Just a bunch of “Characters”

Standard

Wednesday was fandom day at co-op. The kids were encouraged to dress as their favorite book or movie character. My kids were so excited for this “theme day,” and began debating what characters they would choose in the weeks leading up to it.

IMG_9891

The big kids decided to go with a group theme and all chose characters from Peter Pan. Can you tell who they are?

IMG_9890

There was another fun treat at co-op this week for the 8th grade class. These kids have been together for many years and have been studying history with Miss Corrina since they were in 2nd grade. They have now finished the K-8th history course and so to celebrate their historical journey they decided to have a pizza party.

IMG_9900 (2)

Some of the older kids joined them…

IMG_9895 (2)

Miss Corrina surprised each of her students with mugs she made and ordered online. The mugs were covered with history pictures, quotes, and a photo of the class. The mug was even filled with sweet treats.  It was such a neat gift and such a sweet token of love, reflecting the hours of time and interest she has taken in her students over the last 6 years.

You could say they have a history. ;)

IMG_9902

This week we also received good news we have been praying for. I have shared with you a bit of the challenges we have been facing with Tyler for the last six months. We had noticed that the medication that he takes for his ADHD seemed less effective. After doing a bit of research and talking to his doctor we found out that we were experiencing the same issues that many of his other patients were also dealing with because of changes that have been made to the generic version of the medication he is on. We were told that we would see the old (positive) results if we would switch to the name brand version of the same drug.

When we took the script in to be filled, however, we were told insurance only covered the generic version. The next step was for our doctor to petition the insurance company and prove that the name brand medication was medically necessary. Yesterday we received a call from the doctor that we had been approved. Today I drove over to the pharmacy to have the script filled only to discover that they didn’t have any in stock and that it would take a week to get it. After calling multiple pharmacies to see if anyone else had it in stock I learned that none of the local pharmacies have any. They all said they had to order it. When I asked why that was I was told that insurance companies don’t cover it anymore so nobody keeps it in stock.

pill

As discouraged as I was to find out that we had to wait another week, it made me realized the great answer to prayer that approved script was. One pharmacist said to me, “I don’t know how your doctor convinced your insurance to cover the name brand. That almost never happens.”

God is good!

Here are some other happenings at Patchwork Farm:

On Sunday Grace and Rusty both stepped out of their rooms, all dressed and ready for church, at the same time. Without planning to they had inadvertently matched themselves. They looked so cute standing together I had to take a picture.

IMG_9833

On Monday I had my card making class. I have been getting together with friends once a month at a friend’s church to make homemade cards that another friend (who sells Stampin’ Up) puts together. This month we had dinner first. Everyone brought in toppings for a salad bar. After eating we created two of each of these cards while enjoying some mom time.

IMG_9885

This week we have also started our Easter countdown. Many years ago we purchased this Easter countdown devotional kit for the kids. They take turns opening an egg each night and seeing what symbol of the Easter story lays inside. We then read that part of the Easter story. It is a wonderful way to prepare our hearts and realign our focus during this holy season.

IMG_9883

On Tuesday Molly pulled out this little gem… a dog costume she bought at a thrift store a few years ago thinking it could be a Halloween costume for her baby doll. It wasn’t until we were home that she realized her mistake. We got our money’s worth of laughs out of it however when she tried it on Brownie. It was now time for Ellie to model it.

IMG_9880

Doesn’t she look thrilled?!

This week has also been spent at the DMV every evening so Gracie could practice this:

IMG_9459

IMG_9461

IMG_9463

She has become a pro. I find it so funny the amount of emphasis they put on parallel parking for your driving test when it is a skill you so rarely use. I think the last time I parallel parked a car was at age 16 at my own driving test. I think a better test of skill would be how to merge into highway traffic when nobody will move over or how to maneuver through a grocery store parking lot without hitting a rolling shopping cart…

but, hey, nobody asked me. :)

The good news is, if I ever have to parallel park in downtown Pittsburgh I now have a pro in the car that can do it for me!

