Monthly Archives: June 2014

Breakdowns = Breakthroughs

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“The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways.”

The last few days have been tough. If I am being honest, the last few weeks have been tough. Having Ozzie home full-time (since school break began) has been an adjustment for everyone…him, the other kids, and me. Being together full-time has magnified the behaviors we were seeing a little bit of while he was in school and providing opportunities to deal with the bigger heart issues that are now revealing themselves.

When Tyler moved in the judge gave us permission to home school him from the start. As a result we jumped into full-time parenting and bonding from day 1. Those that have followed this blog from the beginning remember what those first 6 months were like….UGH! 🙂 When Ozzie moved in his judge required him to attend our local public school. As a result, even though he has lived with us for 5 months, we are just now beginning the intensive parenting/bonding process that comes from spending 24 hours a day together. It is only through time and togetherness that our real selves, our deep issues, our greatest fears and sharpest edges are exposed. That is what is happening now…with all of us. This last month has been a time of discovery as we have seen the best and worst of Ozzie as well as the best and worst of ourselves.

When you prepare for adoption you are told that there will often be a “honeymoon period,” a block of time at the beginning when everyone is on their best behavior and the sailing is smooth. With time and increased trust and comfort our real selves are revealed and our demons are exposed. One simply cannot “hold it together” forever and at some point we break. For an abused child that break happens as a result of increased trust as well as a need to test that building trust.

Our tough week began last Friday when Ozzie’s social worker brought a few more boxes of his possessions from his previous foster family’s home. In the box was a scrapbook from his last pre-adoptive placement. He has eager to show me the pictures inside. On the first page were pictures of a celebration. There were decorations, fancy clothes and a cake that read, “Welcome home Ozzie and Zoey to your forever family!” There were pictures of the parents hugging and loving on the kids. The book was filled with happy family moments and to look at it you would assume it was the perfect family. Ozzie and his sister were only there 5 months, the same amount of time he has been with us. I don’t know the whole story as to why the placement failed other than knowing that the parents asked the children be moved. They said that the kids were too much for them.

It was after sharing this walk down memory lane with Ozzie that the behaviors we have been seeing for weeks escalated.

The final breakdown led to our breakthrough. Here is what happened…

The day began with tears. Ozzie woke up in a grumpy mood. As we sat in the livingroom Rusty was eagerly sharing his excitement about Scout camp next week. When I asked him what he was most excited about Ozzie interrupted and said, “I am most excited for Rusty to leave for a week so I don’t have to see him.” After attempting to mend the hurt feelings and anger that his words created I sent Ozzie outside to do his morning chores. There were tears as the other kids poured out the hurt they have been feeling this last week as they have dealt with tantrums, mean words, hitting, and fighting from their little brother.

After having a good talk with the older three I headed outside to check on the two little boys. As I approached I found Tyler in the animal pen helping Ozzie by scooping the old water from the trough. Harley, our pot belly pig, likes to soak in the water trough much to the disgust of the other animal who drink that water. 🙂 So part of filling the trough often requires taking a bucket and scooping the dirty water out first. Ozzie hates the scooping part of his job so Tyler volunteered to scoop while Ozzie filled it with the hose. I walked onto the scene as Tyler was scooping water while Ozzie was sprayed Tyler’s bike with water. Ozzie didn’t know I was behind him as Tyler asked him not to get his bike wet. Ozzie laughed and turned the hose on the bike again.

“Ozzie!” I called out behind him.

He jumped in surprise and quickly replied, “It was an accident!”

The boys finished filling the water as I supervised. When they were done I told Tyler to bring me Ozzie’s bike so that he could have a turn spraying it. It was then that Ozzie flipped out. “No,” he yelled, “nobody is going to spray my bike! My bike is special! Tyler don’t you touch my bike!”

Tyler was walking across the yard when Ozzie took off and tackled Tyler from behind. I ran over as Ozzie sat on Tyler and started hitting him and clawing him with his nails.

