Thursday, December 19, 2013

Oh, Henry

When I started blogging my #5 was 18 months old.  I remember the day he tried to run and scraped his knees.

henry's piggies 003

We lived in Illinois then.  In a pretty house that was on a golf course.  Everything was clean and neat. Even Henry…and that was what I didn’t like about it!  I missed animals and my kids bring in bugs and getting dirty.  That is where Henry was born and he asks a million questions about it.

Henry is my guy. 

He is the only one of my three sons that looks like me.  He is quirky and does the craziest stuff—which truthfully is just like his dad but the fact that he looks  a lot like me makes it funny.

This morning as I was watching him get on the bus through the window (baby it’s cold outside!) I actually got a lump in my throat as he looked so big.  My blog is really Henry’s life chronologically. 


He waits amongst the snow hills.  Sometimes he sings to himself.  He turns and waves to me many times.  He knows I am there…loving him loving me.  And that is exactly what it is.  I love that he loves me.  And I love that he loves me loving him.  He knows this because I put his blanket in the dryer at bedtime so he can get some warm snuggles. Also because when told to eat all his spinach I take a huge forkful when no one is looking.


He asks me things like “when is the first time you smiled , mom?”

He hugs me so tight with his little biceps and it keeps me strong all the day long.

This all may sound dreamy as we all know what seven year old boys are like.

While my seven year old doesn’t like to take showers and when tired his voice goes up an octave.  It’s okay.

Yesterday he was just being lugged around on my hip.  Now he smells like school, like metal desks and the heavy acrylic paint of the art room. 

He lays with me in my bed and often I hold his hand while we each hold half the book.


I watch him get on the bus with his snowpants and boots in a bag—he plays with his friends in the snow and later he tells me with great animation the play by play.  It usually involves swinging  and jumping high into the snow.   My guy Henry!  He is growing so fast, I just want to drink up these days.

Tomorrow is the Christmas party at school.  I will dress him super cute, and even I will trim his nails.  It  is that special. He will give his sweet teacher a present and when he does I am certain his cheeks will be red and he will scurry away super fast.  Oh, Henry!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

thinks & thoughts

This is the time of year when my thoughts are at max capacity. So much to accomplish before all these capitalized calendar dates coming up.  The big ones.  Nevermind all the gifts to make or purchase or the menus to plan but all my personal goals and projects that I never even wanted to see the gray days of winter. 

But they are getting done and that is a good thing! Our kitchen looks prettier by the day and my stack of furniture to redo is getting smaller.

My thoughts of late are happier and more optimistic than they have been in a while.  For those of you that know about all my stuff, it’s all good.  I feel good, and by that I mean I am having some great days (not just good) and am learning how to handle the bad ones.  I don’t feel limited, just sometimes have to go about stuff a little different.  To say this has taken some getting used to is an understatement and I am sure I have plenty of bad days ahead of me.  But it feels good to be more positive and less afraid.  I exercise everyday almost just like I used to.

MS is a strange disease.  On the outside you may look just fine but on the inside you might have a bunch of things going on.  Some days I can wake up and feel like I can run for miles and other days my legs are like jelly and I can’t feel my feet.  The good thing is that for the most part symptoms come and go.  If you can deal with it you know better days are around the corner.  My issues seem to be mostly in my neck/spine and memory and speech.  If I have a lot going on it gets hard to find all my words. For most people exhaustion is a big part of this as well.  I have learning what it is like having a “disease”.  Some of my friends and family that know I think maybe feel a little fidgety about it.  Trust me I am still me, I love to have fun…to laugh…to hug! I don’t like that feeling that I might make people uncomfortable.  That is a very hard part of this. 

The treatments for this have changed drastically.  I am comfortable with what path I have chosen.  I give myself a shot each day which sounds bad but in my mind it gives me satisfaction to know I am doing something to fight this.  The medication attacks the cells that are destroying the nerve sheaths that cause relapses and symptoms.  It basically builds up your immunity against this process.  My Dr is a lovely woman who looks like the mother from Happy Days.  This is completely why I chose her (a joke) but she knows her stuff and I feel like she took time to get to know me. 

Blah all I wrote is me me me.  I just don’t want anyone to think I’m doing poorly if I am quiet.  It is really the opposite.  It feels good to do stuff.  We are also building a new larger coop, it is almost complete.  Like most things we build it is quite crooked and uneven but I’m hoping the hens won’t notice.  They will be closer to our barn and it will be easier during the harsh NH winter to have  lights and a heated waterer to keep them happy. 

