Happy Little Trees



When God sent me Grace I feel like I won the parental lottery. From the time she was a wee little lass she has been a delight. Being very “first born” in her personality she is a little mother to her siblings and a shining example of goodness and diligence. When Toby let the three big kids know he was in need of some laborers for his time in Michigan Molly and Rusty quickly raised their hands as volunteers. I knew the opportunity to spend a month in Michigan with Kelly’s family was something they would all love! I could tell Grace felt an obligation to stay behind and help me with the two little boys so I encouraged her to go too. I told her that the littles and I would be just fine, but she said she’d like to stay home with me.

I considered this time with her a special gift. When else would I have so much one on one time with her (without Toby, Rusty, and Molly) before she leaves for college in a year. As much as I appreciated all the help she offered in the weeks leading up to our cross country trip (She was a huge help!), I wanted to make sure we fit in fun experiences too.

Our mornings were filled with trip preparations as we cleaned, packed, and organized. Then in the afternoons we would take the boys swimming with our pool pass. Grace and I were able to float and visit in the deep end while the boys swam and burned off energy. We soon discovered the deciding factor of good days vs hard days hinged on whether the weather cooperated and allowed us to swim. On days we could allow the boys to swim for a few hours our nights were much smoother and the boys settled down and fell asleep with ease. They both needed a physical outlet for the increased anxiety they were battling.

One Friday night we spent the evening at the pool for “Flick and Float.” This is an evening activity our pool offers once a month when they close the pool to the public and open it to members. They fill the pool with floats and toys not normally allowed and have a movie playing poolside. The kids can play or float and watch the show.

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This time they were playing “Annie.”


The boys were more interested in jumping on the giant inflated ice cream cones,

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while Grace and I spent our evening floating in the deep end singing along to all our favorite “Annie” songs.

Evenings have become my time with Grace. After tucking boys in for the night Grace and I enjoy adult time. We have been watching a couple episodes of “Call the Midwife” each night while we craft, do spa treatments/nails, and enjoy treats that we don’t share with the boys. It has been so much fun to have so much one on one time with my oldest.

One night while looking for “Call the Midwife” on Netflix we discovered that Bob Ross episodes are now on Netflix. We love Bob Ross! So Grace suggested that the following night we have a Bob Ross painting party after the boys go to bed.

That day she looked through the episodes to find one she liked and gathered canvases and paints from her box of supplies. After the boys were settled down for the night we settled in for a night of painting.


The episode she picked was for a seascape.

We followed along as Bob walked us through the steps of creating a sunset seascape.


It was so much fun.


It was neat to see the finished results. Our paintings turned out so different… Unique and beautiful in their own right.

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Toby is now home. It is such a blessing. We missed him and Molly and Rusty while they were away. Their presence at home brings a peace and security that was absent in their absence. I feel as though I can finally exhale and am looking forward to six weeks of traveling with just my little family…

We may never come home ! 😉

But I wouldn’t have changed this past month for anything. As challenging as this month has been it has given me the opportunity for some very special bonding with my first born baby. What a blessing she is!

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