Thursday we are headed east! Brave friends are watching our other 4 children while Toby and I drive out to Philadelphia, where Gracie’s cyber school is located, for her induction ceremony into National Honor Society. We are so proud of her and we are excited for this special time we will have with our oldest daughter. We have never gone away with just one child so it promises to be a special memory making trip. Thank you, Miss Lana and Woody, for making it possible!

“It has Been 6 Days Since our Last Explosion”

Standard

When things are going smoothly at our house I find myself holding my breath. I hesitate to begin cheering and celebrating for fear of jinxing an already precarious situation. I often find myself debating whether to share the success stories, knowing that as soon as I type up the blog and hit publish, inevitably “it” will all hit the fan.

But I also realize that each success, however small or short-lived is a miracle…a tender mercy. This past week has been full of many miracles, both small and large. It is with a thankful heart I share our stories.

To begin I must give enormous accolades to our God-sent therapist. We have been working with her for the last few weeks and I could cry tears of gratitude for the blessing she has been. I feel like I have an ally in this war we are waging with Ozzie’s past. She gets it. She is loving and kind and funny, but Oh So REAL! She sees it all and is immune to deceit and manipulation. She lovingly calls Ozzie out on his games and asks him to stretch himself far beyond his comfort zone, praising him through his efforts.

In addition to finally feeling like I have the support we have needed, I have also discovered in her an amazing resource of ideas and wisdom in those one hour sessions. It was Tina (our therapist) who shared with us the necessity of adding more “creative chaos” to our lives, (which has been hugely beneficial) but she has also given me insight into how to effectively parent the temper tantrums that have been a daily struggle. She has helped me see that although the way we were parenting the tantrums was on point, our timing was off. Thus making our parenting less effective.

She took out a piece of paper and sketched out a picture of a bell curve. At the top of the curve she made a mark and explained that this was where we were currently using our parenting strategies. She explained that no matter how good the strategy was, if we used them at the top point of the tantrum, during the worst of the rage, we would always fail. “You can’t reason with rage.”

bell curve

She explained that we must address the emotions that come before the rage…before Ozzie escalates. She then sat down with Ozzie, drew a picture of him, and had him identify the physical changes that happen to his body as he is entering a tantrum. We circled the parts of his body that change with anger on the sketch. We drew clenched fists, furrowed brows, tight shoulders, etc.

She then explained that my job was then to make Ozzie aware of these changes, as he begins to get upset, by asking him to “check his body.” When he saw that he was having physical signs of anger she then gave us a tool to use to dispel that anger. We practiced. He was asked to cross his arms over his chest with each hand resting on the opposite shoulder and alternate tapping his shoulders while counting to 100. She explained that this strategy works for a number of reasons. She told us that in children who have been abused there is often a blockage between the left and right hemisphere of the brain. The alternating tapping opens those pathways of the brain and allows better reasoning. It also gives the child something to refocus on rather than what they are angry about, and it gives them time to decompress. (It takes a while to count to 100.)

We left with the new information and had the opportunity to try this new strategy almost immediately. I was amazed. The anger began and then dissipated in minutes without ever escalating into a temper tantrum. We continued to practice and apply this all week and went 6 days without a fight or a temper tantrum.

IMG_9175 (3)

This week also brought other excitement. On Monday I was folding laundry in my bedroom during the kids’ lunch break when there was a knock at my bedroom door. I opened it to find Molly standing there in only a towel, dripping with water.

“I smell gas,” she said.

I breathed deep, looked at her like she was crazy, and said, “I don’t smell anything.”

(Granted my nose wasn’t all that reliable. I was battling a cold.)

“No really,” she said, “Smell the register.”

I still couldn’t smell anything but took evasive action when 4 of the 5 kids confirmed that they smelled gas and weren’t feeling well. They complained of headaches and nausea. I had a horrible headache too but assumed it was the cold I was fighting.

