Monthly Archives: August 2014

Being 8 is great!


Peter Pan was onto something when he said…

“Little boys should never be sent to bed. They always wake up a day older.”

And before you know it those days turn into weeks, and the weeks roll into months, and then one day you wake up and your little boy is 8.

I still can’t believe it.

Tyler moved in with us weeks after he turned 6 years old. As I look back on where we started and how he has blossomed I am humbled by God’s grace and goodness.  I fell in love with Tyler from the first moment he stepped out of the social worker’s car to visit us for the first time. He was so little, so sullen, so heartbroken. All he wanted to do was play with the farm animals and water my garden. He didn’t speak. He wouldn’t look us in the eye.

After moving in we went through a challenging year of adjustment and testing. He was so sad, so angry…so lost. He just wanted to move back with his old family and we all felt the repercussions of that sadness and frustration. It was a challenging year but even with the tantrums and meltdowns I found myself falling more and more in love with this little soul.

I could never have anticipated the overwhelming love that I grew to feel for this little boy born to another woman.

I found myself delighting in the characteristics that made Tyler unique from my other children. Characteristics that developed from someone else’s genes.

Like his beautiful brown eyes (all my others have blue) and his amazing natural athleticism.

I admired his independence, confidence and complete lack of need to impress others. (That is so not me)

As time went on our bond grew, his security grew, and our love grew, and then our adoption was finalized.

I once heard someone say,

“Yes one of my children are adopted…but I can’t remember which one.”

I smiled at those words, thinking it was a charming thing to say but not giving it much merit. But I get it now.

It is a process, not an easy or effortless one, to bond and become “Mommy” to another woman’s child. You begin by going through the motions of motherhood waiting for the feelings to follow. One day you realize that at some point the emotions of mothering replaced the responsibility of mothering. The love is there. The bond grows. Then  you realize you are there.

You can’t remember life without that child and you sometimes forget that he wasn’t always there. He is yours and the love and connection you feel is no different from the children you gave birth to. It is though God knits you together with that same connective thread that bonds new moms to their newborn child.

I found the idea of not remembering which child is adopted silly until recently when we were talking about the day each of the kids were born. Rusty wanted to know what time he was born and what happened. This led to a discussion about each of their “birth” days. Tyler then asked, “Well what about when you birthed me?” For a moment I paused and was wracking my brain for the memories of when I gave birth to him. I couldn’t remember and then it hit me…”Oh yeah, I wasn’t there.” 🙂

It was just for the briefest of moments but in that moment I forgot he was adopted…that he wasn’t always mine.

That is the gift of adoption.

It doesn’t come quickly. It certainly isn’t easy, but it is miraculous.

I would encourage anyone that is feeling God’s pull toward the walk of adoption to take that first step of faith.

I am so grateful that we did!

Tyler waking to his birthday song and cupcake! I can't believe my boy is 8!

Tyler waking to his birthday song and cupcake! I can’t believe my boy is 8!

Tyler loved is singing birthday card from the other kids.

Tyler loved his singing birthday card from the other kids.


The girls bought him a new lunch box.

The girls bought him a new lunch box.

Tyler had a football game on his birthday. There is no place he would have rather been that day than the football field.

Tyler had a football game on his birthday. There is no place he would have rather been that day than the football field. They won 27-0.

The cheering section!

The cheering section!

My big boy

My big boy

It's great to be 8!!!

It’s great to be 8!!!

We are going to Disney World!!


I love being  married to a man who loves grand gestures and big surprises. I mean, really, is there anything more thrilling than surprising someone you love with a wish granted…

And make a dream come true?!


Yesterday Toby and I pulled off a dream surprise that was a year in the making.

For 12 months we saved, planned, researched, booked and prepared for the thrill of saying to our kids,

“Surprise, we are going to DISNEY WORLD!!!”

