Monthly Archives: November 2012

Spoiled eggs for breakfast!

Spoiled eggs for breakfast!

The animals all lined up for their picture to be taken. Don’t they follow direction well! ūüėČ

Tyler has been on an egg kick lately. I don’t know if it is the novelty of going outside and collecting eggs from his chicken and getting to cook them up and eat them or if he is actually craving eggs. This morning he woke up, jumped out of bed and said, ” I want spoiled eggs for breakfast!” He ran into the kitchen,¬†and with a lot of noise¬†pulled out pans, grabbed the cooking spray and began to crack his eggs..7 eggs! As he stirred and chopped the eggs in the pan he said, “I’m making them spoiled.” spoiled eggs he means scrambled eggs. ūüôā He then proceeded to eat almost all of his¬† 7 “spoiled” eggs!

I had grand plans for the day but then the sun came out and none of us really wanted to work.  We all just wanted to enjoy this unexpected treat of sunshine in Western PA! After school in the morning we were planning on starting  some of the cleaning/organizing projects that need to be done before family arrives for Thanksgiving. That was the plan anyway..what REALLY happened was..

1. Molly moved Lambert and Georgie outside to enjoy the warm weather and start getting to know their farmyard neighbors. (Yes, they have been living in my basement and running amuck¬†down there for the last few weeks.) The animals all came over to meet and greet. Harley (the pig) was thrilled to see Molly bring Lambert into the fence with a bottle. He wouldn’t leave the two of them alone. He wanted a sip desperately! He was raised on a bottle and knows the good stuff that comes out of it ūüôā Even Winnie tried getting into the fun by trying to scoot under the fence..

Winnie trying to break in.

Harley begging for a sip!


2. Rusty found a pair of stilts in the garage and had a good time trying them out!

Rusty on stilts ūüôā

3.  Gracie worked on compiling her shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Last night she counted out all the money she had raised by baking and selling cookies and we went shopping so she could purchase the toys and treats she needed to fill her shoeboxes. Today she sat down to the task of filling the shoeboxes. She was able to meet her goal and fill 10 boxes that will now be sent to needy children somewhere in the world. She was thrilled!

Gracie with some of her completed boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

What we intended to be a very productive day ended up being a fairly lazy day..but that is OK.  I think we all needed the rest that came from taking it easy. It was so nice to just sit in the sun, kick around the soccer ball with Tyler, feed and play with the animals and giggle with my girls. Rather then feel guilty I am going to embrace this day for what it was..a brief respite from a very busy month!
“Work is not always required..there is such a thing as sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected.” George Macdonald

Lessons I’ve learned…

Lessons I’ve learned…

It has been two months to the day since¬†Tyler moved in. In some ways I can’t believe we have hit the two month mark already.. but in other ways I can’t believe it has only been two months. It feels as though he¬†has been part of our family forever. These past two months have been such a learning experience and I am so grateful for¬†those lessons that I have learned and continue to learn everyday. Here are just some of the lessons I have learned:

I have learned that..

1. Joy is not circumstantial.  It can be found in the good days and in the hard just depends on what you choose to focus on.

“When you look at a field of dandelions you can choose to see either a¬†hundred weeds or a¬†hundred wishes.”

2.  The capacity for patience comes not from within but from above.

“Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”

3.¬†Prayer changes things. If it doesn’t change circumstances it will change hearts…especially mine. I have seen the everyday miracles that come from praying your way through your day.

“Have you prayed about it as much as you have talked about it?”

4. If God’s calls you.. he will assist you! You will be blessed with talents, energy, time and¬†wisdom beyond your own ability. Trust that if He called you, He will¬†guide you.

“God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called”

5. Pick your battles and only fight the necessary ones.

“Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.” Thomas S. Monson

“Make it your habit not to be critical about small things.”

6. Words have great power to build or destroy. Be  ever so careful with your words.

“Everything you say to your child it absorbed, cataloged and remembered.”

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echos are¬†truly endless” – Mother Theresa

7. God’s timing is always perfect.

“Faith in God includes faith in His timing.” – Neal A. Maxwell

8.¬†I can not do it all…and that is ok.