I told the kids to put on coats and boots and go wait by the playland with the dogs while I investigated. I figured it was better that I be the only one to blow up…you know,  in case of a gas explosion. ;)

So I called Toby,

lit a candle to get rid of the smell…

atomic

Kidding!

I just wanted to see if you were really paying attention to my story. :)

On the phone Toby walked me through how to turn off the gas main. I opened windows and waited for Toby to come home and help us figure out where the gas leak was coming from.

When he got home he went down to the basement first and saw the source of our problem. The outside of the hot water heater was melted and charred. It had caught on fire and resulted in the gas leak.

He looked at me with concern that during MY investigation of the house I hadn’t noticed the flames licking up the outside of the hot water tank. I explained that it hadn’t looked like that when I was down there…although I had checked to make sure the pilot light was lit and was impressed with how big and bright the flame was…oops.

Little did I know there was a fire raging inside.

Thank goodness for God’s protection. Our guardian angels have been working overtime!

But from both of these experiences I have learned a valuable lesson…

If you wait until the explosion, it is too late.

The signs of danger are there before the catastrophe hits.

Watch, listen, act and address the signs of danger BEFORE  someone loses a limb…

and that’s probably true for a gas leak too! :)

Embark!

Standard

It was that time of year once again… time for New Beginnings! New Beginnings is a yearly ceremony for the young women at church. It is a chance to focus on their theme for the year, welcome the new 12-year-old girls who are coming into young women’s, and a chance to bid farewell to our graduating seniors.

It was so odd, after 4 years of planning New Beginnings, to show up on Sunday evening as a mother without any of the stress or worries that are typically associated with that day. :)

IMG_9847

In the past we have had fun with the theme for the evening. We have done a Dr. Seuss night, an Alice in Wonderland adventure, “You are a gem,” and last year’s theme was “Frozen.”

This year there was the nautical them of “Embark!” and the focus was on service.

IMG_9837

The girls were all asked to bring in objects that represent what they have been working on this year in their goal setting program, Personal Progress.

IMG_9851

Grace brought in her scriptures, that she has been working on reading daily, and a painting to represent a talent she has been working on developing.

IMG_9834

Molly brought in a loaf of bread to represent the bread she made and delivered to neighbors for a service project, as well as baby hats she crocheted to donate to our local hospital.

IMG_9841

The night was filled with a spiritual devotional, a musical number by the young women, a welcome to the 12-year-old girls and a farewell to our seniors.

IMG_9860

IMG_9866

The night ended with snacks and treats.

IMG_9849

There was even a photo booth for the girls to play around with…

IMG_9871

IMG_9873

As a gift for each girl there were charms with nautical themes for them to each take home. Grace chose an anchor and Molly chose a lighthouse. They were excited. They both collect charms for their charm bracelet so it was an extra special gift!

IMG_9875

It was a special night for the young women!

embark

Rock On!

Standard

Last April we had the fun experience of joining Gracie’s school, 21st century cyber charter school, for a field trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. At Christmas, when we joined the school for another outing to the symphony we were given 7 free tickets to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that weren’t used up in the spring but were good for a year. Our friends, the Hudaks, were also given free tickets so we decided to plan a Saturday when we could go together. That Saturday ended up being this past weekend.

IMG_9745

We decided to meet at the museum at 10:00am, so we left our house at 8:00. We had just driven onto the turnpike when the car began to rattle and shake. Toby asked me how long that rattle had been going on and I told him it had just been since it was at the garage the pervious day. He pulled over and walked around the car. He was shocked when he saw this:

IMG_9697

Only two of the bolts on the tire were tightened, the rest were on the verge of popping off. Evidently the garage had forgotten to tighten them. Toby was not happy with them. He tightened everything up and we were back on the road, grateful that the problem was caught before disaster ensued.