I will leave you with this picture of Henry who loves cats. This picture made me laugh this morning when I saw the cat’s face.  He loves Birdie so darn much but has no idea that she doesn’t enjoy his cuddles as much as he does.



Friday, November 1, 2013

what’s hangin?

This sea captain picture is.


I understand you might not like it. The frame is outdated and it is not quite as cool as a vintage paint by number.  But I like it so much.  I waited through a very long auction with little kids in tow just so I could leave with it under my arm.  And as you can see I did. There is something about weathered old sea captains. 


Also I framed and hung this colorful relief map I bought for a dollar years ago. I would like to have a map wall inspired by one I saw on pinterest (darn you pinterest).  I have a few more maps to play around with but haven’t been able to get the look I would like. Part of this is because I like to pay $1 for vintage maps.  This limits my choices drastically. Maybe I should refigure my pricing allowance?

That is what’s hanging around here. So many projects!

Mostly though I’ve been busy enough with kid stuff.  Not too busy to enjoy the World Series…did you see that?  Those bearded wonders?  What a great team and I guess it is no longer just an opinion- they are the best in the world!







Monday, October 28, 2013

the sewing table


Gone are the days when I would have to clear my sewing projects off the kitchen table so we could eat dinner.  While certainly I don’t have a lavish sewing room in an estate- I do have a spot. A real spot to sew. I’m grateful for it as it looks out along the back hillside and inspires me to endlessly daydream.  Often I will leave mid-seam and go outside as I can only look out there so long before I want to feel the snap of the chilled fall wind and hear those last golden leaves rustling up high on their branches.  Isn’t that a great sound? 


If you look closely you can see Molly’s teepee she made from long sticks and covered with lopped off pine boughs.  She sits in there and practices her chorus songs.  We have one chicken that also likes it in there.  Molly singing and a chicken.  This is why I like being a mother. And also why I like to sew and look out the big window.


Many of my sewing items used to belong to someone else.  That is okay with me.  It feels personal to rummage through an old sewing case.  Usually everything is so meticulous. Little buttons sewn onto a tiny fabric scrap.  Pieces of ribbon wound about leftover mint tins.  If we could all be so organized, right?  It is shameful how I mistreat my rogue buttons and ribbon scraps.

The truth is I haven’t been sewing as much as I would like.  I sift through my patterns and make a stack  of what I would like to make. More often than not the stack sits there for too long.  By the time I return to it I’m like what was I thinking?  My tastes change or the seasons do and I start sifting through all over again.



This time I am determined to make something other than pajama pants.  I made each of the three younger kids four pairs and I am super tired of them (the pants not the kids haha).


I love wide wale corduroy.  Hopefully (fingers crossed) Sawyer will end up with some overalls and pants and I will make an apron out of that cute Thanksgiving fabric.  Maybe even before Thanksgiving?


I made this blanket last week.  It has become a good friend to me.  I bought four yards of this windowpane wool at an estate sale several years ago. On a whim I cut it in half and lined it with a soft non-pill fleece.  It is so warm and cozy.  It is definitely a lazy blanket to make but the reward is grand.  No quilting or binding, you can sit and daydream through those 72” seams and it will come out just fine.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

goldilock chairs


Outside of being a mother and wife and all that important stuff, I am a collector.

I don’t like the word junk or cheap.

I like old things.

That explains why there are enough children’s chairs in the barn to seat a large population of children.

Sometimes I redo them, but I like to leave them just so, too.

This blue chair reminds me of the three bears story. That’s mostly the reason I can’t resell it.


Surely a rocking swan is a necessity?  Good grief what kind of mother would I be if he was unable to contribute to his balance/ rocking skills without a swan?

Friday, October 4, 2013

happy days









A mish mash of pictures of what we have been up to.

Things are good here.  Never underestimate good!

It’s fall and now that I have finally loaded all the summer pics I can move on to the glory of all that is outside.   The colors are so pretty this year.  Henry and I have been saving the most colorful shiny leaves and pressing them in our biggest books.  He loves this, it is such a simple thing that I will carry with my favorite memories as he grows up. 

This past year I have really felt like the mother of BOYS… as I there are three living at home still.  We have always been a mostly girl house so it is wonderful and strange at the same time.  Our girls have all been home this week and it has been so fun! 

