Baby Ozz v0.5G

Pink BootiesDo you know what the “G” stands for in the title? Maybe the pink booties will give a clue. YES!!! Osborne Baby #5 is a GIRL!!!

I am not sure what came over us last week, but we decided to open the mystery envelope. It had been exactly one week since Sherry’s ultrasound. All the kids were in bed except for Riley. We got to talking about whether we would like to know if our new little one was a girl or a boy. While I was wavering on the side of waiting to be surprised at birth, I was not hard to be convinced to open the envelope. Sherry and Riley both wanted to know. We simply did not have good self control and I tore open the envelope. We were genuinely surprised, and as you can see from the picture, Sherry is really enjoying shopping for pink at the Summerville Flowertown Festival. Sherry went out to the festival on Saturday and was able to share the news with her best friend Adrienne while sitting under the tree planted in honor of Sherry’s mom Darla Pack in Azalea Park in Summerville. The thoughts of this little girl missing the opportunity to get spoiled by grandma was an emotional time for Sherry in particular.

The reason we were so surprised was that Sherry and I had grilled the ultrasound tech about whether she was certain about the gender of our baby during the ultrasound. If you have been through the 20 week ultrasound then you know they can usually let you know with a high degree of certainty the gender of your child. In this case the ultrasound tech said she was 100% sure. However, she had only a few minutes earlier told us a story about being wrong by telling a couple they were having a girl and then realizing in a later ultrasound that she had, uhm, missed something in the earlier ultrasound. That said, we thought that by saying she was 100% sure meant that we were having a fifth boy. So the surprise in the envelope caught us by surprise.

We are super excited. Now I just have to figure out a new budget line item for girl clothes.

Bigger is Better

4 Boys Plus OneThe Osborne family is growing. We expect the newest of the @OzzKids to join the fun in late July of 2013. The picture on the right was taken on Christmas Eve right after we announced to our family that we were expecting #5. We wrapped a small box with the onesie inside and then wrapped that box inside another and so on until we had it six or seven boxes deep. We passed the box in a circle while playing Jingle Bells (Levi’s fav) and the person holding the box when the music stopped had to open a layer. The news seemed most surprising for Caden and Josiah. You can see in the picture that Josiah was still in shock a few minutes later when we staged this picture. Caden is shown below with his initial reaction.

I think our extended family has finally come to a point where they are no longer surprised. Most thought we were crazy for having another child after Caden given the medical challenges we still battle with him. Caden was born with a deletion of his 22nd chromosome called 22q11.2 (DiGeorge Syndrome or VCFS). This has come with a host of open heart surgeries, back surgeries, exclusive tube feeding, and much, much more. While Sherry certainly does carry a heavier load with cooking, cleaning, laundry, and home schooling, the logistics of dealing with Caden’s frequent hospitalizations has really not changes much with the addition of Josiah and Levi. From the time Caden was born we had one child in the ICU and one at home that required our love and attention. Most Caden Reacts to hearing he will be a big brother againrecently we have just had multiple children at home when Caden has been hospitalized. I don’t expect the future to be much different with the new addition to our family when Caden has surgeries because we will still have children in two different places that need their parents. That has become a normal for our family that we have learned to live with and deal with fairly well.

So the long and the short is that we are very excited to be growing our family. We think that Bigger is Better and thank the Lord for blessing us with another child. We love all of the children God has blessed us with and can’t wait to meet the newest addition to the Osborne gang. As I said earlier, the emotions have been mixed within the family. As shown here, Caden was a little surprised, but pleasantly surprised. I have decided to start telling people that we are trying for 14 kids and that is what the number on my hat represents. It is actually the number of my favorite NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, but I thought that referring to the number as the target for number of children was a great way to stifle the comments about our big family. The idea was not my own, my neighbor came up with the idea during a New Year’s Eve Bingo party that Riley and I attended.

We hope you had a Merry Christmas and a trust that your New Year has begun with great joy and thanksgiving.



Teach the Value of Giving and Receiving

child opening gift


By Maureen Monfore,

The holidays are upon us! How will your children handle the holiday?

