Wednesday, August 26, 2015


We went camping last week at Cape Henlopen State Park.  Tim and the three boys went last year, and again this June, but this was the first I had brought the girlies.  We had a lot of fun.

We went to the beach

to get bowled over by waves

or sit on the sand and dig.

Walked in the woods

 Found critters.

Sat around the campfire
and got sooty.

 Tim turned 37

and we had a steak dinner over the fire.

We explored the Cape Henlopen Bay.

And visited Fort Miles.
Fort Miles was an American military installation constructed during World World II to defend the Delaware Bay and the Delaware River to protect domestic shipping from foreign attack.  It had a base in Cape Henlopen, DE and one directly opposite Cape May, New Jersey, which is the land you can see across the water in the background, forming the opening to the Delaware Bay.

They constructed several gun batterys, like this one

The design was that people in the lookout towers would pinpoint the location of a German ship in the water.

They would call their information into the room where they would do page-long trignonometry equations to figure out where to aim the gun at the ship.

The control room would call their information down to the gun room,  

who could not see anything but only positioned the gun to where they were instructed, 
which would be loaded with the 12-16 inch wide shells.

The gunmen basically had no hearing protection, and after firing the 16 inch shells, the ears of the gunmen would bleed.  They were told to turn away and cover their ears and open their mouths to prevent their eardrums from exploding because the pressure from the gun firing sucked all of the air in the room momentarily.

The Delaware Bay also contained mines in case of submarine attack or a German ship.

The installation never saw major action, as no German ships ever attempted to enter the Bay.  It took 48 people to man one gun battery.  At it's peak, Fort Miles housed 2,200 people.  After the war, the land was turned over to the State Park.  It was a very interesting tour.

The last of the four nights we stayed, it poured rain at about 3 AM, two inches within one hour.  I thought we were ok, with only the barest of raindrops finding it's way through the tent cover, until I sat up to move some bags away from the side of the tent and realized that the entire floor of the tent was wet with the exception of the slight rise of the foam mattress I was sleeping on.  I immediately checked the girls, and lifted Caroline out of the puddle she was sleeping in, and she dripped water as I laid her on my bed, but didn't wake up.  Layla was also lying in water, but didn't wake up until I woke her for us all to run out to the minivan in the pouring rain where I tried to figure out what to do.  I ended up driving home, soaked to the bone, and we drove back the next morning after getting a good solid chunk of sleep in dry beds. :)


The odd intimacy
of a campsite in August
bared, tan limbs
makeup free faces
stubble and sweat and soot

We shuffle too and from the bathhouse
in the mornings
bedheaded and frowsy
yawning and puffy faced
clad in sleep clothes

Sharing bathrooms
and shower space
I blink at the profusity of a stranger's hair in the drain
and go about my washing

Brief smiles exchanged as we meet on the dirt path
we retreat back into our own personal space
cooking and laughing and fighting and birthday songs
on our side of the invisible line between campsites
yours to view with veiled curiousity
or apathetic detachment

hair pulled back
comfy clothes
flip flops

strangers living among strangers for a span of days
relaxing into their own patch of earth and sky and sand
to just be

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Fake Flowers and Bubbly Skies

"Can you take a picture of me with my wand and my fake flowers?" she asked me hopefully, and settled into a pose with great satisfaction.

It rained hard last night and the sky was so pretty and bubbly.

Zion was thrashing around outside with his sword and yellow boots, hoping to splash in the rain puddles left behind.

Gabe couldn't resist the lure of the puddles either.  I think this picture makes it look like they are dancing a jig back to back. :D

Here is my house, at dusk, after the rain.  In case you are interested.  Because I am.

Today Layla was busy with her tape measure, measuring her patient and willing sister.  "Mom!! Look at Caroline!! She is getting big!!"  She looks at me delightedly.  Caroline's face as she stands there being measured as a big girl is masked delight, with her tongue tucked into her cheek and her eyes hopping around, trying not to smile.

Today Zion and Layla each had one of Caroline's cars that she rides inside, and they were careening toward her, yelling like wild Injuns. She just stood there with an expression flickering between indignation and preoccupation on her face, looking back and forth, and back and forth between them, trying to decide who to squawk her baby dissatisfaction at first.  "MY CAR!!!" her screech finally announced.
Yesterday I took Gabe to get his school shopping done.  I am taking them one at a time, so that it's less overwhelming and a special time for each of them. Gabe is very non-particular in his choices, in that he doesn't care a lot about colors or which notebooks he gets, etc.  He had to choose multiple composition books, and only chose one that had a decoration, and that was a Star Wars one.  His other specific request was that he get a pair of Skechers shoes.  His tasty treat of choice was a bacon, egg, and cheese wrap from Dunkin Donuts, along with a boston creme donut.

Today I took little Zion.  He was eagerly anticipating his turn.  Besides school essentials, our significant purchases included a collection of Jurassic World socks and another of Star Wars socks.  He chose one Minions folder and one Batman folder.  He also longed for and received a package of Juicy Fruit gum, and one extra-small Coke on the way home.

Israel and I are going tomorrow, and it's going to take longer, because we are going secondhand shopping to try to find him some pants.

I sure do like mine childrens.