The drive took two hours. As we drove into Cleveland we passed under this unusual sight:

IMG_9701

The world’s largest outdoor chandelier.

Hmmm…interesting.

We parked in a garage and walked over to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The location was beautiful, overlooking the water. The kids stopped to watch the birds walking across the ice.

IMG_9708

IMG_9814

IMG_9812

IMG_9816

IMG_9707

Our timing was perfect and we met the Hudak family just as they were walking in too. Tyler was thrilled to see that the building had “spinny doors.” It was his favorite part of the museum. :)

IMG_9799

We started on the ground floor and worked our way up through five floors of Rock and Roll memorabilia.

IMG_9735 (2)

One of the kids’ favorite parts of the tour was looking at the costumes worn by the artists over the years. Here the girls pose with a display of one of their favorite artists: Taylor Swift.

IMG_9736 (2)

As we walked around Tyler picked an outfit that he thought I would look good in:

IMG_9720

And an outfit he thought Toby should wear:

IMG_9721

“And then you can go on a date together!” he said.

Can you imagine the looks we would get at Applebees?! :)

Ozzie especially enjoyed the day. Other than Toby, he knew more artists than the rest of us. The Elvis memorabilia was his favorite part.

IMG_9714

Here are some other photos of our fun day:

IMG_9758

IMG_9738

The kids watching a choir perform down in the lobby:

IMG_9743

Molly found her “Jam” :)

IMG_9752

“Good Golly Miss Molly”

In one section of the museum you can sit in an auditorium and watch vidoes of concerts on the big screen. The kids had just taken their seats when the announcer on stage yelled, “Is Ozzy in the house?!” Our Ozzie jumped and turned to look at us in excitement. They were talking about him! It was funny and charming until Ozzy Osbourne stepped on stage, opened his mouth and the swearing began. We quickly hustled the children out the door. Oops, not one of our better parenting moments!

IMG_9781

IMG_9762

The evolution of "walkmans" during my lifetime.

The evolution of “walkmans” during my lifetime.

There was a special photography exhibit by photographer Herb Ritts, that I really enjoyed. There was even an Herb Ritts backdrop for us to create our own Rock Portraits:

IMG_9796

IMG_9778

IMG_9774

His black and white portraits were amazing!

IMG_9792 (2)

IMG_9794 (2)

What a fun time we had with these special friends:

IMG_9802 (2)

After the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame we decided to go out to lunch together. A friend of Woody’s recommended a hot dog place called “Happy Dog.”

We abandoned our dietary restrictions for the day and let the kids go crazy.

The premise of the restaurant is that you order a $5.00 hot dog and then top it with, well just about anything you can imagine! You order by tearing off one of the paper menus and checking all the toppings you would like. It is all included for the $5.00 price. French fries or tater tots are then offered on the side with a huge variety of dipping sauces.

The menu

The menu

The girls sat at their own table and when they found out the sauces were free they asked if they could try them all. Here is their dipping sauce buffet.

IMG_9824

Ozzie ordered a more traditional dog…and loved it.

IMG_9829

Tyler was more daring and ordered cheese, ketchup and fruit loops on his…Ugh. He said it was good.

IMG_9825

One of the girls even tried peanut butter on hers. :)

IMG_9823

The kids really enjoyed the novelty of this unusual restaurant. It was a hoot!

IMG_9831 (2)

A fun day had by all!

Pajama Parties and Pancake Day

Standard

The theme for the week was Pajamas!

If you ask my kids what the best part of being home schooled is

more than one would tell you,

“Getting to do school in your PJs!”

The real novelty then comes when we get to wear our PJs OUT…in public!   :)

This week the kids had TWO different opportunities to put on PJs and head out into society.

The first was on Wednesday for Pancake and Pajama day at co-op. Wednesday morning was a breeze as we hustled out the door easily, since no one had to change out of their sleepwear. The easy breezy morning made me wonder why we don’t do Pajama day more often!

