Monday, December 14, 2015

Respite weekends...

We've done respite for foster care five times now, and it has been such a blessing! I sometimes wonder what the point of us being miraculously able to get licensed was since we won't be able to do much in the coming months, but I just pray that the little we've done has been of some value. These kids are so amazing. I just love them. Since they usually only stay for the weekend, it's a little like playing auntie for me, since we get to have fun without having the daily pressures being a parent brings about. Our kids think of it as a sleepover, and get excited when their friends are coming over. Long term, we're still not certain what to do right now. I'm thinking that our time in Nebraska will have to be respite only, and once we get re-stationed, we can do something long term.
So, I wrote that first part during the middle of the visit, but there was an incident when the kiddos went back "home" that just left me heartbroken. A reminder that this isn't playing auntie, that this is giving these sweet little children & their foster families a break from their reality. Looking back over the little moments over the weekend and I see how they add up to children who desperately need love and stability. One of these sweet babies was so happy to go to bed after hearing I'd be tucking them in again...little things we take for granted. These two sweeties now cheer for our football team, and I wonder if it's because it makes them feel like they are a part of something. I also think about how being a full time foster parent has got to be the most heartbreaking thing anyone has ever done...to have the patience to put the pieces of these children's lives back together, and dealing with the anger and hurt that they display on a daily basis. Or having to say goodbye after loving them for months or years...I feel all heartsick and mama bear worried about these kids that I've watched for three weekends.  I beg you guys to pray for these souls. For the little ones who are stuck in the system through no fault of their own. For their parents-that they would be able to overcome whatever devils are in their lives. For foster families-that they can continue with patience and love.

Monday, December 7, 2015

One month

In exactly one month I will be going in for surgery for a prophylactic (preventative) double mastectomy.  It's a little surreal. I've been thinking about this and researching this for years, and now it's just weeks away. It's something I've always known would happen if I tested positive for the mutation, but even so, its always seemed like something that was in the future, and now here we are.


It has been the easiest and the hardest choice I've ever had to make. Easy, because logically speaking, this is the most obvious choice (in my opinion). I will bring my cancer risk down from 87% (based off the very high numbers of cancer in my family history) down to less than 5%. Easy because I will get to have this surgery done on my terms and on my schedule. Not having cancer means not having to have surgery on top of chemo and radiation. The kind of cancer I'd be facing would be the triple negative, metastatic cancer-so very aggressive and very deadly.  Easy because I will never have the regret of having been able to change my path, but sitting by and doing nothing. I think of all the women who died in my family, and I am humbled by the fact that I have a chance they were never given. I am so, SO blessed with this knowledge! Easy, because when I think of my babies or my amazing husband, I know that I would do anything to have the opportunity to spend another day here with them.


Hard, because I will forever be changing the look and feel of my body. Despite how I joke with my friends, this is completely different than a boob job. Not even on the same playing field, and vanity is a tricky little monster. Hard, because I fear that on some level there will be regret, and this is obviously something that can't be undone. Hard because of the fear of recovery, of the long reconstruction process...of what the first look after bandages come off will be like. There is always the chance that I could be the small percent that would never have gotten cancer. Hard, because any kind of surgery is scary!

Back in July, I had a real crisis of decision, and I ended up writing and lengthy pros and cons list. Everything that I could think of went on that list, and at the end, I found that the pros list was absolutely the strongest. The cons list was by far more fear based. I thought it would be the other way around! Seeing everything laid out so clearly though-seeing what is at stake in black and white and in my own thoughts-really solidified my choice and I haven't wavered since. This surgery to me is exactly the same thing as wearing a seat belt. The belt doesn't guarantee anything, but it most certainly improves my odds.


So here I am. One month left of being "whole." One month left to mourn what I will lose. One month left until I have to discover what my new normal will be. One month left of having a disturbingly high chance of getting breast cancer. One month left before I can tell my kids that I did everything I could to spare them pain,  to give myself the chance to see them grow up, and to one day be able to meet my grandchildren. One month and I will be a breast cancer "previvor."


