October 14, 2015

The days are too short and for that, I'm thankful.

I had a moment to read a blog post during lunch today (which has now become a couple of weeks ago.. once again time fell short, my words remained in limbo) about bloggers who disappear. 
I felt the urge to peep in and say "Hello! I'm still around!"

There are seasons in life when it takes all I've got to do the things that need to be done, only to wake and start all over again, without ever finding the time to do all of the things I want to do. 
During these years of raising children, preteens and teens, I've often found myself marveling at the fullness of life and hearing the words of John Burroughs in my mind..
"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see."
That includes many of you, my modern day pen pals and friends.  I prefer to write and visit much more regularly, but til then - I'm still here!

Speaking of seasons, Fall is here.  We had a beautiful, lingering-summer kind of September. 
First frosts arrived late and gently.  The leaves took their sweet time reaching a colorful peak.  Fall hasn't rushed this year, but taken it easy on us.  I'm thankful for that, and the beauty that sustains me between the typical bustle of the season. 

What's been filling my days?
Two teenagers, two preteens, and the sweetest 8 year old boy I know.  A marriage of nearing 2 decades, something I cherish.  I've always revered that word, cherish.. which means not only to love and adore, but to protect and care for.  A puppy.. There's never a dull moment with a puppy in the house.  

Mason & Eric have entered their senior year of high school and many are asking, "What are their plans? What will they do next?"  There is a lot to be considered at this time.  I think young people often feel pressure to have adult life all figured out before they've even been out there to live it a little.  There are so many options and directions to go.  
I wanted to soak up this final summer with all of our "kids", before they begin leaving the nest.  Of course, there were things that borrowed our attention, and it was too short for all the trips I wanted to take.  But it was good. 
As Mason & Eric near their 18th birthday, I'm adapting to the idea of adult children.  The value of each day is known to me.  We carved a little time out of an afternoon recently to take some senior photos of them.. it's a start.

Two pre-teens.
  Lilly, 11 and Johnathan, 12.  As Johnathan nears his 13th birthday, he's changed so rapidly that my brain is still thinking.. weren't you just a little boy a few months ago?  While he's an incredibly thoughtful and easy kid to be around, this is a trying time at certain moments.  His moods aren't as predictable as they've been all his life prior.  I know that if I made it through in one piece with twins, the others should be a piece of cake.. I learned much from Mason & Eric.  Raising twin infants, toddlers, and adventurous MacGyver/Davy Crockett-like little boys was a lot of work, but a breeze in comparison to the days when their voices began to change and they started to shave.  These were the years that both challenged and worried me most. 
Lilly is right at Johnathan's heels in these joys of adolescence.  Our doctor told us not to be surprised if she were to pass Johnathan up for a while.  She's still most part little girl, but we see glimpses of the teenage years to come and the young lady she's becoming.
We made changes in school environments this fall that we feel are best for both of these two as they grow and learn in today's changing world.  The long hours of weighing decisions have been rewarded.. We're off to a fantastic new school year.


Beau.  The most charming, caring, and intuitive 8 year old I know.  He had some health issues beginning Memorial weekend, which has been at the top of our concerns in life. 
It's hard for me to put into words - that it was the worst scare I've ever had in my life, his first collapse, his body gone cold in my arms, and that race to the emergency room trying to keep him awake, my world flashing before my eyes. 
Over the next 4 months, Beau went through all kinds of tests.. multiple electrocardiograms, echo-cardiogram, an MRI on his brain.. he was a calm, sweet champ through them all and I'm happy to say he's doing very well.  His last appointment was just a couple of weeks ago and we hope our worries are behind us.  When your child's life flashes before your eyes, it takes quite a while to become fully at ease again.  We spent our summer close to home, enjoying simple things, his wellness never far from my mind. 
I'm so thankful that Beau is doing well.
He's enjoying fall immensely and invited me to take a nap in the leaves and sunshine the other day.

