Monday, December 1, 2014

early December list

Here is a list of things I want to do:



look at Christmas lights

glitter anything that would look good with glitter

listen to records

Imagine that list on my resume? 

We had a long Thanksgiving weekend with a foot of snow and a power outage the day after Thanksgiving which was okay as we had a fridge full of leftovers and  an indoor stack of wood for the stove. 

The kids were all home, which is the best feeling ever. Too quickly they fly away!



We had a fun party for Henry, who loves coin collecting. 


Also we went to Mystic to visit Ken’s mother and discovered my brother had driven down to watch the parade of holiday boats float down the river to the park at the drawbridge.  When my brother called I ran straight out of her house to find him amongst the tourists.  I found him right away, I felt like a giddy kid running the streets with my brother! We regrouped in her nice, warm house then sat on a quiet piece of riverbank drinking hot chocolate and watching the boats.  It was so Christmassy and pretty. 

Earlier in the day while out shopping in the village we found Santa sitting on a stone wall… some of us were very excited.  He had an artic fox hat, I guess I was staring at it as he asked if I wanted to wear it.


This weekend definitely put me in the Christmas mood.

Do you ever wake up and feel so happy and grateful…even when things aren’t perfect? 

It’s okay they aren’t perfect!  It’s okay to be happy when things are askew. 

I hope you wake with a smile and it lasts the whole day through!

Monday, November 3, 2014

hither dither


Yay…Halloween is over. I guess I am turning into one of those people.

Maybe it’s from having many children and the annual costume hyper extravaganza has worn itself out?

Anyway I know I do like Halloween somewhere in me brain but this year I will say hooray to November.

We are deep into Birthday celebrations, too.  I like those.  No scrooging about those.

For Sam’s over the weekend we hired a birthday clown.


The best clown in the world is a two year old with crooked face paint.  He will make you smile and laugh—that is certain.


I call this picture “Sawyer and The Clown”. 

Haha, husband jokes…my favorite!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

the stuff dreams are made of


Last Saturday my daughters came home.  They filled the house and their younger siblings with happy energy. Hadley lives about 45 minutes away and came over and cooked the most wonderful meal for us.  Maggie rode the train in from Boston and we made her a birthday cake.  It was very autumny out, we walked the Main Street of our town and admired the colorful leaves.

I loved this day.  It is the kind of day I dream of when I wake.

Sometimes I feel so flooded with gratitude about being a mother.  Actually I always feel this way.  This is what life is about whether you are a child or a mother.  Always taking care, always spreading a smile, always loving.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014










September is my favorite month. Breezy, blue sky days that are polka dotted with fun stuff like fairy tale parades and lazy afternoons in the library (fyi kid book recommendation above). There is plenty of good weather to grill or… if it’s a cool day, a slowly simmered beef stew with toasted bread.

With the kids in school most days I find myself waiting at the front door to listen for the bus.  They are happy and busy and tired at the end of the day.  I fight myself not to tell them I miss them all day long!  Because I do, usually.  I mean, it is nice to run errands and zip around with just the little guy.  We’re home by nap time and the house is even tidied up before supper. But it feels empty and I feel fickle. 

Our woodpiles are just about stacked (thank you, husband).  We have been watching The Roosevelts documentary that has been airing on PBS.  Have you? 

Hope you are out there enjoying your September days!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

It’s not so much


It’s not so much about the football game as it is about the approach of fall and how exciting it is to support a team.


It’s not so much about winning or losing as it is about eating pizza in the family room with the whole gang. 


It’s not so much that you have to stay home and watch the game with your family as it is wanting to be home on a Sunday afternoon in the fall.


It’s not so much that you have to meet Tom Brady to impress your Dad, but it helps!

That’s our daughter Maggie on her birthday last year.  She attended a small movie screening and was so surprised to see Tom and his supermodel wife (Gisele Bundchen)at the same screening.

Go team!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

page turner


I love the sweetness of old book covers, the charm of their stories.  How one can learn about history alongside of a story just by the language and descriptions. 

We have been lucky at the auction lately, no one wants books.  We buy tables full for just a few dollars.


