Archive for the 'ottoscroms' Category


the kids have been watching blandings like nobody’s business.  this morning, upon arriving at the breakfast table to find cereal instead of mush, gideon raised his fists in triumph and declared, “where there was squelch man, there shall be a godly crrrunch!”

deary days

small town parades are the best.  they practically drive up to you, stop, and then dump out a bucket of candy.

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and that is just what my mother has in her mouth.  i would be nice and not include any pictures of her with her lip full of chaw, but unfortunately, she was so occupied in all of them.

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red, aren’t they?

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i could be mistaken, but it looks like either one of them is going to spit on the pavement any second.

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but that really wasn’t the point of this post.  here are the darling children with their cousins living large at grandma’s.

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that’s the life.

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and here i am taking daddy boy in hand.  me yammering, him failing to look concerned.  repeat.

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the children were commandeered again by the other grandparents last weekend.  boy and i were sitting across from each other at the empty dinner table when i asked in mock desperation, “what would do if we didn’t have kids?  would we still like each other?  do we even have anything in common?!”  to which he replied indifferently, “nothing but jesus.”  now that’s the good stuff.

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i stopped and chatted up this grandma.  she even let me take pictures.  i have to say, she strikes me as the kind of woman who never bothered with saying “when.”  just my type.

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on our way to the library fundraiser.

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natalie posing with a personal favorite.  please note the less obvious volume in her other hand.

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the otto boys wasting no time.

and here i am working on my pile.

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in other news, this blog is finished!  clean out of space.  i think i can throw up more text, but otherwise i had better get to work on the new digs and come up with a camera.  perhaps i’ll see you around.  *m


one of those weeks i was missing in action was because i was at my parent’s house.  they like to get their hands on my children every once in a while and rough the city off of them.


this is uncle reuben’s colt, sassafras.  the kids love having a “mini” horse.


jael is the one who seemed to like it best.


gideon was the least impressed.


hey now!


my mother took the kids mining a few times.  there is some place out in the middle of nowhere where you can dig up marble sized garnets.




harkens back to the good ol’ days of child labor.


little mine slaves.


i sense an uprising.






jael saw a bumper sticker there that said, “even good girls get dirty.”  true, true.


later they went camping.


which was also dirty.



cousin hadassah.



swimming in the nasty.


makes you wish you were still five and didn’t have a conscience.


reuben was just excited to have someone to shoot guns with him.


trying to get me to not look like a retard.  “why do you keep sticking your butt out like that?”


and there were just heaps of flies.  i would try to aim but then i would break out in the hokey pokey.  shaking it all about.  it’s a wonder i didn’t shoot anyone.


it’s a work in progress.


look at those babies.


and that’s what grandma does to you.  runs you into the ground.  no mercy.


there’s jehu with gideon sweating like a stuck pig next to him.  turns out gideon picked up a fever somewhere and passed on the nastiest bug to everyone  in a mile radius.  except, of course, to grandad.  who is invincible.


and here is my sister sarah’s adorable little thug.  reuben often points out my children’s genetic inferiority.  i mean, there’s mister chievous in his skull beanie and under armor, sporting a crowbar.  meanwhile my white bread is laying comatose with his two stuffed animals, and accompanying security blanket.  …next to his brother who just polished off his personal copy of “little women.”


mister chievous beats up boys who read “little women.”  bwa-ha.  actually, this little boy got accepted to logos last week.  tell me he’s not going to rock it in a school uniform.  kindergarten girls, eat your hearts out.



vocab check

occasionally i stop and ask the kids if they know what certain words mean, just to make sure they’re following me.  i should do this more often because i’m pretty sure they’re not.  we’ve been working on memorizing galatians for a couple months now and it just dawned on me to ask them if they knew what, “confer with flesh and blood” meant.  naturally, it had escaped me that the default intonation of the phrase would have something to do with killing people.  no…..  so i straightened that one right out.  5 seconds later we went on to singing  “creator of the rolling spheres ineffably sublime!”  which, when it came through translation, ended up sounding something like, “creator of the rolling spears making people blind.”  awesome.

run forest, run!

and there goes jehu.

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i have the kids do this race every year.  i like to watch them suffer.  but it’s not every day that you get to run in a mob down the middle of a street and get free ice cream.

