Monday, August 15, 2016

In other news, the mid-year update

Animal news: We have outdoor cats!  Homer (named after our good friends!) and Peyton (the kids wanted to name it that for my football boyfriend!) turned out to be girls =)  I am not a cat person.  In fact I hate them.  But...the kitties are so cute...and they come when called...and they go for walks w/us...and they have already killed multiple rodents!  I also think they have scared the woodpeckers away, which is good for our house.  The kitties are adorable, though.  We wanted them to be handled enough so they were used to people and so far that plan is working more than well enough!
House/Home/Property news:  We are on the verge of upgrading the heating system and doing a few other updates.  We have more pictures and decor on the walls, I've been using a recipe from the neighbor to keep the deer away from my flowers/plants and I have a few more garden plants this year!  In the spring we made some bridges and we were able to get across to the first ridge of our wooded acres w/o getting wet - the kids had fun helping w/that!  There is so much to see along the winter we hike the whole property since the swampy areas freeze over, but it's been neat seeing some parts of the property in another season.  We just set up a swing set in the yard and oh my, all the swinging - I knew the kids would love it and it is already paying off in more ways than one.
Camping: In June we were able to take 2 mini trips!  The boys did well on their first and second times camping.  We've taken even longer trips since then, been to multiple states and there was only 1 injury and very little damage to the camper.  (It seems something always gets broken, goes wrong, etc, but not this time!)  Everyone stayed healthy!!!  All these wins make us want to go again...
Dave: Spent part of the 4th of July night in a kayak on Lake Michigan, watching one of the neighbors' fireworks show.  Yes, we have neighbors who live on the lake and personally fund a really good fireworks display!  We have no idea who they are and honestly I don't think they do it on the same day every year.  But you know what day it is going to be by the fact that they light one off every half an hour all day!  It's kind of funny, but it works!  When we're home, he works on things like fixing the well, re-doing my garden fence (repeatedly!), and cutting brush from the woods edge.
Moses: Finished out the school year at the local school w/his brothers and sister.  He was like a celebrity - every day the others would tell me where and when they spotted him!  This past season in gymnastics he competed in his first USAG meet and we were impressed.  He is still into music, reading, drawing, drama and sports.  He only has a few inches to go before he surpasses me height-wise, which of course is something he likes to bring up often.  He got braces this year.  Much different experience than when I was a kid!  It's so odd to be in that stage of life where your kids are going through stuff you actually remember doing as a kid yourself.
Colleen: This girl...she is a science and robot junkie.  We read about them, watch Battle Bots, talk about science experiments from 3rd grade and pontificate on the ultimate robot we would build.  She's been doing some physical therapy lately and I think we'll keep that up.  Strengthening your core is good for everyone, but it's a necessity for her.  She's been relishing the big sister role, not in a bad way, but in a way that we've never seen before.  Pretty cool stuff!!
Bert: Demands adoption day is tomorrow.  =)  I cannot wait for the day when he can wake up and I can tell him that YES - TODAY IS ADOPTION DAY!!!  Both Bert and Ernie did soccer camp this summer and the Ninja Mud run.  Despite his reservations, Bert took off like a shot from the starting line and showed no signs of being winded or tired.  I barely could keep up to take photos!!  He loves all things sports and yes, so do we!
Ernie: We call him the mayor.  He greets everyone, chats and makes friends.  For you adoption/foster care folks, yes, we are working on boundaries and being safe around random people.  But there are times that he makes a friend out of the older gentlemen in the checkout line or the cute little girl at the pool and you just have to laugh!  He knows what their fave color is, what they like to eat, and where they're going next!  Apparently he would make a good interrogator....?  Anyway - he was so proud to do soccer camp like the big boys!  I can't believe he will be in all day school this year...
As for me...I'm hanging on for the ride!  I've been emotional eating, slacking in the cleaning department and letting some other personal goals slide.  The beginning of this calendar year was rough but we are coming out of that.  My eating habits got wack, my attitude was up down and around and I sort of hid out.  HOWEVER - not to make excuses but some of those things were what I needed.  What we needed.  There really wasn't much time for friends nor did I feel like making any.  I sort of felt whiny and 'not fair'ish.  But like I said, I'm coming out of it and sorting my feelings out.  I am once again making goals, only they will start when the school year starts.  I have a few plans and I have a few things in place to help me accomplish (or at least begin) them.  That's a pretty big step for me to get things back on track.  (I'll write about the goals in a diff post.)  I got to see 3 of my best friends recently and that really makes a girl feel special!!  It sucks that we live so far away but they encourage me and spend time w/our family which really means a lot.  I'm grateful for all my many people who might not understand this journey we are on but don't bail on us when life gets crazy!  You know what else helps me this time of year?  I LOVE FALL - I can't wait for pumpkins, apples, leaves everywhere and the promise of snow!!  Summer's great, but nothing can top fall!!

