Why Did We Buy That New Bed Again?

9:00: Because we’re about to throw him out the window, we relent and tell Feff he can sleep on the floor beside our bed. This is a habit we are trying to break, but since I turn into a parenting pumpkin at 9:00 and will then do anything to shut people up, we are not having much success.

10:00: Jason and I start telling Josiah and Hayden goodnight. Hayden, however, is in the middle of giving Josiah some sort of goofy internet quiz, so we wait.

10:30: Still laughing…and still listening to poor Josiah answer the 5000 questions on the goofy internet quiz…we go upstairs to bed.

11:00: I hear Quincy come home from work and go down to talk to her for a few minutes. I go back to bed.

3:00: I hear Quincy in the shower and go talk to her for a few minutes. She’s leaving after her shower to pick Tom up at the bus station at 3:45.

4:00: Restless, I text Quincy to make sure she has found Tom. She has, and they are headed to Denny’s for breakfast.

4:15: Feffer comes into our room and crashes next to his little brother. On my way back from the bathroom, I manage to avoid stepping on him but nail poor Feff. He screams. I remind him that I won’t step on him if he’s in his own bed. He ignores me.

5:00: Tom and Quincy get home. Jason and I both go down to greet the boy. I crawl into bed from the foot to avoid stepping on the little boys.

5:30: Feff starts mumbling in his sleep, wakes himself up, and starts begging for strawberry milk. I tell him to back to sleep.

6:00: Feff is thrashing around, babbling again. Jason and I give up and get out of bed.

7:30: I’ve done a couple of housekeeping chores. Jason’s walked the dog and showered. The children are all out like lights.

Oy. We need more kids. And maybe some sleeping pills.

We Blinked…

…and these things happened:

This child…


got a driver’s license and made her first solo driving trip to buy us frappes (we took one for the team).


And this child…


bought a trunkload full of stuff for his dorm room (which I guess means that he’s going to leave us in a few weeks).


No more blinking.

Manic Monday

Jason, Quincy, and Hayden went to Indianapolis today. All of Jason’s siblings were there (which is pretty rare), so they saw Grandpa Erich, Grandma Jeanette, Uncle Paul, Uncle Stephen, Aunt Cheryl, Aunt Eunice, Uncle Scott, Jen, Sean, Ella, Lillie, Morgan, Michelle, Samuel, Hannah, and Rachel. Good, good times.

Everyone got a turn with brand new baby Morgan…




Uncle Jason did not have the magic touch with Rachel this time (in spite of his bragging last time). She was fresh out of smiles…


even when she was trying to figure out what her big brother was hollering about.


Hayden got “promoted” to the kids’ table to eat with Samuel, Hannah, and Lillie….


Samuel and Hannah chillaxing…


Hayden’s selfie with Ella and Lillie…


Hayden and Hannah…


Hayden with Lillie and Hannah…


Hayden with Samuel…


Hayden, Aunt Eunice, and Quincy…


Grandpa, Grandma, Eunice, Jason, Paul, and Stephen…


The four siblings…together at last!


Back at the home front, Josiah got caught up on some much-needed sleep. Camp is exhausting…especially for the counselors! He got up at 12, though, which was the earliest time posted in the “when will Si get up” pool.

I spent a good portion of the day making cookies for all the kids…those here at home, plus we dropped some by Zach and Raven’s, sent some to Haley in New York, and sent some to Dillon with this note…

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I also found a much-needed dresser for Fiffer on an online garage sale. Josiah went and picked it up, and Fiffer quickly filled it with all of her treasured possessions!