Yesterday was our big reveal and they had no idea. 🙂

Here is how it happened…

Sunday was their last day of summer before school began so we told them we had something fun planned for family time…a automobile scavenger hunt.

We broke them into two teams, boys vs girls, and had them sit on opposite sides of the car. Using a list of items that we had previously scouted out around town we gave them each a list and both teams a camera and told them that the goal was to take a picture of each item they saw on their list. The kids were excited and it was fun watching them shout to their teammate with the camera the items they spotted as we drove around town.

The boys' team.

The boys’ team.

Everything on the list was obtainable (hence the previous scouting mission to make the list) except for “a sign with your name on it.” We drove until all items were found except that one last item.


This was our set-up.

An hour before we left Toby had snuck out and driven up the road (in the opposite direction we had left our driveway) to place some signs.

As we drove back home the kids were laughing about the fun of the challenge while lamenting the fact that they hadn’t found that last item on the list when we turned onto our road. A minute later we pulled up to sign # 1

IMG_9651“There’s a sign with our name on it!” the teams shouted as they scrambled to get their last photo. We continued to drive down the road to sign 2.


Now the looks of confusion began as they passed sign # 3…

IMG_9653*Drumroll please*


The reactions were mixed. Some began “wooping it up” immediately, some were still processing and some weren’t sure if they could even believe us.

As if we would joke about something like Disney World. 😉

When we got back to the house the details of the trip were shared. Waiting for each kid was a gift bag with Disney vacation supplies in it.

A Disney T-shirt.


A folder for each kid with a google map of our road trip route, road games, maps of the parks and our resort, and our itinerary of events (Where we are going each day, where we are eating lunch, and where we have reservations for dinner.)

Our itinerary...So excited!!!

Our itinerary…So excited!!!

The squeals of delight made our year of planning and secret keeping worth it. 🙂

The surprise waiting for them at home.

The surprise waiting for them at home.

Our Disney vacation "count down board." We leave in 10 days!!!

Our Disney vacation “count down board.” We leave in 10 days!!!

Molly checking out her vacation folder..

Molly checking out her vacation folder..

The kids also got to see their Magic Bands. These are the new “key to everything” bands for Disney Resort guests. Instead of the old tickets or cards used to get into your hotel room or into the park these Magic Bands are worn as bracelets and are scanned to give you access to everything Disney. Months ago we were able to select the color for each child and they came customized with that child’s name and age.


Disney World Magic Bands.

The next surprise was pins for Disney pin trading. Toby found an inexpensive lot of pins for sale on Ebay months ago for the kids to trade at Disney World. We dumped the bag on the table and they took turns, one at a time, selecting their pins for their lanyards.


Disney Pins

Disney Pins

The evening ended with cake and watching the Disney vacation planning video that Toby sent away for.


Disney World here we come!!!

(My computer is not cooperating at the moment but I will try to post the video of the big reveal soon) 🙂

Happy Campers!


This past week was our final week of vacation before school resumes. We spent the week relaxing in a cabin on a lake in the company of dear friends. It was a wonderful way to usher out summer.

Inside our cabin at Pymatuning Lake.

Inside our cabin at Pymatuning Lake.

Check-in was last Friday. Our morning was spent packing a week’s worth of food, clothing, bedding, kitchen supplies, fishing gear, beach toys and all the other “necessities.” By afternoon we were ready to head out. The drive was an easy one. When we arrived the other family that we were camping with were already there and settled in. We were pleasantly surprised at how large the cabin was. With the help of many hands we quickly unloaded our trailer full of camping supplies.

The cabin had two bedrooms. One room had a queen sized bed and the other had two sets of bunk beds. We slept in the bunk bed room with our two youngest boys. Outside the cabin we set up two tents. There was a girl tent and a boy tent for the older kids.

Our bedroom.

Our bedroom.

Friday night was spent getting settled.

On Saturday we rented a pontoon boat for the day. The kids all enjoyed cruising the lake and some even did a little fishing from the boat.