“You can do anything, but not everything.” – David Allen

”¬†Only you know your circumstances, your energy level, the needs of your children, and the emotional demands of your other obligations. Be wise during intensive seasons of your life. Cherish your agency and don’t give it away casually. Do not compare yourself to others. Don’t accept somebody elses interpretation of how you should be spending your time. Make the best decision you can, then evaluate it to see how it works.” – Chieko¬†Okazaki

9.  The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. – Eleanor Roosevelt

10. This journey is 100% more wonderful than I ever imagined.

“As much as you want to plan your life, it has a way of surprising you with unexpected things that will make you happier than you originally planned. That is what¬†you call God’s will.”

…My cup overfloweth!

I love Mondays..really, I do!


Cooking lesson with Gracie

Taking out the trash

I love Mondays..the day so many dread I look forward to. I love Mondays because they are the only day I don’t have to go somewhere! ¬†As a result Mondays tend to be my most productive days. It is amazing how having to leave your home for an hour or two completely breaks up the momentum of the day.

The day began with morning chores followed by schoolwork. It was a very productive day and much was accomplished. After a break for lunch we worked until 3:00. Tyler had a tough school day. He just didn’t want anything to do with phonics so my solution was to do school in short 10 minute increments then send him outside to jump on the trampoline for 10 minutes. Winnie loved trampoline time. As Tyler jumped Winnie would try biting his feet.









Each of the older kids have a half an hour of “Tyler¬†¬†time” in their school schedule where they are in charge of planning an educational game or activity to do with him. This is their time to bond with each other, to be the teacher instead of the student, and this also¬†frees me up to work with one of the other kids without distraction.¬† Gracie uses her “Tyler time” to do a cooking lesson each day. Tyler loves it. They put on their aprons,wash their hand and then cook! It is fun for Tyler to learn some basic cooking skills but what he really loves is getting to sample his creations at the end. It works out well because cooking time comes about mid morning when he is ready for a snack and then it tides him over until lunch.¬† Today they used some of their Halloween candy and made graham cracker gingerbread houses. It was a hit!

Mondays are our weekly house cleaning day. When we finished school for the day everyone grabbed their cleaning supplies and began. We set our kitchen timer for an hour and started our respective chores. Rusty is in charge of feather dusting the house and wiping all the flat surfaces. Molly is my windex¬†girl..she cleans all the windows (inside), mirrors, and kitchen/ bathroom counters. Gracie does the floors. She sweeps and mops all the hardwood floors in the house. Tyler does the toilets and takes out the trash. I am in charge of bathtubs, vacuuming, restocking toilet paper in the bathrooms, kitchen clean up and changing sheets. Between the five of us the house is pretty well maintained in¬†that hour of hard work a week. It always amazes me how much we can accomplish if everyone pitches in and helps ūüôā

Rusty’s one on one time.

After our weekly cleaning it was Rusty’s time. From the time the kids were little we assigned them days. This was originally¬†established to prevent fighting. If it was your day you got the benefits¬†and consequences of that. Some of the consequences might be if I needed someone to do an extra chore or run and get something for me it would be that person’s responsibility. The benefits¬†might include being able to sit in the front seat or get the last ice cream sandwich in the freezer, etc. It was a wonderful way to stop the arguing over whose turn it was to do a chore or get a privilege.¬† As the kids grew older I desired to build my relationships with them individually but often found it hard to make time for that “one on one” attention so their day also came with the privilege¬†of an hour of one on one time with me. At 4:00 everyday the child whose day it is gets my undivided attention while the others go into their room to play. What we do during this time is totally up to them..they get to pick. The girls often want to bake or work on a craft, Rusty will often want to build legos or play a game together and Tyler usually wants to do something outdoors or athletic. His days always stretch my abilities as he requests activities like bike riding or tree climbing.

Mondays are Rusty’s days so for his time he decided he wanted to copy Gracie’s cooking class and make a gingerbread house. We also used his time to work on some things for boy scouts. I love this time of getting to talk and bond with one child. It is one of my favorite times of the day.

