February 28, 2012

Up-Chuck and first world problems.

Whoowhee.  We’ve had an interesting couple of days around here.  Faintly reminiscent of the adventure we had with X-man after Sylvie was born.


We are having some construction work done on our house right now – so the girls and I have done our best to just steer clear and utilize every free kid friendly destination around. 

Yesterday we had successfully avoided our house from 8:30 in the morning until 3:00 in the afternoon, and we were spent.  We went home to brave the banging and clanking, sequestered to Bella’s room to stay out of the way. 


Of course we never quite made it so far as Bella’s room.


We pulled in the driveway and the girls unbuckled.  From the backseat I hear Bella say, “Maggie, my belly doesn’t feel good.”

I’ll take a moment here to say that this happens very frequently.  Anything that could possibly provoke a little anxiety in her, ends up with her lunch on the floor.  I think a lot of it is just the chronic stress she’s been under for months paired with her illness. 

I turned around in my seat to talk her through it – Take deep breaths, lets talk about what you’re nervous about, let’s make. it. to. the. bathroom.  But it was too late, moments later she is in between the captains chairs in back regurgitating her entire lunch

all.   over.  the.  van.


I took a deep breath – but not too deep, because we all know that smell, and worked to get the girls out of the care amid the grossness.

We got out, got coats off (dropped them on the ground outside the car) and got inside.  I had Bella go straight to the bathroom and take all her pukey clothes off for a bath.  I got the other two girls situated and got to the bathroom, pulled out the faucet to run a bath, and …  nothing.

The water was off.


So now I have a car full of puke, a daughter covered in puke, a house full of construction workers, NO WATER, and, oh yeah, no washer and dryer.

Where to go from here?


I wiped her down the best I could with wet wipes.  Thank goodness, we have some good friends who live down the street, so we headed over there for a bath.

I couldn’t leave the girls in the house while I cleaned out the van.  My house is full of construction workers who don’t  even speak English.  So, Brian ended up driving home and watching the girls while I scraped puke out of the crevices of my van. 

We hadn’t cleaned out the car since our road trip, so we had puke on no less than three coats, a baby carrier, six books, a blanket, a wipes container, two pairs of shoes, two of the car seats, the carpet, and the front console. 

It was epic.


Now we just have two huge trashbags of stuff waiting to be cleaned when we have a washer and drier again.  This timeline is TBD.  Our van is being professionally cleaned right now – because NO amount of resolve was going to get that smell out.


Count it all joy.

Count it all joy.

Count it all joy.

February 21, 2012

The part where Karyn Purvis is my hero.


  So we went to the Empowered to Connect conference last weekend – and apart from the 9 hours there and the 9 hours back, it was wonderful.  Wonderful.


  The girls (all three) hung out with Brian’s sister Jennifer while we were at the conference.  I was sure we were going to totally stress her out and ruin her weekend, but the girls did great and had a really good time.  In fact, on the way home Sylvia insisted that we turn around to go back to Aunt Jennifwews, and the following morning woke up crying for her.  I’d say that Aunt Jennifwew is well loved.


  We also got to hang out with friends who we met at Horn Creek last year during foster and adoptive family camp.  It was great to see them (how did we not take any pictures???) and to catch up. (We’re both going back this year.  It’s great too.  Check it out.)

  It was also wonderful to, for a whole weekend, be surrounded by other foster and adoptive parents who understand the experience.  Brian and I don’t really have a community of foster or adoptive parents here at all (which we are always hoping to change!) and so it was great to be with a lot of other people with the same heart.


Anyway, on to the conference.


  If you are a foster parent or an adoptive parent, and you’ve never heard Karyn Purvis speak – do anything in your power short of sell your home to do so.  She is incredible. She is so full of wisdom, not afraid to tell it like it is, and is funny to boot.

  Actually if you are even considering adopting, I would really, very highly, I’ll pay for you to go, recommend that you attend one of these conferences first.  She is very straight forward, not to scare you off (although she might), but so that you go into this huge decision with your eyes open, armed and ready with the tools you will need.   Go.  Really.  Go.


  They covered so many things.  Sensory Processing Disorder.  Brain Development.  Neurochemistry.  Fear.  Co-Regulation.  Straight forward ideas to put into practice.