I pulled Ozzie off Tyler. Tyler was crying. Molly was looking panicked, Rusty was running to turn the hose off and Grace had smoke pouring from her ears.

*sigh*

 Ozzie was defiant. I told Ozzie that if he was going to get Tyler’s bike wet than Tyler could spray his bike.

“But my stuff is special!” he kept yelling as he threw himself on the ground…kicking, screaming, and hitting himself in the head.

It was then I scooped him up and carried him out to the fence post, in the corner of the field, to cool off. The entire way he fought me. He kicked, he clawed, and then sat down on the ground, refusing to move. It was a flashback to 2 years ago. It was a full-blown Tyler tantrum. The only difference being the lack of body mass and strength that Tyler had to fight me with. I scooped him up and placed him on the fence and told him that when he calmed down we would talk. I sent the other kids inside while he screamed from his perch…

“I hate you all!”

“I’m going to crush you Tyler!

“Nobody touches my stuff!”

“I’m always the victim!”

I water and weeded and did yard work while he raged. I stayed close by but let him burn out before we talked. I learned with Tyler that there is no communicating in the midst of the storm. I have to let them rage until they are exhausted. I always stay by them as they rage so they know they are not abandoned or alone but they must release that anger before the healing can come. Then there is the crash. The rigidity and tension leave their little bodies and they are exposed. The wall falls and I can see their hearts.

Ozzie’s tantrum lasted almost four hours from beginning to end. When he was done screaming I walked over to him.

“Can we talk?” I asked.

“This is how I always act,” he said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“In my old homes,” he answered, “this is how I always was. At my birth home and my foster homes I always hit and yelled and lied and did really bad things. That is why they always got rid of me.”

There it was. The heart revealed. The anger was a wall hiding a broken heart. The behavior was a protection from more hurt.

I gathered him in my arms and whispered, “You aren’t going anywhere. There is nothing you can do to make us send you away. You are here forever. You are family.”

I pulled back and smiled at him. “You might be spending a lot of time on the fence post if you keep making the same choices but it will be our fence post because you’re not going anywhere.” 🙂

It was then that the floodgates opened and he sobbed. He squeezed my neck and cried into my shoulder and whispered back, “I’m sorry Momma…I love you.”

I have learned in this adoption journey that the hardest days are often the days when the most growth happens. Breakdowns bring breakthroughs. The bad behavior is often the cracking and crumbling of a wall built over years of hurt and disappointment. The words, “I hate you” are actually the pleading of a broken boy asking, “Will you still love me?”

It is in the midst of those really hard days that we are reminded that those who most need our love often ask for it in the most unloving ways.

A Grand Romantic Gesture

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Ozzie helping with the surprise.

Ozzie helping with the surprise.

This week has been a celebration of Toby. Every year I face the challenge of making 3 special days happen for my husband…all in one week. We begin by celebrating Father’s Day. A few days later we celebrate our anniversary and then 2 days after that it is his birthday. It is a week of celebrating his life…him as a father, him as a husband, and him as a man.  I must admit that sometimes I feel overwhelmed as I try to pull off 3 special celebrations in a matter of days. My creativity is tested as I attempt to make him feel as special as he is. The pressure comes as a result of being married to a “grand gesture” man. Toby is the king of big surprises and grand declarations of love. From our very first date when he unwrapped an entire bag of Hershey kisses and rewrapped them with printed tags that said, “goodnight kiss” for our first “kiss” I knew I was married to a “grand gesture” man. Toby loves surprising people with their dream gift or showing his love in creative displays. My married life has been filled with treasure hunts, surprise vacations, homemade treasures and unexpected displays of his love. His love for others is contagious and you can’t help but want to jump into the fun of surprising them.

