best way to end the summer

Our last week of summer was spent doing all the summer things we like to do but don’t get a chance to do enough of.  We spent a week at Georgian Bay swimming, playing in the sand and most importantly on the water.  Here’s a photo dump of some of the fun.  The only down side to going away the end of August is that looking forward to school doesn’t seem to enter our consciousness and the first Wednesday in September is rather a shock!

After the first few days of calm weather, the wind picked up and the real purpose of the vacation (for some) became apparent.

Getting the inflatable sail boat rigged

Ready to sail



Wind brings opportunity for all kinds of fun:

The younger children found lots of opportunity for fun:

New skill learned

Bye-bye summer! We weren’t ready to let you go….

~ Lora


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Why is it that the warm glow from windows at night look so safe and reassuring from the outside?  Why does the blackness outside from the inside point of view feel so gloomy?  You go for a walk at night and see the happy glow from the homes that dare to show their light to the outside world.  You imagine safety and warmth, a happy home and are thankful for the ones that let their light shine.  No blue flickering light, or worse no lights at all, shades pulled down, curtains tightly drawn for them.  Now you are back in that warm light emitting home but how the perspective changes if you look out to the night.  Nothing but darkness.  Down go the  shades, across with the drapes, light the candles, turn on the lights.  Keep the cold and darkness out.

It’s all a matter of perspective.  Are you looking in or out?


~ Lora

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Best Friends

Aren’t the friendships of childhood so sweet and easy?  Too bad we have to grow up and things become complicated.



~ Lora

Posted in child's play, happiness, kids | 1 Comment

Nap time ruminations


I find myself in the recliner, neck pillow adjusted and minky blanket covering from neck to toes. It’s 4:45 and dinner is being handled by the crock pot. The sun is quickly setting and I can see the silhouette of the now bare trees against the horizon’s glow. Music (my favorite background Christmas album) is playing and I hope I can get 15 -20 minutes of rejuvenating rest. I count how many kids are in the house. One, two,, three…. Five of mine and three others. Remarkably it doesn’t feel like a crowd. Maybe because we are becoming so used to each other, we just live and play together in this home ….  some of us for an hour, some all the time.  Kids laughter, thump, thump up and down the stairs. mine craft discussions…. all noises of home. A little voice beside me breaks my drift into the arms of Morpheus:

Mommy, can you find the lid for my marker?

No, mommy can’t find the lid.

But it will dry out?

(Isn’t that what I always tell them?)  OK, look under the bar.

Found it mommy, but it won’t go on.

Let me put it on , but then you let mommy have a little sleep, OK?

If I can just get a little sleep I can re-energize and face dinner, homework and baths.  A crash and tinkling sound. Oh well, I don’t hear any big exclamations. It can’t be too bad. Drift…  drift… I remember why I listened to that album so often last year. It’s how they mixed those two songs together.  What is the name of that piece? My younger me looks down at me, all tipped back and snug.  You’re just like mom.  Snoozing in a chair for a couple minutes, music on, house living on. This is good isn’t it?  Catching the good moments before the work begins again.  Reflecting, remembering as you drift off. This humming home, it’s mine.  I never imagined that moments like these create life that has the DNA of the past written all over them.

Phone rings.  It’s for you mom.  Really? Yup, it’s dad. End of nap.


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I grew up with music always playing in our home. We had a trusty old record player with two brown speakers in our dining room/family room. The open part of our pine hutch was filled with the record player and tuner and when we got old enough we would clamber on top of the buffet and switch the records. Inevitably we would scratch the record or break a needle, but we usually had spares.  We didn’t have a lot of records but we had a variety from Handel’s water music to German folk music (with accordions!) to Tennessee Ernie Ford. At 5:00 the local classical radio station had a half an hour program called “Stories and Music for Children”.  We would lay down by the speaker enthralled with music and classic tales while Mom could cook dinner in peace.

Fast forward to the 90’s with CD’s, and our music selection increased as well as the wattage of our speakers. Music continued to drown out the noise of large family living. As a result, we sang, danced, yodeled and laughed our way through dishes. Music was the balm that soothed hurt feelings and calmed hot heads. Music signaled it was Sunday morning, with hymns pouring out of the living room. The three tenors taught us all the famous arias. Before we ever joined the choir to sing Handel’s Messiah, we knew all the words. We knew exactly how the soprano was to sing her solo and were slightly shocked when she deviated from what we knew was the right way to sing “Come unto Him”.

I once read of a perfect vacation (in my mind, that is) .  Some travel writer/music lover spent a week in Wales going from village to village attending male choir rehearsals.  The idea of spring in the English countryside, and hearing so many talented choirs captured my imagination.  I have always had a soft spot for great male choirs and it seems the Welsh have a great musical tradition in that regard.

Fast forward to today… and I find I have forgotten my love of music.  I rarely have music playing and consequently my kids have no idea of the musical wealth available to them.  If I want them to love what I loved, if I want them to recognize the banal offerings in our society for what they are, they need to know the alternatives. I don’t know where the decrease in music started.  I think I played music a lot more when we were first married.  We had amassed hundred of CD’s between us both. We never had fancy audio equipment, but in a little house, who needed serious volume?  Several years ago we switched to a Sonos system.  I downloaded most of our CD’s onto our computer, and now with a swipe of the ipad, I can access all of the music and play it on a central speaker.  But I don’t…  Maybe having your kids take the ipad and now you are impotent to change the volume when the phone rings has something to do with it.  Maybe my gradual hearing loss and subsequent volume issues, discouraged me.  Maybe central- room – music playing doesn’t mesh well with our modern life style of ipad and computer use. How can you watch your youtube clip on some cool minecraft build when your mom is blasting something annoying! Whatever the case, I want to change this.  Having hearing aids means I can play music at a reasonable level, although it does distort music somewhat for me.  I want my kids to love music and see it as the backdrop to their childhood.  I want them to develop an appetite for music beyond what’s easy and catchy.  Music can stir up emotion and calm nerves.  Music can increase our appetite for spiritual things and build up our faith. Why neglect this great gift God has given us?