And…Josiah and I loaded up the littles to run to Walmart to look for stuff for his dorm room. He heard the hissing, and we drove quickly home to avoid a tire change in the parking lot. By the time we got home, there was no doubt it was flat. So…that’s on the list for tomorrow…


The fun never stops:)

Busy Day

Yesterday was a big day at the Rensner house. I drove to Camp Lutherhaven to pick Josiah up, leaving at 6:00 a.m. and returning about 5:30 p.m. In the meantime, Quincy (after working double-shifts for three days straight) and Hayden (the birthday girl) helped Jason wrangle the littles through an early morning service at the fairgrounds in Altamont, Sunday School, church, and nursing homes. Not to mention keeping the littles busy all afternoon AND preparing Hayden’s birthday supper (poor kid had to cook it herself this year).

We had a great evening hearing Josiah’s camp stories, watching Hayden open presents, and just chillaxing for a bit after the littles were in bed. We all were more than ready to hit the sack early (although…evidently…sixteen-year-olds talk just as much as fifteen-year-olds do…so “early” didn’t really describe it).

Here are a few photos. I don’t have many of Josiah, because he didn’t take any himself and the ones from the camp feature the kids from his cabin, so I hate to post pics of kids I don’t even know. Here’s one of Josiah in action…

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He was a JS 4 this summer, the highest rank in their Junior Servant program, and he actually served as a counselor for part of the time, with his own little cabin of boys. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Josiah loves camp. It has been such a formative part of his growing-up and looks as if it might be a big part of his young adulthood, as well. God is good.

Hayden loved all her presents (a journal and clothes) and spent the evening modeling for us (whether we were interested or not).

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Good times.

16 For Her 16th

Sixteen of my favorite pictures of Hayden…who is turning sixteen years old tomorrow! What an amazing, hysterical, talented, caring, beautiful daughter she is! Happy Birthday Eve, Hay!





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An Update on the Update

So…I got an email from Dillon’s houseparents yesterday. She said he’s doing OK…questioning them a lot…but backing down when reminded of the consequences…fitting in with the other boys…enjoying the activities they offer…good stuff.

But, he repeatedly tells the houseparents and the other boys that…for the past three years…we have kept him locked in his room…except when we were beating him with metal rods.

Beating. Him. With. Metal. Rods.

First, I cried. Second, I raged. Third, I wondered. Metal rods? What would those even be? And…can I get my hands on a couple…just to prop in his otherwise-empty closet…for when he comes home to visit?

Good heavens.

If it’s true…that whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger…that kid is turning me into the Incredible Hulk.

An Update on Dillon

Since several people have asked me for an update on Dillon, here it is:

So far, so good…although we don’t have a lot of information yet. We talk to Dillon once a week…we are allowed to call on Sunday afternoons, and we can talk for up to thirty minutes. So far, we’ve called him three times, and each call has lasted about 6-7 minutes. He had a few rough days at the beginning (because he wasn’t following the rules), but he seems to have settled down. During the summer, the boys have a lot of time to just “hang out,” so his conversations are about fishing and video games. He doesn’t seem to be homesick at all, although he asked if we could call him sometime when Zachery is around to talk to him. His first scheduled visit home is over Labor Day weekend, although we just found out from his public defender that the judge wants him to appear in court in late August. We’re trying to get that changed, since he will have to miss a whole day of school to come back up here, but that decision is out of our hands, so we’ll see. I have a feeling his attitude will change a bit when school starts, but we’ll see about that too.

As for the rest of us…so far, so good. The changes around here were immediate and dramatic. Since the day he left, there have no more nightmares, wall-writing, or food-hoarding from the littles. I know. It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Was the stress of having him at home driving all of those behaviors? Or was he doing some of that to “frame” the littles…maybe in an attempt to push us into giving them up? Strange.

And as for me personally…so far, so good. It has taken a couple of weeks, but I have a resurgence of energy and joie de vivre that testifies to how much the interactions with him were weighing me down.

So. We do counseling once a week (over the phone) with a counselor at the children’s home. Dillon does counseling once a week (in person) with the same counselor. Eventually, we will all do counseling once a week (via Skype) with the same guy. He assures us that we will get to a point where all of us will be ready and eager for Dillon to return home. I hope he’s right.