In many homes, Christmas becomes all about the gifts: shopping, wrapping, and receiving. And for children especially, who aren’t necessarily involved in the shopping, Christmas is an indulgent time that’s all about receiving. I’ve seen many a child who opens a gift and tosses it aside to open the next one.

Christmas is a fun time with children, but it also makes parents cringe when they think of how her children might react to their various gifts. Will he say “thank you” for every gift? Will he even acknowledge the giver? Will he stop to express sincere gratitude before moving on to the next gift? Will he say something special like, “I’ve always wanted this.”

Don’t leave this to chance. Don’t teach gratitude in the moment. Plan ahead and start teaching the value of giving and receiving now.

Every year, I like to take the time to assess my kids and how they might behave at Christmas. I want to make sure they will give and receive at Christmas with grace and gratitude. My children are 8 and 5 now, so they should be old enough to understand the value of giving and receiving, but I’m not going to leave it to chance. In fact, as children get older, they tend to get a little greedier.

When my boys were little, they would open one present and go off to play with it. The adults would encourage the child to open the next gift, since the idea is that we all sit around and open gifts at the same time. Honestly, though, I’d prefer that they open one gift at a time. It can help mitigate that greediness.

So over the years, my kids have learned that opening gifts is part of our Christmas tradition. And they know enough to expect several gifts. They are also involved in the process of creating a Christmas list. While everyone likes to know what my children like, I’m beginning to think that the Christmas list isn’t such a good idea. It sets the expectation that they can request their gifts and that they will receive everything on their lists. Last year, I cringed when William said something like, “I didn’t want this.” It was an innocent comment; he just thought he was only getting what was on his list, and the gift wasn’t something he put on his list. Sadly, I had to teach him in the moment, in front of the giver.

It’s moments like that that have taught me that I need to train my children in how to behave at Christmas. I need to shape their attitudes.

So how do I do this?

First of all, have a dialogue about the reason for the holiday. We discuss what will happen and why we give and receive gifts. We explain how other family members will feel when they give my kids gifts.

Then, we do a little role-playing. It’s a good idea to sit around on the floor, opening imaginary presents. I like to play the bad kid, and show them what it’s like to say insensitive things after they give me a gift. Then we’ll try again, and I’ll be the good kid. Make the experience fun to make it memorable.

I also make a point, in these last few days before Christmas, to remind them to say thank you at every turn. Whether I’m getting them a glass of water or making cookies with them, I have them say thank you. If I get any negative attitude about this, I stop to explain the reason for gratitude.

Then on Christmas morning, before opening gifts, explain again what it means to give and receive. Remind the child of the role-playing you did and give all indications that now is the time to display grace and gratitude.

One final thing to teach is the sign language sign for thank you. If you have done all your teaching and the child still forgets to say thank you after opening a gift, you can stand behind the receiver, call the child’s name, get his eye contact, and quietly do the sign. Your child then gets a cue to say thank you without you having to verbally remind him in front of the giver.

Maureen Monfore is the author of and the eBook, Live in Harmony with First-Time Obedience. A mother to two young boys, Maureen recognizes the value of obedience and heart training in our children. She relies on the teachings of Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo to show her the way. Her eBook is currently on sale for the holidays, for $7.99, which is 20% off the regular price.

Gingerbread Train and Gluten Free Train

JJ Rice Crispy Train Engine

The Christmas season brings out the creativity in the Osborne family. This year we baked gingerbread and created our 7th annual Gingerbread Train. Since we have five year little Josiah who is allergic to wheat and egg we had to get creative to come up with a train that he could decorate that would have no wheat or egg. Our Gingerbread train dough is made from wheat flour and the glue that holds everything together is made of Royal Icing which is predominately egg whites and powdered sugar. More on that train in a minute.

Here are some other pictures of Josiah’s Gluten-free train made from Rice Krispies® treats.

