Tag Archives: funny

The Cone is Back!


Just when we thought we were free from the terror of a Great Dane encased in a hard plastic cone…

Just when the other dogs quit cowering in fear at Olive’s entrance into the room…

Just as the cuts on our arms and legs began to scab over…

Just when we finally threw that sad excuse of a cone into the trash,

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the adventure begins again.

For the THIRD time!

We arrived home on Wednesday evening, following two fun-filled days at Kalahari. We were greeted by enthusiastic, happy dogs who were glad to see us.


All was good.


All was well.



*cue scary music*

We open the door to find this!


Blood everywhere.

Olive was let outside for a few minutes and in that time, in the midst of her leaps of joy and pirouettes of happiness, she somehow injured herself. And I mean REALLY injured herself.

We opened the door to find our front porch looking like a scene from The Walking Dead.

Undeterred by the gushing wounds on two of her feet, she continued to bounce around with 100-pound-puppy energy, quickly coating the porch, us, and herself with blood.

It was at this point Molly pondered out loud, as she ran to the medicine cabinet for bandages, “I wonder what it would be like to just have a normal, boring day around here.”

But, alas, nothing is ever simple, uneventful, or boring at Patchwork Farm.

No, everyday is an adventure…whether we want it to be or not. 😉

Thus began adventure # 786,901 at Patchwork Farm: “The day the cone returned!”

It took all the older kids to hold Olive down so that Toby and I could inspect the damage. When the blood kept soaking through the pressure dressings we put on her ankles, we knew the situation exceeded our level of expertise and it was back to the vet for another overnighter for Olive.

She is earning her frequent flyer miles at Rainbow Vet, and we are personally funding our veterinarian’s next European vacation! Ugh.

We were able to pick up Olive the next day. After walking the entire yard we still have no idea what she ran through that tore her up so badly that she needed to get staples in her legs,

But the end result was minor surgery, boxing gloves for paws, and the return of “The Cone.”


She is now on “bed rest” once again-

“And it is SO MUCH FUN!!” I scream with a manic grin.

She also can’t get her bandages wet for 10 days, a challenging feat living in Western Pennsylvania, so she was sent home from the vet with little plastic galoshes that must be tied onto her feet every time she goes outside.

Moving with the grace of a newborn giraffe, she struggles to move through the yard hampered by boxing glove feet, covered in stiff plastic bags.


She has adapted by learning to walk on her tip toes, quite reminiscent of Wile E. Coyote sneaking up on the Road Runner.

It is quite comical to watch,

but the return of the “cone of shame” is not so comical.

We are all suffering from this latest Olive adventure…

Olive is feeling the pain of her most recent injury in her feet.

The kids are feeling the bruising pain of collisions with the “cone of shame” on their arms and legs.

And Toby is feeling the piercing financial pain of Great Dane ownership in his wallet.

Can someone pass me an aspirin?


“It has Been 6 Days Since our Last Explosion”


When things are going smoothly at our house I find myself holding my breath. I hesitate to begin cheering and celebrating for fear of jinxing an already precarious situation. I often find myself debating whether to share the success stories, knowing that as soon as I type up the blog and hit publish, inevitably “it” will all hit the fan.

But I also realize that each success, however small or short-lived is a miracle…a tender mercy. This past week has been full of many miracles, both small and large. It is with a thankful heart I share our stories.

To begin I must give enormous accolades to our God-sent therapist. We have been working with her for the last few weeks and I could cry tears of gratitude for the blessing she has been. I feel like I have an ally in this war we are waging with Ozzie’s past. She gets it. She is loving and kind and funny, but Oh So REAL! She sees it all and is immune to deceit and manipulation. She lovingly calls Ozzie out on his games and asks him to stretch himself far beyond his comfort zone, praising him through his efforts.

In addition to finally feeling like I have the support we have needed, I have also discovered in her an amazing resource of ideas and wisdom in those one hour sessions. It was Tina (our therapist) who shared with us the necessity of adding more “creative chaos” to our lives, (which has been hugely beneficial) but she has also given me insight into how to effectively parent the temper tantrums that have been a daily struggle. She has helped me see that although the way we were parenting the tantrums was on point, our timing was off. Thus making our parenting less effective.

She took out a piece of paper and sketched out a picture of a bell curve. At the top of the curve she made a mark and explained that this was where we were currently using our parenting strategies. She explained that no matter how good the strategy was, if we used them at the top point of the tantrum, during the worst of the rage, we would always fail. “You can’t reason with rage.”

bell curve

She explained that we must address the emotions that come before the rage…before Ozzie escalates. She then sat down with Ozzie, drew a picture of him, and had him identify the physical changes that happen to his body as he is entering a tantrum. We circled the parts of his body that change with anger on the sketch. We drew clenched fists, furrowed brows, tight shoulders, etc.

