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It’s Not All Strawberries and Sunshine

It’s pouring down rain here. Again. Summer hasn’t quite arrived in our little corner of the Pacific Northwest. We’ve had a day or two of 70 degree weather…other than that, it’s been in the sixties and cooler at night. Our house is still chilly…in July. We heat with wood, and this is the time of year when we need to lay in store our wood for the coming winter, so we are huddled around in sweatshirts sipping warm drinks. In July.

But here are some photos I never posted from one of the warm days we have had. So enjoy. And I’ll pretend this is what the weather is like right now.

And if you’re  wondering why Apollo is dominating the photos, it is simply because, for the most part, he was the only child near enough for me to photograph. See those little dots? Those are Baker’s Dozen children swimming in the water.

Ah. Yesterday was one of those days. In the end, it was productive. We picked 76 pounds of strawberries, washed them all, froze some, made freezer jam, and just this morning we had crepes with fresh strawberry syrup. Yum.

But yesterday was a rough day. I nearly called off strawberry picking due to behavior issues (seeing this morning’s rain, I’m so glad I didn’t). And Apollo most definitely did not enjoy strawberry picking. (Photos coming soon. Of course!)

It’s no secret that I’m raising some children with some serious special needs. In general I choose not to post about it much- mainly because I don’t want my children judged by their behavior here at home. Our home should be a refuge for them.  Much of their behavior is out of their control caused by things that happened before their very birth. Just as Apollo is living with the effects of his heart not forming correctly during his fetal development, so Avi and Mordecai are living with the effects of their prenatal environment. No one blames Apollo for his malformed heart…nor do I blame my adopted children for their issues. But just as surely as I hook Apollo up to a pump four times a day to feed him, I deal daily with behavior issues from my children that were caused long before their birth.

I had a child spend the afternoon in his room trying his very best to destroy it. He couldn’t slam to door…because he broke it before our strawberry picking adventure and his older brothers had to take if off the hinges.

So instead he found more creative ways to wreck his room. I don’t suppose you need all the details. Let’s just say he’s quite creative.

And now I am faced with a day of pouring down rain. And contemplating moving to  Florida – though I don’t have Chuck sold on that idea yet.

And I really didn’t intend for this post to turn in the direction it went, but obviously that’s where I am this cold, rainy morning.

{I’ve slipped back into second place for Top 25 Photographer Mom Blogs. If you enjoy my photos, could you click over and give me a vote? No need to register or sign in. Thanks!}




  1. Kimberly

    I’d trade you some of our triple-digit weather if I could! Great pictures. And as someone who grew up with a brother with his own issues stemming from his adoption, I can unfortunately relate. Hoping today is better.

  2. liz

    IT FINALLY rained here for a few’s like a desert in Michigan…we have had less than an inch in june…so hot..everyones grass is dead..most don’t even try to water at this point. My veggie garden is thriving the sunflowers already blooming.

    I so respect you for not posting about their behavior. i once read a blog and then couldn’t anymore as she would post super close up pics of kids she fost/adopt and then proceeded to tell their every single detail of the day and how mad, angry, irritated and upset she was.

    She would go on and on about their manipulations. They were about 5 and 7 yrs old. I actually left a comment that she never posted to the tune of trying to kindly remind her that all that she is sending out in “bloggy world” is there FOREVER!

    For the neighbors, the teachers, family, friends, future co workers and relationships…I said I understood she felt this was an outlet, but she was posting these pics. The pics just blew me away. these innocent kids.

    That is part of why I struggle to blog. so much of my life is my child and I am seeing “children” with sp needs. I don’t think I could blog about homeschooling without mentioning all that. So that would leave me to leaving out pics…and I know blog readers LOVE pics. For it to be public I just don’t see that as protecting your children.

    At times I don’t even talk to extended family about it in fear say his behavior is less than stellar and tehn they chalk it up to “the messes up kid”..ya know?

    In my sons case as far as I know it was just the genetic lottery he lost/won depending how you look at it. He is brilliant, kind, sweet, loving….but most of the time..impulsive, raging, swearing, destroying stuff etc….

    Our every move is not without him in mind. Consuming.

    I am really glad you mentioned it as i am sure those who don’t know you may think that Apollo is your only child with “special needs”..

    You are a strong women Renee!

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      Liz- I certainly try to balance being real and protecting my children. I think intimate details about behavioral issues are best saved for small groups, forums specifically for that purpose, etc.