Rumor has it...

The TPR trial will begin Oct. 31.

(TPR = Termination of Parental Rights)

It's about time!!!  Bert and Ernie have been in foster care for YEARS.  We are their 2nd pre-adoptive placement.  They've been w/us almost 8 months.  The TPR process was started before they joined our family.  If it wasn't, I'm certain we would not have received a TPR date 8-10 months into the placement.  So this is foster care and adoption in WI...laws are different in each state.  Each case is unique.

All that being said...we are counting this as forward progress!!  And we are excited for that!!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Adoption is...

Adoption is like going fishing.

(Betcha didn't see that one coming, did you?)

Fishing: You check the weather, gather your equipment and supplies, get in the boat or stand on the banks of a body of water, cast, and wait.

Adoption: You find a time that is right for your family, do the paperwork and go to classes, get a call/maybe see photos or meet the child, receive a placement and wait.

Fishing: The fishing hole/lake/pond/river is huge.  There's a lot of other stuff in the water.  The chances of catching a fish are not guaranteed.

Adoption: There are so many kids waiting...there are many possible obstacles.  (Keeping it real!)  Also in the interests of honesty, nothing is guaranteed until a judge declares the adoption legal and official.

Fishing: You have to keep quiet or you might scare the fish away.

Adoption: You can't blab much about the case, confidentiality rules apply.

Fishing: You need patience.  Boat loads!

Adoption: You need patience.  Boat loads!

Fishing: This hobby can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be.  You can buy a boat, fancy lures and poles, go out on a chartered excursion or you could get a used pole and look for worms in your back yard.

Adoption: Private adoptions can be expensive.  Adoption through the state programs can be free.

Fishing: Worth it.  I'd be willing to bet that even when they don't catch anything, just about any fisherman will tell you they enjoy their time spent fishing.

Adoption: Worth it.  I'd be willing to be that just about any person whose life has been touched by adoption will tell you all about it!

(My daughter Colleen is adopted through the state foster care system.  We are also in the process of adopting two brothers.  Please know that the topic of adoption is very near and dear to my heart!  I may sound like I'm being silly by comparing adoption to fishing, but the issue of adoption is a huge one and I can't possibly explain EVERYTHING it is to me.  It brought me my daughter...adoption made it possible for me to love someone as my own even though we share quite possibly no DNA whatsoever...adoption was hard, it is beautiful, it is a tragedy that created a victory...and so much more!  When I find myself unable to fully express myself, like in this case, I often crack jokes and use humor to make a point.  That's sort of what I'm doing this fishing analogy is part joke but also part serious.  I hope that makes sense!!  As always, please feel free to email me or talk to me in person if you want to know more about adoption.  I'm always willing to talk about one of my favorite topics!)