Josiah decorating the Rice Krispies Train

Josiah had a blast with this train project and was so tempted to eat it while decorating. As a matter of fact, as of today the train actually does not exist anymore. JJ has consumed the entire train after dinner each night while we read our Advent story Bartholomew’s Passage.

JJ and his train

JJ’s little train

As the title suggests the fun also included a 2012 Gingerbread Train. The first picture I have to share is of the entire family. Then below that I will show you some individual cars so that you can see some of the detailed decorating Riley, Caden, and their friend Noah did.

2012 Osborne Family Gingerbread Train

Osborne Family with the 2012 Gingerbread Train

Gingerbread Train Engine

Gingerbread Train Engine

Treasury Car

Treasury Car – some years we make this a coal or rock car

Gingerbread Lumber Car

Lumber Car – carries candy cane logs held together with fruit strips

Gingerbread Train passenger car

Passenger Car – Custom Made Osborne Family Addtion

Gingerbreat Train Caboose

Gingerbread Coboose – Riley’s Favorite to Decorate

Gingerbread Train Decorating

Riley and a friend decorating the train

This gingerbread train takes us three afternoons to make. Sherry normally mixes and chills the dough a few days before baking. Then I spend an afternoon with the boys cutting out pieces and baking. This process takes several hours. This year we made a little extra so Riley’s friend could decorate his own train engine and take it home. They are homeschool buddies and spend a good amount of time together during the school year. the picture above shows how messy the third and final day of the gingerbread train process takes. This is the assembly and decorating day. This year I packages each trains pieces in a separate container so it would be easier to figure out which pieces went with which car. It was also the first year that I did not participate in the decoration and assembly of the gingerbread train.

We hope you enjoyed this look at our 2012 Gingerbread and Gluten-free trains. You can get more details on how we make the Gingerbread Train at Grill’n Time. Also be sure to check out our previous six years of gingerbread trains.


Gingerbread Train – Christmas Tradition

2010 Gingerbread Train Engine

The Gingerbread Train will be pulling into the station in the Osborne household for the seventh year in a row very soon. This has become somewhat of a badge of our family identity during the Christmas season with close friends and family. We normally begin the process of making the dough and cutting out the pattern sometime in early December. We try to have the train assembled by the middle of December so we can use it as part of our Christmas decoration process. We have begun to take inventory of supplies and are talking about how we might change things up this year.

One change this year is that we are going to try a small gluten free gingerbread companion house. We are also going to try to make some type of royal icing without egg whites to use to assemble the gingerbread house. Our 5 year old Josiah is allergic to wheat, egg, and nuts so he cannot participate with hands on decoration or assembly of the gingerbread train. Any ideas you have on gluten free dough or egg-free royal icing would be greatly appreciated.

If you are a homeschool family this is a great project to work on for art and cooking. There is also plenty of room for creativity in the area of math and geometry. We designed our own gingerbread train cars for 2008 and 2009. You will notice the tanker card in the 2008 photo below and the passenger car in 2009. These were not designs offered by the original magazine article that we used to start this tradition.

Below is a picture of each Gingerbread Train from years past. You can also learn how to make your own Gingerbread Train by following the process we have used since 2006. The entire process is described with lots of picture over at Grill’n Time.

2006 Gingerbread Train

2006 Gingerbread Train


2007 Gingerbread Train

2007 Gingerbread Train


2008 Gingerbread Train

2008 Gingerbread Train


2009 Gingerbread Train

2009 Gingerbread Train


Gingerbread Train Daddy Life

2010 Gingerbread Train


2011 Gingerbread Train

2011 Gingerbread Train

What fun family traditions do you have centered around the Christmas season?

Happy Birthday Caden

Caden and his brothers on his birthday

Caden celebrated his 8th birthday in the hospital today. Caden has been hospitalized at the Medical University of SC for a week due to pneumonia. You can read all of the details of Caden’s condition on Caden’s Page.

Caden Puzzle Ball

Caden did have some fun today thanks to his brothers and some special gestures from hospital staff. This picture above is of Caden playing with his new Perplexus puzzle ball. Our friends the Bledsoe’s gave one of these to Josiah on his birthday and Caden has struggled with the complexity of that one so Sherry got a smaller easier one for Caden.

