Happy On a Hill, Short Video

Me and Lucy.
Me and Morgan.
Me and Hannah.

Welcoming Winter!

“I have this theory that people make an implicit decision as to whether they’re going to stay young and curious and interesting and interested, or whether they’re just going to let themselves age.”*

Living on a hill has its advantages and disadvantages. Disadvantages? Balls roll away, mud and ice makes it especially slippery, the garden’s on a slope, and climbing back up the hill in snow is a workout. Advantage? Being “the sledding house!”

I created this video after a blizzard in 2015, and it always make me smile.

Click link to to watch the one-minute video:  Snow Day/Blizzard 2015 

* Quote by Mitch Rothschild, Chief Executive of Vitals, a website that connects patients and doctors, from a 1/25/15 article in The New York Times.

**music on video, Paul Hardcastle-The Jazzmasters “See You in July”

Pumpkin Patch Memories

Hubby’s headless horseman.

Posting about pumpkin carving with pre-schoolers led me down a crunchy leaves lane of nostalgia. Decorating our house and preparing costumes weren’t our only Autumn traditions. Cherished were our drives to Ort Farms in Long Valley, NJ where we’d take a hay ride to the pumpkin patch, pick as many pumpkins as we could carry, and load up on apple cider, doughnuts, and honey sticks. After saying hi to the farm animals, we’d head home. Every year, Hubby got increasingly skilled at carving pumpkins. (Check out his haunted house below.)  

Hon, what Fall traditions does your family share?

DIY Cabinet Makeover

Before.

After.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re at it again!

Hubby and I are shuffling rooms, something we’ve been doing ever since we moved in. When I had a home-based crafts business, a bedroom became my workspace. Fast forward to triplet toddlers, and the dining room transformed into a playroom. (I definitely wasn’t entertaining!) When those same toddlers woke up every day at the crack of dawn, our “sitting room,” a small room between our bedroom and theirs, was fitted with a couch, VCR, mini fridge, and individual containers of cereal. Guess who learned how to pop in Sesame Street and get themselves drinks and snacks? (I call it promoting independence!)

Shared bedrooms gave way to individual bedrooms and back to shared when our fourth child was born. A finished attic, which had been a guest room, became our son’s room when WWIII broke out every morning. The reason?  Triplet tweens fighting over bathroom access before school! (Hubby may or may not have turned the hot water off when certain people hogged the shower!) Tween girls sharing a room argued over bedtime routines and privacy, so we somehow squeezed a twin bed and night table into the “sitting room.”

The basement has been a playroom, party room, craft room, tween and teen hangout area, American Doll sanctuary and, during quarantine, Hubby’s temporary office. Time to switch again! My office is becoming Hubby’s and the “sitting room” is becoming mine. That leads me to my newest project…re-painting an office cabinet. Just like the desk refinished recently, I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, a quick drying paint that covers furniture without priming or sanding, and Clear Chalk Paint Wax, which seals the paint. They’re the same products used to turn three different colored wood dressers and a night table in a matching set.

Refinishing furniture isn’t just relaxing, fun, and satisfying for adults; why not pick a project that kids can work on? For an Easy DIY Kids Craft, let kids choose a piece of furniture (chair, night table, step stool, side table…there are so many possibilities) and paint color. This paint has minimal fumes, goes on smoothly, and washes out with water. It’s a win-win.

Happy DIY’ing, Hon!

Taping edges.

Painting on the porch.

 

All You Shining Stars, A Poem

Bethany Beach, Delaware.

Farm-themed b-day party.

Teddy, Hannah and Morgan at their elementary school.

Triplets plus one.

I read “All You Shining Stars” by Christian Wiman in the December 23, 2019 issue of The New Yorker, and the poem was illuminated by my four shining stars.

All You Shining Stars 

Three kinds of hair in the brush one love

has left on the kitchen counter.

Four kinds of cries when it occurs as one

to blow off school and go to the mountains.

And later, over the river, when the upturned duck

never turns over, five kinds of silence.

 

Always our elsewheres are also here,

like tributaries so intuitive they seem

almost incidentally literal, tiny trickles

in wildernesses too immense to enter,

the cold clefts and the drastic drops.

cliffs of unthinkable ice.

 

Three kinds of sleep in the hum home

down the dark valley back to New Haven.

Four kinds of dreams behind the headlights,

the world springing into being ten feet at a time.

Five kinds of time when one love wakes up

and wonders where we are, and one wonder

wakes up another, and another, and another.

Thanksgiving Poem, Food for the Soul

Morgan, Darcy, Hubby, me, Hannah and Teddy

Happy Thanksgiving!
This  holiday-inspired poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919) has rhythm, melody and a lovely message. Wishing you a relaxing and emotionally rejuvenating holiday weekend.

Thanksgiving

We walk on starry fields of white
And do not see the daisies;
For blessings common in our sight
We rarely offer praises.
We sigh for some supreme delight
To crown our lives with splendor,
And quite ignore our daily store
Of pleasures sweet and tender.

