Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Eat it before it's gone

Yes, we label food around here.

It's a must.

Usually it's reserved for the individual who has purchased his own food, or been given a special edible gift, or who didn't eat her portion of the dessert and wanted to be sure it didn't get scarved up before she could get to it.

Apparently, Jake didn't have to do this in his family of origin. Either they never had any food left-over or they were a lot less selfish than we are but whatever the reason, this was a new concept to him.

One night, Jake and Ana decided they wanted to make a run to Giant. Isaac, Eden, and HopeAnne tagged along. Each person purchased his or her own treat, including a unique-sounding pint sized ice cream flavor for each. Since they aren't as individually sized as they look, out came the Sharpies so it would be clear that the left-over ice cream belonged to a specific family member, and wasn't up for grabs.

Not to be left out, Jake pulled out a pad of Post-It notes and went to town. All. Over. My. Kitchen.

The next morning, I was a little perplexed as to why Jake owned the box of butter quarters. And an egg...

But then I started finding the notes everywhere and figured out what was going on.

Occasionally I find another one.

Sorry, Jake, but I needed these beans for the Labor Day camp-out.  You'll have to buy your own can.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Dying bugs

There's nothing better than a dying bug, right?

Well, maybe not for the bug but for Victor. What better way to study a bug up-close-and-personal than when it's barely moving but not yet dead.

He even had a prayer for the poor creature (after the 1,031st question about bugs in general, cicadas specifically, and death and dying):
Dear God, I pray that you could help this cicada
to feel better and to fly away.

Unfortunately, it was found upside down, under the picnic table the next day.

I don't think it was sleeping.

Rest in peace, dear friend. Rest in peace. We are thankful for your contribution to Victor's understanding of insects.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Victor-isms still happen

Mom, another name for the White House is The Headquarters, right?

Shoun playfully hit Victor who was not amused so he shouted, "Shoun, you're grinded!"

Victor: Hey, look, do you see that? (Pointing to his chest) I stabbed myself with a pencil.
Mariana: Victor, that's your nipple.
Victor: Yeah, I stabbed myself with a pencil a month ago and that's how that got there.
Mariana: Well, do you have another one?
Victor: No.
Mariana: Are you sure?
(He checks...)
Victor: No.
Mariana tells him to check out the other side...
Victor: Oh, yeah, I think I stabbed myself with a pencil over there, too.

Victor: Mom, why do veterinarians only eat pretend stuff?
Me: Vets? I'm pretty sure they eat normal food just like we do. They're people, too.
Victor: No, they only eat pretend stuff.
Me: Ok. (It's better not to argue with Victor. Believe me. Even when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are correct. Even when you could prove it by driving to the local veterinarian's office and asking them what they eat.)
Victor: Well, I know that veterinarians don't eat meat. So why don't they eat meat?
Me (having a lightbulb moment): Ohhhhhhhhhhh. You don't mean veterinarians, you mean vegetarians. (Excuse me while I go in my room and laugh out loud since doing so in front of you will mean that I get yelled at and, on a good day, punched or pinched.)

Me: What did you learn in Sunday School today?
Victor: Loveness

It's the worst pain in my whole gallery of itches.

Victor was helping to husk corn. He didn't like the tassels so he would work on each ear until he got to the inside and then he would hand it to one of us saying, "You can have the tassel hassle."

We found a cicada with limited mobility (that's the politically correct way of saying it was likely going to be a bird's dinner). I brought it close so Victor could observe it. He then told us that we had to have a prayer for the cicada. After the prayer, which he led, he spent a long time studying the cicada and then said, "Mom, we're cicada-ologists." And later, "Do cicadas have souls?"

Saturday, August 24, 2019

And that's a wrap

Last Thursday we took Shoun to college for his first year, then on Sunday it was Mariana's turn to return for her last year, and then yesterday it was Isaac's turn for his first year. I think that's the last of the first days for 2019.

The night before, we made our last meal together for now (Pad Thai). We worked on cleaning up the room together (2 boys + 8 years in the same room = 1 huge mess). We chatted. We enjoyed the evening together as a family of 6, soon to be 5. Wow, that sounds so normal.

