Monthly Archives: December 2012

Hopsters and Birds


113The weekend was spent enjoying time as a family. On Saturday we went out shopping after getting things done around the house in the morning. The girls each had gift cards that they received for Christmas that were burning holes in their little pockets so we decided to take advantage of “after Christmas” sales and took them to Kohl’s. The boys (all of them) were good sports as the girls searched, pondered, discussed, debated and tried on everything in the store. The sales were amazing though and made the process a bit less painful. It is so much fun to see the personalities of each of the girls come out as they shop with their own money. Gracie is definitely from the school of thought that quality is more important than quantity. She found a beautiful teal sweater and a necklace to match. Molly, on the other hand, is more like her mother..squeeze as much out of that dollar as you can. It took her twice as long to make her choices. She hemmed and hawed until the boys were calling for mutiny before she decided on her purchases. She shopped only from the 80% off rack and was able to get 2 skirts and 4 shirts for her 25.00. She was so pleased when the cashier told her that she had saved $130.00. Both girls were very happy with their choices.


We then drove over to Red Lobster for my birthday dinner. I received 2 gift cards for Red Lobster for my birthday so we decided to splurge and go as a family.  Tyler had never been there before and was fascinated by the live lobsters in the tank at the front of the restaurant. He kept asking if he could go see the “hopsters.” I was amazed at how well he did..especially after an hour of shopping! He sat through the meal with no problem and was very well-behaved. I still can’t believe how far we have come. I remember just a couple of months ago thinking we would never be able to eat anywhere but McDonald’s for the next few years because Tyler couldn’t stay in his seat during dinner or for fear that we would be kicked out of a restaurant for food throwing or tantrums. Now here we are 2 months later and we were able to sit through a busy Saturday night dinner at a nice restaurant with no problem at all. I was so proud of him and so grateful for the fun treat of a dinner out. As were we leaving he was thrilled when one of the “hopsters” extended its claw above the water. “Look, Daddy,” he said,” that hopster is waving goodbye!”


On the way home the vet called and said that we could pick up Bailey. She had been at Rainbow vet for 3 days as they tried to stabilize her. We were thrilled to see her looking much better. She, of course, was just happy to be home.

Today we had some fun in the snow. We started by feeding the birds..

Molly with our Christmas gift of birdseed ornamnets.

Molly with our Christmas gift of birdseed ornaments.

One of our Christmas traditions is to make a Christmas tree for the wild animals. We usually string Cheerios, popcorn and cranberries. We make pine cone peanut butter ornaments and suet ornaments to hang on the tree and cut apples to sprinkle under the tree. When we have all of our decorations ready we pick a tree out in the yard to decorate for the wild animals and birds. This is a tradition that we have done for years and a favorite of mine because we then get the delight of watching critters enjoy their Christmas tree for weeks after. This year we didn’t do it. In an effort to simplify and due in large part to a packed schedule it was cut from out holiday “to do” list so it was an extra special surprise to receive  birdseed ornaments from my parents as one of our Christmas gifts. What a fun treat to be able to go out after Christmas and decorate a tree for the birds!





After we were done decorating the tree for the birds we went sledding behind the house..

Sisters :)

Sisters 🙂

Tyler flying by..

Tyler flying by..



After a little while the older kids were ready to head inside. Tyler was devastated to discover that nobody wanted to have a snowball fight with him. “Fine,” he said “I’ll just have a snowball fight with myself.”  He then proceeded to throw snowballs up into the air then jump underneath the falling snowball so it would hit him on the head. I love creative solutions! 🙂


Tomorrow is 2013..Happy New Year!

Happy Birthday to me!


713My birthday began early with Tyler knocking on my bedroom door..”Wake up, Momma!! It’s your birthday!!” Tyler had Toby up half the night so I was surprised he woke up so early. Around 2:00am I heard a little voice calling, “Daddy..Daddy..Daddy”  Toby got up and went in to see what was wrong. He assumed Tyler was scared or had a nightmare.

“What do you need Tyler?”

“I was just wondering when Momma’s birthday was,” Tyler replied.

“It is today..go back to sleep.”

“Ok Daddy.”

Toby climbed back in bed only to be awaken a few minutes later..


