We did it.

It’s Down syndrome awareness month and I’ve completely failed at posting something every day about Down syndrome. In my defense, it’s been busy here over the last two weeks.

We successfully completed our very first foster care placement start to finish. It was a sibling group of two, ages five and two.

We were told it would be long-term but, as it turns out, there was another foster family who had their three-year-old sister and she decided she could take our two as well so after just two weeks our kids were moved to that home. It was ultimately a good move, but it was hard knowing these two kids who were just settling in here were going to have to settle into their third foster home in just 3 weeks.

So now we are waiting for the next call and everytime my phone rings my heart catches just a little.  We could get another placement today, or it could be a week from now.  The unknown of it all is probably the most difficult part.

Waiting for a foster care placement, knowing there is one coming but not knowing when or any circumstances surrounding the placement is this odd mix of excitement and angst.  Right now we are still coming off of the emotional rollercoaster of the last two weeks and, while we are ready and waiting for the next toddler in need, we are enjoying the quiet that we didn’t realize we had before our first placement. The thought of disrupting that is a little daunting.

But the kids are excited. They can’t wait for the next foster care adventure. And I’ve got all the bedding freshly washed and ready.

No run this morning. It’s record highs with 90% humidity so I’ll be going to the gym with the hubster this evening to run on a treadmill.  I am not much of a fan of treadmills but it definitely beats the super warm, crazy humid day we’re having.

Off to the orthodontist.

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Filed under: foster care

Down syndrome awareness month day 2.

I cannot guarantee that this whole month will not be filled with just pictures of Lanie because there is really little time right now for lengthy, meaningful posts about how Down syndrome has changed our lives or whatnot. 

But, dang she’s cute so I guess for now this will have to be good enough. 

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Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s Down syndrome awareness month, people.

I’ll be blogging about Lanie for the next 31 days because October is Down syndrome awareness month and she has Down syndrome.

Day 1 is a somewhat blurry picture because there isn’t much brain time for anything else right now. 

Plus, her glasses and wonky pigtails are killing me.  I just love her so much.

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Filed under: baby wears glassesDown syndromeLanie

It’s always about the contacts.

In the last 15 months that Lanie has worn corrective lenses we have never had both of Lanie’s contacts missing at the same time and we’ve always been able to find them when they do fall out because I check her eyes frequently so we would always know where she probably lost one.  But on Monday we knew we might have a placement arriving and I slacked on checking her eyes just about all day because we were preparing and cleaning and stressing over a mattress and extra toothbrushes and should I run out and buy pajamas for a 5 year old boy I have never met or even seen?

I noticed that both of her contacts were missing while the social worker was here and my heart sank. I knew we would never find them both because I couldn’t tell anybody where to look.  I took care of the new toddler who was crying and Rabbit and the boys looked all over the house for a more than an hour. Rabbit found one but the other has been officially deemed gone forever.

Joe even sat in the bathtub and went through a bag of trash where I had emptied the dustpan after sweeping earlier in the day because he’s awesome.

These things are not cheap but thankfully Tricare is supposed to pay for contacts for aphakia.  They did last year but it really is hit or miss because aphakia the only reason they pay for contacts and a lot of times they don’t know that and it needs to be explained to them time and time again until suddenly they are like Oh, she is aphakic! Of course! As if I haven’t told them that 10 times on the phone already.

It is funny though because even though she’ll be fitted for a new pair, and hopefully a better size so they won’t fall out as much, I can’t stop looking for the one we lost. It has been 5 days and everywhere I walk in the house I am looking for it.

I feel like I’ll be compelled to look for lost contacts for the rest of my life.

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Filed under: baby wears contactscongenital cataractsLanie

I have been slow to talk about our family’s journey through the foster care licensing process. Rabbit, who is more than a little outgoing and vocal about everything, and I have talked about this a bit the last couple of days and I think I may have figured out my hesitation.  One reason was so we could back out at any time during the process without me having to explain anything. It is a daunting undertaking and as we went through all the steps I prayed for wisdom and guidance and for God to make our path clear, even if it meant we couldn’t continue this quest.

And then there was the judgment.

You would be amazed at a number of people who judge foster parents harshly. Or maybe you wouldn’t. I don’t know what amazes you but here are some reactions I’ve heard:

  • Why would you do that? 
  • I would never take in strange children. Our children are so impressionable and foster kids would corrupt them.
  • Taking in foster children encourages a corrupt government system. 
  • People who have a ridiculous amount of children already should not be foster parents.

Those are all actually valid concerns but I don’t feel like explaining myself to people who say judgy things instead of asking questions so I kept quiet about it to all but a few of my friends because people are always so human.

However, there is absolutely no excuse for this last, yet most popular comment.

