Tag Archives: soccer

Father and Son Campout is just the beginning!

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Whew, what a week!

I really didn’t think we would pull it together, but miraculously we did.

This was the final week of school and everyone was pushing to finish strong.

In the midst of final exams, appointments, work, and picnics, we had to prepare for the week ahead.

The result: piles and piles of packing.

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We are headed to the ocean for some much-needed beach therapy. When we scheduled this trip, we had no idea it would follow on the heels of such a traumatic week. But now it is all the more appreciated and eagerly anticipated. This Momma needs nothing more than the crash of waves on my feet and the sun on my face to do a little healing.

But as of Tuesday morning, I had no idea if this trip was going to happen. At that point Ozzie was still hospitalized and we weren’t sure when he’d be cleared as safe to come home by Saturday. By the end of the week we received news that he’d be released Friday afternoon, just in time for all the graduation festivities/vacation plans to begin.

In the meantime, I kept making piles, hoping it would all would work out.

The packing for this trip was especially laborious as it is multiple vacations crammed into one.

We had to pack for the beach with all the clothes, towels, sand toys, food for the week, board games, fishing supplies, balls, kites and day to day living gear that would be needed.

We are piggy backing this trip to the shore on top of our real reason for heading east: Gracie’s graduation ceremony…

Which meant another pile with church outfits, dress shoes, jewelry and Gracie’s speech for graduation.

Then we had our pile of school books and supplies for four kids to return to the school since it is the end of the year.

On the Friday prior to graduation Grace will be attending prom, which meant a prom pile of dress, shoes, make-up, hair supplies, and her masquerade mask.

The kids will also be spending a day at their school painting a wall mural with the other mural club students, which meant yet another pile filled with paintbrushes, painting clothes, paints and a gift for their mural club teacher.

Then we had lists and piles of animal supplies to leave for our house sitter, and Olive’s packed bag for her stay at the kennel.

I just kept creating piles as I thought of things, hoping and praying we didn’t forget anything important (i.e.: the boys’ pills!)

Once we were done packing for next week’s excursions then we began packing for Friday night’s adventures.

Friday night was the annual “Father and Sons” campout with the other men at church. This is an event that my boys eagerly anticipate each spring. The girls also look forward to it as it means a girls’ night out with no boys!

By Friday evening all our packing was done, the van was loaded for the next morning. Camping gear was loaded into Toby’s truck. Tyler’s soccer treat bags were packed (Yes, we also had treat duty for Tyler’s last soccer game on Saturday morning) and we were finally ready to relax and enjoy a fun boys’ night/ girls’ night out.

Toby and the little boys headed out around 5:30pm to drive to Camp Agawam, where the campout was being held. All three boys were excited. Toby was, well…a good sport. 😉

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Their evening was spent hanging out around the fire. Playing Navy and Pirates at the epic wooden pirate ship at the camp, and sleeping (or not sleeping) in a tent.

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In the morning, they woke early (Tyler was up at 5:30 am) and had a pancake breakfast with the other campers before heading home.

The girls and I had an extra special evening planned. For Mother’s Day the girls gifted me with a gift certificate to get a manicure with them. We decided to wait until the “Father and Son” campout to schedule our nail appointment so that we could make it an entire mother/daughter evening. I was so excited. It’s been probably a decade since I had my nails done professionally. I was looking forward to some pampering and spoiling, but most of all I was just excited to get an evening with my two girls.

What a blessing my daughters are to me. I don’t know how I would manage without them. Not only do the constantly and unselfishly try to lighten my burdens through selfless service, but they fill my parenting love tank when it is empty and dry. They see my weariness without me having to express a thing and work tirelessly to make sure I know I am loved and appreciated…particularly during those long stretches when little brother is solely focused on hurting and tearing down.

I desperately needed loving care and my girls provided it in a way only daughters can.

We left for our nail appointment as the boys were leaving for camping. Grace had arranged everything.

We arrived and had fun choosing from the hundreds of nail polish shades. I found myself drawn to the beautiful fall shades of orange and rust, but forced myself to pick something fun and summery. So, I went with a hot pink instead.

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We were called back one at a time. The experience was decadent. I would pay for the experience again just for the hand massage. It was lovely!

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Grace ended up with beautiful periwinkle blue nails, to coordinate with her prom gown and graduation dress. Molly picked her favorite color of salmon pink, and I did a funky, textured, hot pink polish that felt very fun and sassy…two traits that have been noticeably absent from my life these last few months. 😊

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Following our appointments, we went shopping for craft supplies. We were planning on crafting while watching shows in our PJs later, and needed some supplies for the projects we were working on.

