Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

We made some "cranberry conserve" today, and I was quite pleased with the results.

Next year, for an easy fall decoration, press some colorful leaves between the pages of a book, and tape to the window.I actually collected these leaves on the way to the beach, back in September!

Emily is always thinking creatively. She made a heart with the cranberries she chopped.

Wishing all of you a happy, peaceful Thanksgiving!

"Thanking is a new, inward knowing, with great reverence and loving awe." ~ Julian of Norwich

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Fortune

Do you believe in the fortunes that come in the little cookies at the Chinese restaurant? I didn't either. Then on my birthday, my fortieth birthday, no less, this is the fortune I received:

"Buy Things because you need them, not because they are on sale."

I'm a believer now. This fortune was meant for me, and I'm taking it to heart...
I began reading The Freedom Of Simplicity by Richard Foster. It appears to be a book with transformative powers. I think it will be a good Advent read. I'll let you know!

Flash back photo: Ben reads to Tommy and Sam (last year)...Just discovered Tommy no longer sucks his fingers. Why didn't I realize that before?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekend Highlights

Anna cut her hair...

    And I did my best to fix it up! How can you go wrong with such a cute happy face? (I'll try not to think about the fact that I finally had grown her baby mullet out...) Daddy said, "Make sure you keep a bow in her hair..."
    We had a lovely evening walk, crisp, but not cold.
    Ben got a deer, and his Dad cleaned it all up and processed the meat...and lots of it!
    We had special visitors this weekend....my lifelong best friend, Kristin and her boyfriend, Mossimo, here all the way from Italy. She was staying with her family in Charlottesville. Her thoughtful and kind sister arranged a surprise visit...Kristin didn't know she was coming to see us. We were both celebrating our leap to the big 40. Kristin's sister, Elizabeth, and her parents came, making the visit extra special. My parents came too, and we had a family reunion, of sorts.We had a grand visit...too short, but wonderful.
    Emily had three of her girlfriends over on Friday...They had a spa-at-home the next day. Don't they look like aliens?
    Mary Margaret joined in the fun!
    Some more weekend happenings:
*cleaning house
*Will went dirt bike racing with Samantha and her family
*Started reading The Freedom Of Simplicity
*Thinking about decluttering
*Soaking beans for ham soup
*Discovering Pandora radio and listening to Christmas music
* Christmas Lights up in bedrooms, joyous children
*talking to my sister on the phone
*I survived the tantrum of a lifetime!!!
*Lying in a cozy bed with candles lit
* A back rub from Ben
*making Avocado hair treatment with Emily

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Gift For Mommy

Don't you love the sweet gifts little children bear so proudly?
Tommy collected Chestnut burrs and pine cones for his Mama.

He was afraid he was about to drop the prickly burrs everywhere, right when I took a picture of him. The results were comical:

"Uh-oh, Mommy, they're dropping!"

I love your gift, Tommy, prickles and all!

Can you find the Chestnut burrs?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

7 Boys And A Saw

The debut of our new woodworking business!!!
Travis made these incredible hardwood  Book/Art Display stands!
We are selling them on etsy.
If they sell out, we can always make more to order!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Lazy Way to "Scrap book"

I love the idea of scrapbooks. I am a bit envious of mothers who manage to craft a beautiful record of their children's growing-up years (on top of making the special memories in the first place!). I even kept a scrap book for a little while, when my older children were small. Alas, my scrap booking days are over, and my present 'scrapbook' (other than this blog) has the humble dwelling of a hatbox. Actually, I like my hatbox, and it is a place to put mementos and keepsakes in an attractive place. I think I need to invest in another one!

What is a shirt doing in my hatbox? There is a sweet story behind this shirt. When my oldest son was heading off to school for the first time (in 9th grade), he wanted to have some 'fashionable' clothes like the other kids.
"No, you don't need to go out and buy any, Mom" he said to me. "I'll just make some." Here is one of the shirts he worked on all day:

He hand cut all the letters and then sewed them on. Pretty good job, huh? The sort of sad thing was that when he went to school and saw what the kids shirts actually looked like, he didn't wear his. In the mean time, my dear friend who will always have a special place in her heart for Will, bought him some Hollister shirts to wear.

And here's Will on the first day of school (ever!):

Here is another memento in my hat box. John Paul was going to throw his journal away. I salvaged it and tucked it in the hatbox. He will appreciate it some day! I have to laugh where it says, "Mom, of course, put it on her blog!" I didn't realize that  until I was writing this post!

Here are the hair barrettes Will made in secret for me when he was about ten. I came upstairs and they were laying on my bed...no special occasion! (Have I ever mentioned how much I love having spell check? I would have mispelled barrette without it!)

Today I was cleaning up and was about to throw out this note John Paul wrote a couple of days ago. I decided it was another item for the hatbox!

And this drawing I had labeled. I remember the day Emily gave this to me. She was only seven, and she was so excited that we were going to have a new baby in the family!