Toby climbed back out of bed and went back into Tyler’s room.

“Did we buy her anything Daddy?” he wanted to know.

Well, they did buy me something… In fact they went all out to make my day extra special. I had a quiet day home with the kids (which was a gift all by itself). The kids surprised me with spaghetti for lunch, garlic bread and homemade lemon bars which they presented with a candle to blow out while singing “Happy Birthday.” Even Tyler participated and he hates singing 🙂

Dinner at Aunt Beth's house.

Dinner at Aunt Beth’s house.

In the evening we traveled to Aunt Beth’s house for Christmas dinner with the McCleery side of the family. It was fun seeing Toby’s aunts and cousins. We had a good visit and enjoyed a delicious dinner which included Aunt Beth’s potato salad (my favorite!) After dinner they surprised me with a birthday cake. I wasn’t expecting that and I was touched by the thoughtfulness of my husband. The kids all received a gift from Aunt Beth..the girls received gift cards to Kohl’s which they can’t wait to spend, Rusty received a really neat marble racing track that you build and Tyler received a kick ball and another ball that you sit and bounce on. Tyler was thrilled!

After dinner we went over to Mimi Joy’s for our Christmas celebration and gift exchange with her. The kids were all eager to give her the gifts they had made and wrapped for her. We took turns going around the room opening our gifts one at a time youngest to oldest.


Tyler was so excited to be the first to open a gift!


He was even excited after finding out it was underwear..probably because it was very cool “Angry Birds” underwear. He then had to open the package and show us each one.


Tyler’s favorite gift from Mimi Joy was a remote control monster truck


Gracie was thrilled with her beautiful scarf!


Rusty was so excited to get another Lego set. He received quite a few of them from family members. This one was “The Hobbit”

737Miss Molly was tickled pink with her Hello Kitty camera but I think the favorite gift of the night was…743

Drumroll please… 744

Socks! A whole box of fun, crazy, wild socks. My girls love fun socks and couldn’t wait to divide them up! 746

Let it snow!


002The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?  – J.B Priestley

On December 26th we usually go to celebrate Christmas with the McCleery side of the family but on Wednesday we were hit with a snow storm so it had to be postponed.  We woke early to the storm warning after spending much of the night awake with Bailey. She wasn’t doing well. She was up all night trying to breathe. We called the vet in the middle of the night and were told that the vet wasn’t in until 8 am because it was Christmas so if we could wait until then to bring her in it would be best. We made it until morning then Toby loaded her in the car and took her in. They ended up keeping her. Her heart was struggling to pump efficiently so they were going to try some blood thinners and put her in the oxygen tent again to help with the breathing. While Toby was out he hit the store for all of those “typical” storm supplies..bread, milk, toilet paper. 🙂 and then made it home just as the storm began. He said the roads were terrible so it was a good thing that our Christmas celebration with the McCleerys was postponed. We ended up having a wonderful, lazy, stay at home day. It was an unusual treat. The day was spent watching movies that the kids received for Christmas, , playing with Christmas toys, board games and playing outside in the snow. It was just what we all needed after a wonderfully busy month..a day with nothing to do and nowhere to go!027




The kids all had a blast playing out in the snow. We ended up getting around 7 inches before the storm had passed. It was beautiful. The kids spent the afternoon sledding, having snowball fights, making snow angels, and playing with Winnie in the snow. This was Winnie’s first time seeing snow and she loved it. She ran through it with her mouth open eating it as she ran along.

Winnie loved the snow!

Winnie loved the snow!

In the evening after dinner we had a special snow day treat that is a tradition in my family.. wax on snow! The kids haven’t had it in years and Tyler had never had it before. You must have real maple syrup to make it which is a rare treat in our house but we received a jar from friends for Christmas so it was perfect! I sent the kids outside to fill a 9 x 13 pan with clean fresh snow (there was plenty of that outside) while I began boiling the syrup in a pan. You know it is ready when you drop a taste of it in a cup of cold water and it makes a soft ball. When the syrup was ready I called the kids to the table. They were all ready with forks in hand as I drizzled the syrup over the packed snow. When the syrup hits the snow it turns to a “taffy-like” consistency. It is such a fun treat and the kids all loved it. Tyler declared it the “Best Food Ever!” and wanted to know if we could eat it every day. I have so many sweet childhood memories of wax on snow…of us kids outside finding a deep patch of clean snow to fill the pan..of my Dad at the stove stirring it, saying, “Alright, almost ready”..eating the maple flavored snow with spoons after the syrup was long gone. It was so much fun to share with my kids something that is such a sweet memory of mine..wax on snow..YUM!