Then it was time for a late dinner. As is our annual tradition when the boys go to Father/Son campout, we go out for a sit-down dinner. By the time we were done shopping it was 9:30 pm so we decided to keep it close and easy and go to Applebee’s. Little did we know it was graduation evening for a few local high schools and the place was packed with graduates and their celebrating families. Despite the crowds and slower than normal service, we had a blast. It was so much fun to sit and visit and enjoy a leisurely dinner with my girls.

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We were home at 11:00 pm, put on our PJs, got out our craft supplies and put on the new Netflix remake of Anne of Green Gables, “Anne with an ‘E’”.

We crafted, did face masks, talked, and walked with Anne through episode #1`, finally crashing at 1:30 am.

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It was a practically perfect evening.

The next morning the boys arrived home by 8:30 am. We ran Olive to the kennel, prepared things for the house sitter, packed last-minute items and filled the cooler, changed Tyler into his soccer uniform and headed to his game.

It was a good final game. Tyler played well and had fun, which is what really matters.

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By noon they had won the game, Tyler handed out his snacks, and we were on the road!

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Sand, Surf, and Sun…Here we come!

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Wrapping up the year

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We are in the home stretch. 24 hours until we are done with school for the year. I can’t believe it. It has been a surreal year. It feels like we never really found our groove, and now here we are at the end.

Here is a look into all our end of the year news:

Soccer season is coming to a close. We have one week left and it is hard to believe it is almost over. This happens every spring. It seems to just begin and then it’s done. This is so different than football season which GOES ON FOREVER! I must admit I prefer soccer season! This year has been particularly relaxed and enjoyable. It has been such fun watching Tyler excel and grow on and off the field.

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Soccer is just one of many activities that are wrapping up for Tyler. This past week marked the final Occupational Therapy session of the year and Barton tutoring session of the year (until summer session begins.) We are so proud of how hard Tyler has worked this year. Academics don’t come easily for Tyler and he has clawed his way toward success, overcoming a lot of obstacles that make learning more challenging for him than the average child. This year we saw a lot of improvement in the area of reading and writing under the support of a new occupational therapist and a new reading tutor. Miss Jan has been awesome with Tyler. She uses the Barton program to tutor students with dyslexia and this spring Tyler finished level one and two with her and has progressed to level 3. We are so proud of all Tyler’s hard work!

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Two weeks ago the three big kids had their last seminary live class. Seminary is a religion class offered through our church to high school students. It is an amazing program that requires great commitment and dedication on the part of these high school kids, as it means getting up early and completing an hour-long religion class prior to starting their school day. This is an optional, enrichment activity that all three of my high schoolers choose to participate in. They are students in the online class which requires them to complete 4 independent, hour-long lessons a week and one live class every Monday morning at 5:50 am. This year they read and studied the New Testament. It has been an awesome, testimony building experience for each of them and we are proud of their dedication and commitment to the seminary program.

This was their final live class for the year and Gracie’s last seminary lesson for good. She is a seminary graduate! Way to go Grace!

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Grace has also been keeping busy with creative projects. For her one-on-one time this past week she asked if we could make bows together. This is a craft we did a lot when she was little. This time she had a specific idea in mind. She wanted to create some “Disney-bounding” bows, reflective of certain Disney characters. It was a fun, creative project and we both enjoyed the challenge of trying to capture the essence of a certain Disney character in a single bow using only color, texture, and a few accessories tied on to portray some of our favorite characters.

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Can you guess which Disney character this bow represents?

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While on a creative streak, Grace decided she wanted to do something special for her learning coach for the last few years of support. At her cyber school the students are each assigned a “learning coach” which is in essence a personal guidance counselor/head teacher who stays with you through your four years of high school. They monitor your progress, communicate with parents, keep you informed on school activities and outings, and act as your mentor and advocate. The students who have IEPs are assigned a special education teacher as their learning coach which is a huge benefit to the student as they have a trained mentor who is familiar with the unique challenges of a student with learning disabilities and can support them in a way that specifically meets them where they are at and can help them grow and achieve from there. Grace has been profoundly blessed to have had two awesome learning coaches who both singlehandedly affected how Grace sees herself, understands her disability, and then showed her how great her potential is, challenging her to rise to the level of excellence she has while a student at 21CCCS. The first of those teachers was Mr. Dolan. He is the reason Grace now wants to become a special education teacher herself. When he moved away halfway through Gracie’s high school journey she was devastated but God knew what He was doing and gave Grace Mrs. McGuire to walk with her and be her cheerleader for her last two years of school. Now that Grace is graduating she felt a desire to thank Mrs. McGuire in a special way and let her know the great influence she has had on her life.

Stealing an idea from Pinterest Grace sent Mrs. McGuire a “Box of Sunshine.” It was a gift box full of yellow products that Grace personally loves and she sealed it with the quote:

“Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.”