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tips for traveling with foster children

We just got back from vacation - it wasn't the first time we took our foster children along.  Many people have asked if that's even possible and others have asked if it's advisable.  All I know is from my own experiences, which I'm happy to share.  I'm not an expert nor do I know everything, but we have taken many trips and I've learned a few things along the way.  Keep in mind that our experiences are all with the county/state public system, so your experiences might be different than ours.  Many of our children have or have had special needs, so our traveling advice is sort of focused in that direction, which might also be new for you.  Feel free to use some of our 10 basic ideas or add your own in the comments!
1) First of all, yes, it is possible to take foster children on vacation with you.  Begin by telling the caseworkers of your travel plans and of course ask if you can take the child/ren along.  It helps if you provide very specific details.  The goal is for the CW to present this to the bio parents and have them sign permission, but in every case so far, our CWs have told us they would go over their heads if need be and get a judge to sign.  A few parents signed yes, a few didn't care and the judge signed.  No one so far has put up much objection, to my knowledge.  The kids might miss visits but those hours can be made up before you leave or when you get back.
2) You really have to evaluate your family and the foster children's case to see if it's advisable.  When we were first approached about Colleen joining our family, we felt awful because we had a trip planned for that week and didn't want her going to respite for her first week home from the hospital.  The CWs made it possible for her to come along, if we wanted.  Of course we did!!  Now looking back on it, we were a little 'leap before you look'-ish because we didn't know the full extent of her medical needs.  It worked out fine though...we did visit an ER in Delaware for her feeding tube, but hey, it was a learning experience for all of us!  This time around, Bert and Ernie don't have medical needs, but they do have many emotional needs.  We prayed about it, talked about it and decided to give it a try.  We stayed with family, so that made it easier in a lot of ways.  We had help!  If the trip was solely us in a hotel, I'm not sure we'd have been ready to take them along.  Either way, keep in mind that time on vacation is great bonding between you and your foster child/ren.   That being said, there have been a number of times we have gone somewhere and found respite for our foster children.  We had plans before we knew about the kids and could not include them, we needed some self-care time, our activities would not be possible with a child of that age, etc.  There is nothing wrong with getting respite if you need it!
3) If your child has special needs and you are flying, be sure to tell the airline.  It helps tremendously!!  If you are just camping or something, like we have done in the past, make sure you take in account things like the noise of a campground or hotel.  Bring a noise machine from home to help them settle in at bedtime or bring extra blankets to make the camper/tent/hotel room darker if needed.  Consider the routine you have at home and find a way to duplicate it on vacation.  We have a rocking lawn chair and I'm totally planning to put that in the camper this summer.  We rock at home and I know how much my kids would miss it when we are on a camping vacation!
4) Hydrate and have lots of snacks.  This is huge!!!  Little people need to fuel up often and if your kids are like mine, food can often spell love and security.  The snacks they have in another state might not be the same you have at home, so your foster children might find great comfort in the fact that you packed their favorite granola bar or brand of cracker.
5) Don't plan any super expensive all day stuff until your family is ready.  Again, what works for you might be different than what works for us, but we have found that the best laid plans are easily disrupted.  If your foster child is overwhelmed, tired or feeling triggered, a whole day's worth of entrance fees to something can be lost.  If you have a membership to a local zoo, museum or garden, check to see if there are reciprocal venues that would allow you free or reduced membership.  We have done this many times!!  We have a science museum membership, a garden membership and at times a kids' museum or zoo membership and over the years it has saved us tons of money in different states!!  That way, if we need to cut our day short, we don't feel like we lost money.  Often times, though, we will just stick to low key or free things and the children are just as happy.  On the most recent vacation, we went to a free spray ground/splash pad and the kids had a blast!  Other examples would be things like Storybook Gardens in South Dakota or local county and state parks, small amusement parks like Bay Beach in Green Bay, or even local libraries!  My kids love spending the afternoon scoping out books in a new community!  You could also go geo-caching or just visit a school playground.
6) Be prepared to do a little extra advance planning or research.  If you have a foster child who is known to run off, you might want to see how many entrances or exits there are to a place.  Do your best to consider any triggers or uncomfortable situations ahead of time.  I think I'm preaching to the choir on this one, but sometimes in the hustle of getting everything ready, this can get overlooked.
