Thursday, December 26, 2013

Twists and turns

I would have to say that for the first time since we have been foster parents to two little girls I am truly ready to let them go. Sometimes, I feel as if that's selfish of me to say. It sounds as if I don't want to deal with them anymore (and trust me there are days I feel that way), but overall I want them to be able to go home. To be with THEIR mother. To have THEIR family.
I'm not always sure that those are the best "qualified" people to care for them, but I can assure you that the best place for a child is with their God-given family if in any way possible.
These girls have lived a life of limbo for almost 8 months now. Just think of how much of their lives that is (one is 4 and one is 1). That's a BIG chunk of their lives!!
Leading up to one court date, I couldn't imagine them letting them go back home. I honestly probably would have thought the judge was psycho had they let the girls go home, I thought they should be with us forever. Then leading up to another court date, I was getting tired and frustrated and had just gone through a second miscarriage. I honestly felt like I shouldn't have to take care of them anymore and was ready for the judge to say they were going home. That did not happen. Since then there have been times that I did not want them to go home EVER. I wanted to selfishly say that it would be better for them to stay with us and never go back to their family.
The beginning of December was quite a time for me. I was unbelievably emotional and had several up and down kind of days. Finally I realized that I think God is trying to teach me that these girls would be best off with THEIR family. If in anyway possible they NEED to be with their family. Also, I think God was trying to teach me that I have a sweet, smart, healthy little boy of my own and even if he is the only little one I ever get to truly call MINE, I should be happy. God entrusted that little boy to me and my husband and we can be overjoyed that he is ours.
So the girls have a court date coming up again. I have my doubts that they'll get to go home, but I really hope they can. From what I hear the parents are doing very well and I for the first time in this whole thing, the other day I saw the mom again and I saw her as a true MOM. Not some power-tripped lady that wanted to get back at the foster mom for taking her kids (not that I had anything to do with her kids getting taken away, but I felt like she felt I did.) Just as a regular human being, who just wants to see her kids.
I think God wants me to see that even if she isn't mother of the year award material, she might just still be deserving of having her kids back.
And that is just what the kids need.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Dear Foster Care System

Today's post is going to be the letter I would write if I could write a letter to the foster care system. Get ready, I'm getting on my high horse! {You have been warned!}
 
Dear Foster Care System,
   My husband and I decided to become licensed foster parents in order to give love and stability to children who are in need of it. After 7 months of being a foster parent, I no longer am surprised by the continued unconcern for the children who are stuck in limbo in your system. There appears to be no rules as to what constitutes children being taken away from their parents, there also appears to be no standard for the children to quickly get back to their parents. The system seems to enable the parents to live their lives basically care free while they have a full time paid babysitter for their children and they can see their kids a few hours to a day or two a week. When the system seems to crack down and say do this or its gonna get ugly and the parents do what they are told to, they still don't get their kids back. They have to "work up" to being able to be trusted with them again. (NO mind that they've already been "trusted" with their children in their own home with NO supervision over night). All the while the children are left in a world of limbo wondering when they'll get to go back to mommy and why mommy and daddy aren't getting things fixed. I thought the system was supposed to get kids out of bad situations and quickly get things resolved. Whether that be by them going home or being adopted. Instead, I can see how kids are left in foster care for years. All because the system just uses the children as pawns in their dirty little game with the parents.
 
   I'd love to help you out, Foster Care System, but since there is no system to your so called system I'm just not sure I can do it again. I love the children I've been entrusted with now, so I will continue on for them but after that I'm afraid you'll have to find someone to fill my shoes. Maybe one day you will wake up and realize that you're lack of a system is driving away good people with good intentions.

Yours Truly,
A concerned foster parent

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Financial Sacrifice: Part 3

Welcome to the Financial Sacrifice series, here is Part 1 and Part 2.
 
Today, I'm going to cover vehicles.
In Part 1, I told you that my (I don't even remember what year it was) Oldsmobile Achieva broke down halfway to our honeymoon destination.
We knew we had no money so we turned around and came home, because we knew we needed money to fix our car. Turns out that the car was beyond repair. Thankfully, my parents let me borrow their extra car so that I could get to work and back everyday. (we only had one other vehicle, a 1987 Ford Ranger)
I kept my eye open for cars that would possibly be something we could afford and be at least reliable. One day, at a small car lot, I noticed a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am.
This was in 2007, so the car was only 3 years old and I thought I would REALLY be moving up in the world. So I called my husband and told him about it, I believe that the price on it was $7,000. That was a lot of money to us at the time, but with a loan we knew we could make it work.
A few days later, my husband and I went to take a look at the car. It had some scratches on the outside, a few cigarette burns here and there inside, but overall was in decent shape.
It had manual windows, manual seats, no cruise control, but it had air conditioning and a CD player. Sign me up! We could afford manage the loan on it and it would get us where we needed to go!
In order to save money we first of all went with a used car, then we sacrificed a little on the "bells and whistles" such as no cruise control and manual windows and seats, also since it had some scratches and cosmetic problems it made it more affordable.
Trust me when you are in desperate need of a car, the looking cool factor isn't nearly as important!
Factor in some of those money saving tips if you find yourself low on money, but needing a reliable car.
 

 
There it is in the background, that car treated us well for 5 and a half years!
Yep, no cruise control for 5 and a half years, it's TRUE!
We did have a few "break downs", but it was basically just fuel filters needing changed and things like that, nothing major. Even though we had a used car, it didn't mean we were stuck on the side of the road. It drove me 40 some miles to work 5 days a week for a year and made numerous trips to PA (1,500 miles), and after I quite work it was still my primary vehicle for driving 20 some miles to town for groceries and other errands.
Don't buy into the belief that older and used means that it will not run well, there are some that do have problems, but if you check it out and know what to look for for problems you can find good used, reliable vehicles for a fraction of the cost!


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Financial Sacrifice: Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the Financial Sacrifice series, for Part 1 go here.
 
Today we will discuss something else people spend WAY too much money on.
Furniture!
When we got married, we had a couch and bedroom set that the people we bought our house from wanted to sell, so they added a little extra on to the sale price of our home. We also had two recliners that my parents gave me when I went to college, along with an end table (think from the 1970's!). For our kitchen table, we had an old folding table that was in the garage when we bought our house with a couple of folding chairs my parents gave us (again 1970's!). We also had a computer desk and a partially broken dresser that someone gave me when I went to college. Then there was the love seat and glider rocker that our friends' parents were going to throw away, but asked us first if we'd like them.
 
 
 
 That was basically our furniture in a nutshell! Fancy let me tell you, but hey we were glad that we weren't sitting on the floor!
We were also lucky enough to have been given some decent decorations that we had either registered for or had wedding guests that had good taste in decor, so we had a decent decoration set up (although as you see in the above picture we were still lacking in wall decorations, it's just hard to decorate when you have such a modge podge of stuff to work with).
I just did not spend much on decorations or even towels and bedding, we were blessed to also have received a fair amount of that type of stuff for gifts also!
As a young engaged woman, the spring/summer before our wedding, I wanted to paint and "redo" the entire house before I moved in. Well, our house was in desperate need of paint on the outside and our very limited budget made painting the inside have to wait awhile. I painted the last room in our house some 2-3 years later!!
You may not be able to keep up with the Joneses, but if you are patient and do with what you have or can get cheaply, you will eventually get ahead money-wise.
 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Financial Sacrifice: Part 1

There is so much to the story of our financial struggles, that I could write you a whole research paper to give you the back story, but I won't do that to you. So hopefully throughout this series, I won't loose you, but I'm going to just pick out some of the things we did to save money and keep our expenses under control.
 
