Wednesday, December 18, 2013

First of Many Good-Byes

Today has started the first of many good-byes for the girls. Their class started Christmas break today which will last through January 5 (starting back January 6th) and they'll be leaving officially January 3rd. Tonight is the last night of AWANA before they leave....they too go on holiday break since Christmas eve and New Years eve are both on Wednesday this tonight they will say good-bye to all their friends at church. Their bio-dad will have them every weekend from now on so they won't be coming to church on Sundays either. How interesting that all during the process to get licensed, there is so much to learn about bringing the kids into your home, adjusting to them, helping them readjust, keeping them safe, helping them grieve, helping them cope, and not one single class on helping them say good-bye to the life they build while in care. Not one class on sending these kids home. Very little support in this leg of the race. maybe support during this time would encourage foster parents to remain in this realm.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

First Weekend Visit and Challenges We Didn't Foresee

Weekend Visit: went well, we heard from Bio Dad once, got a random phone call about a small cough and Girlfriend not being on her med (doc took her off because she hadn't been wheezing and had really held her own without the med). We also got pictures of them attempting to visit Santa (he closed before they got through the line). The girls were happy to be home, Little Miss seems pretty excited to go again and is her normal happy go lucky self, hopping through life, letting very little phase her (she is our Ethan), Girlfriend (who is much more like Lane Michael) hasn't taken all this so lightly...she's been quiet, reserved, cuddly, clingy, scared, and sad. My once beautiful outgoing, confident, chatty, independent girl has very much become the same girl who came to live with us 18 months ago, reserved, scared, shy, quiet, (still beautiful) just scared...of everything...getting her shoes, going to bed, going potty...everything. I'm hoping this gets better since we're moving so slow with the transition. I'm just scared for her...that this will be harder to recover from since she's older and still has the scars from last time.

The Challenges we didn't see coming? The girls have made so many new school, at church and in our circle of friends...last night a friend of ours told her 3 children that the girls would be moving away...but see, these children have never known us without the girls...we have had the girls for the last year and a half...right after we joined our current church...where we met this couple. Their children had no idea that the girls are not our own. The decision to foster is something I will never regret...I refuse to regret our time with our girls....but I won't pretend that it has not had a negative impact on our children, our family and our friends. Saying good-bye to these amazing children, introducing a life style which we'd hoped to sheild our children from (drugs, abuse, prostitution, baby mama drama, dead beat dads - - please excuse my bluntness). I love these girls, and them coming into our lives has been such a blessing but the situation surrounding them is hard. My children are hurting, my friends are hurting, my family is hurting...and I've caused it. My choices have directly hurt the people I love.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

All in Perspective

I'm feeling good today. I know there will be rough days ahead but today I'm feeling positive. I haven't cried yet (come close but not yet) and can talk about it openly and positively but last night. last night put them going to live with their dad in perspective. The girls have 2 families loving them, missing them, praying for them, wanting what is best for them, they are healthy, happy, fed, and safe. They're amazing people who I pray will grow to be amazing adults. Now putting it all in perspective:

Todd has a student who was just diagnosed with cancer and most likely will need a hysterectomy.

There is a 6 year old boy from our town (his mom is an acquaintance/friend) he had strep last weekend, it turned into a flesh eating infection and he's in a coma, best case scenario he'll be there for 4 weeks.

I have a friend, a good friend, who is pregnant with her 4th. they're so excited, at their ultrasound recently the tech found her placenta is tearing away and dissolving, they also couldn't see the top of the babies spine and where it closes.

Sending the girls to live with a Dad who loves them, changed for them, worked for them and wants them doesn't seem so bad today. Perspective.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Transition Home Schedule

I recieved an e-mail today from my case worker looking at a schedule to transition Little Miss and Girlfriend home to their bio dad. This week we will send them for an overnight. BD will meet us, we will give him the girls, a bag of clothes and toys (that will stay with him) and the girls. we will then meet the next evening to exchange back. Then for the next few weeks he'll keep them for 3 days at a time. The last time he gets them will be January 1 or so and he'll just keep them after that. something like this:
week one (Dec 1-7) overnight one of those night
week 2 (Dec 8-14) weekend (which is actually 3 days)
week 3 (Dec 15-21) weekend
week 4 (Dec 22-28) weekend
week 5 (Dec 29-Jan 4) weekend and won't return after that

an example of a weekend is Tuesday morning through Thursday afternoon.

I am praying for their safety, for them to be at peace, and for them to know how much we love them. please pray with us.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Rip the Bandaid Off

The girls case worker came out Monday.
The girls are going home.
It's time.
They have no reason to keep them.
He hasn't done anything to lose them and has done everything to get them back (with the exception of a few things).
Maybe before Christmas.
Maybe just after.
And we are left with 3 broken boys.
Broken ourselves.
It's hard to help them understand.
When we ourselves don't understand.
This journey wasn't about us.
It wasn't about the girls.
It was about doing what we felt God was leading us to do.
My Mom said it best.
Little Miss and Girlfriend have brought more joy than this will bring pain.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Falling Star

I'm missing something and God is trying to teach me and I'm dense. I'm not getting whatever it is He's saying! Starting this past summer we've done lots of praying about the girls future. TONS of just God's will and we'll say yes until you say no. and for about a year now we've had 2 Bible verses come up over and over and over to the point that it's no longer mysterious...I almost expect it! It's ALL the time. in 1 week we had a study during the church sermon, a group Bible study, Todd's men's study and my women's study ALL cover Abraham and the sacraficial ram. Then started Elisha and the widow. Both amazing stories of faith and a willingness to sacrifice and both being blessed beyond measure. and inevitably these 2 stories have continued to come up since early summer. So this weekend as we were driving home from the grocery, my best friend (otherwise referred to as my sisterwife) asked what was going on with the girls case. I was telling her that Bio Dad is ready any time to take them home and he's just waiting on his sisters finger prints to come back and everything will be done, he will have clear finger prints, a home, a job, transportation and child care...looks good for them to go anytime. I was talking about that mornings sermon and something said really hit home for me. He said "if every prayer you've said in the last one year came true..." the rest of what he said doesn't matter. 6 months ago I wrote down the 3 basic prayers 1. Todd needed a job 2. the Wapak house and 3. the girls case.
1. Todd HAS a job
2. the Wapak house is occupied until sale which keeps water moving in the pipes, the lawn mowed and oh yah, she's painting the house neutral colors for sale (I say this is an answered prayer)
3. the girls case - - the only prayer not answered in that 6 months but also not over yet