7) Take a ton of pictures.  (I'm guessing a lot of us already do this!)  PRINT THEM.  I am totally guilty of letting vacation photos languish in a drive on the computer....I need to take my own advice on this one!!  I'm planning to print a bunch from our latest vacation to hang on the walls, tape to the kids' door and just put in one of those inexpensive photo books.  They love flipping through those =)
8) Bring lots of activities.  For my sensory kids, I brought these squishy dolls (like stress balls) that were a life saver!  I brought a few other things I didn't use much, but that was the best idea.  I also brought colored pencils (not crayons or markers which are known to wreck seats and windows and walls and oh just about anything) and big pads of paper.  I made sure everyone had lots of things to do with their hands - you could also bring lacing cards, matchbox cars, curly shoe laces, ribbon balls knotted up, a bag full of beads or beans, tangles, etc...
9) Designate a spot on your person that when waiting or walking together, the child/ren will be able to put their hand.  (Sounds weird but stay with me here...)  I have always told my 4 kids that if I don't have a hand left for them to hold or if my hands are full, they should stick their fingers in my pocket.  If I have no pockets, they should snag a corner of my shirt and hang on gently.  This has worked wonders for me!!  When we were in a hurry in the airport and I had a lot to carry, Bert stuck 2 fingers in my back pocket and we cruised along.  (That stinker told me a week later that he pilfered my grocery list from that pocket!!  Which explains why I thought I had lost it when we got to the grocery store that first night...oh well - at least he told me!)  When we are waiting, it's helpful for my kids to put a hand on my waist or belt and it gives them a physical thing to hang on to instead of drifting off.  I have found that it's hard for little people to stay close without a specific spot to focus on!  This is also great for in parking lots.  I know a friend who posted something about a magnet the shape of mom's hand.  If you are busy getting other littles out of your vehicle, you can tell the older ones to keep their hand on the mom magnet until you are all ready to go.  When I tried that trick, it rocked my world =)
10) Get books from the library about airports, camping or whatever kind of trip you are taking.  It's possible that your foster children have never flown before.  For us, it was really helpful to show pictures of the security check in, the baggage Xray process and the inside of the plane.  I knew that at least one of my kids would have anxiety with all the unknown, new stuff.  There are some really great books out there to help with this!  Also, get some books about the area you are going to be in, if possible.  If the weather will be different from where you live, maybe talk about that.  Talk about the different kinds of plants you will see, if there are going to be mountains or beaches, or what some of the tourist attractions might be.  Any advance info you can give the kids will be helpful.  On some trips we have had to tell the kids what to do if they saw a bear!  On another trip we told the kids about snakes and on another we made sure everyone could identify poison sumac.  Good times!!  All of these adventures are special treasured memories and I am so glad we have them!!
As I'm typing this, I realize a lot of it could be applied to people who go on vacations with their birth children...which is true, in part.  In general, there are many similiarites, but depending on the foster child/ren, your trip might look very different than you expected.  When we got ready to take our first vacation with a foster child, I remember feeling very overwhelmed!  I felt like a pioneer - the first person to walk through an airport with a medical pole and other assorted supplies!!  But then I got there and looked around...REALITY CHECK - there were lots of passengers of various abilities and needs that did not let their limitations get in the way of a vacation or disrupt their travel plans in any way.  On this last trip, we were traveling with 3 kids who have a collection of needs like sensory processing issues, attachment issues, ADD and ADD/HD, feeding issues and anger issues (to name a few!).  I will admit to feeling like it wasn't going to work, thus letting it all overwhelm me.  Then I was reminded that if we were going to be together (we were) and if I didn't just stop being their mom (I wasn't) then it didn't have to be any different than being at home.
A few final comments on trips or vacations...please know that for some, even going to grandma's house an hour away can be a vacation or special trip, equally adventurous and difficult, depending on the child/ren.  All of these tips could apply to trips like that too!!!  No matter how big or small, trips with foster children are special and worth it.  Remember to do something special or out of the ordinary to celebrate on longer trips - pass out temporary tattoos, eat ice cream for dinner one night, let the kids stay up late catching lightning bugs, go to that local festival with fireworks, etc....!!  The one we do the most is eating ice cream for dinner after a full day of food and fun!  We've found some really unique ice cream places on our trips and we look forward to this tradition each time!
Have you traveled with foster children?  Do you have any tips to share?  Thank you - I am always open to new ideas!


