Back-to-School 2016

In a little over a week my kiddos go back to school.  No more lazy summer days, spending hours out by the pool, doing nothing but playing and playing some more.  I love the summertime.  I love the freedom it provides my children to just “be kids.”  

Here are some sweet pics from our time at the beach.  I’m so glad we went!  The weather was gorgeous!  The beach was beautiful and relaxing.  I took a walk one day and just prayed and prayed the entire time.  God is so good to me!  He has blessed me beyond measure!

Baby Girl playing in the sand! 

The cousins in their matching flip flops!

My brave Middle Girl caught a crab!  

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It’s just us again. 

We had Daddy home for two weeks, Cousins and Auntie visited and Uncle came for a few days too.  Within the past three days everyone has left though.  It’s just “us” again, me and my kiddos.  

We had such an amazingly wonderful summer, full of sun, family, and fun!  It’s not even over yet either!  We still have three weeks left before it is “back-to-school.”  

This school year it will still be just me and the kids, but our Soldier Daddy will be back on weekends and extra special days and holidays!  It’s not exactly the way we want it to be yet, but at least he’s in the states!  

This week Baby Girl’s social worker comes for a visit too, so I’m hoping to find out what all has happened with her case this past month.  I found out her bio mom is in jail again, so I’m not sure how that will change things, if at all.  

So, here’s to life and all of its ups and downs!  Hope you and your family are enjoying summer!  

3 extra kids for the day

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’m a better mom in the summer.

I like summer.  I always have, I probably always will.  No schedules, no early mornings, no hurry or rush, just fun.  We swim all day and sometimes swim all evening.  It is just the best!  I’m a better mom in the summer.  I’m chill, I’m happy, I’m totally relaxed.  But, summer only lasts two and a half months.  It won’t last forever.  We’ll be back to schedules and routines and early mornings before we know it, so I’m going to enjoy this while it lasts.  I’m going to enjoy sitting on the porch eating popsicles, I’m going to enjoy watching my kids be kids again.  School seems to just suck the life out of my kiddos sometimes.  Summers provide them with an opportunity to be little again.  They dig in the dirt, swing on the swing, and run through the yard with their shoes off.  They look for butterflies, watch ants marching in a line, and try to find the turtle that visits our neighbor’s yard.  And THIS SUMMER we are going to fulfill one of my childhood dreams!  We’re building a treehouse!  We have no tree to put it in, but we’re still building it!  It will be built and secured to large poles cemented into the ground and attached to our existing swing set.  I have wanted a treehouse since I was a very little girl.  I’ve asked my husband for years if we could PLEASE build one for our kiddos.  The time has never been right, but NOW… now is the right time, this summer!  I’m so excited!  Sooooo, check back to see our progress!  I promise to share pics of our adventure!  I simply cannot wait to build our treehouse!

Dance Parties

One of the ways we stay sane in this house is “dance parties!” We have them nightly! When it’s time to clean up from a long day of play, I turn on the tunes and we dance! I mean, I really turn it up to the point that we can’t hear anything, but the music! Someone watches the babies while the rest of us pick up, load the dishwasher, and vacuum. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day! Lately, Baby Girl and Little Man have really been showing off their moves! They clap, stomp, and Baby Girl twirls! It’s awesome! I love our dance parties!

My interview with Oldest Boy

When we first told people that we were going to become a foster family for children entering foster care the response was mostly positive.  A few people; however, did voice their concerns.  Most of the concerns were in regards to our biological children.  Friends and family members would say things like, “What about your children, aren’t you worried about how this will affect them?” “What if the foster child hurts one of them?” “What if your kids get too attached and it breaks their heart when the foster child has to go back to their family?”  The other thing that was stated a lot was this, “Well, you better always remember to put your kids first… don’t get so wrapped up in your foster kids that you forget who is important.”  This was one comment that I just didn’t care to hear.  I was pretty frustrated when people would suggest that “our” kids were more important than the “foster” kids.  We weren’t going into this foster care thing to be glorified babysitters.  We didn’t care to have two groups of children, one special and set apart and one not.  That was just NOT how we were going to do this thing.  We were going to be a family… all of us!  We prepared our children for nearly a year before we became foster parents.  We made the decision as a family.  They were involved in every aspect of the decision and planning.  They were interviewed by THREE social workers and asked their opinions and ideas about our family becoming a foster family.  This was a decision that we did not take lightly nor did our kids go into it with “rose colored glasses.”  They knew the truth about what could happen.  They knew they could get bit, spit on, hit, kicked, or yelled at by our foster children.  They knew their toys could get ruined, their bedrooms turned upside down, and that mommy and daddy might sometimes need to tend to the foster child before being able to help them with something.

The funny thing is, that since Little Man and Baby Girl have entered our home and in turn entered our family not one person has said those concerns they had in the beginning to us.  No longer do people question if we are taking good enough care of our biological children or if we are “putting them first.”  No longer do friends or family worry about how this whole foster care thing could negatively effect our family.  I guess there is just something to seeing our PRECIOUS Little Man and Baby Girl each and every day interacting with their three older siblings that melts a person’s heart and just pretty much erases all of those fears.