So honestly - seems to me, every prayer has in a way been answered! Later in the sermon he said "challenge God. don't pray for things that will work out anyway. pray for God to move mountains and see what He can do."  I said "Laura am I supposed to be asking God to move mountains?" and at that moment directly in front of us, a falling star. She said "there's your answer"

I don't usually put stock in "signs" because I'm not sure that's how God works but I think my sign is that I'm being heard and my prayers are being answered (even if in the end, God's answer is "no").

Tuesday  I was telling a my Facebook Christian women group about this and I kid you not, one woman responded with "sounds to me like the story of Elisha, the widow and the oil. Show God just how many empty pots you have and watch him fill them up...but also understand His plan might mean they go home." and the NEXT WOMAN to respond said "I agree with it reminding me of Elisha but my first thought was Abraham, surrender them to God, even if that also means surrendering them to their birth dad". I am overwhelmed by how God is working! My faith is being tested but I can say that no matter what the outcome is with the twincesses and even with my own children, my faith is unwaivering. I don't doubt that He could change the outcome, I just wonder if He WILL.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Christmas Budget

Every year I look at what we have to spend and what we need to buy. This year (IF everything works out we should have a total budget of about $1500. We have done well in the last few years (cutting down on what we spend and still being happy with what we get everyone) so I think we'll do about the same as years past. But this year we're ahead of the ball game. We have bought "out of pocket" so to speak a few gifts already, we've purchased one gift for the big boys, 2 gifts for each of the girls and pajamas for all the boys (I bought them on clearance last year but didn't want to buy for the girls and have to deal with the emotions if we didn't have the girls). Which will save us about $600 out of our budget this year.

So I sat down and made a list of those we'll be buying for:
Lane Michael
Step Dad            
Grandma Sweet  
Office Staff 1    
Office Staff 2     
Driver 1            
Driver 2             
Driver 3
Driver 4
Driver 5
Driver 6
Teachers at preschool
Teachers and Aide at elementary

The nice part is that most of these are easily budgeted for (most teachers, aides and drivers will be getting gift cards) I know what I'm getting for my Mom and Step Dad (easy) but the kids. Impossible to budget! IMPOSSIBLE Especially since they aren't giving me complete lists. Ryan and the Twincesses have never chosen a gift so they dont' have a clue HOW to choose something! The big boys big gift is being fixed up and changed right now so I don't know what to expect from this. I just don't know. I don't know what to expect for the girls gowns (being sewn by a local seamstress) what to budget for that. There's just so much up in the air right now.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Clean Bill of Health

Ryan, earlier in the month, had an "episode" at preschool. We still don't know what to call it except to say he tried to stop breathing. We took him immediately to his doctor (much faster than the E.R.). They got us right in, looked him over and said we could either take him to the E.R. or they would call us a squad. We opted to drive him, so the doctor said she wanted to do an EKG before he could go. 6 EKGs later and they determined it wasn't the machine that wasn't working was Ryan's heart. We got him to the ER and they decided to observe him, x-rayed his chest to see if he had swallowed or choked on something, and since that was clear they sent him home. By the time we got him home he had spiked a fever of 102 and had a resting heart rate of 157. Back to the ER. Admitted for the night, pediatrician came in the next afternoon and finally someone really listened. He told us to have his heart checked (sent us home with a 48 hour heart monitor), have him tested for seizures and have him tested for Hashimotos (an autoimmune disease which attacks and eventually kills the thyroid gland).

So after getting referrals to Cardio and Nueuro we received instructions for his appointments for this past Monday. sleep deprived EEG (seizure test). Ryan could only sleep from 11-5. So we did what any sensible mom would do with 4 sleeping children and one who couldn't sleep. We went to Walmart! hung out at Walmart until about 10, home by 1030, let him lay in our bed with the ipad until 11. slept until 5, got up, watched a cartoon, took a bath, did some laundry, just puttered around until it was time to get everyone else up. Dropped everyone off at school, picked up my mom and we were on our way! Had a 930 am EEG appt, an 1100 neuro appt and a 130 cardio. It was perfect. Ryan went in, did everything they needed him to do, slept for 10 minutes through the EEG (as he has to do to get good results), went straight from the EEG to the Neuro appointment. Neuro said he had an irregular EEG but the only thing irregular about it was the EKG line. there is no siezure activity! yay! he shares an office with endocrinology, endo came in real quick and said that until he has symptoms of Hashimotos (or a thyroid disorder) there's really nothing for them to do. So by 1200 we were cleared by endo and neuro. Neuro was pretty nervous though about Ryan's EKG line on the EEG which made Mom and I pretty nervous, we were so thankful to have a 1:30 appointment.

Went to lunch and then proceded back to Cardio. Cardio is a private office who rents space in the childrens hospital (they are a seperate entity). Went back, the nurse rubbed me the wrong way....I was not completely sold on her (putting an immediate bad taste in my mouth - - she went so far as to comment on the doctors appearance and asked if I was single because I would appreciate it if I were - ick). So doctor in training came in, and pretty much blew us off, said they weren't worried about anything they were seeing. So now not only is the nurse nuts but the doctor in training is blowing us off. great. Then the doctor came in, Thank God. She said that after reviewing all the EKGs, the heart monitor and his medical history she didn't see anything alarming, maybe a minor murmur but nothing jumped up at her, she then offered an ultrasound of his heart to check the structure of his heart and an EKG so they have one on file. These tests were run within 20 minutes, and 10 minutes later we had results. Ryan is perfect. Absolutely nothing wrong with that little man! I felt so much better after talking to the doctor and finally I asked why everyone was seeing something that she didn't and her answer really put me at ease. She said "because they're guessing at something I know"

We are so greatful that especially this month we were able to bring home a perfectly healthy 4 year old. He was a perfect angel through all the appointments, the tests, the sleep deprivation, the poking and prodding, the doctors and new people. His behavior was amazing! I never had to tell him more than once, he was so good, and slept all the way home, through supper and went to bed at 830 that night. An amazing day to say the least!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Closing Our Home - - Keeping Our License.