After dinner we had family night. We wanted to talk to the kids (aka Tyler) about choices, consequences, and obedience¬†in a¬† fun, non threatening way so we did a lesson on Jonah and the whale. After reading the story and discussing¬†what we¬†could learn from the story we went fishing! I printed out¬† paper fish with different choices on them and the kids went fishing off the loft into the “waters” below. When they would catch a fish we would read it and decide if it was a good fish (choice) worth keeping or a bad fish (choice) that we needed to throw back. We ended with a snack of whale crackers.

The kiddos fishing.

So was it an effective lesson?? Fast forward 20 minutes when Tyler opens a piece of candy after Toby has told him no. Tyler begins his melt down..

Toby: “you need to be obedient when I tell you to do something.”

Molly:¬† ” what did we learn from tonight’s lesson about Jonah?”

Rusty:”…watch out Tyler, here comes a whale”

Thanks Rusty ūüôā

Oh “whale”..we tried..and we will keep on trying.


“I craft therefore I have no thumbprints”

“I craft therefore I have no thumbprints”

Molly with some of our completed crafts.

It was the annual Christmas craft day at church today and what a wonderful time it was! This was Molly’s first year being allowed to come since girls/ladies 12 and up¬†were invited. Rusty went as a volunteer to work in the nursery and babysit¬†while Toby and Tyler stayed home. It was such an enjoyable morning with¬†delicious¬†food, sweet fellowship and fabulous crafts.¬† It was so much fun to just be able to sit and visit with my girls and be creative. We got a nice start¬†on our Christmas gifts. I am grateful¬†to all the women who put such time, hard work and creativity into making today such a nice day!

While we were gone Tyler was Toby’s big helper. They were working on cutting enough firewood to run our wood burning stove through the winter. Tyler helped by running the log splitter. He loves to be outside working with his daddy.

On the way home we stopped at the pharmacy to pick up Tyler’s medications that were finally called in.. and just in time to counteract the 3000 pounds of sugar that will be entering our home this evening.¬†Trick or Treating was postponed in our area because of hurricane Sandy and the potential for damage and power outages so it was tonight instead of October 31st. This¬†was our first holiday with Tyler and¬†the kids were excited to share the Halloween traditions they enjoy¬†with him. Gracie dressed up as Katniss¬†Everdeen from the Hunger Games trilogy, Molly dressed as a¬†girls from the 1980s,¬†Rusty was a pirate and Tyler was a policeman.

The weather was cool but dry, perfect Halloween weather. We drove into town to trick or treat like we always do because there just isn’t trick or treating in our neighborhood..we are just to far out in the country. Tyler had been testing all evening and I was trying to figure out what was wrong…was he nervous about trick or treating, the costumes, walking around in¬†the dark..I wasn’t sure. These times are hard because he¬†doesn’t always¬†verbalize what he is feeling¬†but I knew something was troubling him. Then I had the thought that perhaps he was sad and missing his old home and those traditions he was use to. Holidays can be a hard time for all of us when we have gone through life changes and it turns out I was right.¬† On the way to town Tyler quietly said from the back seat, “I want to visit my old house.” I wasn’t sure what to say..I didn’t want to make it a harder night by dwelling on what he was missing but I did want to give him the opportunity to share what he was feeling and share a little about that part of his life with us if he was willing to¬†so I said, “Do you miss your old home?” He said he didn’t miss his old house but he did miss his pets especially his parrot. I encouraged him to keep talking by asking him to tell me about his parrot. He proceeded to tell us that his name was Mango and he would sometimes escape and fly up in the tree and that he talked. Then Tyler said, “Can I visit my old house for¬†a day? ¬†I want you to go with me and meet Mango.” I didn’t know what to tell him. What is the answer? Do we keep the door to his past open or will healing and closure happen¬† more easily if we keep that door closed? These are uncharted waters for us and we¬†don’t have the answers but I know that our¬†Heavenly Father does and as we pray about this we will be guided and know what is best for our son.

Trick or Treating was a blast and all the kids enjoyed it. Tyler made it to the 1 1/2 hour mark before he quit and said he was done. We ended the night by going to the town’s gas station that gives out free cups of cocoa to the trick or treaters and getting hot chocolate to warm ourselves up.¬† It was a bitter-sweet night. It was so special to celebrate our first holiday as a family but it was also a poignant reminder that for all the joy and celebration we are feeling as a family Tyler is still mourning the loss of his old family.

