Poetry for October

Here's what we're doing for poetry this year:  I've selected two or three poems per month that are season-specific.   I read them aloud when I remember to (usually about once a week) and I've told the kids that I'd like them each to choose one poem to recite at the end of each three-month period.  We've never recited poetry so I'm excited about it!

Here are our poems for October:

Nature, Poem 28: Autumn

The morns are meeker than they were,

The nuts are getting brown;

The berry's cheek is plumper,

The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,

The field a scarlet gown.

Lest I should be old-fashioned,

I'll put a trinket on.

~Emily Dickinson


Who Has Seen the Wind?

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

~Christina Rossetti

Picture study: John Singleton Copley

We drew today for Picture Study:

Paul Revere by John Singleton Copley, age 40
Paul Revere by Audra, age 4
Paul Revere by Isaias, age8
Paul Revere by Isaac, age 10
Paul Revere by Ella, age 11


Today was a perfect kind of fall day- blustery and not raining.   I was driving this afternoon and spotted this strip of grass with gloriously big trees and a carpet of leaves (!) on the ground.   I promptly called Mark and told him to get everyone ready because I was coming home to pick them up so that we could go play in the leaves. Here are some photos:

my new favorite place to play in the leaves
handsome husband.  i love him so much!
i think it's funny that when i suggested we get a picture by the lamppost, those three kids decided they should be climbing said lamppost during the photo. 
cute ella kate.
We threw piles of leaves at each other, made huge piles and buried ourselves in them, caught the falling leaves when a gust of wind came along,  played tag, found grasshoppers, raced around to touch all seven huge trees, laughed and had a lot of fun!

audra (4)
adelia (5)
(blurry.  but the only one we got, so i'm posting it.)
cutest, sweetest kids i love so much
love this boy
Then we got back into the car to go home and saw the beautiful sky- so we drove toward the water for a better view, and then tried to capture a photo of all the beautiful oranges and grays and pinks and blues and yellows.... and this is all I ended up with (which of course doesn't do it's beauty justice):

But I'm so thankful for today.  For the wonder of the seasons, the beauty and familiarity of where we live, and especially for God who created all this beauty!

Remembering grandma (Part 3)

Welcome!  I'm doing a series of  posts about my grandma, who recently passed away.  I've been writing down memories of grandma in my journal, and as I have the time, I'll share them here on the blog.  I admired her so much, and her life was one well lived because she loved Jesus.

* * * 

I can most easily picture grandma up at the stove, making breakfast.  Breakfasts at grandma's house are one of my fondest memories.  There was always homemade white bread for toast, with butter and strawberry jam she'd made.  She made eggs just perfectly.  She would ask how you liked your egg and then make it just so, and deliver it to you at the table. (I never liked eggs anywhere else, but grandma made them so yummy- soft and with the yoke oozing out and delicious!)

Their kitchen table is a small one which comfortably sits four, and directly beneath it on the outside are the flower beds.  If you're looking out the window to the right, you can see their small front porch, with grandma's beloved hummingbird feeder hanging there.  If you look straight out the window, you'll see the front pasture with some trees and then the main road beyond that.  And if you crook your neck toward the left you can see their vegetable garden.  Grandpa, Stef and I would be sitting at the table, and grandma would be up at the stove across the room.  (That was one thing about grandma- she was always up, on her feet, serving (usually by way of feeding) everyone.  She wasn't happy until you were eating.  Truly.  And then she kept feeding you until you assured her about seventeen times that you were positively stuffed.)

Grandma's other popular breakfast offering was Swedish Pancakes.   She would carefully pour the pancake batter into the pan and then lift the pan and slowly tip it this way and that so as to spread the batter thin.  Then she'd set it down and watch it until it was just the perfect time to flip it.  Then she'd deliver the pancakes to the table one by one- as she completed them.

We still make Swedish Pancakes in our home, though I don't do them individually like grandma did.  I use my griddle because I can do more at a time that way.  But I still pick up the griddle and tip it back and forth to get those thin pancakes.  My kids love Swedish Pancakes and always prefer them to regular pancakes.