We were newlyweds. What is the first thing that newlyweds often spend a HUGE amount of money on?
Yep, the honeymoon!
Well, we knew we couldn't afford some tropical getaway with a master suite and 6-person Jacuzzi tub. So we decided we would book a little hotel in the mountains and drive the 5ish hours for our four day getaway.
Our entertainment would include walking around the cutesy downtown area, hiking in the national park, mini golf and sitting out back of our room snuggling next to the stream that ran by.
This is what we planned for our honeymoon, nothing overly fancy, just something nice and sweet to celebrate our new life together without breaking the bank.
We avoided high priced airline tickets, the price of some ritzy resort for a week and we didn't need a rental car; just to name a few things.
We also didn't have the stress of big travel plans the day after our wedding.
 
Side note: we did not end up going on our lovely 4 day getaway and it did end up being a stressful travel situation. My car broke down about half way there and we decided that we'd need money to fix the car, so homeward we went.
Thankfully, the hotel we booked let us transfer our stay to the next year and we ended up going for our 1 year anniversary!
 

 
But if it had all worked out the way we planned it would have been WAY cheaper and MUCH less stress!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Financial Sacrifice: Introduction

When my husband and I got married we were broke. By broke I mean, we owed money on the money that we put down on a house.
B-R-O-K-E!
We bought a house for about $40,000, we had to borrow money to put down on the house from a family member.
For about the first 6-7 months of our marriage my husband worked as a hired hand. Then he decided that if he would buy a truck and start hauling silage (feed for cows, basically) that we could make WAY more money. I had also been working full time during those months and we had saved up enough money to put a down payment on a truck...barely, but we had.
So now we had two big loans and we were both working full time (me, 8-5, five days a week. Austin, 5-6am-11-12pm anywhere from 6-7 days a week).
We had to sacrifice to make it all work, but we never really felt like we were in that bad of shape. Oh, yes, there were times that it didn't look like the money would stretch as far as we needed, but it always worked out in the end and now we have come so far that it almost doesn't seem real.
 
So, in the coming weeks, I am going to try to share with you some of the ways that we sacrificed while trying to get our financial situation under control.
Hopefully, it will give you some inspiration if you find yourself in a financial hardship and perhaps give you some ideas of where you can cut corners, that you may have not thought of before.
 
So stay tuned, more to come!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Helpless/Hopeless?

Sorry, but I have to get on my high horse and rant about the foster care system again.
You have now been WARNED!
Read on if you dare! ;)
 
When my husband and I decided to take the classes to become foster parents, we were told that the foster care system is in place to do what is best for the children.
Within 2 months of having the girls with us, I could already tell that that was not the case.
The children are left to ask why can't I stay with my mommy/daddy? They are left to cry when they have to leave mommy/daddy. They are left to be subject to such deep emotional scars that they will never completely heal.
I was so mad after the girls 3 month court case because not ONE person asked how the girls were doing. How were they handling the changes in visits? How were their behaviors? How do they talk about their parents? NOTHING. Not. One. Question.
The only people involved in the court case were the attorneys, the therapist, and the girls' workers.
The daily logs I have to fill out go to OUR worker and she is in NO way involved in the court case.
The only people that truly know what is really going on with the girls and how all of this nightmare is affecting them are not involved in the court case at all.
No questions asked.
Next month we will be having the 6 month court case. As we are nearing that day, I start to think how things have gone over the past 2 months.
Missy,  has made a BIG change for the better.
The daily tantrums have stopped and only appear now and again.
Little Miss seems to have adjusted better also, she is still majorly attached to me, but she is less fussy overall.
The other thing that we have dealt with, with Missy is anxiety. A handful of times she has obviously been worried about an upcoming visit, phone call (or lack thereof), or some other random thing and actually made herself sick. She throws up.
I'm starting to get to the point that after it happens, I can put together the pieces of the puzzle and say well I shouldn't be surprised because she was obviously getting herself worked up all day.
So hopefully I'm getting to the point where I'll be able to tell when it's coming before the puke ends up all over my floor!
As a last note, I have to mention that I purposely called the girls worker before the last court case just to kind of let her know what was going on with the girls.
I was promptly assured by her that these things behaviors "are completely normal" for children in their situation.
I wish my mind had not been so blown that I would have thought of this immediately and told her that it might be normal for their situation, but it in no way is NORMAL for an average child!
We shouldn't be striving for "normal" in foster care, we should be striving for NORMAL for any child!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Saving Money on Cleaning Products: Homemade Laundry Soap-UPDATE!

So I told you how I started using homemade laundry soap in this post and am now finally getting to the update.
I started using the laundry soap on January 15, 2013 and used it in the last load on June 13, 2013. That is 5 months of laundry soap. The original blog where I got the recipe said that they used it for 9 months before running out. I don't remember how many kids/loads of laundry the original poster had, but when I started using the laundry soap it was just my husband, little Pumpkin and I. That last month and a half, we added two little girls to the mix and I know that it did add quite a bit more laundry.
I've been happy with the laundry soap. It is better than the cheapo stuff I used to buy from the store, but as far as savings I'm not sure I'm saving that much especially since it only last 5 months. Once again, I must mention that if I were using the name brand stuff I would have saved money.
 
Here's the breakdown of the cost:
Washing Soda: $3.24
Borax: $3.38
Baking Soda: $2.24
Fels Naptha bar soap: $.97 x 3= $2.91
Sun Oxygen (Oxyclean): $2.73 (only used half of the tub, the total cost of it was $5.47, but I will have some for the next batch)
Total for one batch: $14.50 (remember this was a 5 month supply!)
 
So all in all, I think I'm happy with the savings either way. It does take some time up front to make the mixture, but it does a better job of cleaning than the cheapo stuff I was used to (this might be different in your case if your used to the brand names). That time isn't too much though when you consider it lasts for 5 months.
 
I made a second batch and have started using it. The original recipe said that you could use fabric softener crystals to help make clothes softer and make the soap smell nicer. I did not do this the first time around, but decided I wanted to have a nicer smell to my clothes and had part of a bottle of the crystals in my laundry cabinet so I added some in. I do like it better with that addition, but it does add more to your overall cost (just to let you know).

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Real Meaning of Halloween

I have posted this post every year since I've wrote it, I believe, but every time Halloween comes around, I just can not say nothing. So here it is again.
 
 

Halloween.
 
