So, I’m kinda getting into this gardening thing. It’s the perfect hobby for me during this season of my life because it’s done outside and it’s summer right now, so I’m always outside with my kids. At night once they’re in bed I can spend time on Pinterest reading and learning all things “garden” related before I fall asleep too. It’s been really fun! I’ve discovered there are TONS of gardening blogs out there! I’ve also discovered that there are lots of cool “tricks” to help your garden along and I’m having a good time trying out a few of them.
Watering my garden is a problem for me. I’m always worried that I’m watering too much or not enough. So, I read about different techniques to keep my garden watered and the soil damp while I’m growing my plants. It’s really interesting to me because we live in a very warm climate and for the most part we’ve been having a pretty dry summer. I don’t want to spend a ridiculous amount of money on our water bill just because I want to grow a garden, so I was interested in saving money while still watering my plants enough that they will grow. The idea that I found on Pintetest that I thought would benefit me the most was a “DIY drip irrigation” system. Here’s the pics of what I did.
Water bottles with holes drilled into the sides and bottom.
Do not drill too many holes. Do just enough to let the water drip out into your soil. I drilled about six holes in each bottle.
Once I tested the water bottles to see how fast the water dripped out, I buried them into the ground. (Just put them right beside your seeds or the plants you are transplanting.) I was doing carrots planted into pots buried in the ground on this day, so I put the water bottles into the center and then scattered the seeds and covered them with a mixture of dirt and a bagged garden soil mix.
The idea is that I will fill the water bottles from the hose each morning and then allow them to slowly drip and water my soil and plants all day long without fear of my plants drying out. On really hot days (90-100 degrees), I’ve been filling the bottles twice daily.
I haven’t had a harvest yet, so we shall see if this is a “Pinterest Fail” or a Pinterest Success!”
Getting to be a foster mama is one of the biggest blessings of my lifetime. I love my Baby Girl! She has brought so much joy into our lives and I wouldn’t trade getting to be her mama for anything! “Foster Care” in and of itself; however, is stressful. Baby Girl’s case is coming to an end, but still strange things can happen at a moments notice and change the course of everything. I’ve been a bit stressed lately. I decided to do something with my stress, something productive. Some people clean when they’re stressed, some people work out or over eat. I garden and pull weeds. Here are a few of my little beauties to show off. I know they’re nothing to brag about just yet, but it’s fun and it makes me happy!
My first raspberry bush!
Pumpkins popping through!
My first beautiful sunflower to bloom!
We have a “Clothing Closet” at our church. It is dedicated to providing clothing for children living in foster care. It is a rather large room with floor to ceiling shelves with clothing racks in the middle. Generous members of our church started the closet and built the shelves and donated the racks for organization. I regularly go down to the room in our church and organize, pick up, and refold or hang items that have fallen from the racks. Over the last two years since its beginning, I have noticed something that really bothers me. I hate to be negative, but I just have to say this!
IF YOU WOULDN’T PUT YOUR CHILD IN IT, THEN DON’T DONATE IT TO FOSTER CHILDREN!!!!!
Now, to be fair, I often find $100 jackets with the tags still attached or shoes that I would never buy myself because I can feed a family of 6 for a week with that money. But, today when I went down there I found trash! Literally, clothing with blood and poop stains. Dog hair, grass stains, rips, and missing pieces. Do the people who donated these things not have trash pick up? Do they actually believe that me, a foster mama, would even for one split second consider putting the precious child entrusted to my care in one of these outfits? I took a trash bag and did what needs to be done with articles of clothing that look like this. I threw them away! Goodbye clothing with actual mold residue! Goodbye pants with no button and ripped knees! Goodbye, poop stained onesies! Goodbye!
Because, what a child who is living in foster care deserves is the best! They deserve our firsts, not our throw aways! They deserve love and kindness, protection and fun! They deserve more than what I saw in that room! They deserve more!
I have my friend’s three sweet girls with me today. We became friends through our Foster Parent support group and she is kind of my hero. She’s an awesome mom and foster mama! Two of her girls were adopted from foster care. All of her girls are wonderful and we just love having them around! We ate pancakes this morning for breakfast with fresh fruit and whipped cream. We swam in the pool for hours, jumped on the trampoline, and I made homemade slushies. At lunch we ran out of bread and went through two packages of lunch meat. It was great! I love having a house full! Seven kids at the house today and feeling blessed! We are still waiting on our precious boy that we know God will send us when he needs us most. We just don’t know when. For now, I will enjoy today with extra giggles and fun! Three extra kids for the day is awesome!
I dreamt about Little Man last night. It was so vivid, so real and when I woke up, I wanted to go back to sleep and dream it again. I just wanted to get to spend some more time with him. It was heartbreaking. He was at a summer program for children from “rough places” and one of the social workers running the camp had invited me to come and be his counselor. I got to spend a week with him. He spoke so well now and told me, “No go again,” several times in my dream. He didn’t want me to leave and he didn’t want to leave me. Then, when the week was over, they packed him and the other children up and sent them back home. Little Man cried, I cried. It was a blubber-fest. He screamed for me and I just felt broken all over again.
Why did I let this happen? Why did I let myself get into something that I knew could break my heart? Why did I purposely set my family up for heartache. Why? How in the world did I think this would be okay? How did I think we would ever get over this? How?