The down side of being married to a “grand gesture” man is that the gifts and surprises you plan always feel a bit lame and boring compared to having a puppy brought home with a bow tied around its neck or a trunk full of balloons released to announce an upcoming trip to Disney World. I mean, really, how does one compete with that? 🙂 This year, after 17 years of being on the receiving end of Toby’s surprises, I was determined to be the “surpriser.” It was our anniversary and I was going for the “grand gesture” surprise…

Before we began the journey of adoption we set the goal and made it a priority to go on regular date nights. We also tried to go on a short vacation every year without children. As a new mother I struggled with leaving my babies behind and struggled with “guilty mother syndrome” everytime Toby surprised me with a trip, but as hard as it was to get into the car and wave goodbye to the kiddos it was the best thing in the world for our marriage and our parenting. By going away for a few days we were able to reconnect as a couple, recharge our batteries so that we could come home better parents, as well as show our children that our marriage comes first and we were committed to that priority. As the kids grew older, leaving for the weekend became easier and we discovered the healing and rejuvenating power of a few days away. We were able to step out of the role of “parents” and step back into the role of “couple.” Toby made sure that vacationing alone together was a top priority and would regularly surprise me with trips away.

After beginning the adoption process our “weekends away” came to an abrupt end. Logistically it was tougher. With a foster child you can’t just ask grandma to babysit for the night. If a foster child sleeps at someone else’s home that babysitter must have a home inspection first (and we don’t have may people in our lives who would be willing to put themselves through that just to babysit our children)  🙂  and then they also have to have criminal and child abuse clearances. If we could pull all of that off we then face the fear of losing that babysitter as a friend as a result of a little boy’s epic tantrum while we are away.  😉 So needless to say we haven’t gone away in a while. It was because of all of these challenges that I decided to try to surprise Toby with a grand gesture getaway.

The idea came to me in the middle of the night…like all my good ideas do. I was going to surprise Toby with a night away at a hotel. I asked the daughter of a friend who has all her clearances from working at a day care if she could babysit from 6:00pm on Friday to noon on Saturday. By having her babysit at our home we didn’t need to put anyone through a home inspection. I spent the week “prepping” the house and kids in the hopes of a drama-free night. I booked a hotel five minutes away so we could be home in an instant if there were any meltdowns and the surprise was in the works. My only fear was that Toby was planning a surprise of his own and that it would be “clash of the titan surprises.”

On Friday afternoon I drove over to our hotel to check in, drop off our suitcase and decorate the room. Ozzie came with me, since he can’t be left alone, and he helped me decorate. Ozzie couldn’t contain his excitement and enthusiasm for the surprise. He kept saying, “This is the most romantic thing I’ve ever heard of!!”  I had little candies to put next to the bed. Ozzie wanted to use them to decorate so he wrote “LOVE” in chocolates on the TV stand and then made a “heart” on the ottoman. As Ozzie stepped back to survey his work he spoke up with excitement, “You know what you should do for Daddy tonight?! You should call Delilah so that she can play a romantic song for you!” (Ozzie loves listening to Delilah’s radio program every night in bed.) As we left I made Ozzie promise not to reveal the secret to Daddy.

When we arrived home I got the kids ready for the night, went over rules, and got dressed for our date. When Toby arrived home I told him I had hired a sitter for our anniversary dinner ( which was a surprise in itself.) When the sitter arrived we said good-bye and headed to the restaurant. I gave him directions to where we were going and led him to the hotel…and he was surprised! I couldn’t believe I pulled off a “grand gesture” of love. It was a wonderful evening away. We had dinner at Toby’s favorite restaurant… We slept in until 10:30am…Ahhhh, it was wonderful!

As we spent the week celebrating Toby I counted my blessings to be married to such an amazing, good, loving, selfless man. I remember as a girl being counseled that no decision you make in you life had more impact on your future happiness than the decision of whom to marry. I chose well and have enjoyed 17 years of happiness and joy as a result. I am grateful for my husband who loves so selflessly, who parents so lovingly, who has opened his heart to two little boys who were sired and then destroyed by man who was called “dad” only to show them what a true “Dad” is.

