What is it about the camera?

I had these three girls after having 6 boys in a row.  They are all so different but one thing is the same.

It seems that no matter where they are and what they are doing – if the camera comes out, the little girls appear.

Lucy and Maggie want to be in whatever picture is being taken. Lanie just wants to play with the camera though.

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Filed under: GirlsLanieLucyMaggie

People getting their hate on around here.

So I’ve been working on a post off and on throughout the day today but I’m going to post this instead because holy cow I almost got hit by a big black pickup while on my run today.

On Purpose.

I mean, I didn’t purposely try to get hit by a truck, the driver saw me and made a grumpy face, and drove over toward me very slowly until I had no choice but to step completely off the road into the uneven slopey terrain. He had plenty of road around him but he chose to drive on the very edge with every intention of knocking me off the road, or hitting me.  And this isn’t the first time this has happened, you guys.

Why do some people hate runners so much?

I run in a 1980’s, oaky, middle class, residential neighborhood. While I would love to be able to run on a sidewalk, our HOA is absolutely deadset against them so I run and teach my kids to run on the left-hand side of the road where drivers can easily see us.  Most drivers in our area wave and smile because everybody likes to see kids outside these days but some people are just so grumpy about us.  One old guy many months ago stood in his driveway and shouted about why on earth I would be forcing my kids to run with me.

And there is the one guy that lets out his dog’s retractable leash all the way when he sees us and watches and laughs as we run 10 or more feet into the grass to keep from being accosted by his mutt.

I carry a zapper now.

Can somebody please let me in on the runner-hater’s reasons for trying to kill me with his truck?   Maybe I should start running with a billy club. One good dent…

Kidding.

But not really.

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Filed under: i run

Am I the only one with a theme word this year?

This morning, I opened up my brand new, fresh, clean planner to the first page.  I pulled out my new B3 Aviator multifunction pen (AKA best pen ever) and sat, almost giddy (but not actually giddy because I don’t do that), at the newness of the everything, as if the change from last night to this morning truly reset and cleansed everything.

Because it did, people. Everybody knows that.

January 1, 2017 my theme for the year was run. I had gotten a new pair of running shoes and a Fitbit for Christmas and my goal was to run more regularly instead of in the fits and spurts of past years. Honestly though, what I was really doing was trying to run away from 2016.

2016 was my hardest year. 2016 flipped me upside down, dangled me off the side of a very tall building, and generally just kicked my arse. I learned a lot in 2016 but it was incredibly painful and all I wanted was for it to be over and to never do that again. Then, in 2017, God healed me. Yes, it was a wild ride of a year but it was a really, really good year for me. For us. The best year in possibly ever so, honestly, I don’t really want or need a clean slate.

But a brand new planner…  I do love a brand new planner. Even though I realized that I have nothing to write in it yet.

This year my word is minimalism. It was going to be sanity but I think we can all agree that would have ended in complete failure.

I use to be good at tossing everything but sometime in the last 4 years that changed and I feel like I am wading through junk every single day. And it doesn’t just clog my physical space, it also clogs my mind and I can’t think and I can’t plan. I was talking to Rabbit about it the other night and I think I stopped tossing things because I realized that my older children didn’t necessarily appreciate me giving everything away. Like the cheap drawstring bag one of them got from football camp. Or the toaster.

It’s a difficult line to walk, teaching my children that an abundance of things tends to depreciate everything, while at the same time, appreciating that they are their own people and may value things differently than I.

This year I am going to figure it out. I’m going to worry less about the repercussions of tossing the half broken waffle maker.  I’m going to hang more artwork and pictures on the walls. Try to go on more outings together as a family. Try to read more to my kids.
And can somebody please convince my husband that we don’t need to keep a broken TV?

It’s 2018, people. Let’s get this year started.

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Filed under: God is.minimalismweekly minimalist

A wedding story. Only slightly belated.

I’m not a flowery person. I don’t talk or write in rhymes and poetics and I have trouble wording the heaviest of feelings.

But let that not diminish how I actually feel about these two.

I know this post is a little late because they were married close to 2 months ago. I have been waiting for the perfect words of joy to flow freely, not realizing that probably wouldn’t do anything any justice anyway.

Kait and Vince were married on November 11th. It was a beautiful ceremony with more friends and family celebrating with us than we could have hoped for.

The vows were exchanged.

And the party started.

People danced and ate and laughed. Old friends and family reunited and new friends and family were made.

And so many people gave so much of their time and all of their energy towards making the day perfect.

And it was just that.

Perfect.

Congratulations Kait! We love you and we are so proud to call you our daughter.

And, Vince, welcome to the family. We couldn’t have asked for a better match for our daughter and we are so blessed to now call you Son.

All pictures in this post are credited to the absolutely fabulous Marty.

