Thursday, December 22, 2011


I really am working on a kajillion blog posts, I promise. It's just that I never have time to finish them! Which bums me out a little, because I really do enjoy blogging thoughts and pictures. But I've hit my limit on daily allotted time, and when there are only so many hours in the day, there's only so much you can do; some things inevitably get put on the back-burner.

Up and coming are posts about Michael's birthday, Bennett's birthday, C's birthday (one of our girls), and my mom's birthday. Michael's was Nov.12th, but the other three have all been in December. Whew! I also need to do a blog post about all of our Christmas activities, including having two of the other cottages over to play games and hang out, and several of the Christmas parties we have been to.

Random things that have happened in the past month: there is a wonderful lady who owns her own cleaning business, and she now comes out once every couple of months to deep clean our home. Fabulous.....Bennett and Jasper have both managed to avoid the doctor so far, up until yesterday, when I took J in for an ear infection. Awesomeness....We are feeling the love and generosity of family and friends this holiday season - it's amazing....I miss my friends. I see a handful of my die-hard friends fairly regularly through church and play dates, but my circle has gotten significantly smaller. That is to be expected with what we are doing here, and Michael and I have made great friends with two of the other house parent couples here, which is so helpful, but I'm missing my friends that I'm just not getting to see hardly at all anymore. There's no real remedy for this, because of the whole "there are only so many hours in a day" thing again, but there it is....Getting Christmas ready for seven kids is nothing short of insanity. Tonight I'm pulling a late-nighter to watch movies and wrap presents. Tomorrow my beautiful, wonderful mother is coming over to help me finish up....We'll do our cottage Christmas on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, since all of our girls will be at their bio homes over the holidays....I am still on a learning curve that never seems to end; I can practically feel my brain synapses tingling :)....I love being here. I love what we are doing. I love watching these girls change and begin to trust before my very eyes. I journal back and forth with a couple of them, and it's amazing what they've been through and how resilient they are....Our boys are doing so well here - they love everything about it. The only exception to this being Bennett telling us the other day that he's still a teeny-tiny bit frustrated that he's not the oldest anymore :)....One example of my learning curve is how much new music I've been introduced to. Most of the girls LOVE listening to music and love having me listen to the stuff they like (all appropriate, of course - they love complaining about how strict we are, and I love nodding and smiling at them while changing nothing :) ). There are some fantastic songs out there that I'd never heard before, and some great artists I've been introduced to. Thanks to iTunes gift cards we've received at our Christmas parties, our iTunes account has exploded. Also awesome....I have found that I actually LOVE hosting now that I have a home that is appropriate in size and equipment to do so. I used to dislike it with a passion, but now it brings me joy. I love having groups, other kids, family, etc. over to play, eat, and hang out. What a blessing to use our home this way. We had all of my extended family over for Thanksgiving Day, and for Christmas, Michael's parents will be here, and then my mom's side of the family will be here on Christmas Day, as well as my parents and brother. Love it....My husband is full of awesome. He is my perfect de-stressor, and is so thoughtful and considerate of what I need at the moment. He keeps me sane :)....I've also gotten back in touch with being a little more of a girly girl again, a by product of now having five teenage daughters, rather than being surrounded by testosterone at all times. One of my girls bought me some perfume the other day when we were at the mall, and I'm enjoying wearing it. We do each other's hair, paint each other's nails, watch girly movies together, etc. Funny enough, that also makes my times playing trains, racing cars, and climbing jungle gyms that much sweeter with my boys....

and I think that's more than enough for now, folks. Still plugging away at the birthday posts, and of course, after that comes the monstrosity that is the Christmas post. Makes me break out in a cold sweat just thinking about it.

Hope you're all enjoying the holiday season!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I'm having a hard time posting these days because it is hard to describe what goes on in our home from day to day, and what I am experiencing in all aspects of life.

Michael and I are working on tweaking my schedule and figuring out how to minimize my stress levels right now. We go on relief week next week, where all of the girls stay at another cottage for a full week, and that will be helpful in getting some much-needed rest, I think. Usually we are supposed to receive a full week like this every fifth week, but they had to hire a new set of foster parents before that could happen. There is a great couple here now, and the rotation has begun, praise the Lord.

I feel like a chicken with my head cut off almost all of the time, and it is rare that I actually finish a to-do list, which drives me bonkers, but can't really be helped. Having six kids (seven, starting tomorrow - we're getting another new girl) changes things in so many ways, and having four to five of them being yours only temporarily really throws some interesting elements in the mix.

We are working hard to provide a stable, structured, healthy environment for these girls. We have been here for three months now, and those three months have included a lot of tweaking, praying, changing and re-changing things to figure out what works best, a lot of relationship building, a lot of REALLY fun times, and also a lot of time being sick (I've been sick three times since we've been here - once a month on average, and I think it's mostly because I'm worn down and not getting enough sleep) and some time crying out to God for wisdom, and sometimes just crying.

The first month was a honeymoon period, that's for sure. It's just downright hard now, to be honest. But God has called us here, and we know He wants us to make a difference in these girls' lives while we have them. So we will let Him be our strength and give all we've got while we are here.

Bennett and Jasper are still thriving and love it here, which again, is a tremendous blessing that there are no words of thanks to express. They love everything about being here, and are getting to experience so many more things than we would have been able to provide for them otherwise. That's a wonderful feeling. We're pretty sure Bennett will go to the school where Michael teaches starting next year, and we feel wonderful about this. He and his daddy will get to spend a lot of wonderful quality time together on the drive there and back every day.

Homeschooling is still going great. Bennett is reading basic C-V-C words, and is reading very basic readers with help, although the perfectionist in him still gets frustrated when he can't master everything immediately (welcome to my world, pal :) ). Jasper loves school time and always wants to be involved doing his own activities as well.

Recent events have included Michael turning the big 3-0, Halloween festivities, going to the State Fair with Mimi, getting to meet one of the MVP Rangers along with his family, where we decorated sugar cookies and got free Rangers hats, going to the movies, the girls and I having a fabulous movie marathon, roasting more marshmallows in our fire pit, having other cottages over for Game Night and Hide-n-Seek in the dark, and hosting Thanksgiving for my entire family at our house (25 people).

Coming up is Bennett's birthday on Tuesday (he's turning FIVE...gulp), and the kajillion Christmas parties we will be attending (around 3-4 each weekend until Christmas). I'm taking the girls Christmas shopping for their friends tomorrow after school.

Whoo-wee, it's a crazy, busy life here, but we wouldn't have it any other way and don't wish to be anywhere but here, right where God wants us. I'll try to sneak in a picture post of the outdated events I haven't posted about yet (like Michael's big birthday, the fair, etc.).