Have a happy weekend, there’s fun stuff around every corner—hope you find some!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

our first pumpkin

A few years ago I received a bit of advice in the form of a few words of comfort.  I was at my husband’s work picnic and talking to his coworker about big families.  He had six children and his oldest was about to leave for her second year of college.  At the time I had all my kids at home and our routine was very controlled.  Everyone had their activities but by 9:00 all the kids were tucked into their beds.  I asked him how hard was it to have a child leave for school…is it worrisome?  I could not imagine being in those shoes.  He said it took getting used to but it reaches a point when it is okay.  It just becomes okay.  He was right.  Now with two kids away from home it feels okay.  I was weary I would ever reach this point.  It helps that they are happy and they have surrounded themselves with good friends.  I’m happy they are happy!

What about when they come home for a visit?  Oye!  It’s so exciting!

Hadley is coming home this weekend and I can’t wait to just hug that child.  I always want her to feel like this is her home, even though we moved here while she was away at school and no longer has her own bedroom.  But she needs a place!  A place that can be hers while she is here.  I never want her to feel like a guest.


I surrounded her little corner bed with things that remind me of her and hopefully remind her of happy days of childhood.


Her childhood desk, it has an old wood smell inside it that instantly reminds me of her sitting at it working on her papers and crafts.  While she is too big for it now it is a good place to lay a suitcase.


This is a pillow she and I worked on one hot Texas afternoon. 


When she was 7 she memorized all the bird flashcards.  I wonder if this has come in handy in her life?  Does she walk through her neighborhood and identify birds?  I shall ask her this when she is here.  Maybe I will quiz her and see how well she remembers them.


There are treasures from her dad’s travels.  Each trinket has a story, my children often remember these stories better than I do.  All that traveling we did has made the world small in Hadley’s eyes.  Much smaller than I thought it was when I was her age.  The enormity of the world scared me, she isn’t bothered by such things.  She likes to see and do, where as I liked to look and think about doing.

What about that feeling when you are at the airport and waiting for your loved one to walk through the doorway?  It’s unnerving! Hurry up and come home to mama!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

putting up


When the youngest has his big nap of the day I get ants in my pants about what exactly I will choose off my never ending list. If I pick one thing I will be in the middle of it and wishing I picked something else.  Lately the only constant is canning.  And I enjoy doing it. I love knowing there are jars of things in the basement. Sometimes I stand there and just stare at them.  In the winter I will remember picking things with my family when it was warm out and we scoffed at cold winter days.  But those days will be here, this I am certain.


Don’t mind my messy handwriting on those jars.  It’s only if what is inside tastes good that counts.


I was happy we had an abundance of concord grapes this year as last year we didn’t and I was sad about it.  This year I didn’t sigh out one complaint about skinning each of those grapes (well I kind of did just now).


This is my newest attempt…fruit cocktail.  I realize many people don’t like it but it is a staple here in our pantry. I used a few maraschino cherries which is horrible but when you are a child the cherry in fruit cocktail is the best part.  And it defeated the purpose to buy fresh cherries at $5 a pound that looked terrible  anyway.



As a family we mostly eat these plums and pears.  They are good when you are craving something sweet but don’t want to commit to a hefty dessert.

I wish I could photograph myself in a gourmet kitchen canning away in heels and a flowery dress with perfectly coordinated gingham apron.  This is my kitchen right now…



It’s awful.

I will be glad when it is all done, this has been an ongoing project that life interrupted. I will be so happy when it is complete!


Saturday, August 24, 2013

being a dreamer

  I often think about why some people love to read while others look at it as a chore (hello to my brother Mike).  Maybe it is a personality thing?  I often wish I could be more outgoing and more relaxed around new faces.  I love to hear people talking about their experiences, their families…to see their animated faces sharing their happiness. 

Reading books transports me to another place and time.  I remember the first time I read the Emily series by LM Montgomery (same author as Anne of Greene Gables).  It was profound.  Her thoughts were so similar to my thoughts, the way she wrote about nature and the land.  Her words about being a child, it has stayed with me all these years. Those books made me feel like it was okay to dream.  To dream about stuff no one else would understand.  Like the way the water ripples on a pond when the wind rolls in before the rain.  Is there a proper adjective for that?  It just makes me feel something.

Books are everywhere in this house.


A good book makes you think, it stays with you.