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The final end of the year event that took place this week was our End of the Year Co-op Picnic. After not seeing our co-op friends for the last few weeks it was fun to get together and catch up.

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We had a potluck lunch together of hot dogs, chips and salsa, salads, and desserts.

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We ordered a graduation cake to celebrate our two graduating seniors: Grace and Olivia.

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While there Grace received this adorable handmade graduation card from Miss Tauni. Isn’t it charming?!

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Everyone had a fun time hanging out with friends, celebrating the final week of school, and catching up on each other’s lives and summer plans.

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How blessed we are to be sharing our “home schooling” journey with such a special group of people. We love our co-op!

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Now here we are, days away from another school year coming to a close, and my last year schooling five students.

 It is the end of an era.

 Life is changing,

but

New adventures are on the horizon!

 

 

Soccer Season Starts

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Soccer season is upon us once again.

Although the start of soccer season has been a slow one due to an abundance of rainy days, Tyler is still thrilled to be donning shin guards and cleats once again.

This season began with a change from past seasons. This year Tyler has a female soccer coach, which I find perfectly thrilling. She is wonderful and exactly what Tyler needs. Tyler is drawn to men in a way he isn’t as comfortable with women. He loves male authority and does well under their leadership. He is less secure under female leadership. I think it comes down to the fact big, strong men represent safety. He feels like a man can protect him from the threats he fears most in the world (like his biological Dad finding him and trying to kill him) in a way a woman can’t. What this means in a practical sense is that he will always seek out men for companionship or approval over the company of females. This is something we have worked on over the years, and he is slowly getting more and more comfortable trusting women.

Last soccer season he experienced a co-ed sports team for the first time and it was awesome to see him evolve into a team player who came to respect the unique talents and skills the girls on his team brought to the field.

This year has stretched him even more as he has two female coaches.

They are great with Tyler.

His head coach reminds me a lot of my dear friend Kris H. They share the same bitty stature, sense of humor, enthusiasm, and spunk…a perfect mix of traits for coaching a group of high energy, 10-year-olds.

Their games have been rained out twice, but the games that they have been able to play they have won.

It promises to be another fun soccer season with Tyler, and we are excited to be cheering him on.

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Go Team!

Glad/Sad Days

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Have you ever experienced a Glad/ Sad Day?

One of those days that is an emotionally overwhelming mix of happy moments and heartbreaking grief.

While most days are neither completely glad or completely sad, rather a mix of many emotions, there are days are whiplash inducing Glad/Sad days…those days when a perfectly perfect day gets turned on its head by unexpected, devastating news.

Yes, Saturday was one of those days.

The weekend began with a bang. Friday night was filled with running, as the big boys headed in one direction and the big girls headed in another.

Toby, Rusty, and Ozzie had a Boy Scout campout at the Bernard’s house. Ozzie was thrilled, with this being his first official scout campout away from home. On Friday Rusty and Ozzie gathered items on the packing list in preparation for their night away.

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When Toby arrived home they headed out and enjoyed a day and a half of scouting fun, including, but not limited to: foil dinners, hikes, playing capture the flag, sleeping in tents, and performing a service project of cutting and stacking firewood.

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When the boys left for their fun night the girls and I left with Tyler for a camp meeting in Cranberry. Every summer the girls and I go to girls’camp about two hours away. It is one of my favorite weeks of the year and we are now in the  planning phase for this summer’s camp week. Molly is now a 5th year camper which means she is a youth leader, and Grace is with my group of 7th years as a Junior Camp Director. Because we are all in leadership roles we had a planning meeting to attend. Tyler was stuck tagging along since we were out of big people to babysit. 🙂

I promised him that we would have fun after the meeting though!

Following the camp planning meeting the girls stayed for “Pajamarama,” a fun event for all the 12-18 year old girls in the stake. The leaders had an amazing evening planned for the young women including cupcake decorating, a life size Hungry, Hungry Hippo game, and a spiritual devotional.

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The girls all came  their PJs and enjoyed a evening of bonding, friendship and sisterhood.

While the girls were at “Pajamarama” Tyler and I went on a date to the movies. I find those moments of focused one on one attention with a child to be a great gift and a powerful parenting tool. In those moments of undivided attention my children connect and open up to me in a way that rarely happens when we are all together.

For our date night we went to see the new Jungle Book movie.

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We had so much fun.

Date night continued (after picking up the girls) with the rare privilege of Tyler being allowed to sleep in Momma and Daddy’s big bed. He was a regular chatterbox as we lay in the dark and he absentmindedly combed my hair that lay across my pillow, with his little boy fingers. In the safety of Momma’s bed and the cover of darkness Tyler poured out his heart and shared in a way that his lack of stillness/quitness rarely allows.