We keep what we want and sell the rest.  These are Landmark books, some are worth more than others.  I am waiting for that big score when I get one of the rare ones. 


What about bird books? Can anyone pass up a nicely illustrated bird book?  I think that would be most difficult.  This book sits on my desk, mostly because that is where I set it down one day…now it is a permanent part of the d├ęcor. Sometimes  Sawyer looks at it and yells “EAGLE, OWL” or my favorite “BWUE BUHD”.

So yeah, I own a lot of books…but they kind of own me, too.


Friday, September 5, 2014

new words

Is swarthy a word? My computer isn’t telling me otherwise…I hope it isn’t something awful.

That is what today feels like with all this humidity rolling in.  I complained all summer there weren’t enough good beach days as we had a somewhat cool temp summer but now it’s 90 and full of sweaty air. I suppose it will just make us appreciate the fall more, when it gets here.


In the beginning of summer I cut out a bunch of patterns for Sawyer, he is two and just perfection for shortalls and soft knit tees tucked into his elastic waist shorts. The last of the baby chub is lingering on him and it hurts me to know he will turn into a thin boy of dirty fingernails and cowlick hair soon.  Each age is special but Sawyer’s two years have gone by so fast. 

I sewed many things for him but failed to make the whale shortalls until today.  This fabric is old (maybe 10 years?). I loved it so much when I bought it, now I feel like it is a bit dated.  But so am I (haha). He will never get another chance to wear polka dotted whales.





School has started, the garden is in major production mode and I have been canning as many cans as a canner can can cans. 

See you later!


Thursday, July 31, 2014

chicken gloves

Sometimes my 7 year old is loud.  He makes me laugh even when he knows I am just about at Mad and don’t want to laugh. He can get carried away with his string bean bouncy body.  He does things that aren’t quite inappropriate but then again just might be.  He has a huge imagination and can remember just about any detail that he encounters.  He is a math wizard and sometimes I wonder if he has enough humility. 

Today I overheard a conversation at the kitchen table as I was crossing through the room.  Just one sentence from my boy.  He said it quietly as much to himself as anyone around.  He wasn’t saying it for show.

  “Never make fun of anyone, except yourself.”

It resonated with me so much.  It was that exact moment when I really, really needed to hear something to encourage me as a mother. I am not sure if I have ever said those words to him but he absorbed it….the knowing of right and wrong.  He has empathy!

So now with each day when I am out in the big world carrying around all my insecurities and my lack of self confidence, I have this.  I am raising children and it is my favorite thing ever, but am I doing it right?  How do I know?  I can do better, I know that!  Sometimes it all flows and the kids go up in height and age and I step back and look at this, the marvel of it all and I feel so vulnerable. These kids need to gain their independence from their Dad and I in the most loving, kind, secure way. And from that very first step that was encouraged with clapping and open arms at each end, they have continued to step forward.

Unknowingly Henry just gave me a big loving boost of courage. 


photo by maggie

PS My husband’s latest deployment was cancelled.  C-A-N-C-E-L-L-E-D!!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

early morning

The sky is gray this early morning and all of nature seems slow to wake.  Even me. 

Some mornings are busy with big breakfast making, but this morning is the kind that calls for a cup of tea and a book.  I have done that already so here I sit at my green desk….

A few months ago my husband brought home a very large old bankers desk that someone had set out for free.  His thought was to have it in the barn as it has a nice workspace top.  It was love at first sight for me and he happily said yes I could paint it and use it.  Actually now that I think on it, did I even ask him?  Maybe it was just an assumption that this lovely man would just give me this lovely desk?  Maybe the sound of my sander was drowning out any protests he might have had? 

Well, anyhow, I have a new green desk.



It took my daughter Maggie and I nearly one whole day to figure out how to get it through the doorway into the sitting room.  We got it stuck and had to climb over it several times.  We broke the outside wooden step on the front of our house.  Actually SHE broke the wooden step as I said 3x “this wood here is weak so DON’T STEP RIGHT HERE”.  But she stepped right there.  Also she continuously told me the desk wouldn’t fit.  But after 6 hours of us flipping the desk every which way and standing with our arms crossed staring at it.  Then crawling over it.  Then taking a lunch break followed by some determination-yelling*, we did it.

