It is time for another photo dump.
Every few months I find a build-up of photos from the small, everyday happenings of life, piled up on my camera. Then I know it is time for a catch-up post. This is one of those times…
Gracie is thriving. Having completed her first semester of college, and well into her second, she has comfortably and confidently embraced this new season of life with enthusiasm and grace. She is loving her program and continues to find the study of American Sign Language fascinating and engaging. The result of her efforts came in the mail a few weeks ago. We are so proud of our college freshman!
Ozzie also continues to thrive in his program. He has settle into a comfortable routine of school, therapy, and visits home that have provided the support he has needed, and he has blossomed under that added support. Over the last few months he has traveled a hard but poignant journey through his past trauma with the support of EMDR therapy, art and music therapy, animal therapy, various group therapies and regularly occurring sessions of TRE (trauma release exercises), all offered at this facility. This quarter he made the honor roll, has earned a perfect score on his daily behavior chart for the last six weeks, joined the school’s basketball team, and learned to cross country ski at this awesome treatment facility where he is receiving more intensive inpatient therapy. He is now reaching the end of his time there, having worked so hard in his healing journey, and will be coming home for good in 4-6 weeks. This inpatient stay wasn’t the path we planned for him, but God led us to the very place he needed to be to find the help he was desperately crying out for. How grateful I am for God’s hand in this journey and for this child I call my son.
A few weeks ago our youth group had a fun joint activity for the young men and the young women. Following in the path of our cub scout troop they decided to offer a pinewood derby race for the youth. Car kits were ordered and the young men and young women were given free reins to be as creative as they wanted to be since they weren’t limited by the same guidelines as the scouts. There was no height or weight limit so they could do whatever they wanted.
Having helped my kids create 30 + pinewood derby cars over the years, between AWANAS, cub scouts, and youth races, I was relived that Molly and Rusty were old enough and independent enough to cut, sand, and paint their own cars, and I was able to simply enjoy the surprise reveal the night of the race.
Molly created a watermelon car:
And Rusty turned his car into a pink E-racer. (So punny!):
The youth had a blast!
For Valentine’s Day Grace surprised Molly and I with a galintine party (a Valentine’s Day celebration of the special gals in your life.) This occurred while Toby and Rusty were in Florida. We waited until Tyler and Ozzie were tucked in bed on Saturday night and then Grace pulled out her prepared treats…
We had fizzy cotton candy drinks
And fondue with chocolate dipped cookie dough,
Which we enjoyed while watching Age of Adeline, one of our very favorite chick flicks.
A few Sunday’s ago, while driving home from church, we stumbled on this fellow near our house. It is not too often you find a beaver waddling along by the side of the road so we stopped to watch him. He seemed completely unconcerned about his growing audience as more cars slowed down to watch him. He eventually waddled away into the high grass, sending his spectators back on the road. It was quite a thrill for my kiddos.
The dogs were saddened to have missed “saying hello” to this waffle-tailed groundhog…
The girls are now approaching their one year anniversary of working together at the Philly Pretzel Factory. Grace is also in the process of applying for a second job through the state to work as a driver for a client who also happens to be a dear friend of hers. Rusty, who is getting ever closer to driving independently, is now also on the hunt for a job. This week for his weekly one-on-one time with me, we worked on his first job application and then I drove him over to Handel’s Ice Cream to drop it off….Fingers Crossed!
We find ourselves in a season of “firsts.”
It seems that all the kids have been stepping out of their comfort zones and stretching themselves in new and exciting ways. As a parent it is thrilling (and a bit scary) to see them stretching their wings and launching.
All the time and work that has been invested into the last two decades was for this end…to see them step out into the world as young adults and do amazing things in God’s name.
All three of my big kids have exciting things coming up ( more on that in another post) but the child who had probably grown more than any other this year is Tyler. He is in his renaissance and is blossoming in ways I worried he never would. Academically this has been his best year yet. Therapeutically he is making incredible strides and is gaining confidence and feelings of felt safety, all while getting more comfortable with verbalizing emotions rather than acting out on them. And socially he has blossomed as well. Tyler has found a special connection with three boys at church that he considers his best friends. These boys have been such a blessing to Tyler and as a mom my heart overflows with gratitude for their example, influence, and for the hand of friendship they have extended to my son. I look at my older three and the special friendships they found as little children, friendships that continue to be a great blessing in their lives today, and I am so grateful Tyler has now found his “tribe,” close friends that will grow up with him.
This past week was one for the record books as Tyler had his first ever sleepover with one of these friends. (He requested all three boys but given the uncertainty of how Tyler would manage the night we started with him picking one friend) A sleepover might not seem a big deal, but for Tyler this was HUGE! Tyler struggles with horrible anxiety at night. Nighttime is a frightening time of the day given his past trauma. His tendency toward night terrors and overwhelming feelings of fear have made sleepovers impossible in the past, so when Tyler came to us requesting a sleepover with a friend, something that really testifies to his increased feelings of safety, his desire to be brave so as to not miss out of the social fun of having a friend over, as well as a reflection on this young man and the calm assurance his demeanor has on Tyler, we were thrilled.
The days leading up to the sleepover were filled with planning. Tyler came to me with a menu in mind and a schedule of fun. He knew exactly what he wanted and I couldn’t suppress my smile when he gave me my shopping list of what he wanted for meals and snacks for the sleepover.
They had a wonderful time. Their day was filled with playing football, jumping on the trampoline, and exploring the woods. (They proudly brought home an animal skull they found in the field.) And at night they fell asleep in the living room on bean bag chairs while watching A Dog’s Purpose.
I’d say Tyler’s first sleepover was a smashing success!
I’ll wrap up this Photo Dump with Molly’s latest project. This semester Molly is taking a class on fashion and textiles. Her assignment this week was to take an article of clothing that she doesn’t wear and refashion it into something new that she would wear.
She found two clothing items that were possibilities.
She chose the jean shirt with plaid lining. She decided to flip it inside out, and cut off the sleeves to sew the shirt into a vest.
All pinned and ready for sewing…
Then she cut the cuffs off the sleeves and used them to make pockets.
The finished product was nothing short of adorable! Nice job, Molly!
Well, there you go…
This post was a little long and a lot disjointed, much like our days here at Patchwork Farm. 🙂
May your week be blessed!