Monday, February 8, 2016

Random goals!

In case you haven't heard...there are more kids in our house.  Which is a pretty crazy way to start the new year, if you ask me!  Usually I make some goals for the new year, nothing too serious, and this year is a little different.  For various reasons, I am not really focused this year and I'm also exhausted!  My 'go to' way to 'get it together' is to make lists.  I really wanted to make these fancy goals this year, but I'll have to settle for a random list.
- Get back to working out.  Even just once a week!
- Get Bert and Ernie into some counseling, maybe even family counseling.  We've said that for almost every foster kid that has come into our house.  All of them have needed some form of it, but none more than Bert and Ernie.  In the past, it just didn't work out - either they were unable to attend due to their visitation schedule or they were too young to benefit much.  In our situation, there will be no excuses made.
- Go through the bin of school papers from past years.  I hope to weed out a would be nice to have a binder for each year.  That would be an improvement on my current filing system (aka dump it in the bin and deal w/it later)!
- Make a covered feeding station and dust bath corner for the chickens.
- Get a compost pile going again.
- Hang up the pic of Pippa and make a name plate for the coop.
- Grow stuff - we live in the woods, so there is tons of shade, but maybe people will trade veggies w/me?  I can grow plenty of things well, like greens and such, but between the shade and the deer, I'm not sure how successful I will be at growing a variety.  Either way, I need tend to growing stuff to feel happy =)
- Plan ahead some camping for the summer.  Schedule a camping date w/my aunt and uncle, who have a fancy new trailer, as well as with some willing friends!
- Give away the baby/little toddler clothes.  Seriously.  I have given a lot away and weeded a lot out, but the youngest is 4 and it will be at least 2 years before any new kids can come into our home.  I need to unload a lot of clothes.  I have some prospects - the crisis pregnancy center, a place that gives them away to young moms, a mission in Haiti, etc...but there are memories tied up in the clothes and it's so hard!  Baby steps, right?  Like I said, I've made a huge dent in it, but I can do better.
- Get back to Bible study of some kind.  It's been too long.  I used to do it online and I just haven't lately.  I was all set to join the one at church, but now I am no longer kid-less for the times they meet and childcare is not an option.  I have made it work before, I've seen the benefits in my life, but I'm just not there right now.
- Date nights need to happen.  I miss them a lot.  Another area where I make excuses.  I'm not ready to leave everyone w/someone yet.  Maybe if it was a duo of young people, like sisters or a brother sister team or something?  I don't know.  I've got ideas but still trying to find time to talk to people.
- Keep prepping food.  I have been impressing myself a bit lately by cooking a boatload of chicken breasts and then building various meals off of them.  I had my hubby pop popcorn and kept it in an ice cream bucket for quick, fairly healthy snacks.  I made a double batch of chili.  Who is this person?  Again, I'm not good at cooking and this is not really a huge deal to most of you, but I was pretty proud of myself.  I even invented taquitos!  Yeah, I know, I didn't invent them, I just made them from an idea out of my mind.  We've never had them b/c I was too scared they were hard to make.  They're not.  But you already knew that!
- Make a trail in the woods.  Or trails.  There are ridges that we could build forts on, but between the ridges it is boggy.  We'll need to build bridges.  We can't wait!  We should build tree forts, both on the ground and in a tree too.  We hope to put up swings of some kind...Oh man, I could stretch this goal out for a whole post on it's own!
- Get some decent family photos done.  I have a lot of friends who are photographers, but again I need to set it up.  I will try not to stress about what people will wear...I hate the monochrome, matchy matchy kind of thing...I have some ideas in my head of doing something different - it seems everyone around here does the beach thing.  I like that, but I'd love to do something in the woods!
- Decorate.  The kids' posters for their rooms have languished in a box for over a year!  I have gotten a few photos on the walls of the living room, but I plan to do more.  Some of that will happen after a major fix on the house, which will hopefully lead to some new furniture.  We would love to do a renovation too, but not sure that's in the budget.  It would be good to just start by decorating.
I'm sure this isn't it for my random goals....but my boy's practice is almost over, which means my relatively quiet free time is too.  I'm grateful for the chance to write more often!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Complex questions, simple answers? or vice versa!