Toby is a “grand gesture” man because his heart is too big and his love to expansive to be anything less.

Toby's birthday celebration with his kids.

Toby’s birthday celebration with his kids.

 

Happy Campers

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Henry David Thoreau once said, “We need the tonic of wilderness.”

But like all good medicine it can be a struggle to get it down. So it is with family camping. Like all good things it doesn’t come without work, struggle, and a few tears.  Like all good things there comes a moment in the midst of the journey that you pause, reflect, and ask yourself, “What the heck were we thinking?!” Like all good things, you begin anticipating the ideal, only to get a bucketful of reality thrown in your face before you are two steps in.

My vision for a Father’s Day campout was a weekend of roasting marshmallows, hikes through the woods, fishing, and laughing, and making memories.  While there was some of that…

There were marshmallows eaten…by those who didn’t lose the privilege.

There was a nighttime hike…although there was more whining than nature observation.

There was fishing…although more time was spent climbing trees to untangle fishing line than hooking fish.

*SIGH*

I had a vision of a perfect “escape” for Toby for Father’s Day. I thought a weekend away would be a vacation from attitudes and behaviors but I discovered that some “packed” the very things I was trying to leave behind. It must have been while I was loading the firewood. 😉

BUT even in the midst of many mini disasters there were moments of magic…and memories were made.  In fact, over the years, I have discovered that the memories that “stick” are often the Plan B memories, the memories that are made when plans are discarded and real life happens.

It has been said that, “Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans.”

Life is made of Plan B moments and when I consider the sweetest camping memories I have from my childhood they aren’t the “everything went perfectly” weekends, they are the falling in cactus, tent blowing away, 100 pound eagle memories that we look back on and laugh about. Those Plan B memories are my happy memories, my memorable memories, my treasured memories.

I can only hope that my children look back on our Plan B moments with the same fondness because I have discovered that a side effect of adopting little boys is that there are rarely Plan A moments anymore. 🙂

Plan B in action. Instead of swimming we are having a time-out. :)

Plan B in action. Instead of swimming we are having a time-out. 🙂

This weekend we decided to go camping for two nights at Mosquito Lake State Park in Cortland, Ohio. We have camped there before, when the older kids were little, and were so impressed with the campground that we decided to go back. It is only an hour away, offers wonderful programs for the children, and allows dogs (which was a necessity since we needed to take Ellie May with us.)  We began the laborious task of packing all that one needs to survive in nature for 48 hours and it was in the midst of creating piles that I had my first fleeting thought of, “Is this really worth all the work?” but continued on. Toby arrived home, both vehicles were packed (We can no longer fit our entire family and all of our camping supplies in one vehicle) and we were on our way.

When we arrived and had paid for our site we began unloading the car and setting up “home” for the next two days.

Molly carrying puppies and pillows.

Molly carrying puppies and pillows.

Ozzie helping Gracie organize the tent.

Ozzie helping Gracie organize the tent.

Camp complete!

Camp complete!

Friday evening was spent playing at the playground, fixing dinner over the fire, and going on a full moon hike with the camp ranger.

Toby and Tyler and Little Ducky.

Toby and Tyler and Little Ducky.

Happy Campers!

Happy Campers!

Toby and his girls.

Toby and his girls.

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After a good night’s sleep everyone woke up hungry and cold so a fire was started and breakfast preparations began. We had bacon and “eggs in a bag,” which is a camping staple in our home.

To make “eggs in a bag” we get a pot of boiling water and everyone takes a freezer Ziploc bag and writes their name on it. They then crack two eggs inside the bag, add cheese, mushrooms, onions and other omelet goodies, seal it shut, squish the bag until well mixed and place it in the boiling water. After 8-10 minutes you have perfectly cooked, personalized omelets…Yum!

Making breakfast...