Told you so, Mags.

*determination-yelling is when a mother has to tell her teenager to pipe down and do it her way!


Monday, July 21, 2014

little Woodrow

We made the mistake of only having one of our two cats fixed and lo and behold we now have two (adorable) kittens.  Do I need to explain it all with our cat getting out for only a few hours and then realizing she was with the big overly-furry-odd-looking cat from down the street???? 

But it is all okay!  Our older girls will each take a cat with them to their apts and we will be left with two cats…Woodrow and Gus…named after Lonesome Dove.


This is Woodrow—as sweet and cuddly as pictured.

And now we will have all creatures of the feline variety get fixed and everything will be just fine.

Hope your summer is purring along like ours…I can’t believe we are on the downhill of July!


Thursday, July 10, 2014

20 very specific happy things

1. finding something you thought was lost

2. laughing, about anything

3. hearing your child sing when they think no one can hear them

4. when it rains straight down and the windows can be left open

5. a good book that makes you want to read all day

6. the first bloom on a garden perennial

7. a burst of energy at 8pm that makes you  mop the whole downstairs

8. realizing someone has already emptied the dishwasher

9. chatting with a friendly neighbor at the end of the driveway

10. an afternoon nap on the hammock

11. the way a bike makes that tick tick tick sound as you coast in a high gear

12. when a young child holds your hand unexpectedly

13. a long gravel driveway that crunches under your steps

14.  a misty summer morning that burns off into a crystal clear day

15. not needing anything at the grocery store

16. crispy clean sheets off the clothesline

17. a freshly baked oatmeal cookie

18. holding a kitten

19. a new box of crayons and the inspiration it holds within

20. giving a gift to someone you love dearly

Monday, June 9, 2014

of planes and plants

When I am outside in the back where the garden quietly grows I occasionally hear a jet overhead flying towards the north.  I imagine all the people on board and the hurried process that they went through to get them there.  I ponder this with the knees of my garden pants soaking through as I kneel and weed. 

Usually I am glad I am not on the plane.  I’m happy to be where I am—in the garden.  It is the first part of June during a somewhat cool weather spring.  The plants are just waiting for a burst of humid summer air to help them grow.  They look small and spindly right now.  It is hard to imagine we will have a bounty ever. 

Maggie was on one of those high flying jets recently.  She went through all the stress of planning and packing and hurrying.  She is in England now, a whole new world.  I can hear the excitement in her voice as she speaks of her adventure.  She plays it cool though…wanting to be calm and sophisticated when really the child in her is giddy with all the freedom she feels in a new city.

We went swimming yesterday in the lake near our house.  It was all I hoped!  It was warm enough out to work up a sweat and the water was cold enough to make you yell yowzah.  {Perfect}

There are good books stacked on my nightstand and only one more day of school.  We will celebrate this with a beach day and cupcakes.  Isn’t it nice to have a weather app to check the weather and not sit through the local news of blah blah blah just to hear the weather guy tell you the forecast in a roundabout way???





Friday, May 9, 2014

running around the house

The boys are so happy to be outside.


Watching them running nonstop outside makes me wonder how we made it through this cold winter indoors.  But we did and it feels as great as if we lived the last several months in an ice cave—because we kind of did.  I have swept out the last of the mess from the wood stacks on the porch. Soon we will give the picnic table a fresh coat of paint and we can officially Eat Outside.



They have already logged in quite a few hours in the sandbox.  This is probably #1 on their list of fun right now.



Henry takes water from the brook and tries to make a pond that lasts until the next day.  He makes buildings while his brother smacks the wet sand in the buckets before turning them upside down.  It’s  good cooperation that I hope lasts for a lifetime.


They also love going to the dump with their dad in his old truck.  On this day they also went to a metal yard to sell off some copper wire.  Exciting stuff if you are a boy.

Other favorite stuff these guys like doing outside :

Whiffle Ball

skipping stones

running a big circle around the house while being timed

sticks and all the hundreds of things they do with them

kicking a soccer ball up and down the back hill

planting anything…their apple cores, grapefruit seeds, acorns

making soup for the chickens with weeds and worms and water

All this stuff sounds so boring but it is really what they like, it is pretty much the same stuff the older kids liked doing, too.  Yes they like toys but eventually the toys are cast aside and their imagination takes over. 