It was 3:00am before his wiggles and chatting stopped but I wouldn’t trade that sharing time for all the lost sleep in the world.

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The next morning we rose early for Tyler’s first soccer game of the season. Soccer season has arrived! Unlike football season which brings with it a lot of conflicting thoughts and emotions for this Momma, soccer season is simply a delight. I think the limited commitment (only 2 hours a week), with limited competitiveness (they don’t keep score at Tyler’s age) as well as a different parental dynamic…well it is just delightful. I love the beautiful spring weather, sitting on the sidelines as a family cheering for the kids (wearing both colors of jersey!) and watching Tyler really shine doing what he loves. It does this Momma’s heart good!

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Saturday it was just the girls and I cheering Tyler on since the boys were still camping. This year Tyler moved up to the U10 level which means the team is now co-ed. I wasn’t sure how Tyler would do with that. I was concerned he would either be too rough with the girls or be overly cautious playing with girls, but he rolled with the new team dynamic like nothing had changed.

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His team had a good game. He was thrilled to see that two of his friends were back on the team and he seems to like his new coach.

It was a happy 12 hours…

then we arrived home and our day turned from glad to sad with the tragic news of a dear friend’s passing.

Wendy, a friend who God brought into my life six years ago and intertwined us through a plethora of large life moments, died in her sleep early Saturday morning. This is the friend who so tragically lost her 24 year old daughter, Amanda, last November…

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whose three little children we have been so involved with.

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The situation is heartbreaking, not for Wendy who is enjoying a blessed reunion with her daughter, but for the loved ones who are grieving such unexpected news so soon after Amanda’s tragic death…

In particular we grieve for those three babies who have seen more heartbreak, devastating heartbreak, in their short lives than most will see in their lifetime. Please lift those sweet innocents up in prayer.

*sigh*

My heart is heavy… my eyes have been cried dry… and I find myself unable to fully articulate the weight and mix of emotions that have kept me awake late into the night for days.

When I find myself on the brink of being swept under the waves of guilt, grief and worry I grab hold of the only buoy keeping me afloat:

The knowledge that God’s hand is in this situation and that He works all things for good and for a greater purpose…His purpose.

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Yes, it was a Glad/Sad weekend.

A Super Special Saturday

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Saturday was Tyler’s last soccer game of the season.

And while that was a celebratory event in and of itself

it was then magnified by the presence of Mimi and Pop pop coming to watch Tyler play.

A few weeks ago my mom called and wanted to know the dates of Tyler’s upcoming soccer games so that she and my dad could plan a trip from Ohio to watch him play. This was their first time seeing one of Tyler’s games and Tyler was beside himself with excitement.

We decided to take full advantage of our get together and celebrate Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Toby’s birthday all at once.

Tyler spent the morning waiting on the driveway for them to pull in while the older 4 kids decorated the outdoor chalkboard with a welcome sign for Mimi and Pop pop.

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When they arrived  around 10:00am the kids took them on a tour of the house, eager to show off their rooms, and then we sat down to open gifts.

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After we were done opening gifts we headed to lunch. We made plans to celebrate Mom, Dad and Toby at an Applebee’s lunch before we had to be at the soccer game. It was delicious!

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Then it was on to the soccer game. Tyler was very excited to have extra cheerleaders on the sidelines. 🙂

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It was so much fun sitting together and visiting while we watched Tyler play.

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Tyler played a great game, scoring a few goals and helping his team win their final game of the season. It was an amazing season for their team, as they ended their season undefeated.

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But the biggest growth we saw in Tyler this season was character growth. He has been born with natural athletic ability…that was always there. The transformation we saw this season was a different sort of transformation. Thanks in large part to his coaches (and I believe the key being a female coach for a change) we saw Tyler become a better team player. We watched as he developed better communication skills, more awareness of the other players, self-control and maturity that we hadn’t seen up till this point.

A lot of this is a result of soccer and some of it is just the natural progression of a hurt child becoming more comfortable, feeling more safe, and learning to trust.

He came to us with a hard exterior, rarely smiling, physically strong and aggressive, and very self focused. He had learned in his early years that he couldn’t trust others so he became a tough little boy who would take care of himself. We have watched the wall he built slowly crumble over the last two years and a softer version of our little boy is emerging.

A metamorphosis has occurred.

And joy now shines forth.

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After the game we came back to the house for cupcakes and  some outdoor fun.

The kids brought out some of the newest members of our furry menagerie for Mimi and Pop pop to meet. 🙂

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It was a special Saturday at Patchwork Farm.

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I went to bed that night feeling overwhelmed by the abundance of blessings God had given me.