Ozzie and Tyler

Ozzie and Tyler

Molly and Grace

Molly and Grace

PJ kids!

PJ kids!

For lunch at co-op, rather than packing lunches like usual, the moms all brought an ingredient to have pancakes for lunch. The moms that don’t teach third period started making pancakes and set up the “buffet line.” The kids filled up on pancakes and had a great lunch!

IMG_9541

Rusty topping his pancakes.

Rusty topping his pancakes.

Yummy!

Yummy!

On Friday evening, following our trampoline outing, the girls put on PJs once again for a stake young women activity, “Pajamarama.” I wasn’t feeling well so Toby generously offered to take the girls to their activity. The night consisted of games, food, and a devotional.

P1000346

P1000348

The biggest hit of the night was a life-sized Hungry Hungry Hippo game. The girls became the game pieces as they were pushed and pulled back on forth on scooters as they tried to collect “marbles.” It was a huge hit!

P1000351

P1000354

Other happenings this week included Ozzie’s adoption tween support group that meets once a month. The two-hour activity included dinner (They had walking tacos) and an adoption themed activity. This night they were working with the kids on how to share their adoption story. The kids were all asked to bring an object that represents their personal story. Ozzie chose to bring his adoption announcement. On his announcement it says he was in foster care for 1135 days. He wanted the kids to know that. He also wanted them to know that he will never be in foster care again…that he found his forever home.

Ozzie's adoption announcement.

Ozzie’s adoption announcement.

While Ozzie was at adoption group Toby and I had two hours to ourselves with no children! We heavily debated whether we should go out to dinner or just lean the seats back in the car and nap for two hours. We ended up going out to dinner. We both ordered a Reuben and enjoyed adult time.

This week Ozzie also got to open his birthday gifts from my parents and G.G. My mom had been holding on to them until I could make it out for a visit. I brought the gifts home with me Sunday night. He was thrilled to get the bag with his name on it. My grandma has bought each of the grandkids their own personalized bag and Ozzie was tickled to have one like the other kids.

IMG_9531

The Lego kit was also a HUGE hit. On Thursday morning I spent hours at the garage getting my car worked on and Ozzie came with me. He set himself up in the corner and worked on his Lego set the whole time. By the time we were done he had completed his helicopter.

On Wednesday night the youth participated in Cupcake Wars. They split into teams and were each given a box of cake mix. They could doctor up the recipe however they liked and were then judged on taste and presentation. Rusty and Grace were on the same team with a few other kids and their orange twist cupcakes ended up being the winning cupcakes.

IMG_9555

On Thursday we got an email from Gracie’s teacher asking us to send in a photo of Grace and a letter from Toby and I to be read aloud next Thursday. Gracie is being inducted into the National Honor Society and her, Toby and I will be traveling to the other side of the state for her ceremony. As part of the ceremony they needed a picture of her to put up on the screen as they read her letter. We headed outside to get a photo for her special night.

IMG_9526 (2)

Final news for the week:

We have decided to sign Ozzie up for Taekwondo. Thursday was his first class. Pictures will be coming soon. :)

“Bouncy, Trouncy, Flouncy, Pouncy…”

Standard

“The wonderful thing about Tiggers,

Is Tiggers are wonderful things.

Their tops are made out of rubber.

Their bottoms are made out of springs.

They’re bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy

fun, fun, fun, fun, fun.

But the most wonderful thing about Tiggers is

I’m the only one!”

Well, that is not quite true. Today I had 5 little “Tiggers,” and they were  joined by many more of their bouncy, trouncy friends for a fun day at an indoor trampoline park.

IMG_9620

Today we had a field trip with Molly’s cyber charter school. The field trip was about an hour away at Flight Zone, an amazing indoor trampoline playground.

IMG_9561

When we saw this field trip on the school calendar the kids asked if we could go. Last year the school offered an outing to a similar indoor trampoline park, and the kids loved it. Tyler, in particular, was in his element. Tyler is my bouncing baby boy…literally!