As for the puppy, Wookie is doing great.  She'll be 6 months old tomorrow.  She is indeed a bird dog, already in her puppy months her instincts are sharp and she's doing super in her training.  She keeps our senses tuned in, too.. Our ears are sharp to catch when she's tip toeing downstairs in hopes of finding one of the boys' socks to eat.  Aside from eating socks (which she has a penchant for), she doesn't chew things, but likes to carry them around proudly, one thing to the next.  She grabs a shoe, brings it to a bedroom, grabs pajamas from said bedroom, carries them to the living room, grabs a dish towel that's hanging in the kitchen, takes another shoe to the front yard, and so on.  Wookie is kind of like having half a dozen toddlers in the house.  Our current conundrum is the case of Mitch's Missing Hat.  He set it on a kitchen stool so I could give him a haircut on the back deck Sunday, and it hasn't been seen since.

Could this cute face be the culprit?

A big change in the hours of my days is that we are doing 3rd and 7th grade education in our home this year.  This is a huge new endeavor for me, one I don't take lightly, demanding of me in new ways.  There have been days when I wanted to give up and throw in the towel.  (Day 2, for instance.)  But beginning with week 4, we'd found our stride and something amazing began to happen.  Not only are we accomplishing our objectives, we are reaping rewards that go above and beyond what I'd hoped.  We are being challenged, particularly Johnathan and I.  But the silver lining is showing itself. 
There are days it may look like I've gotten nothing done, yet I feel at the end of the day like I'm accomplishing more than ever.  Truly, amazing things are happening.   Today begins a five day weekend, a welcome break that I feel we've earned! 

I've spent many evening and weekend hours over the past month shooting senior photos of kids other than my own.  The 1 a.m. nights of editing have begun, and I hope to be caught up and complete soon.  I've decided that next year I'm taking the fall off! 

Yes, during these years raising children, preteens, and teens, I've often found myself marveling at the fullness of life and hearing John Burroughs in my mind.. "I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see."  

I'm gaining understanding that the days will always be too short, as long as there are so many things to love.  The more places I go, the more I want to go.  The more books I read, the more I want to read. There is always someone I wish to catch up with. So many more photos I'd like to take.  More things I'd like to learn about and share about. (I've never had as many posts left in draft mode as I have this year!)  I'll always wish to have a few more minutes in a day with my family.

Thank you friends, if you're taking time to read this.  I'm thankful for the inspiration I find when I visit each of you. I hope to visit more often now as the leaves have fallen, school is in stride, and life, doing what it does best, goes on!   

Peace, Love, and Sock Eating Puppies,


  1. You have life very full and I'm amazed by how well you are managing. Don't apologized for not posting often. Your family must be your priority. And my blog about disappearing bloggers did not include you. I figured you'd be back at some point and here you are.

    I hope you have gotten a diagnosis on Beau and can now move on to accept what limitations that may bring if at all. Congrats on home schooling. Is Lily not included or do you two doing 7th grade?

    Take care.

    1. I enjoyed and agreed with your post, Marcia. I have grown very fond of my blog friends, and I too find it a strange feeling when a couple of them have disappeared.
      No limitations on Beau, as of now we are simply upping his salt a bit and keeping water handy at all times. We weren't sure where his fall appointments would go, so that was part of our reason for teaching him at home this year, so that he's not missing instruction when he has absences, and.. I'll admit, so I can keep an eye on him! However, I love this schooling arrangement so much, I may want to stay with it next year! It was originally a one year plan. Lilly transferred to a new middle school, she is so happy there, very safe, professional, age appropriate learning environment. Our goal is for Johnathan to do the same, but we felt we needed a year to assess where he's at and really help him at home as he transitions from one school to another. He is our child who learns differently from the rest, very bright, but a unique learner. The ability to individualize his instruction is fantastic. He tells me he's learning much better, and I like knowing where he's at, what he's learning, where he needs help, and that he isn't falling through the cracks, but doing very well!

  2. Thanks for popping in and giving us an update!

  3. As someone who has 'disappeared' for extended periods of time, I certainly understand your feelings about days being too short. But it sounds as if you are getting many things accomplished. I'm glad to hear that your family is doing well, and I hope and pray that Beau's health problems are truly behind him. I also hope you solve the Case of the Missing Hat.