I fell asleep feeling so grateful…

Grateful for healthy, happy, loving, generous parents, who live close enough for special day visits like this one.

Grateful for God’s power to heal hurt hearts and broken spirits.

Grateful for the growth I get to watch in EACH of my children as I begin to catch glimpses of the people they will become.

Grateful for the best husband in the whole world. A man with a strong character and a soft heart who has opened his home to the orphan, and opened his heart to those who hurt.

Grateful to raise my little brood at Patchwork Farm…

A magical place indeed.

To everything there is a season.

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 Recently I had an interesting discussion with my mom. We were talking about the seasons of life. She was talking about the sweetness she and my father have found in the retirement season of their life. She compared it to the month of October. Life is a bit calmer. The craziness of September has past. That season of transition when you are juggling the busyness of two seasons is over and they can enjoy the beauty of “fall.” The work of relocating, resituating and adjusting are over and now they can sit back and enjoy the harvest of their life’s work. October is a beautiful season to be in.

I, on the other hand, am in the summer of my life. My mother described my life season as the middle of summer. I am in July. With the summer season comes the busyness of sowing and tending and weeding and watering my children’s futures. It is an active time of life. There are always chores to be done and things to be cared for. It is the season of long days and short nights but July is also a season of fun. It is a season of noise, and chaos, and trips and adventures. Life is never slow, never dull, and never ever boring. Sometimes in the midst of summer adventures we crave the calm emergence of spring or the rest that comes with winter. It in those moments we need to stop and take notice of the blessings that come with our current season of life. Seasons come and seasons go and with that cycle comes beautiful moments. We must embrace the season we are currently experiencing, recognizing that all too soon this season will pass and be just a memory. So as we enter this actual Summer season I vow to better embrace and enjoy this season of my life. I will embrace the noise, the mess, the corrections and the hugs, the teaching and training and playing and growing that happens under the summer sun because this is the season of my life and life is simply too short to waste the magical moments of today longing for the days of yesteryear or wishing for the seasons of tomorrow.

Yesterday I received a card in the mail from my mother. It was a Mother’s Day card from her to me expressing her love and wishing me a special day. In it she shared this sage advice:

“Enjoy these frantic years. They are crazy but you will look back on them with great fondness…and smile.”

My mother is a very wise woman so I think I’ll take her advice.

Here is some of our seasonal craziness…

Ozzie enjoying a warm summer shower in May.

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 We are in the midst of spring soccer and Tyler is loving it. Today was an especially exciting game for his team as they won 19-0. Go Tyler!

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 His favorite position to play is goalie.

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 This is how Rusty and Ozzie spend their time at Tyler’s game…reading side by side and occasionally looking up when the crowds cheer.

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 At our homeschool co-op we have monthly service projects for the kids to participate in. The final service project of the year was a bake sale to raise money for the Make a Wish foundation. The kids all made baked goods to sell and then shopped for each other’s goodies to raise money for this wonderful organization.

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 Ozzie had a big assignment due for school last week. He had to make a 3D map of the United States. We decided to have everyone participate and make their own maps and label them. The kids loved working with the salt dough.

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 The kids are thrilled to now have a piano to practice on instead of the organ, which they have been learning on up until this point. A few years ago we received a free hand me down organ which has served us wonderfully as the kids have begun piano lessons. They have now reached a point, however, that the pieces they are learning require an actual piano so we were thrilled when a customer of Toby’s approached us about bartering a piano she had for labor on some projects she wanted to hire Toby for. The kids have loved trying out their piano pieces on the new (old) piano.

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 This week was teacher appreciation week and although we school most of our children at home through cyber charter schools they still have teachers that oversee their work. The kids decided they wanted to surprise their teachers (who work out of offices across the state) with a special “thank you” so we filled empty 2L bottles with 100 grand bars and mailed them as is with a note expressing our gratitude and our feelings that they were valued far above 100 grand.

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 We are so grateful to have such wonderful teachers partnering with us as we educate our kiddos!

The finished product!

The finished product!

The last big event this week was the advancement of Rusty in Taekwondo. He has advanced from yellow stripe to orange belt. Yea Rusty!!  At the belt presentation ceremony Ozzie couldn’t contain himself and in the midst of a very quiet/serious moment Ozzie jumped to his feet, clapping for all his worth and shouting, “I am so proud of you Rusty!!” It made the celebration even sweeter. 🙂

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 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

Earthworm Delight…Yum!

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When you sign up for this gig they call motherhood there are challenges you anticipate. Without really knowing what you are getting into you can safely assume there will be some challenges. You acknowledge that there will be sleepless nights, that potty training will be tough and that the teenage years will test your patience. There are words you know will come out of your mouth…often. Words like, “Because I said so,” and  “Leave your brother alone,” and ” I’m not going to tell you again.” Then there are those experiences and phrases uttered that you could in no way have ever seen coming.