IMG_9568

The Christmas before Tyler moved in the kids received a trampoline for Christmas. Although all the kids have used it, it has gotten its most use from Tyler, my ADHD bouncy, trouncy Tigger, who could spend hours a day on it. So for Tyler the idea of an entire room filled with trampolines is his idea of heaven on earth.

IMG_9570

When we arrived we met up with friends from our co-op that had also signed up to go. The outing  passes allowed them to bounce for one hour, from 1:00pm to 2:00pm. That may not seem like enough time but by the time those 60 minutes had passed all my big kids were ready to rest and could feel the workout in their leg muscles. Tyler was the only one that wasn’t ready to quit. He could have bounced all day!

IMG_9622 (2)

The open room was split into areas of play. The center of the room was filled with connected trampolines. The kids could bounce from one to another, do flips, bounce from the platforms to the trampolines, and try to jump for the boxing bags that hung from the ceiling.

IMG_9667

This is where the kids spent most of their time.

IMG_9656

IMG_9595

IMG_9645 (2)

IMG_9576

IMG_9625

IMG_9615

Other areas included a foam pit for little tykes, a trampoline ramp, and a basketball court.

IMG_9675

IMG_9671

IMG_9670

IMG_9683

Tyler’s favorite area was the dodge ball arena. This is where he spent the majority of his time. It combined two of his favorite things: bouncing and balls!

IMG_9654

After an hour the speaker announced our time was over. We stopped for a quick group photo before joining our friends for a late lunch.

IMG_9686

The effects of an hour of bouncing was impressive. Both little boys were calm and quiet and went to bed without a fight. Minutes later they were both asleep.

I think I need to start planning how we can create a Flight Zone in our basement…

If anyone can pull it off Toby can.  :)

It may be just the therapeutic tool we are looking for!!

Kiss me, I’m Irish!

Standard

Tuesday was  St. Patrick’s Day!

IMG_9489And  although the day was already filled with the busyness of everyday life…school, appointments, therapy, adoption support group, etc. we still wanted to make sure we celebrated our Irish heritage in a festive way. St. Patrick’s Day is Gracie’s favorite holiday so I wanted to make it FUN!

Earlier in the day Gracie asked if she could make a cabbage dish that we had while at the Homestead. Paired with corned beef and a few green dishes we had our St. Patrick’s Day menu set.

Making green applesauce...

Making green applesauce…

Gracie's delicious dinner!

Gracie’s delicious dinner!

While I was out of the house for an appointment in the morning I made a quick stop at the dollar store to pick up decorations and party favors for our holiday dinner. For only a few dollars I was able to get the makings for “pots of gold,” table decorations, and green mustaches for each of us.

IMG_9468

Pots of "gold"

Pots of “gold”

I also picked up three extras of everything so I could make St. Patty’s Day baskets for some friends from church that I visit teach.

When I got home Molly helped me assemble the baskets. Ozzie then helped me deliver them later in the day on our way to therapy.

IMG_9472

After our appointments I returned home where Grace began dinner and I decorated the dining room. It was a collaborative effort and before we knew it the house was smelling delicious. By the time Toby arrived home from work we were ready to celebrate.

IMG_9478

IMG_9485

IMG_9486

At each person’s place there was a paper filled with Irish slang terms. We had fun “speaking Irish” as we listened to a CD of Irish pub songs and ate our cabbage and potatoes.

IMG_9474

As I looked around the table at my family I thought to myself,

My favorite Irish lads and lasses!

“I may not be LUCKY, but boy am I blessed!”

Controlled, Creative Chaos

Standard

Chaos has taken over our home.

Living with a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder means explosive chaos constantly.

Recently we began seeing a new therapist (Whom I LOVE!) and she has given me a new insight into the chaos that has taken over my life.