  One of the things that I love about The Connected Child, and the conference, is that they give a very thorough background on why our children behave the way they do.  It’s so important to understand where these behaviors are coming from to really be able to understand why you should parent them a specific way.

  They also had a couple of adoptive mothers share their stories which is always moving, and gives so much hope. 


  I have a list of books that were recommended throughout the conference that I thought I’d share.  I haven’t read any of these, but I assume they’re good stuff.

Wounded Children, Healing Homes  by Jayne E. Schooler

Anatomy of the Soul  by Curt Thompson

I Love You Rituals by Becky Bailey

Parenting from the Inside Out  by Daniel Siegel

Attaching in Adoption by Deborah Gray (She has several on attachment)

Parenting is Your Highest Calling and 8 other Myths that Trap us in Worry and Guilt  

             by Leslie Leyland Fields


  It’ll take me a while to get through these, but looking forward to them for sure.


I just want all foster and adoptive parents to have this information.  Typical parenting strategies are not for these broken little hearts that join our families.  Brian and I have decided to go back to the conference every year, just for a refresher.

February 20, 2012

10 Months.

  All of a sudden you look so much older.  You’ve come out of that baby haze and you are with us, understanding what is going on much of the time, and contributing!  You giggle at your sisters’ craziness.  You make noises to let us know what you want.  You are into everything and explore things with such curiosity. 



Your shirt says: I’m cute, my Mom’s cute, and My Dad is lucky.  Ha!

  You are also, quite literally, the happiest baby I’ve ever met.

Unless you are very very hungry, or very very tired, you are happy.  You aren’t just happy, you are smiling, laughing, and giggling. 

You love, love, love your mama and daddy.  You’re face lights up when you see us.  When your daddy gets home from work you immediately crawl up to him and pull up on his pants, “Hold me, Daddy!  Where have you been all day!”

Just in the last couple of weeks, you have started to get over a little of your separation anxiety that has been so strong every since you were born.  You do pretty well in the nursery or while someone is watching you, but generally when I get back and you see me, your face crumples up with the most pitiful cry as if to say, “I had forgotten that you left me here, but now I’m really upset about it.  Where have you been!?”


Your first time on the swings!



  You’re crawling all over the place, and you pull up on everything.  You’re cruising around furniture now too – but I think you’re pretty hesitant to let go just yet.  I’m alright with that, there’s no rush to walk, believe me.  You are also obsessed with the stairs at the moment.  It never takes you long to decide you want to go up them, but you haven’t figured out going down yet, which poses a slight issue.  We’ll work on that.  You are busy, busy, busy, all the time – and you are watching your sisters like a hawk, picking up on everything they do.


  You still look a lot like me, but I think you’ll end up a pretty good mix of me and your Daddy.  You’re hair is getting lighter all the time, and I think in the summer sun it’s going to turn almost blonde.  You still have your bright blue eyes, looks like your going to keep them!



First bath with your sister!

  You take baths in the regular bathtub now.  You sit in a high chair when we go out.  You will gnaw on any solid food I give you now, and actually get upset if I’m not sharing.


  We’ve started putting you in your bed at the beginning of the night, and then bringing you in when you wake up the first time.  Most nights you only make it a couple of hours, but occasionally it will be four or five.  I’m not anxious to be away from you all night long, so take your time.



Already showing an interest in card games.  Your dad, uncle Daniel, and Grandpa Richard will appreciate this.

  You still nurse a lot, but it can definitely be replaced by food now, and you don’t mind.  No signs yet if you’ll wean before your sister did, but if not, you’ve still got well over a year before that crosses your mind.

  You’re still pretty stuck on saying Dadada, but you throw in a Gagaga, Cacaca, and Nanana.  Notice that Mama was not in that list.  Not for a lack of trying on you’re Mama’s part.  Soon enough you’ll be talking in sentences, so I’ll just soak up the Dadada’s.



Playing peek-a-boo with your blanket.

  I want you to know that you always have a voice in our family.  I will always listen, and always want to know how you feel, even at risk of being offended.  I am here for you – not only when we agree, but when we can’t quite see eye to eye.  You’re not likely to be the youngest in our family, but seeing as that you’ll never be the oldest, I never want you to feel lost in our love – you are our unique, beautiful, blessing of a daughter, and you are precious.