In no way, shape or form do I want my girls, my foster daughters (I have to get used to them not being MY girls so I am using some appropriate language to help remind me that they aren't in fact MINE - - I don't however say foster infront of them - ever) to go live anywhere else. I don't want to give them up, I want them to stay right where they are loved, happy, safe, warm, fed, protected, held accountable. BUT more than that I want what is best for them. If bio dad can pull it together and does get them back and if he is able to provide those things for them (loved, happy, safe, warm, fed, protected, held accountable) then I want him to succeed. Don't get me wrong, we would take them back in a heartbeat if they came back into care! We wouldn't even talk about it first! but what that means, for our girls is that he didn't succeed, he failed and if he fails that means they have not been kept loved, happy, safe, warm, fed, protected or held accountable. We want consistency, and success for the girls. We can see the beginnings of an attachment disorder in Little Miss. She would go with anyone. Especially a man. She loves a man and if he sits still long enough she will end up on his lap! She does it with Todd, my cousins John and Brian, my coworker, and a few men at church. So another move (even if it is back to us) is not what Little Miss needs. I've talked with the CASA and told her that no matter where she goes, who she ends up with I'd recommend attachment therapy. If she was staying with us permanently I'd be in attachment therapy with her. (this is NOT a dig at her bio dad). So honestly, if they have to go to him, I pray he is successful at raising them (not just successful at not getting caught not raising them right).

After the girls do return to bio dad, we will leave our license open for probably a year and stay in touch with the agency after that but we will probably close our home to new placements. This is not my choice but I understand that this is how it has to be. My children have lived lives where no one is consistent, everyone goes away. Everyone who lives close, moves away, my brother moved to Ohio a few years back (2009) and moved away a year later...but when he moved there were hard feelings so there hasn't been an ongoing relationship with him or his kids so he (for them) disappeared. My sister (who we've always been close to) moved away 2 years ago, also (for them) completely disappearing. Another sister (who we used to spend weekends and holidays with, who we babysat for, who we'd get together for dinner with) stopped taking my calls in 2010, disappearing from my kids lives forever. My dad died, Braden died, Pat died, Jason died, Alexis disappeared. And soon enough, so will the sisters. Everyone disappears. I can't continue to bring people into their lives who just disappear. So as much as I believe in what we're doing, as much as I love these little people, and as much as I know there is another little one out there needing a place to go...I can't continue to do this to my family and my husband isn't interested in continuing.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Cleaning to Whole House - a family affair

Cleaning this house has been....different from cleaning the house in town. the point of entry is now the kitchen and not the living room/dining room. If I don't have a clean kitchen, and someone comes in...they see it....which causes me a mini panic attack. Seriously. It's not pleasant. Then I usually throw myself a little temper tantrum...followed by a day of cleaning. no more. I'm done with it! I want a consistently tidy and clean home (allowing for the obvious "we have 5 kids" grace) BUT I obviously for my sanity, my kids and my marriage needed something to change. Now don't get me wrong, we weren't living in filth...I just don't want a sink full of dishes, clutter on the counter, blankets in the corner, shoes in the hall...that's the stuff that got me! So I'm done yelling. We are changing systems. I like lists. I really like lists! I broke the house down into 9 sections:


under each title is a list of things that need to happen in that room to make it "clean". In most rooms this starts with dealing with stuff out of place. Putting away the stuff and throwing away any trash. "straightening up" in general. After that is wiping down and then sweeping/mopping/vaccuuming. Obviously there are other rooms that require more or less items but we pair things up like whoever gets the kitchen does only the kitchen.
So far so good and even the kids are loving it!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Transitioning Home

Today is the first step in transitioning our girls. our foster daughters home. They have lived with us for 16 months. We adore them. We love them. We are heart broken. We are terrified. We wonder if their father will be successful. Girlfriend, since her bio mom died has developed a stutter. she hadn't stuttered for over a week. Today I told them I'd be picking them up for visit with their father. She immediately started to stutter. Is there  a connection. Little Miss this week peed her pants. twice. Is there a connection?

Yesterday as I was dropping Ryan off for school I asked him what he would think of the sisters living with their dad. He simply said no. I asked if that would be good or bad. he simply said bad. I said if he would be happy or sad. He simply said sad. I was honestly hoping he'd look forward to them going. I was hoping that he hadn't become so attached. Hoping he wouldn't have to lose them too.
I know it'll affect the big boys...I just don't know how deep an impact it'll be. we will see.

I love my girls. I wish my boys weren't being hurt in the process.
I asked Ethan if he thought we should accept more foster children (after an appropriate grieving time) and he is adamant that he'd like for us to be done. Lane Michael is on the fence. Ryan doesn't understand. Todd says he is done. No matter what we will keep our license open on the slim chance the girls come back into care.