She then explained that my job was then to make Ozzie aware of these changes, as he begins to get upset, by asking him to “check his body.” When he saw that he was having physical signs of anger she then gave us a tool to use to dispel that anger. We practiced. He was asked to cross his arms over his chest with each hand resting on the opposite shoulder and alternate tapping his shoulders while counting to 100. She explained that this strategy works for a number of reasons. She told us that in children who have been abused there is often a blockage between the left and right hemisphere of the brain. The alternating tapping opens those pathways of the brain and allows better reasoning. It also gives the child something to refocus on rather than what they are angry about, and it gives them time to decompress. (It takes a while to count to 100.)

We left with the new information and had the opportunity to try this new strategy almost immediately. I was amazed. The anger began and then dissipated in minutes without ever escalating into a temper tantrum. We continued to practice and apply this all week and went 6 days without a fight or a temper tantrum.

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This week also brought other excitement. On Monday I was folding laundry in my bedroom during the kids’ lunch break when there was a knock at my bedroom door. I opened it to find Molly standing there in only a towel, dripping with water.

“I smell gas,” she said.

I breathed deep, looked at her like she was crazy, and said, “I don’t smell anything.”

(Granted my nose wasn’t all that reliable. I was battling a cold.)

“No really,” she said, “Smell the register.”

I still couldn’t smell anything but took evasive action when 4 of the 5 kids confirmed that they smelled gas and weren’t feeling well. They complained of headaches and nausea. I had a horrible headache too but assumed it was the cold I was fighting.

I told the kids to put on coats and boots and go wait by the playland with the dogs while I investigated. I figured it was better that I be the only one to blow up…you know,  in case of a gas explosion. 😉

So I called Toby,

lit a candle to get rid of the smell…



I just wanted to see if you were really paying attention to my story. 🙂

On the phone Toby walked me through how to turn off the gas main. I opened windows and waited for Toby to come home and help us figure out where the gas leak was coming from.

When he got home he went down to the basement first and saw the source of our problem. The outside of the hot water heater was melted and charred. It had caught on fire and resulted in the gas leak.

He looked at me with concern that during MY investigation of the house I hadn’t noticed the flames licking up the outside of the hot water tank. I explained that it hadn’t looked like that when I was down there…although I had checked to make sure the pilot light was lit and was impressed with how big and bright the flame was…oops.

Little did I know there was a fire raging inside.

Thank goodness for God’s protection. Our guardian angels have been working overtime!

But from both of these experiences I have learned a valuable lesson…

If you wait until the explosion, it is too late.

The signs of danger are there before the catastrophe hits.

Watch, listen, act and address the signs of danger BEFORE  someone loses a limb…

and that’s probably true for a gas leak too! 🙂

Elf Mischief


Many have inquired…

“What ever happened to your elf?”

“Is he still on strike?”


I am happy to report that Buster’s strike only lasted a few days and since then he has caused plenty of mischief.

Here is a look at some of the compromising positions we have caught him in,

as the kids have raced each morning to find him.

My “elf helpers” have been wonderfully creative and I am so grateful for the magic they helped create this Christmas season.

Here is a peek into our morning search for Buster:


This was one of Buster’s earliest antics. It set the stage for the entire month and had dire consequences. Tyler found Buster like this at 3:00 am when he stepped into the kitchen to get a glass of water. He flipped on the light and was greeted with…THIS! The screams woke up the entire house and it took a while to calm him down and convince him to go back to bed. I suggested to my “elf helpers” that perhaps we should avoid giant googly eyes in the future. The result of this: Tyler now waits until someone else is awake before he goes searching for Buster.


Buster made brownies and then helped himself to a slice!


Buster loves whiteboard markers. This morning he drew a Santa hat and beard on the mirror to make for fun teeth brushing photos.


Sometimes Buster comes up with games for the kids to play. This morning was “find the candy canes.” The boys LOVED it!


YUM…Santa milk! Buster was found hanging out in the fridge with some eggnog that he dyed green. Who was brave enough to try it? The littles, of course!

Santa milk!

Santa milk!

One night Buster got into the cookie decorating sprinkles and decided to make a "snow" angel.

One night Buster got into the cookie decorating sprinkles and decided to make a “snow” angel.


Yes, that is right…Our tree was toilet papered. I knew something was up when, upon sitting on the toilet, I discovered the toilet paper was missing. Just when I was ready to lecture the kids on their thoughtlessness, I discovered the culprit…Buster! Needless to say, the Christmas lights were not turned on that day. Can anyone say, “Fire hazard!” 🙂



Buster…way up high!