Caden in a turkey hat Dr. Birthday Clown

The left picture is of Caden with his turkey hat playing with his rescue helicopter delivered courtesy of the MUSC staff and Child Life group.  Our good friend Dr. Rusty Turner served as the unofficial party Dr. Clown. The picture on the right is of Dr. Clown Turner. He got a few smiles out of Caden and had the rest of us laughing. Below is a look behind the glasses and nose. He shared his clown secrets with us.

Dr Clown Secrets

Happy 10th Birthday Riley

Happy Birthday Riley

Riley makes my job as a dad fulfilling, exciting, entertaining, and sometimes challenging (in a good way). He is an awesome boy who loves God, his family, and his friends. In his first ten years he has become an avid reader, a student of the Bible, music and Latin, and a NASCAR super-fan.

Riley makes my job fulfilling by standing strong in his faith in God and by being an engaged and committed member of our family. He creates excitement and entertainment with his creativity and sense of humor. Birthday Door BalloonsRiley creates challenges for me as a dad by calling me out (with respect) on my sins, testing his boundaries, and asks the hard questions that boys his age are expected to ask.

My dear wife Sherry gave me an idea on how to add a little fun into Riley’s birthday morning. The picture here says it all. I have tapped a piece of plastic to the door jam of his room and filled the space between the plastic and the door with about 40 balloons. When he opens the door he will have balloons falling all around him.

Riley will spend a good portion of his day at the homeschool coop that our three oldest boys participate in. He will have a little party on Saturday to celebrate the day with some family and friends. His big birthday present this year was to go to a live NASCAR race. All of my boys are NASCAR fans and I have decided that I will try to take each boy to his first NASCAR race at age 10.

With a little help from Grandpa we also outfitted Riley with a new loft bed. He helped me assemble the bed and it was a great time of bonding with him as we spent a couple of hours working together.

Loft Bed Assembly


Halloween and Mediocrity

Halloween and Mediocrity EpisodeWhat do we do on Halloween instead of trick-or-treat, festivals, or costume parties? Our family enjoys each others’ company like we do many other nights throughout the year because in our family we believe that Halloween is Optional.

Ericka over at Large Families on Purpose asks if you are going to have a “Happy” Halloween? Her birthday falls on October 31 and that seems to make people think that she is an expert on the traditions of Halloween. And given her blog post and the number of positive responses, I would say that she is more than an expert than most on this subject.

Family Travel Adventures

Check out our Daddy Life Facebook Fan Page to see us kissing the yard of bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. We were traveling with our son Caden who has servere medical special needs related to 22q11.2 (DiGeorge Syndrome).

Mysterious backyard sound – What or who is that Owl talking to?


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Traveling with a Medically Special Needs Child


We have been home from our vacation for over a week now. This year’s road trip included six of us in a minivan for about 1600 miles of driving over a period of seven days. From a medical supply perspective, during the seven day trip Caden went through more than a dozen oxygen tanks,  received nearly two dozen tube feedings, and he spent a total of almost 5 hours on The Vest®.

Now before I go into more details, I want to give a disclaimer. I am not complaining about excitement created by missing oxygen tanks or all the gear required for Caden when traveling. I am trying to educate folks on the complexities associated with moving a medically special needs child around even though he does not “look special” to many people as seen above with the first fish he caught. One of our very dearest friends mentioned that we should not have that much to pack for this trip since Levi does not need a pack-n-play any longer. That last part is true, but most folks forget or don’t realize just how much gear goes along with being exclusively tube fed and having to be treated daily to prevent pneumonia and micro-aspiration due to the lack fo swallowing ability. Caden’s care is not as simple as grabbing a box of tissues and a suction machine like most folks see us do when we are out and about around town.