This is hard. This is the goal. My girls will lose 2 mommies in less than a year.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Football Full Swing

EVERY fall we love getting started with football. and then we get about half way through. we're exhausted. all of us. just starting our new routine and getting into the swing of the school year (after a nice summer break), then add to that, 2 week nights of the boys football practice, 1 night at church, 1 high school football game, Saturday and Sunday midget football games. Done the math yet? We are home Monday evenings. that's it. I have 1 weeknight to accomplish everything on my weekly list. And for the first time since the boys started football and for the first time since Ryan was born Todd is working during this season. He used to go to school...which even at a full time schedule was not like a full time teaching position. Lesson writing, test grading, homework assigning, paper grading, meeting going, training attending, full time job. the first 2 years they say your head spins...then it tapers off. Did I mention we still have a house mid way through a re-model? yah. we do. If we can make it just 7 more weeks, things will calm down, life will be good again and it will be Halloween! YAY! Football is definitely my favorite season! it's cool and starts the holiday season off! I wear hoodies, and drink yummy fall drinks, go to football and generally relaxes me...until I look at our schedule!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fair 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

Moving Mountains

1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2 If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. 4 Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, 5 Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, 6 Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 7 Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. 8 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. 9 We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. 10 But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. 11 When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. 12 We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! 13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. Faith Hope and Love Faith that God is working in our lives. Moving our Mountains. Hope that His will is that the girls will stay right where they are Love for the girls, for their sister, for their birth family, for their birth dad, for their mom's best friend but most of all today for their birth mom who passed away. I have said from the beginning that if their mom was able to regain custody that we would support that, that she loves(d) them and that if it happened it was because she had earned it. Since her passing 30 family members have stepped forward to request custody.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Please Pray for our Family

There has been a death, this will affect us directly. Please pray. We are sad, heartbroken, lost, searching for answers, scared and hurt. Please pray. (our 7 person family is physically fine, it was not one of us but it was as close to our 7 as it gets and will affect us all in very big ways). Please just pray!

Friday, July 19, 2013


We got chickens...26 chickens to be exact! Fair is coming but as soon as it does we'll lose probably 6 chickens and then another 8 will head to the butcher. People are in love with these feathery little creatures! We have 14 broilers (chickens to be butchered) and 10 layers (hens who lay eggs) and 1 rooster who was going to be a pet but he'll have to head to be butchered too...he's becoming increasingly aggressive. Anyway, the kids love them and have been great at caring for them! The bigs boys feed, water, collect eggs, clean pens and do all the basic care. the little kids have lost interest now that the chicks look like chickens! At any rate we're having a great time with it.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Potty Training the Twincesses

I posted months ago my plans to potty train. Didn't happen. We were close, then Girlfriend got sick and we were in the process of a temporary move and the next thing you know we're not even close to having either girl potty trained. Now we all know that their daycare won't take non-potty-trained kids in the fall so it was now or never. Time to sh!t or get off the pot (haha). So in a last ditch effort to have them potty trained by fall I took the plunge. No I didn't, I took their diapers away. I just took them away. I gave them 2 evenings in long t-shirts and bare butt. Then I put them in panties. 1 accident from Girlfriend and 2 from Little Miss but yesterday we left the house for the whole day in panties and NO ACCIDENTS! This is why I hate pu!! ups...they just confuse kids...they're just diapers. They are no different than diapers...there are no consequences to peeing in the pu!! why not. Why make the effor to make it to the potty on time. I'm so proud of these girls! To see the progress they've made in just a year is nothing short of amazing! They're smart, funny, loving, good eaters, speak well, polite, non-biting, alphabet singing, potty training, sassy, independent girls and I love them!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Flag Day celebration

My aunt is a consultant for Longaberger…our whole family loves their baskets, my dad used to collect them. The company is amazing and in the interest of creating jobs and putting our nation ahead of their own personal gain, Longaberger has started something called Project Eagle. They have worked tirelessly to bring all their product manufacturing back into the states! Everything that was made in China, now made in the US! The pottery (my personal favorite) is now made (I believe) in New York! This is just the beginning but it’s an amazing effort and I salute them! Part of celebrating our nation, this project and honoring American citizens, service members and veterans took place the Friday and Saturday of Flag day. My aunt, cousin, mom, Todd, all my boys and I went to this event in unfurling the largest flag in the world! It was one of the best days we’ve had in a long time! It wasn’t too hot, it was just wonderful. I mean except when we lost Ryan…that wasn’t so wonderful but he did so well, he found someone in a golf cart, told them he was lost and his name was Ryan. I was so proud of him! He must have been so scared! Anyway, it was an amazing day and any one who has the opportunity to visit the Longaberger Homestead should definitely take the opportunity!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Case Update

6 month extension granted – what does that mean for the girls? Nothing. This means nothing. Except that after 1 year of living with us, they will continue for another 6 months. But beyond that, nothing has changed. Their mom at the end of this time will have either worked her plan, or not. Girlfriend (never being called by the last name of Skaggs) has decided she is named Girlfirend Skaggs, their mom corrects her but honestly I’m not too stressed about it. I was telling a friend (in a bit of worry) about it and he said “well, she knows how to get them back and if they didn’t live with you that wouldn’t happen” really opened my eyes. All her complaints/concerns about her girls are now met with a thought of “then get them back” and it’s not to be rude but it allows me to not by too sympathetic to her. She has now started to really get to work on her case plan, making life changes that might allow her to regain custody. She is moving into a women’s shelter which will force sobriety, a job, healthy life choices, etc. but as of right now she hasn’t actually moved, doesn’t have a job, a drivers license…a few other things but she does continue to visit with her girls and that’s good. My Bible study this week was about not wanting or striving for something that God hasn’t intended for us. I’m concerned that God does not intend these girls for us…there are other things going on right now that I’m concerned about right now in this same aspect. Todd has a job interview coming up this Wednesday (is this meant for him) I’m so proud of him for even getting this interview since he never applied for it (they called him). Our home is going on the market this fall, again is this the move we are supposed to make? Are we to sell the Wapak house? All in God’s timing. And you know, I just want to live the life He has ordained to be mine. I don’t want anything that isn’t meant for me (I mean obviously I do on the surface but deep down, I want what is best for me and my family). Anyway, His perfect timing, learning patience and letting go of control.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Crap My Kids Do

