I have thought about it so much lately, how I so suddenly put blogging on the back burner 4 years ago after many years of blogging almost daily.  I still can’t put my finger on why I did that and, try as I have, I haven’t been able to figure out how to make it a part of my daily life again.

I’m not sure what I want to say right now but there really is so much to write and I feel an incredible urge lately to return to this place where I have archived so many memories, this place my kids love to come and read about our family’s life and they laugh at themselves and talk about how much they have grown.

This place that has been quiet far too long.  It’s time to wake it back up.

For today I’m going to post pictures.

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You can probably tell from the new header that somebody got into the paint recently.

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Guess who.  I’ll give you a hint.

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Yeah. It was all of us.

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In November my friend Marty did a family painting photo session with us and it was hilarious and needs to be written about in detail because apparently when it comes to family pictures I’m Claire Dunphy.

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And Kait is whatever character pays good money for the supplies and special lens needed (it was a very cool gift from her) and then totally forgets about the whole thing until her dad calls her asking where she is and she jumps out of bed where she was watching a show, runs out the door, and STILL shows up looking amazing.

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I think this one is where Kait is telling the boys that they’d better not get any paint on her.

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All Maggie wanted to do was paint the canvas purple.

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She did not understand why we were putting paint on each other.

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But Lanie absolutely did not want to paint the canvas.

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As a matter of fact, this paint session was not her most favorite activity ever.

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While she wasn’t her most cheerful, Lanie did give us a few good smiles.

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We had a great time but I do regret not thinking it through a bit more. Like not have a ladder in the background and maybe moving the little trampoline out of sight.

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The important thing was that we had a terrific time, made a fun memory, and ended up with some really great pictures.

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And some really awesome family art.


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Filed under: FloridaFriends & Family

Perfect Chaos.

I think my perfect sleep hours would be 9:30 pm to 5:00 am. I’d sleep undisturbed and wake feeling completely rested and ready for a new day.
I would get up while the house was still quiet and actually drink an entire cup of coffee without having to reheat it 4 times and write a complete blog post and update my bullet journal.
I imagine I’d have thoughts. Real, uninterrupted thoughts. The kind of thoughts that adults have when they’re adulting. Thoughts about the meaning of life and foreign heads of state and who on earth invented algebra because I’d like to have a talk with them.

At around 7:30 my kids would one-by-one begin to make their way out of their rooms. We’d talk about dreams while we eat bacon for breakfast and then get our day started.

Reality, however, has 10-month-old Lanie falling asleep after midnight and waking up between 8 or 9 so when I get up for the day chaos has already set in.

Maggie is wearing her tights as pants and her shirt is on inside out and backwards and she is trying to get the last bit of oatmeal powder out of a used oatmeal packet she found in the trash can. Then I step in a half-wiped up orange juice spill while trying to clean a glob of something off the front of the dishwasher because my teenage sons started a ninja fight while making some breakfast. And while attempting to get the morning sorted out I misplace my fresh cup of delicious hot coffee which totally defeats the purpose of brewing it in the first place and who on earth thought it was a good idea to put a pull up in the washing machine?

And I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!

But then.
The boys argue over who gets to hold Lanie first and she is all smiles with them fawning all over her and my heart melts at how much they love her. Lucy reminds me again how much she missed me all night while she was sleeping and Maggie says the blessing and she thanks God that Joe (her oldest brother) gets to come visit so often (he lives here) and somebody finds my coffee in the microwave because I had forgotten that I had reheated it just as Joe walks in from his early morning shift at the coffee shop with a white chocolate mocha all for me.

And we all laugh.

And I’m reminded that in the chaos, life is so good. So worth all of the sticky and smelly and accidentally washed pull ups.

Once my kids put an entire package of bacon in the pantry instead of the fridge and we didn’t find it for days and had to throw the whole thing out and I think if we could make it through that, we can make it through anything.

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Filed under: Friends & FamilyGod is.

Lanie has been learning our weaknesses and then using them against us to get whatever she wants.

The boo-boo lip is killing me. It’s equal parts adorable and heartbreaking and each time she does it I reach for my camera and immediately feel the sting of guilt and give in to picking her up for a snuggle, which is what she usually wants. How can I say no to that and why would I even want to.

Seriously, who can resist this face?

She really is a happy baby the majority of the time.

Except for when she’s at therapy.  She’s always ticked off about therapy.

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Filed under: Down syndromeLanie

28 degrees this morning. 20 freaking 8 degrees.

Being a military family, we’ve been stationed all over the United States. We’ve lived on both coasts, in the northwest, the southeast, New England (GO PATS!), and now we’re in northwest Florida. We’ve lived in Florida for 8 1/2 years now and this is the only place half of my children remember as being home so even though I’ve done my fair share of shoveling snow-covered driveways, starting the car to defrost a half hour before we have to go anywhere, thawing the tiny fingers and toes of children while they sip crock-pot cocoa, saying no for the tenth time to the 4 year old who is begging to go outside to make tunnels and snow forts even though he’s wearing a full leg cast after breaking his leg sledding, most of my kids have spent the bulk of their lifetimes living it up in sunny beach weather.

So I wasn’t surprised when Sam came running inside this morning with some sheets of glassy ice, completely amazed that everything had frozen overnight.

Mom, look! This is amazing!