Because. And here is why. Because if we had signed up for foster/adoption through our county and said, “We will do this, but we only want children that are at no risk of being taken back,” we would still be sitting here today with two empty beds in our house and no wonderful children. We would be waiting still. Because, with EVERY SINGLE placement that you get in foster care there is risk and the risk is HUGE. We are talking about human lives here, people! We are talking about children. We are talking about families. When you put all of those things together it is just plain risky. But, it is worth it!
Even if someone had told me from the beginning how Little Man’s story with us would end, I would still have done it. Because for those 16 months he needed us. He needed me. He needed a mommy that he didn’t have at the time. He needed a person who would fight for him. He needed someone to look beyond his sometimes “difficult” behaviors. He needed someone to love him. Did it take longer than I thought necessary for his family member to decide they “wanted him?” Yes, in my opinion it did, but who knows why it took that long. Who am I to judge? All I know is that I was blessed to be his mommy for those 16 months and I would never take those months back for ANYTHING! I love him. He is my son who now lives only in my heart… and in my dreams.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Little Man and all of the things that were and still are “his.” I want to share them with you. I will never be able to look at, watch, enjoy, listen to, or eat any of these things again without thinking of our precious Little Man. I love the memories. They make me smile!
2. The Hulk
3. Chocolate milk
5. Mickey Mouse
6. Play dough
8. The rear backseat in my truck (I still look in my rear view mirror expecting to see him sitting there.)
10. His Sunday School classroom at church
11. His bed
12. Saying “nigh night!”
We love you our sweet boy! You are missed so very very much!
So, I’m kinda scared. Our Oldest Girl just tried out for and made her very first “club” soccer team. She’s played for the YMCA, for military teams, and school teams, but this will be our family’s first experience with “travel ball.” My husband played soccer up until his freshman year of high school and he played pretty competitively until he decided football was more fun for him in high school. Two of my three sisters played soccer and one went on to play in college and now coaches. I danced. I was never real “sporty” as a child. I was a dancer. I did tap, jazz, ballet, and hip hop and loved it! I was on a college dance team and I danced all the way up until Oldest Girl was born. I don’t do soccer. I’m “soccer stupid.” I know absolutely NOTHING!
So, tonight as I stood there in the very first club meeting with my three little ones and my Oldest Girl I felt, um well… out of place. The room was filled with “soccer people” filling out paperwork and getting it notarized. I had to provide a copy of her birth certificate to prove her age! This stuff is no joke! What have I gotten us into? I know Oldest Girl has a future in high school and maybe even college sports. She’s amazing and everyone tells me that she’s a natural, but I’m not a “soccer mom.” I don’t know the rules, I don’t know the coaches, I don’t know the “right” teams to be on, I’m just a mom of an incredibly talented 13-year old girl. So, wish us luck! Practices start in July and I’m terrified!
That is it. That is where we are, we are waiting on a court date for the judge to decide if terminating parental rights is the right next step in our Baby Girl’s case. To say I am happy about this would be an understatement. I am SO ready for Baby Girl to be our’s forever! Do I feel sorry for her birth parents? Not really. I do not mean to sound harsh, but when it comes to children and their protection and their right to have a stable, healthy, loving home, I am FOR the child. I DO feel a tremendous sense of sorrow for Baby Girl’s birth mother and father; however. This is not the way it is “supposed” to be. Family means forever and this birth family has been broken and divided up. That should NEVER have happened! I wish foster care and adoption were never needed in this case. I wish drugs weren’t so powerful and didn’t have such a grip on some people’s lives. I wish mental illnesses were better recognized and managed before they became out of control. I wish all parents could put their children’s needs above their own. I wish for peace for Baby Girl’s birth mother. I see no future for her with anything other than pain and destruction in it and that breaks my heart. But, I do feel confident in this, she has been offered and given every single chance possible. She has been treated fairly. People have reached out to her and tried to help her. She has been allowed to fall several times over the past 19 months and nobody at DHR has held that against her. They have given her 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chances. She has been provided a lawyer who fought for her rights even when she didn’t bother to show up for court. She has been given money, services, and medical treatments. She has been given time, lots and lots of time.
And Baby Girl has been with us, growing, learning, and being nurtured this entire time. We have loved her and her brother. Little Man and Baby Girl have been the center of our lives. We have prayed and begged God daily for restoration and peace and for a hope filled future for them. I have never prayed so hard! God is good! He is watching out for our sweet princess and He has a plan for her life. So, now we just wait, wait for a court date.
19 months I’ve been your mommy. You have been held, rocked, and put to sleep by nobody, but me. I’m the one who changes your diapers, runs after you when you dart towards the street, cuddles you when you fall down, and tells you, “I love you!” I’m your mommy and you are my daughter! You may have come to me as my “foster” daughter, but over the past 19 months you have become my youngest daughter, our family’s littlest princess, our Baby Girl! We love you!!!
I can barely stand it! I’m so excited! My hubby and the father of my precious children will be home in four hours! He’s surprising the kids! I’ve got to play it cool! I don’t want to give the surprise away! All day he’s been calling me as he’s been on the road. He’s coming home for Oldest Girl’s soccer tournament this weekend! He’ll get to see her play in at least three games. That is three more games than he’s seen her play in over a year! Being the daughter of an Army Dad is like that. I teach my children that what Daddy does is incredibly important. What he’s doing would have to be to keep him away. He takes amazing care of us and because of his job, I get to stay home and be at all of the events, games, recitals, etc. I know it doesn’t help when they miss him, but at least they understand and know that he would be here if he could be! So, soccer games and a social worker visit on Monday and he gets to be here for all of it! I am super pumped!