The first group to go out "cruising."

The first group to go out “cruising.”

Capt. Ozzie

Capt. Ozzie

Tyler fishing

Tyler fishing

Sunday was Miss Tatum’s 13th birthday so the girls woke up early to decorate the cabin before Tatum woke up.


Molly and buddies!

Molly and Tatum…best buddies!

Other fun activities during our week-long vacation included a day at Conneaut Lake Park. We packed a picnic lunch and took the kids to this historic amusement park for the day. The park, which is in the process of being revitalized, had about eight rides up and going for the public to enjoy. One of their most famous attractions is Blue Streak, a wooden roller coaster. The kids all had their “favorites” but my personal favorite was the antique carousel. It was a work of art. The park’s vintage ambiance made for a lot of fun photo ops.


Gracie on the carousel.




Another family from our home school co-op came up with her family to camp for a few days. Another co-op mom  joined us one day for a day at the beach. It was fun to catch up with friends that we hadn’t seen for a while and the kids enjoyed some fun in the water.

Ozzie and Saga

Ozzie and Saga


Ozzie enjoying the water.

Ozzie enjoying the water.

Gracie's alter ego...Super Grace.

Gracie’s alter ego…Super Grace.


Grace and her best friend, Olivia.

Grace and her best friend, Olivia.

Photo bombed by Molly.

Photo bombed by Molly.

And of course a week at Pymatuning State Park wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the spillway to feed the carp. As gross as my older girls find this excursion I knew the little boys would love the experience of feeding bread to the carp…I was right. Both boys got a kick out of the wall to wall carp that gather at the mouth of the spillway. The carp population is so dense that the ducks simply walk across their backs to get to the falling pieces of bread. It is quite the sight to see!

The carp at the spillway.

The carp at the spillway.



My beautiful kiddos. 🙂

It was a wonderful week spent with wonderful friends. It was a perfect way to end summer. Next week school begins and summer comes to a close.

PS- Today we celebrate Tyler turning 8. Happy birthday little boy! You bring us so much joy!!

(More on his special day later…)IMG_8706

A look back on our stroll through Storybook Forest

We spent the day at Idlewild Park...a magical summer day.

One of our favorite summer traditions is visiting Idlewild Park in Ligonier, Pennsylvania and strolling through Storybook Forest.

Preparing to enter the pages of our favorite childhood tales.

Preparing to enter the pages of our favorite childhood tales.

Look who we found in grandma's bed!

Look who we found in grandma’s bed!

"Hickory Dickory Dock..the mouse went up the clock."

“Hickory Dickory Dock..the mouse went up the clock.”

"There was an old lady who lived in a shoe..."

“There was an old lady who lived in a shoe…”

"Mary Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?"

“Mary Mary quite contrary how does your garden grow?”

Gepetto's workshop

Geppetto’s workshop

The Little Engine that Could...and three passengers.

The Little Engine that Could…and three passengers.

Jack and the Beanstalk

Jack and the Beanstalk


...and they all lived together in a little crooked house.

…and they all lived together in a little crooked house.

Sleepy, Sneezy, Happy, Grumpy and Dopey.

Sleepy, Sneezy, Happy, Grumpy and Dopey.


“I left fairy tales lying on the floor of the nursery, and I have not found any books so sensible since.”

– G. K. Chesterton

Fun with cousins!


This weekend we had the rare treat of having cousins come to visit us at Patchwork Farm for a mini reunion. My sister Kelly and her family were passing through, on their way from Michigan to visit grandparents in Pittsburgh and Ohio, and stopped to spend 24 hours with us. The days leading up to the visit were filled with excitement over seeing cousins that the kids haven’t seen in a while. The kids were most excited about getting to meet their newest cousin, Charlie, and getting to show off their home to the younger cousins who weren’t born three years ago when the Kirks last visited Patchwork Farm.