Asbury, Eastern, Marymount Manhattan, Liberty, and Cairn. The list is growing but through all of their first days, there is one thing that remains true and that is how obvious it is that each one is right where God wants them. They are on the campus that was designed for them and they for it.

“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

We are the champions

As Victor started his breakfast this morning, Eden mentioned that it was "the breakfast of Champions". So, of course, Victor had to start singing the song by Queen.

Not a bad theme song for the year. Hopefully.

So, he's off to 1st, HopeAnne to 7th, and Eden starts at the high school.

He was thrilled with his new Toy Story backpack (but we still have a Cars themed lunch box!).

This year I'll be praying for your attitude, for boldness, courage, discernment, enthusiasm, friendliness, generosity, humility, initiative, joyfulness, knowledge, listening skills, maturity, love, hope, perseverance, peace-making, respect, self-control, thankfulness, understanding, victory, wisdom, excellence, youthfulness, and zeal.

I'm proud of all three of you and know you'll do well.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The tooth fairy returns

Mr. Victor loves the dentist. I'll never understand it. I mean, I can have the exact same hygienist and I always have the same dentist, but I still don't get excited when I see "Dentist" on the calendar.

But how wonderful it is to have a whole dental practice that makes this guy feel like a king. Everyone greets him by name as soon as he walks in the door and engages with him. They go out of their way to say how much they love him.

The hygienist explains every single thing she's doing, she answers his thousands of questions, and she lets him touch every piece of equipment and every instrument she'll be using (and even the ones she won't be using) during the exam.

The world needs more Victors to teach others patience, to see the world through the eyes of new discovery, and to slow down. And the world needs more people like his dentist and hygienist. People who know how to look beyond the annoyance and frustration to the prince or princess inside.

Today he was especially excited to tell them about his first wiggly tooth. The dentist decided to help Victor out by pulling that tooth for him.

So tonight, if he's lucky, that tooth will be exchanged for some prized coins. And when I say lucky, I'm telling you he'll have to be really lucky because it's been years since our tooth fairy has actually remembered to deliver the money in the middle of the night. She's more likely to just look at the recently pulled tooth and say, "How wonderful! Go get a dollar out of my coin jar."

I don't think that's going to fly with this guy, though. Better put the Good Doctor on Tooth Fairy duty tonight. Maybe he's more likely to get the job done.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Special showing

For several years, I've had the Camp Hill Youth Summer Stage private showing for kids with special needs on the calendar but it never suited us to go. And with Big Sister hired as choreographer last year and this, we really wanted to get there.

So this year, I was excited to see that the evening was free but after our week at the beach, I wasn't sure I wanted to attempt it. "Special needs" is such a broad term and doesn't necessarily mean that everyone is prepared for a disrupting raging meltdown. However, the two days prior to the event were relatively uneventful so we decided to try it.

As soon as he heard that there'd be fire trucks, that's really all he wanted. The only problem was that there was a thunder storm as we drove up so we had to try out some other activities first. Initially dismissing the idea of face paint or hair color, he decided to try when we caught up with Mariana and another director friend who convinced him it'd be cool.

And if you got it in the right light, it even showed up in that beautiful black hair!

He did finally get to his beloved fire trucks.

The show, with many cuts for the attention spans in attendance, was well done. Victor spent most of it sitting in Mariana's lap, getting his own private narration, interrupted by many questions, of course. But since there were multiple balloon pops, squeals, shouts, and unidentifiable noises throughout, no one complained or cared.

And when your sister is on the production team, you're even given a backstage pass to meet and greet the actors. I have to believe this is a learning experience for them, too.
Of course she would be standing next to Gertrude.
Seeing her as Gertrude many moons ago was a highlight for all of us 
(minus Victor, who wasn't even born yet).

But he only had eyes for Maizie. And, as he told us when he was returned to us, "She even let me feel her feathers!"

Many, many thanks to the sponsors who make this event possible. The smiles and hugs were numerous.

Here's hoping it suits us next year as well!