It's such an innocent holiday right? I mean the kids dress up as their favorite character and are more than happy to go around getting loads of candy. But where did the skeletons, evil, demonic faces and ghosts come from? Is it just a silly coincidence that they are used as decorations for halloween?
No, they come from the superstitious beginnings of halloween.
It started as the ancient Celtic festival called Samhain. The Celts celebrated their new year on November 1st, as it was the end of summer and the time of harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter; which was a time that was associated with death. They believed that on October 31 the worlds of the living and the dead crossed. The souls of the dead were believed to return to their homes in hopes of food and shelter, if these were not provided the evil spirits were believed to cast spells on those who did not give them what they wanted. The spirits caused crop damage and were thought to be able to make predictions of the future.
To celebrate the event, they would build bonfires and burn crops and make animal sacrifices to the Celtic deities. They would also dress up in costumes made of animal heads and skins and then try to predict each others futures.
It was widely believed that at death, the good spirits took the good people to paradise, but the wicked men were banished to the unseen world. These spirits were known to haunt the living and in order to exorcise these spirits, people had to offer them food and shelter during the night and if they were satisfied they would leave you alone, but if not they would cast a spell on you.
Today, Satanism and Witchcraft say this is the day that Satan comes to fellowship with his followers.
In 609 A.D. the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day was established in the Western church and later included all saints as well as martyrs. It was celebrated on November 1. By the 9th Century Christian influence would spread into the Celtic lands and the church called November 2nd All Souls Day, to honor the dead.  The All Saints Day celebration was called All-hallows or All-hallowmas and October 31st began to be called All-hallows Eve, which eventually turned into Halloween. It appears that the church was trying to replace the evil Celtic festival with a church-sanctioned holiday, but without making the pagans drop their evil practices and accept Christianity, it just made it easier to miss the real meaning of halloween.
 
Did you know that Jack o' Lanterns were used to ward off evil spirits? That was their intended purpose.  To read the whole story, go here.
 
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."
- I Peter 5:8
 
"reject every kind of evil."
- I Thessalonians 5:22
 
"Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead."
- Deuteronomy 18:10
 
 
 
 
I know that this post is likely to not be very popular. It will likely step on toes and it is often a subject that people are totally for or against. I am simply hoping that through this post, that you will do some research of your own and see what the Bible has to say about such subjects. Then let God give you the conviction for how you are to treat halloween.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Saving Money-Buying Clothes

 
It has been quite some time since I've done a post on saving money when buying clothes. This summer I got two dresses at GREAT prices that I LOVE!
 
 
The blue one on the left was one that I thought was cute, but wasn't sure I could pull off. Turns out that my husband, who usually does not go for the flower printed kind of stuff Loves this dress. I'm still not sure it's the best cut for me, but I do love to wear it! It's so cute and fun! This summer I wore it with wedges and this fall, I'm excited to wear it with my boots!!
The purple dress on the right is such a simple dress, but I have found many ways to wear it. First, I can just wear it as it is with a tank underneath (I always wear a tank underneath, just in case you thought I was going for cleavage here..NOT ME!), I also have put a thick black belt with it or I also put a skinny brown belt with it. I've worn wedges with it, dressy sandals and this fall I'm excited to pair it with boots! I have also worn it with my denim jacket! It is so versatile, I can't tell you how much I love this simple little dress!!
Now the best part of these dresses is....the blue one I got at a thrift store for around $4.00!! The purple one I got off of an online site where people sell things they don't want anymore for around $3.00!!! Can't beat prices like that!!
 
 


Monday, September 23, 2013

Women Living Well: Finding Joy in God, Your Man, Your Kids and Your Home

I was honored with the opportunity to be a part of the Women Living Well book launch team. Courtney Joseph of womenlivingwell.org wrote this book and to say that I was excited to get a early peek at the book would be a major understatement!
I ran across the blog about a year and a half ago and loved how Courtney strives to live out the Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 kind of woman's role. This is something that has become so foreign in our society and I am so often encouraged by her blog posts.
I was quite excited when I heard she was writing a book and could not believe I actually got the chance to read the book early!!
 
 
I loved the tips for improving our marriages. How many times do we truly put our husbands first? Courtney mentioned how when she takes a cake to a women's meeting, there is always a piece missing because she gives her husband the first one! Such a small gesture, but such a big message for our husbands!!!
 
The reminder of how we simply need to turn to God and study His word  when we want to improve our skills of being a wife, mother or homemaker was amazing! What better advice is there than to turn to God for whatever you want to get better at? He was the perfect man after all!
Also, reading about how we need to have calm, quiet moments in order to truly see and hear what God wants us to learn was something I often do not take enough time for in my crazy days!
 
We also have to be careful that we do not compare our lives and families to the "picture perfect" lives of family and friends that we are presented with through all the social media we are a part of these days. It is also important that our families are not so busy that we don't have time to spend with God together.
 
With regards to media, we need to be vigilant that what we are watching or listening to is something we would be willing to be a part of in Jesus' presence. If we'd be ashamed to see it with Jesus in the flesh, with us we shouldn't be seeing it at all!
 
Basically the book makes me want to strive to treat my husband with utmost respect and show that to him in any way I can. I also see that when I feel like I'm failing at something, I simply need to turn to God and see what His word has to say about that certain subject.
 It is important that we don't get caught up in the social media craze and that we stay present in our real life pursuits. We have families, friends and even strangers that need the real life US! We can use social media for good, but we have to make sure that we don't let it control our life. 
When we bring media into our homes, we need to be extremely careful that it is uplifting and not contradictory to God's word. 
In this crazy, fast paced world we live in we have to take time to make our homes a place of rest and peace for us and our families. It should be a place that we can refuel and be able to listen to what God is trying to tell us.
After reading this book, I simply want to strive for a "better" me. It is easy to go about our day to day duties and just become "satisfied" with the way we live. But we need to constantly be striving to become a better daughter of the King, wife, mother or whatever other hat we may wear. There should never be a time when we feel as if we've "arrived", there is always room for improvement.
This book has helped me see that I always want to be improving!

The book is being released on October 1st!! You can preorder it now and I encourage you to do so!!
 
 
 
Now for a sampling of quotes from the book:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I was chosen as a part of the launch team for this book and was given a PDF version of the book in exchange for an honest review and promotion of the book.

To read more reviews from some of the other "launch team" members click on the link below:

Women Living Well Blog Tour

Women Living Well Blog Tour





Monday, September 16, 2013

Broken? I'd say Shambles!

Everyone admits that the foster care system is broken.
Everyone is told that the system is broken.
No one dares deny that it is broken.
 
When my husband and I started our foster care classes a little over a year ago. We got the feeling that when children come into foster care, the system is in place to do what is best for the children. To take into consideration, how the children are dealing with their present situation, what their emotional state is like, what their behaviors are like (increasing/decreasing).
 
Fast forward about a year later and we have to gorgeous girls living in our home. They go for weekly visits with their Dad and then their Mom. They have been with us for just over 4 months. At first I could not believe how well things were going. The "baby" just acted as if nothing ever changed. The big girl, seemed to just be a happy go lucky kind of girl. Things were just dandy in our house.
Then over night visits started.
Attachments were obviously getting stronger and the emotional state it left the girls in was obviously a roller coaster ride. It went from 2 or 3 times a week asking for a family member to daily asking for a family member. For the baby, I didn't dare step out of her sight when we were in public.
As far as the behaviors, they were all over the chart also. 
The big girl went from just your average 3 year old getting into trouble, to constantly trying to test my consistency with discipline. The baby, just became fussier.
Is it coincidence that this all happened the very week of the first overnight visit?
I think not! These poor little girls have no idea if their coming or going. If they should follow these rules or those. Are they going to be with Daddy, Mommy, Grandma, the boyfriend, or the foster mom and dad?
Can you imagine living such a life of uncertainty?
I'd be a mess too!
 