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Tonight we walked over to the track by our house.  The temperature was cooler today and I felt a little cold in my tanktop and skirt. Tim and the boys were throwing Frisbee on the football field.  The sky was a cerulean blue and had high clouds that looked brushed, which were a warm yellow that reflected the setting sun, and the bleachers were a cobalt blue that looked so vivid next to them.  I wished I had my camera, but just framed it with my hands and said "click".  And then the sky was fading to pink, and the warm brown bulk of the school with its red framed windows looked so pretty against the green of the field and the waning pink-blue of the sky, and I wished I had my camera.   And Layla was joyous and laughing and running with her legs churning and her hair bouncing.  And the baby was happily pitter-pattering all around, with her feet making little smacking noises on the paved track that circles the field.  I took the baby back early to give her a bath and put her to bed, and dusk was falling and I could hear the sounds of life around us, and see my garden burbling with life and greenness and hear the crickets singing.

It feels like summer is starting to wane.

That's not a bad thing.  I like the change of seasons, and the summer has been SO HOT!!!!  I like things changing and having a variety of things to look forward to.  But I will really miss having the kids home and around.

Caroline is getting more opinionated.  She really wants to argue about how she should buckle the belt in her carseat while I am trying to buckle her in.  And she screamed her head off about having to take a bath tonight.  From little tiny on up, she has HATED to have her hair washed, and screams bloody murder with real terror if any water gets in her face.  But she got thoroughly washed and lotioned and fluffed and puffed and tucked right into snoozing.


This evening I rearranged our living room.  I actually never rearrange stuff.  I like to find "the perfect spot" for things and then enjoy them looking "just right" to me.  I recently bought a new-to-me chair for the living room, thinking that we were going to use it to replace another one that has seen better days, but we all liked having an extra chair in the living room, and I decided that since we do have seven people in our family, it might be nice to have seating for at least six of them. :D  After all of my rearranging, I settled on something very similar to how it looked originally, with the new chair angled beside the couch.  It makes me happy.  I love to see my house come together, slowly, in bits and pieces of things that I truly love.  We've lived here for six years, and things always flex and change according to what we need.

Right now I love my multiple bookcases in our living room packed full of kid's books, and the hooks that Tim put up beside them to hold the many coats and bags of seven people.  And I love having soft and cozy chairs, and how my curtains are a little bit red while my walls are a warm yellow.  And I love having a basket to hold cozy blankets to put over you while you are watching TV.

I love yellows and reds with the occasional orange or green or blue thrown in and cozy things.  I bought a new picture at the thrift store today that makes me happy too.

I really disliked the house we owned in KY.  I hated the bathroom and I didn't like the exterior and it never felt like home to me.  When we were looking for a house in Delaware, I prayed and prayed that God would give us a house that felt like HOME to me; one that I could settle into and love.  I wasn't sure how that could happen, since most of the homes in our price range were a bit TOO dilapidated (a lot of them are now condemned!!).  I thought that we had found a house.  It was a small two storied house with three bedrooms and a small basement, and we put an offer in on it that the seller had rejected.  We were deciding on a counter-offer, when I bolted awake and sat straight up in bed at 5 AM the morning before with my heart pounding, KNOWING that we could NOT buy that house.  Don't know exactly why, but we didn't, and the next house we looked at that day was the house we bought, and besides four bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths and an awesome master bed/bath/walk-in-closet, it has that elusive thing that makes it home.   And I like putting my fingerprints on it, alongside all of the marker that is on the walls and the messes on the floors.  I'm patient.  One day I'll get it all like I like it. :)  Meanwhile there is a jumble of life going on inside, and a backyard we squeeze every square inch of use out of.  We have a small shed, a swingset, a big sandbox, a clothesline, a garden, a grapevine, a (cheap) pool for the kids, a tree swing and ladder and a basketball hoop.

It makes me happy.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015


I got to see my friend Carmen this week.

Carmen and I were best friends from 6th grade on up, and attended the same school and church and have spent hours of our lives together.  We ended up marrying guys were good friends with each other and who grew up together in IN, and both of us couples got married within one week of each other.  We both have 5 kids, and we are both nurses.  She and her family are home for a year from living in North Africa, and I took full advantage of that fact to zip home to VA to spend a day with her.

We met in the morning at a park to let our kids get to know each other a little bit.  They have met before but it's been a long time.  The amount of children walking down the path together made me sort of blink in astonishment.  :D

We left all the kids home in the evening with appreciated caregivers and spent several more hours eating Middle Eastern food, going for icecream, and doing lots of catching up.  It was marvelous.

She is an old friend who is truly a heart friend.

"To be with old friends is very warming and comforting."

The greatest sweetener of human life is friendship. Joseph Addison
Virginia was so pretty.  As usual.  I had to stop and take this picture of this field of Queen Anne's Lace.  It always calls to me. :)  

While I was taking this picture, three deer sauntered out casually onto the road in front of me.  


Another adventure.  Ahem. 

Gabe was shooting cans off of the front porch with a BB gun, and one of the BB's hit the can, spun it around, and then ricocheted off to introduce itself to the back window of the van.  Such a friendly little BB.  Gabe was rather horrified, but hey.  Accidents happen and that one very likely will not repeat itself.

I took our van to Windshield City in Harrisonburg and they won my eternal loyalty by not only replacing the glass cheaply and pronto, but also vacuuming my entire van, travel crumbs, trash and all.  Customer service award, consider yourself won.  


Cute people in my life.  

Brothers and babies.

Girlfriends who love their accessories. 

Six year old boys who climb trees.


Who love their babies.

Birthday lists.

Babies who type diligently after their baths.  This is quite dear.