“God did not promise days without pain, ¬†laughter without sorrow, nor sun without rain but he did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way.”


Trick or Treat, smell my feet!”

Meeting Mimi Joy

Meeting Mimi Joy

Tyler’s flowers for Mimi Joy!

There he is!

It was another grey,¬†RAINY day so I was so glad Toby was going with Tyler and I into Pittsburgh for our first court hearing. We had to be downtown by 9:30 and we were warned that we couldn’t be late so we headed out the door by 8:00 am.¬† Before we left we sat Tyler down to tell him what we were doing that day. We explained we were going to court and then later that evening he was going to meet Daddy’s mommy, Mimi Joy. We showed him her picture and told him a little about her to prepare him for the meeting because I know how anxious he gets with new situations and new people. He was sort of quiet and then he left the room. A minute later he returned carrying an empty glass vase from my cabinet and said, “We should bring her flowers.” How sweet that little boy is! I promised him we would stop and buy flowers on our way back from Pittsburgh.

We headed out early which was good due to the weather and traffic. We finally found parking and went in. All of Tyler’s advocates were there. He had his lawyer and 3 different social workers, who visit us regularly, there to report to the judge. His brother was there as well so we were able to meet him which was nice.¬† Tyler was called in to see the judge but we weren’t allowed to go in. I was so proud of tears. I know I would have been a nervous wreck if it had been me.¬† He did really well and told the judge all about Harley and his 6 chickens named Sprinkles.¬† While we were there the medication issue was resolved as well due in large part to his lawyer’s visit the night before…

Quick story about that..While the lawyer was here meeting us and seeing the house she said that she needed to meet with Tyler and observe him in his surroundings for 30 minutes without us in the room. I think this is so he feels like he can talk openly to her without us hearing what he is saying. He was up in the playroom playing house with the other three so I said she was welcome to go on up and send the other kids down if she didn’t want them in there. She said she was fine with them staying just Toby and I couldn’t be there. So she headed upstairs and knocked on the door. Tyler answered and told he she could only come in if she was going to play house with them and be part of the family. (Gracie later told me what happened when she went inside.)¬† Tyler was the Daddy and he¬†informed his lawyer that she was going to be the baby. He had his very “lawyerly” looking lawyer with her power suit and high heels¬†lay down on the couch and he tucked her in with a pillow and blanket and told her, “Baby, no crying!” How funny!¬† The lawyer came downstairs after a half an hour and said he did wonderfully but was very high kidding!

Tyler just loved Mimi Joy but wouldn’t let me get a picture of the two of them together no matter how much I tried! ūüôā

After our court appearance we dropped off Toby at work and headed to the store to buy flowers for Mimi Joy. He sniffed every bouquet before he found the one he liked. He didn’t like the roses..he said they were “stinky.”¬†¬† The afternoon was spent doing school work¬†and then we drove over to Mimi’s house for Tyler to meet his new grandma. It went wonderfully! He walked into the house and handed her the vase of flowers and said, “These are for you, Mimi!” He gave her a hug and then was off exploring the house. He wanted to see where Daddy used to sleep and where Mimi sleeps. As he ran around the house full of energy and enthusiasm I couldn’t help but think about my father-in law, especially it being the day after the anniversary of his passing, and¬†how much he would have loved this little boy! I think Tyler and Rich would have been best buddies!

Tyler also had the opportunity last night to meet two of his aunts, Rich’s sister.. Aunt Beth and Joy’s sister..Aunt Monica. Aunt Beth lives next door to Mimi and so we went over to introduce Tyler to her. He loved her pond and 5 dogs!¬† Aunt Monica was coming for a visit from Delaware so when she arrived we went out to dinner with her and Mimi to a Chinese buffet. Tyler wanted to ride in Mimi’s car so he and Rusty went with them.¬† I wasn’t sure how he would do in a nice restaurant after a long, hard, ¬†stressful day (especially off of his meds) but he did wonderfully.¬† He sat in his seat, was well-behaved, no meltdowns and only a few minor issues like dropping and breaking a plate as he was walking around the buffet, eating noodles with his fingers and dipping his french fries in his water before he ate each one…but those are minor in the big scheme of things, right? On the teaching agenda for next month..perhaps table manners.