At our last session I shared with her our latest crisis situation…

an evening of explosive tantrums, physical and verbal attacks that happened while I was driving, that resulted in this:

A torn tire, a crumpled rim, a broken bumper...*sigh*

A torn tire, a crumpled rim, a broken bumper…*sigh*

A bone jarring crash on the driveway,

a car stuck on the bolder that took hours to tow off,

$500.00 worth of damage,

children in tears.

*sigh*

She asked what Ozzie’s reaction was to the accident. I told her that he just smiled. He loved it. He wanted an emotional explosion and he got it…

He was the creator of chaos.

This story led to an insightful discussion as she explained why he creates chaos and why the chaos is necessary.

Kids who come from an abusive situations have a different brain chemistry than a child who has never lived in the turbulent, high stress environment of an abusive home. As a result they become accustomed, from a very young age, to a constant surge of adrenaline as they live in “fight or flight mode,” never knowing when the next strike will come.

She explained that the result of this is often children who NEED a constant surge of adrenaline to feel calm…normal…at peace. For some children the result is a fearless, risk taking, physical child who “self medicates” the need for the adrenaline rush by the choices they make…

For example: Tyler, who spends his days doing wheelies on his bike and flips off the trampoline.

“But,” she explained, “for a child like Ozzie who is not a risk taker or physical, he gets his adrenaline surge by creating emotional chaos.” (Like the car accident)

She suggested that we might see fewer emotionally charged tantrums if we find ways to feed that need for adrenaline in a healthy way. Ozzie NEEDS the chaos. He needs that surge of energy…the noise…the yelling…the movement,

so our job is to find ways to meet that need in a healthy, happy, PARENT LED way. We decided to give it a try, and family night seemed like the perfect opportunity.

So Monday night we declared war in our first ever,

“McCleery Indoor Nerf Battle!”

It was a blast!

We began with a gathering of weapons and ammunition:

IMG_9490

Pick your weapon:

IMG_9496

Then teams were chosen. Big kids vs little boys and parents:

IMG_9497

IMG_9499

Rules were established and bases were chosen:

IMG_9494

Let the battle commence!

IMG_9507

IMG_9509 (2)

IMG_9503 (2)

IMG_9518 (2)

IMG_9505

IMG_9512

The result was amazing. Everyone had a blast and the behaviors that followed for the next two days were astounding. I think our therapist is on to something!

The night ended with a treat. Candy guns:

IMG_9524

A birthday weekend at the Homestead

Standard

This past weekend I ran away.

That’s right…packed my bags, grabbed my girls, and ran home to my Mommy…

for a girls’ weekend.

Monday was Gracie’s birthday. In a few weeks it will be Molly’s birthday,

so my parents invited them to come, without brothers, for a GIRLS’ WEEKEND! (And I tagged along.)

We left Friday afternoon as soon as Toby came home from work. He took off in one vehicle to drive Rusty to a Boy Scout maple sugar festival where he was going to spend the weekend, and the girls and I headed off toward Ohio. We were very excited at the prospect of a fun weekend without responsibility. It had been a tough couple days at Patchwork Farm and the thought of just being a daughter again sounded wonderful. My mom had all sorts of fun planned for our weekend.

IMG_9458

We arrived at dinner time. After carrying our bags to our bedrooms we joined Mimi and Pop pop in the barn to care for the animals and meet their newest addition, Bobby T. (Their new baby goat) Ever since Molly heard that they have a bottle baby goat she has been so excited. (Molly is my goat lover) He was adorable and the girls loved feeding him and playing with him all weekend.

The new addition!

The new addition!

Feeding the baby...

Feeding the baby…

Caring for the other goats

Caring for the other goats

Kisses for Pop pop.

Kisses for Pop pop.

and baby kisses for Grace

and baby kisses for Grace

George

George

Molly being eaten by an attack goat!

Molly being eaten by an attack goat!