  I pray I can love you with a love like Jesus’, show you grace and mercy, and teach you to love unconditionally.  Of course, you’re teaching me an awful lot every day too – both about love and grace. 


You are such a blessing.


Love you, love you, love you,


February 15, 2012

Road trip!


  We leave tomorrow for the Empowered to Connect Conference in Dallas!  I’m excited, as I’ve been looking forward to it for some time.  Karyn Purvis is the main speaker.  We had planned on going to a similar conference in October when I was struck with the Virus from the Bowels of Hades, and we had to cancel. 



Equipping you to bring hope and healing
to adopted and foster children.


  At the last minute yesterday they decided to cancel Bella’s visit for this weekend.  The back and forth was not working for getting rid of the lice issue (not sure if Mom and Dad weren’t giving it the good college try, or if they just didn’t understand how aggressively you have to treat it.)  They decided it would be best for her to be with us for the weekend so that we can get rid of it all the way (and hopefully not get it back with the next visit.)

  All that to say, Bella is going with us!  I’m glad we had a trip planned to distract her from missing her visit, but I think it will be a hard several days.


  The 10 hour car ride?  You could pray for that.


I just can’t wait to be in community with other people with the same heart, and to be poured into with wisdom and challenge to parent these kiddos well.  (Also, it’s warmer in Dallas.  WhooHooo!)


  Hopefully when it’s all over I’ll have some resources to share!  If you’re going, let me know, I’d love to meet you!

February 14, 2012

What we miss.

  I’ve found that it’s a pretty universal feeling for most foster parents with forever children.  You get the call for a new kiddo (or kiddos.) and you say yes.  You feel excited, but then it starts.

The panic.

  What if this means that I won’t have as much time with my forever kids?  What if they miss out on something because my attention is divided?

  What if I miss this?  This precious time.  This precious age.  Memories.  What if it all dissolves in the chaos?  I talked about this feeling a little bit here. 



  I’m not sure we’ll ever take a placement without having a little bit of this feeling.  But the longer we foster, the more I think it’s just a little silly.  A little off focus.  A little fear driven – and I don’t want fear to lead.


  When I look back over the last eight months that Bella has been with us, the last thing that comes to mind are the memories I may have missed out on by her joining our family.



  It’s true, I’ve probably had a little less one on one time with Sylvia. 

But I’ve gotten to watch a beautiful sisterhood develop between three girls that otherwise would have never been.  Sylvia and Naomi will always, in their hearts, have a sister in Bella.  And Bella will always have a home here.




The memories we have built these last eight months have been different than they would have been, to be sure.  They may have been more calm.  Maybe we would have had more time to go on outings.  I could have kept my house a heck of a lot cleaner.




  But I wouldn’t have gotten to watch my beautiful girls playing dress up, going grocery shopping, camping, to the movies, or whatever adventure they choose next.

  I wouldn’t have gotten to watch them build forts with the pillow cushions or “read” each other books.  I would have never been invited to a tea party hosted by two of the prettiest princesses I know.

  Sylvia would not be building memories of pretend play, craft making, and snow ball fights with a sister who will always be a part of who she becomes.


To think that I would have somehow been better able to ‘soak up’ this time, this age, this season, without Bella here is something silly my mind has tricked me into. 



These memories are beautiful.


  They are no less special, no less precious, no less ingrained in my mind as the season of life when I watched my children grow.

  If anything they are more.  Full of even more life.  Full of even more joy.  Full of even more…..memories.

They are different memories, but they are not lesser memories.

  These memories, as different as they may be compared to ‘normal life’, are a blessing, there is no doubt.  A blessing to me.  A blessing to Sylvie and Naomi.  And, I pray, a blessing to Bella.




  What we miss is not found here.  What we miss is life, when we say no.  When we decide that ‘normal’ must be the best way.  Just look at what we miss.


  It is only a reminder to me, that serving Jesus, following Him, is always best.  For us.  For our children.  For our hearts.  Thank you Lord for not allowing me to convince myself that life would be less because of what you call us to.

February 13, 2012

Valentines twenty-twelve.


  Since we’ve had kids (which has been most of our marriage.) I’ve totally sucked it up on gifts.  I always have spectacular ideas that come flooding into my mind and I get really excited…..two days before the holiday that requires said gift.