I often check in with my oldest three and ask them how they are doing.  I want to make sure that we are all still on the same page.  I want to see how they are handling the responsibility of being older siblings to our two babies.  I thought it would be fun for others to get to hear what my oldest boy thinks about being a foster brother.

My interview with Oldest Boy- 10 years old

Me-  “What is your favorite thing about being a foster brother?”

Oldest Boy-  “I like it because I can share my feelings a little bit more.  I get to play with someone who is like me… a boy.  I like to watch my little brother because he likes doing what I do and he likes playing with me.”

Me-  “What is your least favorite thing about being a foster brother?”

Oldest Boy-  “Him screaming and when we are telling him to do something and he doesn’t do it.”

Me-  “What would you tell other families who are thinking about becoming foster families?”

Oldest Boy-  “I would tell them, it is fun.  It helps you with patience.”

Me-  “Do you like sharing a room or would you rather have your own room?”

Oldest Boy-  “I would rather be together… to be with my brother.  I get to help him fall asleep and I get to do a lot of stuff with him.”

Me-  “What do you think is the hardest part about being a foster family?”

Oldest Boy-  “Sometimes you argue.”

Me-  “Are you happy that we became a foster family?”

Oldest Boy-  “YES!”

The boys playing computer games together, a favorite pastime for both!

The boys playing computer games together.  A favorite pastime for both!

This little hand…

IMG_4499This little hand belongs to the most precious little girl in the entire world.  Well, at least we think so.  She is our Baby Girl.  She is smart and funny, too cute for her own good and very very sassy.  She stomps her feet and slams doors.  She eats anything you put on her tray.  She likes the color “yellow” and calls all of the colors by that name.  She loves to do “Color Wonder” and play with play dough.  Her purse is a favorite toy and she recently filled it with items from all around the house.  She likes to swing and to jump on the trampoline.  She’d rather be outside than in and absolutely loves the pool.  She likes to run and to climb and I often find her after she’s pulled a chair to the counter to climb up and get something that she wants.  She pulls the outlet safety covers off of the outlets and totally gives me gray hairs.  She scares me half to death constantly trying to undo her buckle to climb out of the grocery cart while I am shopping and is known to throw things out of the cart while she’s at it.  She gives the best hugs and kisses and loves to hold hands.  She is my girl, my Baby Girl.

We’re not easy to be friends with anymore.

So, my husband and I have come to the conclusion after being foster parents for over 13 months now, that we’re not easy to be friends with anymore.  We used to be!  We would invite friends over all of the time and we’d have lovely get togethers where the adults would hang out in one room and the kids would all play outside.  The two or three families would eat pizza, play board games, watch movies, and swim together.  We would hang out late into the night, well past our children’s bedtimes and when it was all said and done nobody really wanted to leave, but at about midnight they’d have to, so that they could all wake up the next morning and not be grouchy.  We’d walk our friends to their cars promising to do it all over again next weekend and we’d all be sad that it was over.

Um… that is a thing of the past!  It wasn’t on purpose.  We didn’t try to run our friends off.  It just sort of happened.  There are still two families that have stuck by us through our growing pains of becoming a family of seven.  They still come over.  We still play and swim and eat together, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that it is “easy” anymore.  There is usually yelling and some crying.  Kids accidentally get hurt.  Children are always throwing things and someone inevitable will get bit.  Yes, I said it… they will get bit.  It is horrible to admit, but we just aren’t that picture perfect family anymore.  We don’t party into the night because we have babies that have a strict schedule to keep unless we want all chaos to break loose for the next several days.  Nobody really stays much past 8 o’clock anymore.  Everyone starts to leave and as they do a part of me is sad.  We’ve lost something.  We’ve lost the ability to be “easy” friends.  We just aren’t.

Sometimes, I mope around about it for a while.  I complain that we don’t have any friends that like us anymore.  I feel sorry for myself for a little while and then I realize something.  I WOULD NOT CHANGE OUR “NEW NORMAL” FOR ANYTHING.  So what if we aren’t easy to be around anymore.  I don’t want to be easy!  I want to be us.  I want to be the family that we are now.  I don’t know how long it will last.  Little Man and Baby Girl’s cases are nowhere close to being over, so it could be a while or something could happen tomorrow to change everything.  All I know is that I love our new family.  We’re a little rough around the edges.  We are sometimes difficult to be around because of all the chaos, but we’re a family and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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!

Thankful

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Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving was awesome this year!  The kids and I spent time together and pretty much did “nothing” all day long.  We ate what we wanted, played games, took naps, and seriously just hung out all day!  We missed our Daddy very much as he is still in Afghanistan, but we did get to talk to him today and he is safe for tonight.  Now the kiddos and I are all ready to snuggle up in our warm comfy beds.  The weather has cooled down a bit and it is on night’s like this one that I love to light the fire and drink hot apple cider while I catch up on reading my favorite blogs.  I hope your Thanksgiving was all that you hoped for and that you spent time with those you love!

Good Night!