This post is more for me and my memory - I want to remember someday all the funny things my kids are doing at this age. Ryan - age 3 - at the ball field yesterday he was talking to another child and his grandma. I wandered over to retrieve him and the Grandma said "oh Connor's fine, he's telling us that he's 5 and going to kindergarten in the fall" sigh. "Connor lies. his name is Ryan, he's 3 and he's not going to kindergarten" Girlfriend - age 2 - can't say booty. so singing "shake your booty" only ever comes out "shake your bobby" ha! She's also my little mini-me! This weekend I was finishing my dinner and she was standing next to me directing me "you not done mom! Eat you corn! you. are. not. done." So funny! She loves to be in my space and thinks she is big! wants to have coffee with the ladies and maybe even a cocktail! Not yet little girl! Little Miss - age 2 - Little Miss is a comedian - people smart, reads people well so I have no doubts I'll forget how funny she is but I want to remember this past weekend when we made huge strides in bonding with her (it's good for a child to bond to their caregiver - even if temporary - so that they know how to bond and will bond to future caregivers if not the same as current) anyway someone at church asked her if they could take her home with them (people always do this thinking its funny and it really bugs me on lots of levels) anyway for the rest of the day she was very clingy - in a constant state of a hug with me. she never left my side and sat on my lap as much as I'd allow her to. this is HUGE for Little Miss who before would welcome going with anyone, especially a man. and one more thing - Little Miss discovered swimming this weekend! She is fearless in the water! A true little water bug! She is jumping off the diving board at the pond, pops up and giggles! I bet she's swimming without a floaty by the summers end! Ethan - age 10 - right now Ethan is perpetual movement (unmedicated for the last week of school so he can enjoy all the food treats they give out) so yesterday when going up to bat he took a huge leap to get into the batter box - Rebecca called it his gallop...and later called him a gazelle because he takes such long strides on itty bitty legs - love this boy! he also has taken up snuggling with the chickens - like they're pets Lane Michael - age 10 - if I'm truly honest, Lane Michael isn't a funny kid. Lane Michael is serious and refined more than funny - his attempts at funny are usually awkward and sometimes inappropriate - but what I want to remember is that at the beginning of the 3rd grade he was figuring his own insulin. He can look at the box, measure out a serving and divide out how many units he needs for that serving and add to it any correction dose. He is simply amazing!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Going To Court

Our girls were taken into care last May. One year spent in the system. Seems remarkable. Seems notable. Seems like something I should touch on. They came to us less than a month later (fathers day weekend). Seems like a lifetime ago. I think back to who I was and all my new foster parent anxieties (quite similar and so different from normal new parent anxieties). The expectations I had (dashed quickly I might add). I just knew I was going to have a great relationship with their mom and I just knew the girls bond to me would be immediate and strong, I knew I'd be the only one who could comfort their little broken hearts and I would certainly protect them from their abuser. All out the window, quickly. I'm sure there is still so much to learn. I've learned only the first step in the process. There are so many directions in which this could head. What I do know is that we go to court in June, teaching me just one more thing about this roller coaster we're on....and maybe it's not a big deal once we're there...once we know what all it involves...maybe it's really nothing to get worked up over. I just know there's no way I'm missing it!

Monday, April 15, 2013

These Are the Days of Our Lives

Another blogger wrote this weekend about the chapters of her lives, if she were to write a book, what would be important enough to have it's own chapter. So as I started reflecting on my chapters I realized that most people my age are "settled" into their lives. Whatever that means for them....they know how many children they have or will have. They know where their life is headed, have plans and goals. I don't. It's hard to even budget because month to month I have no idea where we'll be. I'm trusting in the Lord to write the book for me. I mean obviously I can write a few chapters. I can write about my childhood, and the Army, about Braden dying and what it's like to bury your child, I can write about Lane Michael being diagnsed with Diabetes, Epilepsy, Hoshimotos, and Celiac disease. I can write about Ethan's ADD, and Ryan's potty mouth. But I still don't feel like I can write about my family and my life. We have no idea where this foster journey will take us, we have no idea how many children our family will have when we stop adding to it, we have NO idea what Todd's job opportunities will be or where that will lead him. And so instead of "These are the Days of Our Lives" all I can really write is "this is today in my life" because tomorrow things could be headed in a completely different direction. So many unknowns! The wonderful part about this, I can rest in the Lord knowing He has WRITTEN my book and knows what my next step is, knows my families future and loves us more than we can imagine and has plans for us. Plans of prosper and not of harm!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Big Life Changes

We almost have so much going on right in the next 2-3 months, I can't even process it all! The first BIG change is Todd's graduation, he graduates in EXACTLY one month! This means huge changes! It means the loss of his income, but it also means the girls and Ryan get to hang with him through the day. After graduation (sometime this summer) we are hoping to move to a different (very temporary) house, while living in this house we hope to get our house on the market and sell it. I love my home but I need my family outside of city limits...but I sure will miss my house. Soon after that the girls case goes back to court (I think they're just asking for a 6 month extension) which means they'll probably be here until next November and things will be reassessed at that time. At any rate...things are definitely changing!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Best Kind of Friends

Ethan and Lane Michael had a chance this weekend to spend the night with my Mom and Step Dad, it was good for them. They had a great time. They didn't have school Monday so they stayed over Sunday night and hung out there on Monday. So since Mom had an early meeting, the boys all got to hang with their Grandpa Jack for the day...but we couldn't possibly leave Grandpa Jack with no cigarettes and 3 little boys (my nephew was there too). So after Todd and I took our little 3 home for bed, Mom headed to town for some smokes. Ethan decided he should ride along. Some of the best talks are had in the car. They started talking about friends and who was Ethan's friends and who did Lane Michael hang out with. Then Mom asked Ethan if he and Lane Michael are friends and without missing a beat Ethan said "we're the best kind of friends, we're soul mates."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Sunday morning we woke the kids at 6 am, dressed them, did the girls hair, loaded our food and necessities of the day and headed out the door by 6:50 (just in time to be 5 minutes late to Sunrise Service). It was such a celebration of Christ's rising! and returned home well after dark, fell into our beds and slept. and in between sunrise and sunset? we played, we talked, we ate. we stopped shortly to talk about "the real meaning of Easter" to reflect on the "sacrifice Christ made for us" but I am feeling lately the weight of God's hand on my heart. The tightness in my chest, knowing there are changes I have to make in my family. The Easter Bunny, nothing malicious or mean. But Easter is such a Holy day...the bunny seems to take so much from the day. I have nothing against rabbits, they seem nice enough. kids seem to like them. soft fur. whatever. my hope isn't to offend anyone but more these are my own convictions and the way I see MY family going. I want my children to know not just the key phrases used on Easter but have a trued grasp of the magnitude of the situation and love and respect what Christ did for us. This HOLYday is more than enough without fouling it up with rabbits. Like I said, this isn't meant to hurt anyone or offend anyone, its just how I feel my heart being lead.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Family Update