  • Foster parents only do it for the money.

Yeah.
Sure.
$14 a day to care for a traumatized, often neglected, emotionally and/or physically abused child who doesn’t know how to express his or her feelings, who asks for food just to throw it away and ask for more because they are desperately seeking control over something, anything, in their life, who may or may not come with shoes or pajamas or anything of their own, who may be sick or have lice or are covered in scabies…
We have needed to purchase car seats and beds and mattresses and smoke detectors because the 6 we had weren’t enough, and another fire extinguisher and cabinet locks and candy (therapy session for one of the children was shopping for his chosen dinner and picking out some candy to share with the other kids).
We still need to buy some clothing and school supplies and did you know that hair care products for little girls with absolutely adorable, super curly, but very dry hair are obnoxiously expensive?

And coffee. I’m definitely going to need to buy more coffee.

Yeah. We’re making a killing over here.

I have talked a little about our homestudy to adopt from foster care, but actually becoming foster parents was a whole new ball game and required a huge mountain of paperwork and proof of absolutely everything and prayer and excitement and nervousness and anxiety and patience…

And now that we have completed all the work and we have foster children in our home I am experiencing a whole new form of anxiety that revolves around helping these kids. Understanding what they need from me as a temporary mom, knowing what is best for them, is not as easy as one might think and I’m second guessing every. single. step.

But we have no regrets. At least not so far. We’re going to stay this course and love these children until they can be reunited with their family.

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Filed under: foster careGod is.Uncategorized

Somebody get me a doughnut.

Yesterday was the first day of fall and do you know what that means in Florida?

Nothing. It means absolutely nothing.

A couple months ago I had committed to a first day of fall running challenge. This was a personal challenge that I had come up with myself and I decided that I would do it on the first day of fall because sometimes my brain tricks me into thinking things that aren’t really real like apples taste as good as doughnuts or my boys will definitely clean their bathroom without me having to remind them 3 times or fall will really happen on time in Florida this year.

Nope, nope, and definitely nope.

So I woke up and thought to myself, Self, you really don’t have to do this running challenge today. It’s not like anybody is holding you accountable. It isn’t a group effort or anything. Just go ahead and wait until it feels like fall.

Then I got my running shoes on and proceeded to head out the door to see how many 1 mile laps I could do until I couldn’t do another one. Sam(10) quickly grabbed his shoes and said he’d do a couple of those miles with me.

We ended up doing just over 5, only stopping for water. Sam stayed with me the whole time.  This is a full mile more than I have been able to run as an adult. And a full mile more than Sam has ever run.  And it was 90 degrees and hot and sweaty and I am pretty sure we could have run a couple more miles if it had been cooler.

And why is my auto-correct trying to change the word mile to the word mole?

Yesterday after I had finished running my Fitbit said I burned over a thousand calories and I felt compelled to replace those with something delicious and because it was the first day of fall I decided that I would make apple pie for dessert. I didn’t make your standard apple pie because I wanted it to be healthy so I made an almond flour crust, low sugar apple pie with actual green apples I bought from the store. It was good but it wasn’t great and I really just want a box of doughnuts now.

Today Matthew(14) and I will hit our 193rd day of streak running. And let me clarify – that’s running every single day, not running naked. There is an older lady around the corner that often sits out front in a lawn chair in her underwear. When we run by she smiles and waves and seems nice enough but I don’t want to be that person so I wear clothes.

Sam is on day 191.
Ben is on day 190.

Gabe, Rabbit, and Joe all started after us and are a few weeks behind.

I cannot believe how dedicated my kids have been to this. I cannot believe how dedicated have been to this.  I am definitely not the queen of follow through but here I am more than halfway through my 1-year streak challenge and I’m training for a nine mile run in February.

Who knew?

I gotta go take care of Lanie and get my run done and clean out my refrigerator.

Does anybody have a doughnut?

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Filed under: Floridai runSamSometimes we do stuff

3 year old Maggie: “It’s kind of different”

Whenever I spot a new or unusual fruit at the grocery store I buy it so that my family can try it and we can say we have a little culture in our life.

This week it was a little fruit called Rambutan. These spiny fruits hail from Guatemala.

And are really weird.

Here’s my picture. It was taken in my dimly lit kitchen with my phone’s camera. A sure recipe for success.

Here is a picture Google let me borrow.

Cutting into them was like cutting into a Mogwai pod and the slimy white fruit inside looks like some little alien egg. It was the tiniest bit creepy. They tasted like a pear/grape hybrid but with a weird aftertaste that is hard to explain. I didn’t hate it but I definitely didn’t want to eat any more of them and neither did anybody else so the rest of the package is just sitting in the fridge waiting to go bad and be thrown away.