As a new Mom with a day old baby I never anticipated the day when I would tell Rusty, “No swinging from the chandelier!”

 Or say to Molly, “No dipping baby Jesus in the toilet!”

As a Mom I’ve uttered a lot of phrases that I never thought I would say as a mother. This Sunday I added to the list of the bizarre when I said to Ozzie, “We never, ever eat worms…Ever!”

The afternoon began beautifully. The weather was perfect for playing outside and Toby and I had one request, 30 minutes alone.  Sometimes I feel like I go days without conversing in a meaningful way with my husband. We crawl into bed every night so tired that the effort to talk exceeds the energy we have left for the day. So on Sunday we called on our two teenage girls to take the two little boys outside for 30 minutes so we could talk uninterrupted. All was going well until we heard a frantic knock on our bedroom door. I opened it to find Molly on the other side, completely worked up.

“I told him not to do it,” she said anxiously, “But he wouldn’t listen.”

“You told who not to do what?” we asked.

“Ozzie,” she replied. “He ate a worm!”

“He what??” we asked, certain there must be something lost in translation.

Molly then proceeded to explain. “Ozzie picked up an earthworm off the ground and said he was going to eat it. I told him not to but he just looked me in the eye, stuck the worm in his mouth and chewed it up!” She ended her story with a shudder.

We called Ozzie in, horrified by this news. When we asked him why he would do something like that he told us that he just wanted to know what worms tasted like. It was then I uttered one of those phrases I never expected to say as a mother…”We never, ever eat worms…Ever!”

I have found mothering to be the most humbling of experiences. Just when you think you have it together you find yourself scolding your 10-year-old for eating worms.  🙂

In addition to unusual dietary changes around our home here are some of the activities that happened at Patchwork Farm this weekend.

On Friday Rusty had to see the oral surgeon to have two adult teeth pulled for braces. We took him to a new oral surgeon that was recommended by a friend and we were SO impressed. Rusty’s experience was much better than Gracie’s was at our old oral surgeon’s office. They used laughing gas which made for an anxiety-free removal. Rusty came home on Friday afternoon. We set him up on the couch with ice cream, mashed potatoes, and computer games to play while he rested.

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 Saturday was a full day that began with Tyler’s first soccer game of the season. It was a perfect day for a game. Tyler’s team tied the other team in a very close, action packed game.

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While Tyler played Ozzie sat in the grass playing with his trucks the entire time. It is so fun to see how different my two boys are. Tyler lives for sports and Ozzie could care less. 🙂

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After the game we drove the girls over to a community Easter party where they were hired to be the face painters… a job they love doing! In addition to face painting the community planners offered an Easter egg hunt, treats, balloon animals and a petting zoo. Our favorite animal at the petting zoo was a 6-month-old pot belly pig named Lilly. She was adorable and brought back memories of our pot belly pig, Harley, when he was that small.

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In the evening Ozzie had a birthday party to attend. A boy in his class invited him to his birthday party at an indoor pool. Ozzie was so excited to be invited. “I’ve never been invited to a friend’s party before,” he said excitedly. He spent the week planning for it… what trunks to wear, what towel to take, and what gift to buy. He had a blast swimming with the boys in his class and I was so grateful to the mom who invited Ozzie to join them. It was a fun night for Oz.

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Saturday evening Ozzie, Tyler and I worked on a special project. We decided to send Easter gifts to their biological siblings. We wanted to do something fun and unique so we bought balls that we wrote “I hope you have a ‘ball’ this Easter” on and decorated with the boys’ drawings. We then addressed the balls and sent them just like they were through the mail with the shipping label placed right on the ball itself. I think it will be a fun surprise for their siblings to receive in the mail and a special way to let them know that Ozzie and Tyler love them and are thinking of them.

We hope you have a "ball" this Easter too! :)

We hope you have a “ball” this Easter too! 🙂

 

Weekend update..a bit late!

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This weekend update is a bit late in coming. I have been battling our computers..all of which are on their last leg. I am grateful that they are school computers that will soon be replaced with new school computers. Blogging has been laborious because of it. I now have only one computer that will download pictures but I can’t type my entry on it due to its snail pace so I have to load pictures on that computer and then switch to another to retrieve them off the website to write the blog..Ugh!

