Saturday, June 16, 2018

My turn to brag a bit

He's always bragging on me about how I mother and what a great wife I am, but really all that is because of him.  I've done the single parenting thing for three months while he was out of state for work stuff.  Even then I didn't have to work because he was far, far away working hard to support our family.  While the boys and I succeeded and have some fond memories of that time without him, there is always a shadow of sadness because he wasn't with us.


Now that we have more hearts to love there is no way I could be a good parent without him.  Every single night he gets up with the babe, feeds him, changes him and puts him back to sleep.  I can't tell you how many nights I've opened my eyes in the pitch black, breathed deep and let the sound of his song loll me back to sleep right along with the babe.  When we've had the joy of loving others he's worked hard at loving them too.


His shoulders are the ones I cry on when life seems impossible because I'm worried sick for the health and safety of our children.  He always answers the phone no matter how busy he is at work to hear the win of the day be it a babe who rolled over or a math test win.  He shares all of my joy and all of my sorrow everyday right beside me.  When I'm busy with extra appointments he uses his free time to help tidy the house so it's one less thing I have to worry about.  There have been times he's stepped in to help me with a scout project because he knows I hate public speaking or that I'd never get it done if I did it on my own.  If ever he even thinks that I need a break he makes sure that I get some time to do things that refresh me.


Together we have taken turns snuggling babies who took eight months before they'd sleep more then 45 minutes at a time.  Together we've been at the hospital watching ultra sound technicians work because the vomiting was more then a normal stomach bug or watching casts be put on broken arms from falling off swings.  Together we've taught our children how to read and write.  Together we've taught them to trust us, to respect others, and to do what's right.


This family, our boys, who I am, every part of us has been touched and shaped by who he is.  Without our Strong man we wouldn't be who we are.  He is the heart of our family and he lights the way for us.  I knew he was going to be a good father and a great husband when I agreed to be his wife, but he has surpassed all of my expectations and he has always loved any who have lived with us as if they were his own.  He is a gift and my best friend.


Saturday, June 9, 2018

The things kids say...

~ Trying to memorize the scout law Man of the woods said, "A scout is trustworthy, loyal, hideous... Wait what does hideous mean?"

~ On my first day of work Laughter took my pursue and filled it to overflowing because, "You pack us snack bags on long car rides so I want to pack you snacks for your first day of work."

~ Parenthood is when your boy comes whimpering into your room the night before a job interview because he had, "Not just a bad dream, it was worse! It was a nightmare about giant frogs!" He snuggles in close almost clinging to you as you offer him his own pillow so you don't wake him when you move but he says, "That's okay Mom I don't mind. I'll just move when you move." You spend the rest of the night feeling as though you have a giant, boy sized, leach stuck to you.

~ If you were to walk into the kitchen right now you would see a Nerf bullet drying in my dish rack on the counter. Why is it there you would ask. Well, only because it got shot into the raw chicken I was preparing for dinner.

~ You never know what you're going to get when a little boy offers to carry the hand basket for you at the grocery store. Turns out if your just the right size you can wear it like a backpack without letting the items inside fall out.

~ Laughter's journal entry for school was this: I threw grapes at my teacher. She will throw grapes too.

~ When your son loses a tree frog in a log cabin furnished completely in wood...

~ Laughter: I wish I could use these pipe cleaners to hang from the railing above the stairs.
MOW: Pipe cleaners wouldn't hold you, you would need my rope.
Me: (From the other room) Yeah, that's not ever going to be a good idea.

~ My six year old was trying to read my handwriting and said to me, "Maybe you should get a hand writing book."...Believe me deary my teachers already tried that.

~ Is it a bad thing when the boys tell me they want to make a surprise for me, just like Christmas and that they need me to stay in my room? Or how about when I over hear Man of the Woods saying, "We don't want to hurt her just surprise her."

~ Laughter had just used my lotion when I looked over to find him rubbing his arms and wrists all over the furniture. I asked him why he was doing that and he said, "I'm marking my territory with my new sent glands, Mom!"... Of course what else would you be doing?

~ A day in the life of a Momma... When your boys say they are not that hungry but you are so you decide to make extra muffins. When they are done you leave them to cool while you finish your morning chores only to walk back into the kitchen to find them completely gone... Then you find a dead frog in your upstairs hallway be it because the frog escaped or it was hunted by a house cat it doesn't change the fact that a dead frog is in your upstairs hallway... Then when little brother wants to know if big brother really can push him over and like the good big brother that he is he flips him over a laundry basket... Even so it's been a good day.

~ That time Laughter threw something at the ducks and I asked him why he did that. His response? "Oh, I think I lost my mind for a moment. It's all coming back to me. I shouldn't have thrown that at the ducks. Sorry ducks I lost my mind there. I won't do that again."