Making breakfast…

"Eggs in a bag"

“Eggs in a bag”

After breakfast we drove over to the State Park for Safety Days. It was a full day of free activities and programs offered by the local bird sanctuary, fire department, police and K9 force, county dive team, U.S Army Corps of Engineers and the County Crisis Response Team. The kids really enjoyed all the activities they offered like: building a bluebird nest box, K9 demonstration, and water safety tests. The best part, as far as the little boys were concerned, was the many rescue/ safety vehicles that were on display to climb in and check out. Ozzie was in his glory!

Sitting in the fire truck

Sitting in the fire truck

They also enjoyed the fire simulation truck that they had to “escape” from.

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The biggest hit of the day was probably the arrival of the Life Fight helicopter. 🙂

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As part of the day’s events there were many giveaways and raffle drawings. Although Ozzie was disappointed to not win the bike he had his heart set on the kids were excited for Grace and Rusty, who both won  gift certificates to local businesses. Gracie won a gift card to a local ice cream store so after safety days we all drove over and enjoyed an ice cream treat… compliments of Gracie!

Grace, Ellie and Molly

Grace, Ellie and Molly

The remainder of our camping trip was spent swimming, fishing, and taking Ellie to a dog park.

Ozzie was thrilled by his "catch of the day."

Ozzie was thrilled by his “catch of the day.”

The trip ended with a movie under the stars. We enjoyed the outdoor showing of How to Train Your Dragon before we headed off to bed. We were up early to pack up, race home for quick showers, and then arrive at church by 10:00.

Movie under the Stars

Movie under the Stars

It was a good weekend…not the weekend I planned, but good nonetheless. There is something so pure and right about leaving the walls of a home and the pull of electronics to experience the “tonic of nature.” Once there I am always glad we “ran away” for a brief time and find the vast amount of work that goes into a weekend camping trip worth it. The key, I suppose, is to let go of our idealistic expectations and just let life happen. There will be dirt in the food, itchy mosquito bites, hard roots to sleep on but there will also be the magical moments. And those moments often happen as a result of our own “perfect plans” going awry.

Like all things in life it is important to remember that although something may be our Plan B it is often God’s Plan A.

 

Living Treasures Animal Park

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Yesterday we had some special visitors wander in from Ohio. My parents and my brother Travis came for a day visit. Travis flew into Ohio from Texas to see my parents. Tomorrow they all leave for Michigan to visit my sister, her family, and the new baby, Charlie. Before they headed north they drove east to visit us at Patchwork Farm. The kids were eager to show off our latest addition, Miss Ellie May.

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After they arrived and the kids took them on a tour of the yard and house we all headed out to Living Treasures Animal Park for a day of fun. It was fun having Travis visit since he hasn’t visited our home in many years. It was also fun taking everyone to Living Treasures  since the last time they had been there was when the kids were little.

When we arrived we had a packed picnic lunch in the shade before we went inside. It was a perfect day for our outing. The rain we had been expecting held off while we were there but the threat of rain was enough to keep the crowds away.  We pretty much had the place to ourselves.

A fun day with family!

A fun day with family!

We bought animal feed and carrots to feed to the animals. The fun part of Living Treasures is getting to feed and pet so many of the animals on display. I have always preferred it to the zoo. When the kids were little I appreciated the shady walking paths, the shorter distance between exhibits as well as the close proximity to the animals.

Grace and her favorite animal: Levi the giraffe.

Grace and her favorite animal: Levi the giraffe.

The first animals the kids were able to feed were the deer in the deer yard. The fact that there were babies made the feeding all the more thrilling for the kids.

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Some of the other big “A B C” hits of the day were:

A is for Alligators.

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B is for “Buffalo” (water buffalo that is).

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C is for Cattle.

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D, E, F, G, H, I, J……………………….and Z is for Zebra!

This baby Zebra was a big hit in the petting area!

This baby Zebra was a big hit in the petting area!

 

For some of the larger or more dangerous animals that you can’t feed by had they have tubes set up to drop food down into the animals’ dishes. It was funny to watch some of the critters, like to camel, wrap their lips around the end of the tube waiting for the pellets to come down.