Christmas day


Twas the night before Christmas when all through the Homestead..


not a creature was stirring..not a bear, not a moose

Then morning arrived and all chaos broke loose!


The kids were all waiting at the top of the hall

to run down the stairs and see Santa’s haul!


The stockings were stuffed, the seams were near breaking

this magical Christmas was months in the making.


With wonderous looks on all the kids’ faces

they sat down to open their gifts with great patience.


There was a dolly for Molly.. a game for dear Grace

a remote control car for Tyler to race.


Skates were given to the two little boys..

the livingroom was full of love, laughter and joy.


The gifts were all opened and it was time to enjoy

the quiet that comes after all of the noise.


The kids ran to play in the barn with their treasures

while the ladies in the kitchen baked, stirred and measured.


A feast was enjoyed of turkey and pie

then.. all to soon.. it was time for “goodbye.”


The car was reloaded and we headed back to P..A..

How blessed I have been on this sweet Christmas day!


Away in a manger..


 On Sunday we woke up early to get ready for church and to get some cute Christmas photos of the kids before food was spilled on sweaters and holes were torn in the knees of their pants. 057




After arriving home from church it was a group effort to get all of us and all of our Christmas supplies out the door! We were taking the trailer because with 6 people and a dog (Bailey was coming with us because she couldn’t be left alone) our suitcases, bedding and gifts weren’t going to fit in the car.  As Toby attempted to load the trailer the older kids fed animals, packed their bags and got ready to go. Tyler was having a rough day. I knew he was nervous by his behaviors and actions. I’ve known all along that Christmas was going to be tough on him. He was missing his old home, still scared that Santa wasn’t going to come because he was a “bad boy” and nervous about meeting a new family member (my grandma who we call G.G.) We thought, as Tyler was on his 3rd trip to the fence post, that maybe we should put off going until later in the day but Toby thought it was the anticipation of going that Tyler was struggling with and the sooner we got there the better things would be so we pushed on and were loaded and headed down the driveway 2 hours later. It turns out that Toby was right. Once we arrived at the Homestead all was well and Tyler had a wonderful time.

030Before we left we opened our last “Christmas countdown stocking.” We have little stockings with the pieces of a child’s nativity set in them. Each night as part of our family scripture time one of the kids gets to open the stocking and add the newest piece to the nativity set so that the nativity set grows over the month of December. Rusty had the last stocking and when he opened it up it was baby Jesus. Rusty carried the baby over and placed it in the manger. Well Tyler had a fit! He still doesn’t quite get the story of baby Jesus and when he saw Rusty place him in the hay he was so upset. He came running to me to tattle. “Momma, Rusty put that baby in the animals’ food!” Rusty, defending himself, said “That’s where he is supposed to go!” ” Nuh UH!” yelled Tyler ” Babies don’t go in hay they go in a bed!” He was upset that Rusty would treat the baby so badly and put him in the animals’ hay trough.

As I thought about Tyler’s indignation I remembered a poem I once read:

“Let the stable still astonish:

straw-dirt floor, dull eyes, dusty flanks of donkey, oxen;

crumbling, crooked walls;  no bed to carry that pain,

and then the child, rag-wrapped, laid to cry in a trough.

Who would have chosen this?

Who would have said, “Yes, let the God of all the heavens and earth be born here, in this place?”

Who but the same God who stands in the darker, fouler rooms of our hearts

and says, “Yes, let the God of heaven and earth be born here

in this place.”

– Leslie Leyland Fields

We arrived at the Homestead safe and sound.On Christmas eve, after having a fun dinner of appetizers and dips, we all put on our winter coats and hats and hiked through the cold, dark night to the barn  where my dad read the story of Christ’s birth from Luke. As we sat in the cold barn, smelling the scent of hay we created memories…what sweet, special memories! We then sang “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night” before feeding all the animals and putting them to bed. What a blessed way to remember the real reason we celebrate Christmas and a perfect way to end the night!

