Falling asleep

I hold Baby Girl every single night as she falls asleep. I cradle her tiny head in my elbow and I hold her soft little hand in mine as she begins to let herself relax enough to drift off to sleep. I don’t move a muscle and sit very still until her last big sigh when she lets out her air and her entire body relaxes into mine. It is the greatest feeling in the world, holding my Baby Girl. I don’t know the total number of days that I will get to be her mama, so I take every moment I have to enjoy the simple things. Simple things like holding my baby as she falls asleep.

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Routine

Before Little Man and Baby Girl came to our family we were a pretty spontaneous bunch! We’d jump in the truck and run out somewhere to eat. We’d take trips to the park, the pool, or the beach without much thought or planning. Those days are now a thing of the past.

Little Man thrives on routine and does better all around when we keep to a strict schedule. If we’re out of the house when nap time is nearing, we head straight home as fast as possible to prevent the inevitable meltdown. If we aren’t eating when we normally do, he’ll let us know about it! We have to keep him on schedule because really if we don’t, we are not helping him to feel safe and secure. He becomes a very different little boy when we take him out of his element. So, for the sake of our entire family, we have given up spontaneity for routine!

Christmas Eve

I did it! I didn’t think I could, but I did! I handled Christmas Eve all by myself with five kids and no family within 2,000 miles! I didn’t cry! I didn’t fuss! I put on my big girl panties and made a very special, never to forget day for my five sweet children! Yes, our soldier daddy is deployed and yes, that stinks, but it’s Christmas and we won’t get another one for another 365 days! So, Merry Merry Christmas Eve 2014 everyone! From our family to your family, God bless you!!!

Just a couple of silly elves!

Our Elf on the Shelf, Frisbee and his buddy, Ross have had some pretty funny tricks to play on my kids this Christmas!  Each one of them have enjoyed waking up every morning and running to find out what the elves have been up to the night before.

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IMG_2411-0.JPGI’m actually going to be pretty sad when they leave for the North Pole on Christmas Eve… they have brought a lot of joy to our house this Christmas and have been a great distraction for us while our soldier is away.

Therapy

So, we had our very first therapy session or rather therapy evaluation on Monday for Little Man. He has been in our care for the past 13 months and although things around our house have gone from roaring tornado to more of a light hail storm, there is still so much more we can do to help this precious little boy.

I guess the ultimate decision to start seeking professional psychological help for Little Man came after he graduated from speech therapy. He had been receiving services at the house since January and as of November no longer qualified because he had officially reached “normal” as far as communication and speech is concerned. Praising God for that, since a huge problem in the beginning was his inability to communicate his needs to us. Communication is no longer the problem. Little Man can communicate very well. It is the way he communicates which is extremely stressful for the household. Screaming, tantrums and consistent aggressive behavior is still the norm at our house.

So, to therapy we go and Monday was a great day. We met the therapist who will evaluate Little Man and see how she can best help him with play therapy. We are so excited to start this new journey with Little Man. It’s just one more step in his healing. We can’t wait to help him to be able to become a content, happy healthy little boy!

My love only grows.

My love for our foster babies only grows as time moves on. I love them a little bit more every single day. It is exactly the same with my biological children. I see them do something new. I watch them interact with each other. I get handed a piece of paper with beautiful artwork and “I love you Mom,” written on the bottom. My heart swells with joy and I’m so very happy! The only difference with my foster babies is this tiny sliver (who am I kidding, it’s a log) of fear that I have in my heart after the precious moments.
I’ve been dealing with the fear pretty well lately. Not in the healthiest way, maybe, but I’ve been dealing with it just the same. I simply do not spend time thinking about what “could” happen. I’ve been told so many times that “my” babies are leaving and they never do. They are here with me today and that is where they are staying for the foreseeable future. So, tonight as I hold my sleeping Baby Girl as she falls asleep, I don’t let the fear creep in, I just enjoy the moment and let myself feel the happiness and the joy!

My List

Remember when I wrote that blog post a couple months back about 44 things to do while my soldier is gone?  Well, today I re-read the blog post and guess what?  My soldier has been gone only 1/3 of the time that he will be gone and yet my kiddos and I have already done 22 of the 44 things that we planned on doing!  That’s half!  How awesome is that?  So, yay for us!

We went to the drive-in.  Um, CRAZY NIGHT!  But, seriously I am SO glad that we did that!  We may have been the loudest truck there with my five kiddos switching seats every ten seconds and calling, “Pass the popcorn,” loud enough for the entire drive-in to hear us, but it was a BLAST!

We visited the beach!  SO GLAD WE DID THAT TOO!  I love the beach, it is my happy place!  My sister-in-law came to visit and we took five kiddos, two chairs, five buckets and shovels, snacks, drinks, diapers, towels, shoes, toys, and a camera to the beach and made it out alive and still ready to do it again someday!  Success!

I teach my daughter’s Girl’s In Action class at church almost every Wednesday night and LOVE IT!  Being with her and her friends and teaching them about missions is a joy!

I’ve taken the babies on walks at the park, watched my oldest play soccer and basketball, taken tons of photos of everything we do and so much more!  I even signed my son up for drum lessons and that wasn’t even on the list!

So, three months down, six more months to go and only 22 more things to check off my list and then my soldier will be home!

Back when I used to think I was a good mom…

Back when I used to think I was a good mom, I’d walk through the Walmart with my three children and every grocery item would stay in my cart. I’d smile at people as we passed in the isles and they remarked, “My, what well-behaved children you have there!”

Now, I run through the Walmart trying to get out of there as fast as possible, afraid I’m going to have to apologize to someone when Little Man throws canned goods at them or reaches out and pulls their arm! (Yes, this really happens!)

Back when I thought I was a good mom, I could get all of my children to bed by 8:00 p.m. and my husband and I could actually sit and watch a movie.

Now, I spend from 7:45 – 10:00 p.m. getting my children to stay in their rooms, stay in their beds, and to actually go to sleep! (10:00 p.m. is on a “good” night!)

Back when I thought I was a good mom, I said things like, “It’s okay, we all spill and make mistakes, no big deal,” and “No worries, mommy will get it, don’t cry.”

Now, I hear myself saying things like, “Are you serious… You spilled again,” and “Why in the world did you shove that in there, no I can’t get that out!”

So you see, life has changed since the arrival of Little Man and Baby Girl. For a long time I thought, “what the heck is
wrong with me? How can I be so bad at this? I’ve been raising 3 kids and have never ever felt this way!” I always felt like I was a pretty good mom! I knew what to do, I knew what to say, and I felt good about myself. But, maybe that was the problem! Maybe I needed a big ol’ slice of humble pie! Maybe my “well-behaved” little family needed some shaking up! Maybe we needed a few outbursts and a few embarrassing moments in public to bring us together. Maybe just maybe, we’re learning some pretty cool life lessons rights now. Lessons like, there is always tomorrow to try again and life is messy, but we’re a family and we’re in this together!