Friday, September 11, 2015

Favorite Things

Well, look at this. No posts for three months, and then three in four days. I really avoided this blog while Joel's been gone. I must of known it would get too whiny on my own. ;) 



Boom Chicka Pop (Target, $3) I already love popcorn, but this is pretty much my favorite of all.


Sinful Colors-Supernova ($2) This has been my favorite color this summer!

Skinny Cow Chocolate Truffle Pops ($3.50) I've been on a pretty strict diet/exercise program the past two months, so these have been an awesome find for me. After the kids go to bed and I desperately need to stress eat, I just have one of these instead. Since they're only 100 calories, I don't feel guilty.
 


Maybelline Lash Sensational ($7) I've used Rimmel mascaras the past few years & randomly picked this up.




Bellavitano Balsamic Cheese (grocery stores, $5)
I'm not a strong cheese person, but this was great. I also tried the Raspberry & Merlot ones and those were pretty great too!
Fake Greenery (Target, $3). I got the two little green guys below from the Target dollar section. They are awesome! They look really lifelike, and as I've already killed one houseplant this season, these are a great choice for me, and you just pop them into whatever container you want. My only regret is I didn't pick up more!




Metal Sign (The Word Within,  $50) On my wish list!
I also really love this one.. It could go anywhere, but I think it would look awesome in a boy's room:

Dog Tags ( Critter Bling, $14)
Because they're just cute. I want the top one. :)


Trader Joe's Dried Mango ($2.99) I love mangos, but they are such a mess. These are AMAZING. Delicious mango without any of the work.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Minecraft Party

 used a permanent marker to add creeper faces to bottles of sprite.

 diy pin the tail on the minecraft pig



 printed off labels from around the internet & found matching food

diy TNT label taped to an empty icing container & stuffed with licorice :)
 




 pretzel sticks dipped in white chocolate

For the party favor, I had the kids each make a creeper shirt to take home. Super easy! Just found a creeper template, printed it out, traced it onto freezer paper, ironed the paper onto a shirt, & then had the kids paint them with fabric paint (be sure to put a piece of cardboard on the inside of the shirt!). The shirts were from Hobby Lobby and cost less than $3 each. I thought this was way better than sending them home with little bags of candy, and really not that much more expensive! :)


So that's it! Sam's 9th birthday party. Minecraft is a pretty awesome party theme. Even though there's not a lot out there, the graphics make it very easy for diy'ers.

Monday, September 7, 2015

firsts

I think this is the longest I've ever gone without a post! So here's my last ditch effort to revive things before throwing the the towel in on this blog.

So, one of the things I've been asked by a lot of people lately is "what's going on with the foster care thing?" The short answer is we're on a semi-pause for right now, and I don't know. Also, we're not allowed to post pictures or talk about the children on social media, so anything I say in that regards will be vague on purpose. :)

We've asked to be put on respite only status. Respite gives us a chance to still do something, and hopefully be a blessing to other families, but not take on a permanent placement. We've got a lot (a lot) going on right now, and in the near future, and because of the potential instability of it all, we thought this was the best course. The last thing we want to do is take on a case & not be able to finish it knowing that we could have prevented a child from having to placed in yet another home.

Since then, we've done respite twice for one precious little child. It was a really wonderful (as wonderful as foster care can be) first experience. This little one is just as sweet and happy as can be. My heart hurt for her parents knowing they had no clue where she was, who was watching her, or how she was doing, and of course for the child herself hoping & praying that she felt safe and happy with us, but overall, there were very few tears, and smiles all around. Annaleigh in particular, was in heaven for the weekend, sweet girl.

(Originally, I was just going to put prints for the children that came into our home, since they are in my prayers now too, the yellow prints are for the children we never met)

 So she was our first first. Friday we had another first...in which I turned down a "real" placement. I can't even tell you how much it hurt (and still does). Even though my head tells me it was the right decision, I can't stop thinking about her & praying that she has found a safe place to live for the time being. "Funny" thing is, if I had gotten the call even an hour earlier, I probably would have said "yes" but in that hour my world sort of imploded, so  I suppose the timing was in God's hands.