Our cares are bold and push their way
Upon our thought and feeling.
They hand about us all the day,
Our time from pleasure stealing.
So unobtrusive many a joy
We pass by and forget it,
But worry strives to own our lives,
And conquers if we let it.

There’s not a day in all the year
But holds some hidden pleasure,
And looking back, joys oft appear
To brim the past’s wide measure.
But blessings are like friends, I hold,
Who love and labor near us.
We ought to raise our notes of praise
While living hearts can hear us.

Full many a blessing wears the guise
Of worry or of trouble;
Far-seeing is the soul, and wise,
Who knows the mask is double.
But he who has the faith and strength
To thank his God for sorrow
Has found a joy without alloy
To gladden every morrow.

We ought to make the moments notes
Of happy, glad Thanksgiving;
The hours and days a silent phrase
Of music we are living.
And so the theme should swell and grow
As weeks and months pass o’er us,
And rise sublime at this good time,
A grand Thanksgiving chorus.

Unfinished Business

Needlepoint canvases, knit infinity scarves and market bag.

I’m a WOABOPP!

Do you finish one book before starting another? Clean one room before heading to the next? Eat dinner before dessert? Apparently, I’m the opposite of all that. I was picking out yarn for patterns and also looking at needlepoint canvases when someone in the yarn shop looked over her glasses and said, “You’re a work-on-abunch-of-projects-person.” Is that a bad thing?

It’s not just knitting and needlepoint. I work on several writing projects at a time:  one manuscript might be up for review by my critique group; one manuscript might be in its infancy; one manuscript might be ready to query. And, of course, I like adding new posts to Bmore Energy.

I wasn’t always like this.  Then I had triplets! If this was one of my picture book manuscripts and I had to identify the moment when the change occurred, it would have to be the day all three triplets shared a bassinet together for the first time.

Baby B left the hospital at 10 days, Baby C was released at 12 days, and Baby A stayed in the NICU for 6 1/2 weeks. When Baby C came home, she was on a completely different feeding schedule than her siblings, and the first two babies weren’t thrilled about the new face. (The sisters could not be placed next to each other! Think head to toe.)

Three babies who needed to eat eight times a day meant preparing twenty-four bottles while doing constant laundry while changing countless diapers. Dinner for me and Hubby? Lots of pasta. Gifts? Piled up unopened for a long time. Sleep? Very little. There was no learning curve–it was a lion’s den!

I wasn’t multi-tasking; I was MEGA-tasking!

So, to the person who called me a WOABOPP…yes, yes I am. And I’m off to revise a manuscript, pick up a kid, try a new recipe, finish knitting a market bag, read one book, listen to another, bathe the dog…

Which camp do you fall in? One-Project-Person or WOABOPP!?

No judgement, hon!

Midnight the Barn Cat Needs a New Name

Midnight the Barn Cat is the newest addition to our household. As a young kitten, he’d shown up at a friend’s house in February. She not only fed him and created a winter shelter, she’d gotten him neutered and vaccinated. This summer, she searched for a new home for the approximately 8-month old kitten. She was moving  out of state and he wasn’t going with her.

Since I live in an historic Victorian farmhouse, circa 1882, I have a barn–albeit a small barn–that once housed a horse stall and still has a hayloft. It would be the perfect shelter for a partially socialized, soon-to-be-homeless kitten. Midnight the Barn Cat moved in.

So did raccoons! Every night, the raccoons had what I called “a party in the barn,” also known as a poop-fest! Yuck!

It’s not like I dislike raccoons; in fact, years ago when the triplets were babies, I bonded with a mommy raccoon who also had triplets. I’d wake up at the crack of dawn to feed my three infants at the same time a mommy raccoon was about to go to bed for the day. The raccoons’ tree stood near the window to my babies’ room and their “door” was wide open. The kits whined for one last drink, one last snack, and one last story. The mommy raccoon exhaustively begged her rambunctious babies to go the !*@#*! to bed.

And did you see my post, Coon Mama Jama, about trying to save a week-old, eyes-not-open-yet kit? But, I digress.

The raccoons in the barn ate Midnight the Barn Cat’s food, tramped their muddy feet over stored furniture and, worst of all, left their “evidence.” So, I cleaned up the mess and closed up the barn.

This is why Midnight the Barn Cat needs a new name!

Highlights Article for Father’s Day

My dad with "Baby A"
My dad with “Baby A”

Happy Father’s Day!

Father’s Day means family time.  Thanks to these dads for making a difference in my and my children’s lives.

Need Cool Ideas for Father’s Day?  My article was published in Highlights this week.

Have a great day, hon.

My son and Grandpa.
My son and my dad.

Hubby and son.
Hubby and our son.

Hubby and son.
Hubby and our son.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family patriarch.
Family patriarch with his grandkids.

Another great dad.
Another great dad (and uncle.)

My uncle, aunt and Plus One.
My uncle, aunt and Plus One.

Hubby, my brother and niece and nephew.
Hubby, my brother and niece and nephew.

Hubby and our Plus One.
This is one of my favorite photos of Hubby!