George listening  to the Christmas story.

George listening to the Christmas story.


The kids sitting in the barn listening to Pop pop read from Luke


Tyler and one of Mimi’s chickens.

Even the goats want to participate in the Christmas story!

Even the goats want to participate in the Christmas story!


Even one of the wise men showed up to help out 🙂

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Twas the night before the night before Christmas


Saturday was a preparation day for the following two days. We were leaving for Ohio on Sunday so Saturday was spent catching up on laundry, packing, finishing up cookies, wrapping and assembling gifts for friends and teachers at church, making sure kids were bathed, giving haircuts to the boys, sorting “stocking stufffers” and taking care of Bailey who is still struggling..poor puppy.


Tyler was a little nervous while Toby cut his hair. He kept saying, “Daddy don’t make me bald!”


The sugar cookies were baked on Friday. Now it was time to decorate them. It was so much fun! In the midst of a very busy day it was nice to stop, sit and spend some fun time decorating cookies!

The kids all did a beautiful job. Nice star, Molly!


The completed cookies… My favorite cookies were Gracie’s melted snowman cookies.


Mr. “blue eyes” and his snowman cookies. He decided to save this one for Santa!


Gifts were then wrapped for friends and teachers at church. All ready to be delivered the next morning. We wrapped up plates and napkins with a tag that read, “Our Christmas wish for you..fewer dishes for you to do!”


Rusty decorated Brownie for Christmas

Ever since the kids were little we have had a family tradition of exchanging ornaments with each other on the 23rd of December. We leave for my parents’ home on the 24th to spend the night so we always exchange on the 23rd. Toby and I pick out an ornament for each of the kids that represent something that reflects the year they’ve had or a special event that took place that year. Then I buy for Toby and he buys for me. When the kids leave home they will then have a set of 18-20 ornaments they can take with them to decorate their own tree. We all love this tradition. We always open youngest to oldest. Tyler was so excited to receive his ornament and hang it on the tree. Now he has an ornament of his own hanging on the family tree. Toby usually buys me an angel ornament. This year was the best yet. It was the first time I have cried over my can see why. What a dear husband I have!


After kids were tucked into bed it was time to finish wrapping. Toby had secret gifts to wrap so he went into our bedroom to wrap and I stayed in the livingroom. I watched my favorite movie of all time, White Christmas, while I finished up my wrapping. We were both done around 3 am and then it was time to head to bed for a few hours of sleep before church and then off to Ohio!

Christmas cookies..yum!

Our sweet Bailey

Our sweet Bailey

The last 24 hours have been crazy!  We woke yesterday morning to Bailey (our German Shepherd mix) having trouble breathing. I called the vet immediately and was told that they had an opening in the afternoon. I explained that she was coughing and her breathing sounded labored. They told me I could come in as a “walk in” but we would probably have an hour or two wait in the waiting room. I opted to wait for our appointment time knowing that keeping Tyler entertained in a waiting room for a couple of hours would be challenging. They morning was spent praying and watching her carefully while trying to prepare for my book club’s Christmas party that was being held at my house that night. After lunch I just couldn’t wait any longer..I was a nervous I headed to the vet with Molly and Tyler in tow. I am not allowed to leave Tyler with Gracie so he had to along even though he didn’t want to. I had Molly come as well to either help with Bailey or Tyler and be an extra set of hands. When we arrived we were taken into an examination room to wait for the vet. They came in and examined Bailey. Initially they thought maybe she had been hit by a car or aspirated on a piece of food or bone. The first thing they did was take her in to do x-rays. I knew things weren’t good when the vet asked to speak to me alone. The x-rays showed that Bailey’s heart was enlarged and her lungs were filled with fluid and what appeared to be white dots on the x-ray. The vet told me that it was very serious but they weren’t sure what was causing it. Additional tests were needed but it was either a bacterial infection, a fungal infection or cancer. We ended up spending about 5 hours at the vet. Tyler was really well-behaved considering he had to sit in a 10 by 10 room for hours. It took all my “Mommy creativity” to keep him entertained. I was pulling out all of those secret tricks, games, songs, and ideas I have learned over the years. 🙂001

