Thursday, July 12, 2018

Five days in

I love the idea of scrap booking, but the reality is I am a busy Momma.  Just yesterday I took four tired and hungry kids to a 5:45 pm appointment all by myself, and somehow we survived.  Anyway, I try instead to capture one moment a day to remember and every once in a while I throw in a blog post to remember a lesson learned.  Most often they are fun, sweet memories, and sometimes it's obvious that I'm frazzled because well that's real life.  Five days into being a Momma of four here's what I'm learning and remembering.  I'm remembering that me before kids used to sweep the ceilings in my house weekly.  Everything and I mean everything had it's place.  I'm remembering that I like the quiet and I have my space.

Here's what I'm learning... Again:  This morning for the third morning in a row my two babes made sure that I was up and at 'em no later then 2:30 AM.  At six as my boy was pooping and crying, it's a traumatic experience for him, Strong man stumbled into the room to see if I needed any help and asked when my day had started.  When he heard 2:30 he told me to grab a nap before he left for work.  He's good like that.  I fell into bed with a tear or two rolling down my face from exhaustion and slept deep for the next hour before he left.

Grateful for the nap and ready to start the day as he left I have since been peed on once, had my boy laughing so hard while he was eating that I ended up wearing some of his food.  Talked to caseworkers, and a GAL, played outside, and watched my boy crawl from one end of the living room to the other, began making a mental list of what needs to be baby proofed, laughed hard with my big ones, and I have showered.  Currently both babes are sleeping, and I'm surveying the damage done to the house. 

I love it.  All of it.  The messy, crazy chaos.  I have a shelf of school stuff that hasn't been put away yet.  Schools been done for almost two months.  I have a pile of laundry that hasn't been touched since last week because between becoming a new Momma of four, all the crazy foster love appointments, and that 4.5 hour trip to the ER last weekend I simply haven't had time.  The big ones have booby-trapped the back room and all by himself my new to crawling one has destroyed the living room.

Still even in all of it this is life.  Hearts are growing and learning to love.  Lives are being changed and molded to be great men and to be a healthy girl.  I will take this life over a quiet, clean organized house any day, because, my heart and their hearts, we need each other.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The pain in all the excitement

Foster care is a strange thing.  Most Momma's have nine months to "nest", they get to slowly move into each phase of childhood, but with foster care everything happens fast.  Sometimes in minutes and other times in just a few hours.  This time I have had an evening and one full day to prepare for our newest love, as well as an ER visit with a big boy, a need to keep some cub scout commitments to my biggest one, and somehow I snuck away for a cake pop with my banged up eight year old.  It has been a full day.

I laid out pink and bows while the boys were buzzing about the idea of a girl coming home tomorrow.  The babes stuffed animals were moved to a shelf so the bassinet could once again hold a baby.  My room needed to be organized and groceries still need to be bought because we need easy, easy fast meals.  I checked to make sure the baby monitors still worked.  As I walked by I heard things being said, "Can you believe we're going to have a girl?", "Buddy, you are not going to be the baby tomorrow.  You are going to be a big brother.", "Life sure is going to be different in the house."  When it was bed time the big ones had a hard time drifting to sleep because the electricity was strong with the idea of a new one.  As I folded the clothes that await her and packed her diaper bag my mind kept drifting to her Momma.

The baby girl coming home with me tomorrow is her baby who only she knows.  She knows when her first kick was and how strong she is.  She knows how often she gets the hiccups.  She knows her sleeping patterns and if she's a wiggly little thing.  Her body hurts from all the work it spent growing a new life these last nine months.  It hurts right now for her just to pee and her chest feels as though it's going to explode.  As hard as it was for her to sleep with a watermelon sized belly it's just as hard now to sleep without it. Every fiber of her being cries out that she is a Momma!...Yet she knows tomorrow, at least for a time, the two will have to say goodbye.

My heart breaks.  It was never meant to be this way.

I don't know her story or even her name, but I know she's hurting.  Any Momma would hurt.  Tomorrow if she wants to meet with me I will not only say hello, but I will ask her about baby girls birth because every birth story needs to be told and heard.  I will ask if she has nicknames picked out, or favorite colors to dress baby girl in, or stories to share with her before bed.  I will give her my phone number and tell her to text any time.  I will promise to love her baby fully until she can do it herself.

When I get home I will snuggle baby girl talking constantly so she can learn my voice, because she will know it is not her Momma's voice and my heart beat will not yet be her safe place.  I will tell her all that I learned from her Momma.  I will tell her it's okay to miss her and that I will snuggle her as much as she needs.  When she cries out in the middle of the night simply because she is afraid I will hold her close and tell her she is loved.

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. 

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.