Medically Special Needs Child Travel Supplies

The medical equipment required for any over-night trip with Caden requires:

  • Tube Feeding Supplies* (Formula, feeding pump bags, a feeding pump with charger)
  • A spare G-Tube button
  • Extra feeding tube extensions
  • Syringes
  • A suction machine and charger
  • Oxygen Supply (1.5 liters during sleep hours)
  • Tissues
  • Bed pads
  • Spare linens
  • The Vest®
  • A jogging stroller (Caden does not have the stamina to walk for long, especially in the heat.)

The picture above may help put things into context. This picture includes most of the items listed above (minus three days worth of oxygen). This stuff took up the entire back storage area of our Kia Sedona van plus the floor space under Caden and Levi’s feet and the stroller when on the roof. The picture does not include any clothes or toys for Caden or anyone else in the family.  The basketball was added to the picture for scale.

Now that the trip is over I realize that we might have been able to carry enough oxygen to last the full week on the road. However, it would have been a tight fit. The fear of the unknown and the thought of a possible pneumonia while on the road made me very nervous about how we might get additional oxygen for Caden while 750 miles away from our home supply (over three dozen tanks in our garage) if needed. That is where the real story of the week came in.

I went ahead called the medical supply company that we use about three weeks before our trip. They are a national company and I arranged to have enough oxygen delivered to the Twin Lakes Camp and Conference Center in Hillsboro, IN to last us through the Labor Day weekend. We arrived on the Friday before Labor Day at approximately 3:30pm. I immediately checked in with the camp director to see if the oxygen had arrived. It had not. Caden uses about two standard E bottles (one shown in picture above) of oxygen per night when a concentrator/generator is not available.  I knew we did not have enough oxygen tanks to make it through until Tuesday when the medical supply offices opened back up for business. As I mentioned earlier, we could not comfortably transport enough for an entire week while traveling and so we only had a little in reserve after one night in a hotel already. I  realized that it was late in the day on a Friday of a holiday weekend and I tried to contact the office in Lafayette, IN where the oxygen was supposed to come from. I got nothing but a busy signal after about seven attempts within a 30 minute period. At this point it was a few minutes before 4 PM and I was about to start driving to Lafayette to pick up the oxygen tanks myself when I decided to make one last attempt to contact the medical supply company via their toll-free service. I was transferred to a lady at the Kokomo, IN office which was about 20 miles further away than Lafayette. The lady calmed my nerves and assured me that she would get oxygen delivered even if it had to be done the next day on Saturday…which was fine with me since we had enough to make it through one more night. She even gave me her cell number in the event we had trouble getting what we needed. Come to find out the lady had a delivery truck in Crawfordsville which was only about 15 miles away from our location at Twin Lakes and they had the tanks on their truck that we needed. She diverted them to Twin Lakes on Friday evening (arriving after 5pm) and they gave us the tanks we needed. The two guys on the truck were super nice and seemed genuine in their efforts to help in getting the supplies we needed.

JJ playing OctaballSo the weekend started off on a positive note even though we had a little scare. We ended up having an outstanding time visiting with friends from all over the country for the weekend. In addition to a variety of planned activities coordinated by our friends Joey and Carla Link the boys fished and played Octaball.

We continued our vacation with a tour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) and then spent two nights in the Cincinnati area so that we could visit the Creation Museum. These two stops rate a blog post each so I will save that for another day. The boys loved kissing the Yard of Bricks at IMS and we we all enjoyed our fourth visit to the creation museum where we got to meet Dr. Georgia Purdom and Buddy Davis.




Happy Birthday JJ

JosiahToday our favorite rising kindergartner turns 5 years old. Josiah is an extremely intelligent and charismatic little boy. Even though he has carried the nickname Tinker since shortly after birth I have recently added the nicknamed him Kool-aide. I got the idea from a co-worker who caries the same nickname. JJ and my co-worker both seem to command attention when they enter the room simply by being there. It’s sort of like the character from the old Kool-Aide commercials where the guy burst through the wall and days “Oh Yea!” JJ also seems to have the right thing to say at the right time. He is especially aware of his surroundings and often compliments people on their clothing or accessories…that he genuinely likes. He is a great story teller and an all around fun kid. Please join me in wishing JJ and very Happy Birthday.