The cousins arrived around 4:00 on Saturday. My little boys began sitting and waiting at the end of the driveway hours before that. They were super excited for their 24 hours of cousin fun to begin.

Getting ready for company means haircuts for the boys. Ozzie decided to try a buzz cut like his brothers.

Getting ready for company meant haircuts for the boys. Ozzie decided to try a buzz cut like his brothers.

The kids asked if they could camp outside with their cousins so that they could all sleep together. The big kids helped me set up our 10 man tent.

IMG_8704When Kelly and Tom arrived it was joyful chaos as the kids ran to greet each other. They quickly headed out to the McDonald’s Play Place that sits in the middle of our front yard. The cousins were eager to try it out.

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Tyler and Noah

Tyler and Noah

Next stop was the animal pen. All the kids were eager to pet the goats and other critters…especially Sammy, the little farmer. 🙂


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The biggest hit among our animal friends was the newest batch of baby bunnies. Molly brought out the newest litter so that the cousins could hold the babies.





The baby bunnies were a big hit but the baby that was the biggest hit of all was two month old, baby Charlie. There was a line to hold the newest cousin. 🙂

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I love watching my sons with babies. It is like catching a glimpse of who they will be as fathers.

I love watching my sons with babies. It is like catching a glimpse of who they will be as fathers.

Ozzie was especially taken with Charlie. He asked if he could hold him. As he sat there holding the baby he kept commenting on how cute Charlie was.

“He is such a cute baby,” Ozzie said to Aunt Kelly, “He looks just like me as a baby. I think he has my eyes.”

When Kelly and I laughed Ozzie became more insistant. “No really, look! He has my eyes and my hair.”

Genetics are a crazy thing.

(I guess someone should really break the news to Ozzie that he is adopted.)  😉

Ozzie and Charlie

Ozzie and Charlie

Even Ellie May wanted her turn with baby Charlie…


For dinner we enjoyed hot dogs over the fire and s’mores for dessert.


Girl time!

Girl time!

After a fun evening of visiting and playing it was time to tuck the kiddos into bed under the stars. Once everyone was settled we said goodnight, zipped the tent closed and headed inside to enjoy some rare, uninterrupted adult conversation.

"Goodnight kids!"

“Goodnight kids!”

The next day we enjoyed staying at the farm and letting the kids play while we caught up on each other’s lives. The cousins had to leave at 3:00pm so we filled our day with as much fun as we could before they left.

Tyler and Nate enjoyed playing together on the trampoline.

Tyler and Nate enjoyed playing together on the trampoline.

Halfway through the morning the kids announced that they would be putting on a fashion show and that the adults would be the judges. We were put into position, given score cards with different categories and then the music began. It was a hoot seeing what the kids came up with. It is amazing the hours of fun and the laughs that can be had with a dress-up box full of old Halloween costumes!

Ozzie as Scooby Doo.

Ozzie as Scooby Doo.

Miss Lydia

Miss Lydia

Nate loved this mask that he could see us through but we couldn't see him.

Nate loved this mask that he could see us through but we couldn’t see him.

Ozzie as a pirate princess. The dogs loved his costume. :)

Ozzie as a pirate princess. The dogs loved his costume. 🙂

Sammy the dinosaur

Sammy the dinosaur.

Ellie was fascinated with Rusty's ensamble

Ellie was fascinated with Rusty’s ensemble

Tom with a new hair-do

Tom with a new hair-do



All to soon it was time for Kelly and Tom to head onto their next stop. We didn’t get a lot of time together but it is amazing how much fun can be packed into 24 hours with this group of kids

Cousins: Childhood playmates who grow up to become forever friends. :)

Cousins: Childhood playmates who grow up to become forever friends. 🙂

“Adoption is not for the Faint of Heart”


“There really is not much that is easy about adoption. For me the only easy part was the “fall in love with a child you don’t really know” part. Then, they move in and you have to get over the “idea” of who you thought the child was going to be and really work on falling in love with who the child really is.” – Foster to Foster

I recently read an article on adoption in which the author made an interesting comparison. In the article she compared adopting an older child to an arranged marriage. In it she compares the process of being presented with a child to being presented with a future spouse. You are given a photo, a small personality profile, a bit of a biography, but without really knowing that other person you commit. You make a life-long, heart investment to a person you don’t know.