Friday morning the boys continued with their “brother time.” They spent the morning playing outside together which gave me the chance to get some chores done around the house. At lunch we left to pick up the girls from their slumber party. They had a blast and Molly was excited to show me her new makeover look…

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When we arrived home Gracie packed for the babysitting job she had that evening while the kids and I worked on our summer schedule. I sat the kids down to get their imput on what they wanted to do this summer. We made a list of playing they wanted to do, projects we wanted to accomplish around the house and schoolwork that we wanted to work on over the summer. We also worked on redistributing chores. Summer is the time that chores get switched in our house. That gives me the less frantic summer months to train them in their new responsibilities before the school resumes. They then keep those new chores until the following summer. Once we sorted out our summer plans we typed them up and posted them on the fridge for reference…

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Saturday morning was Tyler’s last soccer game of the season. It was a beautiful day and Tyler was thrilled that his team won their last game. Following the game the soccer association fed the kids hot dogs, drinks and cookies. Tyler even received a trophy for participating which he promptly took home and wrote his name on the back of with a sharpie marker so “nobody would take it.” 🙂

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When we arrived home I sent Tyler to the bathroom for a bath. When I went to check on him I found him bathing with his shorts still on and his trophy within sight…

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Saturday evening Gracie was asked to babysit for another family. This family has 5 kids including twin baby girls so Gracie invited Molly along to help. Molly was thrilled. This was her first babysitting job. Everything went really well and the girls said it was nice working together. Gracie then split the money she earned with Molly which Molly was really thrilled about!  🙂

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While the girls were babysitting we had a bonfire with the boys. Rusty was given the job of building a fire. My little scout did a great job…

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When the fire was blazing we let the boys roast marshmallows. Here is what Tyler thought of smores…

 

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On Sunday we sat down as a family to talk about Tyler’s adoption, which is coming up in about a month. We were revisiting the topic of Tyler’s name change. Months ago when we spoke to him about his last name changing he informed us that our name was too hard to spell so he was just keeping his own. This time I pulled out the baby name book and we looked up the meaning of all of our names. I then brought up discussion of middle names. We all told Tyler what our middle names are and then told him that when his last name changes we can also change his middle name. We asked him what he might want to change his middle name to. His suggestions were:

Tyler Daddy

Tyler Disneyworld

and Tyler Winnie.

When we vetoed those possibilities he asked what other choices there were. I suggested that we go around the room and tell Tyler our suggestions. Toby suggested Michael, Gracie suggested Quinn, Rusty suggested Isaac, Molly suggested Adam and I liked John but after hearing all of our ideas Tyler said, “What about Jacob. I like Jacob!” We will keep you posted on the final decision! 🙂

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Ups and Downs with a little boy..

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Oh, where do I begin..the last few days have been full of ups and downs. Friday morning began with a down..

Tyler on the fence post

Tyler on the fence post

(A DOWN): I thought all was well when I headed to my bathroom to grab a quick shower. Tyler was fed, dressed, had his morning pills and was playing nicely so I thought I was safe leaving the children unsupervised for a few minutes. I was in the shower with a full head of shampoo when I heard over the shower stream the banging of frantic children on my bathroom door…”Mom, come quick, it’s an emergency!” Not knowing what constituted an emergency and expecting the worse I jumped out of the shower with my hair full of shampoo and dripping wet. I threw on my robe and ran to the kitchen. The “emergency” was Tyler and Rusty fighting over a bowl of dog food. Tyler was on one side of the bowl and Rusty was on the other side and dog food was flying as they fought over who should feed the dog. It is Rusty’s job but Tyler wanted a chance to do it. When Rusty wouldn’t let go Tyler began hitting Rusty’s arm to “encourage” him to let go. Everyone’s emotions were running high when I ran into the kitchen dripping wet. They both quickly began telling their side of the story as soon as they saw me..each raising their voices to be heard over each other. “Stop,” I told them both. “Tyler let go of the bowl.” To which Tyler very unwisely answered “No! You can’t make me!” Thus setting off a series of events that ended in Tyler spending much of the morning sitting on the fencepost while I stood outside watching him as the sun cooked the shampoo lather into my hair. We were outside for a couple of hours as I tried to figure out what was wrong and Tyler responded to my inquiries with, “Blah, Blah, Blah” which then resulted in more time on the fence post. Two hours later he was ready to apologize and I was ready to rinse the soap out of my now dry hair.

(A DOWN): Later that day we had to go shopping for a swim suit for me (a definite down) but it was necessary because next week we are going to Kalahari water park for two days and the suit I have been using for the last few years has lost all elastic so in an effort to avoid scaring small children I deemed it necessary..  regardless of how unpleasant… to buy a new suit. I had been putting it off for weeks knowing how unpleasant and challenging it was going to be to take four kids into a store and expect them to sit outside the dressing room while I struggled to find a suit that was somewhat decent…it sounded like a disaster waiting to happen but I put on my brave face and headed out. On the way there we passed a policeman sitting off the side of the road. Tyler spoke up from the back seat in a panic, “Don’t go too fast, Momma. I don’t want you to go to jail.” I told him that I wasn’t speeding and I wasn’t going to go to jail. He was quiet for a minute and then spoke up again, “What if you and Daddy both go to jail? I don’t want you to go to jail because then I’ll have to move to a new family. I don’t want a new family.” I knew he was talking about what had happened to his biological parents and I was once again amazed at the memories he carries from when he was two years old…and the residual fears from those memories. I told him that Daddy and I were not going to go to jail and that he was not going to go to a new family. I think he wants to believe me but is still haunted by those old fears.