This is a big week for our family, with lots of potential for change. On Monday Todd had a huge test, life changing test that would determine if he gets his teaching license. We won't get the results back for a couple weeks yet, and he has the 2nd half of that test next Monday. Please be in prayer for us and this situation, my prayer is for a clear mind and for him to understand the questions and answers so that if he knows the answer he can get it right. The girls mom has court on Friday for some legal stuff...she hasn't shared all of it (the worst of it) but has shared some and what she's shared could really throw a wrench in her case plan to get custody back. Please also pray for this. My prayer has been for safety for everyone, clarity, peace and God's will. Girlfriend is on the verge of being potty trained! She has gone 4 days with only 1 accident and even woke up through the night to potty on Sunday night. Amazing little person! Little Miss would sit in her own filth for days and is absolutely clueless! Cracks me up how different they are from each other and how much they mirror Lane Michael and Ethan. I am confident that Little Miss will one day wake up and without any practice or coaching be fully ready to leave diapers in the dust. I'm not stressing it. Ryan who recently has decided his name is Connor has been as funny as ever. His Aunt L was giving him a hard time about something the other day and he was hollering at her for whatever infaction she had commited, so she snatched him up and kissed him (a horrible offense, punishable by death), he stomped into the dining room and shouted "I didn't want to marry you today! I just want to play" and as he headed upstairs he was shouting something about boobies. who knows what. Don't judge me. Lane Michael has taken a turn since changing churches, his heart for God has just grown and matured so much! He's learning so much about the Bible and about God. Listening to him pray is moving. Genuinely and completely moving, when we get together with our friends, anyone who would like to pray is given a turn, Lane Michael and Bird often bring us all to tears with their prayers. Amazing! My Grandma and Mom have hinted that they think his heart may lie with ministry...I don't know what this boys future will hold but it'll be big whatever it is! Ethan is doing so well in school right now! Straight A's! I'm so proud of him! Last night he laid in his bed and read a chapter book! I never thought we'd see the day! He struggled so much in the beginning! I can't tell you the countless nights we worked and prayed and cried over homework! I will never regret medicating his ADD. I will face all judgements with the knowledge that we did EVERYTHING to keep this boy off of medication, fought tooth and nail and in the end, when we finally relented, I had the peace of knowing the steps we took that failed. And found such success in medicating him. He's brilliant and funny and confident! I love this boy! Braces....Lane Michael and Ethan had a consultation with an orthodontist. They both need lots of hardware...step 1 is to have teeth removed. Each will require TWO 1 hour sessions of teeth pulling. Then we'll move on to spacers. Very much necessary and worth it but looks like it's going to be ridiculously expensive! Anyway, that's our update for today! Everyone is doing really well, we're in a good (and rather easy) season right now. Todd graduates in May with his bachelors degree! I'm so proud of him!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Potty Training the Twincesses

I have taken an entire week of vacation so that I can potty train the twincesses. I plan to plan no projects, no extra cleaning that must be done, nothing. Except for potty training. Girlfriend is ready, Little Miss I'm hoping will follow suit fairly quickly and easily. I will let you know how progress goes!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Progress - or changes?

I can't post specifics, but things are happening in the girls case. Things that will mean changes...of course we knew eventually one of 3 things would happen: 1. the girls would go home (this is and should be the goal of foster care - to allow children to be raised by their parents as long as it is safe) 2. the girls would go to a family member or friend (kinship placement) - this allows the children to remain in their biological family - I used to support this, I'm now building a real opinion that is more detailed than I would like to go into today. 3. the girls don't go anywhere - this may mean adoption. Foster care is hard, regularly the hardest part is the up's and down's of visits (more downs than ups it seems but I digress), but then once in a while, pops up questions about the girls future, and an always pending "other shoe", and you know it's always there, like a shadow in the room and sometimes that shadow is an elephant. Elephant days are case reviews (once every 3 months), homevisits (every other month), and when mom or dad really do something big (good or bad). That's when things get hard....because it means change is coming. And right now, change is coming. Maybe not for us, or our girls...but it's coming and it will affect someone. We just don't know who all is under this umbrella of change. Well I wrote the above post on the 20th but since I was posting about debt on the 20th I decided to hold this post in drafts until today to post. Turns out, that was for good reason. More information has developed and OH MY! I have a private blog where I am writing specifics. But I just pray for the girls Mom and Dad, for salvation and above all else, for God's will to be done!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My Desire to be Debt Free

I have consistently been in debt for the last 12 years. Mostly vehicle loans and credit cards, stupid decisions! So a few years ago I decided I was done with this mess! This debt is out of control! It never got bad, never even half of the national average but bad enough that it made me angry! So when Todd became a student, the year Ryan was born (actually within a month of Ryan being born) I decided that if it hadn't been for the debt, maybe the it wouldn't be such a blow when someone is laid off, forced to take medical leave, or any other emergency that may come up! So for the last 2-3 years I've been working on being debt free. It's been a struggle (especially with a husband who's a student in a college that's an hour away). So we made a plan and we stuck to it. Until we didn't or couldn't. Buying the suburban right in the middle of this great plan of mine hurt. set us back. But that's ok, we readjusted our spending AGAIN and set a new plan. One we will stick with. and soon we will be debt free (except for our mortgage). We paid off the credit cards and most of the blazer with our tax return, now we're snowballing everything we have at the remaining balance on the Blazer, taking the monthly payments that we were putting towards the credit cards and applying them to the Blazer. We will then take the pell grant Todd should be receiving and putting that towards the Suburban. and then snowballing the blazer and credit card payment towards the suburban. and May 2 we SHOULD be 100% debt free save the mortgage! Paying off $16,000 of debt in 4 months! I will try to update again in mid-May to let you know if we made it!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