Ephesians 5:19 “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

~ Lora

Posted in family, music, parenting | 4 Comments

Getting my feet wet

Hello anyone who is still out there…..  I haven’t blogged in ages and am not sure if I might begin again.  I feel like I’ve kind of lost my voice and I am also thinking about how much I want to share with the great big world out there.  SO this is just a little toe poking in the water… seeing if I want to dive back in.


~ Lora

Posted in about me | 7 Comments

Over rated and under rated

This month celebrated a holiday fraught with expectations and disappointments. Of course I am talking about Valentines Day. When I was young and single, I would dream of a perfect date hitting all the right notes… candle lit ambiance, a thoughtful gift, good food and of course very handsome company. Sometimes reality is better than day dreams.  Just not in the way you expected it to be.

We do and don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. We don’t go out on the day, but I usually try to make a special meal, we give each other gifts ( I received my favorite perfume, Summer Hill by Crabtree and Evelyn this year after some judicious hints), and we always give each other mushy cards. Now some argue that cards and all the rest of it is just a ploy by savvy marketers to get us to drop five bucks on a piece of nicely decorated paper. I guess they’re right, but if you don’t have a special occasion, it is highly unlikely that mushy cards will be given (especially by the guy). So valuing the written word as I do, (even when composed by some stranger at Hallmark) I am glad to get the card in whatever manner I can.

This year we were particularly unsentimental, in that we celebrated two days late. Due to some minor crises’ in our family, colds and and serious sleep deprivation, we proclaimed February 16 as Valentines Day. Plus… candy is 50% off by then. Win win for the dutchies.

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While the pictures look pretty (sort of), I can assure you that the meal went downhill after the scrumptious salad was eaten. I didn’t realize soon enough, that while I left the steak grilling outside on the BBQ a rather large fire ensued. So it was hard to determine how long to cook them after I put the fire out. OK… so they were dry. The kids wanted to sample the wine and that resulted in shouts of disgust and running to the kitchen sink to rinse out their mouths. The potatoes were good… Hassleback Potatoes. I will share the recipe some day. Anyway, Valentines dinner, in spite of the pretensions of tablecloth and using the “good” dishes was comfortingly familiar.

Once Annika figured out what was going on on this day, she had to share in the fun, busily making cards for every member of the family. As the time drew nigh, the pictures were more hastily colored. Big disappointments were averted by the other kids quickly making cards for her.




In the end though, seeing the kids laughing, hugging Annika as she was so pleased to hand out her cards, made it a special day for us. Romantic, no, but a night filled with love, yes!

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

~ Lora

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Time on your own

Annika started Pre-K in September which means she attends school two mornings a week. This is just a small introduction to school but a nice way to get ready for the next school year when she will go three full days a week. School has been great for Eliza (2) as well. At first she would say ” Pick Annika up?” after Annika had been gone for an hour. Her best friend had left her and she wasn’t sure what to do. It’s been fun to watch her lately though, as she plays happily with all her “babies” on her own. She doesn’t need her older sister to suggest to her what they should play. I overhear her talking to her dolls, and watch her trotting back and forth with blankets and play food, setting up her pretend home in the living room.


Children benefit from time away from their siblings. It gives them a chance to develop their own skills, their own imaginative play. I see a different side of my children when they are on their own, especially when they are young and learning how to play.  It also gives them a chance to interact exclusively with you.  I’ve been enjoying my two mornings a week with Eliza.  It reminds me to make a bigger effort to spend individual time with all my kids.

~ Lora

Posted in child's play, family, kids, play, relationships | 4 Comments


Finally winter has arrived in NJ. We were all excited to see the first snow of the season on Saturday, after a really long fall. We had sixteen inches of snow, which was plenty, especially when it comes to cleaning up the walks and driveway! I thought I had better share the excitement before it all melts. We have warm temps right now and the piles are shrinking before our eyes!

Sunday dawned with a view that was a wonder of weird sculptures and drifts.





There is nothing like blue sky and sunshine after a storm.


Snow means all kinds of new fun to be had.






I’m so glad we had a least one big snowfall this winter.  Here’s hoping for a little more!

~ Lora

Posted in child's play, nature, outdoor fun, play, seasons | 1 Comment


How do you start again when you’ve neglected something for so long? And not I’m not talking about exercising! Ha… that never began so I can’t start that over.
Of course I’m talking about this blog. I’ve neglected it terribly. It’s been four months since I posted anything… that is the longest time off I’ve ever taken. This wasn’t planned, just life (aka three kids in soccer, new school year, and then Christmas) interrupted. Well, I want to get back into blogging. I’ve had lots of thoughts about a myriad of topics rattling around my brain. SO… Here’s hoping 2016 brings a little more commitment to this little blog of mine.


Our five kids, growing up so quickly! Front to back, Eliza, Annika, Katrina, Taylor, Jeremy

~ Lora

Posted in family, seasons, Uncategorized | 2 Comments