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the boys were really slow this year.  next year jael is going to beat them.  gideon ran a ten minute mile and jehu a 12.  sociable old ladies would come up the boys and ask enthusiastically, “how’d you do?!”  and they would look at her despondently and say, “mom mother said i was slow.”  like molasses in january, son.

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it’s time to run more laps at home.  or read fewer books.

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i found this picture on the camera right after i finished some drive by photography on a fine lady in a maxi dress.  i turned to marc and was like, “what on earth were you doing taking pictures of her butt !!??”  he said, “what were you just doing two seconds ago?”  um, making simple fashion observations, not creeping.  ahhem.

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the goobers.

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chillaxin’ at anthropologie.

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everybody’s favorite store.

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my dream car.  when i get a passenger van just watch me get a lift kit for the back and a can of pink spray paint.  hubby okayed it as long as he gets a stereo system.  ottos are going to do this right.

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and when they see our decorative plates they’ll know we mean it.

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see, girls just look nicer in dresses.

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breaking grandma’s house

what could be more fun?  grandma decided to chop the house in half.  typical weekend project.  reuben isn’t so keen on having to do it himself, so when he saw marc he practically shouted with glee, “boy!  want to go on the roof?”  who doesn’t want to go on the roof?  so there is my husband on the right with his safety harness and helmet.  which made me holler and ask, “boy!  why are you the only one up there who is taking the proper safety precautions?”  he looked around and said, “i’m the only one who has anything to live for.”  he could have been referring to the kids, but in that moment i suspected that he loved me.

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jael on her way to check the chickens in her heels.  i would have to take a video to catch the way she minces along.  stopping to wave at daddy.

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trying to pet a chicken.

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picking up a little extra salmonella and avian flu.

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and eggs, of course.

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ping came back to say goodbye to jehu.

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pulling nails.

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except for jehu.  he obviously has better things to do.

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like watch the crazy fools on the roof.

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see you all again in a week.  what do you want to do exciting?

grandma’s part deux

grandma is a sadist.  you should have seen all the stuff she loaded in the car to take eight grand-kids on this one day outing.

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and that is exactly what grandmas are for.  this weekend the other grandma is taking her nine grand-kids to the sand dunes.  why anyone would want to add sand to that already daunting equation, i have no idea.

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judo hanging out with grandad.

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grandma hitting the trail.  6 miles.  (mommy waited at the other end, reading “the real downton abbey” in the car.)

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grandad proving to be a lackluster babysitter.

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trying out uncle rueben’s new canoe.

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boys in search of adventure.

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hey, who invited the girls?

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the single uncle reuben.  (he’s just wearing that hat so other girls don’t try and steal him before you get the memo.)  oh yes, and that’s his “almost life jacket.”  does that make it a death jacket?  natalie and i were wondering.  because uncle reuben doesn’t exactly know how to swim.  it has something to do with the fact that in his youth, whenever he was within the proximity of water, he took the precaution of locking himself in the car.  i bet his subconscious still suspected that i might at any moment drop the camera and run push him in.

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grandad warming up the habbers.

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reuben and his doofus dog.

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it was at this moment, while grandma was trying to shove everyone in reuben’s canoe, that the safety inspector came by.

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arriving at the other dock for rabber’s turn.

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she wasn’t entirely convinced.

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dock posse.

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judith and her omnivore cousin, haddassah.  as reuben is fond of saying, “that baby looks like she ate your baby.”  he’s not impressed with my breeding skills.  oh yeah, let me see what you got, bro.

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sarah saying, “oh, this old thing?  i only found it at the thrift store.”  so no, you can’t go buy yourself one.  a puffed sleeve monopoly.  injustice.

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the handsome gideon.

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the obviously not dead grandad.  who needs more than three red blood cells anyways?

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“patience, young padawan.”

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and reuben demonstrating yet other child safety techniques.

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with so many spectacular relatives i am relieved to know that i am under no obligation to be cool or exciting.  huzzah.

ain’t no party like my nana’s tea party

if you’ve been missing me it’s because i’ve been gone.  now i’m back, but i’ve spent the last two days washing everything in the combined wardrobe of seven people.  but we had fun at grandma’s house.  just ask jehu.