So my advice to folks who don't have the time and/or desire to scrapbook is to buy a hatbox or two and start filling 'em up!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Nature Of Blogging

I am in a rush tonight. The winds are whipping wild, rains pouring, thunder pounding, and the frenzied pace of it all frightens me. We have an old house, and the wind keeps whistling through all the cracks.

It's been that kind of day- the kind of day when I want to run from it all and say, "I quit! I can't do this anymore!" Details aren't necessary, but I feel the need out of honesty to share my feelings of frustration with you, dear readers!

I am a joyful, faith-filled child of God, but I have days when I want to give up. And actually, it wasn't the whole day; it was mostly some events that transpired in the morning that bogged me down. I went on to have a lovely lunch with my husband and we did the grocery shopping together. How romantic is that?

So much has been written in defense of blogging,and so much has been written in criticism of blogging. The criticism of blogging usually centers around the fact that many blogs paint a completely rosy picture of life. My 'high class blogging friend,' Melissa Wiley, was telling me how misery blogs rate much higher than joyful blogs. Go figure!

Without getting into a major treatise on blogging, I will say a few things on the topic. First and foremost, as a mother, I love having the outlet of a blog to chronicle our days, our joys, our hopes, struggles, and good memories. I am so thankful that there are kindred spirits (YOU!) out there that will rejoice with me AND weep with me! However, the privacy of my children's lives supersedes any desire of mine to 'share' with the world, or even my closest friends. So sometimes I find myself walking a tight line between candor and respecting the privacy and inner lives of my family, and myself!

Do you ever get tired of seeing pictures of my mountains? I hope not! To me they are so representative of our lives...changing every day, each day beautiful in a different way.

Speaking of thoughts on blogging, I don't think anyone has said it better than my aforementioned friend, Melissa, over at Here In The Bonny Glen. Please take the time to read her post. It is well worth it! A little note to all my blogging pals: PLEASE KEEP BLOGGING! Your blogs are a splash of daily encouragement and joy in my life!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Birthday Jar

This "birthday jar" is such a special gift and could be used for any occasion. My mother had each of the children write a note or draw a picture and then put them all in a can she had decorated. It made a lovely present from my children, and they all felt they had something to give me on my birthday.

The next picture is totally unrelated to this post. It's for you, Pam (taken about a year ago. The mantle you asked about is in our 'schoolroom.' My neighbor handpainted the letters, and I did the embellishments in Acrylic.)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I Love This Boy

Sam~ 8 yrs old

When I was just a couple of months pregnant with Sam, I knew I was having a miscarriage. What "water" I had broke, and it was just a matter of time before I lost my precious baby. But it never happened. Several days after the threatened miscarriage,  I remember going out to the hammock, hung between two spreading oaks, and knowing this: God has a special plan for this child. Sam is only eight, and I don't know what he will be called to in life, but he is certainly a special boy.

self-portrait, Sam, age 8

My little boy is a content child. While he is mischievous, LOUD, and rambunctious as they come, Sam is happy with so little. He owns only a handful of things: a bed, clothes, his beloved army soldiers, his magnatiles, and a few stuffed animals. That's pretty much it. But you know what? His freedom from attachment is a big part of his happiness. He wants me to have "tons more babies" (as he puts it) because he doesn't feel threatened that they will crowd him out or take over his belongings. Once again, I am reminded.
            Become like little children.

Sam helps Tommy Play Bingo

Sam is a big brother, always helpful to the younger children; he truly cherishes them. Today he asked me, "Mommy, do all the little babies survive the winter?" I didn't know what he meant, come to find out, he was talking about babies growing inside their Mamas.
"Yes," I reassured him. "They stay warm and cozy inside their Mamas."
"I wish you were having another baby."

Today we went to a special birthday lunch, and I told Sam I wanted him to wear a certain shirt. He wasn't happy about it, but I heard him say to himself later, "I'll get over wearing this shirt." Not, "I'll get used to it," or "I can take this off later."
"I'll Get Over It."
I decided to make this my mantra...sort of a form of 'and this too shall pass.' The realization that this is 'hard' now, but soon I won't even be thinking about it.
Become Like Little Children
As sensitive and thoughtful as Sam is, He can be quite silly too!
Here he is in his dress shirt at Michie Tavern.

Sam with cousin Joshua
My little boy made me a meaningful birthday gift. I see his little hands at work- soiled from climbing trees, chafed by play, dirt in the cracks of his nails, pushing and molding something for his Mama. He was squirreled up in his room for hours.

No, he didn't want help from anyone, and "Don't come in Mom" ; a boy with a hammer, growing feet finding Daddy's big footsteps, crafting a wooden treasure in secret. The little nails didn't hit just right, and  the wood wasn't just the way he wanted it, but he did it himself. A hewn cross made perfect with love.

Tommy wanted to give something to me, as well, so Sam made sure he included him in on the gift giving. When I thanked Sam for the present, he carefully reminded me, "It's from Tommy,too."

Sam, my darling, I will always love you, always cherish you, always care for you.

The little note Sam included in my birthday jar (more on that tomorrow!)