Around 6:30 I called a friend who is in my book club in a panic because everyone was to arrive at my house at 7:00 and I was still at the vet. Luckily she was able to get ahold of everyone and move it back to 8:00. The vet decided to keep Bailey overnight while they did more tests and so she could be kept in an oxygen tent to help her breathe. They told us that her chance of surviving through the night was not good and that it would be a miracle if she did. We headed home with heavy hearts. When we arrived home Toby was there to take the kids out for the evening while I had my party. At that point I had 30 minutes to get the house picked up, myself changed, and food put out before everyone arrived. I just wanted to crawl in bed and cry. It ended up being a fun evening and a good distraction from all that I was worried about.

Sharing a pretzel..

Sharing a pretzel..

Tyler making cookies

Tyler making cookies

This morning we woke up to the news that Bailey made it through the night..thank you, Lord! They are still trying to figure out what we are dealing with but I am just grateful for this small Christmas miracle. Today’s plan is cookie baking. We have 6 different types we are hoping to get made so we can assemble cookie trays tomorrow. The snow is falling outside, the house is toasty warm from the oven and  I am counting my many blessings!

That’s a wrap!


025One of the kiddos’ favorite Christmas traditions is gift giving. Over the last few weeks the kids have been making gifts for a lot of the people that 028they give gifts to. On Tuesday we had everyone pull out the gifts they have made at activities and craft days so they could figure out who they have gifts for and who they still need to buy for before we headed out to the Dollar Store. From the time the kids were just preschoolers we have given the kids $10.00 and taken them to the dollar store to buy Christmas gifts to exchange. As little kids they always looked forward to being “big kids” and getting to walk around the store by themselves with their coats covering the purchases in their carts so siblings couldn’t peek!

As the older kids were figuring out who they had gifts for and who they needed to buy for I worked with Tyler. We looked at the gifts he has made and he told me who he wanted to give each one to and then we made his shopping list. Other than a few humans everyone else on his shopping list was an animal.

032When we arrived at dollar store the kids scattered in different directions. I went with Tyler as he made a beeline for the toy department. A frisbee for Mimi and Pop Pop’s donkey, George, as well as frisbees for each of their dogs. Then we headed to the dog/cat department to buy treats for the furry family members at our home. Thanks to Tyler all the animals will have a gift under the tree. 🙂034

When we arrived home the livingroom became “Santa’s Workshop” as all the kids began to wrap all their gifts (occasionally moving behind the couch when they were wrapping something secret for a sibling). By evening all their gifts were wrapped and under the tree!

Yesterday was spent preparing for my annual wrapping party that evening. The kids were all big helpers.  Rusty spent a couple of hours in his room doing a much-needed deep cleaning. When he came out to tell me he was all done he had a pink and blue bruise on his forehead. What was bizarre about it was that it was a perfect circle. “Did you hit your head,” I asked him. He looked at me, puzzled, “No, why?” I told him to go look in the mirror. “Oh,” he said as he looked in the mirror, “I was sucking my face with the vacuum.” Of course he was..silly me. What else do 11-year-old boys do when they should be cleaning. “Did it occur to you that with Christmas pictures in a few days that maybe that would be a bad idea,” I asked. He just looked at me as though he didn’t see what the big deal was. Oh well. 🙂071

Toby arrived home to take the kids out for the evening for my wrapping party. The ladies arrived with snacks and dips to share, gift wrapping supplies and gifts to wrap. I love this tradition! We sit around the livingroom with Christmas music playing wrapping our gifts and visiting. I can usually get all my wrapping done in one evening while getting to socialize too. I was spoiled with some sweet gifts from my dear friends. One of my friends who came brought me a little hostess was a Mr. Clean magic eraser. She thought that maybe we could talk about its many uses as a group. (That was in reference to Rusty’s comment that all ladies talk about when they get together is cleaning.) So Funny! It was a wonderful night and it really put me in the Christmas spirit. It also made me feel incredibly blessed to have such wonderful girlfriends.