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

It's a family effort

As a foster family, life looks a little different from most.  We still have our boys scouts and fun activities, but on top of the normal stuff we have a lot of appointments for our foster loves.  Almost a year into this adventure we've gotten pretty good at it.  The ladies at the library know us well as it's one of our favorite places to spend time waiting.  We almost always have a book we're reading together in the car because sometimes, especially when it's snowing we sit in parking lots and wait.  We spend plenty of time in parks and finding fun new places to get cheap treats.  We're really good at blitzing through stores to get our errands done.  Sometimes, like today, I let them bring their tablets and after we spend sometime reading out loud in the waiting room I let them play while I work.  In waiting rooms I often find myself correcting papers, working on scouts, doing our budget or going over math facts with the boys.


Today as I watched them play together with a game they have made up and perfected each week as we sit I was reminded again that foster care isn't something I do it's something we all do, a family effort.  I spent a few minutes looking through my calendar from the last six months.  One month we had 42 appointments, none of which were for them and didn't include scouts or school.  It was a very busy time and we won't be doing that again.  However they were champs and when they talk about this past winter they don't even consider all the waiting rooms they sat in.  This summer there is a very real chance that four days a week our one love will have appointments.  Which means we won't be able to just kick it for some crazy adventuring as we normally do, but we'll spend most days here at home with a swing set and garden hose.  Even so they love what we do.  They love helping other children.  They ask often when we'll say yes to another.


I'm proud of these boys and the love they give out.  People often tell me I'm a saint or that they could never do what I do, but really my kids work harder then I do.  I don't have to share my toys or my parents with strangers.  When it comes time to say goodbye to our loves I understand pain and grief but my boys are living and learning it right along with me.  They are becoming good men, who have big hearts.  If ever you meet some foster siblings feel free to encourage them on.  Without them being on board some of us foster parents wouldn't be doing what we do.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Dear Foster Mom,

You and I, we've talked this week.  Every day.  Some days one or both of us cried.  I want you to know that I see you.  You and all the hearts you care for are constantly on my mind.  I know I'm on yours as well.  We see each other.  When one of us notices that the other is on FB at stupid o'clock in the morning so we text each other and it turns out both babies are trembling and can't be still without some snuggles... When we pass each other in the local mental institution each with one of our foster loves and just nod our heads in greeting knowing that your heart is breaking as much as mine.... When we run into each other in court and ask how things are going?  We ask how are you doing emotionally, are you ready to say goodbye?...When the kids have become so apart of the family your arms feel empty while they are at appointments without you.  You find yourself wondering when they'll wake up from nap, even checking on them in bed before you remember it's just not your day with them... When our hearts are breaking so we call each other and sob into the phone our love and pain for these children and their families.... You my dear friend have a beautiful heart.  You are doing the work of a hero.

You and I we are living life full and deep and raw.  The world is watching.  Often they don't understand, and we feel judged.  I've found often it's not judgement they are passing, but it's awe and wonder that they don't have words for.  So we should let them see our pain and our love.  Let them see the crazy we live and fight for.  Let them see Jesus.  Whether you know it or not you are walking the Gospel and Dying with Christ.  Let them see us heave guttural sobs when we say goodbye for the last time.  Let them see our joy when when it seems there shouldn't be any.  Let them see us lean deep into His unconditional love.  Let them wonder how we do what we do.  Let them see that love has no fear.  Let them ask questions.  Let them help us.  Let them live life with us.

Sweet Momma friend, life is hard right now, but here is why we do what we do:  "Keep on loving... Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers... Be satisfied with what you have... Offer sacrifices of praise...Don't forget to do good... Share with those in need... These are the sacrifices that please God... May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him.  All glory to him forever and ever!" (snippets from a friend of Jesus in Hebrews 13)

Keep on keeping on, dear one.

Friday, May 18, 2018

When life is busy

This week I have had seven appointments, taught two boys, administered 10 Standardized tests, talked Cub Scouts details with more people then I can count, worked my one shift at my paying job, and roasted marshmallows with family from near and far.  All of this of course with a happy Babe on my hip.  The week before? Well that mirrors this one.


I love what I do and I wouldn't change any of this month, but sometimes I get so caught up in schedules that I forget to see the beauty all around me, the small simple joys that make life great.  These joys that make the schedules worth it.


As I was pulling into my driveway between appointments I realized I missed the trees budding.  I missed new life, and the gift it brings with it. 


Fresh starts. 
New Hope. 
Life. 
Breath. 


In the middle of all the crazy I decided to slow and play in the dirt.  Just one planter, a tiny treat.  As my fingers turned brown my body relaxed and my eyes began to see again.


A few joys from this month:
~ Big boy turning 10.
~ Climbing trees.
~ Camping with the Scouts.
~ Getting to be the Cubmaster of 2018. It's kind of fun.