Here is a short, horribly lit video of us cutting one open. At the end, Maggie gives her professional opinion.

I want to take more videos. Definitely need to find a better way to make that happen.

 

 

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Filed under: MaggieSometimes we do stuffUm...video

Is this how my hair actually looks in real life?

Maggie(3): Mom, you’re up! I drew a picture of you!

She has the biggest smile and hands me a rolled up piece of paper.

Maggie: You’re pink!

I unrolled the piece of paper to see a very small person-like scribble drawn in pink marker and my first thought was, It is way too early to scrub marker off the walls.

My second thought was, this reminds me an awful lot of the portrait Matthew drew of me 10 years ago when he was 4.

I gave Maggie a hug and an enthusiastic thank you because I love it when she draws things for me.

And bonus, I didn’t find any new marker on the walls.

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Filed under: Friends & FamilyMaggieMatthew

Yesterday Rabbit, Joe(19) and I went to see It. Joe and I had been planning to go see it together for months but clowns make Rabbit scared uncomfortable and I have no idea how we convinced him to go with us. I think his morbid curiosity kept him from declining our invitation.

The original movie was so cheesy, people, and this remake didn’t fail to capture that same cheese factor.  A little more gory, yes.  Some startling scenes, sure.  But it was way too cheesy to have much horror value. Think about it. A clown who lives in the sewers kidnaps kids and makes them float. This is the story-line of the most talked about horror movie this year.

Why are kids so stupid in horror flicks?  I think that any normal little kid would be thoroughly frightened by a clown in a sewer so this kid talking and laughing with this creepy painted guy makes me wonder, Doesn’t he sense impending doom? Don’t these kids hear the foreboding music? Where is your mother, and WHY ARE YOU WALKING AWAY FROM THE GROUP?

Also, hasn’t anybody ever told them not to go into the basement? Especially when there are creaking sounds involved?

Have any of these kids even seen a cheesy horror flick before?

I think 80’s parents may have missed a lot of important lessons when raising their kids. But how do we, the now grown 80’s crowd, go about breaking that cycle?  Is it hopeless? Are our kids all doomed?

I let 3 of my boys go out riding on their bikes with friends today and I couldn’t help but wonder if I had done enough to prepare them for potential clown mischief so for good measure I have compiled a short list of important 80’s horror flick lessons in hopes that we don’t repeat our parents’ mistakes. (sorry parents)

Number one: Try not to put your hand in a garbage disposal when your house may or may not be haunted.
Number two: Don’t flag down the car with the bad guys when you are trying to escape said bad guys. And if you accidentally do, just play dumb. Certainly don’t tell them you know where to find the bad guys.
Number three: Never feed a Mogwai after midnight. Or get it wet. Or take it out in the sun. As cute as these little guys are, they are just too high maintenance with too much room for error. A fish is probably a better pet option.
Number four: Always make sure to carry a backup inhaler.

Oh yeah AND STOP FOLLOWING CREEPY SHADOWS AND NOISES INTO DARK HALLWAYS AND BASEMENTS. This should probably be number one.

Now go forth and remember. If you hear voices calling you from the drain in your sink, it’s a trap. It’s always a trap.

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Filed under: Sometimes we do stuffUm...

Maggie. a.k.a Scarlett O’Hara

Maggie(3) came running into the house from where she was playing in the backyard with some of her brothers yesterday. She was crying in her typical dramatic fashion and I was sure she had a story to tell me about somebody wronging her so I put her in my lap and encouraged her to calm down a bit so we could talk about what happened.

She turned off the crying in an instant and the following tattle ensued.

Maggie: Sam took the stick from me and said I couldn’t swing the sticks and so I attacked him and he said NO, Maggie! You do not hit!

Me (not sure I heard her correctly): You asked him?

Maggie (a little annoyed that I didn’t understand): NO! I attacked him! Because he took my stick away!

At this point I could not control my laughter so I had to hide my face because attacking somebody is not funny. I got calmed down after a few minutes and was able to do the appropriate talking and teaching.

This morning while I was writing this post Maggie asked for one of those tiny pickles.  Rabbit got it for her, she took one bite, and told me she would leave it on the counter beside me and eat it later.  I told her, no, she would eat it now and so she wrapped it in a dirty dishtowel to “dry it off” (re: to hide it).  When I saw what she had done I told her to put the pickle in the sink and we told her not to ask for another snack.

She ran into her room and, in as much dramatics as she could muster, started telling Lucy, Mom and Dad said that all my snacks have to go into the sink FOREVER!  

She is the cutest person and is the most theatrical child in our brood.

And the one most likely to give me all the gray hairs.

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Filed under: Maggie

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