  4. This was such fun as usual, all of the photos show the dramatic changes-even with your Wookie, I am so glad you get the spare moment to share, I love how you share this amazing life with humour and with your amazingly beautiful photos and truly wonderful posts :-) xxoo L

  5. Life is indeed full! Full of love and a bit of worry - I guess that is life in a nutshell. I'm so glad to hear Beau is doing well - I can't imagine what a terrible fright it must have been for you all.

  6. I loved every word of this post, Amanda, and I feel like I'm all caught up in your most recent life events. Thank you so much for it all, and the kind comments you have left on my own posts. It's amazing to see how much your kids have all grown since I last took notice! :-)

  7. Dear, your life is full and wonderful and cherish every minute. I do sometimes have Mr Burroughs in my head - time passes too quickly and I never have enough time. But just the minutes you spent having a nap in the autumn sun ! Priceless.
    So glad to learn that Beau is doing well again, a horrible fright. Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures of your truly lovely children.

  8. Dear Amanda,
    I'm so happy to hear that Beau is doing well ... When it comes to one's children, the world is turning upside down when somethings like that happens!
    It is brace and wonderful that you took up the challenge of teaching both 3rd and 7th graders at home - I bet you all gonna learn a lot this year - not just of the subjects on curriculum, but also on one another - growing as a team and finding ways to organize and reorganize.
    The photos of your "big twins" are exquisite ... Yes, where did the years go ... I get the feeling of cherishing each moment, while having them still around!
    Life is happening now - and that is just how it is! You're often times in the back of my mind, as a warm thought, thinking about you with Beau and Jonathan doing creative learning outside in the nature, with Wookie around and about :)
    Enjoy the 5 day weekend, my friend!

  9. What a great post - family and kids, friends and pets, what else is as important as that? H became a teenager this week (how is that possible?) and it seems impossible to believe we have our cat for less than a year. So much to do.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    PS: I would consider it an honour if you think the words on my 'wordy' blog are good enough to show your kids. SM

  10. I am amazed you have time to do anything. Which makes my inability to blog to regularly seem very pathetic. I just find Instagram so much easier, and quicker for me. I write a lot, but right now that writing is focused inward, as I sink deep into my project. Your kids are all adorable! Kudos to you for home schooling. I don't think anyone should expect an 18 year old to have his or her life completely planned out, things change a million times in college, and then a million more once they are out.

  11. Beautiful writer . . .
    I love what I "see and hear" through your words . . .
    I gasped when I read about Beau and you . . .
    Oh my . . . may he continue to be okay . . .
    Wonderful children you and your husband have birthed and raised.
    Wonderful parents your children have . . .
    Not sure where you find time to do any blogging . . .
    I will enjoy you each time your name pops up in my reader.

  12. How I enjoy your writing, Amanda. And for catching us up on things. I know all about those scary moments having almost losing our second son to encephalitis at age two....

  13. Yay! I love new posts. I just heard on a podcast the other day that blogs are on their way out, being replaced by podcasts and instagram. While I enjoy both, I hate the thought of not reading my favorite blogs.
    It was good to visit with you a few weeks back. I read and enjoyed "The Rosie Project". :)

  14. I so understand about life being busy having raised a large family myself, and my life is continuing to still be busy :) I'm so glad to read that your son Beau is doing fine and reading about your other children. Fall has always been my favorite time of year. I have to tell you I enjoyed this post very much.

  15. I love catching up with you and the family, Amanda. I was thinking of you recently when walking through the woods, wondering about that new puppy and thinking that the start of school has you busy. It sounds like you have home-schooling on your plate, too! My daughter in MN is also home-schooling her 7th grader (12) this year. So far so good, though it is a lot of work for her (and she has a full-time job). The Dad works nights so supervises my Grandson during the day. Good Luck to all. Those seniors sure are handsome young men! And my thoughts go out to Beau, hoping that his health remains good.

  16. "I'm gaining understanding that the days will always be too short, as long as there are so many things to love." This is so true! Life sure is full and we'd not have it any other way. So pleased to hear things seem to be okay regarding Beau's health, times like this help us prioritise real quick.