God Speaking

So today as I'm driving to work (I have to take the girls 10 minutes out of town, swing back into town to drop Ryan at preschool, then across town to drop off the bigs then back across to go to work), after dropping off the bigs, I turned on the radio and was going to change it but didn' had background static and was a little hard to hear but it was a man speaking. And he spoke about how when we fall into trials, as Christians we are not being tested but that's our chance to shine. That when we have cancer, or a wayward child, it's not that we have done something wrong it's that God is giving us a chance to show the world the difference in how we handle situations, the difference between Christians and those who don't have Christ in their life. It was an AMAZING "sermon" and I thought "man he is talking to me" and all those who are going through tough times or have gone through tough times. then I went to find what station I was on. Somehow the radio had been switched from fm to am and was on a station like 72...but I couldn't find the station again after I had switched from it. He really was talking to me

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Moving Ahead

Todd and I don't see ourselves as movers but I guess we are. We seem to move more often than most. We lived in Texas then moved to the farm. We stayed there from 2003-2007. We moved to our current home in 2007 and already we're thinking of moving. We want to be back in the country (really regretting selling our farm if we're just going to move again). We need something with enough land to have a garden, a couple farm animals and a decent sized yard, we need enough house for our family of 7 (5 when the girls move on), and I'm in a place in life where I'd like it to be pretty. We aren't finding much by way of houses in the area we want, meeting all our needs. There is one property we've been watching for years. literally...over 3 years. The house at one time was in decent shapte, 3 outbuildings, over an acre and a half. The house has since been ruined (no longer has any siding), and the property has just really taken a hit. In one of the out buildings is an apartment. 4 bedrooms, 1 bath. Has a lot of potential. So with this property we would have fix up the apartment, then move into that while selling our current home. After selling our home, we would build a new house on that property, and tear down the house that's no longer any good. Then there's this other property, it's listed for $72,000, 3 bedrooms, 2 bath, 4 car attached garage. Lots of potential, off the beaten back, 1.16 acres, and one small barn. This house has been empty for 2 years or so, the kitchen is gorgeous! The downstairs bath is...going to need toilet, bath, shower just don't do it for me. The living room is big and has this HUGE stone fireplace, and a small office just off it. The downside? upstairs are 2 skylights. that are leaking. the house will need a new roof before anyone can move in...and a few new windows. and the laundry room will need to move to the 1st floor since the one upstairs is gross...and small. but that's fine. I'm becoming more invested in this property as time goes on. So the plan for this house would be to replace the roof and window before moving in, then make the big living room into our bedroom and the small office would be an office. the dining room would be our living room for now and the breakfast nook would be the dining area. Ethan would have his own room, the girls the middle size room and Ryan and Lane Michael the biggest room. Make the laundry room into a closet and the pantry into the laundry room. Move into it, sell our place, then when we've sold our current home, we would remodel the 4 car garage into a 2 car garage and in the small storage room, put a mud room with a shower and toilet (it shares a wall with the kitchen so that's doable). So we would still have a 2 car attached garage and Todd would add an additional building out back as a work shed. update they just lowered the price from $72,000 to $64,800. Hope it stays on the market till we're ready to buy!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Life changes on Hold

I'm down with the flu...our routine, breakfast shake, life is on hold while I try to get through this fog.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mid-Century Modern

This weekend we moved our friends into their new home. It's big and beautiful, well earned and much loved! I'm so excited for them! But of course that means I have a hankering to look at my own home and the things I don't love about it. TOO. MUCH. CRAP! My dining room is full of stuff. Our dining room (which is not huge) is currently holding a hope chest my Dad bought and I fell in love with (now I can't bring myself to part with it), my dining room table (which happens to be HUGE), 6 chairs for said dining room table (and my 7 person family), my Dad's role top desk (also huge) and the computer chair (which we use as a stand in chair for Todd), and something we call my Dad's shrine (yes you read that right, a shrine specifically dedicated to my Dad - this currently holds pictures, and memorabilia (picture albums and news articles about him). Well while we were in my mom's shop this weekend looking for new furniture for the new H family home, I noticed a dining room set that had just come in. It's small, until it's NOT! the table folds down to almost 3 feet but when fully extended it's almost 9 feet! It's a dard wood and it's called mid-century modern. the hutch is thin but tall and long. I've been pondering, I asked Todd what he thought...I'm in love. He is not. and the price? is GOOD! Perfect even! absolutely beautiful! I didn't put it on hold. I didn't put a down payment on it and I didn't put it on layaway...all options at this store. Last night I missed a call from my mom, called her back and she said someone else was looking at the dining room set to resell (since it's so inexpensive). I missed the call asking if I wanted to put it on hold. Todd isn't in love with it. I told Mom that if it didn't sell, then I'd take it, but if it sold, another would come along. Todd immediately called her back and put it on hold! I'm getting a new dining room set that I love love love! YAY!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Life Change 2 - Meal Planning

2nd of the Series of Life Changes – Meal Planning Every other week we’d go through an hour or more of meal planning – what did everyone want? What did we just have? What’s on sale? It took forever! So much mental energy, and then to figure up what we needed for each meal….exhausting! So Todd suggested we do a revolving menu. I sat down and for hours poured over our favorite meals, the inexpensive meals, and the healthy meals, to make up the best 3 – 2 week menus for our family. Then I worked up the ingredients I’d need for each meal and listed them beside the nightly menu so that whoever is in charge of setting out dinner will know exactly what we need for that night. Lane Michael (who wants to cook in the worse way) can now pick dinner, set it out, and eventually get started (once he knows more about that meal). This makes my life and grocery shopping SO much easier! some of the menus include things like chili and then 2 nights later we have cincinnati spaghetti. tacos, meat loaf, spaghetti and homemade meatballs, 2 nights later we'll have meatball subs. Just one change that made my life easier!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Series of Life Changes - Change 1