Then there was the last court date, last month.
I guess being a foster parent, I just kind of figured the worker or someone would be interested in whether or not there had been significant behavior/emotional changes in the girls since things had progressed to overnights.
So I proceeded to call the worker and fill her in on the current going-ons of the girls. (this was like 4 days before the court date)
I was assured that these were "normal" behaviors for a child in this situation!
I continued to try to push the point that I understand that they would act out in some way or another under the circumstances, but this was far from "normal" behavior for young children!!
Wouldn't you know that my whole conversation fell on deaf ears.
I was simply trying to get the point across that these poor girls need permanency much, much sooner rather than later. Whether that be with their Mom, their Dad or an adoptive family...they simply need permanency.
But it was to no avail. The day of the court date, the worker and the therapist called to tell me that we were indeed going to have another court date in 3 months and go from there.
That court hearing was not in the presence of a judge, it was simply the attorneys involved saying here we go, lets just push ahead with what we're doing.
 
No thought to what the girls might be going through.
 
 It's no wonder to me now, why we have all these grown adults that have such intense emotional issues. If this is how the foster care system has treated children for the past several decades, those children are now adults that have some serious emotional scars!
 
When we were in the foster parenting classes, we were told that every child in foster care gets a child advocate that advocates for the child's needs.
I was told that the advocate for the girls has only been involved one time since the girls came into care and has NEVER met the girls!!
So much for advocating for their needs huh?
 
 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The wheels on the bus go round and round

My facebook page has been filled with first day of school pictures. Many blogs I read have been filled with them also. I'm fine with people documenting another chapter in their children's lives, but the one thing that just caught me off guard was how many little children that are my son's age were "happily" getting sent off to school.
As I sat at my computer looking at a handful of different children that are 3-4 years old that were smiling nervously as they were about to get sent out into the big scary world, all I could think of was what is that Mom thinking this morning? Is she thinking, finally a few quiet hours while they go play at "school"? Was she thinking, this is what my child has to do if he ever wants to get into college? Was her heart secretly breaking inside her as she was committing to letting her child be cared for by someone else for hours a day for the next several months? Was she worried what bad things her little angel would pick up from the other little children? Was she concerned that one of those "good teachers" would say something in the presence of her child that she would not consider "appropriate"?
We are not sending our son to preschool, in fact I don't plan to "send" him to school at all. I want to be the one in complete control of what he is learning and being exposed to. And I most definitely don't think that MY 3 year old has any business being sent of to school . He needs ME, my HUSBAND and a whole lot of play time to encourage his imagination, to encourage him to figure things out for himself, to help him learn cause and effect (if I dump the bucket of sand over my head, I will get covered with sand kind of deal).
I do plan to work with my son this year. We'll learn some Bible stories, Bible verses, our ABC's, 123's, some shapes and some colors. But we will only work for an hour or so a couple times a week.
I would probably be having nightmares if I was sending him out into the world of public school at such a young and impressionable age.
He picks up on things so quickly right now. Trust me he's learned enough "bad" things from our foster daughter, I absolutely don't need any help from the different kinds of kids he would be hanging around at school. He only needs to hear a bad word once to pick up on it and say it again. He's starting to ask questions about things and I want to know that he's learning the truth about things.
You may be one of the Mom's that sent your preschooler off to school this morning and you know what that's okay. Your family has to make that decision just as my husband and I have made that decision for ours, but just think for a moment what all your precious little child may be exposed to. And just how impressionable they truly are at this young, tender age.
Just promise me you'll think about it, okay?
 
 
"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6


Monday, August 26, 2013

The honest truth

Okay, I'm going to be brutally honest here. Most of my posts are about how even in the tough times, God is there helping us through and guiding us every step of the way. Also, since we began foster care; I've been pretty upbeat about how we are so happy to be helping children who are in desperate need of a home and people to love and care for them.
While all those things are true and I fully believe them, I've been struggling lately. I even dare say that I'm in a place I never wanted to be and I hate that I'm here. I'm in a place of questioning God. Why me? Why when we try to live our lives for Him and raise our son for Him, do we have to go through all of this? Am I not fit to be a mother to more than one child?
I don't think that questioning God to an extent is wrong, but I hate to be this way.
Here's a little of what's going on with me...I recently had a second miscarriage. At first, I was doing very well with the whole thing. God gave me this unusual peace throughout the whole ordeal and I was fine. Then we went to visit some family for a week and we had to put our foot down in regards to our children and how certain family member(s) were disrespecting our authority with the children. This went on to our not being talked to for a whole day even though we were staying in their house. We then got home and the girls have become an almost daily reminder that their parents didn't care enough to straighten out enough to not have their precious daughters taken away. All the while I just hope and pray that I can have another baby.
Now, some of these things are completely not related to one another, but they have all compounded to make my emotional state a complete mess. I was never an emotional person until I started this 2 1/2 year journey of trying to have a second baby. I rarely cried and the ups and downs of an emotional roller coaster were something I knew NOTHING of. Now, now it has become common place. I have no idea what to do with all these new emotions that are running through me. I pray to God to help me because I don't want to be this person, but I have NO idea how to begin to once again become who I was.
 I have a friend who has been battling health problems for the past several years. She's been to countless doctors, tried countless different medications and still is seemingly no closer to finding out what's going on than when they began. I talked to her this week and she said she'd had a rough week to. She told me she started to think about how could God let these things happen to us, when we are such good people. We are taking care of the girls, we love our son beyond measure and she just started to think about how life isn't fair.
I thought about the same things with her situation. I started to think how she is such a good momma, she is one of the kindest, most helpful people you could ever possibly meet and how can God let her continue to struggle with this sickness?
We've had quite the similar week, coming from different places, but ending up in pretty much the same place.
Some days out of the blue, I just don't want to do it anymore. I don't want to deal with the tantrums of a three year old girl who has parents that didn't take the time to train her how to respond correctly to not getting her way. I don't want to deal with the screams of a one year old, who apparently screams because that was the only way she got attention before. I. Don't. Want. To. Deal. With. It!
At these times, I try to pray to God to help me to not be this person. This stranger that has taken up residence in my body. I'm often left with a short prayer that goes something like this..."Dear Jesus, please help me to have patience and not to be this way." That's it, Short and sweet. Because frankly, I don't know what else to say. I know God knows what's on my heart and I hope that He's getting the message BEHIND my words, not just my words, because my words fall short of what I really want to convey. I just don't know how to convey it.

I wrote this about a month after I miscarried, but now almost 3 months later I've had a very similar week and decided it's time I show you all the good, the bad and now, the ugly. I'm just human, but I can't stand to let myself live like this. I know there are good times and bad times, but I am desperate to get myself out of this slump. If you are in a slump of your own, just know that I understand and that it will get better.
God knows what we are going through physically and emotionally. HE is the one that created us and He will get us through. Trust HIM...He's all I have sometimes!
(although I do have a pretty amazing husband and son too!)



Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wanting the best for THEM

To say I'm torn is a complete understatement.
Our foster daughters have been with us for about 3 months and they have a court date coming up soon. When I say that I hope they get to go home, you probably think I'm some kind of wack-job. Reality is, I wish I could keep them forever and know that they are safe and well taken care of. But this is the real world and what I think is truly the best for them, is to have stability.
ONE home.
ONE family.
End of story.
I fully believe they WILL go home at some point. So to drag this on for another 3-6 months seems like unusual punishment for these poor little girls.
They go to their visits and get to be with their family, then they are here for the rest of the week. I'm sure the rules with their family are quite different from our rules (this is evident in their behavior when they come back). The 3 year old is old enough to know we aren't her mommy and daddy and she knows who her real mommy and daddy are.
Can YOU imagine living that life?!
Their emotional state has changed immensely since they started overnight visits a week ago and it just proves my point even more.
 
The thing they need most just might not be me and my husband, who provide a stable loving home built on a Biblical foundation.
I don't care who you are or what you believe, surely you can agree that what children need most is THEIR FAMILY.
Those are the people they know and trust, even if they haven't always been treated well and taken care of as WE would see fit, those are still the people that they need the most.

I discussed the sudden change in emotions and behavior with the girls' worker, but she nicely and reassuringly told me that this is normal and sounded as if she's been here done that too many times to count (which I'm sure she has) and she didn't give me much to go on.
My main objective of talking to the worker was to give a clear picture of what these poor little girls are going through. Because, to my knowledge, the only people that are present to "represent the girls" is the girls' worker. We just changed workers because the old worker took on a new county that their office was given. So the girls' new worker is a lady I've never met and to my knowledge neither have the girls. So how in the world will she know how their doing?!
She won't.
Plain and Simple.
So if you could please pray with us that God's will will be done in these girls' lives? They need something to be done sooner than later or else their just going to go on living a bad nightmare.

I must mention that to our knowledge (which we still feel as if we haven't been told much) there is really no true reason keeping them from going back to their dad and he has been making GREAT progress! Their mom is a little harder to say, so that would be more of a concern to me if they went back to her as she has not progressed as much.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Your child drinks WATER?!

There are a couple of things that completely amaze me about parents and their kids.
If I had a nickel for every time I've heard a parent say that their kids 1) will not drink water or 2) will not eat meals, I would be a very, very rich woman!
I've heard this from family, close friends and acquaintances. They seem shocked and amazed that my child will sit and eat an entire meal (don't get me wrong, when there is something that he does not like on his plate, he will sit there pushing it all around that plate and not one bite will touch his lips!) and also when he drinks water without a second thought.
 
Now you may not have this problem, but if you are sitting there thinking this is some kind of miracle that my child will do these two things, I'll let you in on a couple little secrets that made it possible.
 
Number 1: How did I ever get my 3 year old to drink water?
First of all, when he was like a year old, I started mixing half apple juice and half water in his sippy cups. I tried to give him straight water and he did not touch it. With the juice in his cup, he would happily slurp the whole cup down! I then started mixing 1/4 cup of juice with 3/4 cup of water and so on until we had a full cup of water. With the slow change, he never seemed to notice the difference and soon he was drinking straight water (at 1 year old!)
Now, at 3 years old, water is the main thing he drinks. I, first of all don't want to spend the money on juice and secondly don't feel like he needs the extra sugar that is sure to be in the juice!
I did this with our 1 year old foster daughter and in a matter of a couple of weeks, she was drinking straight water also!
Our 3 year old foster daughter drank the water right away, but we never gave her another option!
So if you have an older child, why not try to just not give them the juice and other yummy sugary options? Of course, I'd choose the sugary goodness over water too! ;)
 
Number 2: How did we get so lucky to have our little boy sit down and eat everything on his plate?
(again, this is not ALWAYS what happens, if he truly does not like something he WILL NOT eat it!)
Well, we cut out snacks at an early age. I almost never give my 3 year olds an afternoon snack. If they've been playing really hard and I know that they truly are hungry and they ask me for one, I'll give them one. Otherwise I  do not give them snacks. How do I expect them to eat their meals, if their full from snacks?
The other thing we did was, when Pumpkin was very young, we started not giving him dessert if he didn't finish his food. Also, if he didn't finish his food, he would have to finish it for a snack before bed (he always wants a bowl of cereal before bed, so he'd have to finish the food from his meal before getting cereal for his bedtime snack).
 
As with all training, consistency is the key!
If you start saying no dessert if you don't finish your food, then stick to it ALWAYS. Not just 3 days a week, but 7 days a week! (yes, maybe when you go to grandma's house or for a holiday you could bend the rules, but you get what I'm saying!)
It really isn't that hard to do and the benefits are well worth the work put into it!
So Momma (or Daddy) get a plan and stick to! Good Luck!
 
 
 


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Six Years

Six years. That may not seem like a lot of time to a lot of people, but there is a lot that can happen in six years. (sorry but there is a long post to follow, please stay with me to the end!)
This Sunday will be six amazing/crazy years of marriage for me and my husband.
Six years ago, I was 19 years old and getting all the finishing touches done for my special day. Austin was 20 years old and we were both ready to live our lives as one and see where this journey would take us.
Well, this journey has taken us to a myriad of places.
In the first year of marriage, my husband went from being a hired hand for my dad to buying his own truck and going out on his own. From May to October, he would work 6-7 days a week and often the hours were 5-6am to 11-12pm. Often times he would stay in motels because they were working to far from home to spare any extra time to drive home at night. All this time I was working an 8-5 job, 5 days a week, thank goodness because I almost went crazy with Austin being gone that much. The winter of 2008, we moved up to the mountains for six months to work at the ski resorts doing property management jobs. We got home in April 2009 and found out I was pregnant with our first child!! I had of course quit my 8-5 job, so I helped my parents out for the summer/fall. My husband was still doing the same work as before (he didn't have to truck in the winter months, so he always had to find other work in the winter). In December 2009, out little Pumpkin was born. We were parents and couldn't have been happier!
 
Thankfully during that winter, Austin found work close to home and actually had quite a bit of time at home to enjoy our new little member!
Then the busy work season started again and I struggled with Austin being away so much. I even remember saying I felt like single parent! I helped my parents again about 3 days a week and was able to take Pumpkin with me!
The summer of 2010 we bought a camper and thought I would start going along with Austin when he was away for more than a couple of days. Having a baby sure makes it hard(er) to be apart. So I told my parents I would not be able to help them, because I wouldn't really ever know when I would be home and when I wouldn't.
Then in the winter of 2010, Austin started hauling compost and it kind of turned into a long term thing by the summer of 2011. This meant that he would be home EVERY night!!! Yippee! This lady has never been so happy!!!
By the summer of 2011, we had been trying to have a second baby for a few months. Nothing was happening and I began to get concerned. Doctor appointments turned out to be no help and we just continued trying.
In July 2012, I finally got two blue lines and could hardly believe my eyes! We'd been waiting for what seemed like forever and now we were going to be parents again!
In August 2012, I miscarried for the first time. This is something I can't even explain. To know that you will never meet that little person on this earth is almost beyond belief!
My doctor was encouraged because I DID in fact get pregnant.
In September 2012, we began taking classes to become foster parents. (we decided to try this out after doing some research on adopting and ending up with foster care) By the end of March 2013, we were licensed and waiting for a call. The end of April that call came, we were to do respite for 3 siblings that coming weekend. Then the beginning of May 2013, we got a call for a placement of 2 sisters.
In June 2013, I once again got two blue lines. I seriously laughed and cried at the same time. The amount of emotions that were flooding through me left me unable to know how to react. I was so happy, yet I knew what it felt like to loose such a little treasure.
A few weeks later, I began bleeding and had my second miscarriage.
Now here we are just a few days short of our 6 year anniversary. There have been so many fun times, cruises, vacations, camping trips, date nights and much, much more.
We have been blessed beyond belief with the greatest little boy that I have ever known!
There have also been some very difficult and emotional times.
 
