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!