Happy Father’s Day…Birthday…Anniversary, Toby!


The third week of June contains the “Toby Trifecta.”

It is a week of celebrating the most important man in our lives.

It is the week of the year that Toby’s birthday, Father’s Day and our anniversary all hit…

and this year I won’t be there to celebrate it.

Every summer for the last eight years the girls and I head into the Laurel Highlands area of the state to participate in Girls Camp, a weeklong summer camp through our church. It is always one of the highlights of our summer. I love getting that week with just my girls and love the special spirit and camaraderie that is found only at Girls Camp. For the last seven years I have been the 7th year leader over the 18 year old girls that will be leaving for college in the fall. This year is no exception and I can’t wait!

Usually Girls camp falls the last week of June/first week of July, but this year it is a few weeks early. As a result Toby will be celebrating his holiday trifecta with just Rusty and Tyler.

Yesterday we had a special “speed dating” version of the upcoming week so that we could celebrate with Toby…cramming three holidays into a Sunday afternoon.

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We began by waking Toby up to his Father’s Day celebration with donuts and strawberry rolls. He had been up all night, sick as can be, so he graciously said “Thank you” and then pushed the sweet pastries as far from him as possible. We then gave him his Father’s Day gifts before we left for church. All the kids rose to the occasion and came up with great gifts for Dad.

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Then it was time to dress for church. Toby stayed home, and then Tyler joined him at the last minute when he went into shutdown mode. Tyler is having a hard time lately with everything going on with Ozzie and the increase of stress and tension around the house as a result of Ozzie’s struggles. The result has been more frequent shutdowns where he “freezes up.” We then have to help him regulate, bring him down from his fight/flight/or freeze state, and walk him through processing his emotions. There is no hurrying through the process. It can take up to an hour to get Tyler regulated when he shuts down, so Toby was left to deal with Tyler’s breakdown and I took the other three kids to church.

When we returned home we began dinner preparations for Toby’s celebratory dinner. We made sticky bun sandwiches, couscous, Caesar salad, and had lots of fresh strawberries.

While I cooked Toby and the kids kindly loaded my van with everything for a week at camp, beating the torrential downpour that followed, by mere seconds. But we made it and now that that huge chore was done we could relax and enjoy the rest of the day.

Then it was time to begin celebration #2- Toby’s birthday!

Gifts were brought out again, this time for his birthday. Once again the kids rose to the challenge beautifully. It is always fun to see what they pick for Toby and what they think he will like.

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This was Tyler’s choice. He thought Toby would prefer Monopoly Jr. to the real Monopoly…and he might just be right! It is bound to be a shorter lasting game!

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Grace decorated a new pillow case for Toby: “I don’t snore. I dream I’m a motorcycle.”

I bought him gift cards for dinner and a movie so that Rusty and Tyler can take him out for his birthday since I won’t be there.

In the evening we pulled out one of the games he received as a gift that day to play as a family. The game is Brain Games, a logic/problem solving game based on the Netflix show we love to watch as a family that explores the human mind and how it works.

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It was a lot of fun. There are four areas of challenge cards: visual puzzles, logic, word puzzles, and mind and body challenges.


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Toby and Molly in a head to head challenge. They had to stand up without touching the door or moving their feet.


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Grace trying to accomplish the challenge of drawing a circle in the air with her left hand while drawing a square in the air with her right.

We all really enjoyed it,

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Even Tyler got into it and had fun problem solving.

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The night ended with Toby’s birthday cake.

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When I return we will celebrate our anniversary of 20 years! How can that be?!

It was a good day. Maybe not ideal. We certainly would have preferred to spread the celebrating over a few more days, or to have had all our children there to celebrate Toby, but we made the best of the circumstances and hopefully, despite the less than ideal situation, Toby felt loved, honor and cherished…because he is.

I truly won the life lottery when God brought Toby into my life.

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A couch packed to capacity with LOVE!

Happy Father’s Day, Birthday, Anniversary…Toby. I love you to the moon and back!


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