Then you move in together and begin your life.

With that blind commitment comes a period of adjustment as you discover things about each other that were never revealed prior to committing your lives. Demons from the past creep up and there are moments of, “What have we gotten ourselves into,” that must be worked through. It can be hard and scary as you slowly get more comfortable with each other and you get a real look at what you have committed to. But you have committed. You have pledged your heart and life to another person so you work at it. You learn lessons of patience and compromise and humility as you make a go of it. You learn to fall in love with a stranger. It isn’t a passive process. It is a daily walk…a daily choice. You get a deep understanding of the saying, “Love is not a feeling, love is a choice.” It is choosing to love and forgive and keep trying even when that person is unlovable and is pushing you away.

There has been a battle raging in our home lately. A battle of wills. A battle for loyalty. A battle of good vs. evil. A battle against the demons of Ozzie’s past. A battle of love… as we remain committed through the really hard stuff. Everyone is weary and wounded. Everyone is gasping for breath and ready to admit defeat. It is the hardest battle we have ever fought. Tyler’s adjustment was minor compared to the battle we are fighting for Ozzie’s heart. He rages and pushes and hurts and we continue pull him closer. He wounds the other members of the family with his words and choices and we continue to come back to the abuse. We are committed to love through the pain. We aren’t going anywhere. We will fight this battle for his heart to the end.

There are days I want to run away. It is challenging to watch the other kids be hurt at the hand of this newest addition. I watch their weary heads hang in discouragement as we fight the same battle once again…get called the same names…watch as our possessions are destroyed and our days are disrupted. It is hard to choose love when what you are feeling is anger and hurt. In the midst of these battles I hold onto two truths…

#1. This child is mine. This isn’t a commitment we entered into independently. God placed Ozzie’s little hand in ours and called us to love him, parent him and adopt him into our family. God doesn’t make mistakes and thus ,this battle for Ozzie’s heart, is a part of the process…part of the journey that we must walk.

#2. Ozzie is not the enemy.

I read a wonderful quote about adoption that impacted me profoundly:

“It is not you against this child. It is you and this child against this child’s history. It is not a personal attack on you.” – Karyn Purvis

When Tyler moved in I held tightly to these two truths through the darkest of days. I also learned a profound lesson about human nature…Anger is usually a mask for a deeper emotion. It is easy to simply react to the anger and rage of a child and to parent on a surface level, but the behavior will not change until you break through the rage and get to the hurt that lies beneath it.

After two months of battling Ozzie’s rage we had a break through last night. After getting sent to bed early for bullying Tyler we finally had the breakthrough moment that I have been praying for daily.

I heard Ozzie talking to someone in his room so I went to investigate. Before opening the door I stopped to listen. His voice shook with sobs as he poured his heart out to God in the form of a prayer. He begged forgiveness for “messing up” with his birth family. He cried as he petitioned God to fix it so that he could live with his sister, Zoey, again. He confessed that it was “all his fault” that his birth family abused him and that if he had been a better boy they wouldn’t have hurt him and he could still live there. He prayed for help being a “good boy” so that his new family won’t get rid of him too. My heart broke as I listened to the raw emotions that had been hiding under the anger and rage. As he said “Amen” I tapped softly on the door and he called for me to enter. In walking through those doors I not only entered his room but his heart. We sat for an hour on his bed. I rubbed his back and he poured out his heart. We talked and cried and prayed together. As he began to fall asleep from the emotional exhaustion of the last few hours I praised my Heavenly Father for this breakthrough. We finally chipped enough rage to get to the wound inside and now the healing can begin. It will be a slow process…a “one step forward, two-step back” process…but it can now begin.