(AN UP): When we arrived at the store I began the arduous task of taking armfuls of swimsuits into the dressing room while the kids waited outside the dressing room on a couch. I had an overly enthusiastic sales girl trying to get me into swimsuits with plunging necklines and shoelaces holding the sides together. When I tried to explain that I was looking for something a bit more modest she told me that I needed to “embrace my inner sexy.” I saw Grace out of the corner of my eye trying not to laugh. Tyler was also eager to help. He called me over to see the swimsuit that he thought I should buy. It was a two piece bra and panty set in a hot pink leopard print. “Isn’t it pretty, Momma?” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it wasn’t a swimsuit. I just told him that it wasn’t my size.  Much to Tyler’s and the saleslady’s disappointment I didn’t “embrace my inner sexy” but I did find a suit that won’t scare the children and we made it out of the store without any major catastrophes…success!

(AN UP): Friday night Tyler needed a bath. Tyler always needs a bath. Within an hour of getting a bath Tyler needs a bath so it wasn’t unusual for Tyler to spend Friday evening in the tub. What was unusual though was that Tyler let me wash his hair. This was one of those adoption milestones for me. When he came to us he was very private about his body. He wouldn’t let me see him change his shirt much less help him with his bath. As his trust in me has grown some of those walls have come down. Friday night, though, was the first time he had let me in the bathroom while he was in the tub. He was already in the tub when I heard him calling me. I stood outside his door asking what he needed when he told me he wanted me to wash his hair. I couldn’t believe it. I walked into the bathroom and discovered him a mass of bubbles with his washcloth strategically placed. “Can you wash my hair for me, Momma?” he asked. My heart melted. As I knelt next to the tub shampooing his hair and washing his back those early memories of doing the same for my other kids came rushing back to me. It was such a gift to be given that special moment of bonding with Tyler. As he tipped his head back, his eyes closed, waiting for me to rinse the soap out of his hair I looked at him and my heart overflowed with gratitude for this special blessing God has given us!

My baby boy!

My baby boy!

(AN UP): Bedtime has greatly improved with the boys. A dear friend gave us a bottle of doTERRA essential oil (calming blend) and suggested that we try rubbing it on the soles of the boys’ feet before bed. It has made a huge difference! Rusty is now falling asleep within 30 minutes of using it and we haven’t had anymore sleepless night in weeks. God is good!

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(AN UP): Saturday was a day of up’s. The morning began with Tyler’s soccer game. When we arrived we discovered the team that we were playing had only 3 boys to our 7 so our coach asked the boys who wanted to play on the other team. It was funny watching all the boys raise their hand and shout, “Me, me!” So much for team loyalty. 🙂 The coach picked Tyler to move to the other team. Tyler had a great game and his “new team” won with Tyler’s help much to the disappointment of his real team. It was a tough game to watch because I didn’t know whether to cheer for our team or for Tyler.

After the game we drove over to the post office to pick up a package that had arrived for the girls. It was their birthday gift from Aunt Kelly and Uncle Tom. They were thrilled with their new shirts, hat and lip gloss.

The girls' new shirts!

The girls’ new shirts!

While we were out we also stopped at the hardware store to pick up some supplies we needed to put up a fence around our garden to keep out critters. We had some boys from church over on Saturday to help out. Some projects we worked on were… putting in the fence posts..

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Some of the critters we are trying to keep out of the garden.

Some of the critters we are trying to keep out of the garden.

..filling a sewer pipe that Toby scavenged and cut down to size to use for a potato garden bed with dirt,

Tyler helped by rolling the pipe into place.

Tyler helped by rolling the pipe into place.

and Molly filled it!

…hanging the hamocks..yep, summer is really here now! The view from the hammock..

Ahhhhh...

Ahhhhh…

and finally canning honey. We received two metal cans of honey from someone who was moving. It was perfectly good but had crystalized so we needed to first melt it to get it out of the cans. A friend suggested wrapping them in heating pads. It took about 10 hours to melt it but it worked!

Melting honey

Melting honey

We then transferred the honey into quart jars for easier use. The end result of our efforts was 25 quarts of honey..YUM! (a definite UP!)

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Overall a pretty great weekend with more UPs than DOWNs!