The morning after her funeral I was up early, making Swedish Pancakes in honor of grandma. And then I cried as I ate them.  I just love her and miss her.  And I can never eat Swedish Pancakes without thinking of her, up at the stove, making them for us.  But I'll keep making them, because it's a gift, that recipe-- but especially those memories- and I am certain that someday my kids will make them for their own kids, and they will know that it's grandma's recipe, and if they don't remember her, they will remember what I've told them of her.

Here is grandma's recipe:

Grandma's Swedish Pancakes
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
Mix dry ingredients
2-3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk

Mix wet & dry ingredients together
Stir in at the end:
1/4 cup oil

(I usually forgo the traditional butter & syrup combo and eat these with plain or vanilla yogurt and a bit of jam.  Mmmm!  Oh, and one more thing: you must ROLL UP the pancake and then slice it.  That's important.)

After breakfast Grandpa would open up his Bible and read from it- and from Our Daily Bread, and then they would pray.  I say "they" because when grandpa prayed, grandma would join in right along with him, tagging onto his prayers with her softer "Yes, Jesus" and "We praise you, Jesus" and the like.

I loved this, and I will miss this.

At the funeral one of my cousins stood and shared his breakfast memories-- so very like my own, and he described their praying as like a duet, and I thought that was such a good description of it. 

* * *

Other posts in this series:

Remembering grandma (Part 2)

Welcome!  I'm doing a series of  posts about my grandma, who recently passed away.  I've been writing down memories of grandma in my journal, and as I have the time, I'll share them here on the blog.  I admired her so much, and her life was one well lived because she loved Jesus.

* * *

Snippets of memories from my time on grandpa and grandma's farm:

-pulling on boots with grandma before heading out to the barn.  There was always a collection of boots- all different sizes- in the garage, so grandma would suggest a pair or we'd simply try on until we found the best fit.

-walking that familiar stretch of land from the house to the barn.

-feeding (and searching for) the barn kitties.   There were many throughout the years, and grandma had names for them all and knew their quirks and personalities.

-coming round the corner to see all the calves, waiting to be fed.  Grandma taught us how to hold two or three fingers out, upside-down, and let the calves suck on our fingers, and it was my favorite thing to do in the barn.

-walking through the field- stepping carefully over those cow pies- to see what grandpa was up to on his tractor, bringing him food or riding with him for awhile.

-haying was a highlight-- riding on the back of the wagon and "helping" to stack the bales high or taking turns on the tractor with grandpa.


The driveway to grandpa and grandma's house is a curvy little road through the woods, and it was grandma that taught us to sing,

Over the river and through the woods, 
to grandmother's house we go. 
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow- oh!

Over the river and through the woods
Oh, how the wind doth blow!
It stings the nose and bites the toes, 
as over the river we go!

There's another road, too- a shorter road that goes straight to their house, but grandma wanted us to go through the woods.  It mattered to her.   She loved that road, and in these later years she was proud grandpa kept it well tended so that we could still drive it.

My kids know that as soon as we turn from the main road onto the little road through the woods, we will all hush whatever conversations we're having and break into that song.  My goal is always to complete the song just at the precise moment we come out of the woods, so we have to pace the song with the length of the drive.

We'd walk through the woods, too- on the way to the park across the street, or through the woods on either side of their fields. 

* * *

Grandma loved to sing, and whenever we came she wanted to know what songs we sang at church, and then she'd ask us to sing them to her.  When my sister and I were little girls, she recorded us  singing, and she'd pull out that cassette tape and play it for us in later years.  When I started bringing my own kids, she always asked them to sing to her, too.  I think more than the songs themselves she loved to hear children singing songs.  

* * *

Grandma loved children.  In recent years when I brought the kids out, I was always a little anxious that they'd be too noisy or get into something they shouldn't or break something or make a mess.  Grandma just delighted in them.  She always wanted them close- snuggled right up next to her or- preferably, in her lap.  Once I noticed the kids had left fingerprints on her glass doors overlooking their deck, so I mentioned to grandma that I wanted to clean that up before we left, and she said something along the lines of "Don't you dare.  I'm keeping those prints up there just as long as I can so that I can keep on enjoying them."