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while we were there i helped natalie throw a going away tea for her friend ping, who was here on foreign exchange.  the weather was inclement, so i opted to move things inside the teahouse.  (formerly known as the “greenhouse.”  but that was before i kicked out all of reuben’s tomatoes, vacuumed, and moved in the settee.)

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my friend mackenzie, arriving in style followed by her charming posse of six.  cute, eh?

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the teahouse.  obviously wasted on plants.

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natalie bought a variety of loose teas from the co-op.  another friend brought fresh cream from their farm.

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and everyone else brought food.  if only i could wish myself back in time….

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natalie’s friend naphtali holding baby judo.  i had begun to develop my suspicions, but while on this trip it was confirmed that my mother cannot pronounce the name “judith.”  (just like she can’t pronounce “rahab.”  to her it’s ray-hawb.)  anyways, get this, judith is judas.  as in iscariot.  not cool mom.

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packing them in.  i think we had unrealistic expectations as to how many people we could actually fit in a potting shed, but we tried.  it was rather comic getting ready for this party as well.  my mother and i ended up in town all morning until two and natalie had to stay in school until three.  when we did get home, i decided to sew a batik bunting for the side of the shed, my dad decided to put the bats up , while my mother up and paints the front of the house.  putting bats on the greenhouse wouldn’t have been such a big deal if it didn’t mean my dad had to roll a new log on the sawmill and mill them up from scratch.  seriously, he did.  and to think they were all giving me guff for sewing, when we had “so many things to do.”  like i’m the person who’s crazy around here.  😉

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isn’t it cozy?

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in the back corner you might be able to see the vintage sink mom wants to plumb in for watering plants.  they “found” it in the back of the garage.  it’s a big garage.

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i would also like to point out that the person who built the teahouse is single and moderately handsome.

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though not exceptional with children.

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we were sitting on the couch once while he was helping me buckle the baby into her seat.  all of the sudden he got this look in his eye and said ominously, “oooo, 5-point safety harness!”   next thing you know it was baby ferris wheel.

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of course, it all depends on your perspective.

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the babies think he’s great.

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here is ping.  i don’t know what it is, but the kids all love her.  i think it’s the name “ping” (it’s just fun to say) and the fact that she can’t speak english well enough to dissuade them from tailing her.  when she left, jehu went to bed in tears, insisting it was “worse than dying.”    i’ll be posting fan mail to thailand in a few weeks.

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another tea partier.

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natalie and her friends hanging out in the tree house.

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it was a lovely time.  and having a teahouse rocks.  i want one.  the perfect place for warming up on a spring day, reading books,  touring pinterest, enjoying a pot of tea with friends, watching movies, being able to escape to at least one place that’s clean, or having sleep overs.  reuben strung hammocks up and put mattresses underneath and we slept 5 little kids in there.  snug as bugs.  a teahouse is now on my official wish list.  reuben even takes orders if you want one.  or you could trade your daughter in marriage and get one for free.  i’d call that a steal.  (who knows what else you could get him to make you.)

riding herd

i babysat for a friend last week.  a friend with girls.  and not just any girls, red headed girls.  at one point i clocked the women folk at 10.  the boys were sadly outnumbered with only 3.

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it was a riot.  i believe i woke up sore the next day.

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but children love riots.

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especially when you add sticky and fire.  then everyone is happy.

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isn’t daddy a saint?

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rahab and her somewhat leery friend.  maybe if habbers didn’t trash talk her guests after windmilling them she’d get farther when it comes to winning friends and influencing people.

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and if you must know, i’m rather infamous for my backyard.  it is, and always has been, an absolute pile.  literally.  and the kids love it.  i just thank the lord i have a privacy fence and then don’t go back there.

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my number one son.  on his way to practice that evening he was soliciting the girls to see if any of them knew how to tie shoes.  which was making me bust up.  i’ll be teasing him about that well into his twenties.

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“she seems like a nice girl, son.  but can she tie shoes?”

for the mas

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i just realized what’s wrong with this photo (other than it being fuzzy).  no one’s smiling.  the self-timer must put the fear of god in people.  3 seconds to detonation….

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