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.

Good weather. Cute baby.  

I love this picture that I snapped of Lanie yesterday. I feel like she’s just hanging back listing to some fun conversation.

I wish I could come up with a cute caption for it. Nothing’s coming to me though.    

Heyo!


How is it possible for a heart to melt over and over and over again.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Quick post to keep up my blogging streak.  

In an effort to continue blogging daily I’m just going to post a quick picture of Lanie.

I had wanted Lanie to be sleeping but somebody thought she needed an orange squirt gun instead.

Nobody has fessed up but I have a strong suspicion that it was Maggie because, well, it’s the kind of thing she does.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Our dishwasher broke. Like broke broke.  Like we try to start it and it goes click click click kind of broke.

I saw this coming. We always have to buy a new appliance during the holidays.  I don’t know why it always works out this way, it just does.  Plus, our dishwasher has been begging us to just let it go since we bought this house 2 year ago because 2 to 3 loads of dishes a day is apparently more than it can handle.

It’s true that we don’t have to buy a new dishwasher right now because dishes can quite easily be washed by hand, and we might still wait but we ended up at Lowe’s today looking at our options.  I think we settled on a Kitchenaid. I like Bosch too but they don’t have a track for the lower rack and I know for a fact that it would end up on the floor with broken dishes. Probably often. Note to Bosch: Stop doing that.

When we got out of the car in the Lowe’s parking lot a wave of summer warmth hit us full force.  I thought it felt fabulous but Ryan complained that it was sooo hot.

It’s November and I guess he’s expecting much cooler weather than 88 degrees but that’s what it’s been like here and we live in Florida and it’s like this every year and I’m not sure why everybody is surprised because, like I said, Florida.

 

Plus, Lanie has just grown into Maggie’s old summery clothes and she’s impossibly cute.

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I hope she’ll be able to wear them a bit more before she grows out of them.

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Filed under: FloridaLaniethis house

November is Adoption Awareness Month

There are all kinds of awarenesses here lately.
November is adoption awareness month and there is a lot I want to say about adoption and how it has affected our lives over the last year. I tried to write just one post about it but it was crazy disorganized and long and really hard to follow so I decided to break it down into bite-sized pieces to help with digestion.

I’m going to start at the beginning of our adoption journey with how we became certified to adopt.

More than a year ago Rabbit and I started the process to become eligible to adopt from foster care because we had gotten wind of two little sisters that needed a home and decided to try and adopt them because we get these big ideas sometimes. We learned before the second class that the girls were already being placed but we decided to continue with the process anyway and became officially approved in January after months of classes and two home study visits.

The 27 hours of classes were absolutely free. They were each 3 hours long, once a week, with subjects ranging from interracial adoption to sexual abuse to foster child behavior to a heartwrenching story of a little boy who committed suicide.

7 years old.

If a child is in foster care it almost always involves some sort of abuse and neglect and learning about the plight of so many orphaned children…  It just hurts.

We pushed through and finished the classes in about 2 months. We had to get fingerprinted, request references from 10 different people including family, friends, neighbors, and employers, and schedule our two home study visits. Ryan worked on getting most of the references for us and I completed as much of the paperwork I could get done myself (there is a lot of paperwork).  Preparing for the home visits was absolutely scary to me and I was so nervous about them. However, it turned out that there was nothing to be frightened about.

The social worker who completed our home study was very nice and disarming. She spoke to each of my kids alone, then spoke to Rabbit and me together.  She asked pointed questions about our relationship with each other and with our extended family, our finances, our pasts, and our plans for the future.  She asked each of our kids about their relationship with us and how they are disciplined and what they would change and while we couldn’t be present at the time of questioning, we did get her notes back when our home study was approved.  I think it was Lucy who was the only one who would change anything and I think she said she would change the color of our house to purple.

Once she had finished up all the questioning on the second visit, the social worker did a quick look through our home to make sure we didn’t have a meth lab or anything.  It was so easy.

Within a month of completing our classes, our home study was finished and approved and we were eligible to adopt.

I’m not sure what the next post on this subject will be about.  I want to write about what I took away from the classes, what I learned about a hopelessly broken system, and about loving children who were not born to me. About honesty and blame and guilt.

About the grief in failure.

And trusting God’s plan.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

88 degrees with a light breeze

This year was weird for me because I started longing for cold weather and dreaming of a little snow about a month ago. That all ended when my friend in the northwest posted pictures of her kids in coats and hats and gloves and then my kids came inside from playing in the dirt like this and I remembered how much I so love living in Florida.

Maggie is wearing a jacket in the picture but it was 88 degrees outside and the only reason she was wearing it was because I had just gotten the girls’ fall clothing out and she was all about her new pink jacket. 

We are near record highs this week and I’m trying to find time each day to soak up some sun because it’ll be in the 70’s this weekend. Boo to that.   

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Filed under: Uncategorized

Maggie has a sweet tooth.

Maggie recently turned 3 and I asked her this morning what she wanted to be when she grew up.  She responded that she didn’t need to grow up because all she wants to do is trick-or-treat.

And I’ve discovered that sweets are a powerful motivator for this one. I’ll have to be careful not to abuse that because this kid is smart and would absolutely end up with a mouthful of cavities and by the time she is 4.

Mom, look at how I can sit on this basketball. This is great so take a picture!

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Filed under: Maggie

31 for 21 Day 31. I can’t believe I did it!

Sam informed me this morning that Gabe needs a stylist.  He repeated this several times until I realized Gabe had asked him to see if I had a stylus he could use.

By noon I was already asked if we could eat the Halloween candy at least 20 times and when can I wear that cream puff?

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Walmart exploded in my bedroom.

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Lanie got a new hairstyle.

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Actually, I just spiked her already obvious and totally natural mohawk.

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Lucy, who has dressed as Rapunzel for 3 years straight, put on her dress today and I noticed it was almost too small.  I told her she might want to think about a new costume for next year and she replied, Can I just get a bigger Rapunzel dress so I can still be Rapunzel every year?

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And the adult came over to spend some time with the kids trick-or-treating.  She was dressed as a biker chick or some other leather-clad wild child person.

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I swear I see her more now than I did before she moved out 3 weeks ago.

And I was trying to upload a video of Lanie laughing but it’s not working so I’ll try to figure it out tomorrow because it’s late and I’ve eaten 4 Twix bars and I’m just about crashing.

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Filed under: 31 for 21Down syndromeLanie

31 for 21 Day 30.  Busy day.

Today was jam packed with busy.  We went to church, had a reformation feast with food and games, came home to get ready for our weekly Sunday dinner that has turned into quite a big deal because a bunch of my adult kids’ friends have found out that we cook a bunch of food on Sundays and now they sneak in each week to enjoy some of our home cookin’.

Sunday’s have become quite enjoyable. And crowded.

Because it this I wasn’t able to do much picture taking with Lanie but did get this one of her being happy.


She’s done quite a bit more smiling for the camera lately and I’m loving it.

Tomorrow is the last day of October. Hopefully I don’t forget to post my last 31 for 21 challenge post.

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Filed under: Uncategorized

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