Todd and I love having a big family. When we grew our family by 2 the first time it took time to adjust from having no babies, to having 2 babies. We had to take time and rearrange our lives, our schedules, our home. When Ryan joined our family we went through and changed again, rearranging our house, our routine and every other aspect of our lives. But when the girls arrived, I just allowed them to take a spot (not being infants we wanted to follow as much of their lead as possible). It took us about 6 months to realize that our family had AGAIN grew by 2 people instead of 1 and taking their lead just wasn't goin to work. We had changes we needed to make for ourselves, for our sanity and for our marriage. We aren't as healthy as we could be. We weren't getting enough sleep. We were tired and as much as I HATE to say it, I was dropping the ball...I was juggling too much and just couldn't keep up. So we decided to make some changes...the first change is how we're fueling our bodies for the day. Here's the thing, I wasn't fueling my body. I was drinking a cup of coffee with some sugar and calling it good. By lunch I was starving and in turn would over eat. Long term, it just couldn't work. So Todd and I decided we'd try a breakfast shake...but not the shakes my mom made for me as a kid...even her attempt at a healthy breakfast shake was mostly ice cream (still makes me giggle). So a little research, and Todd found a "starter" shake...something easy, tasty and good for us!

When doing morning prep (I'll post about that at some point in this "series") we set out the ingredients we'll use the next day....or the ingredients that require measuring. The recipe called for 2 handfulls of spinach, 2 bananas, 1 cup pineapple, 1 cup yogurt and 1 cup water. Since we buy our bananas for 2 weeks at a time, we buy them green so to help them ripen up before morning, we peal them and put them in this container with the yogurt, a section for pineapple (I don't mix them because of the pineapples acid). You'll also notice the blueberries...but the recipe I posted doesn't call for blueberries you say? You're right but they're SUCH a super fruit, and don't alter the flavor, I just can't resist throwing them in for good measure. Just a handful...
We set out the blender the night before also...making our mornings run so much more smoothly.
Next morning, I throw the spinach in the bottom of the blender so the other ingredients will provide weight and push the spinach into the blades. Then throw in the pineapple, bananas, water, yogurt and blueberries.
Blend it up.
and ENJOY! It's so yummy! I have a "friend" on who used to drink shakes and I thought she was a nut case! How could she possible drink a GREEN smoothy with spinach. Try it. It's worth drinking and I am not too hungry by lunch time! I feel good and productive all morning long! Even Todd (who we all know is a meat and potatoes kind of guy) drinks his shake and enjoys it!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Biological Father

A couple of months ago, the girls mom showed up to visit excited about something. Asked the caseworker and GAL to step into a private room for a chat. A few minutes later, she ran out to her car (of course this set the girls into a frenzy of confusion) a few minutes later she brought in a man and the girls were taken back to visit. Later the CW called me and explained that he was alleged biological father. After months of being told that she doesn't know who he is, turns out that until he went to prison, he was involved with the girls. Now that he's out of prison he wanted to see the girls. We just got the DNA test results and he is their biological father. We don't know yet what this means, but he will now be invited to the visits and the case review.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Updates on Everyone

Life is a whirlwind and posting here is sadly one of the things that had to fall away. We have lots of great things going on here and Todd and I are starting the year off with some changes. An update about Christmas: Best Christmas ever! Everyone loved their gifts and had just the best time getting to hang out and spend the week together! The kids were spoiled and are still playing with their new Christmas loot! This week Lane Michael announced that his teacher played a game with them, a Christmas Trivia game and it was laced with Christian questions. What did Mary ride on to get to Bethlehem? Why were they in Bethlehem? Where did they live? Another word for 3 wisemen? Lane Michael said it rocked this game! So proud of that boy! I got Todd and Ipad, protective case and stylus for Christmas. Todd got me….an Ipad, protective case and stylus pen for Christmas. Yep. The kicker? I liked the case I bought. Todd liked the case he bought. I didn’t need the space his has…Todd needed the bigger memory. So in the end I kept the gift I bought. And Todd kept what he bought. We had NO idea! Update on Todd: Todd is graduating in the spring! Amazing! Looking back at this journey, we recognize that we just needed a little push and God gave it to us. Todd was laid off a month before Ryan was born and 2 months before the fall semester started. Giving us just enough time to get him enrolled and his VA benefits started. It’s been a wonderful experience and I am so glad Todd took this leap of faith! Trust and believe it hasn’t been easy or a cake walk. It’s been an amazing few years! If someone had said to me at the beginning of this journey, I’d have called them a bold faced liar! I am so proud of my husband! He’s an amazing person and any school would be lucky to have him on staff! Update on Lane Michael and Ethan: They’re such good boys! They’re amazing big brothers, so helpful, and well mannered. We are constantly being told how well behaved they are and how good they are with their little brother and sisters. They’re such a blessing to our family! Update on Ryan: He hates school. I’ve never heard of a preschooler hating school the way Ryan proclaims to. It’s ridiculous! He’s finally becoming a little more affectionate with me which just melts my heart, I could smooch on that boy all dang day! Update on Girlfriend and Little Miss: We’re starting to dabble in potty training just a little…I think when babies start trying to change their own and each others diapers, it’s time to start potty training! So we’ve started setting them on the potty first thing in the morning, before nap, before showers and before bed. So far all we’re getting is first morning (because they’re waking up dry), but Girlfriend has peed 3 times! And Little Miss has tinkled a little bit twice so I think it might take them some time but we’re well on our way! YAY! Update on their case (what details I can give): Some progress is being made and we’re looking at them going home (if their mom continues on this path) in about 5 months. We’re hoping she can continue to stay on track! The girls love her so much and you can tell they’re all bonded to each other. We’re rooting for her. We have another case review at the end of the month and will know more then. Financial progress: Todd and I have a plan to be debt free (save the mortgage) by the middle of summer (my goal was for his graduation to be debt free but I just don’t think I can make that work). If things go according to plan we will pay off both vehicles, and the small credit card by the end of March and then throw everything we have at that last straggling credit card and medical bills. That’s the plan anyway! Life is good, crazy busy and quite the roller coaster but we’re in a great routine and that helps to keep our sanity most days!