A December Catch-Up!


In the midst of many holiday celebrations, we have also carved out moments of everyday living. Here are some of the moments that have made up our month…

This month Toby finds himself up to his eyeballs in work, and thus unable to find a spare moment to go out hunting. Deer hunting is one of those activities where the fruits of Toby’s labor are as beneficial as the activity is fun. A deer or two in the freezer definitely lightens the burden on the grocery budget!

That is why we were thrilled when one of Toby’s buddies from the Beaver County Metal Detecting Club called to say he had gotten a deer while hunting that morning but wasn’t interested in the meat. He wanted to know if we wanted it. Toby responded with a definitive, “Yes!”

So, on a Tuesday night while I headed off to a Stake Relief Society presidency meeting for my new church calling, Rusty and Tyler helped Toby butcher a deer. I think I got the better deal that Tuesday night! When I arrived home at 10:00 pm the task was nearly complete, with bags of ground venison stacked and ready for the freezer, roasts had been set aside for future crock pot meals, and jerky was being smoked to perfection!


As grateful as we were for a freezer full of meat, the deer population took their revenge on our family when we were hit by a deer on our way to take Braden down to visit Pap (his first adoptive father) the following week.

Let me be clear…

We DID NOT hit a deer.

The deer hit us!

It deer hit us while running full speed into the side of our SUV, taking out our side mirror and denting in the front and back doors of the vehicle’s left side so severely that the doors wouldn’t open.  The deer knocked itself out with the impact of the collision. Convinced it was dead, Toby dragged it off the road. As soon as Toby let go of its legs it jumped up and took off into the woods, none the worse for wear, leaving us with expensive repairs.


If this was a hired hit by the deer population, they definitely came out the victors!

Our 70 pounds of free deer meat wasn’t worth the insurance detectable and inconvenience of a month without our GMC.

Luckily our auto insurance covered the expense of a rental car to get us through the following few weeks. It was far nicer than any car we have ever owned and far too “smart” for my liking, but Tyler loved the sun roof. Despite the December temperatures he insisted we take full advantage of our short time owning a car that let the sun shine down on our faces as we cruised around.


Tyler has been my sidekick a lot lately. With older siblings out of the house or busy with school, work and sports, Tyler and I often find ourselves home alone together. This was how I found him when I came out of my room the other morning. A nightmare drove him from bed in the night and he ended up falling asleep on the couch. This was his sleeping position when I found him.

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He is still cyber schooling and loving his classes. He has great teachers and great friends that he interacts with daily through his live classes. The other day he joined other classmates in creating “snow” as part of a science experiment on chemical reactions.

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This month Ozzie was able to come home two weekends ago for a home pass. We made plans to take him out for a fun, Christmassy activity that was all Ozzie! We went to see some trains!

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Trains are Ozzie’s new interest. Those who know Oz, know that Ozzie is an “all in” sort of kid when it comes to hobbies and interests. When he is interested in something it becomes his entire focus and he becomes an expert in that subject. Some of his interests include cars, weather, NASCAR and now train sets. He has been diligently studying all there is to know about train sets, making plans for a future train set he intends on building in our basement. When we told him we made plans to meet Grace and Zach at a local holiday train display, he was over-the-moon excited. He packed a notepad and pencil so he could take notes and jot down ideas for his future set.

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We arrived to find Zach and Grace already there. Tyler also joined us for the excursion. The museum offered a train set scavenger hunt. Tyler joined Zach as they hunted their way through the minitures in search of the items on the scavenger hunt list.

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Ozzie had no interest in the scavenger hunt. He was far more interested in the workings of the trains and the logistics behind the set’s creation. He lucked out and the designer and creater of the train display was on hand to answer his questions…

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And Ozzie asked a lot of questions!

He was eager to “talk shop” with someone that could make recommendations, give advice, and advise him on how to start building his dream set!

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 Ozzie also had me take LOTS of pictures for reference.

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It was a perfect holiday activity for Ozzie to enjoy with Tyler, Grace and Zach!

Speaking of Zach…

Our newest son had a birthday this month. Gracie’s husband, Zach, turned 23 and our gift to him was tickets to the Trans Siberian Orchestra Christmas Concert.


Days before Christmas, Grace and Zach joined us for a double date in Pittsburgh as we enjoyed an AMAZING TSO concert in celebration of Zach’s birthday.


So much fun squeezed into one short month!!


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