day of school was a unique one with phone calls from a homesick daughter and having an emotional first day kindergartener.  But now everything has lost its sharp edges and everyone seems to have reached that it’s not so bad level.  Even me.  I miss my boy Henry, but he’s happy in his little school and that makes me happy, too. The two hours he is gone is usually the baby’s nap time and the house is so quiet I can’t even believe it.



These September days will certainly go by fast.  I will try and appreciate all they have to offer…blooming flowers, the soft light of the sun, the burst of harvest the garden is giving.  It’s all good!





Sunday, August 12, 2012

weeding thoughts


Today I stood facing our home and looked embarrassingly at the weeds that took over the front beds. 

It looked as someone overwhelmed with life lives here.

And that is true.

But I’m not ready to give in with being overwhelmed.


I don’t want to hide behind those massive clumps of grass that grow so firmly enmeshed in the roses.

In a drizzle bit of rain I started pulling weeds.  I did this until my hair was plastered to my head trying to swing about in sweaty clumps.  It turned into such a release of aggression for me, pulling those weeds.  I’m sure those driving by would say I looked like an angry weeder.


I’m not an angry person.  I can yell about dishes left out and a messy bathroom, but I don’t yell about my feelings.

I don’t yell when I get lonely, even though my house is always full of kids.

I don’t yell about looking at my baby and noticing he has Ken’s big toe.  Because I want to show him.


Everyday I do laundry, cook meals and nurse the baby.  Some days I do this with a smile and some days I do this while feeling like I can’t.  And lately those can’t days are too many.

Those comments you left on my last post are so dear and sweet to me.  They were so needed!  Thank you for that, from the bottom of my heart!


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

going more places with little bird

Everywhere I go my little bird comes, too.

For the most part he likes this and so do I.  I’m too embarrassed to tell you how many auctions and sales he has been to in his short 3 months.  His first was when he was 6 days old…it was a book and ephemera sale.  We didn’t buy anything that day but he was a big hit. 

Often I think about how he arrived so gently into our lives.  After a previous pregnancy ended with such drama, I still am in awe at that wonderful day 3 months ago.  I think it was one of the most beautiful days of my life. People remark at how it must be hard to have an infant with my husband away. Other than the obvious that he will miss these precious days of watching our child reach his first milestones, I am grateful to have a baby in the house.  He brings so much joy.


I’m not sure why I love having babies so much, they do turn into teenagers afterall.  But these early days? They are the most precious days.  Often when I go to pick Sawyer up from a nap I can’t believe I have a baby.  A baby!

Now go ahead and ask me how it is to care for all the other kids while Dad is away….

It’s so darn hard you’re lucky I’m not using swear words in this sentence!




Saturday, July 28, 2012

the little things

Happiness is sending your child out to pick salad ingredients on a rainy summer day.



I love summer.

I love rain.

I love salad.

I love my child.

But not in that order.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

a road less traveled

Last year my eight year old attended a little country school.  It was conveniently located near our home and we often walked the little country road that connected our house to her little school.

We watched the colors  change on this road, from green to red, orange and brown.  Then to the stark colors of winter. 


We did this until the colors turned back to green again.  We quickly became familiar with every detail of the road.  There’s an old cellar hole and a lonely old stone wall that weaves through the woods.


Her school was the second oldest school in NH opening in 1789.



They closed the school and now she will attend a much more modern school where the floors don’t creak and the radiators don’t hiss. I’m certain modern school are good, too, but most likely they won’t have a gym door the perfect shade of blue-green.  I loved this school, it sits atop a hill looking at all the big old houses that face it. 


In fact one of my favorite houses in this town recently went up for sale causing me to hyperventilate for three days straight.  It sits near the school, it is so big and regal but has a quiet beauty to it.



I think it’s around 400k. It’s so pretty with a brook and a pond and the circle driveway is perfect for tricycle riding.

Anyhow I shall tell you a little history lesson I stumbled upon while resting in the corner of the Brattle Book Shop.  I knew the school was named after Samuel Appleton but didn’t know much about him.  Then I came across the name Franny Appleton in an article about historic artwork.  I discovered they were related and I came home and spent way too much time researching instead of cleaning my house.  Is that bad?

Franny was Samuel’s niece.  She married Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. One day as she was sealing envelopes with wax she lit her dress on fire and Henry tried to save her but couldn’t.  He burned his face and that is why he grew that enormous beard.  It’s so tragic! Reading through historical stuff affects me so much, but at the same time I always want to know more.  No matter where we’ve lived the history of how people got there and what they went through never fails to be amazing.  There’s so much to learn!