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Filed under: FloridaFriends & FamilyKait and VinceSometimes we do stuff

Day 291. A running update.

It was 48 degrees and raining as Sam and I headed out the door to run this morning. Normally I would wait for a break in the rain but for some reason we decided to just go because sometimes you just need to run in the rain.  It was a really good run, too. Much better than we’ve been doing the last week or so.

After today’s run Matthew and I only have 74 more days until we hit our one-year running streak. Sam has 76 left, Ben has 78.  The other runners, Gabe, Rabbit, and Joe are a week or four behind us and I cannot believe that we all have made it this far.

Six of us ran the Pensacola Ho Ho Hustle 5K a couple of weeks ago. Our group was only missing Rabbit – he agreed to stay behind with the younger half.

I just so love these boys.

It was so cold. So, so cold. I’m not talking 50-degrees-and-we’re-in-snowsuits Florida cold. I’m talking about bitter, biting, painful, 85% humidity and 30 degrees cold. If you haven’t experienced freezing conditions in high humidity you will just have to trust me. Plus, it had actually snowed the night before and the bridges were iced over and as we made our way to the race we passed accidents because Florida just doesn’t understand how ice works.

It was cold.

But we ran and it was good.

Our plan now is to train for the Pensacola Double Bridge run in February. It’s a 15K and just over 9 miles.  I think only 3 of us are doing it this year but I’m hoping we’ll have a larger group next year.

Joe mentioned the other day that a year ago you couldn’t have paid him to run. He finds it funny that now he is paying other people to let him run in their races.

Also, my 1-year-old running shoes have a hole in them and I’m incredibly bummed. I wonder if there is a patch made for this sort of thing because I’m not quite ready to give them up. Never in a million years would you have been able to convince me that I would develop a relationship with a pair of shoes.

And there is that update.

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Filed under: BenBoysGabei runJoeMatthewSamSometimes we do stuff

This is how a heart breaks.

When we first became foster parents three long, long months ago I thought I knew how hard it would be.  I thought I was strong enough and I thought that a lot of the things that make foster parenting hard for other people would be easier for me because of my ability to disconnect. I thought it would be difficult for me to bond closely with children who aren’t my own, who I am not related to in any way.

I thought a lot of things.

And I sorely underestimated the toll being a foster parent could take on a person.

We’re still so very new at this but I have learned so, so much in these past 3 1/2 months.  Here is a rundown of the reality of the hardness of being a foster parent.  Keep in mind that my heart has been freshly ripped out of my chest so, while I’ve tried to keep this diplomatic in tone, my emotions might be working against me.

  • There are many good caseworkers but they are seriously overworked and often find it easier to just tell you what they think you want to hear instead of letting you in on what is really going on because it is faster and they don’t always have time for a whole big ordeal of a conversation.
  • Guardian ad Litems, the child advocates, are often overlooked by the judge.
  • Don’t believe everything you hear.  We were told less than a week prior to our last foster child moving that we may be looking at adoption so…
  • When you put your foster child to bed always expect it to be the last time you get to tuck them in because one day you’re Mama and the next day you’re a person the child used to know.  We had 6 hours from the time we learned our last foster child was leaving to the time she was picked up. 6 hours.
    She was 2.
  • Secondary trauma is very real.
  • Once the child is moved away from a foster home, the foster parents are, more often than not, completely cut off. I get no response when I ask how a child is doing and I have read that this is a common occurrence. Maybe this is a legal thing, I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. The reality is that we’re just cut off.  After loving and caring for a child through all their trauma behaviors and communication barriers, they’re often moved with very little or no notice and then we’re just completely cut off.
  • Being with family is always better for the child.  Even when it’s not.  And even when it seems it’s not, it still might be the best thing for the child.  This is super difficult to wrap my mind around because…
  • I was given false information about some people who were in the life of one of our foster children. When I learned I was being lied to it broke my heart because it caused so much unnecessary trauma to the child.  So, again, don’t believe everything you hear which is why…
  • Always go to court when possible. If the social worker tells you not to he/she may be trying to hide something. Consider going anyway or sending a friend. This is the only way to know what is really going on.
  • People really do believe that foster parents are only in it for the money.
  • Some foster parents do take advantage of others’ generosity.  This is sad and keeps people from giving.  However, this does not mean they are only in it for the money. Sometimes a financial break is too enticing when you’re tired, stressed, and beat down by trying to help traumatized children in a system that is so completely broken.
  • As foster parents, we have absolutely no control. Our job is to love and protect the children as best we can each moment they are in our care. That’s all we can do…
  • But in those moments that’s everything.