I will remember this day forever in the same way I remember Tyler’s breakthrough moment. It is the moment you first get a glimpse of your child’s heart…the raw, broken, beating part of them that they have hidden from the world for so long…and they shared it with you.

Love is a choice you make daily. A choice to keep showing up. A choice to keep stepping on that battlefield to fight for your child’s heart….because eventually you will look up and realize the battle is won and the war is over.

Ozzie's visit from the tooth fairy.

Ozzie’s visit from the tooth fairy.






A Boy and his Dog


“Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails..

that is what little boys are made of.”


“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them and filling an emptiness we didn’t even know we had.”


Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” – Roger Caras


“A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes or designer clothes. A water log stick will do just fine. A dog doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, clever or dull, smart or dumb. Give him your heart and he’ll give you his. How many people can you say that about? How many people can make you feel rare, and pure, and special? How many people can make you feel extraordinary?” – Marley and Me


“A boy and his dog make a glorious pair; no better friendship is found anywhere.” – Edgar Guest


“Every once in a while a dog enters your life and changes everything.”

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Live like someone left the gate open.” 🙂

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“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.” – Samuel Butler

“One is silver and the other’s gold”


While we spent the week shuffling bedrooms around Molly was enjoying a relaxing, fun-filled week at girl scout camp. On Sunday night we dropped her off at Camp Redwing, with her friend Tatum, for a week of scouting fun. The camp she signed up for was “Iron Chef” camp. Some of the week was spent cooking but much of the week was spent enjoying the other camp experiences offered at Camp Redwing. Here is a pictorial overview of her week at camp. 🙂

(Pictures: compliments of Molly)

Molly and the other "Iron Chef" campers.

Molly and the other “Iron Chef” campers.

The view from her tent where she spent the week bunking with 3 other girls.

The view from her tent where she spent the week bunking with 3 other girls.

The week started out rainy but once the clouds parted it was time for some water fun.

The week started out rainy but once the clouds parted it was time for some water fun.

Miss Tatum

Miss Tatum

Camp fun...

Camp fun…

Dirty moments :)

Dirty moments 🙂

During her free time Molly could play camp checkers with friends..


Or enjoy a little time on the archery range…


Molly also learned how to French braid hair this week. She couldn’t wait to show me the picture of her first successful French braid.


One of the cooking challenges was cake decorating.

The fun of food color.

The fun of food color.

The best part of camp, according to Molly, was making new friends…





Molly and her new girl scout buddies!

Thank you, Camp Redwing, for a wonderful week!

“Make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other’s gold.”

The Bedroom Shuffle


This week was a busy one.

It began here…

IMG_8554And ended here…

IMG_8616Let me explain.

This was our big project week of the summer. In the spring we decided that our big summer project was going to be the bedroom shuffle. We decided that Rusty had been a good sport long enough and deserved to have his bedroom back to himself. When Tyler moved in he started in Rusty’s room and without complaint Rusty endured those tough early moths of tantrums and his room being destroyed as Tyler raged. When Tyler moved into his own room we found the level of contention dropped dramatically when everyone had their own separate corners to retreat to.

When Ozzie joined our family he moved into Rusty’s room and claimed the top bunk. Once again Rusty was a trooper and willingly made room for his newest brother without complaint…and once again he was on the receiving end of tantrum destruction. After months of watching Rusty put up with his things being broken and destroyed while Ozzie raged, we decided it was time for Rusty to get his man cave back. The result of this decision was “The Great Bedroom Shuffle.”

We knew this would be a laborious project and I found myself putting it off as summer rolled on. I knew the chaos that would come before the calm and I was dreading the mess that inevitably comes with home projects. When we found out that Toby was scheduled for foot surgery in a week and would be unable to do much heavy lifting and ladder work for the remainder of summer break we realized this week was our week of opportunity.