A sweet gift


247Yesterday I was given the sweet gift of uninterrupted time with Tyler. Grace, Molly and Rusty were all invited to spend the night with friends for holiday sleepovers so it was just Tyler and I. We enjoyed a quiet morning of sitting on the couch, snuggling, and watching classic Christmas cartoons together. It was just what I needed. Even though a part of me was fighting the urge to get up and be “productive” ( wrapping) I sat. Without the other kids to play with Tyler and keep him occupied Tyler wanted my full attention. It forced me to be still. It forced me to lay aside my “to do” list and just be present. In my effort to be as productive as possible my life is all about multi-tasking. I watch a movie with the kids while I fold laundry or address Christmas cards. I visit with the girls as I do dishes. I play a board game with the boys while I am making a shopping list. Yesterday made me realize how rarely I just sit and give my full attention to my children…how rare it is for me to do one thing at a time. It felt good to just be present. To just sit and be in that moment and not think about the next thing that needs done. I need to do that more…

In the name of Jesus Christ, who was never in a hurry, we pray, O God, that you will slow us down, for we know that we live too fast. With all eternity before us, make us take the time to live- time to get acquainted with you, time to enjoy your blessings, and time to know each other.” – Peter Marshall

After a quiet morning at home I told Tyler that he could pick something for us to do since his brother and sisters were gone. He told me he wanted to take his bike to the park. We went to a park he hadn’t been to before. There was nobody there. We had the place to ourselves. It was so much fun to just play. Afterwards we took his bike to a nature trail where he rode and I walked. He was a bit frustrated with my pace as he continued to yell back at me, “Come on!”

003By the time we finished walking/riding the nature trail loop it was time to pick up siblings. On the drive to pick them up we passed by a cemetery. It led to an interesting discussion as he asked..

Tyler: “Momma, are there dead people there?”

Me: “Yes, Tyler, that is where the bury the bodies of people when they die.”

Tyler: “Well where do they put the heads?”

Me (forgetting how literal he can be): “The heads are there too. They keep them attached.”

Tyler: “How did they die?”

Me: “I don’t know.”

Tyler: “They were probably all shot.”

Me: “ I don’t think many of them were shot. They probably died because they got old and their bodies wore out.”

Tyler: “Are you going to die?”

Me: “Not anytime soon.”

Tyler: “But you are old..”

Tyler: “Am I going to die?”

Me : Not for a very long time. When you are an old, old man.”

I then hear sobbing from the back seat..”but I don’t want to die!”

I was then regretting I had said anything..

Me: “Tyler you don’t need to worry about it. It is not going to happen anytime soon.”

Tyler: “Well, do I get to come back to life?”

Me: “You get to live in heaven.”

Tyler: “What is heaven?”

Me: “Where Jesus lives..where you go after your body dies.”

Tyler: “Who is Jesus?”

With my heart still hurting for the families grieving the loss of little ones this conversation hit me extra hard..

It was at this point I realized that this is one of the tougher parts of adopting an older child. They come to you and you don’t know what gaps are there. You think they have a foundation of knowledge that don’t always have. It is like a puzzle. You are trying to find those gaps and fill them. I didn’t realize that Tyler had never heard of heaven or had so many concerns about death.Although a couple of weeks ago I should have had some inclination  when Tyler asked me, ” if we pour water on Lambert’s body will he come back to life??”

After picking up the other kids we stopped at a store so Tyler could pick up a gift for his biological brother. He had a visit with him last night. We thought, after him refusing to go on his last visit, that if he picked out a Christmas gift for his brother he might be more excited to go. I know those visits are hard on him. Well, he was so excited about picking out a gift. We walked the aisles for an hour as he held up one gift after another asking my opinion. He finally picked out a mini air hocky table.801

While at the store I told him he could get a bottle of water and a fruit snack for the drive to visit his brother. A hired driver comes to pick up Tyler for his visit and he is in the car for 2 1/2 hours so I usually send a snack for the road. As he was picking out his snack he asked me..”Momma, do you think Brandon’s Mom feeds him?” I told him..I’m sure she does. “Because Brandon use to be really hungry.” I know he was thinking of his early years and what they experienced as young children. “Momma, can I buy a drink and snack for Brandon too just in case he is hungry?” I told him he could. What a tender heart that little boy has.