Travis feeding critters via their tube.

Travis feeding critters via their tube.

In addition to feeding and petting a wide variety of animals the kids also enjoyed playing at the pirate ship playground, feeding birds by hand, and meeting some baby animals like this baby Coatimundi.

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Do you ever get the creepy feeling that somebody is watching you?

Do you ever get the creepy feeling that somebody is watching you? 🙂

Travis made a friend.

Travis made a friend.

As we were leaving, Uncle Travis treated the kids to the penny press machine. The little boys loved watching their pennies get flattened and pressed as a souvenir of their special day.

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Soon after arriving back at our home my parents and brother had to head back to Ohio to prepare for their next special visit. As they drive on to Michigan and we are headed camping. Wish me luck. This will either be a wonderful memory making weekend in a tent or someone will end up tied to a tree. Only time will tell!  🙂

School is out!

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“No more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks.”

School is done…officially!

For the last two weeks the kids have been completing their work and finishing school one by one.

Two weeks ago, on Tuesday, Rusty and Tyler completed their last assignment. The next day Molly finished up school and Gracie turned in her last study skills assignment on Friday.

The following week Ozzie still had school, although there was little actual work done. It was mainly field trips, class parties and movies. I used Ozzie’s last week of school to get some home projects done and some spring cleaning tackled before our summer schedule began. (More on that in my next post)

Friday was Ozzie’s final day of 3rd grade. He only had school for one hour. As crazy as it was sending him to school for one hour of movie watching I did it because it was important to him to say goodbye to his teacher and friends. I used the hour he was gone to finish my plans for the day. I wanted to do something fun to celebrate a successful year. The kids all worked so hard.

It was quite a year. With the 2013/2014 school year came some new challenges:

Gracie completed her first year of high school and earned a 4.0. Go Gracie!

We all had the challenging adjustment of a new family member moving in halfway through the school year.

Adding Ozzie and his schedule of court mandated appointments required a new level of independent study for Molly and Rusty. They stepped up to the challenge in a most impressive way.

We had the new life experience of juggling public school requirements with home school commitments. That added many new challenges to our schedule.

But, we did it! We endured to the end and finished with flying colors!

On Friday at 10:15 we picked up Ozzie from school to begin our “Last day of School” celebration. I had a fun day planned and we couldn’t wait to get started.

Our first stop was Living Treasures Animal Park. Last year for Tyler’s adoption gift my parents gave us a family membership to Living Treasures. (Living Treasures is a local petting zoo.) Friday was the first opportunity we had to go.

When we arrived we purchase pellets and carrots to feed to the animals. Ozzie, who had never been there before, was especially eager to start walking around.

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The giraffes were the biggest hit of the day!

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Rusty loved the baby camel…

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…Until he was slimmed by it 🙂

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After we were done at Living Treasures we headed south for surprise #2. Our next stop was Baldingers, a penny candy store that I often took the big kids to when they were young. They have memories of being given a quarter to spend and a basket to fill and thinking they were the luckiest kids on Earth. Ozzie and Tyler had never been there before so they didn’t understand the big kids’ squeals of delight when we pulled into the parking lot until they stepped through the front door and saw the tables filled with penny candy. They each received $1.00 to spend (inflation and larger appetites have driven up the cost of this treat. )  😉

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Ozzie shopping with his $1.00

Ozzie shopping with his $1.00

After we were done candy shopping we headed to our final stop. I had a gift card I received at Christmas time for Barnes and Noble bookstore and decided to let each of the kids pick a summer reading book. I remember what a special treat it was as a kid when my parents would take us to the bookstore and allow us to pick a new book as a reward. It was equally as fun being on the other side, as a parent, watching them get excited over the prospect of a new book. Some of them knew exactly what they wanted and headed to their chosen book right away while others hemmed and hawed and wandered until I gave them the 10 minute warning. In the end everyone was pleased with their purchases and I was thrilled to have a car full of quiet, book-loving readers on the ride home.