Every time we have received a new placement into our home, it's common for people to see us and ask how it's going.  It's a simple question, really...most of the time we say 'fine' or 'good' and move on.  People who 'get it', though, they know.  
How's it going?
(Do they want the truth?)  "I mean, yeah, overall it's going well...there have been moments...I mean it's hard...but we're all in transition...but it's been pretty easy, I mean...once you've parented a kid, what's a few more, right?"  I find myself stammering around trying to figure out if the people want the long answer or the short one!  
So in an effort to answer the question (mostly for myself to remember!), I thought I'd write a blog post about it.  Then, I can think it through and answer as honestly as possible...
First things first.  I have found a blog name for the 2 boys - Bert and Ernie!  Bert is the older one; he is much more shy and quiet.  Ernie doesn't know the meaning of the word quiet =)  He has no fear, compared to Bert, who at times can be anxious about things, like the kiddie pool.  Bert watches and learns, is quick to give his food, his toy, his anything! really to help his brother's perceived sense of injustice.  Ernie is bold, vocal and strong!  He doesn't let his age, size or circumstances limit him.  They seem so different, yet at the end of the day, both just want to be held and loved.  
So - it is going well.  It's been 9 days since they have arrived and there has been a high level of activity in those days.  They started school!  Bert is in the 1st grade, while Ernie is doing half days of junior kindergarten 4 days a week.  Every day ( Ernie cries when we drop the others off at school...but one of the days we went open gymnastics family time and wow, did we have fun!  Both boys are great sleepers - but we've made sure there is lots of physical activity in our days, lots of gross motor stuff so that helps.  It's nice we can all go for big hikes in the woods, go to the Y or just spread out in our house.  We are 'remembering' what it's like to have kids younger than our own though - as parents, we have to kind of go through a re-entry - this is how we make potty pit stops to avoid accidents, this is how we provide snacks between meals so no one gets hangry and aggressive, this is how we look for signs of exhaustion (rubbing eyes, falling asleep on Moses 1 minute into Bible time, etc)...oh the things we re-learn now that there are 'littles' in the house again!  There are plenty of sibling spats, of course, but there are some really amazing things happening too.  I have to brag on my big kids - one day we had a particularly long time in the truck.  Ernie was just 'done' and 'over it', getting a little stir crazy.  At one of the pit stops, Moses moved up a row next to Ernie and was working on comforting him.  We were all relieved and grateful it worked!!  The next night, Bert really did not want to leave the Y - he was quite grumpy and for the first time we saw real tears from him.  (They were quiet tears, but they were there!)  After tucking the littles into bed, Dave texted me to say that on the ride home, Ernie started singing and comforting his big brother Bert.  "Jesus loves me this I know..."  Dave said he had tears rolling down his face!  I made sure to let Moses know that his action of comforting someone was not only noticed, but followed!!  The littles want so badly to be like the bigs, not just in the fun or silly ways, but in the way they treat others too!!  It was a powerful moment to see my 10yo realize this and make the connection.  He has been so helpful to buckle people in or tie their shoes...Sometimes sharing things like toys or your parents can be hard, but Colleen is constantly sharing her stuff.  Her and Ernie are often playing My Little Pony together and she is quick to make sure everyone has a car or something so that no one is left out.  When Ernie got a free lanyard from the Y for his ID card, Colleen started to bemoan the fact that she did not get one when she was 'new'.  "Here, you can have it!"  Ernie put it around her neck and this momma danced for joy!  I reminded everyone that this 'makes my heart big' to see and hear them loving on each other this way!  Colleen shares her things and the others have taken note and do the same!
