The dishwasher is humming, reminding me of the biscuits and gravy breakfast that everyone devoured, this morning.
The filleted "5-pounder", from this morning's fishing expedition, is in the fridge waiting to be tossed on the grill later today.
The sounds of the 7 year old and the toddler playing with wooden animals in the basement is drifting up the stairs. Here they come to check their bucket of frogs on the front porch.
Meeting the sound of the 11 year old (he's almost twelve!) and the 8 year old playing Monopoly upstairs.
The whirr of the four-wheeler engine comes and goes as the 13 year old and 8 year old ride on the trails all over the land.
And now and then I can hear the shotgun from across the valley as the Coach and our oldest (he's 14) practice skeet shooting.
Someone's missing. . . hmmmm. That would be the 5 year old. Wonder what she's up to?
Not every moment in our lives is perfect. Not even this one, as I haven't showered, yet, and 9 people will be clamouring for lunch any minute, now.
But now and then my brain seems to snap a Polaroid picture of a moment in time when my heart overflows with joy and gratitude.
So much to be grateful for. So much to enjoy.
Life is always changing, isn't it? The "big kids" get bigger every day. Playing games with each other (with fewer referees needed), picking up after themselves (sometimes) and pitching in to help. The "little kids" aren't so little anymore. We don't need diapers, pack-n-plays, and strollers just to go somewhere.
Having older kids, while stretching me beyond myself and throwing me at the mercy of the Lord every day, is turning out to be a lot of fun. The joking, the story telling, the conversations and laughter. These kids are turning into amazing people. I love being with them.
I am continually amazed by the Coach. . .who gets up early to take the kids fishing. Who stays out in the heat of the day to shoot Son #1's new shotgun. Who takes Little Man on endless rides on the Ranger. Over and over again. Who fixes the chain on the little four-wheelers. Who guts the biggest of the morning's catch and cooks it so the boys can eat their spoil. Who ooohs and aaaahs over every breakfast, lunch and dinner that I cook for our masses. Who is grateful that his clothes are washed and there when he needs them. Who tells me I'm beautiful and kisses me when he comes in and goes out. I am blessed. (No wonder he falls asleep every time he sits down!) He was a wonderful father to our babies. But the older kids seem to bring out the best in him.
We are relishing these last few days of Summer at the troops. Enjoying our family's farm for the weekend. Enjoying each other.
Fall is almost here. The football practices (my first born is in highschool, for heaven's sake) and the volleyball practices. School supplies to buy, backpacks to fill, shoes to try on. My first year with seven in school (Oh my heavens!). Football season, with the Coach gone more than he's home. Homework, projects, new teachers to adjust to. Not to mention the MUCH earlier mornings!
But that season is fun in it's own way. We'll just enjoy it as it comes.
Today? The quiet of the farm. In a few weeks? The chaos of the school year begins.
It's all good.
And I feel a Ranger ride calling my name.