When we returned back home from the barn my parents gave the girls their birthday gifts. Molly got to open her gift early. They both received cute coin purses with birthday spending money for them to use the next day.

IMG_9371

After dinner we celebrated with birthday cake and a movie.

IMG_9373

On Saturday, after a yummy farm breakfast, the girls headed out for a fun day of shopping while Pop pop stayed home to hold down the fort. We drove to downtown Wooster, a charming main street filled with local stores and restaurants. The girls were in heaven…spending money in their pocket and a whole day of shopping ahead of them with no little brothers rushing the process.

IMG_9407

P1000320 (2)

Our first stop was a local artisan shop that sells locally made products. The girls found a hand-crafted leather headband that they both liked. They decided to split the cost and share the headband.

IMG_9408

Other stops included a charming thrift store where Gracie purchased a pair of red heels and a belt and I found some old game boards to use as decoration in my home. They were a steal for $1.00 each. We also visited a clothing store, an art store, the big Rubbermaid store and a bookstore, where Molly spent the bulk of her birthday money.

My favorite store of the day!

My favorite store of the day!

Some of Gracie's purchases...

Some of Gracie’s purchases…

After a morning of shopping my mom took us to lunch at Broken Rocks.

Lunch was delicious!

Lunch was delicious!

After lunch we walked to a cupcake store where we each picked a cupcake for dessert.

IMG_9417

In addition to our shopping fun we also spent the weekend doing crafts with my Mom and going to see the new Cinderella movie all together.

Miss Molly

Miss Molly

It was such a wonderful weekend…so relaxing. Everyone caught up on their sleep and on Sunday we left feeling renewed and strengthen by our retreat at the Homestead. It was so nice having that special time with my girls and I am so grateful to be married to a man who is willing to hold down the fort at home so that we could get away. We came home to find everyone alive and well and happy…

Thank you Mom and Dad, for a wonderful memory making weekend!

Skating with Dr. G

Standard

On Tuesday we went roller skating with Dr. G.

IMG_9362

Dr. G is our family’s orthodontist. Dr. G blessed Grace with a beautiful smile and is now working with Rusty. We have been patients at his office for the last 5 years. His office is 45 minutes away, and although there are closer orthodontist in our town, we love him and his staff so much that I find the drive well worth it. I appreciate all the extras that are offered. I feel like my business is appreciated and I like the focus on patients and community that is made a priority.

One special event that the office offers is an annual roller skating party in honor of Dr. G’s birthday. They rent out Olympic Fun Center for a night and invite all their patients and families to come and enjoy a night of free fun.

Olympic Fun Center has a roller skating rink, a rock climbing wall, laser tag, a play area, and bumper cars. Toby wasn’t able to join us because he was in Ohio picking up lumber for the job he is working on, so it was just the kids and I. The party lasted from 4:00- 6:30pm, and the kids had a ball!

Here is a look into our fun evening:

Love these kiddos!

Love these kiddos!

Skating fun:

Grace and Molly

Grace and Molly

Ozzie

Ozzie

Tyler and Rusty

Tyler and Rusty

One of the games they played was the dice game. The skaters kept skating until the music stopped. Then they had to pick a corner to skate to. The ref then rolled a giant dice. If the dice rolled the number of the corner you were standing in then you were out of the game. Look who was the winning skater!

Way to go, Tyler!

Way to go, Tyler!

The kids also enjoyed some fun playing laser tag:

IMG_9313

Bumper cars were an extra big hit with the boys:

IMG_9323

IMG_9329

Molly was the only one who braved the climbing wall. She made it all the way to the top!

Go Mo!

Go Mo!

Tyler was disappointed to discover he was the only one short enough to play in the tubes. He really wanted his siblings to come play with him, but despite that he still had a lot of fun climbing and sliding:

IMG_9308

Our current Dr. G patient:

IMG_9303

Thank you Dr. G! It was a really fun night!

IMG_9359