The final purchases

The final purchases

With the change of seasons comes mixed feelings. There is such excitement over the months of freedom stretching ahead of us but also a bit of sadness as another year passes and the kids move up another grade. Nobody felt those mixed emotions more that Ozzie who cried himself to sleep that night. “I am just going to miss school so much. I am never going to be a third grader again,” he shared with tears streaming.

As much as I found the thought of a little boy crying over the start of summer break humorous, I got it. The excitement, the relief, the saying good-bye and moving on, the passing of time and the lost moments…It can be overwhelming. Sometimes the mix of emotions that come with change can be too much to contain and the feelings pour out in the form of tears.

I get it.

Change is hard but with it comes tomorrow…

And tomorrow is a wonderful thing to look forward to. 🙂

“We were so excited we wet our plants”

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We finally did it…

a month late

but better late than never.

Our vegetable garden is in!

The busy month of May left us with little time to get our garden prepped and planted so on the last day of the month we found ourselves weeding, spreading manure, and planting in an attempt to get it done before June. 🙂

The day began with a trip to Home Depot to buy supplies. The little boys went with us while the big kids began the laborious task of weeding out the beds to prepare them for planting.

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“Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden.” -Robert Brault

After arriving home we had a few hours to weed and clean out our raised beds before we had to take a break for Tyler’s first soccer game of the day at 11:00am.

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Mimi Joy met us at the school to watch Tyler play before she had to meet up with a friend that she had plans with. After Tyler’s game we were back home for two more hours of weeding and fence mending before we had to leave for Tyler’s second game of the day.

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Gardening requires a lot of water – most of it in the form of perspiration.” – Lou Erickson

Ellie May had fun being out where the action was. She was fascinated by some of the critters she met while outside.

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At 1:00 we left for Tyler’s second game of the day while the big kids took a break for lunch. When we arrived home Toby began filling the garden boxes with manure with help from the little boys. Ozzie was grossed out and somewhat horrified by the addition of animal dung to his garden bed. After getting the beds prepped it was soon time to string off the squares for our “square foot gardens.”

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A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” -Gertrude Jekyll

After prepping our garden beds it was time or the older three kids to get cleaned up and ready for their date with Aunt Beth. She was taking them out to dinner and shopping for their belated birthday celebrations. They had a wonderful time with her and while they were gone we mowed, weed-wacked the yard and planted flowers all while the little boys played.

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After the kids arrived home everyone gathered together to decide who was going to take which raised bed and who was growing what vegetables. It was a lesson in diplomacy as everyone “called dibs” on which veggies they wanted and didn’t want to grow in their garden.

Each child has their own 16 x 4 foot garden bed that they are in charge of for the summer. They pick the vegetables they will grow and then they are responsible for watering, weeding and harvesting that garden. After much debate it was decided that…

Gracie would grow tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini.

Molly would grow Corn and spaghetti squash.

Rusty would grow summer squash, herbs, and sunflowers.

Tyler would grow turnips, onions, carrots and pumpkins.

Ozzie decided he wanted to grow lettuce, peppers and “pickles.” 🙂

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“”Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.” – Lindley Karstens

After a long day of hard work we decided to do something fun for dinner…hot dogs and s’mores over the fire.

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After enjoying our campfire for a while we sent the two little boys, the very dirty little boys, inside for baths. We told them to put clothes back on rather than PJs because we had a surprise for them. At 9:30 at night we loaded everyone up into the car, along with blankets and chairs, and drove to the neighboring town for their community day’s fireworks. It was a fun way to end a busy summer Saturday!

Waiting for fireworks...

Waiting for fireworks…

 

Grace and Molly

Grace and Molly

Ozzie danced to the "Booms" while Tyler snuggled under the blanket to keep warm. (Tyler is the red lump on the ground.)  :)

Ozzie danced to the “Booms” while Tyler snuggled under the blanket to keep warm. (Tyler is the red lump on the ground.)  🙂