There was one piece where there was a bee frozen inside but it broke and the bee was no longer encased before we could get a picture. Lucy(5) came back inside after about 2 minutes ripping her fuzzy gray jacket off proclaiming with irritation, this jacket is NOT KEEPING ME WARM!
I replied with, You might want to think about wearing shoes if you plan to go back outside.
Because she was barefoot. 

And Maggie(3) wore her warm boots like she was told and promptly lost them somewhere out in the backyard.

My kids definitely don’t know how to do winter.

In related news, it snowed briefly last night somewhere in our town. Joe saw the heavy flurries while he was at the gym but we didn’t see anything here at the house.

The frigid temps aren’t here for long, though. It should be back up in the 70’s by the end of the week and I am definitely looking forward to that.

 

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Filed under: FloridaLucyMaggieSomething Sam Said

It’s handy to have a handy husband.

We have a a cold. It started in Christmas day and has kept hold of us this whole week. I’m the one that’s had it the worst worst so far but Ben and Matthew have been feeling pretty crummy too.

Rabbit, on the other hand, hasn’t even gotten a single sniffle (yet) and spent the entire weekend, while I was sitting around being fussy, doing this:

He had ripped out a cracked and well worn plastic shower stall, repaired the wall where moisture had caused some nasty rot, and created an awesome corner shower in the girls’ bedroom because he’s super awesome like that.  Grout, paint, and some new hardware and the bathroom will be ready for decorating.  The girls are thinking purple, pink, ponies, and glitter. 

It was a really big job and it’s almost finished. Yay!

I married very well.  

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Happy new year, everybody!

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Progress.  

Lanie’s trying her hand at forward moving the last couple of days. She’s still got a a long way to go but she is unbelievably happy about it all.

And I am well aware that I didn’t do much posting about adoption last month.  Things got wild and there was shopping and the best of friends and turkey and there were a lot of words that I wanted to write but my brain got in the way.

My return to blogging was furious but my regularity didn’t last very long.  I’m still hoping to get back into a consistent rhythm. There is so much life happening that I want to document. 

And in case I don’t write again in the next two days, Merry Christmas everybody.  

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Filed under: Uncategorized

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Filed under: Uncategorized

I am constantly telling my kids to go outside and play, to which they usually huff respectfully and then head out front and have a really good time.  I know they are having a good time because we no longer have grass growing in a large section of the front yard.
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Yards without kids having fun don’t look like this.

I don’t understand why they so often resist the out-of-doors because if they look bored I usually give them a chore or a list of jobs or a baby to hold, though that last one kind of backfires on me because they often argue over who gets to play with Lanie.img_20160529_140241072_hdr

I think it’s important for kids to play outside. And often. Numerous times a day even. I think it’s important for them to make up new games and argue over rules and learn to work together.

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I think it’s important for them to wrestle and race and contemplate whether or not they can throw a ball over the house and what is Mom going to say when we tell her the football is on the roof?
I think it’s important for them to get dirty and sweaty and scrape up their knees.

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I also think it’s important that they take a shower when they come inside because have you ever smelled boy-sweat times five?

Right now there is civil unrest in many parts of our country, mostly from our younger generation, and I feel like maybe they were never been told to go play outside.

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Filed under: FloridaFriends & FamilySomething Sam Said

Adoption from foster care. What I’ve learned.

adoptionawarenessGrowing up I clearly recall my home being a safe place, my safe place. If there is anything of more value to a child than a feeling of safety and security in a loving home, I don’t know what it is. I look back on my childhood and feel overwhelmingly thankful that my parents gave us a sheltered childhood.  We were nourished and taught good and right things and never lacked for anything and when the teenager that lived two houses down was irresponsibly sighting his rifle before going hunting the next day and I was sure his intention was to kill me…
I instinctively knew where to run for safety.

In the 27 hours of classes we were required to take to become approved to adopt through foster care here in Florida, I learned that every child in the foster care system has been through a traumatic experience that has cost them any hope of feeling that kind of safety. The vast majority of them have been either forcibly removed from their homes or given up voluntarily by one or both parents.  It leaves them feeling vulnerable and alone. The ultimate betrayal – turned away by the people who were supposed to instinctively long to protect them.

I have learned what kind of abuses take place and what effect that can have on a child. I learned that it is usually bad. Really bad.

I have learned that we, individually and as a society, have gotten far too comfortable with their cries.
Deafening. Silent. Raw. Hidden. Heartbroken.

I have learned that I can’t do that anymore.
And I have learned that sometimes all you can do is pray.

I have learned that there is a lot of fear in adopting a broken child and a lot of thought and consideration has to go into it before a challenge like that should be taken on.
And I have learned that no matter how much thought and consideration you give it there is no way to prepare yourself.

I have learned that the system that has been put in place to facilitate the best possible outcome for both adopter and adoptee is broken. I’ve learned that quite often, out of an understandable desperation to find children a home, the people in charge, the experts, will break the most essential of those rules and set everybody up for failure. Because there aren’t enough foster homes. Because the kids are close to being too old to place. Because they might have a disability that is just beginning to show and it’s RIGHTNOW or possibly never.

And that’s when failure happens.  And everybody is to blame but nobody is at fault because the real failure is not doing anything at all and nobody involved can be accused of that.

I have learned that it is hopeless.

And I have learned that there is hope.


I’ve already started writing a post about our specific experience. I’m not sure if it will be the next adoption post I put up but it’s coming.

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Filed under: adoptionFloridaGod is.

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