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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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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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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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Today we tour

I grew up in Goose Creek, SC, right outside of Charleston and, while I spent a fair amount of time downtown, my young self did not appreciate the rich history the city has to offer so when I mentioned to my mom that I wanted to take the kids downtown and do a tour of sorts so I could learn some stuff and teach it to the kids she jumped on it and said she would absolutely love to give them a tour.

My mom is a 3rd grade teacher and is the unofficial but should be actual official downtown Charleston history expert. She does the school’s field trip tours and has such a way with children so I knew my kids were in for a very educational and enjoyable experience.

Here are some quick takeaways from the day.

  • My mother loves this old city. You can hear it in the way she talks about it. It isn’t just mundane history to her, it’s real and living and she truly enjoys sharing what she knows.
  • Charleston in August is incredibly hot. We’re talking 95 degrees and 100% humidity. We live in Pensacola so it should have felt like home but for some reason it was so much worse.
  • Kids are impervious to heat when there is something interesting going on. They never complained and even ran around and played tag when we stopped at the park for a rest.
  • Free snow cone samples are the best.
  • My mom knows more about Charleston’s history than the paid tour guides. There were times when she was explaining something about something that other people who were not a part of our group would stop and listen along.
  • There are graveyards everywhere.
  • And churches…
  • Rainbow Row and Rainbow Road are not the same thing.
  • Stroller wheels do not cooperate on cobblestone streets.
  • The Palm tree may very well have won the Revolutionary War for us.
  • Kait takes good pictures. She likes the camera and it would appear that the camera also likes her.

It was a really thorough and entertaining tour and I learned a lot of the stuff I had ignored as a child. My kids seem to like information more than I did when I was a youngin and talked about some of what they learned on the way back to my sister’s house in Moncks Corner.  I’m so thankful to have a mama who is so willing to pass down all of her knowledge about Charleston and the city’s role in our country’s fight to become independent.

Next time we’ll do another tour and learn about the civil war.

Kait took most of these fabulous pictures with her new camera. The ones that she is in I think were taken by her fiance.

Then my brother surprised us by showing up with his two boys and his Tesla and we were so happy he was able to make the trip to spend the weekend with us. It was a really great day.

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Bed hair don’t care

Good mornings have never been sweeter.

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6 hours later…

Still sanding.  

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I’m sitting here wasting time because I’m not sure what to write about and I’m using my writers block as an excuse to not get anything done so there is a giant pile of laundry to fold and the little girls’ room is in a painful state of disarray and my closet needs decluttering and why on earth do I have 100 squares of felt when I don’t even like felt?

If you know me in real life you know that I have had a problem living up to my minimalist standards the past few years. It’s as if settling down in one place, knowing that we don’t have to move soon because retirement is less than a year away, has kept me from feeling the need to be move-ready and we’re finding ourselves overrun with stuff that has no purpose other than to remind me that I need to declutter and get rid of stuff.

But we’re discovering lately a stirring. A feeling of possible changes in our future that has prompted my inner declutter bug to get back to work after years of hibernation. I’ve been tossing and giving away things right and left preparing for a move that may or may not happen in a year or two.

Maybe it’s the every 3 to 4-year habit of moving the Navy created in us that has us instinctually assuming it’s time to move on. Or maybe it’s God’s plan for us to have another adventure. I can’t be sure. What I do know is I have a lot of stuff to get rid of and a lot of laundry to burn.
I mean fold.

 

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I really want to write something but lately, like the last 4 years, my head has not been about that at all.  I feel like I lost my muse or something and every so often I walk around asking “Are you my muse?” like a little bird looking for his mother.

Alas, I may have to just get used to writing without a muse for now.

It’s not as if I don’t have anything to write about. I have 10 kids and one of them is Maggie and she provides so much writing material all by her little 3-year-old self. And my 22-year-old is getting married in November and there is so much that could be said about that like her dress is unbelievable and I need to cook 100 lbs of taco meat and she forgot to save all of the Avery labels she created and they were all deleted before we could print them out and that’s like 150 address labels people.

But putting my day down here on the blog isn’t as easy as it once was. Even still, I’m not ready to give it all up and I know I need to make an effort to write more regularly.

Here’s a picture.

We were at Gabe’s cello lesson and we were running late and I didn’t get Lanie’s hair done so I just put a barrette in it and that didn’t really take.

And here’s another picture.

Kait is actively working on getting Lanie to interact with her.  Lanie just stares at her like she is in the picture most of the time. I think it’s the glasses, which is funny because Lanie wears glasses herself.

I was going to write more but Lanie is fussing and her brother trying to entertain her ain’t doing the trick.

I didn’t have time to proof read this. I’m sorry.

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There’s nothing like cuddling together on Daddy’s pillow and reading a book about how not to care for a new baby.

These girls sure do love their Daddy. I wonder how he’s going to feel about the chocolate Maggie wiped into his pillow case from her face.

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People… It’s happened!

My oldest child, my 22-year-old baby girl, got engaged last night to this great guy that we’ve all taken a liking to.

More details to come on a date and any other necessary information.

Gosh, I’m so happy about this!

Photo credit: My ninja friend, Marty.

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