If you’re in the Pensacola area and are interested in being a foster parent please don’t hesitate to contact me. I know I didn’t make it sound very enticing and foster parents are closing their doors at alarming rates because it is just so hard. We’re judged harshly, lied to, left out, cut off, and in the end all that’s left of our work is a slowly mending heart and another child in need. But even after all these things I listed, it is still so worth it. The system is all messed up but while these kids are in our homes we can hopefully make some kind of change.

 

P.S.  I feel like I should add here that this was not necessarily a bad move for our foster kid. She’s now with a family member who worked quite hard to get her and loves her very much. But the way the system worked, the whole process, was definitely less than ideal and caused unnecessary trauma to everyone involved, especially the sweet foster child. I am not sad that she is with her family, I’m just sad about how the whole thing happened.

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Filed under: foster careGod is.

The wedding is done. The kitchen is finally clean again after months of crazy – a word I have come to use all too much to describe our goings ons and I do think it’s time to come up with an alternate word for that word.

Cockamamie?

I put up Christmas lights yesterday. This isn’t something I usually do before December but it felt normal and right and we had used some of the lights at Kait and Vince’s wedding and I didn’t feel like putting them all away just to get them out again in two weeks so now we’re the cockamamie people on the block that are already decorated for Christmas.

[there should be a picture here but I failed and it’s light outside now so you’ll just have to wait]

Rabbit and I stood out on the lawn just after dark last night and looked at my creation. He eyed the roof of the house and said in all seriousness, I’m thinking maybe we should add some up there, and I realized that we are in the honeymoon stage that happens after a wild patch and we’ve got to be careful not to do too much because nobody is going to want to take all these lights down come January.

Did I mention that my daughter is married?

Wow.

And the entire wedding was perfect and beautiful and I can’t wait to have pictures to post. Our photographer is a family friend and she has had numerous weddings over the last couple of weeks so we’re going to sit and be patient but I know they turned out terrific.

We left on vacation the day after the wedding. We didn’t leave town, basically staying in our own backyard but Pensacola Beach is quiet and beautiful this time of year and the weather was perfect and we didn’t have to drive very far.

And the view from our condo was perfect.

Hot lemonade and favorite blankies on the balcony on a cool, breezy evening…  Who knew that was all it would take to appease these two little ones.

I will be honest and say that I was very happy to be back home after the four days at the beach but the vacation was so good.

And now to our last order of business to get everything caught up…

I mentioned before that we became foster parents in September, a task we took on at probably the worst possible time but we absolutely do not regret it one bit.  Our current placement is just the cutest child imaginable. I wish I could post her pictures and tell you all about her but that just can’t happen. What I can tell you is that she is the sweetest 2-year-old with a very uncertain future but she is doing amazingly well with us. Many of you have asked if there is anything we need or anything you can do to help and the truth is, if you would add her, her sibling, and their bio parents to your prayer list that would be the most helpful thing you can do right now.

And one last thing…

I am so sorry to all of you who have sent me messages after reading one of my posts here or on Facebook. I have been so overloaded with foster care appointments and meetings and wedding stuff and Lanie’s therapy and normal family things that I have had to cut out a lot of my social activities recently. But things do seem somewhat calm for the moment so I’ll hopefully do better.

And one more last thing…

We got Lanie a posterior walker. People, she is the cutest thing ever. Expect a video soon. 

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Filed under: Floridafoster careFriends & FamilyKait and VinceSometimes we do stuffThe BeachThe Rabbitthe weddingthis houseweekly wrap-up

I haven’t written much about my oldest daughter’s upcoming wedding. That’s not because I don’t have anything to say about it, I think it’s probably because it is so huge and there are so many thoughts and feelings I am having to box for right now because there is so much that needs to be done and I don’t have time for a mommy meltdown right now.

It’s like I only have so much emotional capabilities and right now all of those are being spent on frustration because suddenly all the boys have grown out of their pants and shoes all at once and we have a wedding in less than 3 days, people, and now I’m shopping for all six of my sons at the same time.

Okay, 5 really because Joe(19) is just going to wear his Halloween costume.
Or something like that.
I am not asking any questions about this.

What I will tell you is that Kaity-Jane is amazing. Like a you wouldn’t believe me kind of amazing. And she’s picked an excellent young man to compliment her amazingness.

The two of them coming together is to be a true celebration.

I love this girl and am so proud of the person she has become and the life she has chosen for herself. I love the son we’re gaining and I can’t wait to see what their future looks like.

For now though, I’ll be paying those overnight shipping fees and thank you Amazon for stocking absolutely everything.

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Filed under: BoysKaitKait and VinceSometimes we do stuffthe wedding

This is what happens when you add sidewalk chalk to children.

And then add more children.

And then multiply those children by two.

If you can’t tell by the picture the water/chalk mix ended up covering the entire porch.

No surface was spared.  Not even the walls.

And all of this happened as I sat on that teal bench wondering what on earth I was thinking.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

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

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