While most of our books have their place on a shelf we still have many stacked about. Radiators make great shelves during the summer Smile



My kids are all dreamers.  Like most kids they create plans and get so excited about them.  I suppose it is something that indirectly I have always thought was okay—to encourage them to keep doing that.  To be excited about stuff.  The oldest girls are now “grown ups”.  I love hearing their ideas and plans.  Their someday thoughts.  It’s okay to dream because I know. I know.



Happy weekend to you, hope it’s full of good stuff!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013



Golly I think this summer should win an award for Best Weather Ever.  At least around here.

The weather hasn’t gotten in the way of anything, really.  The one rainy week I remember was in perfect timing to my lay in bed and read all day mood at the time.  It hasn’t been too hot to cook food.  We sit on the porch and enjoy the air gliding through at the perfect speed. 



The cats are comfortable window shopping for birds on the wide open windows. 


Though it does take all day to dry a load of towels on the line. 


The kids don’t sleep in the tent but they have hauled enough stuff out into it that I am surprised there is room to even sit in it.

When I’m in the house I feel as though I should be outside enjoying the weather and getting the garden weeded (hahahahaha). When I’m outside I think of all the housework that needs doing inside.  It’s hard to live in the moment and enjoy what is right under your nose!

Monday, August 19, 2013

on a Monday morning

Before I leave my room each morning I rush around and get dressed and barely comb my hair, I make my bed and make sure the room looks a little tidy.  I do this in about five minutes flat which really explains my appearance each day. If I don’t do this the day starts bad,  I end up standing in a messy kitchen in my pajamas and then before I know it is almost lunchtime.

This morning however, I broke all my rules and came downstairs very early and had my breakfast in my sitting room on the little bed in there.  The windows were open and the songbirds were loud.  The air is fresh and cool for a morning in August.  The kind of air I missed every day I lived in Texas (sorry Texans). 

I wish I had pictures to share that could encompass how happy it made me.  The first morning in many that put a smile on my face.  Mornings lately have been a little hard.  Parts of each day…hard.  I wish I could get used to all this stuff.  But as you can guess it’s hard! I have been missing myself if that makes any sense to anyone.

On Saturday the church next door had their annual fair to raise money for charities. It is a charming little set up with a rummage sale, used book sale, auction and games for the kids that make you smile.  Nothing is modern about it, even most of the people.  The church has never missed a year for 152 years now.  The first fairs were for children to raise money to support needs during the Civil War. We live on Main st in this little town and the hay ride goes up and down all day and I wave to all the children each time and because I am a goon it makes me get a lump in my throat when I see their little happy faces while riding in a hay wagon.

My brother Mike and my mother come up every year.  And this year my father came, too.  Mike and I are the youngest of a big family and never experienced having “mom and dad” as they divorced while we were young. We were kind of giddy having both our parents together and just us two kids. We might have acted a bit foolish taking pictures and such and probably making our parents kind of uncomfortable.

After my dad left my brother and my husband lit the huge burn pile we had in the back.  (don’t worry we had a permit to burn) it was a ginormous fire and the kids ran wild and my son lit fireworks and scared the chickens and I sat to the side and thought about all the books I bought at the fair that morning.

Yesterday we went blueberry picking for the second time, my husband is home to do this with us which is very, very nice.  We picked all together about 45 pounds. And by we I mean my husband and teenagers while I sat under the biggest blueberry bush I could find and rested my neck on a perfect fluff of straw.

I have no pictures of the blueberry picking which is too bad as Henry wore engineer striped overalls and a Red Sox hat, which is so very cute when you are six (and not so cute if you are 40).

Since I am not sharing many pics I will share this one of my parents with 5 of our 6 kids.


As you can see Sam is growing very tall and Maggie likes to have that chunk of frayed short hem hanging down.  I tried to cut it off and she went hysterical.  Maggie made Sam’s shirt—isn’t it cute?  I think this is called bragging about one’s kids???  And since I am I will tell you Hadley our oldest is missing from this picture, she is in TX working because she graduated this year. From college!  She has a degree in linguistics and I am so proud of her.  We put her through so much during her education, with all the moving and military stuff.  But now she is finished! And she is only 20!  Proud of that girl!

Sometimes I get overwhelmed with gratitude as if I knew during my 20’s and 30’s what I know now I would have been afraid to have 6 kids.  But Somebody knew what I wanted even more than I did.  These kids make me so happy!