Soccer

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!

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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!

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!

Some days I just feel like a huge failure!

WARNING: This is not a “feel good” post.

Some days I just feel like a huge failure!

My kids don’t listen to me.  My thirteen year old won’t come out of her room.  My ten year old wants to play video games 24 hours a day.  My seven year old is whiny.  My 2 year old won’t sleep through the night.  The baby has started throwing, kicking, and hitting everything in sight and I’m exhausted!

What am I doing wrong on these days?  I don’t wake up thinking, “Today, I’m going to be a horrible parent.”  I usually wake up very happy to start the day with my kids.  But, some days life is just a mess!

My house is a mess.  There are toys all over the floor.  The laundry is piled upon every available couch, chair, and bed.  I haven’t showered in over 24 hours.  My hair is pulled into a greasy pony tail and I probably smell.  I feel so defeated!  If only, I could wake up a little earlier, maybe then I could shower daily.  Only problem with that, I AM TIRED!  I need more sleep!  So, greasy and smelly I’ll stay.

I recently had a talk with a very sweet friend about how I’m happy as long as my kids are happy.  The truth is that I AM happy as long as they are happy, but I just would like a few small things to go my way for once.

List of things I’d like to go my way…

1. No arguing… THIS IS HUGE!  I am SO TIRED of my seven year old and ten year old bickering at each other!  I want to tie them to each other or make them walk around in the same oversized shirt until they can learn to just GET ALONG!  (side note: I have NOT done this… but I’ve thought about it!  ha ha!)

2. A “less-messy” house.  I’m not a protectionist.  I don’t expect everything to be spotless, but just a little less mess would really make my day!

3. Getting to talk to my soldier at least once a day.  THIS WOULD BE HUGE!  I feel so rejuvenated after talking with him and my life just seems perfect after I’ve reconnected with my love.

4. Money to spare.  There just never seems to be enough for the “extras.”  I know many people feel this way, maybe all of us and I know how truly truly BLESSED we are… I’m just saying it would be nice.

So, there you have it.  I’m real.  I don’t have it all figured out.  Some days are hard.  Sometimes I want to go crawl into my bed and pull the covers over my head and just cry.  Some days I feel like a huge failure!