Please don't think it's all roses and rainbows...there have been episodes of yelling and shoving and such, but honestly?  Those are short lived and each day that passes has seen these behaviors fall away.  We are figuring out what works and what doesn't.  We've made what feels like a million trips to the box store to be sure everyone has what they need (car seats? check!  socks? check!  a million boxes of cereal? check!) and the logistics of who goes where on what day is coming easier.  Some things we still need to figure out - 1) Date nights.  Dave and I did really good w/this a few years back, once a week we went out after bed time.  GOD BLESS OUR BABYSITTER WHO LEFT US TO BE A MARINE!!!  He was awesome.  Then he left and his sister came a few times - she's awesome too!  But then life got busy and we just sort of forgot to keep that going.  Since we moved, we've gone out maybe 3 times, thanks to our pastor's daughter.  She's a girl we hope to see more of!  I'm not sure in this season of transition we are ready to do that again, yet we desperately need to carve out a few minutes w/o kids.  All the trauma mamas and foster/adopt peoples are nodding their heads in agreement right now!  2) Going to just about any event where there is a crowd.  So far we've been to 2 small events, a gymnastics meet and a small party at church.  Both were acceptable to attend given that they had only one entrance/exit and we could see the kids at all times.  I know we have time to figure this out, but despite having 4 hands and 4 kids, large crowds are just not do-able yet.  Even going to grandma and grandpa's house would take a lot of advance planning and prayer at this point!  We're enjoying the 'cocooning' time and just being us together at home, but spring break is coming!  My teacher hubby is itching to get out of here and go someplace fun!  3) Car rides seem to end in a shout fest.  Dinners go well b/c everyone takes turns telling mom about their day.  In the car, there is always someone who wants music, someone who doesn't, someone who is convinced the other is breathing on them, someone who wants everyone to look out the window at that 'thing' they can't describe...AHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHHHHH!!!  So far, everyone seems to like the country music station.  I've tried the Disney station, general kid tunes, pop radio, etc...BUT!  Long trips (and by long, I mean more than 20 mins!) are unavoidable at times, given our situation, so we do need to figure this out.  Once, I managed to convince everyone to air drum, air guitar and air sing through 2 Led Zeppelin songs and hey, what do you know?  It worked!  (Ok, maybe it came out sounding like a demand, but when we were all laughing, no one seemed to care!  Just being real here!)  
How's it going?  Is that more than you wanted to know?  A lot of people (mostly casual acquaintances) hear me say it's going well and follow up by saying that we're doing something so good and nice...and then I stop them.  It's me/us who are blessed.  Our hearts are full and we are always growing and learning from our kids.  The grace they give me and each other is something truly special.  This road we have chosen to travel has bumps and very few road signs, but we are enjoying the journey and continue to press on toward the goal.
Oh blah, there was so much more I wanted to write about!  But's it's after 8 and due to football and a new improved staggered bedtime for all, I forgot to eat dinner.  We ate a late lunch and I wasn't hungry...but now I am...
All this to say, if you have been praying for us, keep it up!  We have had a lot of answered prayers (which is a whole different post!) but we can always use more =)  Thank you - it's going well...that's the short answer!  

Monday, January 11, 2016

Party of six

Our newest family 'photo'! The new additions to the family (2 boys, they still need blog names) will be coming HOME TO STAY this Friday!!! The adoption process has started but they are technically foster kids, so until adoption becomes official, we cannot post photos of them. The stick figure family will have to do for now! Sorry to our Facebook friends who have already seen this...but I wanted to be sure it was shared here too!!  I can't share much, as most of you know, but I promise that when I can, I will!!  The boys were here this past weekend for a sleep over and it went so so so well!!  It was practically impossible to say goodbye when we dropped them that point we hadn't said much to them about it except that they may be coming to live w/us.  We hadn't talked to the case worker yet (it was Sunday, after all) and we just didn't want to say anything ahead of time.  I can't wait to hug those boys again and have them here finally!!  Like I have said before, please pray for all of us as we transition.  There's school registration to navigate, doctor/medical/counseling appointments to set up, and groceries to buy!  =)  If you would have told me that I would be doing all this in the New Year, I'm not sure I would have believed you!  But I am beyond grateful to be doing all of it...