The “Great Bedroom Shuffle” began last week when we consolidated the craftroom and schoolroom, thus freeing up the craftroom to become Gracie’s room. Saturday Toby began walling in the open craft loft to create Gracie’s bedroom. Tyler was eager to help him with the drywall work…

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As they built and drywalled the new bedroom wall the girls began painting Gracie’s new room. She decided to change the wall color from yellow to coral. Molly helped her begin the painting process before she disappeared for the week to Girl Scout Camp. Lucky girl! Her timing was perfect…she missed out of a week of hard work and arrived home Friday when the projects were all done. 🙂

The girls begin painting...

The girls begin painting…

Saying goodbye at camp.

Saying goodbye at camp.

Molly and her best buddy, Tatum.

Molly and her best buddy, Tatum.

The shuffle then began. Monday was prep day for Gracie’s room. We painted and purged and finished the last of the construction.


Tuesday was Gracie’s move in day. We spent all day sorting, organizing, and moving her from her old room into her new room.

The fruits of our labor…

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On Wednesday Tyler’s old room was sorted, purged and organized before he was moved up to Gracie’s old room. He and Gracie will be neighbors in the upstairs loft. He decided he wanted a sport themed room and had fun decorating with sport decals.

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Tyler’s finished room…

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 Thursday was Ozzie’s turn. Although all the kids were excited about the changes, none were more excited than Ozzie. We took the little boys shopping and told them that they could pick out new bedding and a new lamp. They looked and debated for an hour until they settled on their “themes.” Ozzie wanted a car theme. I was relieved by his choice because it meant that I didn’t have to take down the license plates from Tyler’s old room. It also meant I could reuse the old street signs we had. Ozzie was so excited. When we finished he sat down on his bed and said, “This is my first room I’ve ever had.” When I asked what he meant he explained, “Well, when I lived with my birth parents I slept in their room. When I lived in my foster homes I always stayed in the guest bedroom and when I moved in here I stayed in Rusty’s room.” He went on to say, “I always wanted a car room but I never had my own room to decorate.”

That night he kept asking when he could go to bed and finally sleep in his new room. 🙂

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Friday was our last long day as we cleaned and organized Rusty’s room and helped him put his things back to where they were before Ozzie moved in. Rusty was thrilled to have his room back and had fun “spreading” his things out and reclaiming his shelves.



The final big project of the week happened on Saturday as I worked on the kids’ bathroom. Stealing an idea from a friend, I decided that in an attempt to cut down on the amount of towels I wash each week, I would give each kid a personal towel that they would use for the duration of the week. To make this vision work I told Toby I was looking for a board with hooks rather than a than a towel bar. After looking around and not finding what I envisioned Toby came up with his own design. It was much cuter than my original vision. He took old plumbing fixtures and attached them to a piece of barn wood to make my towel hooks. I was thrilled with the result!

IMG_8610Now the kids each have an assigned towel that they are responsible for laundering weekly. We will see if this helps cut down on our towel consumption.

To finish off the kids’ bathroom I had them each draw a self-portrait that I framed to hang on the wall.


The finished bathroom hooks.

The week ended with Molly being picked up from Girl Scout Camp and all of the big kids spending the weekend with my parents in Ohio. It was a fun play weekend for the big kids after a week of hard work. The little boys enjoyed a fun weekend of being the only kids. It was nice for Toby and I to have some special time with the little ones while the big kids got a bit of a break from their little brothers. On Sunday we drove out to Ohio to celebrate birthdays and pick up the big kids.

Monday morning we arrived early for Toby’s outpatient surgery. He was there to get some much-needed surgery on his foot. The surgery went well. He is home resting and we are all looking forward to a more relaxed week with Toby home recovering.

The little boys had fun playing in the dress-up box. Do you notice our infamous photo bomber? :)

This week the little boys had fun playing in the dress-up box. Can you spot our infamous photo bomber? 🙂