 There has been one person by my side for all of it. Only one man that can understand everything I'm going through and one man that has been the most understanding, loving, caring and giving man I could ask for!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Preschool-Homeschool?

I am SO excited!
Our son is 3 and will be 4 in December. I have no need to send my son to preschool and we have a desire to homeschool our son, so I have been wanting to take this year and do a little "preschool" if you will just to get Mommy and little Pumpkin into a routine so that it's not such a shock once we do need to start a structured schooling routine.
The other day on thepurposefulmom.com, she had a post about God's Little Explorer's Preschool Curriculum and their having a "sale" of sorts with a coupon code.
I had never heard of this curriculum before, but I went to motherhoodonadime.com and checked it out and it looked like a great way to get on a little routine, learn about God, and learn some preschool stuff all at the same time. A big plus for me was that there was daily lesson plans with some activity ideas to add on if I want to. A big plus for little Pumpkin is that the little papers are totally cute!
We have not started to use this yet, I literally just bought and downloaded it tonight. It was just so stinking cute and it appears to be exactly what I was looking for.
I simply wanted something that wasn't too expensive, something that had a lesson plan that kind of just set it all out for me and that told me what to do when and what goes together.
It originally costs $14 which is not too expensive in my books first off, but right now with the code you can get it for $10 until August 5th, I believe.
So if your looking for something cute and fun to do with your preschooler, I recommend you go check it out. There are also free pintable's at motherhoodondime.com, but you don't get the lesson plans and such to go along with it. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Confession time!

I feel as if I've been doing a terrible job with this blogging thing. You know why I feel that way? Because I have! I don't post nearly as often as I'd like and I do love to blog. I've been struggling with what content to include, whether I have enough post ideas to post as often as I'd truly like to, and just how personal I really want to get. I have been on an extreme emotional roller coaster ride the last couple of weeks and I'm flip flopping back and forth on whether I want to put everything out there on the world wide web or not. But through these trials are when I learn the greatest lessons that God has for me and those are the types of things I want to share. Along with practical tips, such as ways to save money, cleaning tips, recipes and such.
So, hopefully you'll be seeing a little more of me around here. I'm hoping to start posting once a week, just to get back into it and then I can go from there. Hopefully you'll get more than once a week more than not too, but we'll see.
Thank you to the trusty few who do still stick around to see what I have to say when I do finally say it!
 
 
 
Also, I'd love any thoughts and ideas on what you like/dislike about my blog. I'm ready to try to improve it immensely! Thanks!


Monday, July 8, 2013

What Ever Happened to Role Models?

When I was a young, new wife and mother; I didn't really think about how nice it would be to have "mentor" to model the way that a Christian wife, mother and person should conduct themselves.
Now as I a more "mature" wife and mother, I am realizing how that could completely change and impact our world.
Titus 2 is kind of the "road map" of how to mentor younger women. But you know what? I can't think of ONE SINGLE woman that I feel like truly lives out the Titus 2 role. Oh, don't get me wrong, I know plenty of good Christian women who do a great job of being a wife and mother. They even seem to be living a very Godly life, but when it gets right down to it there is always something that I realize doesn't quite line up.
 
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Titus 2:3
 
There are plenty of women who are reverent in the church setting, but are they in their homes and daily lives? And how many women do you know that at church they would NEVER say something bad about another person, but as soon as they get home would have NO problem calling up their best friend to talk about the latest gossip? I think most older women in the church have a  good handle on the addicted to wine thing, but even on that note I bet you'd be surprised how many do have a problem with the bottle. There are also plenty of women who can teach what is good and right by the Bible's standards, but do they truly live it out in the day to day life? I've seen plenty of older women urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, but do they model this behavior so that younger women have an example of just how to do that? Perhaps I'm wrong but self control goes much farther than not eating that second helping of dessert at supper and being pure doesn't just mean keeping yourself for marriage. Don't even get me started on how being busy at home is now looked at as a weakness, I mean who ever encourages staying at home anymore? I will agree that most women are kind, but I have my doubts that they are kind to their families to the point that the Bible is trying to reach here. I also will not argue that older women in the church would not say to be subject to your husband, but I know of FAR to many of those same women who manipulate their husbands at home to some degree or another. The end of this verse says "So that no one will malign the word of God." The meaning of malign is evil in nature or effect. To me that means that if we don't continuously strive to live these things out we are being evil. And I dare say that there are far, far too many women in the church who feel as if they are doing a fine job of being a woman of God, but KNOWING what to do and DOING it are two completely different things.
My husband and I often talk about how there are no older people that we feel are good role models. The lines of right and wrong have gotten so distorted and in todays world, Christians often KNOW what the Bible says and how the Bible says we should act, but then they don't truly live it out. I know we are all human and can't get it all right all the time, but there is just never a time that I can say this person ALWAYS (and I mean tries their best to always) handles the different situations that come at them in a Godly manner. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Traveling with small children-Now that I feel somewhat qualified to share my "tips"

