Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Whirlwind weekend & a Valentines Tree

A few years ago, I responded to an ad on sittercity for a family who was looking for some help with their kids. Primarily 3 younger ones, 8, 6, and 4 but there were also 2 older kids that were in middle and high school as well who would be around. Long story short, now a few years later, the parents are divorced, dad just got remarried and is soon moving far away.

I still babysit intermittently for the mother and this has recently turned more regular since the father is moving out of the area and hasn't been consistent with communicating to the mother regarding keeping the kids on her drill weekends. I arrived at the home around 5am on Saturday because the mother has drill weekends once a month for the national guard. She gave me a quick summary of the hardships and craziness that had ensued in January. This made me all the more happy that I had a fun craft activity for the kiddos to make for their mom that they could surprise her with.

We first tried to make them Saturday evening but realized too late that what was in the cabinet was wheat flour and it just doesn't work the same. So Sunday morning we hit the project again and the kids helped cut out the shapes with fun cutters I bought at Walmart for a whopping $2.88. I normally hate going there, but hubby needed some things and we stopped in Friday.

A little shot of the first few cut out heart shapes. Aren't they cute with their little edges??

The kids worked really hard painting their salt-dough hearts for their mom. They also painted little birdhouses that the two younger kiddos picked out.

While they were drying, they worked on a card for their mom as well.

Sadly in the process, the older daughter had gone outside with the one family dog and had come back in to try and get her younger sister to come out and play with her. In the 2 minutes or so, she was inside the house, the dog had jumped the fence and got hit by a car. Thankfully, due to helpful neighbors who came over to inform us and also helped transport the dog to the vet I was able to get the kids in the car and follow behind.

The dog was still alive at this point and we brought a blanket out from the house to tuck under the dog and use as a stretcher to get him in the back of the neighbor's SUV. The dog attempted a few times to get up but his back legs just weren't allowing him to do so. Anyway, we got him to the vet, I called the mom to let her know what had happened and where we were. I felt completely terrible and sad for these kids and their mom. They had just put their older dog down a few weeks ago so the loss of that pet was still way too fresh in their minds and hearts.

Although I had been optimistic on the way to the vet, this was quickly crushed when within a minute of the vet checking out the dog's condition, he told us "oh thats not good, this is very bad." Basically the dog had a staircase break in the middle of his spine which equates to losing the ability to anything bowel related and to ever move his back legs. Over the course of about 25 minutes it because very clear the dog was getting ready to die and began to cry. We brought the kids in to say goodbye after the mom gave consent over the phone to put the dog to rest. I literally started to cry when I had to go out and tell the kids to come in and say goodbye to their dog. I just felt completely awful. They came in and said goodbye and we went ahead and went back to the house.

I had them all come back and continue work on their project for their mom both to help take their mind off a little and also something to be excited about to surprise their mom with. They did a great job hanging all the ornaments on the "tree" and wrote out little tags with nice statements on them (their idea!!)

When their mom got home, they covered her eyes and brought her into the dining room where all the surprises were. She was so surprised and really enjoyed and appreciated all the kids' hard work.

Needless to say, I was glad I squeezed in a 4.5 mile run in while the kids were at their church prep class rather than thinking I was going to go to the gym after I was done babysitting. I left their house around 8pm and til I threw some quick food in the oven for hubby and I, ate and got changed for bed, I was pretty much ready to pass out.

How did you get crafty this weekend??


Gail said... [Reply]

This is both a happy and sad story. I commend you for helping this needy family. Making a valentine tree for the mom was a terrific idea. It turned out beautiful. Finishing the tree was probably the hardest thing the kids had to do after what happened to their dog. They can make another heart and tree for their dog as a celebration of life and devotion.

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Mary Sauer said... [Reply]

What a fun Valentine's craft! Definitely saving this one for when our little one is older.
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Maria said... [Reply]

Jodi, I'm so sorry to hear about the family's dog...that is heartbreaking. I'm sure they were so comforted by you and glad to have you by their side. And how sweet you helped take their mind off of it all with your crafts. I'm sure the mom was so touched. Much love xoxox