  And then I’m doing laundry and cleaning up spit up and picking nits, and I just end up doing something really lame.  Lame, like, for Christmas I printed off two pics of our girls at CVS, put them in frames, wrapped them, and voila…lame-o Christmas pictures for your office.

No forethought.



For valentines, I read about this really great idea of putting together 12 envelopes, one for each month of the year, each one filled with a pre-planned, super fun date.  That way we have at least one date already planned for each month, and my Mister doesn’t have to feel all the pressure to come up with some good date night idea.




I turned my date night envelope making into a craft project with the girls, and I actually got it done in time!

I’m super excited.

Some of the envelopes already have tickets in them for events that month, some of them have gift certificates, and some of them are just ideas for things we don’t do very often together.  And he gets a new surprise every month!




We celebrated valentines day last night, and so Brian already has his present.  I’m not totally ruining it by posting the entire thing on here.  That would make this a lame present, instead of a great one.


Anyway, I’m going to post every month when we do our fun date so that we can keep the memories of our dates this year.


can’t wait!

February 8, 2012

uuhh. Thoughts.


Well, things are pretty good around here.


For the rest of the month Bella has visits Wednesdays through Sundays.  That’s right, she’s only at our house full time Mondays and Tuesdays.  It’s kind of weird.

I miss her.

And somehow I’m not sure that this gradual letting go is going to make the final goodbye any easier.  Not for my heart.




We thought that Bella came back from her visit this week sans parasites. 

Until last night, when we found more nits.

They had her checked at the health department before she came back, and they gave her the ok, but apparently the health department can’t find nits. 


Not sure where to go from here.  It doesn’t even seem to cross the caseworker’s mind what a pain is to be sending them back and forth.  I believe I’m gonna have to put my foot down shortly.




We went this weekend to visit Brian’s brother and his family.  They have a brand new baby girl (eeek!) who was so soft and snuggly I almost wanted to get pregnant again right now.  Actually, I wouldn’t cross it off the list of possibilities.  (no.  this is not an announcement.)


We managed to get through the entire weekend with a grand total of about two pictures.  How did we do that??  Also, can’t find the camera.  Wow.  We are on top of it.


Here are the two pictures that made it through the weekend on my phone.



Helping uncle Daniel carry Genevieve out to the car.  It takes lots of helpers.



Big hugs.  I think they like each other.



Less than a month until (supposedly) Bella leaves.

There will be a post on this.

My heart does not like it.




If you have e-mailed me or otherwise contacted me with questions and such – PLEASE know that I am making an effort to get back to you, and that I am not just ignoring you!  I have no excuse except that I have been using all my free time to sew (clothes for the girls!  newly found love of quilting!  so many projects!).  I love to sew.

Sew, I will be getting back to you.  Promise.  (did you catch that?) (I’m a dork.)


I think that’s all the random thoughts today.

Hopefully I’ll get to a better post tomorrow.  You know, with actual paragraphs.  And punctuation.  We’ll see.

February 1, 2012

over sharing.

I’ve had lots I’ve wanted to post.


But when you kids come back to you from Mom and Dad’s bearing little gifts like







…you get a little preoccupied. 


  This is the second little gift that we’ve gotten from Ms. Bella (this is definitely the better of the two.).  Lice are not a huge deal, but are definitely enough to rain on a otherwise happy go lucky day.


  So we’ve been treating, and picking, and washing, and washing, and washing….

and washing.

lots of laundry.  did I mention that?

Luckily I’m a natural picker.  I’ve probably mentioned that before.  I actually don’t mind when my kids get cradle cap, because like I said, I’m a picker.  So we’ve been doing a lot of nit-picking.



The kicker is, she got it at home on her last visit.  They all sleep in the same bed.  She is going back home for another visit in approximately 30 minutes, where, in all likelihood, she will just pick it up again and bring it back.  Then we’ll treat it, and three days later she’ll go back.

Well.  You get the idea.

We’re trying to get her visit extended so that they can just completely get rid of it at their house so we aren’t swapping parasites back and forth.  I love Bella and all, but I don’t need her parasites.


Good news?  No sign of it on Sylvie, Naomi, or Brian and I.  So far so good.


Excuse me, I just heard the dryer stop.  Time for another load.


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