Within a day of that, we got another two calls...one we didn't get the correct call back number, so we were never even able to follow up on the case, and the other was one we definitely couldn't take. Can I just tell you the craziness of those placement calls!? Trying to decide on the spot from very little information whether or not you are able to bring another person into your family for an indefinite amount of time-it's pretty overwhelming!

So where are with with foster care? I just don't know. Getting those calls for the full time placement really made me want to put us back on the call list, but at the same time all those instability factors are still here. So for right now, we're going to focus on getting our family whole again (soon!!) and after that we'll have to have a talk and pray about what to do. In the meantime, my prayer is just that we are open to whatever purpose God has planned with all of this.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day Q&A




Sam:
1) What are three things that dad does?
um lets see cant think, soo sorry                                
2) What does your dad do for you that your mom can’t?
he can be a male
3) What three words best describe your dad?
very awesome dad
4) What is your favorite thing to do with your dad?
are you kidding me???
5) If your dad isn’t working or playing with you, what does he enjoy doing by himself?
just read a book .it in a book 
6) What does your dad do as a job?
''fight badguys''not really. he will be an insrtuctur...
7) What is important about your dad’s job?i  dont know 
8) What is dad's favorite food?
cant you ask dad these questions? <mom gets on to him> I have no idea. Pizza
9) Something that your dad is really good at?
doing his job
10) Name something that your dad is not so good at?
um. ahh. uh. Cooking.  
11) If your dad wasn’t doing the job he has now, what do you think he would be good at?
build things
12) What do you like the best about your dad?
he's a dad.
13) What does your dad do to help around the house? 
he cleans up your room
14) What do you know about your dad that other people may not know?
that he doesn't have a middle name
15) What do you think is the hardest part about being a dad? s
panking children butt nott my dad 
16) What do you think is the best part about being a dad? u
m, I don't know. Having kid
17) Where (what place) do you think your dad is the happiest?
In his room with a book.
19) What is cool about your dad?
He's nice
20) Is there anything you should thank your dad for that you haven’t yet (or haven’t thanked him in a while for)?
that he's a really awesome dad.



Annaleigh:
1) What are three things that dad does? Go to work. Takes naps. Plays video games
2) What does your dad do for you that your mom can’t?
Clean dishes
3) What three words best describe your dad? 
Handsome, kind, safe
4) What is your favorite thing to do with your dad?
go to the movie theater
5) What does he enjoy doing by himself? 
Read stories
6) What does your dad do as a job?
go to work
7) What is important about your dad’s job? 
it keeps him safe
8) What is dad's favorite food?
donuts. I mean pizza
9) Something that your dad is really good at?
eating
10) Name something that your dad is not so good at?
playing
11) If your dad wasn’t doing the job he has now, what do you think he would be good at?
fight bad guys
12) What do you like the best about your dad?
eating with him
13) What does your dad do to help around the house? 
clean
14) What do you know about your dad that other people may not know?
no
15) What do you think is the hardest part about being a dad? 
to work
16) What do you think is the best part about being a dad?
having kids
17) Where (what place) do you think your dad is the happiest?
when he has nice things
19) What is cool about your dad?
that um, he gets to spend time wth us
20) Is there anything you should thank your dad for that you haven’t yet (or haven’t thanked him in a while for)? 
toys

Owen:
How old is daddy? that old
Daddy's favorite food? hamburgers
What is daddy's job? shoot bad guys. he gets a laser gun. he shoots lasers. he fights batteries. um.
Do you want to tell dad anything? Dad. Um. I miss you Dad. I miss you Dad. 


 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

First annual Mother's Day Q&A

Samuel's Answers
How old is mom? 30

What is mom's favorite thing to do? read a book

Mom doesn't like... being annoyed

What is mom good at? cooking

Not so good at? keeping track of her tablet

What's your favorite thing mom cooks?cake

Least favorite?spinigch

Mom's favorite food? Pizza

What I love most about mom?  shes nice

My favorite thing to do with mom?anything

Mom always forgets to....same as No,5

**************************
Annaleigh's answers:

How old is mom? 50

What is mom's favorite thing to do? Sleep

Mom doesn't like...bad kids

What is mom good at...cooking

Not so good at? hmm. let's see. being nice.

What's your favorite thing mom cooks? bagels. and donuts.

