A Crazy, Quick Catch-up

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The last few weeks have been a blur of end of the year busyness. In between the big events have been a gaggle of everyday moments…none of which warrant a post in and of themselves, but are a reflection of our life…thus worth recording. This blog is first and foremost a recording of our life. It is my journal, one of my forms of scrapbooking, and a legacy of love I leave for my family, that they might read my words and remember the crazy days of our life decades from now.

Last Saturday Toby had his spring metal detecting hunt with his Beaver County Metal Detecting Club. His club meets on the first Thursday of each month at Kings restaurant in Monaca where they eat dinner together and talk metal detecting. There are awards for best treasures found the previous month and they share tips and good hunt sites. Toby is one of the youngest members of the club with most of the members being retired men. He enjoys the company of this group of men that remind him a lot of his dad, and enjoys the big hunts they hold twice a year.

At the big hunts coins are buried in the ground ahead of time. Boundaries are laid out, a timer is set, and the race begins as 30+ members, with a metal detector in one hand and a hand shovels in the other, hunt for the coins that have been buried. In addition to coins, metal tokens are also hidden that correspond to prizes that are laid out on the table.

The hunt lasted most of the day by the time coins were hunted, prizes were distributed, and everyone showed off their loot.

Toby came home with a belt pouch full of coins, some specialty coins won by tokens, as well as a metal detector canvas storage bag.

The kids had fun helping Toby sort and count his loot.

Good job, Toby!

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For one on one time this week the boys had some special requests. One on one time happens each day from 5:00- 6:00. The kids are each assigned a day and during that one hour slot they get to pick an activity to do with Mom. Sometimes that time is used for a project, sometimes the kids just want uninterrupted time to have a heart to heart talk, sometimes we work on a school or church or scout project, and sometimes we just play. It all depends on the child and what they need that week.

This week and last week Rusty was in the mood to be creative so we worked on some crafts. He wanted to make magnets to hang in his bed area of the bus. We had fun decorating rocks to turn into magnets.

During the previous week’s one on one time we had fun with an old tin of buttons. We worked on some button art to frame and hang in his room.

For Ozzie and Tyler’s one on one time we combined their time with Mom to do some therapy work. We are working with Tina on helping the boys see each other as companions rather than competitors, so I have been trying to create opportunities for them to play together without the influence of other playmates or older siblings. For their time we drove down to the park. We stopped at the little grocery store so they could each get a treat and then headed to the park for an hour of play. It was a beautiful day and the boys had fun playing as brothers and friends.

This week Gracie has been creative as well. The three older kids have a dance coming up later this week. The theme is Alice in Wonderland. Although they aren’t planning on going in costume, they do want their outfits to reflect the theme in subtle and whimsical ways. Grace created this necklace to wear as a nod to the Queen of Hearts.

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Beginning this week we have made some adjustments to our daily schedule. These changes are a result of  a family council we held last week. There have been some struggles and heightened emotions running rampant in our home the last few weeks. We felt the need to sit down as a family and reassess where we stood as a family, and refocus our time and energy based on current needs. The kids were given an open forum to air their grievances, share their struggles, and offer their suggestions as to what adjustments needed to be made as a family.

This time of year is when we start laying out our daily schedule for the summer months and look at how we would be best served to use our time. Talking with Toby and the kids is a great tool to measure what tasks need to be priorities as we budget our time.

One of the concerns that were a red flag as we talked as a family was a need expressed by the three older kids. All three expressed a desire for some time to be set aside for them to have time with Toby and I apart from their little brothers.

We came up with the solution of setting aside the hour after the little boys are tucked into bed as big kid time with the parents. The older three direct this time. Sometimes it is used to just visit, sometimes we will watch a show that might be too mature for the younger two, or just play a game together.

One night we had a “Just Dance” dance off. It was as fun to watch and photograph as it was to participate!

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 This week Grace, Rusty and Ozzie received their new belts in taekwondo. All three advanced to the next belt after testing. Rusty is now a brown belt, Ozzie is an orange belt, and Gracie is a yellow stripe.

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Friday night (after our big vertical adventure field trip) was the annual Father/Son campout for all the men and boys at church. The boys had a blast at camp Agawam. They eagerly shared that it was the best Father/Son campout in years. The boys loved the new campsite with its numerous structures to play on including a castle, a wooden fort, an underground bunker, and a wooden pirate ship. Add to that the campfires, sleeping outside, and s’mores and you have a little boy’s idea of heaven!

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The girls and I enjoyed a relaxing girls’ night at home. We watched Call the Midwives on Netflix and the girls made ice cream sundaes. Then they did my hair.

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There was a reason for the style choice.

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No, not that… 🙂

The following evening Toby and I were invited to an 80’s birthday party and I needed an “80’s perm,” so the girls covered my head in dozens of tiny braids that we rolled into buns for maximum curl, as we watched our show.

On Saturday we worked on the school bus conversion (Stay tuned for updates) and then got dressed in 1980’s garb for our friend’s 30th birthday party. My girls had a blast helping me get ready. As they helped me do my make-up and hair I introduced them to the musical stylings of Tiffany and New Kids on the Block. We had fun looking up pictures of 1980’s outfits, hair and make-up for inspiration. The girls declared us 80’s girls to be “fearless” in our fashion choices. I thought “fearless” was a very generous word choice. 🙂

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We had a lot of fun at the party. There was much laughter, much 1980’s reminiscing, a round of M.A.S.H….I will be living in a shack with John Stamos….and a 1980’s music showdown between the girls and guys.

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It was a fun way to end a busy week!

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