~ Watching school wrap up.
~ Dreaming of summer.
~ Making my last lesson plan of the year.
~ Watching the boys see all their hard work help them out on the standardized yearly tests.


~Belting out our favorite songs in the car.
~ Seeing the spring dandelions bloom everywhere, my favorite flower.
~ Deep heart conversations with dear sweet friends.


~ Watching big ones and little ones grow into men.
~ Cheerios everywhere, always.
~ Baby boy giggles and splashes during bath time.
~ Bonfires with family from near and far.


~ Boys that get excited about healthy snacks.
~ Coffee, everyday coffee.
~ Colored pens and my Bible.
~ The sun to warm my face.


~ Books and boys who love to read.
~ Three pairs of feet flying high on the swing set.
~ A praying husband that holds me tight.
~ Praying friends.
~ A husband who will sing overtired boys to sleep.


Simple, sweet joys that make life fun and adventurous. One of my life goals is to see each and every one.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

TEN. YEARS. OLD.

To my curly haired, freckled faced Man of the woods,


Ten.  Double digits man, double digits.  Crazy how time flies.  It seems like just yesterday you were the strong willed little boy with a sweet lisp who prayed everyday for freckles.  Now you're 10.  It blows my mind.  You blow my mind.


You're everything I imagined and so much more.  My favorite is the way you love people. For example this year on your tenth birthday there is a dinner for the Cub Scout leaders.  I really don't want to go, I want to be with you.  But you keep insisting that I go.  You tell me I deserve it and that I work hard for you.  After two weeks of talking about it, I finally agreed.  The first birthday where I won't be with you from the time you wake until the time you go to bed.  The beginning of you becoming a man.  I am proud to be called your mom.


This has been a year full of change.  I think you're character has shined through.  The way you love the children that come and go from our home.  The way you grieve for them, and get excited about their wins.  The way you explain why you choose to do what's right.  The way you ask questions that go straight to the heart of the matter.  I wish you could see yourself through my eyes.  I wish I had words for you to know just how loved you are.


My prayer for you this year is that you take what you know is right and true and practice living it.  The more you do it the easier it will become.  Then you will be ready to do it even when it's not what you want to do, because sometimes that's what life requires to do what's right even when it's hard.

An interview with your ten year old self:
What's your favorite color? Blue, dark blue.



What's something that is very special to you? My bike and you guys, and the babe.
What's your favorite saying? Hey bro
What's your favorite thing to do? Bike



What's your favorite memory from this past year? Camping with my Dad.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I have no clue. Game Warden, but do I really have to decide so soon?



Thank you sweet boy for teaching me to be a Momma.  I love you more.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

These hearts are worth it.

Today is the beginning of National Foster Care Awareness month.  I could tell you that in the state of Maine alone we have 2,000 kids in care and that 1 in 12 babies born in our Pine Tree State are addicted to drugs.  But honestly my heart is a little heavy and I don't really care about stats and neither do any of these kids.


Today a little after 6 this morning I had to say goodbye to one of these foster loves.  It was planned that he'd only be with us for 10 days, but a lot happens in a family in just a few days.  He loved our zip-line, riding bikes, and catching salamanders with the boys.  Just like my two he never ran out of things to say about Minecraft and Avengers.  He did chores with us, played hard and enjoyed stories before bed.  He had more energy then he could ever possibly use.  Yesterday all three boys were running around the yard in socks because they were competing to see who could kick their shoes the furthest.  When he grows up he's going to be an air force pilot.  He gave hugs freely and was proud of how stinky his feet were.  He loved taking baths and asked for me to time him as he held his breath under water.   Last night when I tucked him into bed and we sat talking about his day he told me when he grows up he's going to move in with me and live with me forever, but that he would spend a lot of his time in the sky because he was going to be a pilot and protect his team mates from the bad guys. He was just like every other boy I know and love.  But then this morning it was time to say goodbye.  He cried hard, heavy sobs as he got into the car that takes him to school everyday.


There aren't enough foster homes.  So this boy lives an hour away and everyday has ridden an hour to school and an hour back to our house.  Now that his foster family is back we won't be able to just drop in or just hang out with him whenever because we live so far away.  That's the way of it in the system.  These kids who do nothing wrong but are forced to lose all the people they love because of mistakes their parents made.  And then they make friends and lose them and move on.  They can't be involved in sports and scouts because they have so many appointments and visits.  My heart breaks with each one I am introduced to.


Many people have said to me that they have always thought about getting involved.  These kids, these hearts are worth the risks you'll take.  The pain of my heart is worth knowing this boy felt loved and safe and knows what family should look like.  If you're debating the idea of becoming a foster family take the classes learn about how the system works.  You could do just short term care called respite like we were to this boy or you could do long term which I'll write more about later.