The boys’ favorite Buster antic of the season…Hanging with Spiderman!!

Oh, Buster!


Buster on Strike!


Buster has been visiting our family annually since 2008 when my parents gifted him to my children.

Buster is an elf…

An elf on a shelf.

For 6 years he has arrived on December 1st and disappeared on December 24th. During the day he watches and takes note of the good and bad and every night flies back to the North Pole to report to the man in charge. When he returns back in the wee hours of the morning he usually gets into some sort of mischief. From the time Rusty was 7, my kids have eagerly popped out of bed… first thing… to run and find Buster.

This year I have my own helpers that have been working with Buster.


How grateful I am for their eagerness and creativity!


Here is a little glimpse into Buster’s antics this year…

He got ahold of the camera...

He got ahold of the camera…




Now in all our years with Buster we have seen him write on mirrors, dye the milk in the fridge, and hang from the rafters…

but never have we seen him…


 Go on strike!


Buster is not happy. He left a note telling us so. His note to the kids pointed out some behaviors that need to change before he will come back and play again.

After 6 years he has decided to revolt and I suspect it may have something to do with this little

(or not so little)

temper tantrum:

PS- For those who are concerned: that is not 4 pints of lost blood, but rather, 1 gallon of V8 spicy hot. Oh, what a tantrum it was :)

PS- For those who are concerned: that is not 4 pints of lost blood, but rather, 1 gallon of V8 spicy hot. Oh, what a tantrum it was  🙂

I will let you know when his demands are met and negotiations are resolved. Until then…

Elf on Strike 🙂



 Ozzie and Zoey have gone home. They were dropped off yesterday afternoon. Yesterday evening I was visiting with a friend and she asked me how their visit went. I found myself a bit tongue-tied as I struggled to give her an honest answer. I wasn’t sure what to say. I was so tired and the last two weeks have been such a blur that I honestly couldn’t recall all that had happened or figure out how I felt the visit went. I told her that I needed a good night sleep and then I’d be better able to answer her question. Now as I sit here this morning I am in a better place emotionally and physically to assess our last two weeks. Overall I would say the last two weeks went 100 times better than I anticipated. Overall the kids (ours and our visitors) handled the adjustment of new people better than expected. There were no major disasters, no accidents, nothing said or done that brought regrets. There were no trips to the ER, no calls to 911 (which one of the kiddos has been known to do before) and no house fires. I would say our two weeks were a success! That is not to say there wasn’t a massive amount of active parenting happening every day as I settle disputes, resolved conflicts and played mediator over a multitude of little arguments like whose turn it was to play with a toy. It wasn’t an easy 2 weeks but it was 2 weeks of a lot of growth and teaching opportunities. It was a chance to work some parenting muscles that I haven’t used in a while. 🙂

The biggest change I saw was the increase in the amount of time-outs given on a daily basis. Some of those time-outs were given as a consequence for behaviors…many were self-declared time-outs as the older kids (or a parent) in need of a break would lock themselves in the bathroom for extended amounts of time. A few days ago I had to give Tyler a timeout when he and Ozzie kept picking at each other. Before it escalated into an argument I sent them in separate directions. When Tyler didn’t want to listen he then received a true time-out as I placed him on the bench in my bathroom. Tyler wasn’t happy about having to “time-out” in my bathroom by himself and he let me know that. While he vented I went in search of Ozzie who had gone down to the basement and was playing by himself. When I  asked him if he was ok he said that he was ok and that he just needed some time alone. I think all that togetherness was wearing on everyone so Ozzie put himself in a “time-out.” Once I knew Ozzie was fine I headed back upstairs to let Tyler know his time-out was over. As I approached the bathroom the door quickly slammed shut. Tyler informed me that he was just going to stay in the time-out and to not come in. Knowing that Tyler would never volunteer for a time-out I told him to open the door…


As I pushed the door open I saw the result of doing a time-out in my bathroom and I remembered why we typically use the fencepost. While I was checking on Ozzie Tyler had gotten into my make-up and had put on my mascara…or had at least tried. It was all over his face.  As I looked down I saw blood dripping from his ankle.  “What happened?” I asked him.  Slowly he revealed the razor that had been hidden behind his back. As I looked him over I discovered that while he sat, bored in my bathroom, he decided to try out my razor and shave his legs…and arms…with a dry razor.  The result was multiple nicks and hairless limbs. I guess I should be grateful he didn’t shave off his eyebrows.

This only happened once this week but it is reflective of the many mini adventures we had at our home over Christmas break.

Was it a good week?  Yes.

Was it a hard week?  Yes.

Was it a boring week?  Definitely not 🙂