My husband's family lives some 1,400 miles away. Last week we packed up our car, loaded three kids into their car seats and set out to conquer the 22 hour drive!
To say I was nervous about taking a 22 hour road trip with three children ages 3 and under is a bit of an understatement. If it were just our son, I would have expected it to be a breeze. He is after all, at three years old, a veteran of this travel thing! But we were also taking our short attention spanned, 3 year old foster daughter and our just starting to walk, 1 year old foster daughter. So for weeks in advance I worried and stewed over how terribly bad this was going to be.
To prepare, I packed up plenty of snacks (animal crackers for the older ones and cheerios and puffs for the little one). I also packed a little bag for our Pumpkin filled with his combine (his grandma and grandpa had just started harvesting wheat the day before we left), his semi truck, and his tractor and trailer. For Missy, I filled a little bag with her baby doll and bottle, a couple little ponies, and a couple barbies. I then also brought along out mini and normal size magna doodles (these by the way were a BIG hit!). For Little Miss, I just brought some random baby toys and some touch and feel books. We also have a DVD player in our car and our friend let us borrow a couple movies for the road (new-to-us movies to keep us really interested!).
The trip there went so unbelievably well. Pumpkin has never been allowed to watch much TV, so anytime he gets to watch a movie he is GLUED. So this is always a good way to pass time with him. But Missy, has a short attention span as I mentioned above and every time we'd say we were gonna watch a movie, she was excited but within 5 minutes was done! This greatly concerned a certain Momma, but she either played with her barbies or baby QUIETLY for the entire movie!!! YIPEE! To say I was surprised is the understatement of the year!
My husband and I discussed how it seems that children do live up to your expectations and in our home we do expect them to behave, listen and follow directions; not that they do this all the time but it sure seemed to hold out on our journey!
I also packed a small blanket for each of them and a small pillow for the big kids because we drive the whole 22 hours at once and drive through the night. This seemed to help them be able to transition into bedtime because we reclined their car seats and pulled out the blankets and pillows after we stopped to go potty for the night and it was just a help with the transition to night-night time!
The one main hiccup with our trip was that Little Miss (who had NO teeth) started getting her first tooth on the drive there. She was fussier than normal and thank goodness I had brought the tylenol and teething gel to help with her pain.
The way home was much the same, they did very well although I felt they were a little more rambunctious, but I feel that was due to the fact that our generally structured schedule was a little less structured while we were away. (we did stick to nap times and bed times as best we could) Little Miss, also had a cold on the way home so once again she was fussier than normal, but nothing that we could not handle.
Another tip for traveling with small children: I brought the big kids each a water bottle and whenever they would ask me for a drink, I would give them their water bottle. I would only let them have about 3 or 4 swigs and then I'd take it back. This was just to make sure that they weren't drinking a whole bottle of water at once. This worked very well, because other than stopping to go potty for bedtime; I think we only had to make a special stop to go potty one time the whole trip. Other than that, they always made it until we stopped for gas, which is when we also get food. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Discipline woes in foster care

Sorry to be posting about foster care so much, but it is a part of my every day life now. So today I want to touch a bit on some of the problems we have been having. I'm hoping that someone, somewhere out there will benefit from this information.
I'm sure most of you know that in foster care, you are not allowed to use physical discipline. Now I always thought this was ridiculous and during the classes they explained how some children have been so abused that physical discipline would not be the answer for them. I can see where they are coming from on this topic and my stance on it now that I'm in the trenches of foster care is enough information for a whole other post. For now, I'm just going to tell you about our current struggles with disciplining our foster daughter.
We have a three year old foster daughter (and just FYI, whoever said that it was terrible two's needs to be slapped because I now have two three year olds in my house and I KNOW without a doubt that it is indeed the terrible THREE's!) and she has apparently been able to run the show and be the one in charge before coming here. The first couple of weeks were pretty good, nothing beyond normal three year old acting up. Now we are a month and a half in and it is just getting a little worse all the time. The main problem we have is that she will not listen to anything my husband or I tell her. (ok, ok, maybe every couple of days or so something will click with her and she'll realize that if she does what we told her she'll be a good girl, but in reality it is basically never). We started out just doing time outs. This was VERY ineffective. It worked ok for a couple weeks, but we just started losing the battle more and more. So we started using a behavior chart. I quickly made up a simple chart on our computer and printed it out and laminated it so that we could mark off when the kids did bad things with a dry erase marker and then wipe it off for the next day.
 

Sorry for the terrible glare (that's what I get for taking the picture at night!)
 

They obviously start out with a happy face every morning. Then when they do something bad, they progress to the caution sign, if they do something else they get time out. Then it goes back to the caution sign, to losing dessert at lunch, to caution, to losing dessert at supper, to caution, to losing cereal before bed (this is their bedtime snack), to caution, to losing a story before bed, to caution, having to go to bed early.
Now this worked wonders after the first day. The first day our foster daughter went through hers in no time, the second day it seemed to click that she was losing privileges every time she did something bad. It has definitely helped immensely, She can see where she is at and she can kind of see her privileges disappearing.
I'm guessing that other foster parents have struggles with discipline techniques so I would LOVE to hear any ideas and success stories that are out there.


Friday, June 14, 2013

Loving the hurting

We are settling into life with three kids. It's been a pretty easy transition with the main difference being that I'm more tired in the evenings and my husband has realized that I have a much greater need to have "grown up" talk with him in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed! haha!
Having the girls here has shown me even more how God's command to care for the widows and orphans needs to be followed. These girls aren't exactly orphans, but they need care, love and essentially the same thing that God would want us to give to orphans.
There are so many hurting people out in the world. Children who are so young have experienced things that I have never had to even think of experiencing in my 20 odd years! It's so sad! As the body of Christ we need to be ready and willing to help the hurting ones in this world that can't help themselves. I'm not saying you need to be a foster parents, but there are numerous ways you could help children in need. Foster care agencies are short handed in every conceivable way, big brothers big sisters is a great way to connect with a child that needs a good role model, donating money or items to foster care agencies or other agencies that work with children in need are just a sample of ways to help out.
 If you truly want to help, I'm sure you can come up with hundreds of ways.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Letting God Lead

It's crazy when you realize that God will lead you right where you need to go, even if you never intended to end up where you are.
As I've said before, my husband and I have always wanted to adopt. Last summer, we started looking into adoption options and we have ended up in an entirely different place than I ever expected. I had never, ever considered foster care. Honestly, I always thought it was nice, but crazy and that only kind of "different" people did foster care. I mean you would have to be a little "different" to be able to do all that right? Well, people, if that is the case call me "different"! We are foster parents to two great little girls.
When we started looking into adoption, the first agency dealt with mostly older children and since we have a 3 year old, we didn't want older children so we then looked into infant adoption. For whatever reason, that didn't feel like the route for us, so then a friend said something about foster to adopt. After looking into it a little bit, we decided that that sounded like the route for us. We signed up for the classes we needed in order to get licensed and jumped through all the hoops and this spring became licensed. Through out it all, my husband started talking like he'd like to do some strictly foster care, I on the other hand wasn't so sure...I set out to adopt remember? Then one day we got a call to take a couple little girls. I said I'd talk to my husband and get back to them, but I already knew we had to say yes. How could we turn them away??
There have been some adjustments, but being parents to three is not that hard and it has been great. I know we can make a difference in their lives, no matter how small it may be and I'm excited for that!
We have also done respite for 3 other kids. After having had 5 different children in our home, I've realized that all they need is love, care and structure. I had been worried that I'd need to have some special training to help them get through whatever they've had to deal with. But you know what? They are just kids. Just like my son. Kids that need the same basic things my little boy needs.
You don't have to be some super hero type that is a therapist, counselor and shrink all rolled into one. You just need to have plenty of time to listen, give hugs and treat them like the sweet little people that they are.
Even a month ago, I wasn't sure about this whole foster parent thing, but God said trust Me and you know what? He's guiding us through everyday. Every circumstance. And He's taking us right where we need to go, even though I'm still not sure where that is.
This past year has been one of the hardest and most emotional times in my life, but God has been in control the entire time. When trust Him to do His will, is when things turn out the best anyway, so let's hang on for this crazy ride. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

From 1 to 6 to 3, all in about 3 days!