Least favorite? Vegetables

Mom's favorite food? Gum

What I love most about mom? Her giving me gum, and buying new toys.

My favorite thing to do with mom? Play with each other.

Mom always forgets to.... Put stickers on my wall

***************************
Owen's
age? mom is 3
color? orange
food? nuts
mom likes to...your two games

So yeah. After feeling a little deflated by Annaleigh's answer about me not being good at being nice (haha) I got this super sweet letter from Sam. Keeping this forever. And maybe framing, lol.








Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Three

My fiery, rough and tumble, super squishy and loveable mama's boy turned three last Friday. Two was such a good year. He's grown a lot more sure of himself and is able to talk to other people now (he was not a people person before!) and has turned into such a little charmer. Lately, I've been noticing a lot of compassion from him. The last few times I've babysat, the kids had a hard time when their moms left & Owen went out of his way to comfort them. He's talking a lot & I feel like I could fill a book with all his adorable sayings (one example, he calls our minivan a mini-man). I feel like he's so close to completing the change from baby to little boy & that hurts my heart a little, but I am so excited to keep watching him grow.

 
one

two
 three
 
One of my favorite memories of the year was the first time he saw mountains. Poor baby was scared and thought they were monsters!
 Owen seeing the mountains for the first time


Three of Owen's favorite things in life:
Big Sister. He loves that girl & she loves him. The other day when Annaleigh went to school he says to me, "I miss my fwend, Mom. I miss my fwend." My heart.
 buddies since birth

Super Heroes. All of them. Captain America in particular. Another great Owen quote, "I need my pants Mom. I'm going to battle."
 
"Special Blankie." So funny, because this particular blanket he loves dearly used to be Sam's favorite blanket! It must be a good one!



Here's a few pictures of his Captain America themed party....
 Party decorations picked up from the Dollar Tree & Target and Walmart dollar sections!


 Captain America pin the star 

got super lucky & found these in the checkout aisle when I was paying for stuff!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Creating a room for foster care

***I just got the call you guys! As of today, Joel and I are officially licensed for foster care! Even though we've been working on this since October, it's still a little crazy to think that at any moment we could get a phone call that could change our lives!***

 I've been busy over here setting up a room for and future foster children we may get. It's been a lot of fun, and I've spent my time in there praying over the children and parents who are in the system. Our age range is 0-10, both boys and girls, so I really wanted the room to be comfortable for all age ranges and genders. Later, when we get a child, we can always add specific items to their preferences.

Most of the stuff came from around the house, but we did buy a few things specifically for here. My favorite is the bed! It's actually a small bunk bed from here. I love the color & design, but one of the main reasons I went with this one is because it's a shorter bunk. I spent a ton of time searching for the perfect bedspread, and I'm really happy with the one we ended up with. I like how depending on which way you put it you can get different looks (you can see what I'm talking about below). If ever we wanted to, it can be flipped the other way and be a solid grey. Yay for Target! Usually, I make the pompoms from scratch, but this time I was lazy and just bought some pre-folded ones off of Ebay. It saved a little time & wasn't any more expensive.
oooooh the fingerprints on that glass. That was taken care of, don't worry! Bleh, haha!


I found these super cute firefly lamps at Kohls for only $4 each (so I grabbed four!).  I'm also leaving space around the room to add pictures of the child's family, so there's at least a little bit of "home" for him/her. I've also been picking up different books recommended for kids in foster care.
The art work came about really cheap. We already had the frames from Annaleigh's room (we aren't currently using them), so I just bought a few mats. I got the Free printable from this site...  
and the tiger print was from a photography book we've had for years.
We are trying really hard to set ourselves up for success, so one thing I did was not add any glass back to the frames. It's just a lot safer that way, and there will be less worries about accidents or outbursts!


If ever we end up with a baby  (we were told there are less itty bitties that come into care) we'll set a crib/toddler bed up under those pictures (and then I'll move them because I am super paranoid about pictures above the bed!). I'll probably stick with the same gray/teal/white theme, but I have my eyes on these crib sheets from Target if ever the need arrives!
 this little guy actually belongs to Owen, but he looks so perfect in there!


^^fingerprint culprit


 
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