When we arrived home Tyler wrapped his gift with the girls’ help. He went to the visit and had a good time. He came home eager to tell us how much Brandon enjoyed the gift he bought him. All went well!

Tyler's wrapped gift. He included 6 batteries which he wrapped on the outside and a dollar of his allowance that he wanted to give his brother. :)

Tyler’s wrapped gift. He included 6 batteries which he wrapped on the outside and a dollar of his allowance that he wanted to give his brother. 🙂


“Call me Gumbo”


736I am sitting in the livingroom with Tyler in the early  hours of Sunday morning. Tyler came in to wake us up and Toby told him that he needed to go back to bed..that we were all sleeping in this morning. Well Tyler took that as a great personal insult and left our room sobbing. I told Toby that I would get up with Tyler so he could sleep a little bit longer. I found Tyler in his room crying. “Why doesn’t anyone want to be with me?!” he cried. I tried to explain that it wasn’t anything personal, Daddy just really needs to sleep in.

We went into the livingroom and I put in the movie Dumbo. He had never seen it before and loved it. He thought baby Dumbo was so funny. When the movie was over he told me that he wanted to change his name. “Momma, from now on call me Gumbo!”

Tyler playing with his Tonka truck in the dark

Tyler playing with his Tonka truck in the dark

Yesterday was spent getting things done around the house in the morning…wrapping gifts and cleaning. I never realized how much my kids thought my life revolved around cleaning until I overheard a discussion between Rusty and Tyler. I told the boys that I was going to be going out with girlfriends in a few days for a “Mommy’s night out.” Tyler said that he wanted to come. I explained that it was just for moms. As the boys walked away I heard Rusty say to Tyler..”Tyler, you don’t want to go anyway. All they do is talk about cleaning.” 🙂 Yep, my favorite subject to discuss with to remove stubborn spots.

Rusty and Tyler in their Christmas PJs

Rusty and Tyler in their Christmas PJs

In the afternoon Tyler had his monthly visit with the psychiatrist. It went well and was a quick and easy visit. When everyone was back home it was time to get dressed and ready for our church Christmas party. The theme was” The Polar Express.” Everyone was to come dressed in PJs. I let the kids wear their new Christmas PJs  because their everyday PJs are kind of sad..worn out and much too short. Tyler didn’t want to wear his PJs. Part of the reason he didn’t want to was because he was having too much fun outside to come in and change. A friend of ours gave Tyler some hand-me-down Tonka trucks. He was outside for hours moving dirt from one side of the sidewalk to the other. Even after the sun went down he continued excavating. We finally convinced him to come in and change.

The Polar Express party was enjoyable. When we first arrived you could tell Tyler didn’t want to be there. He sat nicely through dinner and the talent show but there was no enthusiasm. Then it was time for Santa to come out. I thought he would be eager to sit on Santa’s lap because he has been asking me if we could go and visit Santa. It turns out he didn’t want anything to do with Santa. I could tell he was nervous. Instead of waiting in line for Santa he found a friend to run and play with. After that he had a blast! He had so much fun that when it was time to leave he didn’t want to go home. As Toby and I walked around the church gathering up our kiddos we couldn’t find Tyler. We didn’t think anything of it at first but after searching the entire building to no avail we began to panic a little. Rusty ended up finding Tyler outside the building hiding in a dark corner. Evidently Tyler was having fun and didn’t want to leave so he thought if he hid we wouldn’t have to go. Needless to say, we had a nice long chat on the way home about why that is not a good plan!

Molly and Gracie

Molly and Gracie

Everyone was ready for bed when we got home and the benefit of a Polar Express party is that everyone could go straight to need to change 🙂

Here’s a look at what Buster the Elf has been up to at Patchwork Farm..

Buster napping in the tissue box.

Buster napping in the tissue box.








Buster got ahold of the Q-tips

Buster got ahold of the Q-tips

Buster biking on the beam.

Buster biking on the beam.











Ho Ho Ho Buster!

Ho Ho Ho Buster!

Buster on a date :)

Buster on a date 🙂