Audra loves to finger knit


I was sitting by the fire (!!!)  [Fire!  We get to have wood-burning fires in our fireplace now that our chimney is fixed!  I adore sitting by the fire.  I am positively giddy about this recent development.]  Anyway- I was sitting by the fire knitting and Audra wanted to join me.  She REALLY would like me to teach her how to knit.  With knitting needles.  Which I tried earlier this afternoon but it was a little tricky.  But this evening I decided to teach her how to finger knit.

And Audra likes to finger knit maybe more than I even like my fires.


Once she got going I picked up my own knitting again so that we could knit together, but then she was delighting me so much with all of her exclamations that I started writing them down.  So join me for a couple minutes of knitting with Audra.  (She said these things about every ten seconds.  For nearly an hour.  Truly.) 

"It's SO long!"

"I can't believe I'm doing this."

"I'm happy to be doing this color.  It's a fun color."

"This is SO fun!"

"I can't believe that it's getting SO long.  See?  Look how long it is!"

"I LOVE this!"

"Mama, look how fun it is!"

"I'm doing so great."

"Mommy!!!  Can you IMAGINE?"

"It's just so amazing." 

"Mommy, can you believe this?!  I cannot believe this."

"Mommy!  Isn't this SO FUN?!"

"Mommy:  Can you believe this, or not?  Me neither.  I can't even believe this."


She's pure delight.

Remembering grandma (Part 1)

grandma with Audra, Spring 2013

Last Tuesday my dad called to tell me that grandma (92) had taken a fall and was on her way to the hospital.  A couple of hours later I went to see her.  Beautiful, sweet grandma, all wrinkled loveliness and still smiling.  She was in the ER, alert and chatty.  Her sense of humor was fully intact.  My aunt, a cousin, my dad and my grandpa were there.

She said several times from her hospital bed, "I love my kids.  And my grand-kids. And my great-grandkids.  I just love 'em all."  It goes without saying that she loved grandpa best.  You can't spent a minute in their company without seeing it for yourself.

Grandpa sat still on a hard, uncomfortable chair by her bedside.  He shared how grandma had slipped off the end of their bed while she was getting dressed, and he wasn't able to help her back up, so he'd called the medics.  My frail little grandma joked, "It took SIX of them to carry me, I was so heavy!"-- and when the medics had her all settled and drove away, grandpa got into their car and drove to the hospital.

He looked so alone sitting there on that chair, though he was surrounded by family.  It struck me that I rarely saw them apart- they were almost always side by side.  He sat quietly and steadily, back straight, feet apart, resting his arms on his legs and looking at his hands.  Folding and refolding his hands.  I was watching grandma, and every so often she'd look over at grandpa, wait until he looked up at her, and hold his glance with a little tuck of her head and a smile- as if to reassure him.  Oh, how they loved each other!  Their marriage is the sweetest one I've had the privilege to witness.

Mom went up to visit her on Wednesday-- all these years later after the divorce and mom still calls her mom.  Grandma always made her feel so loved and welcomed.  It was a hard day for grandma.  I had planned to have the kids draw pictures and take them in to see her, but mom said she was in so much pain that I probably shouldn't.  So we stayed put.

Thursday Mark stopped in from his route.  By then they had figured out her medication and she was loopy and silly.  :)

Thursday evening I went again-- and she was slipping away: sleeping most of the time and not very alert when her eyes were open.

Sunday morning, early- she died.  She was 92.

She had been talking about heaven ever since she arrived at the hospital.  Somehow she knew it was her time to go and she welcomed it. 

Sunday morning in church we sang the song Open the Eyes of My Heart, and when I got to the line, "Holy, holy, holy... I want to see You" I could not even sing the words for the lump in the back of my throat.  I could only think of grandma- who was now able to SEE HIM (!) in all His glory and holiness.  What joy!

I've been writing down my memories of grandma ever since I knew she was slipping away.   I'll be posting those recollections here on the blog.


Audra's drawing this morning:


That's Adelia on the left, me there in the middle with the side-swept hairdo, and Audra on the right.

This just makes me happy.