So, I'm a little ashamed that I haven't posted in so long, but the good news is we have two adorable and wonderful little girls with us!
They are foster daughters and so far the experience could not have been better. They almost immediately (at least in my mind) bonded to us and have fit right into our family from the first evening. Pumpkin and the oldest girl are the same age, so that does not help the arguing/fighting/not wanting to share thing one bit, but yet at the same time, they will play wonderfully together and even called each other their best friend.
The other little girl is just shy of a year and is the sweetest. She is super smiley and is a very content little girl.
We have been so blessed by the prayers of family and friends and also so many generous donations of clothes, toys, shoes and books. (only having had a boy for 3 years, did not give us much of a girl toy collection...haha)
We got a call to do respite for the weekend for 3 siblings. Then the next day we got a call to take the placement of the girls. We just couldn't say no, so that meant that for one night we had SIX kids under our roof (and if you had any idea how big our roof was, that is actually quite a lot of kids for our roof). Having 3 kids has proven to not be too hard. It's just been an adjustment of not spending our time the way we used to, not getting all the one on one time with Pumpkin and I feel for that little man so much because his world was turned upside down. He instantly had to share his home, his toys, his Mommy and Daddy and some even some rules had to change. (due to there being girls in the house and some things we have to being in compliance or agreement with as foster parents). But he has been a champ! I love that boy so much and tell him that every chance I get!
 
I'll try not to be a stranger, but I make no promises. Although having 3 kids has not been that hard; I still find that extra time is not abounding!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Waiting on the Lord

This morning as I was reading in Psalms, this verse just really spoke to me.
 
"Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord."
Psalm 27:14- NIV
 
I also like this version:
 
"Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!"
Psalm 27:14- NKJV
 
 I do in fact feel as if I've been waiting on the Lord for the past 2 years and still am in regards to having a child. Now we are beginning another journey of waiting on the Lord. Waiting on the opportunity to take in the right children and hopefully adopting those children.
Every time I see a new face on the adoption web site, I get excited. Then I have to take a real look at the logistics of taking in 3 or 4 children (because they are always a sibling group of that size) and consider being a parent to that particular age group (they also always have one or two maybe three in the age range we are looking for, but then there is at least one that is quite a bit older than we were thinking). In the end, I just ask God to give us wisdom and guidance and to let us know when the right child or children come up.
 
There may be many types of things that you are waiting on the Lord for. But please realize, as I have to do everyday, that God's timing is best, even if we don't understand it.
 
 
Wait on the Lord and HE will strengthen you heart!!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Things are happening

Well, for nearly the past month things have been out of the ordinary. First of all, we were coming home from a family ski trip and my friend called to ask if I could watch her baby boy for the week. I agreed, turns out that she needed someone for about a month until her daycare starts. So we are enjoying our time with little C this month! Also, my husband has only been working on and off (seems more off lately..haha!) so we have started some MAJOR projects. Project number one is actually coming along quite nicely. We tore off the original front porch of our home and my husband has built us a new one. It currently needs painted and the floor put on. Project number two is repainting the entire exterior of our house. So far, all we have accomplished on that is a patch on the front of the house where we tested the color and part of the railing on the porch and a few pieces of trim around the porch. SO, that means there is still plenty to be done, but oh well at least it is coming along.
You wanna know the biggest happening?!? We received our temporary foster care license in the mail today!!!! AND our final home inspection is scheduled for Wednesday morning!!!
 
Things are happening my friends, things are happening!!
Hope all is well, I hope to be back around more often soon! ;)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Just like Jesus adopted ME

We've finally handed in the last of the paperwork (for now) and we are currently waiting on a phone call from the state. We've taken the classes, had the physicals, had 3 different people look at our home and now we just wait for the last, state walk-through. Then we are ready to have children come into our home.
We are going to be licensed foster parents. We hope to adopt. I have always loved the thought of adoption. I think around the first time that I heard the analogy of Jesus adopting me into His family, and it stuck with me, just how adoption must be a true part of living like Jesus; I have wanted to adopt one day.
My one day looked a lot different than Jesus' one day. In my mind, we would have 2-3 or even more of our own children. They would be older and we would be anywhere from 5-10 years from where we are now. BUT, God sped up that plan. Sometimes I'm still scared out of my mind about what it will be like to take "strangers" into my home. But then the other times, I can't wait to have other little smiling faces around our table and playmates for our little Pumpkin! There will be ups and there will be downs, just like with our biological son and just like we have in our relationship with Jesus. But just as we will always be a part of the family of God, the child/children will always be a part of our family.
 
 
 
If you have ever thought about fostering or adopting, I challenge you to look into it. There is quite the process to go through, but being where we are now, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be going in. There are a lot of children out there that need positive role models and good families in their lives.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Saving Money on Cleaning Products: Homemade Laundry Soap

Ok, so this will be the last of my money saving tips on cleaning products...for now anyway.
In January, I finally decided to take the plunge and make my own laundry soap. As far as saving money, I'm not sure how much I can or will save with the homemade stuff. In a little over a month, I've probably only used about a quarter of the soap that I ended up with. I usually bought the cheapo stuff because I couldn't bring myself to pay the price for the name brand laundry soap, so this seems to be better quality; I'm just not sure yet if I'll save that much money. If you do buy the name brand stuff, I can see how you would easily save money by making your own.
I will get back to you on what it comes out to once I run out or am getting close...they might be awhile. I filled one whole ice cream bucket and half of another and I've only used half of the half full one...got a lot left! haha!
On that blog it said it lasted for 9 months, if mine lasts that long I will save money. I've already forgotten how much, but I remember I thought it would be worth it as long as it lasted about that long. So maybe by mid October, I'll be able to give you an update!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Saving with Chicken

Ok, just a quick money saving/time saving tip for you!
Yesterday our local grocery store had whole chickens on sale for $1.19 a pound..I don't know about your neck of the woods, but that's a great price for around here! So there were only 2 left and I snatched them right up! Brought them home and boiled one last night quickly and plan to pull the other one out of the fridge today and boil it. Then I simply fill containers with the broth and freeze those. The broth is a great addition to soups and other meals. I have also started making homemade cream of chicken soup, which needs chicken broth. It's really easy and we like the taste of foods made with it better than the store bought stuff! Here is where I found the recipe, if you'd like to try it. 
I then de-bone the cooled chicken and I used to have to cut it up by hand, which really seemed to take forever. Then one day I stumbled across this tip on pinterest and it may very well be one of the best tips I've ever found!
If you have a Kitchen Aid mixer, place the cooked chicken pieces in you're mixer bowl and use the paddle attachment and "mix"! It shreds your chicken meat and is WAAAY easier than cutting all of it by hand. Easier and FASTER! Gotta love that!!! Then I just put it in containers and freeze it also.
So it takes a little time up front, but you can stock up on chicken when it's on sale and then if you cook it up right away, you will have precooked chicken ready to go into whatever recipe you want (you just have to defrost it) and I like boiled chicken a lot better than the canned chicken (we've tried the canned before) and it's cheaper than the canned stuff too!
So some of these tips are easy to find on a lot of blogs, but I've honestly only seen to put chicken into the mixer ONE time, so maybe that's a new one to you (I don't even think I pinned that pin, so I can't tell you where that idea originated from, but it wasn't me!). Either way, hopefully something in this post will be helpful to you!
Happy Tuesday!!!