  3. Jo

    Well all kids have their own problems, I respect you for protecting the privacy of yours. While it all may be special needs, Apollo WONT be judged for his. I hope that no one judges your other children for them either, for they are just as wonderful and special as the others. They are lucky to have you. I read a really great blog once, and then the writer started sharing some things that made me feel really uncomfortable being there. Things that could honestly not be shared from even 1% of all homes and be true, I felt like “wrong place wrong time” and left off reading. I enjoy reading your blog, you share so many triumphs and its clear you love being a mom. Its ok to share some of the not so glowing parts behavior wise. Somehow they seem harder to share than the medical issues. There are other reasons for behavior issues, I have things I wont ever share for my children’s privacy that were problems during deployments. Kids have different reasons, what happened pre-birth caused problems for your kids. At least they are not your fault, you just get to help them through it all. Sometimes I think the army is our fault. We chose it. Everyone has to have a job I guess, but did we have to pick one that caused our children permanent bad memories and heart-ache? No one is perfect, no life is perfect. Kids have problems. They are exposed to things we wish we could change or prevent. But this one, might be my fault partly.

    • bakersdozenandapolloxiv

      One reason I blog is to record our family life…recording little bits of mischief is one thing…recording things that will humiliate my children later- not okay. I’ve read, and left, blogs like that too. Besides, those aren’t the things we take photos of and post in our family albums anyway.

  4. Jo

    I agree. Blogs are not things that can be deleted and some things should always be kept private. The whole world should not know my children’s private business. I blog for the funny stuff, and the to show my family and friend’s what we are doing, where we are at in life. I like to blog homeschool stuff, just to share. But I wouldnt even post my child’s math grade if it would be humiliating. I think sometimes people forget that it is anything more than microsoft word-maybe they forget to say would this embarrass me. However, I have family who will tell stories about their children at family get-togethers that their children SINCERELY wish their mama wouldnt tell. I guess some people just dont do “private” very well. We talk to our kids about this as well, this is for our family talk and these other things are not. Just like you do not share with other kids that your goats breed-maybe their mama does not want them to know all about farm life yet, how life is created and you steal their parents right to explain in their way when you tell things like that. Or things like, my mama and daddy had an argument! That is also something for just us. Its hard to find that balance, but our kids will appreciate that we thought of them and their feelings when posting.

  5. Savanna

    Wow, its been really hot here in Mississippi and very little rain until yesterday, the temperature has been mostly between the 90’s and 107 degrees! I saw the photo of the strawberry breakfast on FB it looked so good. Florida would be a great place if your looking for warmer weather it’s usually nice weather there not too hot, and not too cold. Looking forward to seeing the strawberry picking pictures!

  6. Heather B

    Girl, i hear ya!! I am SO ready for Florida! It’s July and my 3 year old is still insisting on footie jammies. I am really sick of this PNW “summer.”

  7. Inga

    Renee, I live just north of you in BC. We too are searching for summer. My daughter got prescribed an antibiotic on Friday that came with the warning, “Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.” Hasn’t been a big problem! First we’d have to FIND some direct sunlight. This too shall pass, right?

  8. Elisabeth

    Florida sounds nice in theory but they get a lot of rain- hurricanes and the like on top of hot, hot, humid days! I, personally, envy your weather up in Washington. I’m sweating it out down in southern Arizona- triple digits almost every day since early March. No thanks! 🙂

  9. Lou

    June 27th (so mid-winter for us) somewhere in Queensland (northern state) a newspaper said “for 4 days in a row now the temperature has not reached 20 degrees”. That’s celcius. So 68f. Hahaha! Talk about greedy for sun. They complain in the middle of winter that it hasn’t been over 68.

  10. Susan Watson

    You’re always welcome to be our neighnbors in SC! I think that you have a fine balance between letting others know what is happening in your life but still not over-exposing the details. I pray for you maybe not daily but a whole lot. I don’t really even know you but am so proud of what you’re doing. Hold yourself together in God’s promises and know that some of us out here care and are praying. I voted for you as well. Good job on the strawberries! That’s a lot of work that will pay off later.

  11. Dorothy

    I’d like some cool weather, to replace the stretch of upper 90’s to 100 we’ve had for the last week+. Monday we are predicted to have a high in the mid 80’s, it will feel cold…

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