When I watch these two boys playing carefree… their happiness is contagious.  I fall more in love with them, with Sawyer’s ears and Henry’s crooked teeth.  They get so dirty with all the mud around.  We wash up and soon after they are sleeping soundly. 

It’s perfect, really. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

birds eye view

Climbing atop a mountain is a breathless struggle.  Once you do it and are able to stand straight and look around you can immediately realize it was worth all the effort.  Such a metaphor for life.


We drove up to Acadia in Maine. It was so beautiful!  My husband used to live on Bartlett’s Island which is off the coast of Bar Harbor.  He loves it up there and I guess I love it by marriage now, too.  The wind was howling like it was from an old musty novel from years gone by.


We drove up the coast, like all the way up.  Stopping here and there.  I was a little apprehensive about going, lately I just like to be home.  It’s comfortable!  But now of course I am so happy I went! 



Molly and Henry picked a bag full of smooth flat rocks to skip in the pond next to our house.  We spend so much time here at home on those dirty banks looking for the perfect stone to skip….to see those stone beaches with millions of the perfect skipping rocks?  It was too exciting!  Certainly better than any gift shop.


It was a good week and now we are back to our home feeling renewed about all the springtime chores that need doing. It is a long list, but as far as seasonal chore lists go—spring is my favorite.  I have 150 starter pots in my daughter’s bedroom.  She will be home from college soon so I better hurry up and get started!


Friday, April 11, 2014

the evolution of color


Golly the air is nice today.  It was the first walk of the year I didn’t put a hat on the babes. 

I took him out of his buggy near the center of town and he was like hello? who? what is happening???  Now keeping him in his buggy is surely to be a problem but we’ll worry about that later.

We ran in little bursts much like frolicking newborn animals do.  The ground is very squishy with melted snow and our boots were suctioned in with each step.  Other than our rubber boots and the blue sky there wasn’t any color to be found.  There are no buds on the trees or clumps of green grass, it takes mother nature ages to make it up this far north.


Then just when you think she forgot about us, the green appears and it is lovely….so lovely.


Until then you must improvise.  I love how color evolves throughout the year.  Our red front door gives a statement this time of year, but during the fall it hides behind those glorious colored leaves.  In the summer it lets the red potted geraniums on the stoop have some well deserved attention.

Hope you are having a colorful fair weather day, friends!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

of faults and reassurances

Oh dear dear dear.  It is spring and my thoughts are brimming with projects and ideas.  Just thinking about everything is making me too tired to do anything.  Though I have been pretty good at setting up things…ie going to the store and buying my list of items with such exact extremes it would make your eyes roll.  Then I drive away and my home routines take over.  The same ones I have had for years.  You know, laundry, dinner planning and keeping all these floors clean. 

Also the daily caring of my precious, sweet children.  One is about to go to England, one has a bark cough, one is about to move home from Texas (!!!!), one is working on his license (oh boy, he hit one of our cars with another of our cars in the driveway--even though I was hollering and jumping up and down telling him he was about to hit it). Then there is my wee lad who gets into so much stuff then innocently says “sorry mom”.  Then he gets into more stuff.

Those are some poorly written sentences up there.  You don’t mind, do you?

If you really want to know what my nonfamily thoughts are made of I shall tell you:



keeping healthy

my home


I only have pictures of the last one.  And like my poor grammar the pictures aren’t so great either.

I made a knit maxi dress and really like it.  I tried on dresses in  the store and laughed at my jiggily flat rear end.  I felt the need to customize my very own dress.  Maxi dresses are not made for short people that have grown six children in their body.




This shirt was too easy to make so made a whole bunch of them.  I like the way the fabric drapes (any fabric, too, I’ve tried knit, cottons, and polyester).  It makes me feel like a girl unlike a tee shirt which makes me feel like I should be working in an oil change mart.

Now it is the time of day to pick up the track athletes.  And since I am their mother I shall be the one to do it.